• Contest



    Submissions for the 2020 Sewanee Review Fiction, Poetry & Nonfiction contest will be accepted starting July 1, 2020 via Submittable. Contest entries submitted via mail or email will not be considered.


    Submit one short story or one nonfiction essay of up to 10,000 words, or a set of 1-6 poems.


    Judges: Garth Greenwell (fiction), Donika Kelly (poetry), and Melissa Febos (nonfiction)


    Winners in each genre receive $1,000 and publication in the Winter 2021 issue.


    The contest entry fee is $30.00. All contest entrants receive a one-year subscription to the Sewanee Review starting with the Fall 2020 issue. All contest entries will be considered for publication.


    Guidelines for Submitting: 

    1. Submit only one story, essay, or set of 1-6 poems per entry.
    2. Submitted work must be original and previously unpublished in any form (in print or online).
    3. Submitted work cannot be revised once it has been submitted.
    4. Do not include a cover letter. Remove all identifying information from your submission. All submissions will be read anonymously.
    5. Simultaneous submissions are allowed. Please notify us immediately if your contest entry is accepted by another publication.

    2019 Results

    The Sewanee Review is pleased to announce the results of our 2019 Fiction & Poetry Contest. The winning submissions in each genre receive a $1,000 prize as well as publication in our Winter 2020 issue.


    First, the results for poetry, judged by Carl Phillips.


    Winner: "Dislodgings" by Alan Nadel
    Runner-up: “Snaketime III" by Caroline Goodwin
    Finalists: Jessica Barksdale, Janine Certo, Robert Franklin, Brittany Leitner, Margaret B. Ray, Christopher Spaide, Yerra Sugarman, and Regina Walton


    Judge Carl Phillips writes: "I admire so much about 'Dislodgings,' not least of all the steady patience with which its argument unfolds, from the risk of an opening stanza of almost pure abstraction – which nevertheless wins my trust immediately – to the tempering second stanza of concrete information that takes the different risk of plain speech. The third stanza makes of salvage something talismanic about loss and what’s possible to see not only past lost, but through it."


    "The particular strength of 'Snaketime III' by Caroline Goodwin is how it moves from the ordinary life of putting kettles on into the – seemingly inevitable – action of the girl 'tapping her hands / into fins.' From there, the poem opens up into transformation, which I think is what’s at stake, finally: the need to be in readiness for change, also the place of the will when it comes to change: 'Open it up, you’ll see. You’ll let it in.' As if we had the power all along, for better and possibly worse."



    The fiction contest was judged by Roxane Gay


    Winner: "The Song of the Sirens" by Valerie Reed Hickman
    Runner-up: “Dermatology" by Marilyn Abildskov
    Finalists: Matthew Bucknor, Leslie Campbell, Megan Evershed, Kate Finegan, Peter Fish, Kathleen Gibbons, Esther Hayes, Craig Pearson, Jessica Smith, Michele Suzann, Jane Walton



    Judge Roxane Gay writes: “'The Song of the Sirens' is a story rife with an inexorable tension that builds from the first word to the last. There is a couple, two people in the same yet entirely different relationships, their dog, their mysterious neighbor and nothing, exactly, is wrong while everything is wrong. This writer tells this story slowly, carefully, forcing the reader to stew in the narrator's dissatisfaction and what is so striking, so compelling, is the way this writer allows the narrator to be flawed, to want more than she has, and to do so without apology."


    "The finest moment in Marilyn Abildskov's 'Dermatology' comes in the shape of the final image. How the writer gets us there makes that moment all the more remarkable because of the subtlety of the prose, the elegance. There is also the structure, nesting narratives of a woman dealing with adult onset acne, the newness of divorce and dating once again, the mundanity of motherhood, the gravity of family, a pull that is difficult to resist. And still, it is the lovely ending that truly reveals how masterful this story is."


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