First-Book Prize for Women and Nonbinary Writers of Color

Submissions are currently open for the second annual Louise Meriwether First Book Prize, cosponsored by the Feminist Press and TAYO Literary Magazine. A prize of $5,000 and publication by the Feminist Press is given annually for a debut book of fiction or nonfiction by a woman or nonbinary writer of color.

Women and nonbinary writers of color (or those who self-identify as nonwhite) who are U.S. citizens and who have not yet published a book may submit a manuscript of 50,000 to 80,000 words by July 31. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete submission guidelines.

This year’s final judges are acclaimed authors Tayari Jones and Ana Castillo, Feminist Press executive director Jennifer Baumgardner, and TAYO editor in chief Melissa Sipin. Five finalists will be announced in October; the winner will be announced in February 2018.

Fiction writer YZ Chin won the inaugural book prize for her story collection, Though I Get Home. Of Chin’s manuscript, Sipin said, “The need to escape, to live, and to survive is rendered beautifully in these eclectic and visceral stories.”

The Louise Meriwether Prize was founded in 2016 to honor the legacy of novelist, journalist, and activist Louise Meriwether, whose 1970 novel Daddy Was a Number Runner was one of the first contemporary novels to feature a African American girl as the protagonist. The book went on to inspire the careers of authors such as Jacqueline Woodson and Bridgett M. Davis.

Learn more about the prize and sponsoring organizations at and, and visit the Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for a complete list of upcoming poetry and prose deadlines.

(Photo: YZ Chin)