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Announcing Indiana Review/IU Press Blue Light Book Prize!

We at Indiana Review are thrilled to announce Blue Light Books, a new book series partnership with the excellent Indiana University Press. The Blue Light Book Prize will rotate each year between short story and poetry collections. The inaugural Prize, awarded in 2016, will be for a short story collection. The first awarded Prize aims to display a stunning collection of fiction and will be published through IU Press. The winner will be awarded $2,000, publication, be flown out to read at our 2017 Blue Light Reading here in beautiful Bloomington, IN, and will be selected through an anonymous reading by Michael Martone.

The name for the collaboration was inspired by a blue light outside of the Indiana Review offices, which are located at the end of a long hallway. When the office is open, the blue light is turned on. Our annual spring Blue Light Reading has come to symbolize our sense of openness and larger dedication to the literary community, and we are proud to expand this commitment with our Blue Light Books Prize.

The short story collection submissions window is December 1, 2015 to February 15, 2016 (midnight EST). No translations will be accepted. Work previously published in journals can be included in the collection, provided IU Press can be granted rights to reprint the work.

The award-winning work will be fresh, innovative, and exciting, and aims to showcase the talents of both emerging and established writers. There are no restrictions on subject matter.

A $20 submission fee is required upon manuscript submission.

IR does not accept hard-copy submissions. Any hard-copy manuscripts received will be recycled unread.

Manuscripts should be submitted online through IR’s website. During the contest period, guidelines can be found at:

Manuscripts should be 35,000-45,000 words (140-180 manuscript pages) in length.

No manuscripts with interior art will be considered.

Entrant’s name must not appear on the submission.

Cover letter must include name, address, phone number, and title. Entrant’s name should appear ONLY in the cover letter.

Be sure to select the genre “2016 Blue Light Book Prize” on the submission form after payment.

Entries submitted before the opening date or after the deadline will not be considered.

Simultaneous submissions are okay, but the entry fee is non-refundable if the submitted work is accepted elsewhere.

Further, IR cannot consider work from anyone currently or recently affiliated with Indiana University. Previous IR contributors are eligible to submit.

8 Responses to “Announcing Indiana Review/IU Press Blue Light Book Prize!”

  1. Lynn Stansbury

    Various iterations of this announcement give different information on length (30,000-35,000 words v. 30,000-45,000) and the inclusions of previously published stories in the collection (flyer to writing programs, “no”; above, essentially, okay with IU permission to reprint; other sites, no mention.) Please clarify. Thank-you!

    • Peter Kispert


      Our apologies for any confusion, and thank you for being in touch. Our guidelines are available through the Blue Light Books tab on our site, but to clarify: 30-45K words, and stories can absolutely be previously published. Thank you for bringing this to our attention!

      all best,
      The Editors

  2. Jim Poyser

    What does “recently affiliated” mean? I know a 2012 graduate of IU who would like to submit.

    • Peter Kispert

      Hi, Jim:

      Good question — a 2012 graduate is eligible to submit, provided she or he is not affiliated with any of the current Indiana Review staff.

      The Editors

  3. James

    What exactly constitutes interior art? Would a couple of stray diagram type things that are black and white count?

    • Peter Kispert


      Thank you for the question — a few interior black-and-white diagrams should be fine.

      all best,
      The Editors
      Indiana Review

      • James

        Thanks–one more question. The guidelines say 35k-45k words, or 140-180 manuscript pages. The manuscript I’m wanting to submit, which is double spaced and in Times New Roman, 12 pt font, with 1″ Margins all the way around, is 178 pages, but a little over 55k words (I think part of this discrepancy is due heavy use of footnotes in one story, otherwise, I have no idea).

        Is the word count the thing to go by? Or the page count?

        • Peter Kispert


          That should be fine as well — we simply ask that no submissions greatly exceed either guideline. It seems your collection falls acceptably within the restrictions.

          The Editors