2021 Summer Contest - Opens June 1

Each year Blue Mesa Review holds a writing contest in Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction. The 2021 judges are: Natalie Scenters-Zapico for Poetry, Kim Barnes for Nonfiction, and for Fiction, Zeyn Joukhadar. 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.

Natalie Scenters-Zapico

Natalie Scenters-Zapico is the author of Lima :: Limón (Copper Canyon Press 2019) and The Verging Cities (Colorado State University 2015). She has won national and international awards including Yale University’s Windham Campbell Prize (2021), a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation (2018), a Lannan Literary Fellowship (2017), and a CantoMundo Fellowship (2015). She was also a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award (2020), and the International Griffin Poetry Prize (2020). Her books have been reviewed and featured widely in periodicals like The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Natalie currently lives in Tampa, Florida and teaches poetry at the University of South Florida in the Department of English.

Kim Barnes

Kim Barnes is the author of In the Kingdom of Men, named a best book of the year by San Francisco Chronicle, The Seattle Times, and The Oregonian. Her second novel, A Country Called Home, received the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Fiction. She is a recipient of the PEN/Jerard Award in nonfiction for her first memoir, In the Wilderness, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including The New York Times, The Georgia Review, Shenandoah, Fourth Genre, Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. She is a University of Idaho Distinguished Professor Emerita and former Idaho Writer in Residence.

Zeyn Joukhadar

Zeyn Joukhadar is the author of The Map of Salt and Stars and The Thirty Names of Night. He is a member of the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI) and of American Mensa. Joukhadar's writing has appeared in Salon, the Paris Review, the Kenyon Review, and elsewhere and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. The Map of Salt and Stars was a 2018 Middle East Book Award winner in Youth Literature and a 2018 Goodreads Choice Award Finalist in Historical Fiction and was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. He has been an artist in residence at the Montalvo Arts Center, the Fes Medina Project, Beit al-Atlas, and the Arab American National Museum.

Contest Guidelines

Submission Period
June 1 – August 31 (Extended to September 30)

Award
Publication, $500 cash prize for the first place winner in each genre.

Eligibility
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

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 August 31 September 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 in early November.