Contests


Contests Open: October 1
Contests Close: January 1

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.
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Have a look at the guidelines on Submittable. You can hitch a ride over there via the Submit link.



James Knudsen Prize for Fiction

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Stephanie Soileau, 2020-2021 Fiction Contest Judge

STEPHANIE SOILEAU is the author of a collection of short stories, Last One Out Shut Off the Lights (2020). Her work has also appeared in Glimmer TrainOxford AmericanEcotoneTin HouseNew Stories from the South, and other journals and anthologies, and has been supported by fellowships from the Wallace Stegner Fellowship Program at Stanford University, the Camargo Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has taught creative writing at the Art Institute of Chicago, Stanford University, and the University of Southern Maine. Originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, Stephanie now lives in Chicago and teaches at the University of Chicago.

For a complete list of her publications and awards: StephanieSoileau

Past Fiction Prize winners



Kay Murphy Prize for Poetry

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Trace Peterson, 2020-2021 Poetry Contest Judge

TRACE PETERSON is a trans woman poet critic. She is the author of two books of poetry, including Since I Moved In (new & revised) (Chax Press, 2019). She is also Founding Editor / Publisher of EOAGH which has won 2 Lambda Literary Awards, including the first Lammy in Transgender Poetry. She co-edited the anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books), and also co-edited Arrive on Wave: Collected Poems of Gil Ott (Chax Press).

Her work has recently appeared in More Truly and More Strange: 100 Contemporary American Self-Portrait Poems (Persea Books),  Readings in Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology (Dia Art Foundation/Yale University Press), From Our Hearts to Yours: New Narrative as Contemporary Practice (ON Contemporary Practice), Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan University Press), TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, and at the Academy of American Poets (poets.org). She recently taught Transgender Cultural Production at Yale University and was Guest Faculty at the Naropa Summer Writing Program. She currently teaches at Hunter College, where she has taught an innovative course in Trans and Nonbinary Poetry since 2015.

Past Poetry Prize winners



Contest Opens Announcement

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.