Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize

Each spring, Lake Forest College, in conjunction with &NOW Books, sponsors an emerging writer under forty years old—with no major book publication—to spend three weeks in residence at our campus in Chicago’s northern suburbs on the shore of Lake Michigan.

There are no formal teaching duties attached to the residency. Time is to be spent completing a manuscript, participating in the annual Lake Forest Literary Festival, and offering a series of public presentations.

The completed manuscript will be published (upon approval) by &NOW Books, an imprint of Lake Forest College Press, with distribution by Northwestern University Press.

The stipend is $10,000 with a housing suite and campus meals provided by the College.

For this year’s competition, we are seeking a fiction writer who will spend three weeks in residence on the Lake Forest College campus during the Spring 2017 term. The final judge will be the acclaimed novelist and short story writer Brian Evenson. Guidelines below. 

Photo Gallery

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    Recipients of the Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize stay in a suite in Glen Rowan House. Lake Michigan is one mile away.

2016 winners and finalists:


Meg Whiteford, Los Angeles, CA: An Ordered World 

Honorable Mention: 

Justin Daugherty, Atlanta, GA: Anthropocene 

Joel Hans, Tucson, AZ: What Stills Never Survives

Past winners:

2015 Winner (Prose):

Christopher Pérez, author of LOVE PANT ALIEN, a book of poems 

2014 Winner (Prose):

Matthew Nye, whose novel, Pike and Bloom, was released in February 2016.

2013 Winner (Poetry):

Cecilia K. Corrigan, whose book of poems, Titanic, was release in September 2014.

2012 Winner (Prose):

Elizabeth Gentry, whose novel, Housebound, was released in September 2013.

2011 Winner (Poetry):

José Perez Beduya, whose book, Throng, was released in September 2012. (Guest Judge: Jennifer Moxley.)

2010 Winner (Prose):

Gretchen Henderson, whose book Galerie de Difformité, was released in October 2011.

2009 Winner (Poetry):

Jessica Savitz, whose book Hunting is Painting, was released in October 2010.

Apply for the Madeleine P. Plonsker Prize

NOTE: The 2016 competition is now closed. We have reached our submission limit.

Guidelines / annual submission period: January 1–March 1

For the 2016 competition, we invite applications for a fiction writer under forty years old, with no major book publication, to spend three weeks (March or April) in residence at Lake Forest College.

Submit a 20- to 30-page excerpt of a manuscript in progress at Submittable.com. The competition opens on January 1, 2016; the closing deadline is March 1. Only the first 200 submissions will be considered, so apply early!

We will close submissions once we reach 200. There is no need to inquire as the total submissions received. 

Please note: The submission link will not accept submissions until January 1 of each new year.

Send, in a single file, WITHOUT your name, contact information, or other identifying marks:

A) A one-page statement of plans for completion; 
B) 30 pages of a manuscript in progress.

Your cover letter, pasted into the text box, should include the basic details of your cv or resume: education, employment, significant publications, etc. This information may be provided in narrative form.  

Entries will be screened by the editors of Lake Forest College Press / &NOW Books. The final judge for the 2016 competition is Brian Evenson.

Direct inquiries to andnow@lakeforest.edu with the subject line: Plonsker Prize.