Essay Press / MFA Book Contest

Essay Press / MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics logoEssay Press / UW Bothell MFA Book Contest

Each year the MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics sponsors a book contest with our friends at Essay Press, which is dedicated to publishing artful, innovative, and culturally relevant prose.

The EP/UWB MFA Book Contest publishes manuscripts that extend or challenge the formal possibilities of nonfiction, including but not limited to: lyric essays and prose poems or poetics; experimental biography and autobiography; innovative approaches to journalism, interdisciplinary historiography, criticism, scholarship and philosophy. Simultaneous submissions, multiple submissions, collaborative manuscripts, digital and hybridized text/art manuscripts are all welcome.

The winners of the contest receive book publication by Essay Press (including author book copies and royalties), and travel expenses for invited readings on the Bothell campus and in downtown Seattle. Our students interview the authors for publication online and have the chance to interact with them at events on and off-campus.

The contest opens each autumn from mid-October to late November and has rotating judges. The judge for 2020 is Renee Gladman. Submissions will be accepted from October 1 to December 5, 2020. For complete guidelines, please visit Submittable.​

Renee GladmanRenee Gladman is a writer and artist preoccupied with crossings, thresholds, and geographies as they play out at the intersections of poetry, prose, drawing and architecture. She is the author of thirteen books, including a cycle of novels about the city-state Ravicka and its inhabitants, the Ravickians, as well as two visual arts collections—Prose Architectures (Wave Books, 2017) and the newly released One Long Black Sentence (ITI Press). She makes her home in New England.

Previous winners


The 2019 Contest was judged by Jill Magi and Ching-In Chen.

Silvina López Medin
Silvina López Medin,
Poem That Never Ends
(Photo credit: Martín Sonzogni)

Yanara Friedland
Yanara Friedland
(Photo credit: Benjamin M Johnson)


The 2018 Contest was judged by Mary-Kim Arnold and Rebecca Brown.

Katherine Agyemaa Agard
Katherine Agyemaa Agard
of color
(Photo credit: Gabriel Woodham)

Kaia Preus
Kaia Preus
The War Requiem
(Photo credit: Amy Stockhaus)