Co-sponsored by St. Martin's Press, the Tony Hillerman Prize is awarded annually for the best first mystery set in the Southwest. The contest, named after New Mexico's best known mystery author, honors a first novel set in the Southwest. Hunt received a contract for publication with St. Martin's Press and a $10,000 advance.
The Tony Hillerman Prize competition is open to any professional or
non-professional writer who has never been the author of a published
mystery. Murder or another serious crime or crimes must be at the heart
of the story, with the emphasis on the solution rather than the details
of the crime. All entries must be received or postmarked no later than
June 1. The deadline for entries in the Tony Hillerman Short Story
Contest is August 15. The 2,500-word mystery story must be set at least
in part in New Mexico. Both contests are co-sponsored by WORDHARVEST, a
Santa Fe-based business devoted to good writing. Here are the novel
Hillerman Prize Mystery Contest Rules and Guidelines
(Sponsored by the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference (THWC) and St. Martin's Press, LLC)
The contest is open to any professional or non-professional writer,
regardless of nationality, who has never been the author of a published
mystery, as defined by the guidelines below, and is not under contract
with a publisher for publication of a mystery. Only one manuscript entry
is permitted per writer.
All manuscripts submitted: a) must be original works of book length (no
less than 220 typewritten pages or approximately 60,000 words) written
in the English language by the contestants; b) must not violate the
rights of any third party, and c) must generally follow the guidelines
1. Murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the
story, and emphasis is on the solution rather than the details of the
2. The story's primary setting is the Southwestern United States,
including at least one of the following states: Arizona, California,
Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah.
(The decision of the Competition's judges as to whether or not a manuscript qualifies will be final.)
Nominees will be selected by judges chosen by the organizers of the
THWC, with the assistance of editorial staff of St. Martin's Press, and
the winner will be chosen by St. Martin's editors. The decision of the
editors as to the winner of the contest will be final. St. Martin's
reserves the right not to select any winner if, in the sole opinion of
the editors, none of the manuscripts submitted are of publishable
An attempt will be made to notify the contest winner, if any, no later than October 1.
If a winner is selected, St. Martin's Press will publish the winning
manuscript by offering to enter into its standard form author's
agreement with the contestant. The winner will receive an advance
against future royalties of $10,000. Those terms of the offer not
specified in the printed text of the St. Martin's Press standard form
author's agreement will be determined by St. Martin's Press at its sole
discretion. The contestant may request reasonable changes in the offered
terms, but St. Martin's shall not be obligated to agree to any such
changes. St. Martin's may, but will not be required to, consider for
publication manuscripts submitted by other contestants.
All entries must be received or postmarked no later than June 1 and must
include: a) A double-spaced and neatly typed copy of the manuscript
(photocopies are acceptable), with pages numbered consecutively from
beginning to end. The author's name should appear only on the title
page, and otherwise not appear anywhere on the manuscript pages. b) A
letter or cover sheet containing the name, address, email address and
telephone number of the contestant and the contestant's previous writing
credits, if any. c) The application form, duly completed and an SASE.
All entries must be mailed to St. Martin's Press.
For additional copies of the rules and to request an entry form, please send a stamped, self addressed envelope to:
St. Martin's Minotaur/THWC Competition St. Martin's Minotaur 175 Fifth Avenue New York, New York 10010
*Each contestant must keep a copy of the manuscript for his or her own
protection. St. Martin's Press will not be responsible for lost, stolen,
or mislaid manuscripts. Because of the great volume of submissions we
receive, the fact that judges are volunteers with full-time
responsibilities elsewhere, and the fact that most writers now have the
work in their computers, manuscripts will not be returned. Please do not
send return postage or envelopes.
No critical evaluation or commentary will be offered by the judges or
the editorial staff of St. Martin's Press unless, in the sole opinion of
the editorial staff evaluation or commentary is appropriate in the case
of a manuscript being considered for publication.
This Competition is void where prohibited or restricted by law.
*It is important that you submit your manuscript as early as possible.
Our judges are volunteers who are extremely busy with their primary
concerns, and it is inevitable that your submission will get a more
careful reading if the judge does not have to contend with a flood of
last-minute entries. However, it is not necessary to send it the most
expensive way. We judge on-time delivery by the post-mark or equivalent,
not by the date the judge receives the manuscript.