The Journal Non/Fiction Prize


Formerly known as the Sandstone Prize and The Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction.


The Journal, the literary magazine of The Ohio State University MFA Program in Creative Writing, selects one booklength collection of short prose each year for publication by The Ohio State University Press. The prize carries a cash award of $1500 and publication by The Ohio State University Press under its standard contract.

The winning entry will be chosen by Michael Kardos, author of the novels Before He Finds Her (2015) and The Three-Day Affair, an Esquire best book of 2012, as well as the story collection One Last Good Time, which won the Mississippi Institute of Arts & Letters Award for fiction, and the textbook The Art and Craft of Fiction: A Writer’s Guide. His short stories have appeared in The Southern Review, Crazyhorse, Harvard Review, and many other magazines and anthologies, have won a 2015 Pushcart Prize, and were cited several times as notable stories in Best American Short Stories. He lives in Starkville, Mississippi, where he is an associate professor of English and co-director of the creative writing program at Mississippi State University

Submission window: December 20, 2016 - February 20, 2017

  • The award is open to writers of fiction and creative nonfiction, whether or not they have previously published a book.
  • The award is open to writers in English, whether or not they are citizens of the United States. Translations are not eligible.
  • The Ohio State University employees, former employees, current OSU MFA students, and those who have been OSU MFA students within the last ten years are not eligible for the award.
  • Eligible submissions include an unpublished manuscript of short stories or essays; two or more novellas or novella-length essays; a combination of one or more novellas/novella-length essays and short stories/essays; a combination of stories and essays. Novellas or novella-length nonfiction must be part of a larger collection. Manuscripts may be no fewer than 150 and no more than 350 typed double-spaced pages, 12-point font. Prior publication of your manuscript as a whole in any format (including electronic or self-published) makes it ineligible. Individual stories or essays that have been previously published may be included in the manuscript. Each submission must include a list of acknowledgments of previously published work (title and magazine/journal/anthology) included in the manuscript.
  • All submissions must be accompanied by a $25 entry fee.
  • All manuscripts will be judged anonymously. The author's name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript. All identifying information will be submitted through the online submission manager only.
  • Manuscripts may also be under consideration by other publishers, but if a manuscript is accepted for publication elsewhere, the submission should be promptly withdrawn from consideration.
  • Authors may submit more than one manuscript to the competition as long as one manuscript or a portion thereof does not duplicate material submitted in another manuscript and a separate entry fee is paid.
  • Manuscripts must be received between December 20, 2016 and February 20, 2017 via our online submission manager: https://thejournal.submittable.com/submit
  • No hard-copy manuscript submissions will be considered.

    Contact Information -- Please note that email is preferred for a faster response.

    Email:  prize@thejournalmag.org

    Phone:  614-292-2242

Questions about these guidelines? Please e-mail us at prize@thejournalmag.org.

Previous winners

2015 Julie Hensley Landfall: A Ring of Stories
2013 Elizabeth Eslami Hibernate
2012 Cary Holladay The Deer in the Mirror
2011 Geoff Wyss How
2010 Diane Simmons Little America
2009 Matt Debenham The Book of Right and Wrong
2008 Paul Eggers The Departure Lounge
2007 Ric Jahna True Kin
2006 Morgan McDermott Owner’s Manual
2005 J. David Stevens Mexico Is Missing: And Other Stories
2004 Scott Kaukonen Ordination
2003 Gerald Shapiro

Little Men: Novellas and Stories

2002 Trudy Lewis The Bones of Garbo
2001 William J. Cobb The White Tattoo
2000 Wendy Rawlings Come Back Irish
1999 Molly Best Tinsley Throwing Knives
1998 Steven Polansky Dating Miss Universe
1997 John Clayton Radiance: Ten Stories