First Book Award Guidelines

How to Submit Your Manuscript

2017 contest dates TBD. This competition is open each year to any female writer who has not published a full-length collection of poetry. Writers who have had chapbooks of less than 42 pages printed in editions of no more than 400 copies are eligible.

Comment box should include:

  • Daytime and evening telephone numbers
  • Where you heard about the contest

Manuscripts must be:

  • Submitted as RTF, DOC or PDF.  NO DOCX FILES
  • A minimum of 48 pages and a maximum of 90 pages. no cover letter needed.
  • Anonymous (do not include your name anywhere on the manuscript)
  • Original poetry written by applicant (translations are not eligible)
  • $28 reading fee.

More guidelines will be provided on submissions page. For more information email or call 520-327-2127.


Ethics Statement

We endorse and agree to comply with the following statement released by the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses:

CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to:

1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors;

2) provide clear and specific contest guidelines — defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and

3) make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public.

This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.

Past Winners and Judges

First Book Winner: Trailer Trash by July Westhale
Judge: Robin Coste Lewis

First Book Winner: Body Burden by Zayne Turner
Judge: Tracie Morris

First Book Winner: Silent Anatomies by Monica Ong
Judge: Joy Harjo

First Book Winner: River Legs by Jen McClanaghan
Judge: Nikkey Finny

First Book Winner: Double Agent by Michelle Chan Brown
Judge: Bhanu Kapil

First Book Winner: Love and the Eye by Laura Newbern
Judge: Claudia Rankine

First Book Winner: Something in the Potato Room by Heather Cousins
Judge: Patricia Smith

First Book Winner: Souvenirs of a Shrunken World by Holly Iglesias
Judge: Harryette Mullen

First Book Winner: Benjamin’s Spectacles by Sprint Ulmer
Judge: Sonia Sanchez

First Book Winner: Loveliest Grotesque by Sandra Lim
Judge: Marilyn Chin

First Book Winner: The Errant Thread by Ellen Lipkin
Judge: Eavan Boland

First Book Winner: Various Modes of Departure by Deborah Fries
Judge: Carolyn Forché

First Book Winner: Rigging the Wind by Jennifer Barber
Judge: Jane Miller