OutWrite 2023 Chapbook Competition

May 30, 2023
MEDIA CONTACTS: outwritedc@gmail.com

Submissions Opening for OutWrite’s 2023 Chapbook Competition 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — OutWrite is pleased to announce its fifth Chapbook Competition, running from June 1st to June 30th. The winning chapbooks will be celebrated at the 2023 OutWrite LGBTQ literary festival.

Each winner will receive 25 copies of their winning chapbook, an offer of print publication from Neon Hemlock Press, and an opportunity to read from their work at OutWrite 2024.

Winning chapbooks will be selected in three categories by the competition judges:

Poetry: Rasha Abdulhadi

Rasha Abdulhadi is a queer Palestinian Southerner disabled by Long Covid. They grew up between Damascus and rural Georgia and cut their teeth organizing on the southsides of Chicago and Atlanta. Rasha’s writing appears in Kweli, Poem-a-Day, Electric Lit, carte blanche, Anathema, Shade Journal, FIYAH, Mizna, ROOM, Strange Horizons, and Lambda Literary. Their work is anthologized in Snaring New Suns, Unfettered Hexes, Halal if You Hear Me, and Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler. Rasha’s recent chapbook is who is owed springtime.

Nonfiction: Mecca Jamilah Sullivan

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan is the author of the novel Big Girl, The Poetics of Difference, and Blue Talk and Love, winner of the Judith A. Markowitz Award from Lambda Literary. Sullivan is an associate professor of English at Georgetown University. A native of Harlem, she lives in Washington, DC. Her writing has appeared in Best New Writing, Kenyon Review, American Fiction, Prairie Schooner, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, The Cut, American Literary History, Black Futures, American Quarterly, GLQ: Lesbian and Gay Studies Quarterly, Ebony, The Root, and others, and has earned honors from the Center for Fiction, the American Association of University Women, the Institute for Citizens and Scholars, and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Fiction: K.M. Szpara

K.M. Szpara is a queer and trans author who lives in Baltimore, MD, with his small dog and large cat. He is the author of speculative novels such as First, Become Ashes (2021) and Docile (2020), and a third forthcoming that follows up on his Hugo and Nebula nominated novelette, “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time.” They’re about cults and trauma, consent and debt, and a horny trans vampire, respectively. His short fiction appears in Tor.com, Uncanny, Lightspeed, and more. You can find himme on the Internet at kmszpara.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @kmszpara.

There is no fee to enter this contest.

Please follow these guidelines in preparing your submission:

  • Chapbooks may be submitted in three categories: poetry, nonfiction and fiction
  • We will accept submissions in all three categories in English.
  • OutWrite is a celebration of LGBTQ literature; entries that explore aspects of LGBTQ culture or identity are encouraged.
  • Thematically-linked works are encouraged, but not required. There are no limitations regarding genre.
  • Manuscripts should be no shorter than 20 pages and no longer than 40 pages. This does not include the table of contents or title page.
  • Submissions are open from June 1 to June 30th, 2023.
  • Each writer may only submit one entry per category.
  • Your manuscript should be in a standard size 12 font. Please single-space poetry and double-space prose/nonfiction. Please include a title page and a table of contents; you may include acknowledgements etc. if you like, but winning entries will also be given the opportunity to adjust front and back matter before publication.
  • The collection as a whole must be unpublished, but individual poems/stories/essays may be previously published (as long as relevant rights have reverted to you).
  • We will be accepting simultaneously submitted work. 
  • Winners will be announced in August 2023. Publication will be in mid-2024.

Entries must be submitted no earlier than June 1 to June 30th 2023. The submission window closes at 11:59pm EST on June 30th.

Submit all entries via Submittable. Queries can be made to admin@neonhemlock.com. If Submittable is inaccessible to you for any reason, please email your submission to the email above with all of the information requested by the form.

Any updates to these guidelines will be posted here.

About OutWrite
OutWrite is a celebration of LGBT literature, held annually the first weekend in August in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit: thedccenter.org/outwrite.

About Neon Hemlock Press
Neon Hemlock is a purveyor of queer chapbooks and speculative fiction based in Washington, DC. More information at www.neonhemlock.com.

About the DC Center
The DC Center for the LGBT Community educates, empowers, celebrates, and connects the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. To fulfill our mission, we focus on four core areas: health and wellness, arts & culture, social & support services, and advocacy and community building. We envision communities where LGBT people feel healthy, safe, and affirmed.


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