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 three annual contests:

-The Orison Prizes in Poetry & Fiction for book-length manuscripts. Submission period: December 1 - April 1. The 2019 judges are Eric Pankey (poetry) and Victor LaValle (fiction).

-The Orison Chapbook Prize (NEW!) for manuscripts of 20-45 pages, in any genre (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or hybrid). Submission period: April 1 - July 1. Judged by Orison Books founder and editor, Luke Hankins.

-The Orison Anthology Awards for single works in 3 genres (poetry, fiction, & nonfiction). Submission period: May 1 - August 1. The 2019 judges will be Kaveh Akbar (poetry), Nina McConigley (fiction), and Stephanie Elizondo Griest (nonfiction).

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. Furthermore, Orison Books 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.)

Each year from April 1 - July 1 we accept submissions of chapbook manuscripts (20-45 pp.) in any genre (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or hybrid) for The Orison Chapbook Prize, judged by Orison Books founder and editor, Luke Hankins.

The winner will be awarded publication and a $300 cash prize and 20 copies of the chapbook, in addition to a standard royalties contract

Current or former students of the judge, or anyone with a close personal relationship with the judge, are not eligible to submit. In the event that the judge does not select a winner, 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.
  • Manuscripts by a single author or collaborative manuscripts of no more than three authors are acceptable.
  • Individual poems, stories, or essays--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.
  • Entry Fee: $12.
  • 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.

About the judge:

Luke Hankins is the founder and editor of Orison Books. He is the author of a collection of poems, Weak Devotions, and a collection of essays, The Work of Creation: Selected Prose. He is also the editor of Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poets. A collection of his translations from the French of Stella Vinitchi Radulescu, A Cry in the Snow & Other Poems, was released in an international edition from Seagull Books in 2019. Hankins is a graduate of the Indiana University MFA program, where he held the Yusef Komunyakaa Fellowship in Poetry. His poems, essays, and translations have appeared in numerous publications, including 32 PoemsAmerican Literary Review, The Collagist, Image, Linebreak, New England Review, New Poetry in Translation, Pleiades, Poetry International, Verse, West Branch, World Literature Today, and The Writer’s Chronicle, as well as on the American Public Media radio program “On Being.” He serves as Senior Editor at Asheville Poetry Review and as a staff book reviewer at Southern Humanities Review.  

Each year from May 1 – August 1 we accept entries of unpublished single works in three genres (fiction, non-fiction, & poetry) for consideration for The Orison Anthology Awards. The winner in each genre will receive a $500 cash prize as well as publication in The Orison Anthology,  an annual collection of the best spiritually engaged writing that  appeared in periodicals in the preceding year. (The unpublished work selected for The Orison Anthology Awards will be featured alongside the reprinted material.)

Submit up to 3 poems (15 pp. max), 1 story (up to 8,000 words), or 1 work of nonfiction (up to 8,000 words). You may submit in multiple genres and/or submit multiple entries in each genre, provided you pay an entry fee and upload separate files for each entry.


Entry Fee: $15
Submission Period: May 1 – August 1, 2019
2019 Judges:  Kaveh Akbar (poetry), Nina McConigley (fiction), and Stephanie Elizondo Griest (nonfiction).

All manuscripts should be anonymous; do not include any identifying information in your file, but only in your cover letter. Original English work only; no translations. Finalists will be selected by the editorial staff at Orison Books, and a winner will be selected in each genre by different prominent writers acting as contest judges each year. Current or former students of the judge in the genre in which they are submitting, or anyone with a close personal relationship with that  judge, are not eligible to submit. In the event that a judge does not select a winner in their genre 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 contest entrants.

Each year from May 1 – August 1 we accept entries of unpublished single works in three genres (fiction, non-fiction, & poetry) for consideration for The Orison Anthology Awards. The winner in each genre will receive a $500 cash prize as well as publication in The Orison Anthology,  an annual collection of the best spiritually engaged writing that  appeared in periodicals in the preceding year. (The unpublished work selected for The Orison Anthology Awards will be featured alongside the reprinted material.)

Submit  up to 3 poems (15 pp. max), 1 story (up to 8,000 words), or 1 work of nonfiction (up to 8,000 words). You may submit in multiple genres and/or submit multiple entries in each genre, provided you pay an entry fee and upload separate files for each entry.

Entry Fee: $15
Submission Period: May 1 – August 1, 2019
2019 Judges: Kaveh Akbar (poetry), Nina McConigley (fiction), and Stephanie Elizondo Griest (nonfiction).

All manuscripts should be anonymous; do not include any identifying information in your file, but only in your cover letter. Original English work only; no translations. Finalists will be selected by the editorial staff at Orison Books, and a winner will be selected in each genre by different prominent writers acting as contest judges each year. Current or former students of the judge in the genre in which they are submitting, or anyone with a close personal relationship with that  judge, are not eligible to submit. In the event that a judge does not select a winner in their genre 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 contest entrants.

Each year from May 1 – August 1 we accept entries of unpublished single works in three genres (fiction, nonfiction, & poetry) for consideration for The Orison Anthology Awards. The winner in each genre will receive a $500 cash prize as well as publication in The Orison Anthology, an annual collection of the best spiritually engaged writing that  appeared in periodicals in the preceding year. (The unpublished work selected for The Orison Anthology Awards will be featured alongside the reprinted material.)

Submit  up to 3 poems (15 pp. max), 1 story (up to 8,000 words), or 1 work of nonfiction (up to 8,000 words). You may submit in multiple genres and/or submit multiple entries in each genre, provided you pay an entry fee and upload separate files for each entry.

Entry Fee: $15
Submission Period: May 1 – August 1, 2019
2019 Judges: Kaveh Akbar (poetry), Nina McConigley (fiction), and Stephanie Elizondo Griest (nonfiction).

All manuscripts should be anonymous; do not include any identifying information in your file, but only in your cover letter. Original English work only; no translations. Finalists will be selected by the editorial staff at Orison Books, and a winner will be selected in each genre by different prominent writers acting as contest judges each year. Current or former students of the judge in the genre in which they are submitting, or anyone with a close personal relationship with that  judge, are not eligible to submit. In the event that a judge does not select a winner in their genre 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 contest entrants.

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