CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT NOW! Open September 1 – November 1! Current and past residents from North Carolina and its border states — Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia — are invited to enter their work in three categories: poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Guidelines are below, and at Charlotte Lit’s Submittable site.

All winners and honorable mentions will be published in the Spring 2023 issue of Litmosphere: Journal of Charlotte Lit, and receive prizes starting at $1,500 for first place. The 2022 winners are listed here.

Categories & Prizes


• Poetry: 1-3 poems, up to five pages
• Fiction: up to 4000 words
• Nonfiction: up to 4000 words

Prizes in Each Category:

• 1st: $1,500
• 2nd: $500
• 3rd: $250
• Honorable Mentions: $50
…plus publication in the Spring 2023 issue of Litmosphere: Journal of Charlotte Lit

2023 Judges!

Nonfiction: Melissa Febos

Melissa Febos

Melissa Febos is the bestselling author of four books, including Girlhood—LAMBDA Award finalist and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism, and Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative. Her fifth book, The Dry Season, is forthcoming from Knopf. Her awards and fellowships include those from the Guggenheim Foundation, LAMBDA Literary, the National Endowment for the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The British Library, The Black Mountain Institute, MacDowell, the Bogliasco Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, and others. Her work has recently appeared in The Paris Review, The Sun, The New York Times Magazine, Kenyon Review, The Best American Essays, Vogue, and New York Review of Books. Febos is an associateprofessor at the University of Iowa and lives in Iowa City with her wife, the poet Donika Kelly.

Poetry: A. Van Jordan

A. Van JordanAward-winning poet A. Van Jordan is the author of four collections, most recently The Cineaste, (W.W Norton, 2013), which Terrance Hayes described as “dazzling.” His other books include Quantum Lyrics (W.W. Norton, 2007), M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A (W.W Norton, 2005), which was listed as one the Best Books of 2005 by The London Times, and Rise (Tia Chucha Press, 2001), which won the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award. Jordan has been awarded a Whiting Writers Award, an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and a Pushcart Prize. He is also a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship,  a United States Artists Fellowship and a Lannan Literary Award in Poetry.

Jordan has taught at a number of institutions including the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; the University of Texas at Austin, where he was tenured as an Associate Professor; Rutgers University-Newark, where he served as the Henry Rutgers Presidential Professor; the University of Michigan, where he served as the Robert Hayden Collegiate Professor of English Language & Literature. He is currently a professor at Stanford University.

Fiction: Bryn Chancellor

Bryn Chancellor is the author of the novel Sycamore (Harper/ HarperCollins 2017), a Southwest Book of the Year, and the story collection When Are You Coming Home? (University of Nebraska Press 2015), winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in The Southern Review, Brevity, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere. A native of California raised in Arizona and transplanted to the South, she is a grateful recipient of fellowships from the Arizona, Alabama, and North Carolina arts councils and the Poets and Writers Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award in fiction. A graduate of Vanderbilt University’s M.F.A. program, she makes her home in Charlotte, NC, with artist Timothy Winkler and teaches at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is at work on a linked story collection and a novel.

Submission Guidelines & Eligibility

Welcome to the Charlotte Lit’s annual Lit/South Awards!

We’re offering $7,000 in prizes, plus publication in the Spring 2023 edition of Litmosphere: Journal of Charlotte Lit, in both print and online editions.

