Submission Guidelines

 


Orison Books seeks to publish spiritually-engaged poetry, fiction, and nonfiction of exceptional literary merit. In our view, spiritual writing has little to do with subject matter. Rather, the kind of work we seek to publish has a transcendent aesthetic effect on the reader, and reading it can itself be a spiritual experience. Such work is not merely about spiritual contemplation, but itself leads the reader into profound contemplation. It is not merely about the sublime, but itself has a sublime effect on the reader. It is not merely about the mystery of being, but itself heightens the reader’s sense of the mystery underlying the fabric of our daily lives.

 

The poet Gjertrude Schnackenberg, in an interview with Jonathan Galassi, articulated a perspective on literature that resonates with our mission, and her words are worth sharing: “When I said that poetry tries and wants to make contact with reality, that is, with uttermost-being (truth, God, whatness, somethingness-nothingness, chaos-order)—to the Veda seers, the vibrating void; to the eighth-century Chinese poets, that-which-is-self-engendering; to mathematicians, a veil of numbers; to the Jewish mystics, the En-Sof; to Christian mystics, the indwelling of God and emanation of Christ in all things; to the animal kingdoms on earth, the starry night; to contemporary physicists, the excitation of superstrings; to cosmologists, the residue of an explosion of something to whose pre-explosion existence there is perhaps, as my friend Elaine Scarry once said to me, ‘no door’—I am referring very specifically and particularly to the material we are made from, this animated-in-us matter which we, in turn, express such a passionate drive to know (and which, in turn, has evolved a way to be known, through us, and is the source and object of our wonder and compulsion).”

Orison Books seeks to be broad, inclusive, and open to perspectives spanning the spectrums of spiritual and religious thought, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Orison Books titles have been reviewed or featured in Publishers Weekly, Poets & Writers, Foreword Reviews, Booklist, The Jewish Review of Books,  The Chicago Tribune, The Millions, The Rumpus, The Washington Independent Review of Books, Pleiades, River Teeth, Beloit Poetry Journal, and many other places. Poems from our books have twice been featured in The New York Times Magazine, and our books have won a Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award and the Texas Institute of Letters’ Bob Bush Memorial Award, and also have been named finalists for The Kate Tufts Discovery Award, The National Jewish Book Award in Poetry, The New Mexico Book Award in Poetry, and The Paterson Poetry Prize.

Anthology Proposals are accepted year-round.

General Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry in Translation submissions are open during the month of October only.

We do not consider self-help, how-to, or “inspirational” manuscripts.

We hold three annual contests:

  1. The Orison Prizes in Poetry & Fiction for book-length manuscripts. Submission period: December 1 – April 1. The winners receive $1,500 and publication. The 2020 judges are Katie Ford (poetry) and Samrat Upadhyay (fiction).
     

  2. The Orison Chapbook Prize (NEW!) for manuscripts of 20-45 pages, in any genre (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or hybrid). Submission period: April 1 – July 1. The winner receives $300 and publication. Judged by Orison Books founder and editor, Luke Hankins.
     

  3. The Orison Anthology Awards for single works in 3 genres (poetry, fiction, & nonfiction). Submission period: May 1 – August 1. The winners receive $500 and publication. The 2020 judges will be Joy Ladin (poetry), Blair Hurley (fiction), and E. J. Koh (nonfiction).

Orison Books is committed to running ethical and transparent contests. Current or former students of a judge, or anyone with a close personal relationship with that judge, are not eligible to submit in the category in question. Judges also never see author names until after they have made their selections. Orison Books also undertakes never to extend contest deadlines, except in the case of technical problems or other events that would prevent submitters from entering the contest by the original deadline.

We release all titles in print, and fiction and select nonfiction titles in both print and e-book formats. When possible, we offer a small advance on royalties for all books accepted for publication through our open submission periods, and a cash prize as well as a standard royalties contract for manuscripts selected as contest winners.

Orison Books publishes The Orison Anthology every year, a collection of the best spiritual writing in all genres published in periodicals in the preceding year. Editors of periodicals may submit work for consideration from August 1 – September 15.

For more information, please consult the guidelines below.
 

