Photo credit: Barrett Watten

Essay Press is now reading for its open book contest, to be judged by Essay author Carla Harryman. We particularly welcome book-length manuscripts that extend or challenge the formal range of nonfiction—including, but not limited to, lyric essays and prose poems/poetics; experimental biography and autobiography; innovative approaches to journalism, experimental historiography, criticism, scholarship and philosophy. Collaborative manuscripts, digital and hybridized text/art manuscripts all are encouraged. Each completed submission will be considered with care by multiple readers, and all manuscripts will be considered for additional publishing possibilities.

All submissions due by May 15, 2016 at midnight PST.


Known for her boundary breaking and genre-bending work, Carla Harryman is the author of 18 books, including the Essay Press collection Adorno’s Noise, the prose diptych W— /M—, Baby, and Gardener of Stars: A Novel. An active collaborator, she is author of The Wide Road (with Lyn Hejinian, 2011) and one of 10 co-authors of The Grand Piano, An Experiment in Collective Autobiography: San Francisco, 1975-1980. Open Box, a CD of music and voice performances created with composer and musician Jon Raskin, was released on the Tzadik label in 2012. Harryman’s interdisciplinary, bi-lingual and Poets Theater performances have been presented nationally and internationally. At the invitation of dOCUMENTA 13 (2012), she performed with improviser Magda Mayas her score Occupying Theodore W. Adorno’s “Music and New Music,” a piece that rewrites Adorno’s 1959 lecture as a text for structured improvisation. Sue in Berlin, a collection of performance writings, is forthcoming in English and French volumes from To / Jusqu’a Press, Universitaire de Rouen et du Havre. Her recent essays include “How to Read the Principle of Hope,” a meditation on pedagogy, history, and the philosophy of hope, forthcoming in December 2016 in Kenning press’s Ordinance Series. She serves on the faculty of Eastern Michigan University, where she coordinates the creative writing program. She lives in Detroit and elsewhere.


The 2015 Open Book Contest winner was Selah Saterstrom’s Ideal Suggestions: Essays in Divinatory Poetics selected by guest judge Kristin Prevallet and forthcoming in 2016.

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Essay Press is pleased to announce the two winners of the 2016 Essay Press Open Book Contest judged by Carla Harryman: Litany for the Long Moment by Mary-Kim Arnold and Of Sphere by Karla Kelsey, which will be published in Fall 2017.