Please submit the following:

  • Manuscript in pdf., doc., docx., or rtf.
  • Brief cover letter describing your aesthetic
  • Bio with most recent publications




THE PRIZE

The 1729 Book Prize in Prose, judged by Diane Zinna, is a new award offered by Mason Jar Press with support from The Ivy Bookshop. Mason Jar is a Baltimore-based, nationally- and internationally-focused independent press of accessible, experimental fiction. The Prize seeks challenging, engaging works of fiction and nonfiction, utilizing a patron-based economic model--funded by the Ivy Bookshop--that is free to all. The Ivy is always eager to celebrate and support book culture, and is excited to collaborate with a press that is local in its base, national in its reach, and expansive in its sensibility.

CALL 

We are open for submissions! Send us your book-length works of fiction and nonfiction from April 15, 2022 until midnight July 15, 2022. We're open to most prose genres, though we tend to lean toward semi-experimental works with a strong literary bent. Hybrid works are welcome. 

Again, we tend to prefer work that pushes the bounds of literary norms, but that isn’t to say we only like that. We welcome surprise. Try us (but only try us with book-length prose). We’ll read it, and if we love it, we’ll publish it. One chosen manuscript will be published in 2024.     

JUDGE--DIANE ZINNA

Diane Zinna is the author of THE ALL-NIGHT SUN (Random House, 2020) which was longlisted for The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and the Cabell First Novelist Award. She received her MFA from the University of Florida and was the longtime membership director for AWP, The Association of Writers & Writing Programs. There, she created the Writer to Writer Mentorship Program, helping to match more than six hundred writers over twelve seasons. She is also the creator of Grief Writing Sundays, a popular writing class on telling difficult stories that has met every week since the start of the pandemic. Diane is the recipient of an ArtsFairfax Artist Grant, and beginning Fall 2022, she will be the Darden Professor of Creative Writing at Old Dominion University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming at Electric Literature, LiteraryHub, Brevity, Monkeybicycle, and Eat, Darling, Eat. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia, with her husband, daughter, and doodle.

GUIDELINES 

Introduce yourself and talk about your aesthetic or what you did today or maybe a topic that really interests you, or just give us your bio and a straight-up cover letter. Do not tell us about the manuscript; we’ll be reading that. Seriously, don't tell us about your manuscript!   

Submit your manuscript in standard manuscript format within a Word doc or PDF. Make sure to number your pages and put the font in a readable style. Don't do Comic Sans, Windings, Papyrus or anything of the sort without a very specific reason or we'll assume you're trolling us. We won't automatically decline, but it won't help your chances.  

Reading Fee: $0  

Optional: Tip Jar and book purchase options. They will not affect your chances for publication in any way, but they will help us keep the lights on, pay our authors, buy occasional staff beer and pizza, and subsidize print costs.

WHAT WE WANT

Novels

Novellas

Story collections

Memoirs

Auto/Biographies

Essay collections

WHAT WE DON'T WANT 

Poetry Collections

Graphic novels (someday)

Anything below a novella in size

Poetry manuscripts (seriously, poets)

Chapbooks


If you have something that you are unsure of, ask us before submitting.

PRIZE AND PAYMENT

The winner will receive a $1,000 award, contributor copies, and quarterly profit-sharing. The contract will stipulate all further details. 

NOTES

  • Please submit one manuscript. We will decline additional submissions unread.
  • Related, we are capping submissions at 1,000. We'd be blessed to get that many, but we also want to keep our workload manageable. 
  • We encourage simultaneous submissions, provided you let us know when your work gets accepted elsewhere. Seriously, don't wait for us. We'll cheer for you in the event of publication elsewhere!
  • Finished manuscripts only.
  • English-language only please. None of us are qualified to read in another language, sad to say.
  • Translations are permitted, with express written permission from the original author.

TIMELINE

Due to the nature of contests, we are providing an outline of how we expect this to progress. Note that is a good faith estimate and we may have to alter the time accordingly, particularly if we receive significantly more submissions than we expect. If time does change drastically, we will make announcements via social media. 


July 15, 2022: Submissions close.
August, 2022: First round of reading completed and status updates.
November, 2022: Second round of reading completed and status updates.
December, 2022: Third round of reading completed and status updates. Semi-finalists announced.
March 2023: Final round of reading completed, status updates and Winner Announcement.
March, 2024: Publication.


Please meet our readers: 

We are a team and most of our editors will dip a toe in this reading period (see masthead). In addition to our Staff Readers, we also recruit to give us more voices and different tastes. Below, read a little about our guest readers. Maybe it will help you decide to submit or not.    

Jacob Budenz is a queer writer of poetry and fiction, a multi-disciplinary performer, and a bona fide witch with a love for weird work, especially socially conscious work that maintains a literary focus while pushing the boundaries of genre. Some favorites on Jake's shelf include Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits, N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy, and José Saramago's Blindness.

Shiksha Dheda uses writing to express her OCD and depression roller coaster ventures, but mostly to avoid doing her master's degree. Some of her favorite books are: Kafka on the shore, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Watchmen.

Bola King-Rushing is a parent, English teacher, writer, reader, editor, musician, and gamer. He lives at the intersection of text, technology, and Southern California. A few of his favorite texts: Kage Baker’s The Empress of Mars, Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl, Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, and Sega’s Valkyria Chronicles.

Jon Lehr is the current intern for Mason Jar Press and a senior at York College of Pennsylvania. Some of his favorite books include To Hell on a Fast Horse by Mark Lee Gardner, Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell, and Deviant by Harold Schechter.


K.C. Mead-Brewer
writes weird dark stories in Baltimore, MD. A couple of her favorite books are Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners, and Yoko Ogawa's Revenge.

August Thompson is a bookseller at the Ivy Bookshop, working on his Master's in Library Science from the University of Maryland. His taste is eclectic but his favorite books include Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin, Chouette by Claire Oshetsky, and Heaven by Mieko Kawakami.

Addie Tsai (any/all) is a queer non-binary writer and artist, author of the novels Dear Twin and Unwieldy Creatures (forthcoming Fall 2022). They stan hard for Marguerite Duras, James Baldwin, and Anne Carson.


Mason Jar Press