Orison Books is a 501(c)(3) non-profit literary press focused on the life of the spirit from a broad and inclusive range of perspectives. We seek to publish spiritually-engaged poetry, fiction, and non-fiction of exceptional literary merit. In our view, spiritual writing has little to do with subject matter. Rather, the kind of work we seek to publish has a transcendent aesthetic effect on the reader, and reading it can itself be a spiritual experience. Such work is not merely about spiritual contemplation, but itself leads the reader into profound contemplation. It is not merely about the sublime, but itself has a sublime effect on the reader. It is not merely about the mystery of being, but itself heightens the reader’s sense of the mystery underlying the fabric of our daily lives.

We seek to be broad, inclusive, and open to perspectives spanning the spectrums of spiritual and religious thought, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

We are interested in work originally written in English and work in English translation from any language. We are interested in all genres, including mixed or multiple genre works, or works that simply defy genre classification. We will also consider single- or multiple-genre anthology proposals.

General submissions are open year-round in the following categories:

-Non-fiction
-Poetry in Translation
-Anthology Proposals

General Fiction submissions are open during the month of October only.

We hold two annual contests:

-The Orison Prizes in Poetry & Fiction for book-length manuscripts (submission period: December 1 - April 1). This year's judges are Carl Phillips and David Haynes.
-The Orison Anthology Awards for single works in 3 genres (poetry, fiction, & non-fiction; submission period: May 1 - August 1)

Orison Books releases all titles in print, and prose titles in both print and e-book formats. When possible, we offer a small advance against royalties for books accepted for publication through our open submission periods, and a cash prize as well as a standard royalties contract for manuscripts selected as contest winners.

Orison Books publishes The Orison Anthology every year, a collection of the best spiritual writing in all genres published in periodicals in the preceding year. Editors of periodicals may submit work for consideration from August 1 - September 15.

To submit, select the appropriate category from our list and follow the guidelines there.


Ends on April 1, 2017$ 30.00
$ 30.00

Each year from December 1 - April 1 we accept submissions of full-length poetry (50-100 pp.) and fiction (30,000 word minimum) manuscripts for The Orison Prizes in Poetry and Fiction, judged by different prominent writers each year in a blind judging process.

The winning entry in each genre will be awarded publication and a $1,500 cash prize, in addition to a standard royalties contract

Finalists will be selected by the editorial staff at Orison Books, and the winners will be selected from among the finalist manuscripts by the judges. Current or former students of the judges, or anyone with a close personal relationship with the judges, are not eligible to submit. In the event that a judge in either genre does not select a winner from among the finalists, the Editor will select a winner. The editors also reserve the right to select no finalists, in which case all entry fees will be refunded to the entrants. All finalist manuscripts will be considered for publication under a standard royalties contract. 

  • All manuscripts will be read "blind"; do not include your name anywhere in your manuscript file, but only in your Submittable profile and cover letter. 
  • Please include an acknowledgments page in your manuscript listing any periodicals where individual pieces from your manuscript first appeared.
  • Original English work only; no translations.
  • Fiction manuscripts may consist of short stories, a novel, a novella, flash/micro fiction, or any combination of forms, as long as they meet the 30,000 word minimum.
  • Entry Fee: $30.
  • Electronic submissions through Submittable only.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted; please notify us immediately should a manuscript be accepted for publication elsewhere.
  • Multiple manuscripts may be submitted; each manuscript must be accompanied by a separate entry fee.

2017 Judges:
Poetry: Carl Phillips
Fiction: David Haynes

About the judges: 

Carl Phillips is the author of thirteen books, including Reconnaissance, winner of a 2016 PEN Literary Award, and Double Shadow, which won the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He has also translated Sophocles's Philoctetes and has written two books of prose, The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination and Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Life and Art of Poetry. Other honors include the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and awards and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Library of Congress, and the Academy of American Poets, to which he was named a Chancellor in 2006. Phillips teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.

David Haynes is the author of seven novels for adults and five books for younger readers. He is the Project Manager of Kimbilio, a community of writers and scholars committed to developing, empowering, and sustaining fiction writers from the African diaspora. Haynes is also a Professor of English at Southern Methodist University and is a faculty member of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He has received a fellowship from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and several of his short stories have been featured on the National Public Radio series “Selected Shorts.” His most recent novel is A Star in the Face of the Sky.

Ends on April 1, 2017$ 30.00
$ 30.00

Each year from December 1 - April 1 we accept submissions of full-length poetry (50-100 pp.) and fiction (30,000 word minimum) manuscripts for The Orison Prizes in Poetry and Fiction, judged by different prominent writers each year in a blind judging process.

The winning entry in each genre will be awarded publication and a $1,500 cash prize, in addition to a standard royalties contract

Finalists will be selected by the editorial staff at Orison Books, and the winners will be selected from among the finalist manuscripts by the judges. Current or former students of the judges, or anyone with a close personal relationship with the judges, are not eligible to submit. In the event that a judge in either genre does not select a winner from among the finalists, the Editor will select a winner. The editors also reserve the right to select no finalists, in which case all entry fees will be refunded to the entrants. All finalist manuscripts will be considered for publication under a standard royalties contract. 