  • Categories: poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction.
  • Prizes (in each category): $1,500 for first, $500 for second, and $250 for third, plus publication. Honorable mentions: $50 and publication.
  • Eligibility: open to current and past residents of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia.
  • What to Submit:
    • Poetry: submit 1 to 3 poems in a single file, up to 5 pages total, any style or subject.
    • Fiction: submit 1 piece of up to 4,000 words, any style or subject.
    • Creative Nonfiction: submit 1 piece of up to 4,000 words, any style (e.g., memoir, personal essay, nature writing) or subject.
  • How to Submit: through our online Submittable portal only. Mailed or emailed submissions will not be considered.
  • Pre-Screening: the editors will perform the initial screening of entries before sending finalists in each category to the contest judges.
  • Final Judges: Nonfiction: Melissa Febos; Fiction: Bryn Chancellor; Poetry: A. Van Jordan
  • Concealed Judging: The contest will be judged anonymously. Submission documents should not include identifying information. (Entries with author names included will not be considered.)
  • Previous Publication: Entries should be previously unpublished in any media including blogs and social media.
  • Entry Fee: $15 for each submission. All U.S. entrants will receive a print copy of Litmosphere: Journal of Charlotte Lit. International entrants will receive a PDF copy. We will waive the submission fee for anyone with financial need. Please email us to request a waiver.
  • International Submissions: Writers who meet the residency requirement but now reside outside the U.S. are welcome to enter. Entries must be in English.
  • Multiple and Simultaneous: Both are welcome. Please notify us immediately if your submission is accepted elsewhere.
  • Eligibility: Charlotte Lit members and faculty are eligible to submit. Writers who have taken a Charlotte Lit or similar short course with one of the judges are eligible to submit. Friends, relatives, colleagues, and former or current academic students of the final judges are ineligible to submit in that category. 
  • Submission period: September 1 – November 1, 2022.
  • Winners Announced: March 1, 2023. Journal Publication: May 1, 2023.

Charlotte Lit’s Lit/South Awards adheres to the CLMP Contest Code of Ethics.

Please email us at with any questions.

2022 Judges


Ron Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner finalist and New York Times bestseller Serena and Above the Waterfall, in addition to four prizewinning novels, including The Cove, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; four collections of poems; and six collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. Twice the recipient of the O. Henry Prize, he teaches at Western Carolina University.


Stephanie Elizondo Griest is a globetrotting author from the Texas/Mexico borderlands. Her five books include Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and HavanaMexican Enough; and All the Agents & Saints. She has also written for the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Travel + Leisure, VQR, The Believer, and Oxford American. Among her honors are a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton, a Henry Luce Scholarship to China, and a Margolis Award for Social Justice Reporting. Currently Associate Professor of Creative Nonfiction at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, she has performed as a Moth storyteller. Visit her website at


Nickole Brown is the author of Sister and Fanny Says. She lives with her wife, poet Jessica Jacobs, in Asheville where she periodically volunteers at three different animal sanctuaries. She writes about these animals, resisting the kind of pastorals that made her (and many of the working-class folks from the Kentucky that raised her) feel shut out of nature. Her work speaks in a queer, Southern-trash-talking way about nature beautiful, damaged, and in desperate need of saving. To Those Who Were Our First Gods won the 2018 Rattle Chapbook Prize, and her essay-in-poems, The Donkey Elegies, was published in 2020.

Jessica Jacobs is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going (Four Way Books), one of Library Journal’s Best Poetry Books of the Year, winner of the Goldie Award in Poetry from the Golden Crown Literary Society, and a finalist for both the Brockman-Campbell and Julie Suk Book Awards. Her debut collection, Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press), a biography-in-poems of Georgia O’Keeffe, won the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and Julie Suk Award. An avid long-distance runner, Jessica has worked as a rock-climbing instructor, bartender, and professor, and now serves as the Chapbook Editor for Beloit Poetry Journal. She lives in Asheville, NC, with her wife, the poet Nickole Brown, with whom she co-authored Write It! 100 Poetry Prompts to Inspire (Spruce Books/PenguinRandomHouse), and is at work on parallel collections of essays and poems exploring spirituality, Torah, and Midrash. You can learn more about her at


Tara Campbell is a writer, teacher, Kimbilio Fellow, and fiction co-editor at Barrelhouse. She received her MFA from American University, and teaches creative writing at American University, The Writer’s Center, Barrelhouse, Politics & Prose, Catapult, and The National Gallery of Art. Her work has earned multiple fellowships and awards from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Previous publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Wigleaf, Jellyfish Review, Booth, Strange Horizons, and CRAFT Literary. Campbell is also the author of a novel, TreeVolution, and four collections: Circe’s Bicycle, Midnight at the Organporium, Political AF: A Rage Collection, and Cabinet of Wrath: A Doll Collection. Connect with her at or on Twitter: @TaraCampbellCom or IG: @thetreevolution