Chicago Tribune Nelson Algren Literary Contest

There are presently no open calls for submissions.

Submissions for the 2020 Nelson Algren Literary Award are open from Dec. 20, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. Central Time to Feb. 17, 2020 at 1:00p.m. Central Time

The Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Literary Awards is a nationally recognized contest for original short fiction, named in honor of the Chicago literary great Nelson Algren. The  Tribune is partnering with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation to present the 2020 contest.  The contest has been held annually since 1981. The award has been presented to a number of distinguished authors, including Louise Erdrich and Stuart Dybek.  

There will be one grand prize winner ($3,500) and five finalists ($750).

Official Contest Rules:  


• Stories must be fiction and must not have been previously published.

Stories must be written in English, double-spaced, and no longer than 8,000 words.

Entrant’s name must not appear anywhere on or in the submitted Story, including but not limited to identification of the Story author on the pages of the submitted Story. 

• Stories must be original to entrant (not copied, adapted, or reproduced from any other source and not a collaboration with any other person).

• All characters in your Story must be entirely fictional and not based on any actual person, whether or not living.

• Stories must not infringe any trademark or trade name.

• Stories must be appropriate for publication in a commercially distributed general-audience publication.

• Stories must not violate the rights of any other person or company (including but not limited to privacy rights, rights of publicity, copyrights and trade secrets).

• Stories must not defame, libel, or slander anyone or any entity.

• Stories must not contain or describe any obscene, vulgar, offensive, profane, provocative or otherwise inappropriate content.

• Any Entry or Story that is determined by Chicago Tribune in its sole discretion at any time to violate the Submission Requirements or these Official Rules, or to otherwise be unsuitable, offensive or in poor taste, may be rejected and the accompanying Entry disqualified even if the Entry has previously been submitted for Judging (defined below). Chicago Tribune retains sole discretion as to whether any Story satisfies the Submission Requirements and its decisions are final.

Chicago Tribune Nelson Algren Literary Contest