top of page

QTBIPOC 2023 Poetry Manuscript Contest, Spring 2023

We would like to announce Kelsey Street Press’ 2023 QTBIPOC Prize! This is a FREE book contest open to QTBIPOC-identified, feminist, innovative writers/poets. The winning manuscript will be chosen by Ching-In Chen, winner of the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for Best Transgender Poetry for recombinant (Kelsey Street Press, 2017). The prize winner will receive publication along with a $1,000.00 cash award to help aid in book promotion, travel, event attendance, and a general contribution to the hopes of thriving as an artist.This prize continues Kelsey Street’s commitment to publishing a poetics of inclusion. The contest is open for submissions from March 15-July 15, 2023, with the contest winner announced in early November 2023.


Submit through

Guidelines for the 2023 QTBIPOC Prize

1. Kelsey Street Press poetry editors seek work that challenges and engages alternative conventions, a poetics of allowance that encourages writers to write directly from their own creative imperatives.

2. There are no citizenship requirements or limitations. Online submissions are accepted from around the world.


3. Manuscripts must be in English, although it is perfectly acceptable to include some text in other languages.


4. For the scope of this contest, QTBIPOC is inclusive of Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans, Nonbinary, Queer, Two Spirit, Indigiqueer and/or Intersex Writers who also identify as Black, Indigenous and/or People of Color. 

5. Manuscript submissions for all contests must be original. (If you include quotes from other works in your manuscript, please be sure they are clearly attributed to the author either on the same page or in a “Notes” section at the back of the manuscript.)

6. Manuscripts must be previously unpublished, although individual poems in a manuscript are still eligible for this contest if they have been previously published in print or web magazines, journals, anthologies, or on a personal web site. 

7. Simultaneous submissions to other contests and multiple submissions acceptable. Please notify us if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere.

8. If you are submitting a poetry manuscript that includes photographs, illustrations, or other graphics please obtain permissions.

9. This is not a "blind" contest.

10. Revisions are not allowed to a manuscript after it has been submitted to the contest. However, the winning poet will have time to revise the manuscript before publication. We do reserve the right to get approval from the judge if those revisions are significant.

11. Past or present “students,” “colleagues,” or “close friends” of the judge are NOT ELIGIBLE. For the purpose of this contest the following definitions apply: “Students” are defined as someone who has taken one or more semesters or quarter courses from the judge, but we do not consider someone who has taken only a weekend or week-long workshop to be a “student” of the judge. “Colleagues” include someone who has worked with the judge, usually in the same department at a university or college, but someone who has worked in a different unrelated department at the same university or college and has had very little contact with the judge is not considered a “colleague”. A “close friend” is defined as someone who has met with the judge socially, for instance for a private dinner. Someone who knows the judge, but only meets and greets the judge at readings and other events is not considered a “close friend.” Once you have had a “student,” "colleague,” or “close friend” relationship with the judge, even if it was many years ago, you are ineligible for this contest.

12. ALSO NOT ELIGIBLE are translations; collaborations by more than one author on the poetry (although photos or graphics in a manuscript can be created by other individuals), along with Kelsey Street Press past and present collective members.

13. Errors in your manuscript. If our staff find a serious error in your entry (your manuscript file won't open, is locked, is unreadable, or is missing pages, etc.) we will contact you to obtain a correction. Errors sometimes occur and can be easily corrected later.


Mihee Kim's Nomenclature was selected as the winner of Kelsey Street Press's inaugural QTBIPOC Book Contest, a free contest open to QTBIPOC-identified poets. Mihee's winning manuscript was chosen by juror Metta Sáma, author of Swing at your own risk (Kelsey Street Press, 2019), out of a submission pool of 120 manuscripts. 

Sáma says of Nomenclature: "the line holds power in these poems; the impulse is the story; the stylistic experiment is about the shape of story, the complicity of language in building story through shape, through prose."

Thank you to all who submitted to the prize, and congratulations to the finalists: jayy dodd, Jai Dulani, Vuyelwa Malulek, Ansley Moon, Maggie Rhee, and Ximena Keogh Serrano.

Due to a mutual agreement between author and press, Kelsey Street Press will not be publishing the book. We thank Metta Sama for judging and Ching-In Chen for editing the manuscript. Thank you to all who submitted such impressive and amazing work – and we encourage you all to re-submit.

bottom of page