 


CONTESTS

THE ORISON CHAPBOOK PRIZE

Each year from April 1 – July 1 we accept submissions of chapbook manuscripts (20 – 45 pp.) in any genre (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or hybrid) for The Orison Chapbook Prize, judged by Orison Books founder and editor, Luke Hankins.

The winner will be awarded publication, a $300 cash prize, and 20 copies of the chapbook, in addition to a standard royalties contract.

 

Current or former students of the judge, or anyone with a close personal relationship with the judge, are not eligible to submit. In the event that the judge does not select a winner, all entry fees will be refunded to the entrants. All finalist manuscripts will be considered for publication under a standard royalties contract.

  • Do not include your name anywhere in your manuscript file or file name, but only in your Submittable profile and cover letter.

  • Please include an acknowledgments page in your manuscript listing any periodicals where individual pieces from your manuscript first appeared.

  • Original English work only; no translations.

  • Individual poems, stories, or essays—or excerpts—may have been previously published in periodicals and/or chapbooks, but the manuscript as a whole must not have been published in book form, whether digital or in print. Self-published manuscripts are considered previously published and are not eligible.

  • Entry Fee: $12.

  • Electronic submissions through Submittable only.

  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted; please notify us immediately should a manuscript be accepted for publication elsewhere.

  • Multiple manuscripts may be submitted; each manuscript must be accompanied by a separate entry fee.

  • Orison Books is committed to running ethical and transparent contests. Current or former students of a judge, or anyone with a close personal relationship with that judge, are not eligible to submit in the category in question. Judges also never see author names until after they have made their selections. Orison Books also undertakes never to extend contest deadlines, except in the case of technical problems or other events that would prevent submitters from entering the contest by the original deadline.

About the Judge:

Luke Hankins is the founder and editor of Orison Books. He is the author of two poetry collections, Radiant Obstacles and Weak Devotions, and a collection of essays, The Work of Creation: Selected Prose. He is also the editor of Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poets. A collection of his translations from the French of Stella Vinitchi Radulescu, A Cry in the Snow & Other Poems, was released in an international edition from Seagull Books in 2019. Hankins is a graduate of the Indiana University MFA program, where he held the Yusef Komunyakaa Fellowship in Poetry. His poems, essays, and translations have appeared in numerous publications, including 32 Poems, American Literary Review, The Collagist, Image, Linebreak, New England Review, New Poetry in Translation, Pleiades, Poetry International, Verse, West Branch, World Literature Today, and The Writer’s Chronicle, as well as on the American Public Media radio program “On Being.”

THE ORISON ANTHOLOGY AWARDS IN FICTION, NONFICTION, & POETRY

Each year from May 1 – August 1 we accept entries of unpublished single works in three genres (fiction, nonfiction, & poetry) for consideration for The Orison Anthology Awards. The winner in each genre will receive a $500 cash prize as well as publication in The Orison Anthology, an annual collection of the best spiritually engaged writing that appeared in periodicals the preceding year. (The unpublished work selected for The Orison Anthology Awards will be featured alongside the reprinted material.)

Submit up to 3 poems (10 pp. max), 1 story (up to 8,000 words), or 1 work of nonfiction (up to 8,000 words). You may submit in multiple genres, and/or submit multiple entries in each genre.

Entry Fee: $15
Submission Period: May 1 – August 1, 2019

2020 Judges: Joy Ladin (poetry), Blair Hurley (fiction), and E. J. Koh (nonfiction)

Electronic submissions only.

Do not include any identifying information in your manuscript or file name. Original English work only; no translations. Finalists will be selected by the editorial staff at Orison Books, and a winner will be selected in each genre by different prominent writers acting as contest judges each year. Current or former students of the judge in the genre in which they are submitting, or anyone with a close personal relationship with that judge, are not eligible to submit. In the event that a judge does not select a winner in their genre from among the finalists, the Editor will select a winner. The editors also reserve the right to select no finalists, in which case all entry fees will be refunded to contest entrants.

