Contest Guidelines

Submissions to the 2023-2024 Third Coast Fiction and Poetry Contests are now closed. This year’s judges were Fernando A. Flores (fiction) and Destiny O. Birdsong (poetry).

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Submit one previously unpublished story of up to 9,000 words or up to three previously unpublished poems at a time, in one file.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Simultaneous submissions are permitted, though if work is accepted elsewhere, we ask that it be withdrawn from the contest immediately. If a piece is chosen as a finalist, we ask that it be withdrawn from other publications’ consideration until our judge selects a winner.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 $15 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.


more about the judges

Fiction: Fernando A. Flores

A photo of Fernando A. Flores

Fernando A. Flores was born in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and grew up in South Texas. He is the author of the collection Death to the Bullshit Artists of South Texas and the novel Tears of the Trufflepig, which was long-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and named a best book of 2019 by His fiction has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books QuarterlyAmerican Short FictionPloughsharesFriezePorter House Review, and elsewhere. His collection of stories Valleyesque was published in 2022. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Poetry: Destiny O. Birdsong

A photo of Destiny O. Birdsong

Destiny O. Birdsong is a writer whose work has appeared in the Paris Review Daily, Poets & Writers, African American Review, The Best American Poetry 2021and elsewhere. She has received support from Cave Canem, Callaloo, Jack Jones Literary Arts, Pink Door, MacDowell, The Ragdale Foundation, and Tin House. Her debut poetry collection, Negotiations, was published by Tin House Books in 2020 and was longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection. Her debut novel, Nobody’s Magic, was published by Grand Central in 2022, was longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, was a finalist for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, and won the 2022 Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction. She earned her BA in English and history from Fisk University, and her MFA in poetry and PhD in English from Vanderbilt University. In 2022, she was selected as the Hurston-Wright Foundation’s inaugural Writer-in-Residence at Rutgers University-Newark, and she currently serves as an Artist-in-Residence at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.