08.30.15: 2015 Essay Contest [deadline: 12.15.15] guidelines and paypal/entry link are live below.

06.24.15: We have a winner (and four other manuscripts to publish) from our 2015 Chapbook Contest. Details here below.

04.28.15: Okay, we have your submissions for the chapbook contest. Deadline's passed, and we'll be deep in our reading. We'll be in touch with you with the results in June.

02.28.15: 2015 Chapbook Contest (deadline: 04.27.15) is now reading.

02.15.15: 2014 Essay Contest Results!



2015 Essay Contest Guidelines

The Essay Contest deadline for 2015 is December 15, 2015. This is the deadline for receipt of submissions.

DIAGRAM's yearly Essay Contest encourages submissions of essays—essays in an expansive sense, meaning essay as experiment, essay as heterogenous and sometimes strange or unruly beast.

We invite your submissions of unpublished (in a serial/book or on a non-personal website—blogs etc. are okay) essays. ("Unpublished" means you must be able to assign us first serial rights, if your work is selected.)

To enter: Get us your essay entry of up to 10,000 words with a $17 reading fee by 12.15.15.

The prize is $1000 + publication. This contest is judged by Nicole Walker and Ander Monson. We'll shoot for publishing several of our finalists with the winner in a spring issue of DIAGRAM, as we have the last few years.

FAQ stuff:

  • We prefer our entries electronic (if possible), with the manuscript itself anonymous. A removable cover page would be ideal if you send hardcopy. If you send electronically no cover page is necessary; just don't put your name on the manuscript.
  • Anyone with more than a casual relationship with either of the judges is ineligible (though we're happy to read your work via regular submissions). Sorry lovers, former lovers, friends, students, mentors, DIAGRAM staffers, etc.
  • Images are fine as long as you have or can get rights to print/reprint (or if they are in the public domain/subject to fair use) if selected.
  • We don't have any particular aesthetic biases for this contest other than the name: we are looking for works of nonfiction that essay interestingly--however you'd like to define. That's a pretty open definition, we admit. Best strategy is to read the nonfiction that we publish! It's all online.
  • If you're sending something multimedia sometimes it's easier to send snail mail if the file is too big (or unwieldy). The submission manager system only accepts files less than 10 megabytes or so. (Remember when that was a crazy size for a file?)
  • Multiple submissions are fine. Simultaneous submissions are fine as long as you notify us as soon if an essay is no longer available. In which case, congratulations on getting it published! Then you can withdraw your submission manually from the submissions manager if you sent it electronically, or email us below.
  • We read everything for contests anonymously, ethically, and rigorously.
  • We expect to notify finalists and winners by February 2015, if not before. Thanks for entering! And good luck. Questions can go to
  • Multiple authors are fine, if a little weird.

Then, here's how to submit:

Option 1, Electronic (much preferred but maybe a little awkward):

REQUIRED Step 1 of 2: Pay contest fee through Paypal* by filling out the form with your last name and the essay title, then clicking on the Add to Cart button just below this paragraph. You can use a credit card if you like (or a checking account etc.), or a Paypal account. No need to create an account: just click the don't have a paypal account button on the next page in that case. Once you complete step one and pay the entry fee, it will click through to a page with step two. If for some reason it doesn't redirect you (usually because your browser is blocking a window), then click [here] only once you've done step one and paid for the entry.

Last Name/Title of Entry

Note that the payment goes to New Michigan Press, which is the publisher of DIAGRAM.

*If you have a hard time with paypal for any reason, drop us a line. We can take credit cards directly if you'll send us the info via email (card #, CVV (3 digit code on back), expiration date, billing address w/zipcode) at nmp--at--thediagram--dot--com. Or just send a check at the address below.


Option 2, Snail mail, old school:

Step 1 and 2: Send entry and payment to DIAGRAM Essay Contest, c/o Ander Monson, Editor, Dept. of English, P.O. Box 210067, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0067. Make checks out to DIAGRAM for $17 or send cash. If you send Express Mail or Overnight, please check the box so it doesn't require a signature.

