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A $12,000 advance and publication by Graywolf Press will be awarded to the most promising and innovative literary nonfiction project by a writer not yet established in the genre. 

The 2020 prize will be awarded to a manuscript in progress. We request that authors send a long sample from their manuscript, as well as a description of the work, as detailed below. We expect that we will work with the winner of the prize and provide editorial guidance toward the completion of the project. 

The Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize emphasizes innovation in form and content, and we want to see projects that test the boundaries of literary nonfiction. We are less interested in straightforward memoirs, and we turn down a large number of them every year. Before submitting your manuscript for the prize, please look at the books previously published as winners of the prize for examples of the type of work that we are seeking. 

The 2020 prize will be judged by the Graywolf Press editors. The editors reserve the right to invite submissions or make exceptions. Agented submissions are also welcome. Manuscripts submitted for previous years’ prizes will not be reconsidered unless resubmission has been specifically requested by the Graywolf editors.


Required materials: All required materials should be included as the initial pages of your manuscript file. Incomplete submissions will not be considered.

Please submit the following items:

• A one-page cover letter containing a short biographical statement and brief description of the project. Please include any previous publications in the biographical statement (not that prior publication is not a requirement).

• A two to ten-page overview of the project, including a description of what is already complete and what work remains to be finished.

• A minimum of 100 pages (roughly 25,000 words) from the manuscript. 


Eligibility: Any writer who is not yet established in the genre of nonfiction and primarily resides in the United States is eligible to submit a manuscript. Prior publication or representation by an agent are not required to submit a manuscript. Graywolf will consider one submission per submitter only.


Prior Winners: Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint was the winner of the 2018 prize for Zat Lun, forthcoming in 2021. Previous winners include Esmé Weijun Wang for The Collected Schizophrenias, Leslie Jamison for The Empathy Exams, Kevin Young for The Grey Album, and Eula Biss for Notes from No Man’s Land.


We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.