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Blair is a small, independent press interested in publishing voices from beyond the mainstream. We publish prose and poetry by underrepresented writers such as women, people of color, authors with disabilities, LGBT authors, and experimental writers.

We are also interested in nonfiction works, particularly those by underrepresented writers, authors working on subject of cultural, natural, and historical interest in the American South and beyond. Prospective writers should study our existing title list to see how their subjects might fit within the interest and mission of the press.

We do not publish plays, translations, or genre fiction such as detective novels, crime novels, fantasy, or science fiction. We do not publish religious tracts, self-help books, or academic theses. We do not publish books that have already been self-published or published in their entirety. We no longer publish unsolicited children’s books. We do not, at this time, have need of illustrators or employees (though we do love volunteers!).

We accept one student intern per semester.
To apply, send a cover letter and resume by email.

Literary agents and authors with nonfiction book proposals should send submissions to blairsubmissions[at]

We welcome unsolicited fiction and memoir submissions via our three contests below.




Submissions for the Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman are NOW CLOSED. The next submission period for this contest will open in spring 2020. The Bakwin Award honors full-length prose work (novel, short story collection, or memoir) by an author who is a woman. The winner will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the winning book will be published by Blair. 

Please visit our Submittable page for more information on how to submit to this contest.

Lee Smith Novel Prize

Submissions for the next Lee Smith Novel Prize are NOW CLOSED. We will be reading these entries, with finalists announced fall 2018. The next submission period will open in summer 2019.


Submissions for the Carolina Wren Press Poetry Series are NOW CLOSED. The most recent winner is Binary Stars by Dana Koster, which was published in 2017. Please see the "Contest Results" section below for additional details.


Contest Results


August 2, 2017

We’re thrilled to announce the latest winner of our Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman: May-lee Chai, for her story collection Useful Phrases for Immigrants!

May-lee is the author of eight previous books and a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, among other honors. Her stories, essays, and journalism have appeared in publications such as The Rumpus, Gulf Coast, Entropy, and elsewhere. May-lee was born in California but has lived in fourteen states in the U.S. and four countries. She received her M.F.A. from San Francisco State University.

Useful Phrases for Immigrants was selected from 234 entries. The finalists included Jubilee by Jenn Givhan and Kissing the Indigo Sky by Angela Threatt. The winner was judged by author Tayari Jones. Jones was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, where she spent most of her childhood, with the exception of the one year she and her family spent in Nigeria. Although she has not lived in her hometown for more than a decade, much of her writing centers on the urban South. “Although I now live in the northeast,” she explains, “my imagination lives in Atlanta.” Her novels include Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, and Silver Sparrow, all of which have received several awards and accolades, including the Hurston/Wright Award for Debut Fiction and the Lillian C. Smith Award for New Voices. Her newest novel, An American Marriage, will be published in 2018.

Congratulations to May-lee and all of our Bakwin Award finalists! Carolina Wren Press will publish May-lee’s collection Useful Phrases for Immigrants in fall 2018.



January 13, 2017

We’re thrilled to announce the latest winner of the Lee Smith Novel Prize: Beaut, by Donald Morrill.

Beaut is the unforgettable first-person account of a woman whose difficult children (and in particular her meth-addicted son known as “the Monster”) have ruled and overruled her life. As her children work variously to protect her, win her favor, and borrow her money, she sits in an apartment near a ring road of Des Moines typing the poetic and wry account of her life. She is processing two last-minute surprises: the prospect of new love and a house fire that may be the work of her troubled son. She writes, “I’m in need of a great reckoning.” With this reckoning, for herself and for another who is initially unnamed, she confronts her wobbly circumstances, her charge as a mother and grandmother, and her own desires for the future. In the telling, she revisits an early love affair, weighs a mother’s warring love and ambivalence, and illuminates the mysteries of inheritance, until finally, her family must radically revise their image of who she is—their mother, the ultimate assumption in their lives.

The purpose of the Lee Smith Novel Prize is to recognize and publish authors living in, writing about, or originally from the U.S. South. Donald Morrill, who currently teaches at the University of Tampa, is an esteemed poet and nonfiction writer, and we could not be more excited to publish his first novel!


Dana Koster

May 10, 2016

Carolina Wren Press is pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 Carolina Wren Press Poetry Series contest: Binary Stars by Dana Koster.

Binary Stars was chosen from a field of more than 175 entries by Sam Witt, poet and poetry editor for Jaded Ibis Press. Of the work, Sam Witt has written: Binary Stars, the debut book of poems by Dana Koster, is a profoundly moving, lyrically intelligent, and beautifully crafted series of poems, as complex in its metonymic interplay as it is breathtakingly pure in its human and natural moments.  It begins with a stunning question that sets the terms of this lyric universe: “How did we smell it when our heads were screwed / into our helmets?”  As the title suggests, Koster’s poems are expansive and galactic in their metaphoric reach, often engaging human relationships—parent and child, lover and lover—as the movement of heavenly bodies. But they are also equal parts naturalistic and surrealistic.  It’s as though John Donne, Stephen Hawking, and Emily Dickinson have teamed up to write poems.  They also have the delicacy and ecological imprint of a poem by Roethke, with poems like “Hummingbird Heart” operating at the macro, micro, quantum, and planetary level simultaneously:  “As long as you’re in there,” the speaker says to her in utero child, “I have two hearts. This old standard / that rattles my chest and yours– / swooping across the monitor, / little flutter on the screen.”

Dana Koster earned her BA in English from UC Berkeley and MFA in poetry from Cornell University. From 2011-2013, she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow. Koster’s poems have appeared in EPOCH, Indiana Review, Southern Humanities Review, the Cincinnati Review, MUZZLE Magazine, THRUSH Poetry Journal, The Collagist, and many others. She has work in the anthologies Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books and More Than Soil, More Than Sky: The Modesto Poets. In 2012, she was awarded a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize. She lives in Modesto, California, with her husband and young sons, where she works as a wedding photographer.

Binary Stars by Dana Koster and Little Domesday Clock by Sam Witt were published by Carolina Wren Press in 2017.