The Porch Prize

Established in 2019 and open to published and unpublished writers over the age of 18, The Porch Prize honors fresh voices and excellent writing. In years past, our judges have included the notable writers Megan Stielstra, Tiana Clark, Silas House, Edgar Kunz, Kristen Arnett, and Margaret Renkl. We award a cash prize and Porch gift certificate to one winner in each category, and all finalists are acknowledged at our annual fundraiser. Winning entries are also published in Nashville Review, the publication of Vanderbilt University’s Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. 

Support for the Porch Prize comes from Vanderbilt University and Wiles + Taylor.
In 2021, we were thrilled to work with final judges David James Poissant, Maggie Smith, and Aimee Nezukhumatathil.  

Our 2021 winners are:
Fiction: "Light to the Hills," by Bonnie Blaylock
Creative Nonfiction: "Excerpt from a Guide to the Flora of Costa Rica," by Aria Dominguez
Poetry: "The Great Hunger," by Rina Kenney

2021 Finalists:
Fiction: Amelia Dirks, Wilmoth Foreman, Liza Jones, Carey Olney
Creative Nonfiction: Jessica Burdg, Marilyn Mox, Bryn Gribben, Emi Helck
Poetry: Amber Albritton, Sandee Gertz, Laura Roth, Ruth Youn

Call for Entries

Submissions are closed.
Open to published and unpublished authors over the age of 18. The manuscript entered must be the author’s original work and be unpublished and uncontracted at the time of deadline and unpublished during the contest judging time itself. If you submit an entry that is accepted for publication prior to our announcement of the winners, please contact us to withdraw the entry.

Manuscript must also not exceed a word count of 3,000. All entries must be submitted via Google Form.
Fiction – Manuscripts can be a short story, flash fiction, or excerpt from a longer fiction work. Maximum 3,000 words.

Creative Nonfiction – 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.
Document Formatting Requirements
.doc, .docx, and .pdf files only.

The title of the document being uploaded must match the title of the entry.

If submitting multiple entries, each one must be submitted individually.

A single document with multiple submissions will not be accepted.

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

Manuscript must NOT include author name to ensure blind judging. Manuscripts that include any identifying author information will not be considered.

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

Manuscripts must be submitted via Google Form. (Submissions are currently closed.) 

The following guidelines refer to PROSE entries ONLY:

Double-spaced – no extra spacing between paragraphs.

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

Unjustified right margins

Contact 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 five finalists from each category will be announced.

All entrants will be notified of their manuscript’s status at this time.

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

Final Judges

Fiction: David James Poissant
Poetry: Maggie Smith
Creative Nonfiction: Aimee Nezhukumatathil

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