BLR Prizes

(Please note: BLR Prizes are currently CLOSED. We invite you to meet the 2024 BLR Prizewinners. Please get your best writing ready, because the next contest will open on March 1.)


The BLR Prizes award outstanding writing related to themes of health, healing, illness, the mind, and the body. Winners are published in the spring issue of BLR. For each genre, first prize is $1000 and honorable mention is $300. The prizes are open March 1 – July 1 each year.
Goldenberg Prize for Fiction
Felice Buckvar Prize for Nonfiction
John & Eileen Allman Prize for Poetry
Click here to see the 2024 Prize Winners, whose work appears in Issue 46.
Fiction: We seek character-driven fiction with original voices and strong settings. We do not publish genre fiction (romance, sci-fi, horror). We have only occasionally published flash fiction. While we are always interested in creative explorations in style, we do lean toward classic short stories.
Nonfiction: We are looking for essays that reach beyond the standard ‘illness narrative’ to develop a topic in an engaging and original manner. Incorporate engaging and creative analysis that allows anecdotes to serve a larger purpose. (Please, no academic discourses or works with footnotes. )
Poetry: We encourage poems that are accessible to a wide audience. Characteristics we look for are vivid writing, strong narrative, and rendering the familiar new. We encourage you to peruse back issues in our archive to get a sense of our ethos. 


  • Submissions for the BLR Prizes are open March 1 – July 1 each year.
  • We happily consider simultaneous submissions, but please inform us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.
  • Manuscripts can only be accepted electronically via Submittable.
  • Fiction and nonfiction should not exceed 5,000 words (double-spaced, please). Most of our published prose is in the range of 2,500-4,000 words, which allows us to publish more authors.
  • You may submit up to three poems as one submission. Each poem should be on a separate page within a single document. Poetry submissions should be five pages maximum. Poems can be of any length, though shorter poems allow us to include more poets in our pages.
  • Do not put your name or other identifying information on the manuscript document (or in the filename) so that the submissions can be read blindly. No cover letter needed.
  • Students/friends/colleagues/relations of a judge are not permitted to enter submissions to that judge’s genre.
  • There is a $20 fee per contest submission. Contest submission qualifies you for a 50% discount on a BLR subscription. (The fee helps BLR fund the contest and the journal, but if it’s a hardship for you, please contact us.)
  • Winners from each genre (poetry, fiction, nonfiction) receive $1000. Honorable mentions from each genre receive $300.
  • All contest submissions are automatically considered for general publication as well.
  • All submissions must be of previously unpublished work.*  BLR acquires First North American rights, and the right to reprint in anthologies and online. After publication, all other rights revert to the author and the work may be reprinted as long as appropriate acknowledgement to BLR is made.

(*For BLR, “published work” means published in print in North America, or published on the Internet in electronic journals, e-zines, academic websites, and other “public” or “official” websites. Works posted on personal blogs or websites will be considered on a case-by-case basis. We ask that authors be honest about web postings. If a work is discovered to have been posted or published elsewhere–and not openly acknowledged by the author in advance–we will remove it from consideration.)