CHQJanusPrize Sticker BW webThe Chautauqua Janus Prize will be awarded for the third time this summer, celebrating an emerging writer’s single work of short fiction or nonfiction for daring formal and aesthetic innovations that upset and reorder readers’ imaginations. In addition to receiving a $5,000 award, the winner gives a lecture on the grounds during the summer season and appears in a forthcoming issue of the literary journal Chautauqua. Eligibility and submission information can be found below under "Guidelines."

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. The prize is funded by a generous donation from Barbara and Twig Branch.


Guest Judge

The 2020 Chautauqua Janus Prize guest judge is Hilary Plum. Plum is the author of the novel Strawberry Fields, winner of the Fence Modern Prize in Prose (2018); the work of nonfiction Watchfires (2016), winner of the 2018 GLCA New Writers Award; and the novel They Dragged Them Through the Streets (2013). She has worked for a number of years as an editor of international literature, history, and politics. She teaches at Cleveland State University and in the NEOMFA program and is associate director of the CSU Poetry Center. With Zach Savich she edits the Open Prose Series at Rescue Press. Plum will also be a prose writer-in-residence at Chautauqua Writers’ Center during the 2020 summer.



We are now accepting submissions for the 2020 prize. Deadline for submissions is March 31, 2020.
Eligible entries:

  • May be up to 15,000 words in length but no more than 100 pages. The Chautauqua Janus Prize encourages writing that challenges conventional presentation and publication of fiction/nonfiction in the English language.
  • Must be either unpublished or published no earlier than April of 2019.
  • Must be authored by emerging writers of fiction/nonfiction. Emerging writers are defined as writers who have yet to publish their first book (exceeding 15,000 words and/or 100 pages) in any prose genre. (Poets: This prize was created to support emerging writers. Reconsider your eligibility if you have published one or more poetry collections, even if our word count parameters technically qualify you.) There is no age or citizenship status restriction for eligibility.
  • May be nominated by the authors themselves or on an author's behalf by editors or creative writing program directors. Self-nominating authors may submit no more than two entries per submission period. Editors and program directors must have the consent of authors to nominate their work and may nominate no more than three entries per submission period. Nomination by an editor program or press/magazine does not preclude an author from submitting additional self-nominated entries.


  • Complete the Submittable form, including fee payment*, by the advertised deadline EST. Please use PDF format. Contact Emily Carpenter 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 give full consideration to all legible PDF submissions.
  • The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2020.

*The fee is waived for submissions nominated by editors or program directors. We invite authors to encourage their editors and/or program directors to reach out to Emily Carpenter at to learn more!