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 nonfiction 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.


Anthology Proposals* are accepted year-round. 

*(Note: An anthology is a collection of work by multiple authors, compiled by an editor. Do not submit a single-author manuscript in this category. It will not be considered.)


General Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry in Translation submissions are open during the month of October only.


We do not consider self-help, how-to, or "inspirational" manuscripts.


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 Eric Pankey (poetry) and Victor LaValle (fiction).
-The Orison Anthology Awards for single works in 3 genres (poetry, fiction, & nonfiction; submission period: May 1 - August 1). This year's judges are Zeina Hashem Beck, Richard Yañez, and Gayle Brandeis.

Orison Books is committed to running ethical and transparent contests. Current or former students of a judge, or anyone with a close personal relationship with that judge, are not eligible to submit in the category in question. Judges also never see author names until after they have made their selections. Orison Books also undertakes never to extend contest deadlines, except in the case of technical problems or other events that would prevent submitters from entering the contest by the original deadline.

Orison Books releases all titles in print, and fiction 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. We offer 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 finest spiritually engaged writing 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. (Categories will only appear during their respective submission periods.)

Ends on April 1, 2019$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.

  • Do not include your name anywhere in your manuscript file or file name, 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.
  • Individual poems and stories or excerpts may have been previously published in periodicals and/or chapbooks, but the manuscript as a whole must not have been published in book form, whether digital or in print. Self-published manuscripts are considered previously published and are not eligible.
  • Fiction manuscripts may consist of short stories, a novel, a novella, flash/micro fiction, or any combination of forms, as long as the manuscript meets 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.
  • Orison Books is committed to running ethical and transparent contests. Current or former students of a judge, or anyone with a close personal relationship with that judge, are not eligible to submit in the category in question. Judges also never see author names until after they have made their selections. Orison Books also undertakes never to extend contest deadlines, except in the case of technical problems or other events that would prevent submitters from entering the contest by the original deadline.

2019 judges
Poetry: Eric Pankey
Fiction: Victor LaValle

About the judges:

Eric Pankey is the author of numerous books of poems, most recently Augury and Crow-Work. His poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared widely in such journals and anthologies as The New YorkerThe Kenyon ReviewPoetry Magazine, and Best American Poetry. A recipient of the Walt Whitman Award, Pankey has been awarded fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ingram Merril Foundation. Pankey is a professor of English and the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University.

Victor LaValle is the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus and four novels, most recently The Changeling, as well as two novellas. He is also the creator and writer of the comic book Victor LaValle’s DESTROYER. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Whiting Writers’ Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Shirley Jackson Award, an American Book Award, and the key to Southeast Queens. He teaches at Columbia University.

Ends on April 1, 2019$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.

  • Do not include your name anywhere in your manuscript file or file name, 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.
  • Individual poems and stories or excerpts may have been previously published in periodicals and/or chapbooks, but the manuscript as a whole must not have been published in book form, whether digital or in print. Self-published manuscripts are considered previously published and are not eligible.
  • Fiction manuscripts may consist of short stories, a novel, a novella, flash/micro fiction, or any combination of forms, as long as the manuscript meets 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.
  • Orison Books is committed to running ethical and transparent contests. Current or former students of a judge, or anyone with a close personal relationship with that judge, are not eligible to submit in the category in question. Judges also never see author names until after they have made their selections. Orison Books also undertakes never to extend contest deadlines, except in the case of technical problems or other events that would prevent submitters from entering the contest by the original deadline.

2019 judges
Poetry: Eric Pankey
Fiction: Victor LaValle

About the judges:

Eric Pankey is the author of numerous books of poems, most recently Augury and Crow-Work. His poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared widely in such journals and anthologies as The New YorkerThe Kenyon ReviewPoetry Magazine, and Best American Poetry. A recipient of the Walt Whitman Award, Pankey has been awarded fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ingram Merril Foundation. Pankey is a professor of English and the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University.

Victor LaValle is the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus and four novels, most recently The Changeling, as well as two novellas. He is also the creator and writer of the comic book Victor LaValle’s DESTROYER. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Whiting Writers’ Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Shirley Jackson Award, an American Book Award, and the key to Southeast Queens. He teaches at Columbia University.

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 15 - 30 pages of sample content.


(Note: An anthology is a collection of work by multiple authors, compiled by an editor. Do not submit a single-author manuscript in this category. It will not be considered.)


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 15 - 30 pages of sample content.


(Note: An anthology is a collection of work by multiple authors, compiled by an editor. Do not submit a single-author manuscript in this category. It will not be considered.)

Orison Books