Annual Literary Contest


Enter Contest Here

The $500 Stephen Dunn Prize in Poetry

(Stephen Dunn is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Different Hours and 15 other collections of poetry and prose, including the recently published Here and Now)

Judged by Terrance Hayes, author of How to be Drawn

TERRANCE HAYES is the author of Lighthead (Penguin 2010), winner of the 2010 National Book Award and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His other books are Wind In a Box (Penguin 2006), Hip Logic (Penguin 2002), and Muscular Music (Tia Chucha Press, 1999). His honors include a Whiting Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a United States Artists Zell Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship.  How To Be Drawn (Penguin 2015), his most recent  collection of poems, was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award, the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award, and received the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Poetry. He is the current poetry editor at New York Times Magazine and has two forthcoming manuscripts: American Sonnets for My Past And Future Assassin (Penguin, 2018), and To Float In The Space Between: Drawings and Essays in Conversation with Etheridge Knight (Wave, 2018).


The $1,000 Fiction Prize

Judged by Ann Hood, author of Morningstar

ANN HOOD’s newest book is her memoir Morningstar: Growing Up with Books., will be published August 9, 2016 by WW Norton. She is the author of the bestselling novels The Book That Matters Most, The Knitting Circle, The Obituary Writer, The Red Thread, and Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine. Her memoir, Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, in which she shares her personal story of losing her 5 year old daughter Grace in 2002, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and named one of the top 10 non-fiction books of 2008 by Entertainment Weekly. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.





The $500 Nonfiction Prize

Donated by Michael Steinberg

Phillip Lopate, author of A Mother’s Tale


PHILLIP LOPATE was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1943, and received a BA from Columbia in 1964, and a doctorate from the Union Graduate School in 1979.  He has written four personal essay collections—Bachelorhood (Little, Brown, 1981), Against Joie de Vivre (Poseidon-Simon & Schuster, 1989), Portrait of My Body (Doubleday-Anchor, 1996) and Portrait Inside My Head (Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 2013); two novels, Confessions of Summer (Doubleday, 1979) and The Rug Merchant (Viking, 1987); two poetry collections, The Eyes Don’t Always Want to Stay Open (Sun Press, 1972) and The Daily Round (Sun Press, 1976); a memoir of his teaching experiences, Being With Children (Doubleday, 1975); a collection of his movie criticism, Totally Tenderly Tragically (Doubleday-Anchor); an urbanist meditation, Waterfront: A Journey Around Manhattan (Crown, 2004); and a biographical monograph, Rudy Burckhardt: Photographer and Filmmaker (Harry N. Abrams, 2004.)  In addition, there is a Phillip Lopate reader, Getting Personal: Selected Writings (Basic Books, 2003).  His most recent books are Two Marriages (novellas, Other Press, 2008), Notes on Sontag (Princeton University Press, 2009), At the End of the Day: Selected Poems (Marsh Hawk Press, 2010), and To Show and To Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction (Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 2013).  His newest publication is A Mother’s Tale. He has been awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Public Library Center for Scholars and Writers Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, and two New York Foundation for the Arts grants.




1. Cover sheet required with name, address, telephone number and email. Email and/or phone MUST be included to be considered. Please include cover sheet in the same file as the actual submission. Do not put your name on the manuscript itself. Final judges will be choosing on the basis of the quality of your work. Please indicate the genre of your piece next to the title.

2. 12-point font. Microsoft Word attachment. Online submissions only.

3. Each entry: Fiction or Nonfiction: 23-page maximum, double-spaced; free-standing excerpts from books also accepted.  Poetry: 3-poem maximum.

4. You may submit more than once but must pay a separate fee for each entry.

5. You may submit simultaneously elsewhere, but please email us immediately if accepted at another journal.

6. We will not accept previously published work. Solstice has first publication rights, but copyright reverts to you upon publication. We will publish the piece after the Summer Awards Issue in our Archives.

7. If you won last year’s contest, you must skip a year before resubmitting to the contest, but we encourage you to submit work to Solstice for general publication.

8. We will announce the winners online on our Home Page approximately 6-8 weeks after the contest deadline.  We do not notify individual submitters by email.  For results, please check the Home Page.

9. After announcing the winners, all contest submissions will be automatically considered for standard publication unless you indicate otherwise.

10. The $18.00 entry fee must be paid online.

Enter Contest Here

Read our Previous Winners:


Nonfiction: Suzanne Fernandez Gray, “Bridge of Cards
Fiction: Tim Benjamin, “A Visitor
Poetry: Tyler Erlendson, “Prayer For a New God


Nonfiction: Melanie Brooks, “In Remembrance
Fiction: Gregory Wolos, “Cat Calls
Poetry: Lynne Thompson, “Politics


Nonfiction: Michelle Blake – “A Fable for Our Times
Fiction: Shanyn Fiske – “Calligraphy
Poetry: Alysia Nicole Harris – Omnipotence