Monday, October 12, 2015

Nonfiction Competition on Childhood: Creative Nonfiction

Deadline: November 16, 2015

For an upcoming issue, Creative Nonfiction is seeking new essays that explore the joys and struggles, the indignities and infinite possibilities of childhood.

Maybe you lived Where the Wild Things Are or during The Wonder Years; maybe you’re a parent or a pediatrician or a marketer of breakfast cereals, witnessing young people discover themselves and the world. Whatever your perspective, we’re looking for well-crafted true stories that examine kid-dom in all its messy, exhilarating, turbulent glory.

Our readers also like to learn new things: tell us something, whether it’s about child psychology or what it was like to be a youngster in another place or time. Surprise us with your approach: we love personal essays, but also profiles and histories. We want to consider not only how childhood defines us, but also what defines childhood.

Submissions must be vivid and dramatic; they should feature a strong and compelling narrative and reach beyond a strictly personal or anecdotal experience for some universal or deeper meaning. We’re looking for well-written prose, rich with detail and a distinctive voice; all essays must tell true stories and be factually accurate.

Creative Nonfiction editors will award $1000 for Best Essay and $500 for runner-up. All essays will be considered for publication in a special "Childhood" issue of the magazine to be published in summer 2016. 

Guidelines: Essays must be previously unpublished and no longer than 4,000 words. There is a $20 reading fee, or $25 to include a 4-issue subscription to Creative Nonfiction (US addresses only). If you're already a subscriber, you may use this option to extend your current subscription or give your new subscription as a gift. Multiple entries are welcome ($20/essay) as are entries from outside the United States (though due to shipping costs we cannot offer the subscription deal). All proceeds will go to prize pools and printing costs.

A note about fact-checking: Essays accepted for publication in Creative Nonfiction undergo a rigorous fact-checking process. To the extent your essay draws on research and/or reportage (and it should, at least to some degree), CNF editors will ask you to send documentation of your sources and to help with the fact-checking process. We do not require that citations be submitted with essays, but you may find it helpful to keep a file of your essay that includes footnotes and/or a bibliography.

You may submit essays online or by regular mail.

By regular mail

Postmark deadline November 16, 2015.

Please send manuscript, accompanied by cover letter with complete contact information including the title of the essay and word count; SASE or email for response; and payment to:

Creative Nonfiction


5501 Walnut Street, Suite 202 

Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Deadline to upload files: 11:59 pm EST November 16, 2015
. Submit here or here.

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