Digging Press Chapbook Series Award

The Digging Press Chapbook Series Award, established in 2018, honors small books of literary and artistic quality that, in the opinion of our series editor, encourage experimentation and cultural inclusion and promote the importance of eclecticism in the literary arts. All print publications are designed in-house by our creative director, Cynthia Alvarez, a fine artist whose work can be viewed at calvarezart.com.

The Digging Press Chapbook Series Award is open for submissions once (or twice) a year for fiction, poetry, or hybrid (cross-genre) manuscripts. We seek innovative manuscripts that are inventively personal and richly imagined. We are inspired by the works of Clarice Lispector, Augusto Monterroso, Lynne Tillman, Óscar Esquivias, Giannina Braschi, Italo Calvino, Lydia Davis, Zakaria Tamer, Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa, Sonia Sanchez, Ocean Vuong, Sam Sax, Claudia Rankine, Eileen Myles…

Awabi by Mandy-Suzanne Wong. Winner of the 2018 Digging Press Chapbook Award.

We are passionate about presenting a unique book design and offering editorial support. We aim to produce beautiful and artistic books. Selected manuscripts have a small print-run (100 copies), and authors receive 20 copies plus a $250 payment. Authors retain all rights to their material within the author’s chapbook.

Past Winners:

Mandy-Suzanne Wong (First Edition; April 2019 – sold out. Second Edition May 2022) View results. 
Abigail Carl-Klassen (August 2020; 2nd printing forthcoming Winter 2023) View results. 
Dimitri Reyes (July 2021; 1st printing sold out. 2nd printing November 2021) View results.
Marie Baléo (forthcoming Winter 2022). View results.
Morgan Christie (forthcoming Spring/Summer 2023). View results.
Rachelle Parker (TBA). View results.

April 1 – July 31, 2023

The submission/reading fee is $15 per submission. Please note that fees offset the cost of publishing and promoting the winning chapbook. A small portion also helps cover our Submittable hosting fees. We also rely on donations and purchases to support our chapbook series. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, Donate Here

The 2023 Digging Press Chapbook Award is open to any writer/poet writing in English.

Jericho Writers has excellent advice on “Manuscript Presentation”: https://jerichowriters.com/manuscript-presentation/. Do keep in mind that our chapbooks have a trim size of 4.25″ wide x 6.75″ high. Each book page fits approximately 225-230 words; each line fits approximately 45-48 characters across, including spaces, with 26-28 lines to a page. This chapbook format is non-negotiable.

We only accept manuscripts between 24 and 40 pages via Submittable. Please read the following carefully:

  • Respect our blind submission policy. The manuscript must be free of any identity-revealing information, including in the name of your file or in the “title” field in Submittable. Submissions that do not respect this policy will be automatically declined.
  • Page limit: 24 to 40 pages. Please use a readable font in 12-point. Times New Roman or its equivalent is recommended. Manuscripts should be paginated (and double-spaced for fiction), not including front and back matter (table of contents, title page, etc.). 
  • You are welcome to include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable, which will only be made accessible to the editorial panel after the group of Semi-Finalist and Finalist manuscripts has been chosen.
  • Include the following in your upload document: a description or synopsis of your work, title page, table of contents, if appropriate, an acknowledgments page. (If the manuscript contains individual stories or poems that have been previously published online or in print, note previously published work on the acknowledgments page with the publication credits.)
  • The manuscript must be previously unpublished as a collection (including publication with a press, self-publication, online/digital publication, and publication in a small, limited-edition print run).
  • Simultaneous submissions are permissible, but entrants are asked to notify Digging Press by withdrawing your manuscript in Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere. Do not email us a withdrawal.–
  • Entries must be accompanied by a $15.00 entry fee.  Entrants may submit multiple manuscripts, but must pay a $15.00 entry fee for each manuscript submitted.
  • Collaborative collections are welcome.
  • We cannot accept translations.
  • US-based submitters have the option to purchase past chapbooks from Submittable with free shipping. Visit our online shop here for items not available on Submittable.
  • While authors from around the globe may submit to the Digging Press Chapbook Competition, international submitters who wish to make an additional purchase must do so via our online shop and pay additional shipping charges. Visit our online shop here.


