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Veterans Writing Award

About the Award

In keeping with Syracuse University’s longstanding commitment to serving the interests of veterans and their families, Syracuse University Press, in cooperation with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), has established a Veterans Writing Award. We invite unpublished, full-length novels or short story collections in manuscript form for consideration. This contest is open to U.S. veterans and active duty personnel in any branch of the U.S. military and their immediate family members. This includes spouses, domestic partners, and children. We encourage women veteran writers and veterans of color to submit. Although work submitted for the contest need not be about direct military experience, we seek original voices and fresh perspectives that will expand and challenge readers’ understanding of the lives of veterans and their families.

Finalists will be read by National Book Award-winning author and veteran of the United States Marine Corps Phil Klay, and the winning entry will be announced in October of 2021.

The award includes a $1,000 cash prize and a publication contract with Syracuse University Press. Manuscripts of high merit not selected for the final award may receive honorable mention.

Submission Guidelines

  • Submit a full-length novel or short story collection in manuscript form. Submissions must be double-spaced in a standard twelve-point font (such as Courier or Times New Roman) and should not exceed 90,000 words. The manuscript should be a PDF or Word file (.doc and .docx). Work must be previously unpublished.
  • Manuscripts under consideration for this competition may be submitted elsewhere at the same time. Please withdraw your manuscript if it is accepted by another publisher or contest and should no longer be considered for this prize.
  • Entrants must not have published a full-length manuscript or collection of stories previously.
  • All entries must be submitted between December 15, 2020 and February 15, 2021.
  • Email submissions should be sent to:
  • To submit by mail please send manuscripts to: Veterans Writing Award
    Syracuse University Press
    621 Skytop Rd. Suite 110
    Syracuse, NY 13244
  • Submissions must include a cover page listing your name, address, e-mail address and/or telephone number, branch of service or that of your family member, and the title of the work. To maintain the integrity of a blind review process, your name should not appear on the manuscript itself. Manuscripts will not be returned.
  • Mailed entries must be postmarked by February 15, 2021. No phone calls please.
  • The judge will select a winner from a group of finalists.
  • Proof of military service is not required when submitting. We will require documentation and verification, however, if a writer’s work reaches the final round of judging.
  • There is no entry fee.
  • Current faculty and staff of Syracuse University are not eligible to enter the contest.
  • Although the contest uses a blind review process, the judge may be able to identify an entrant by the style of writing. The judge will not select an entrant for the award if he has a personal or professional relationship with that individual. We advise entrants not to enter the contest if the judge is someone they know personally or have worked with professionally.

Previous Winners

Revolutions of All Colors: A Novel by Dewaine Farria

Honorable Mention: Mona Passage: A Novel by Thomas Bardenwerper

The Veterans Writing Award Advisory Board

  • Kyle Bass
    Department of Drama Instructor, Associate Director of Syracuse Stage, Playwright
  • Christopher Kennedy
    Professor, English Department, and Director, MFA in Creative Writing Program
  • Eileen Schell
    Professor, Writing and Rhetoric, Director of Graduate Studies and Co-leader of the Syracuse Veterans’ Writing Group
  • Daniel Piston
    Program Evaluation Manager, IVMF
  • Kicia Sears
    Program Evaluation Manager, IVMF
  • Suzanne Guiod
    Director, Bucknell University Press
  • Lisa Kuerbis
    Marketing Coordinator, Syracuse University Press

For questions, contact Lisa Kuerbis:

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