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Established in 2019 and open to published and unpublished writers over the age of 18, The Porch Prize honors fresh voices and excellent writing.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, Margaret Renkl, David James Poissant, Maggie Smith, Aimee Nezukhumatathil, Natalie Lima, Marianne Worthington, and Kevin Wilson. 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. 

Our winners for the 2023 Porch Prize are:

• Fiction: Alease Robertson - "School Day"
Alease Robertson has a B.A. from Vanderbilt University and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Her short fiction has appeared in Crazyhorse, Zoetrope All-Story, and The Nashville Scene. She grew up in North Carolina tobacco country where her family made their living as sharecroppers and factory workers. She has lived in Nashville since 1978.

• Poetry: Laura Joyce-Hubbard - "Call Sign: Mother"
Laura Joyce-Hubbard’s work appears or is forthcoming in Poetry, The Iowa Review, Sewanee Review, and elsewhere. She won The Iowa Review’s 2022 veteran writing award. Her nonfiction is recognized as Notable in Best American Essays of 2022 and is an AWP nonfiction selection for Intro Awards. A former C-130 pilot, Laura served in the Air Force for twenty years. She lives with her family in Illinois, serves as a fiction editor for TriQuarterly, and is the inaugural Highland Park Poet Laureate. You can follow Laura on Twitter at @laurajoyhub, Instagram at @Laurajh, and Facebook at @Laura Joyce-Hubbard.

• Creative Nonfiction: Jonathan Sharp - "Voices"
After decades of moving as an Army brat, Jonathan Sharp made a home in Seattle where he designs video games. He honed his writing by studying at the Pacific NW Writers Association, the Hugo House in Seattle and the Port Townsend writers conference.  When not writing, he enjoys yoga, singing, theater, basketball, and hanging out with his cat - Evey.  He has recently completed his first memoir. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter and Instagram at @jonathancsharp.

Our runners-up and finalists for the 2023 Porch Prize are:

• Chad Broughman - "Countdown to retirement: Random journal entries of a public-school teacher’s final year" (Runner-Up)

• Christopher Waldrop - "The Mirror Trick"
• Bill Woods - "Catch and Release"
• Pam Jones - "Just Meditating"

• Jed Myers - "Empathy's Shadow" (Runner-Up)
• Rachel Clemens - "regulars"
• Lauren Turner - "Still on the Line"
• Aaron Shapiro - "White/Process"

• Ash Weber - "Your David" (Runner-Up)
• Joanna Brichetto - "The Weed Tree"
• Joanna Brichetto - "Paradise in a Parking Lot"
• Billy Kilgore - "When We Needed It Most"

Much thanks to our Porch Prize 2023 final judges!
Fiction: Destiny O. Birdsong
Poetry: Nickole Brown
Creative Nonfiction: Elissa Altman

Call for Entries

Open to published and unpublished authors over the age of 18 who have not received The Porch Prize in a previous year. 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.

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: Destiny O. Birdsong
Poetry: Nickole Brown
Creative Nonfiction: Elissa Altman

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