The Headlight Review Chapbook Prize in Prose Writing

Submission period:  September 15–December 1, 2019

Prize:  $500, Publication


The Headlight Review Chapbook Prize competition offers a first prize of $500. Manuscripts are judged anonymously. The winning manuscript will be published, and the writer will receive 25 copies of the resulting chapbook. All finalists will be considered for publication as well, and any writer whose manuscript is selected for publication will also receive 25 complimentary copies of his or her book. The winning manuscript will be published within one year after the results of the competition are announced.


The Headlight Review Chapbook Prize competition is open to anyone writing in the English language, whether living in the United States or abroad. Translations are not eligible for this prize, nor are excerpts from previously published works. Stories may have been published individually but cannot have been part of a previously published collection or anthology.

Employees and students of Kennesaw State, both former and current, are not eligible to enter.

Use the contest link at the bottom of this announcement to submit a chapbook-length prose manuscript of 6,000–10,000 words (12pt type, double-spaced, attachment should be a Word document). Be sure to include a cover page, but do not place your name there or anywhere else on the manuscript. If stories in the chapbook have been previously published, there should be acknowledgements of this. Submissions cannot be edited once they are submitted. Winning entries will go through an editing process with the program’s editors.

A list of finalists for The Headlight Review Chapbook Prize will be announced by January 15, 2020. All participating writers will receive an email that offers a link to the announcement. The winning chapbook, along with selected other chapbooks from the competition, will be published during the summer of 2020. All participating writers will be mailed a published copy of the winning chapbook.

The entry fee is $20, payable by debit/credit card via the KSU submission system. We do not accept hard-copy submissions; these will be shredded on arrival. Simultaneous submissions to other publishers or contests are permitted, but the writer agrees to notify the contest judges immediately if a manuscript is accepted elsewhere. Commentary is not provided by the judges on non-winning entries. Multiple submissions are accepted, but each submission must be accompanied by a separate entry fee.

Kennesaw State’s MA in Professional Writing Program (MAPW) endorses and abides by the Ethical Guidelines of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP). Our system for judging is transparent; the judges listed below will create a list of finalists and then reread the finalist manuscripts. Each judge will rate their choices in order, and from these lists a winner will be determined.  


  • Anne Corbitt (Rules for Lying, Nilson Prize for First Novel)
  • Anthony Grooms (The Vain Conversation, Bombingham)
  • Andy Plattner (Dixie Luck, Offerings from a Rust Belt Jockey)
  • William Rice (The Lost Woods, 2015 Georgia Author of the Year)
  • Brody Smithwick (Editor, The Headlight Review)
  • Melanie Sumner (How to Write a Novel, The Ghost of Milagro Creek)