The Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Prize

Seneca Review Books, in conjunction with the TRIAS writer-in-residence program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, is continuing its a biennial book series to encourage and support innovative work in the essay.

Cross-genre and hybrid work, verse forms, text and image, connected or related pieces, and "beyond category" projects are all within the ambit of the contest.

Please submit an original manuscript of 48-120 pages.

The prize will be administered by the editors of Seneca Review. The winning manuscript to be selected by this year's judge, Wendy S. Walters, and will be published by Seneca Review Books in the fall of 2024.

Along with publication the author will receive a $2000 prize and a reading with HWS Colleges. The submission period is June 1 - August 1, 2023 through Submittable.

A decision will be announced by mid-December, 2023.

Submission Guidelines

  • Please submit an original manuscript in English of 48-120 pages.
  • Cross-genre and hybrid work, verse forms, text and image, connected or related pieces, and "beyond category" projects are all within the ambit of the contest.
  • Multiple submissions are acceptable as long as they are submitted separately with separate entry fees.
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please be sure to withdraw your submission via Submittable if your work is accepted elsewhere.
  • The competition is open to writers who have previously published book-length collections, as well as to unpublished writers.
  • Please update any changes in contact information via your profile on Submittable.
  • No revisions to submitted manuscripts will be considered. The author of the winning manuscript will have the opportunity to edit mistakes and suggest revisions prior to publication.
  • There is a non-refundable submission fee of $27 payable through Submittable.
  • Your manuscript should include a single cover page with the title of the manuscript only, so that your manuscript document remains anonymous. Be sure that your document is complete and formatted correctly before uploading.
  • Individual essays/pieces in a manuscript may have been previously published in magazines, journals, anthologies, or chapbooks, but the work as a whole must be unpublished. If applicable, include with your manuscript an acknowledgments page for prior publications.
  • Intimate friends, relatives, or current and former students of Wendy S. Walters are not eligible to submit.

Process and Ethics

Seneca Review and HWS Colleges Press endorse and abide by the Ethical Guidelines of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP): "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."

After the submission deadline, manuscripts will be divided among Seneca Review editors, who will select approximately 15 semi-finalist manuscripts. The Seneca Review editors will then work in a classroom setting with an undergraduate Acquisitions Editorial Board to narrow down the manuscripts to five finalists. Wendy S. Walters will then select, by December 10th, the winning manuscript. We will announce the winner before the end of December.