Vela’s Second Nonfiction Contest

We’re excited to announce Vela’s Second Nonfiction Contest, which will be judged by Claire Vaye Watkins. Contest opens September 15, 2016 and, after a recently announced deadline extension, will close December 1 (11:59 PM PST). Winner will receive $1000 and publication.

We’re looking for creative nonfiction, written by women, with a strong voice, a compelling narrative, and/or a powerful driving question. We’re interested in a wide range of essays, including literary journalism, personal essays, memoir, and experimental essays. We are not a “women’s magazine,” and are not looking for work that is written solely for a female audience.

For a better sense of Vela’s aesthetic, take a look at some of the work in our archives.

Submission guidelines:
· Please submit original, unpublished nonfiction of up to 6,000 words. Pieces posted on blogs and zines are considered having been previously published.
· Manuscript pages should be numbered and should include the title of the piece.
· All manuscripts will be read blind. Please remove names and/or any identifying information from the manuscript. Use the cover letter box in Submittable to provide your name, email address, phone number, and mailing address.
· Entry fee is $20 per submission.
· Simultaneous submissions are acceptable only if Vela is notified immediately upon acceptance elsewhere.
· All submissions will be considered for publication.
· Contest is open to women only and is not limited to writers in the US.


Please contact us at with any questions concerning the contest.


About Vela: Vela is entering its fifth year as a nonfiction magazine dedicated entirely to writing by women. Stories from Vela have been recognized as notable in The Best American Essays, The Best American Travel Writing, and The Best American Sports Writing, and have been selected for inclusion in The Best Women’s Travel Writing Volumes 8, 9, and 10.

Your submission fee will help Vela, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, continue to pay women writers and give them a wide audience.

About the contest judge: Claire Vaye Watkins’ stories and essays have appeared in Granta, Tin House, The Paris Review, One Story, Glimmer Train, Best of the West, Best of the Southwest, The New York Times and many others. She is the author of Gold Fame Citrus and Battleborn, which won the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. A Guggenheim Fellow, Claire is on the faculty of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. She is also the co-director, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.