The Chautauqua Janus Prize will be awarded for the first time in 2018, celebrating an emerging writer’s single work of short fiction or nonfiction for daring formal and aesthetic innovations that upset and reorder literary conventions, historical narratives, and readers’ imaginations. In addition to receiving a $2,500 award, the winner will give a lecture on the grounds during the summer season and appear in a forthcoming issue of the literary journal Chautauqua. The prize is funded by a generous donation from Barbara and Twig Branch.

Named for Janus, the Roman god who looks to both the past and the future, the prize will honor writing with a command of craft that renovates our understandings of both. 

KazimAli 012 squareThe 2018 winner will be selected by guest judge Kazim Ali, author of a forthcoming book of poems, Inquisition, and a forthcoming hybrid memoir, Silver Road: Essays, Maps & Calligraphies. An associate professor of creative writing and comparative literature at Oberlin College, Ali will also give a lecture on the Chautauqua grounds during the 2018 summer season.



Entries will be accepted for the 2018 prize from Jan. 15, 2018, through March 31, 2018. There is a $20 reading fee for self-nominated entries.
Eligible entries:

  • May be up to 15,000 words in length. The Chautauqua Janus Prize encourages writing that challenges conventional presentation and publication of fiction/nonfiction.
  • Must be either unpublished, forthcoming in 2018, or published no earlier than April 2017.
  • Must be authored by emerging writers of fiction/nonfiction. Emerging writers are defined as writers who have yet to publish their first book (exceeding 40,000 words) in any prose genre. There is no age or citizenship status restriction for authors.
  • May be nominated by authors themselves or on their behalf by presses/magazines or creative writing programs. Self-nominating authors may submit no more than two entries per submission period. Programs and presses/magazines must have the consent of authors to nominate their work and may nominate no more than three entries per submission period. Nomination by a program or press/magazine does not preclude an author from submitting additional self-nominated entries.


  • Complete the Submittable form, including fee payment*. Please use PDF format. Contact Director of Literary Arts Atom Atkinson at if PDF format is not ideal for your submission.
  • Meet formatting specifications where possible. If your submission’s prior publication or experimental form simply aren’t conducive to Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, and double-spacing, know that we will still consider all legible PDF submissions.

*The fee is waived for submissions nominated by programs or magazines. We invite authors to encourage their programs and/or magazines to reach out to Atom Atkinson at to learn more.