THE ORISON PRIZES IN POETRY & FICTION

Each year from December 1 – April 1 we accept submissions of full-length poetry (50 – 100 pp.) and fiction (minimum 30,000 words) manuscripts for consideration for The Orison Prizes in Poetry & Fiction. Fiction manuscripts may be a collection of short stories or flash fiction, a novella, or a novel. Do not include any identifying information in your manuscript or file name. Original English work only; no translations. Finalists will be selected by the editorial staff at Orison Books, and a winner will be selected in each genre by different prominent writers acting as contest judges each year. Current or former students of the judge in the genre in which they are submitting, or anyone with a close personal relationship with that judge, are not eligible to submit. In the event that a judge does not select a winner in their genre from among the finalists, the Editor will select a winner. The editors also reserve the right to select no finalists, in which case all entry fees will be refunded to contest entrants. All finalist manuscripts will be considered for publication under a standard royalties contract.

The winner in each genre will receive a $1,500 cash prize, publication, and a standard royalties contract.

Entry Fee: $30
2020 Judges: Katie Ford (poetry) and Samrat Upadhyay (fiction)
Entry Period: December 1, 2019 – April 1, 2020
Electronic submissions only.

 

 

GENERAL SUBMISSIONS

FICTION

General Fiction manuscript submissions are accepted during the month of October only. We consider all types of fiction, including novels, short story or flash fiction collections, and novellas. Minimum word count: 30,000 Work in English translation is also accepted. (The translator must have permission to publish the translations, or the original work must be in the public domain per U.S. and international copyright law.) When possible, Orison Books offers a small advance against royalties for books selected for publication. Send an author biography and complete manuscript.

NONFI​CTION

Nonfiction manuscript submissions are accepted during the month of October only. We consider most types of nonfiction, including essay, memoir, literary criticism, etc. We are not, however, interested in “how-to” or “self-help” manuscripts. Minimum word count: 30,000. Work in English translation is also accepted. (The translator must have permission to publish the translations, or the original work must be in the public domain per U.S. and international copyright law.) When possible, Orison Books offers a small advance against royalties for books selected for publication. Send an author biography and complete manuscript
 

POETRY IN TRANSLATION

Submissions of full-length (60 pp. minimum) poetry collections in English translation are accepted during the month of October only. The translator must have permission to publish the translations, or the original work must be in the public domain per U.S. and international copyright law.

ANTHOLOGY PROPOSALS

Single- or multiple-genre anthology proposals are accepted year-round. Send a one-page description of the anthology, biographical information for the editor(s), and 30 pages of sample content.

THE ORISON ANTHOLOGY


Editors of literary periodicals (print or digital) may nominate work in a single genre or in multiple genres to be considered for inclusion in our annual Orison Anthology, which will reprint the finest spiritually engaged writing from a broad and inclusive range of perspectives. Work selected for inclusion will appear alongside the winners of The Orison Anthology Awards in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry, judged each year by different prominent writers. The author of any work selected for inclusion will receive a complimentary copy of the anthology; the periodical where the work originally appeared will also receive a complimentary copy.

 

The work may be by a single author or by multiple authors, as long as the total page count meets the requirements specified below.

 

By nominating work for inclusion in The Orison Anthology, you are indicating that you have acquired the permission of the author(s) to do so.

 

Editors may submit a scanned copy of print pages or a PDF file of the text.

Deadline: September 15 each year

Single genre submissions: Submit up to 6 poems (40 pp. max), or up to 2 works of prose (any genre; 60 pp. max). If the work is not easily classified, submit up to 60 pages of text. In the file, include the author’s name and biography, the name of your periodical, and the issue number(s) in which the work appeared.

Multiple genre submissions: submit up to 3 poems (20 pp. max) and a work of prose (any genre; 25 pp. max). If the work is not easily classified, submit up to 60 pages of text. In the file, include the author’s name and biography, the name of your periodical, and the issue number(s) in which the work appeared.

There is no fee to nominate work for The Orison Anthology.

ORISON BOOKS


 

PO Box 8385
Asheville, NC 28814



CONTACT

SHOP

SOCIAL

IN THE KNOW

Sign up for our newsletter

© 2020 by Orison Books. Site design by Zach Linge.