Cai Emmons Fiction Award

To honor the life and enduring legacy of beloved novelist Cai Emmons, who published three novels through Red Hen Press (Weather Woman, Sinking Islands, and Livid) and who passed away with dignity on January 2, 2023 after a hard-fought battle with ALS, Red Hen Press is proud to announce the Cai Emmons Fiction Award.

We are so grateful to Cai and her family for choosing to endow this award to keep Cai’s spirit and love of life-changing fiction alive.

We are looking for a fresh and original story of fiction with a minimum of 150 pages. The awarded fiction manuscript is selected through an annual submission process which is open to all authors.

Award details

Book publication by Red Hen Press
Inaugural Judge: Aimee Liu
Deadline: January 15, 2024

Notes: Entry fee is $25.00. Name on cover sheet only, with a 25,000-word minimum (approximately 150 pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman 12pt font). Entries will be accepted via Submittable only.

Submissions are open for this award.


The award is open to all writers with the following exceptions:

  • Authors who have had a full-length work published by Red Hen Press, or a full-length work currently under consideration by Red Hen Press;
  • Employees, interns, or contractors of Red Hen Press;
  • Relatives of employees or members of the executive board of directors;
  • Relatives or individuals having a personal or professional relationship with any of the final judges where they have taken any part whatsoever in shaping the manuscript, or where, for whatever reason, selecting a particular manuscript might have the appearance of impropriety.

Procedures and Ethical Considerations

To be certain that every manuscript finalist receives the fairest evaluation, all manuscripts shall be submitted to the judges without any identifying material.

Bios, acknowledgments, and other identifying material shall be removed from judged manuscripts until the conclusion of the competition.

Red Hen Press is committed to maintaining the utmost integrity of our awards. Judges shall recuse themselves from considering any manuscript where they recognize the work. In the event of recusal, a manuscript score previously assigned by the managing editor of the press will be substituted.

For questions or to withdraw a submitted entry, please contact

Recent Winners of the Red Hen Press Fiction Award (2015–2022)