2015 Chapbook Competition


QuillsEdge Press 2015 Chapbook Competition

QELogo5 cropped for submittable
Theme: To Inhabit
Judge: Mary Ann McFadden
Dates: 11/01/2015 – 01/31/2016

Welcome to the QuillsEdge Press – Indispensable Poetry by Women Over 50. Our 2nd annual chapbook competition opens November 1st, 2105, judged by Mary Ann McFadden

Our 2015 theme is To Inhabit– a body, a landscape, an ecosystem, a dream, a time, a nightmare, a fantasy, a place, a past, a future. Write an embodied, em-placed life and bring us with you!

We are looking for poetic voices that challenge us, stun us, give us pause and palpitations. We are open to any style: lyrical, narrative, form, prose poem or experimental innovations and new mixes. We want to read, hear and be moved to wonder, laugh and cry as we discover your individual threshold. We applaud both the sensitive and the strident.

We are Pro-Diversity!
Because we actively support diversity in poetry and publishing, and value the lives and perspectives of Women of Color, we are offering a contest fee of $5.00 for self-identified Women of Color, including Black, Latina, Asian/Pacific Rim, Indigenous women, and others. We will ask you to share your identity/ethnicity if you like, but you aren’t required to.

Submission Guidelines
Submissions open November 1st, 2015. This year we’re using Submittable. Our page goes live on November 1st.

You are eligible to enter if:
1. You are a woman (We respect gender self-definition. See our website for more information.)
2. You are, as of the entry date, aged 50 or older
3. You either may or may not have published any other book or chapbook – either is okay. We’ll get every manuscript a thorough reading, and we welcome writers who are, like both of us, late bloomers.

Manuscript Requirements
1. Your manuscript should not have been published previously. Individual poems may be previously published.
2. Your manuscript should be 16-30 pages.
3. Multiple submissions are accepted, with a separate reading fee.
4. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please let us know immediately if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere. We really mean this – every manuscript will be read by at least two readers, all volunteers, who take every work seriously. If your manuscript is out of the running we need to know.

Contest Fees
1. The fee to enter the competition is $15.00
2. Because we actively support diversity in poetry and publishing, we are offering a contest fee of $5.00 for self-identified Women of Color, including Black, Latina, Asian/Pacific Rim, Indigenous women, and others.
3. For an extra $10 you can choose to receive either a winning chapbook from the 2015 contest OR one of the chapbooks we just published from our 2014 “On the Edge” contest
4. For an additional $25.00 you can receive a personal one page to two page review of your manuscript from one of our QuillsEdge staff, Board Members, or authors.

The winner will receive 10 copies of the chapbook free, and will be able to buy additional copies at a 50% discount. Books will be staple bound with full color covers, premium paper, and careful attention to detail.

Winners will become part of the QuillsEdge Press community, and will be asked to participate as a reader for future competitions and to contribute short chapbook reviews of other women poets to our website. Our goal is to build a community for women writers over 50.

If the winner is able to travel at her own expense to the East Coast, readings can be set up in either New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania. Finalists who can travel at their own expense to either of these locations may also be invited.

Our judging process:color_print

We Subscribe to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP)Contest Code of Ethics

CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines—defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.

1st Round of Judging: Manuscripts with names attached will be read by QuillsEdge Press authors and Board members. 8-10 finalists will then be forwarded to the contest judge, Mary Ann McFadden, for final determination.

2nd Round of Judging: Anonymous read and final determination by the contest judge.

Conflicts of Interest: Current or former students, faculty, staff, or administrators affiliated with the Drew University MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation are ineligible. Close friends, relatives, students, and former students of any of the Judge and QuillsEdge Press staff and board members are ineligible. Initial readers for the contest will include QuillsEdge authors; readers will not be assigned work by any poet they know.

Formatting Guidelines

This year we will only be accepting online submissions.
1. Include two cover sheets, one with your name and contact information and one without.
2. The manuscript itself must NOT contain any identifying information.
3. Do NOT include acknowledgments.
4. Manuscripts must be paginated and have a table of contents.
5. Please include a short bio in the “cover letter” field.
6. If you encounter any problems, please email us at quillsedgepress@gmail.com.

The Submittable link goes live on 11/01/2015. Click the button below to go to our submission page.


If you have questions, contact us using the form below!



  1. I have two questions. First, the wording of your guidelines suggests that all the poems in the chapbook should address a single issue ( edge)- is that so? And secondly, will “On The Edge” be the title of the winning chapbook or can the poet choose her own title? Thank you. And thank you too for this opportunity for the older female poet.


    • Hi Jane!

      The overall collection should address the idea of being “on the edge” – how it does that is completely up to the poet. The chapbook chosen will have the title chosen by the poet (or maybe by the poet and editors together) but it does not have to be “On the Edge.”

      Thanks for asking!



  2. Questions about manuscript page length. Can there be more than one poem per page? Also, should the table of contents be numbered as part of the 24 pages? (I am not sure what you mean by “Not including front and back material” Thanks.


    • Hi Jo,

      Thanks for writing. There should not be more than one poem per page unless there is some pressing reason (linked haikus or some such). Definitely not more than one just to reduce the number of pages.

      Generally the table of contents is “front matter” and should not be numbered or counted. “Back material” is any pages that list references or explanatory notes for the poems.

      for Quills Edge


  3. Pingback: CAA NCR Literary Notices for Sept. 22 to Oct. 5, 2014 | Quillfyre

    • Hi Teresa – just to be clear, the contest is NOT only for women with no previously published poetry books. The guidelines state that you “may or may not” have published before.



  4. Dear Editors, when I printed the submission form and read “I am aware that the editors reserve the right to ask for changes in poems or poem order, and that I will be willing to modify or revise poems if my manuscript is chosen.”
    I was startled. I did check the box and send my manuscript, but it felt like a defeat – another time when one is being asked to give the best and then, in order to participate, to give away control. Personally I didn’t want to sign away this right without knowing In what cases the editors would exercise their reserved rights and more importantly what changes those editors would have the right to make. Having to sign this to participate seemed oppressive. Can you clarify this requirement?


  5. Hi Jo – we reserved the right to ask for changes, such as poem order, precisely because we are editors, not just readers. All manuscripts that get printed via presses go through editorial changes – the final product is a process, always. (I personally have had editors request changes in even a single poem published in a top notch journal)

    All changes must be approved by the poet – which is why we asked for the right to request changes, not just to make them. We’ll be working together to make the best manuscript possible. The box to check was just to be clear that if a poet wasn’t open to making any changes then this isn’t the right contest for them.

    Does this make it clearer? Thanks for asking – I’m sure others have had questions and just didn’t post!


  6. In the submission guidelines, the competition dates are 9/1/2014 – 12/31/2014 and the cover page dates are 9/1/2014 – 11/30/2014, What is the final date that submissions will be accepted? Thank you!


  7. Pingback: CAA NCR BI-WEEKLY LITERARY NOTICES FOR NOV. 17 TO 30, 2014 | Quillfyre

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s