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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2019-2020 Fiction Contest Judge: Minrose Gwin

MINROSE GWIN is the author of nine books, most recently the novels The Accidentals, (William Morrow/HarperCollins, 2019), Promise, and The Queen of Palmyra, a memoir, Wishing for Snow and a biography, Remembering Medgar Evers: Writing the Long Civil Rights Movement.

A native of Tupelo, Mississippi, Gwin has been a writer all of her working life, beginning as a newspaper and wire service reporter. She has also been a professor at universities around the country, most recently at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

For a complete list of her books and awards: minrosegwin.com

Fiction Contest 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  • Submissions must be original, previously unpublished work of fiction, no longer than 7500 words.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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2019-2020 Poetry Contest Judge: Toi Derricotte

TOI DERRICOTTE is the author of I: New & Selected Poems, The Undertaker’s Daughter, and four earlier collections of poetry, including Tender, winner of the 1998 Paterson Poetry Prize.

Her literary memoir, The Black Notebooks, received the 1998 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She is the recipient of many honors, including the 2012 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. Derricotte co-founded Cave Canem Foundation and currently serves on its Board of Directors.

For a complete list of her books and awards: toierricotte.com

 

Poetry Contest 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.
2019 Contest Announcement Image

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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.