Submission Guidelines and Procedures of Awards Competition

The Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation is proud to host the annual Hurston/Wright Awards for College Writers, which is the only award of its kind that recognizes Black college writers. The award is the foundation’s first program. It was initiated to support emerging Black artists in fiction and poetry enrolled full-time in an undergraduate or graduate school program anywhere in the United States.   
Submissions for the award open October 1, 2019 and close January 31, 2020. Submissions will be judged by distinguished published authors in fiction and poetry. Writers will be notified in March whether their submissions were accepted or not accepted. Awards, which include a cash prize, will be announced in May. Award winners will be invited to attend the Legacy Award ceremony that is hosted in October in Washington, DC.

*Black writers who are full-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs (including low-residency MFA programs) at a college or university in the United States are eligible to submit a work of fiction or poetry. They must be enrolled at the time of submission. Students in online-only courses are not eligible.
*Writers who have published books, including poetry chapbooks or fiction narratives, through any publishing platform, are not eligible.
*All work submitted must be original and unpublished at the time of submission. Hurston/Wright does not accept simultaneous submissions.
*Author name and contact information should not appear on the submission.
*Winning works may be published in whole or in part by Hurston/Wright online or print. Your submission gives the Hurston/Wright Foundation permission to publish an excerpt or the entire work. The author retains all rights.
*Hurston/Wright maintains the right to decline any submission not deemed eligible.

Format Guidelines
The original creative work submitted should be formatted as follows:

*No more than 20 pages of fiction, double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-point font, and within 1-inch margins.
* Put title of the work on each page of the submission.
*Do not put the author’s name on the pages of the work. Provide a separate page with the title of the work, name and contact information of author, school and year of study.
*Maximum of 3 poems.
*The submission must total at least 120 lines or more.
*Do not include the author’s name on the pages of poetry. Provide a separate page with the title of the work, name and contact information of author, school and year of study.

Questions may be sent to or mailed to our foundation headquarters at:
Hurston/Wright Awards to College Writers
10 G Street NE, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20002

Submission Deadline: December 13, 2019


  • The Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards are open to Black writers in America and across the globe. 
  • Full-length books of debut fiction, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, as well as collections of short stories, and collections of essays by one author. All works must be newly published. 
  • Books published in the United States. 
  • Books by a self-published author. 
  • Books with a publication date within the calendar year in which the application is being submitted. 
  • U.S. editions of foreign books published for the first time in the United States.  
  • An English translation of a book originally written in another language. The translator need not be a Black author.  
  • Submissions postmarked for the Hurston/Wright Foundation office by December 13th. 
  • Previous Legacy Award winners and nominees and college writing awardees. 
  • Bound galleys from publishing houses, as long as the release date is within the specified dates of submission. 


  • Books written by more than one author. 
  • Poetry books with fewer than 50 pages. 
  • Retrospectives or collections of previously published work. 
  • E-books. 
  • Reprints of books published in a previous year. 
  • Submissions postmarked after the December 13th. 
  • Books by board members and staff of the Hurston/Wright Foundation and their family members. 
  • Books by a judge for that year’s competition or a family member of the judge. 
  • Photography books, cook books and travel books. 
  • Genre fiction (such as commercial, romance and mystery works) and children’s books, unless the work has been recognized by the literary industry as transcending genre. 


A 3-judge panel of previous Legacy Award honorees will judge submissions in each genre. ​

Debut Fiction:  A first Novel or a first Short-Story Collection 

Fiction: Novel, Novella, or Short-Story Collection 

Nonfiction: Autobiography, Memoir, Biography, History, Social Issues, Literary Criticism 

Poetry: Books In Verse, Prose Poetry, Formal Verse, Experimental Verse 

More than 100 books are submitted for the competition, but the number of entries vary from year to year. Hurston/Wright staff review incoming submissions to ensure they meet the qualifications as outlined. Books that do not meet the criteria are not sent to the judges. Staff reserves the right to adjust the category of a submission as necessary. Submitters will be notified of any change in submission category. 


  • Include with each application a $40 nonrefundable submission fee. One application and fee per title. If payment cannot be made online, a check and invoice should be included with submission that is mailed to the foundation’s office. 
  • Books must be submitted by the publisher; self-published authors may submit their books. 
  • The Hurston/Wright Foundation reserves the right to inquire about potential submissions, but does so to ensure that Black authors who receive major reviews or appear on best-seller lists are included. No inquiries will be made after the submission deadline closes. 
  • The submission period opens September 1st and closes in mid-December. 
  • Nominations are announced in June.  Winners & finalists are announced at the annual Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Ceremony the third Friday in October. 
  • The author of a Legacy nominated book or a representative is expected to attend the awards ceremony. 
  • Non-winning entries will be donated to a university or nonprofit organization. 


  • Complete online application including $40 submission fee paid via online link or check.  
  • Mail four copies of each title submitted to: 

​Hurston/Wright Legacy Award
10 G Street, NE, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20002

Hurston/Wright Foundation