Press 53, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a publisher of award-winning poetry and short fiction collections, and was founded in October 2005.

  We ignore market trends and publish writing we love.

  We publish 8-10 poetry collections each year, including titles under our Tom Lombardo Poetry Selections, edited by Tom Lombardo; our Silver Concho Poetry Series, edited by Pamela Uschuk and William Pitt Root; plus the winner of our annual Press 53 Award for Poetry.

  We publish 3-4 short fiction collections each year by widely published and award-winning authors. One collection is published by way of our Press 53 Award for Short Fiction, while the remaining story collections come to us by actively seeking out writers we find in journals and magazines, and who are winning other contests, including the Prime Number Magazine Awards (formerly the Press 53 Open Awards).

Prime Number Magazine is our quarterly online journal of distinctive poetry and prose from writers at all levels and tastes. Publishing in journals, magazines, and anthologies is a great way to build your bio, build readership, and meet other writers and editors who will later become your support team.

And check out our free monthly 53-Word Story Contest sponsored by Prime Number Magazine.

  We encourage you to visit our website at and sample our books. This helps support our press and our authors. Also find us on Facebook and give us a 'Like."

Best regards,

Kevin Morgan Watson, Publisher and Editor in Chief


The Press 53 Award for Short Fiction is awarded annually to an outstanding, unpublished short story collection. This competition is open to any writer 18 years of age and older, regardless of his/her/their publication history, provided the manuscript is written in English and the author lives in the United States or one of its territories.

Award: The winner of this competition will receive publication by Press 53, a $1,000 cash advance and 53 copies of the book. All prizes will be awarded upon publication. ​

Reading fee: A reading fee of $30 must be paid for each entry. Reading fees are nonrefundable. ​

Dates for entry: Enter September 1 through December 31, 2023 ​

Announcement of winner: The winner of the Press 53 Award for Short Fiction will be announced no later than May 1, 2024 to all entrants by way of Submittable and on the Press 53 website, Facebook, Twitter, and via email to our subscribers. A list of finalists will also be announced at that time. ​

Confirmation of entry: Confirmation of receipt of your entry will be sent via e-mail by Submittable immediately after submission. ​

Multiple submissions: Writers may submit multiple story collections. A separate reading fee is required for each collection. ​

Judging: Claire V. Foxx, Press 53 Short Fiction Editor, will be the only judge for the competition; the story collections will be read “blind” and judged solely on the strength of the stories as a collection. The winning collection will be published by Press 53. The judge’s decision is final. Please note: due to the volume of entries, feedback or critique on individual stories or the collection is not possible. ​

Eligibility: The competition is open to manuscripts written in the English language by writers 18 years of age and older, regardless of their publishing history, who live in the United States or one of its territories. Previously published stories may be (and probably should be) included in the collection. ​

Ineligibility: Previously published story collections, including self-published collections available in print or as an ebook, are not eligible. Individuals who work for Press 53 or have published a book of their stories or poems with Press 53 are not eligible to enter. ​

Story Collection Guidelines (please read carefully): 

1. Manuscripts should contain a collection of short stories, which can include flash fiction, and may include one, and only one, novella (a story of 12,000 to 25,000 words is our definition of a novella). 

2. Manuscript should have a table of contents with page numbers. The stories should be double-spaced with page numbers and set in a standard 12-point font (such as Times New Roman, Minion, Garamond, etc.). 

3. Manuscript should be around 100 to no more than 250 pages in length. We do not favor one length over the other. We are only concerned with the quality of every story in the collection.  

4. The author's name should not appear on the manuscript. We will find your contact information through Submittable.  

5. Please do not include a cover letter/sheet or acknowledgments of previous publications. Claire is only reading/judging the stories.

​Any questions or concerns, other than technical issues with the submissions manager, please contact

Submissions for the Press 53 Award for Short Fiction will open September 1, 2023 and will close at midnight Eastern Time on December 31, 2023. Press 53 reserves the right to extend the deadline.

Press 53