The Second Annual Louise Meriwether First Book Prize

The submissions period for the second annual Louise Meriwether First Book Prize is now closed! The prize was founded in 2016 to honor the legacy of author Louise Meriwether by publishing a debut work by a woman or nonbinary author of color. The prize is granted to a manuscript that follows in the tradition of Meriwether’s Daddy Was a Number Runner, one of the first contemporary American novels featuring a young black girl as the protagonist. Meriwether’s groundbreaking text inspired the careers of writers like Jacqueline Woodson and Bridgett M. Davis, among many others. The prize continues this legacy of telling much-needed stories that shift culture and inspire new writers.

The inaugural prize was awarded to writer YZ Chin for her short story collection, Though I Get Home. The Feminist Press will publish Chin’s collection in spring 2018.

First time authors, submit your complete manuscript, either fiction or nonfiction, of 30,000 to 80,000 words, and you could receive a $5,000 advance and publication by the Feminist Press.

Finalists will be notified in October. One winner will be announced in February 2018.


The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize is open to women of color and nonbinary writers of color 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. Candidates may not submit the same manuscript in subsequent years unless specifically invited by the Feminist Press. 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.


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. Finalists for the prize will be notified in October.

Round 2: The top five (5) submissions chosen in the first round will be reviewed by acclaimed authors Bridgett M. Davis and Ana Castillo, along with Feminist Press Executive Director and Publisher Jamia Wilson and TAYO Literary Magazine editor-in-chief Melissa R. Sipin. The panel will choose one manuscript as the winning entry from that group. The winner will be announced in February 2018.


Contest entries will be accepted beginning at 12:01:01 AM (Eastern Time) on May 1, 2017, and all entries must be received no later than 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Time) on July 31, 2017. Entries submitted prior to or after the entry period will not be considered.


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

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


One winner will be awarded a $5,000 advance (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 in spring 2019. We expect to work closely with the winner and provide editorial guidance on their manuscript.

The submissions period CLOSeD July 31, 2017.


Meet the 2016 Winner, YZ CHIN!

The 2016 Louise Meriwether First Book Prize winner is YZ Chin, author of Though I Get Home (forthcoming spring 2018). Chin was born and raised in Taiping, Malaysia, and lives in New York. She works as a software engineer by day, and writes by night.


Photos from the 2017 celebration!

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

Get reading! In anticipation of Chin's debut in 2018, grab these titles from Louise Meriwether and prize judges Bridgett M. Davis and Ana Castillo.

Daddy Was a Number Runner
13.56 16.95

Louise Meriwether
"[A] tough, tender, bitter novel of a black girl struggling toward womanhood."

Add To Cart
Into the Go-Slow
13.56 16.95

Bridgett M. Davis
A novel about sisters, the legacy of the Black Power Movement, and the troubled bond between African Americans and Africans.

Add To Cart
Black Dove
13.56 16.95

Ana Castillo
Mamá, Mi'jo, and Me

Add To Cart
Give It To Me
from 13.56

Ana Castillo
A forty-something Latina stumbles her way to spiritual self-rescue amidst sex and small-time hustles.

Add To Cart
Thanks to TAYO Literary Magazine for their support!

Thanks to TAYO Literary Magazine for their support!