All selected submissions are read, reviewed, and considered by final judge, Gessy Alvarez, editor of the Digging Press Chapbook Series.

In the event that the final judge chooses no manuscript for publication, all contest fees will be returned.

Final notification of the contest winner, finalists, and semi-finalists will be provided by e-mail to all contest entrants by June 2023.

With permission from our contributors, we may include accepted works in promotional material for Digging Through The Fat and Digging Press, LLC.

If you have any questions or concerns, please add your comments in the section below and we’ll respond within 24 hours.

— Digging Press Team

21 thoughts on “Digging Press Chapbook Series Award

  1. To the Editors–
    For your chapbook call, how many copies are in a “small print run”?

  2. I recommend submitting text only. If the images are essential to your project you can include pages with short descriptions of images. If your manuscript makes it to the finals, we will be in touch and request your full pdf to review.

  3. I am putting together a chapbook at the minute, and this competition looks perfect. However, I just wanted to check – is it America only? Or can people in the UK submit?

    1. You can submit from the UK. If you win, the US dollar cash prize will be sent via Paypal. International shipping fees may apply

  4. What exactly is the definition of Hybrid Text. I need to know to see if my chapbook qualifies.

    1. We define it as any text mixes more than one genre within one story. Poetry and creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry, expository and fictional narrative…

      The textbook definition:
      A hybrid text is a single text with a dual purpose: to integrate narrative and informational text (Donovan & Smolkin, 2002). It presents important information about a specific topic using narrative text as the primary means of expression (Maloch & Bomer, 2013)—for example, to teach scientific information (Ebbers, 2002). A hybrid text is also referred to as an informational storybook (Leal, 1992), a blended or mixed-genre text (Elster & Hanauer, 2002), a multi-genre text (Flurkey & Goodman, 2004), or a postmodern picture book (Pantaleo, 2014; Sipe & Pantaleo, 2008).

      Unfortunately, we are not accepting hybrid texts with graphics or visual arts, yet, but we hope to in a future call for submissions.

      Thanks for your question.

      The Digging Team

  5. Hi — My chapbook “Three Fat Men” is 76 pages when it is double spaced (dialogue). Can I send it anyways? Its a lightly science fiction story about 3 aliens who come to Earth around Chrismastime and discover a horrible plot to kill old people.

    1. We have a small budget right now which is why our page count is low. But that may change for a future call. I would recommend you hold off on submitting for this call.

    2. I have a chapbook consisting of prose and poetry that runs to 27500 words. I appreciate that it’s too big for your current plans but note you say said plans might change. Will you alert people if/when that happens?

    3. We don’t plan on changing our guidelines this year. It’s simply not cost-effective at this time.

      Apologies for that.

  6. Does It has to be in English or could be in Spanish? In addition is it open for International writers?

    1. The manuscript should be understandable to an English speaker, but it doesn’t have to be totally in English. For example, Braschi’s Yo-Yo Boing is a work written in Spanglish.

      We do accept international submissions. If you win, the US dollar cash prize will be sent via Paypal. International fees may apply.

  7. What if there is identity revealing information in the acknowledgments section? I want to acknowledge the people who made this piece possible, while respecting your blind submission policy.

    1. Include your acknowledgment with your synopsis. This is not shown to the readers.

  8. What size of paper should the submission be on?
    Do you have any margin size preferences?
    Is everything specified in one document (points 4 & 5 about upload document and manuscript) so you split out the acknowledgements!

    1. Because this is a competition, we don’t require specifics yet. Our printed chapbooks are softcover, pocket-sized (Book Width 4.25 inches.
      Book Height 6.87 inches.) For the competition, we simply ask for a standard manuscript on 8.5″×11″ or A4 paper size,
      12-point (10 pitch) font size. You can feel free to layout the pages as you wish so long as the manuscript is 36 pages max. If your front matter and acknowledgment page push this max to 40 pages, that’s fine. Best of luck!

  9. Dear Editor, I tried to submit a collection of poetry during the Open Submission Periods by clicking the black box, “Click Here To Submit” to no avail! There was no time, that I saw for deadline, only saw a day time and that day is today. Help? Please? Thank you.

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