covers of winning titles

contest description

photos of contest winners

Above: 2018 Poetry winner Beverly Burch; 2017 Poetry winner Berwyn Moore; 2017 Fiction winner Rachel Groves, 2018 Fiction winner Jennifer Wisner Kelly.

Congratulations to the 2019 John Ciardi Prize for Poetry winner, Dara Yen Elerath of Albequerque, New Mexico, for her manuscript, The Dark Braid. Judge: Doug Ramspeck.

Congratulations to the 2019 G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction winner, Scott Nadelson of Salem, Oregon, for his manuscript, One of Us. Judge: Amina Gautier.

 

The 2021 contest is now open.

submit

If you have questions or concerns after reading the guidelines below, email bkmk@umkc.edu or call 816-235-2558.

Ciardi- and Chandra-winning books have gone on to receive reviews or features in such venues as:

Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Reviews, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Kansas City Star, Slate, Writers Almanac, etc.

and won or placed in such awards as:

the Poets’ Prize, Eric Hoffer, IPPY, ForeWord, Chautauqua longlist, Balcones Fiction, Devil’s Kitchen, Midland Authors, Towson Prize of Maryland, etc.

Click here for a list of past winners and judges.

Please read guidelines below before submitting.

Electronic submissions should include:

  • 1 Microsoft Word document or PDF. In English.
  • Poetry manuscripts: approximately 50-110 pages, single spaced.
  • Short fiction collections: approximately 125-300 pages, double spaced.
  • One title page within the manuscript (no author information)
  • No identifying information, including acknowledgments, should appear in the manuscript. 
  • Table of Contents within the manuscript (not as a separate file)
  • Non-refundable entry fee of $30 (US funds)
  • Uploaded files should have the same name as the manuscript
  • Manuscripts must be submitted online no later than January 15, 2021.

Postal Mail submissions should include:

  • Typed manuscript on standard-sized paper, bound only with a clip or rubberband (no staples or permanent binding).    
  • Poetry manuscripts: approximately 50-110 pages, single spaced.
  • Short fiction collections: approximately 125-300 pages, double spaced.
  • Two title pages within the manuscript: 
    a) title only (no author information)
    b) title, author name, address, phone number, email
  • No additional identifying information, including acknowledgments, should appear in the manuscript.
  • Table of Contents within the manuscript.
  • SASE for notification regarding winner. No manuscripts will be returned.
  • Non-refundable entry fee of $25 (US funds).
  • Manuscripts must be postmarked no later than January 15, 2021.
Mail to:

John Ciardi Prize for Poetry or Sharat Chandra Prize for Fiction
BkMk Press
5101 Rockhill Road
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Kansas City, MO 64110

Manuscripts must be postmarked or submitted online no later than January 15, 2021.

  • No faxed or emailed submissions, please.
  • Simultaneous and multiple submissions are acceptable. Please notify us of acceptance elsewhere.
  • Individual poems or stories may have been published, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished.
  • Current students and employees of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and current volunteer members of the New Letters and BkMk Press staffs, are not eligible.
  • Manuscripts will not be returned. No refunds will be issued.
  • No revisions, please.

Judging will be blind at all levels. Initial judging will be done by a network of published writers and editors. The final judging will be done by a poet and a fiction writer of national reputation. 2021 winners will be announced August, 2021 and the winning entries will be published in 2022. These competitions are held annually.

BkMk Press supports the CLMP Code of Ethics for literary contests.

Kansas City Literary Events

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Friday, August 21, 2020
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