The Barry Hannah Prize for Fiction

2019 Theme: Food

Submissions are open October 1 – November 1. 


Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Review of Books.

We are proud to announce that our 2019 judge is Kiese Laymon, author of the novel Long Division, the essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and Heavy: An American Memoir, winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal and named one of The New York Times best books of the year.

Fee: $5

Prize: $500

Theme: Food

Food is about nourishment, pleasure, lack. Food bonds us through ritual, forges our connection to the earth, divides us into workers and consumers. Food is temporary; food is life. Submit one prose piece up to 4,000 words that incorporates food into the setting, plot, characters, or themes.

Submit here.



About the Prize

Beloved teacher and former director of the University of Mississippi MFA program, Barry Hannah was born in Meridian, Mississippi. He joined the UM faculty in 1982, and served as MFA director from 2001 until his death in 2010. Author of many works, including National Book Award finalist Geronimo Rex, the critically acclaimed collection Airships, and Pulitzer Prize finalist High Lonesome, Hannah received numerous awards during his career including The William Faulkner Prize and the Robert Penn Warren Lifetime Achievement Award. Known for his sharp use of language and electric energy, Hannah’s writing blends traditional genre conventions and pushes the limits of the Southern literary tradition. Named in memoriam, the Barry Hannah Prize in Fiction celebrates writing that captures the strange, surreal, absurd, and magical.


Congratulation to the 2018 Contest winners and finalists!

Theme: The United States South

Winner: “A Serious Job” by Joshua Gray

Garth Greenwell chose “A Serious Job” by Joshua Gray as the winning submission. Greenwell wrote: “This beautiful story tackles with uncommon sensitivity some of the most difficult subjects: family, sacrifice, the decline of a beloved body, our absolute vulnerability to one another. It’s finely wrought, unflinching, finally heartbreaking.”


“Aphrodite Reclining” by Ramona Reeves



“Morel” by Jennifer Marie Donahue

“Ghost Signs” by Sylvia Fox

“The Mouth in the Yard” by Riley Kross

“Slopes” by Winona Leon

“Toward a Theory of Alternative Lifestyles” by Theodore McCombs


2017 Contest winner and Finalists:
Theme: Fairy tale/myth/ folklore


Judge, Catherine Lacey, chose “Junkland.” by K.A. Rees as the winning submission. Lacey wrote: “Junkland. is a piercing meditation on wreckage and ruin of all sorts— human wastefulness, bodily injury, the oppressive weight of memory. Yet its language is nimble, agile, unexpected. At the heart of this story there is a deep, alluring tension— heavy and ebullient, clear and mysterious, tender and sharp.”



“Now You’ll Have Something to Cry About” by C.G. Thompson

“Toy Whistle” by Cezarija Abartis


“In Floating Fields” by Susan DeFreitas
“Lullaby (Dark Night)” by Jeanne Genis
“Time and Oranges” by Molly Gutman
“Ladies’ Night at the Arctic Club” by Thomas Israel Hopkins
“The Laughing Owl” by Kaely Horton
“Meat Shack” by Kate Jayroe
“Holy Ground” by Joshua Storrs