Contest Guidelines

Submissions to our 2019 Fiction and Poetry Contests are now CLOSED. 

Third Coast accepts contest submissions exclusively via our Submittable account.

Winners receive $1,000 and publication in Third Coast. All contest entries will be considered for publication in Third Coast.

Submit one previously unpublished story of up to 9,000 words or up to three previously unpublished poems at a time, in one file. All manuscripts should be typed and fiction manuscripts should be double-spaced. Please include entry title and page numbers on all manuscript pages. Because judging is blind, the author’s name and identifying information (address, email, phone number, and bio) should appear only in the “cover letter” section of the Submittable form; identifying information must not appear anywhere on the manuscript itself. Manuscripts including identifying information will be disqualified.

Simultaneous submissions are permitted, though if work is accepted elsewhere, we ask that it be withdrawn from the contest immediately. If a piece is chosen as a finalist, we ask that it be withdrawn from other publications’ consideration until our judge selects a winner. Multiple entries are permitted, but each entry must be submitted separately.

The $18 entry fee (payable online) entitles the submitter to a one-year subscription to Third Coast. No money will be refunded.

Writers associated with the judges, WMU, or Third Coast are not eligible to submit.


2018 Winners

The winners of our 2018 Fiction and Poetry Contests, judged by Danielle Evans and Sarah Kay:

Fiction: Rebecca McKanna, “The Real Thing”

Of “The Real Thing” Danielle Evans writes: “[This story] won me over from the opening page with its sharp voice and characterization,  and then made the coming storm and the looming choices feel urgent and alive. Though the story revolves around knowing that sometimes every possible choice feels wrong in some way, or weighted by what it costs to make it, it manages to find the moments of stillness and beauty that make these choices both difficult and meaningful. This story takes places in a short period of time and manages to do sophisticated and complex work in a compressed space, inviting the reader to think about time in a broader sense: the grace and loss of time passing, the inability to know what will matter most in the long run, the way some moments in our lives feel haunted by a ticking clock.”

Runner-up: Nora Bonner, “This Way, If You Dare”

Poetry: Jody Chan, “the first spring we planted PERENNIALS”

Of “the first spring we planted perennials” Sarah Kay writes: “I like poems that create a world I can walk around inside of. This poem introduces me to characters I feel invested in, colors I can see, flowers I can smell, a story that feels personal and familiar. This poem feels generous to me: the reader is allowed to look in on an intimate and private loss—something held close, but now also held to the light.”

Runner-up: Cara Dees, “After Euthanizing the Wild Horses of the West”

The winning pieces will be published in Issue 46 (Fall/Winter 2018).