Entries for the Porch Prize will be accepted beginning January 21, 2019 until March 1, 2019 at midnight Central Standard Time. Entries received after this time cannot be accepted.


Open to published and unpublished authors over the age of 18. The manuscript entered must be the author’s original work and be unpublished and uncontracted at the time of deadline and unpublished during the contest itself. Manuscript must also not exceed a word count of 3,000. All entries must be sent electronically.


  • Fiction – Manuscripts can be a short story, flash fiction, or excerpt from a longer fiction work. Maximum 3,000 words.

  • Creative Non-Fiction – Manuscripts can be personal essay or memoir. Maximum 3,000 words.

  • Poetry – One poem per entry.

Entry Fee

$20.00 for Porch members, $25 for non-members. Learn more about Porch membership here. Please note: One fee per entry.

How to Enter

The entry process for the Porch Prize has two steps:

  1. Submit entry fee payment online HERE.

  2. Complete this form, which will prompt you to upload your submission as a document or PDF. Personal information (name, email, phone number) should NOT appear on the manuscript itself. All entries must follow our document formatting rules below.

Document Formatting Requirement

  • Double-spaced – no extra spacing between paragraphs.

  • Times New Roman or approximate font, 12-pt font size 

  • One-inch margins on top, bottom, and both sides 

  • Unjustified right margins 

  • Manuscript must NOT include author name to ensure blind judging.

  • Pages should be numbered, but not include any other identifying information.

  • Manuscripts must be submitted via Google Form (see link above under “How to Enter”).

  • Contact porchprize (at) for questions or help with formatting.

  • Note: We are unable to accept screenplays or other alternative formats/genres.

Judging Specifics

  • All manuscripts will undergo a first round of numerical scoring by a committee of preliminary judges.

  • Scores will be totaled and the top three finalists from each category will be announced in May. All entrants will be notified of their manuscript’s status at this time.

  • Finalists will be invited to attend the Porch’s 2019 fundraiser, featuring Lauren Groff, on June 8, 2019.

  • Our final judges will read each of the three finalists in their category and select a winner.

  • The winning entries will be announced at the Porch’s 2019 fundraiser on June 8. Winners in attendance will be invited to the stage to receive recognition of their award.


One winner from each of the three categories will receive”

  • Cash prize of $500

  • Publication in the Nashville Review, a publication of Vanderbilt University

  •  Gift certificate for a multi-week Porch class(es) valued at $300

  • Recognition at the Porch’s 2019 fundraiser.

Final Judges


Silas House is the nationally bestselling author of five novels--Clay's Quilt, 2001; A Parchment of Leaves, 2003; The Coal Tattoo, 2005; Eli the Good, 2009; and Same Sun Here (co-authored with Neela Vaswani) 2012--as well as a book of creative nonfiction--Something's Rising, co-authored with Jason Howard, 2009; and three plays:  The Hurting Part (2005), This Is My Heart for You (2012), and In These Fields, with Sam Gleaves, 2016.

His work frequently appears in The New York Times and Salon.  He is a former commentator for NPR's "All Things Considered". His writing has appeared in Oxford American, Narrative, Blackbird, Newsday, as well as in anthologies such as Best Food Writing, 2015 and New Stories From the South, The Year's Best: 2004.  House serves on the fiction faculty at the Spaulding MFA in Creative Writing and as the NEH Chair at Berea College.

He is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the recipient of three honorary doctorates, and is the winner of the Nautilus Award, an EB White Award, the Appalachian Book of the Year, the Jesse Stuart Award, the Lee Smith Award, and many other honors.

Creative Nonfiction

Megan Stielstra is the author of three collections: The Wrong Way To Save Your Life, Once I Was Cool, and Everyone Remain Calm. Her work appears in the Best American Essays, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Tin House, Guernica, Catapult, Lit Hub, Buzzfeed Reader, PANK, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. A longtime company member with 2nd Story, she has told stories for National Public Radio, Radio National Australia, Museum of Contemporary Art, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, the Neo-Futurarium, and regularly with The Paper Machete live news magazine at The Green Mill. She is currently an artist in residence at Northwestern University.

She lives in Chicago with her husband, their kid, and Mojo the dog.


Tiana Clark is the author of the debut poetry collection, I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018), winner of the 2017 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, and Equilibrium (Bull City Press, 2016), selected by Afaa Michael Weaver for the 2016 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. Clark is the winner of a Pushcart Prize, as well as the 2017 Furious Flower’s Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize and 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize. She was the 2017-2018 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing. Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Best New Poets 2015, and elsewhere. Clark is the recipient of scholarships and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Sewanee Writers' Conference, and Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. Tiana grew up in Nashville and southern California. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University (M.F.A) and Tennessee State University (B.A.) where she studied Africana and Women's studies. She teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.