BEST PRIZE Chapbook Contest

In an effort to prevent ourselves from making any more indirect contributions to the systemic oppression so often seen in independent publishing, Big Lucks is teaming up with FOLIO–the MFA student-run literary journal at American University–to relaunch THE BEST PRIZE, which will be open exclusively for POC poets.


Judge: Ginger Ko
Reading fee: None! This contest is sponsored by the Folio, the student-run literary journal from the MFA Program at American University.
Deadline: December 1st, 2015 - January 15, 2016
Prize: $100 + a full print run of the award-winning manuscript in 2016
Genres: Poetry


  • The author must identify as a person of color. 
  • All manuscripts must be previously unpublished in their complete form, although some or all of the individual poems may have appeared in periodicals or chapbooks. Authors who have only self-published, however, are encouraged to submit.
  • Please keep submissions under 35 pages.
  • Simultaneous submissions are encouraged: just let us know if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere.


  • We prefer to do blind readings during our first look at each manuscript. Please do not include a title page or acknowledgements section in your manuscript. That said, you do not need to redact any biographical information from the content of your actual work.
  • Do not send query letters or manuscripts directly to the editors during the review period.
  • You may include an acknowledgements page at the end of your manuscript.
  • We will consider all manuscripts we receive for publication, and a list of winners and finalists will be posted to our website.

On Our Reading Process

  • A group of POC readers will evaluate each submission to this contest, and will be free to recommend any manuscript for publication.
  • A team of Big Lucks and FOLIO editors will work with the readers to identify a shortlist of notable manuscripts. Finalists will be announced in April.
  • Every finalist will be contacted before we announce our shortlist. We will do everything possible to make sure that every author is being honest & accurate in their representation of themselves. 
  • Big Lucks currently has a mostly white masthead. We are planning on asking a few of the volunteer readers if they are interested in joining our staff after the contest is over.
  • Big Lucks Books does not have many titles written by POC writers in its catalog. We suspect that this might be because we rely almost exclusively on submissions and inquiries. We recognize that have not done enough appear to be a welcoming home for POC writers. We are tired of being complacent. Once this contest is over, we will be devoting our energy to acquiring more titles from POC authors for publication in 2017.

About the judge



  • Carrie Lorig (Big Lucks Books)
  • Stephannie Sandoval (FOLIO)
  • Kangsen Wakai (FOLIO)
  • Kina Viola (Big Lucks Books)


Ginger Ko is the author of Motherlover from Bloof Books, and her chapbook Inherit is forthcoming, also from Bloof. Her poetry and reviews have appeared in Whiskey Island Magazine, Sink Review, Anti-, TYPO, inter|rupture, and The Conversant, among others. Her chapbook Comorbid is forthcoming from Lark Books in 2016.
Mark Cugini