The 2017 Nonfiction Prize is closed–submissions will open in May 2017.
Our VanderMey Nonfiction Prize has gained national recognition, with our 2013 recipient receiving a Pushcart Prize and appearing in the 2013 Pushcart Prize anthology. The winner of the VanderMey Nonfiction Prize will receive $1500 and publication in Ruminate. The runner up will receive $200 and publication in Ruminate.
We strongly recommend ordering a past copy of Ruminate to better understand the type of work we are looking for. You can order a nonfiction bundle of print issues featuring our nonfiction prize winners from past years, Issue 35, Issue 32, Issue 28, and Issue 24. PDF versions of the magazine are also available for $5 each.
Nonfiction Contest Guidelines:
- The submission deadline for the nonfiction contest is November 15th, 2017. Note – there is a grace period of three days for this prize. Entries submitted by 11:59 PST on Nov. 18 will be entered into the contest.
- The entry fee is $20 (includes a complimentary copy of Ruminate, international entries will receive a complimentary PDF copy).
- You may submit one nonfiction piece per entry and it must be 5500 words or less. There is no limit on the number of entries per person.
- $1500 and publication in Ruminate will be awarded to the winner. The runner-up will receive $200 and publication.
- An anonymous reading of all entries will be conducted by a panel of Ruminate readers, who will select 10 nonfiction finalists. Those finalists will then be read for our final judge who will select a winner.
- Close friends and students (current & former) of the final judge are not eligible to compete, nor are regular Ruminate blog contributors or close friends of the Ruminate staff (guest Ruminate bloggers may submit.) Previous first-place winners of the Nonfiction Prize and previous judges of the Nonfiction Prize are also not eligible to compete.
- All submissions must be submitted via our online submission form manager. We will not accept mail or email submissions.
- All submissions must be previously unpublished.
- You may enter simultaneously submitted work, however, please withdraw your work immediately if accepted elsewhere.
- You may submit any type of creative nonfiction–personal essay, short memoir, literary journalism, etc.
- We will notify all entrants of submission status two months after the submission deadline.
- Please remove your name, bio, and any contact info from the file that you submit.
Please Note: Ruminate adheres to the following Contest Code of Ethics, as adopted by the Council of Literary Presses and Magazines, of which Ruminate is a proud member: “CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines — defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.”
Ruminate Magazine sponsors four annual writing contests: our art contest, poetry contest, short story contest, and nonfiction contest. We are one of the few faith-minded literary magazines to sponsor short story contests, poetry contests, nonfiction contests, and art contests. And while our contests–just like our magazine–are not defined as religious or spiritual contests, we do strive to provide a forum for the conversation between art and faith to exist and continue. Past winners from the Ruminate Magazine writing contests have appeared in The Pushcart: Best of the Small Presses anthology and have received notable mention awards in The Best American Short Stories anthology and The Best American Essays anthology. Past finalist judges of our contests include Brian Doyle, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mark Richard, Bret Lott, Leslie Leyland Fields, David James Duncan, Luci Shaw, Vito Aiuto, Greg Wolfe, Al Haley, Stephanie G’Schwind, Walter Wangerin, Jr., and Leif Enger. It is our hope that our writing contests provide a significant venue for our talented contributors to receive the support and recognition they deserve.