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Fairfield Book Prize

Woodhall Press is honored and excited to be partnering with the Fairfield University MFA Program for the  Fairfield Book Prize.




The contest is open to poetry, prose, essay collections, YA, and genre-bending work. SUBMIT!

Submissions are currently closed.

Woodhall Press Staff will screen submissions and choose finalists. Fairfield University will appoint a guest judge to pick the winner. The winner will be announced during the Summer 2021 residency. The book will be published and distributed nationally in Fall 2022 by Woodhall Press. The winner will receive a $1000 prize from Fairfield University and a standard contract from Woodhall Press. If Woodhall Press or the finalist judge deems that no MSS. is worthy of publication in a given year, there will be no award that year, and the contest will run the subsequent year.

Manuscript Preparation

  • You may submit more than one manuscript, but only if there is no overlap in content. Please submit each distinct manuscript only once.

  • Submit your manuscript to woodhallpress at with the subject line "2021 Fairfield Book Prize."

  • Manuscripts must be word processed and formatted for 8.5" x 11" paper size, one-sided, with title and page number in the header of each page. (Author name should appear in the email cover sheet, but not in the header.)

  • Files should be saved as .doc, .docx, or PDFs.

  • Include a cover sheet with name, address, manuscript title, and Fairfield MFA month and year of graduation (or expected graduation, if currently enrolled)

  • You may acknowledge individual poems, stories, and other pieces published in magazines, anthologies, or elsewhere.

Poetry Specifications

  • Manuscript length: 45-80 pages.

  • Single-spaced.

  • No more than one poem per page.

Prose & Creative Nonfiction Specifications

  • Manuscript length: short stories and novellas (or a combination thereof), or personal essays: 100-200 pages.

  • Novels and memoirs: up to 350 pages

  • Double-spaced.

  • For memoirs/novels: you may include a cast of characters and a one-page summary.

  • Note: Novels and Memoirs should be unpublished work but may contain previously published excerpts


Fairfield Book Prize FAQ
The Book Prize is open to all FUMFA graduates and current students.


11/15/20 - Submissions, open
12/15/20 - Submissions, closed
2/15/21 - Finalists' manuscripts will be passed to MFA guest faculty judge. Finalists will be notified of their status.
July 2021 - Winner will be announced at the MFA Summer Residency
Fall 2022 - Publication


Do we allow simultaneous submissions?

Book prize finalists will receive notification in February, 2021.
If you are a finalist, we request that you withdraw your submitted work from consideration elsewhere and cross your fingers until July.
If you get some good news before February 1, you may withdraw your submission from the Fairfield Book Prize before that date, with our congratulations.


Can I submit work previously submitted to the Fairfield Book Prize?
Absolutely. Brooke Adams Law’s Catchlight won in 2019 after several submissions to the book prize.

How do I find out more about previous Book Prize winners?
There is a list of previous winners and links to their books below.

Fairfield Book Prize Winners

Screen Shot 2021-11-08 at 11.25.30 AM.png
by Brooke Adams Law

Who would you be without your memory? When Katherine Keene is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, her four grown children must grapple with how to care for her - and how to remake their relationships with each other. And then there’s the secret that threatens their family’s very identity. Will the Keenes find healing and reconciliation - or implode from within?

"A trifecta of memorable players, convincing storytelling, and well-honed prose."
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review), Kirkus Best Indie Books of 2020
The Genuine Stories
by Susan Smith Daniels
Fiction. "Each of these stories is a gem. Susan Daniels manages to pull the rug out from under even the smallest of gestures and the interactions of couples, families, and strangers, revealing over and over the human touch in all its guises as miraculous. In showing the act of healing, she uncovers human beings at their most vulnerable. These are wise stories, and the feeling of the miraculous and of grace is palpable in each of them. In this world, anything, she seems to tell us, is possible."—Karen Osborn
Frozen Voices
by Lynne Heinzmann
"In her debut novel, FROZEN VOICES, Lynne Heinzmann has performed magic beyond even the skills of Harry Houdini, one of her most delightful characters. Heinzmann pulls off an astonishing feat of literary legerdemain, resurrecting real people who, in February 1907, were passengers on the steamship Larchmont, a vessel which sank off the coast of Rhode Island, taking 137 souls down with her: 'drowned, frozen, or scalded to death.' In giving voice and vitality to a group of these passengers, Heinzmann combines meticulous historical research with a humane and generous imagination. Readers will live and breathe with the four narrators of the novel, as we see them before, during and—for some—after the disaster. FROZEN VOICES weaves the characters and events aboard this doomed ship into a complex and spellbinding tale. In the end, readers are left with exactly the reactions that should follow such an act of wondrous conjuration: we are amazed and deeply touched." —Hollis Seamon
The Floating Lady of Lake Tawaba
by Chris Belden
Chris Belden braids together stand-alone stories with candid wit, creating an intricate landscape of the human heart. From the comedy of a violent public kiss to a woman's floating heartache and hope after a broken marriage, THE FLOATING LADY breathes life into the "algae-pocked" Lake Tawaba.
Good Things
by Nick Knittel
Nick Knittel enchants with stories as dark and moving as your favorite Bruce Springsteen song. Characters maneuver their way through not only a dead-end town, but a dead-end existence. Caught in complex relationships—friendships, marriages, and families—they chronicle what it’s like to be blue-collar and barely making it.
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