Contest Guidelines

Submissions to our 2020 Fiction and Poetry Contests are now OPEN. 

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Submit one previously unpublished story of up to 9,000 words or up to three previously unpublished poems at a time, in one file.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Simultaneous submissions are permitted, though if work is accepted elsewhere, we ask that it be withdrawn from the contest immediately. If a piece is chosen as a finalist, we ask that it be withdrawn from other publications’ consideration until our judge selects a winner.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.


2019 Winners

The winners of our 2019 Fiction and Poetry Contests, judged by Deborah Reed and Leila Chatti:

Fiction: Reena Shah, “The Jains’ Annual Beach House Picnic”

Of “The Jains’ Annual Beach House Picnic” Deborah Reed writes: “The story is a finely crafted weave of sly tension that builds to the very last scene. The momentum isn’t shaped so much by plot as it is by the careful use of startling language and the strained emotions of the people who inhabit this world. The writing is nuanced and evocative, full of rich, sensory detail, and funny when least expected. It is a wholly realized piece of work that shimmers with a textured, sad, delight.”

Runner-up: Corey Flintoff, “The Marchioness”

Poetry: Zein Sa’dedin, “the sea is the most flexible of things”

Of “the sea is the most flexible of things” Leila Chatti writes: “This is a poem that invites the reader to come and spend some time with it—something I very much like. It doesn’t say more than it has or wants to, and its strangenesses (the atypical—in English—right alignment, the interstices, the switching between languages, occasionally in the same breath) are at once innovative and without affectation. “i watch our superstitions change accordingly/ what a sight!”—I trust this speaker, and am delighted to be listening.”

Runner-up: Julia Levine, “Ordinary Psalm Written as a Letter to the Self”

The winning pieces will be published in Issue 48 (Fall/Winter 2019).