Exploring the art of prose


CRAFT Hybrid Writing Contest 2023

2023 CRAFT Hybrid Writing Contest

Guest Judge: Nicole McCarthy

$1,500 Awarded

Thank you to all who submitted work to the 2023 CRAFT Hybrid Writing Contest.

We’re delighted to publish the winners in July 2023. Congratulations to all the honorees listed below!


First Place: Rowan McCandless, “Split Ends”
Second Place: Andrew Borneman, “The Babysitter”
Third Place: Baņuta Rubess, “Four Words Whispered on a Smoky Field”


Erika Eckart: “Into the Woods”
Anita Olivia Koester: “Excavation”
Rosalind Moran: “Mothers, Monsters, and My Year of Prying”
Nick Mykins: “Talking Heads”
Rosa Sophia: “Infinite Baffle”
Elizabeth Upshur: “Zombie Americanus”
Gabriela Valencia: “Death, Whistle”

The Rest of the Longlist

Elizabeth Cohen: “Big Box”
Dianna Craig: “What You Talk about When You Talk about Second Person”
Sean Gill: “1,065 Days of Trial and Error”
Tamar Jacobs: “Litany of Remembrance”
Emily Kiernan: “Fissions”
Elizabeth McConaghy: “Once Upon a Time I Was, and Once Upon a Time I Wasn’t”
Vanessa Micale: “Smoke Will Follow You”
Rachel Pennington: “The Names Have Been Changed to Indict the Guilty”
Roz Spafford: “Home on the Range: 1956”
Karen De Luca Stephens: “SOLI”

Honorable Mentions

Greg Burton: “Pracutje”
Rae Canaan: “Dust Motes”
Amy Scheiner: “Imagery for Grieving”
Deborah Sherman: “Mango Manifesto”


  • Open January 3 to February 28, 2023.
  • CRAFT submissions are open to all writers.
  • International submissions are allowed.
  • Please submit work primarily written in English, but conceptually or stylistically necessary codeswitching is warmly welcomed.
  • We’re seeking hybrid work only! (Please, do not send work that fits into easy genre or category definitions.)
  • We are looking for cross-genre submissions, for example: prose poetry (but not traditional, lineated poetry), speculative memoir, work that engages with image in innovative ways, lyric essay, etc. (However, we are not accepting video or audio submissions at this time.)
  • Please adhere to the 5,000 word count maximum.
  • Previously unpublished work only—we do not review reprints or partial reprints, including self-published work (even if only on social media), for our contests. Reprints will be automatically disqualified.
  • We allow simultaneous submissions—writers please notify us and withdraw your entry if your work is accepted elsewhere.
  • $20 reading fee per entry allows ONE piece from 1,001 to 5,000 words OR up to TWO pieces of 1,000 words or fewer each—if submitting two pieces (2,000 words maximum combined/1,000 words maximum each), please put them both in a SINGLE document.
  • We allow multiple submissions—each entry should be accompanied by a reading fee.
  • All entries will also be considered for publication in CRAFT.
  • Please include a brief cover letter with your publication history and any relevant content warnings (if applicable).
  • We do not require anonymous submissions.
  • We do not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, disability, family status, gender identity or expression, national origin, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation, or for any other reason.
  • Additionally, we do not tolerate discrimination in the writing we consider for publication: work we find discriminatory on any of the bases stated here will be declined without complete review (you will be refunded, less fees).


The writer of the winning piece will receive:
  • $1,000;
  • publication in CRAFT, with an introduction by Nicole McCarthy;
  • publication of an author’s note (craft essay) to accompany the piece;
  • and a free three- or six-week writing class of choice from Project Write Now’s Writers Institute, up to a $250 value.
The two runner-ups will receive:
  • $300 and $200 respectively for second and third place;
  • publication in CRAFT, with an introduction by Nicole McCarthy;
  • and publication of an author’s note (craft essay) to accompany the piece.


  • Friends, family, and associates of the guest judge are not eligible for consideration for the award.
  • Our collaboration with editorial professionals in the judging of our contests and the awarding of our prizes does not imply an endorsement or recognition from their agencies/houses/presses/universities/etc.
  • Read our 2022 contest winners for examples of work chosen in the past.
  • As we only consider unpublished writing, and will publish the winning pieces in July 2023, anything under contract to publish prior to October 2023 should not be entered.


NICOLE MCCARTHY is an experimental writer and artist based outside of Tacoma, Washington State. Her work has appeared in [PANK], The Offing, Redivider, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Best American Experimental Writing, and others. A Summoning is her first nonfiction collection, published by Heavy Feather Review. Find Nicole on Twitter @nmccarthywriter.


PROJECT WRITE NOW is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit transforming individuals, organizations, and communities through writing. Since 2014, we’ve been committed to building a vibrant writing community for youth and adults. We provide a wide range of fee-based virtual classes, editorial services, and literary events. At the heart of our mission is our community outreach programs for underserved groups. These programs help youth and adults develop the writing and communication skills needed to build resilience, pursue personal growth, and achieve academic or professional success. **Along with a free writing class for the contest winner, Project Write Now is also generously offering a 10% discount to all contest submitters. The coupon code will be provided upon submission.**


You may choose to receive editorial feedback on your work. We will provide line-level editorial notes, as well as a global letter discussing the strengths of the writing and the recommended focus for revision. While editorial feedback is inherently subjective, our criticism is always actionable and encouraging. Work that we critique is not eligible for future CRAFT contests.