Or pay online with the paypal button above and make a note of that in your cover letter when you send hardcopy. Include a SASE if you'd like a response. Otherwise we will only contact you if you're a finalist or winner, and will post the results on the contests page here when the decision is made.


Keep in mind that we need to receive your submission by December 15, 2015.

Good luck, and thanks for entering the contest.

Questions can go to <>.


2015 Chapbook Contest Guidelines (deadline's now past! we're reading & will post 2016 guidelines in the fall)

The New Michigan Press / DIAGRAM chapbook contest announces our guidelines for 2015. We pick the majority of our chapbook list each year from the ranks of the chapbook contest finalists, so this is the best way to get your work read by our eager readers.

The Prize
  $1000 plus publication; finalist chapbooks also considered for publication (in 2014 we published four)
The Entry Fee
The Mailing Deadline
  April 27, 2015
What we want
  Interesting, lovely unpublished work (unpublished as a whole; individual pieces may be published already of course), prose or poetry or some combination or something between genres, 18-44 manuscript pages (no more than one poem per page if you're sending poems unless they are very, very short)
Images okay?
  Yes. You must be able to obtain reprint rights for any images you include, unless they're in the public domain or qualify under the exemption for fair use. We do prefer images be in low-res for the manuscript to keep file size down (the submissions manager maxes out at around 9 meg), but we'll need high-res versions if your manuscript is selected for publication. ALSO: please don't send originals of anything, since we cannot return manuscripts.
Other questions?

It's fine with us if individual works have been published elsewhere, but the manuscript can't have been published as a whole before. Please include specific acknowledgments if any of the works have appeared elsewhere: tell us where individual pieces appeared, as we do consider submitted and unpublished individual pieces for possible publication in DIAGRAM.

We recommend that your manuscript be as coherent--as much a project--as possible. Not to say everything needs to be thematic or narratively related, but most of our winning chapbooks have a feeling of aesthetic unity or resonance: we think books should make sense as books. Chapbook manuscripts do not necessarily have to be diagrammatic (though the diagrammers among us do enjoy those).

Co-authored manuscripts are fine.

Submitting multiple manuscripts is fine with entry fees for each.

Please don't put your name/identifying info on the piece itself. If you send electronically, it'll be in the submitter info only. If you send via the mail, include a detachable cover page.

Email with further questions if you have them.

How to Get Your Work to Us (electronic, preferred)

REQUIRED STEP ONE: Pay contest fee through Paypal* by filling out the form below with your last name and the manuscript title, then clicking on the [Add to Cart] button just below this paragraph. You may use a credit card if you like (or a checking account etc.). No need to create an account. Once you complete step one it will click through to a page with step two on it (also copied below just in case).

[paypal link's pulled since the deadline's past; thanks for sending us your work]

Great. Note that the payment goes to New Michigan Press, the publisher of DIAGRAM

*If you have a hard time with paypal for any reason, drop us a line. We can take credit cards directly if you'll send us the info via email (card #, CVV (3 digit code on back), expiration date, billing address w/zipcode) at nmp--at--thediagram--dot--com.

REQUIRED STEP TWO (COPIED FROM THE PAGE THAT PAYPAL WILL DIRECT YOU TO AFTER PAYMENT: submit your manuscript through our Submissions Manager system [here]. You'll have to create an account with the system if you haven't submitted to us before. Make SURE, SURE, that when you enter the submission's genre, you choose CHAPBOOK CONTEST ENTRY ONLY. Do NOT select "fiction," "poetry," or anything else. That way it gets read, processed, and responded-to properly (our contest submissions go through a different reading process than regular submissions). If you submit under something else things will get munged (though we are happy to read your non-contest submissions whenever, of course) and you'll have to resubmit. Please give us some kind of cover letter if you like. Or not.

Note: only one file may be submitted through the submissions manager. PDF preferred, or Word format (.doc, .docx), or .rtf is fine if necessary (we cannot read any other word processing formats; sorry). If your submission is more than one file, copy and paste it into one file or otherwise attach it. A zipfile would be acceptable if that's easier.

If you'd like your complimentary copy of the winning chapbook (or another chapbook in our series—please specify which, if any, on the envelope), mail us a self-addressed 6" x 9" envelope with $2.50 of postage (in USA—$6 is a safe bet if you're sending from overseas). If you do not care, there is no need for this.

