2019 International Literary Awards

The Center for Women Writers is excited to launch this year’s International Literary Awards! Guidelines for each category are on our Submittable page.

The winner in each genre—poetry, creative nonfiction & fiction—will receive $1,000. An honorable mention in each genre (judge’s discretion) will receive $150.

Rita Dove Poetry Award
for 1 poem (please send 3 poems/submission)
Marilyn Nelson
Marilyn Nelson Photo credit: Curt Richter

Marilyn Nelson is the author or translator of many books of poetry for audiences of various ages. She has been awarded the Frost Medal, the NSK Neustadt Award, and the NCTE Award for Excellence in Children's Poetry. Nelson was Poet Laureate of Connecticut from 2001-2006. She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and since 2010 has been Poet-in-Residence of the Poets Corner at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Photo credit: Curt Richter

Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Award
for a work of creative nonfiction, including lyric essay, memoir, & literary journalism, up to 5000 words.
Melissa Febos
Melissa Febos; Photo credit: Katrina Del Mar

Melissa Febos is the author of the memoir, Whip Smart (St. Martin’s Press 2010), and the essay collection, Abandon Me (Bloomsbury 2017), which was a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist, a Publishing Triangle Award finalist, and an Indie Next Pick. Her second essay collection will be published in 2020. Her work has recently appeared in Tin House, Granta, The Believer, The New York Times, Vogue, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships and prizes from places including LAMBDA Literary, The MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, The Barbara Deming Memorial Foundation, The BAU Institute, Ragdale, and The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. An Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Monmouth University, she serves on the Board of Directors for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and lives in Brooklyn.

Photo credit: Katrina Del Mar

Reynolds Price Fiction Award
for a work of original fiction, up to 5000 words.
Jennine Crucet
Jennine Capó Crucet; Photo credit: Monica McGivern

Biography: Jennine Capó Crucet is the author of Make Your Home Among Strangers, winner of the International Latino Book Award and and cited as a best book of the year by NBC Latino, the Guardian, and the Miami Herald; and of How to Leave Hialeah, which won the Iowa Short Fiction Award and the John Gardner Book Prize. A Contributing Opinion Writer for The New York Times and a recipient of an O. Henry Prize, she is currently an associate professor at the University of Nebraska.


Photo credit: Monica McGivern


  • Competitions are open to anyone writing in English, except current Salem Academy & College employees and students.
  • All submissions must be previously unpublished.
  • Author’s name and address must appear on a cover page only. If your name appears on your submission, it will be immediately disqualified. This is incredibly important in our CNF category: please carefully proofread your piece to ensure that your name does not appear in your submission.
  • Submit: a cover page with your name, address, telephone, email, genre, word count (for prose), and the title(s) of the work(s), and $15 contest fee.
  • You may enter the contest as often as you’d like, in as many categories as you’d like. Each submission requires the $15 contest fee, and should be submitted as a separate entry. In other words, do not send two or more entries in one envelope or as one document.
  • An “early bird” reduced entry fee of $10 for entries prior to 1 December 2018.
  • Submissions close 28 February 2019.
  • Winners announced: no later than 1 June 2019 on our webpage and Facebook page.

Submit via Snail Mail

For snail mail submissions, submit: a cover page, 3 (three) copies of your typed entry (poems, cnf, or fiction), check or money order made out to Salem College w/memo line: 2019 ILA. Send a SASE (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope), and a SASP (Self-Addressed Stamped Postcard), if you’d like notification of winners and confirmation of submission received.

Send to:
Center for Women Writers
c/o ILA 2019
601 S. Church St
Salem College
Winston Salem, NC 27101

Submit Online Using Submittable


For further information, email: cww@salem.edu

Past Award Winners

Check out Past Results.