  • All manuscripts will be read "blind"; do not include your name anywhere in your manuscript file, but only in your Submittable profile and cover letter. 
  • Please include an acknowledgments page in your manuscript listing any periodicals where individual pieces from your manuscript first appeared.
  • Original English work only; no translations.
  • Fiction manuscripts may consist of short stories, a novel, a novella, flash/micro fiction, or any combination of forms, as long as they meet the 30,000 word minimum.
  • Entry Fee: $30.
  • Electronic submissions through Submittable only.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted; please notify us immediately should a manuscript be accepted for publication elsewhere.
  • Multiple manuscripts may be submitted; each manuscript must be accompanied by a separate entry fee.

2017 Judges:
Poetry: Carl Phillips
Fiction: David Haynes

About the judges: 

Carl Phillips is the author of thirteen books, including Reconnaissance, winner of a 2016 PEN Literary Award, and Double Shadow, which won the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He has also translated Sophocles's Philoctetes and has written two books of prose, The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination and Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Life and Art of Poetry. Other honors include the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and awards and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Library of Congress, and the Academy of American Poets, to which he was named a Chancellor in 2006. Phillips teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.

David Haynes is the author of seven novels for adults and five books for younger readers. He is the Project Manager of Kimbilio, a community of writers and scholars committed to developing, empowering, and sustaining fiction writers from the African diaspora. Haynes is also a Professor of English at Southern Methodist University and is a faculty member of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He has received a fellowship from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and several of his short stories have been featured on the National Public Radio series “Selected Shorts.” His most recent novel is A Star in the Face of the Sky.

Non-fiction manuscript submissions are accepted year-round and may be submitted either through the no-fee option or through the $10 donation option, which will help with our administrative costs. (We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so donations are tax-deductible. If you would like to make a donation in an amount other than $10, please visit www.orisonbooks.com/donate.) Manuscripts will receive equal attention and consideration, regardless of whether they are submitted through the donation option or the no-fee option.

We consider all types of non-fiction, including essays, memoir, literary criticism, etc. Minimum word count: 30,000. We accept submissions from both agents and authors. We offer a small advance on royalties for all accepted manuscripts. Send a complete manuscript and include an author biography in the cover letter.
Non-fiction manuscript submissions are accepted year-round and may be submitted either through the no-fee option or through the $10 donation option, which will help with our administrative costs. (We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so donations are tax-deductible. If you would like to make a donation in an amount other than $10, please visit www.orisonbooks.com/donate.) Manuscripts will receive equal attention and consideration, regardless of whether they are submitted through the donation option or the no-fee option. 

We consider all types of non-fiction, including essays, memoir, literary criticism, etc. Minimum word count: 30,000. We accept submissions from both agents and authors. We offer a small advance on royalties for all accepted manuscripts. Send a complete manuscript and include an author biography in the cover letter.
Submissions of full-length (60 pp. minimum) poetry collections in English translation are accepted year-round. The translator must have permission to publish the translations, or the original work must be in the public domain per U.S. and international copyright law. Poetry in translation submissions are accepted year-round and may be submitted either through the no-fee option or through the $10 donation option, which will help with our administrative costs. (We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so donations are tax-deductible. If you would like to make a donation in an amount other than $10, please visit www.orisonbooks.com/donate.) Manuscripts will receive equal attention and consideration, regardless of whether they are submitted through the donation option or the no-fee option.
Submissions of full-length (60 pp. minimum) poetry collections in English translation are accepted year-round. The translator must have permission to publish the translations, or the original work must be in the public domain per U.S. and international copyright law. Poetry in translation may be submitted either through the no-fee option or through the $10 donation option, which will help with our administrative costs. (We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so donations are tax-deductible. If you would like to make a donation in an amount other than $10, please visit www.orisonbooks.com/donate.) Manuscripts will receive equal attention and consideration, regardless of whether they are submitted through the donation option or the no-fee option.
Single- or multiple-genre anthology proposals are accepted year-round and may be submitted either through the no-fee option or through the $10 donation option, which will help with our administrative costs. (We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so donations are tax-deductible. If you would like to make a donation in an amount other than $10, please visit www.orisonbooks.com/donate.) Proposals will receive equal attention and consideration, regardless of whether they are submitted through the donation option or the no-fee option. 

Send a one-page description of the anthology, biographical information for the editor(s), and upload 30 pages of sample content.

Single- or multiple-genre anthology proposals are accepted year-round and may be submitted either through the no-fee option or through the $10 donation option, which will help with our administrative costs. (We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so donations are tax-deductible. If you would like to make a donation in an amount other than $10, please visit www.orisonbooks.com/donate.) Proposals will receive equal attention and consideration, regardless of whether they are submitted through the donation option or the no-fee option. 

Send a one-page description of the anthology, biographical information for the editor(s), and upload 30 pages of sample content.