2024 Spring Contest

Each year Blue Mesa Review holds a writing contest in Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction. In previous years, we held the contest over the summer, but we recently moved the contest to the spring semester. Submissions will open from December 01, 2023 - February 29, 2024. The 2022 judges were: James Crews for Poetry, Debra Monroe for Nonfiction, and for Fiction, Ben Loory. The judges for the 2024 contest have not been announced. We encourage you to submit your very best work online through our submissions manager. First place winners receive a cash prize and publication in Blue Mesa Review and second place will also receive publication. We look forward to reading your work!

Contest guidelines can be found below the judge profiles.

James Crews

James Crews is the editor of the best-selling anthology, How to Love the World, which has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, as well as in The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post. He is the author of four prize-winning collections of poetry: The Book of What Stays, Telling My Father, Bluebird, and Every Waking Moment, and his poems have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, The New Republic, and Prairie Schooner. Crews teaches in the Poetry of Resilience seminars, which he co-founded with Danusha Laméris, and lives with his husband in Shaftsbury, Vermont. To sign up for weekly poems and prompts, visit: www.jamescrews.net.

Debra Monroe

Debra Monroe is the author of seven books: two story collections, The Source of Trouble and A Wild, Cold State; two novels, Newfangled and Shambles; two memoirs, On the Outskirts of Normal and My Unsentimental Education; and one essay collection, It Takes a Worried Woman. She is also the editor of the anthology Contemporary Creative Nonfiction. Her essays have appeared in many venues, including Longreads, The Southern Review, The New York Times, The American Scholar, Solstice, Guernica, Rumpus, and they have been cited as Notable in Best American Essays many times.

Ben Loory

Ben Loory is an American short story writer. His first book, Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day, was a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Program and was named one of the 10 Best Fiction Books of the Year by Hudson Booksellers. His second book, Tales of Falling and Flying, was named a Favorite Book of the Year by the staff of The Paris Review, and one of the 50 Best Fantasy Books of All Time by Esquire Magazine. Loorys fables and tales have appeared in The New Yorker, BOMB Magazine, Fairy Tale Review, and A Public Space, been translated into many languages, including Arabic, Farsi, Chinese, and Indonesian, and been heard on This American Life and Selected Shorts. Loory lives and teaches short story writing in Los Angeles. He is also the author of a picture book for children, The Baseball Player and the Walrus.

Contest Guidelines

Submission Period
December 01 - February 29

UPDATE as of Sept 30, 2022:

In an effort to be more equitable, we're halving the submission price to $6 for writers who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color (BIPOC).

We will now publish the top three in the contest (as opposed to top two) and are increasing the award amounts. 2nd place gets $100 now instead of $25 and 3rd place will get $25.



This competition is open to original English language works in the genres of Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction. The submission must be an unpublished work. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable; please note that reading fees are non-refundable, and you must withdraw the submission immediately via Submittable if it is accepted elsewhere.

Reading Fee
$12 / $6 for BIPOC writers

What We’re Looking For
Startling, compelling, and beautiful original work. We’re looking for fresh prose and powerful poetry.

Guidelines for Electronic Submissions
Submissions are accepted exclusively through our online submissions manager, Submittable. Entries must be received no later than February 30. Please submit a packet of up to 3 poems or up to 6,000 words of prose. You may submit in all three genres, as well as submit multiple works per genre. Results will be announced via e-mail and posted on our website.