2017 Writing Prizes

Overview: Yemassee's annual writing prizes for fiction, poetry, and chapbook run from December to January. The author of the winning works receive a cash prize and publication in the Fall contest issues of Yemassee. The editors select ten finalists in each category, then guest judges select the winner and any runner-ups. The ten finalists will receive acknowledgment and all entries will be considered for publication in an upcoming issue of Yemassee.

Deadline: January 15

Fiction - $17 ($20 with 1 year subscription)
Poetry - $17 ($20 with 1 year subscription)
Chapbook - $20 ($25 with 1 year subscription)

Formatting and Other Guidelines: Submissions that do not conform to these guidelines may be disqualified at the editors' discretion. Entries must be submitted online using Submittable; paper submissions will not be accepted. The author's name must not appear anywhere in the submission document or in the file name. We welcome multiple entries, however each entry must be submitted separately and accompanied by an additional entry fee. While we do allow simultaneous submissions, please inform us immediately if the submission is accepted elsewhere by withdrawing in Submittable. Note that no refunds will be issued for submissions that are withdrawn or disqualified. All entries must be submitted by the deadline.

Eligibility: Current or previous Yemassee staff, close personal friends or family of the Yemassee staff, and writers who have been published in Yemassee within the past two years are ineligible for entry.

To submit, please check out the Yemassee Submittable page.


The 2017 Yemassee Fiction Contest with $750 prize will be judged by Alexandra Kleeman.

Alexandra Kleeman is the author of the novel You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine and the short story collection Intimations, both from Harper. Her fiction and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's, Paris Review, Zoetrope, Tin House, VOGUE, and n+1. She was the 2016 winner of the Bard Fiction Prize.

The 2017 Yemassee Poetry Contest with $750 prize will be judged by Jericho Brown.

Jericho Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. His poems have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Buzzfeed, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and The Best American Poetry. His first book, Please (New Issues 2008), won the American Book Award, and his second book, The New Testament (Copper Canyon 2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was named one of the best of the year by Library Journal, Coldfront, and the Academy of American Poets. He is an associate professor of English and creative writing at Emory University.

The Inaugural 2017 Yemassee Chapbook Contest with $1000 prize will be judged by Ocean Vuong.

Ocean Vuong is the author of Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon Press, 2016), winner of the 2016 Whiting Award. A Ruth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, he has received honors from The Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, Narrative magazine, and a Pushcart Prize. His writings have been featured in the Kenyon Review, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Poetry, and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he lives in New York City.