If you send electronically you'll be notified electronically by default. No SASE required unless you want a copy of the winning chapbook. If you'd like us to send you a hardcopy results letter, that's fine (then send us a SASE as specified below).

How to Get Your Work to Us (old school hard copy postal mail: also OK)

If you'd rather send via the mail, fine. Mail your manuscript and check (made out to New Michigan Press--or pay online above if you'd rather and include the receipt) for $18 to: NMP/DIAGRAM Chapbook Contest, English Department, P.O. Box 210067, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0067.

So, make sure you send us a business-sized SASE with $0.47 (or a forever stamp) of postage if you'd like notification of the results by mail in the USA. Manuscripts cannot be returned (sorry—please don't send your only copy).

Optional: enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard if you'd like confirmation that we received your manuscript.

Enclose a self-addressed 6" x 9" envelope with $2.50 of postage (in USA—$6 is a safe bet if you're sending from overseas; no IRCs please) if you would like a complimentary copy of the winning chapbook (or another chapbook in our series—please specify which, if any, on the envelope; we'll honor requests if we have the chapbook in stock). If you do not care, there is no need for this.

Please send your manuscripts via airmail for best results. And please do not send submissions certified mail, express mail, or anything we have to sign for; it's a pain and if we're not at the office, we're not going to be able to make a trip to the post office, which is a drag in Arizona, to pick up your manuscript. If you want to overnight it, fine, just please check the "no signature req'd" box.


We don't have a celebrity judge for our chapbook contest. Since we pick the majority of our chapbooks from the submissions to the contest, we judge everything internally. The final judge is our editor, Ander Monson. Readers change year to year. We read anonymously and try to vary our aesthetic year to year. Still, we like what we like. To find out what we like, you should probably check out our authors if you haven't already.

  That's it. Good luck!


2014 Essay Contest Results

We've finally finished reading and judging for the 2014 Essay Contest. Judges Nicole Walker and Ander Monson chose Stephanie Pushaw's essay "Crickets" as the winner. Congratulations to her. She received $1000; her essay will be published in a spring 2015 issue of DIAGRAM.

We also selected for publication two other finalist manuscripts:

-- Alfred Eugene Joseph Brown IV's "Other Argans"
-- Michele Herman's "The Hands that Touch the Brick"

Thanks to all of you who submitted. We very much enjoyed our reading of your essays for the prize. New guidelines for next year's contest will go up in the fall, for a little later deadline (end of December 2015).





2015 Chapbook Contest Results

Our winning manuscript is Spool in the Maze by Colleeen O'Brien, selected by Ander Monson. She received the $1000 honorarium, and her chapbook will be published in October 2015 by New Michigan Press.

Additionally NMP plans to publish at least four other finalist manuscripts in the 2015 series: Nik de Dominic's Your Daily Horoscope, Catie Hannigan's What Once Was There Is the Most Beautiful Thing, Nick Neely's Chiton, and other Creatures, and Melanie Rae Thon's The 7th Man.

& here are the finalists, which we liked a great deal:

Sara Adams, Swallowing Shark
E. C. Belli, A Kind of Oneness
Michael Brooks Cryer, Selected Proverbs
Laressa Dickey, little voice box
Leora Fridman, Vessel
Lisa Hiton, Variation on Testimony
Dan Mancilla, The Deathmask of El Gaucho
Helen McClory, Ritual Stitches, Good Red Wounds
A. K. Padovich, Deluge
BJ Soloy, Selected Letters
Maura Way, Other Bungalow
Emma Winsor Wood, Sex Sonnets
Mande Zecca, Disappointments of Utopia

SO. Entrants should have received (or be presently receiving) the full response details. If you sent us a 6x9 SASE we'll send off your complimentary copy of In Absolutes in October. If you haven't sent one, go ahead, make our day. It's complimentary with your entry. You like compliments, right? Also: free stuff. We like both. Anyhow. Thanks. We'll post details on the 2016 contest as soon as we have them in this very space.



On this page, find:

Contest Guidelines:

Contest Results: