LOUISE MERIWETHER FIRST BOOK PRIZE 

The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize

In 1970, Louise Meriwether published her novel of life in the post–Harlem Renaissance era, Daddy Was a Number Runner. Nearly fifty years later it is still considered a classic. Following Paule Marshall’s 1959 Brown Girl, BrownstonesDaddy Was a Number Runner is one of the first contemporary American novels featuring a young black girl as the protagonist. The book inspired the careers of writers like Jacqueline Woodson and Bridgett M. Davis, among many others.

In order to celebrate Meriwether’s achievements and continue her legacy, the Feminist Press has partnered with TAYO Literary Magazine to launch a contest seeking the best debut books by women and nonbinary writers of color.

First time authors, submit your complete manuscript, either fiction, including novels and short story collections, or narrative memoir, of 50,000 to 80,000 words, and you could receive $5,000 and a publishing contract from the Feminist Press! 

One winner will be announced in February 2017 for publication in the Fall 2017 season. 

The submissions period is now closed.

Louise Meriwether (R) and Bridgett M. Davis (L) at the Harlem Book Fair (2015).

Louise Meriwether (R) and Bridgett M. Davis (L) at the Harlem Book Fair (2015).

We are an activist publisher. If we agree that the world needs more diverse books, we have to do something about it.
— Jennifer Baumgardner, Executive Director & Publisher

Official Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.

ELIGIBILITY: 
The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize is open to women and nonbinary writers of color (or those who self-identify as other than white) who are residents of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia, and US territories and possessions; 18 years of age or older at time of entry; and who have not had a book published or have a book under contract at the time of submission. All federal, state, and local regulations apply. LIMIT ONE ENTRY PER PERSON. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED. Employees of the Feminist Press and TAYO Literary Magazine and their immediate family members and persons living in their household are not eligible to enter.

JUDGING:
There will be two (2) rounds of judging, as follows:

Round #1: All entries will be reviewed by a group of judges made up of staff, board members, and allies of the Feminist Press and TAYO Literary Magazine.

Round #2: The top five (5) submissions chosen in the first round will be reviewed by acclaimed authors Tayari Jones and Ana Castillo, along with Feminist Press Publisher and Executive Director Jennifer Baumgardner and TAYO Literary Magazine Editor-in-Chief Melissa Sipin. The panel will choose one manuscript as the winning entry from that group. The winner will be announced in February 2017.

ENTRY PERIOD: 
Contest entries will be accepted beginning at 12:01:01 AM (Eastern Time) on June 1, 2016, and all entries must be received no later than 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Time) on July 31, 2016. Entries submitted prior to or after the entry period will not be considered. NOW CLOSED.

HOW TO ENTER:
All manuscripts should be sent to louisemeriwetherprize [at] gmail [dot] com with the subject line “The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize” followed by your name and book title. Please send manuscript as a PDF, and also include a cover letter with the following: author statement, a brief bio, how your work fits with TAYO and the Feminist Press, a brief list of writers (up to three) you consider are part of your writing lineage, and your manuscript’s word count. 

The work submitted for consideration may not be under contract elsewhere.

PRIZE:
One winner will win $5,000 (half at the time of the initial award and half upon publication) and a contract to publish their book with the Feminist Press in print and digital editions within one year of prize announcement. We expect to work closely with the winner and provide editorial guidance on their manuscript.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Who is eligible for this award?
A: The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize is open to women and nonbinary writers of color (or those who self-identify as other than white) who are residents of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia, and US territories and possessions; 18 years of age or older at time of entry; and who have not had a book published or have a book under contract at the time of submission.

Q: What is the word count for this award?
A: Submissions must be between 50,000-80,000 words to be considered.

Q: Will both fiction and nonfiction be accepted?
A: Yes, both fiction (including novels and short story collections) or narrative memoir are accepted.

Q: How do I enter?
A: All manuscripts should be sent to louisemeriwetherprize [at] gmail [dot] com with the subject line “The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize” followed by your name and book title. 

Q: May I send the document as a Word file?
A: No. Please send manuscript as a PDF.

Q: What materials do I need to include?
A: In addition to your manuscript, please include a cover letter with author statement, a brief bio, how your work fits with TAYO and the Feminist Press, and your manuscript’s word count. 

Q: What does the winner receive?
A: A $5,000 grant (half at the time of the initial award and half upon publication) and a publishing contract from the Feminist Press. 

Q: Is purchase necessary to enter or win?
A: No.

Q: When is the winner announced?
A: February 2017.

Q: When will the winning submission be published?
A: Publication in the spring 2018 season.

Q: May I enter more than one?
A: No, limit one entry per person.

Q: Can Feminist Press or TAYO staff and family apply?
A: No.

Q: Who will be judging this award?
A: There will be two (2) rounds of judging, as follows: Round #1: All entries will be reviewed by a group of judges made up of staff, board members, and allies of the Feminist Press and TAYO Literary Magazine. Round #2: The top five (5) submissions chosen in the first round will be reviewed by acclaimed authors Tayari Jones and Ana Castillo, along with Feminist Press Publisher and Executive Director Jennifer Baumgardner and TAYO Literary Magazine Editor-in-Chief Melissa Sipin. The panel will choose one manuscript as the winning entry from that group.

Q: When can I enter?
A: Contest entries will be accepted beginning at 12:01:01 AM (Eastern Time) on June 2, 2016.

Q: When does the contest end?
A: all entries must be received no later than 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Time) on July 31, 2016.

Q: What if I have a contract elsewhere but my work has not yet been published?
A: The work submitted for consideration may not be under contract elsewhere.