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 2020 judges will be Katie Ford (poetry) and Samrat Upadhyay (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 are 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 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 an anonymous 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. 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.
 

  • Original English work only; no translations.
  • Do not include your name anywhere in your manuscript file or file name, but only in your Submittable profile and cover letter. 
  • 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.
  • Please include any publication acknowledgments in your cover letter, listing any periodicals where individual pieces from your manuscript first appeared. Acknowledgments should not appear in the manuscript file.
  • 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.
  • Existing Orison Books authors are not eligible for The Orison Prizes.
  • 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 the judge or the lead genre editor(s), or anyone with a close personal relationship with that judge or lead editor(s), 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 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.
  • Entry Fee: $30.
  • We only accept electronic submissions, which must be sent through our Submittable page.

 2020 judges
Poetry: Katie Ford
Fiction: Samrat Upadhyay

About the judges:

Katie Ford is the author of four poetry collections: Deposition, Colosseum, Blood Lyrics, and ​If You Have to Go, all published by Graywolf Press. Blood Lyrics was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and the Rilke Prize. Colosseum was named among the “Best Books of 2008” by Publishers Weekly and the Virginia Quarterly Review and led to a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Larry Levis Prize. Ford completed graduate work in theology and poetry at Harvard University, and received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Paris Review, The American Poetry Review, and the Norton Introduction to Literature. She teaches at the University of California, Riverside.

Samrat Upadhyay is the author of the short story collections Arresting God in Kathmandu (2001); The Royal Ghosts (2006), winner of the Asian American Literary Award; and Mad Country (2017). He is also the author of the novels The Guru of Love (2003), named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; Buddha’s Orphans (2010), longlisted for the DSC prize in India; and The City Son (2014), shortlisted for the PEN Open Book Award. Upadhyay co-edited the anthology Secret Places: New Writing from Nepal (2001), published as a special issue of Mānoa magazine. Upadhyay is the recipient of a Whiting Award in Fiction and his books have been translated into Czech, French, German, and Greek, among other languages. He is the Martha C. Kraft Professor of Humanities at Indiana University.

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 an anonymous 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. 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.

 

  • Original English work only; no translations.
  • Do not include your name anywhere in your manuscript file or file name, but only in your Submittable profile and cover letter. 
  • 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.
  • Please include any publication acknowledgments in your cover letter, listing any periodicals where individual pieces from your manuscript first appeared. Acknowledgments should not appear in the manuscript file.
  • Original English work only; no translations.
  • Do not include your name anywhere in your manuscript file or file name, but only in your Submittable profile and cover letter. 
  • 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.
  • Please include any publication acknowledgments in your cover letter, listing any periodicals where individual pieces from your manuscript first appeared. Acknowledgments should not appear in the manuscript file.
  • Poetry manuscripts must be 50-100 pages.
  • Existing Orison Books authors are not eligible for The Orison Prizes.
  • 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 the judge or the lead genre editor(s), or anyone with a close personal relationship with that judge or lead editor(s), 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 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.
  • Entry Fee: $30.
  • We only accept electronic submissions, which must be sent through our Submittable page.
  • 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.
  • Existing Orison Books authors are not eligible for The Orison Prizes.
  • 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 the judge or the lead genre editor(s), or anyone with a close personal relationship with that judge or lead editor(s), 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 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.
  • Entry Fee: $30.
  • We only accept electronic submissions, which must be sent through our Submittable page.

  2020 judges
Poetry: Katie Ford
Fiction: Samrat Upadhyay

About the judges:

Katie Ford is the author of four poetry collections: Deposition, Colosseum, Blood Lyrics, and ​If You Have to Go, all published by Graywolf Press. Blood Lyrics was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and the Rilke Prize. Colosseum was named among the “Best Books of 2008” by Publishers Weekly and the Virginia Quarterly Review and led to a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Larry Levis Prize. Ford completed graduate work in theology and poetry at Harvard University, and received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Paris Review, The American Poetry Review, and the Norton Introduction to Literature. She teaches at the University of California, Riverside.
Samrat Upadhyay is the author of the short story collections Arresting God in Kathmandu (2001); The Royal Ghosts (2006), winner of the Asian American Literary Award; and Mad Country (2017). He is also the author of the novels The Guru of Love (2003), named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; Buddha’s Orphans (2010), longlisted for the DSC prize in India; and The City Son (2014), shortlisted for the PEN Open Book Award. Upadhyay co-edited the anthology Secret Places: New Writing from Nepal (2001), published as a special issue of Mānoa magazine. Upadhyay is the recipient of a Whiting Award in Fiction and his books have been translated into Czech, French, German, and Greek, among other languages. He is the Martha C. Kraft Professor of Humanities at Indiana 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