Book Prize Guidelines

River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Book Prize (photo by Patrick Tomasso)

River Teeth's editors conduct a yearly national contest for a book-length manuscript of literary nonfiction in English. All manuscripts are screened by the co-editors of River Teeth. The contest winner receives $1,000 and publication by The University of New Mexico Press.

Submissions open August 1. 

Deadline for Submissions: October 31

Final Judge: Rigoberto González


/upload/rigobertogonzalez.jpgRigoberto González is the author of ten books, most recently of the young adult novel The Mariposa Club. His awards include a Guggenheim, an NEA, The Poetry Center Book Award and the Before Columbus American Book Award for his memoir, Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa.  He is contributing editor for Poets and Writers Magazine, on the Executive Board of Directors of the National Book Critics Circle, on the Board of Directors of Fishouse Poems: A Poetry Archive, and on the Advisory Circle of Con Tinta, a collective of Chicano/ Latino activist writers. He writes twice a month a Latino book column, now entering its ninth year, for the El Paso Times of Texas, and is the editor of Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing.


General Guidelines:

  1. Entries must be submitted online through Submittable. Manuscripts must be in English, double-spaced, and between 35K-85K words long (approximately 150-350 pages).
  2. The winner will receive book publication with The University of New Mexico Press and a $1,000 honorarium. 
  3. The reading fee is $27 (which includes a one-year subscription to River Teeth to begin in the spring). While our contest is open to entries outside of the U.S., we cannot offer free subscriptions to non-U.S. submissions because of high mailing rates.
  4. The deadline for submissions is October 31st. The contest winner and finalists will be announced by early March.
  5. Submission should be previously unpublished as a complete book (it’s fine if excerpts or individual essays have appeared in literary journals or magazines). Any literary nonfiction (including memoir, personal essays, investigative reporting, et cetera) is eligible.
  6. Simultaneous submissions are fine, but as ever, be sure to withdraw your manuscript immediately if it is accepted elsewhere for publication before the conclusion of the contest.
  7. The editors make every effort to screen manuscripts without bias of identifying author details; however, because the contest is nonfiction, it is not always possible to eliminate identifying characteristics about the author from the manuscript. Do not include your name on the title page or in the header or footer of the manuscript, but otherwise do not fret too much over anonymity. Please include a brief bio in the cover letter section of Submittable.
  8. River Teeth encourages underrepresented voices to submit their work for consideration, including but not limited to: BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled writers.
  9. Close friends, family members, and former students of the judge may not submit in that year. (Writers who have had short-term interactions with the judge at residencies, conferences, or fellowships do not count as students.) Current Ball State University faculty and students (including interns) are ineligible.

Please direct all questions to

Submission Guidelines:

  1. Entries must be submitted online through Submittable.
  2. Online submission fee is $27 

Please direct all questions to

Photo by Patrick Tomasso at Unsplash.

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