Contests

Contests Open: October 1
Contests Close: January 1

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Contest winners will receive $1,000 and a year’s subscription to Bayou Magazine. Finalists will be named on our website, and all entries will be considered for publication.

James Knudsen Prize for Fiction:

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2018 Judge: Marcy Dermansky  (photo by Whitney Larson)

Marcy Dermansky is the author of the critically acclaimed novels The Red Car, Bad Marie, and Twins.

The Red Car was named a Best Book of the Year by Buzzfeed, San Francisco Chronicle, Flavorwire, and Huffington Post. Bad Marie was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writer’s Pick, a finalist in the Morning News Tournament of Books, and named one of the best novels of the year in Esquire.
Her first novel Twins was a New York Times Editor’s Choice Pick. Her short fiction has been widely published and anthologized.

Guidelines:

  • Submissions must be original, previously unpublished work of fiction, no longer than 7500 words.
  • Reading fee: $20, which includes a contest issue.
  • You may enter more than one story, but each submission must be uploaded separately with its own entry fee.
  • Contest Entries accepted via Submittable only
  • We accept novel excerpts if the submission stands alone as a complete short story.
  • Please enter your name, address, phone number, email address, and the title of your submission on our online form. DO NOT include your name or any other personal information on the pages of the story. Any story with identifying material will be disqualified.

Kay Murphy Prize for Poetry:

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2018 Judge: Danielle Pafunda

Danielle Pafunda is the author of eight poetry collections, published or forthcoming. They include Pretty Young Thing (Soft Skull Press, 2005), My Zorba (Bloof Books, 2008), Iatrogenic: Their Testimonies (Noemi Press in 2010), Manhater (Dusie Press, 2012), and Natural History Rape Museum (Bloof Books 2013), The Dead Girls Speak in Unison (Bloof Books, 2017), Beshrew (Dusie Press, 2018)  and Spite (Ahsahta Press, forthcoming in 2020) Her first book of prose The Book of Scab is forthcoming from Ricochet Editions. Pafunda’s work has appeared in the Best American Poetry series and in the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day feature. Her poetry and nonfiction have been widely published.

Guidelines:

  • Submissions must be original, previously unpublished poetry.
  •  Reading fee: $20, which includes a contest issue.
  • You may enter up to three poems per entry.
  • Contest Entries accepted via Submittable only.
  • Please enter your name, address, phone number, email address, and the title of your submission on our online form. DO NOT include your name or any other personal information on the pages of the story. Any story with identifying material will be disqualified.

We subscribe to the CLMP contest code of ethics. UNO students and alumni are ineligible. All current and former Bayou staff, previous contest winners, and current or former students of the judge are ineligible to submit.

About those for whom our contests are named:

James Knudsen served as Director of the Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans from 2001-2003. A beloved teacher, friend, and colleague, Jim taught all levels of creative writing at UNO from 1977 until his death from cancer in 2004. He authored the novels, Playing Favorites and Just Friends, the story collection, Evening of Wonders, and with his friend and colleague, Joanna Leake, the textbooks The Illustrated Guide to Writing and The Illustrated Guide to College Composition.

Kay Murphy served for many years as Poetry Editor for Bayou Magazine. She graduated with distinction from Goddard College in 1980 and began teaching at the University of New Orleans in the fall of 1984. She is the author of two collections of poetry, The Autopsy, which was her MFA thesis, and Belief Blues She has published over fifty essays and reviews of contemporary poetry by such authors as Louise Glück, W.D. Snodgrass, John Haines, Martha Collins, Allison Joseph, and Carl Phillips, publishing in national journals such as The American Book Review, Chelsea, and The Spoon River Poetry Review. Her poems have appeared in North American Review, Mississippi Review, Poetry, and College English, and her fiction has been published in Ascent and Fiction International.  

 She was awarded the Louisiana Division of the Arts Individual Artist Grant in 2002 for her poetry and an International Alumnae Excellence in Teaching Award in 2001.