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 6-8 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 4-5 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), that is operated by our digital, online quarterly journal. 

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.

The Press 53 Blog is where you will meet and interact with some of our authors and editors.

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

View Your Submissions

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$30.00 USD

Ends on 12/31/2015

Award includes:
Publication by Press 53 of the winning short story collection.
$1,000 cash advance.
A quarter-page color ad announcing the winner in Poets & Writers Magazine

Ten copies of the finished book plus unlimited copies at a special discounted rate

The Press 53 Award for Short Fiction is awarded annually to an outstanding, unpublished collection of short stories. The contest is open to any writer, regardless of his or her publication history, provided the manuscript is written in English and the author lives in the United States.

Dates for submission: September 1, 2015-December 31, 2015 (Deadline is midnight Eastern Time).

Winner: The winner of the 2016 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction will be announced no later than May 1, 2016, on the Press 53 website, blog, via email, Facebook, and Twitter.

Award: The author of the winning manuscript will receive a cash advance of $1,000, a quarter-page color ad in Poets & Writers magazine, and publication of the manuscript in October 2016 under a standard Press 53 book contract with an option to purchase unlimited copies at a discount for as long as the book is in print. Awards will be delivered upon publication.

How to submit: Press 53 will accept electronic submissions via Submittable (to submit by mail, check our website for information)

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

Selection process: Press 53 publisher and editor-in-chief Kevin Morgan Watson will be the only judge of the competition; the contest will be judged solely on the strength of the stories as a collection. Note: Press 53 publishes an eclectic mix of styles ranging from magical realism to literary fiction, from very short to very long. Our author demographic is 60% women (and not by design), and includes people of all walks from all across the United States.

Eligibility: The competition is open to manuscripts written in the English language from writers at all levels who live in the United States. Authors who have published a book with Press 53 and editors who work for Press 53 are not eligible to enter.

Manuscript Guidelines:

1. Manuscripts should be 100 to 250 double-spaced pages in a standard 12-pt. font. We do not favor one length over the other. We are only concerned with the quality of the stories.

2. The award recognizes an outstanding collection of short fiction. Collections may include flash fiction, short fiction, long fiction, and may include a single novella (est. length of a novella is 50-100 pages). Novels or single novellas alone will not be considered.

3.  This is a blind readThe author's name should not appear on the manuscript, only on the cover letter.

4. Manuscript pages should be numbered. Please include a table of contents.

5. An Acknowledgments page of previous publication credits is not necessary. Manuscripts will be judged only on the strength of the stories.

6. Stories previously published in journals, magazines or anthologies, and stories that have won awards, may be (and probably should be) included in the manuscript.

7. Previously published story collections are not eligible, including self-published collections available as ebooks or in print.

8. Authors may submit more than one manuscript to the competition for consideration. Each submission will require a separate reading fee.

9. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but please withdraw your manuscript immediately if it is accepted by another publisher. Withdrawal can be completed via Submittable. Reading fees are not refundable.

10. Confirmation of receipt will be sent via e-mail by Submittable immediately after submission. An announcement of our winner and finalists will be sent to all entrants via email, and posted on the Press 53 website, blog, Facebook and Twitter on the dates indicated above.

If you have any questions or concerns other than technical issues with the submissions manager, please contact us via e-mail at We will respond as quickly as possible.