Quill Prose Award

Queer literature is often found in the side stacks, in the back of the bookstore, under “Gay and Lesbian.” These authors are put into a genre that barely fits them, excluded from mainstream funding, and alienated by submission questionnaires and prying questions about identity and the underlying, “What are you?” The contradiction is that though labels can be alienating, they can also be empowering and community building. Red Hen Press seeks to work against the negative politics of labeling while honoring and empowering authors who identify as queer.

Award details

Book publication by Red Hen Press
Final Judge: Carlos Allende
Deadline: November 30, 2023

Note: Entry Fee is $10. Name on cover sheet only; 25,000-word minimum (approximately 150 pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman 12pt font); prose (fiction or nonfiction) by a queer writer only.

Submissions are currently 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 refusal, 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 Tobi Harper.

Quill Prose Award Winners

2022: The Bog Mermaid by Cherry Potts
Judged by Elizabeth Bradfield

2021: Carrion by Wes Jamison
Judged by Kazim Ali

2020: From the Longing Orchard by Jessica Jopp
Judged by Amber Flame

2019: Coffee, Shopping, Murder, Love by Carlos Allende
Judged by Uzodinma Iweala

2018: Summer of the Cicadas by Chelsea Catherine
Judged by David Francis

2017The Falls of the Wyona by David Brendan Hopes
Judged by Ryka Aoki

2016: Flannelwood by Raymond Luczak
Editor’s Choice by Tobi Harper

2016Scissors, Paper, Stone by Martha K. Davis
Judged by Celeste Gainey

About Tobi Harper, Founder and Editor of Quill

Tobi Harper is Deputy Director of Red Hen Press. While completing an M.A. in English Literature, Tobi served as Editor-in-Chief of San Francisco State University’s graduate student journal Interpretations and wrote a thesis titled “‘What is it?’: Examining Narrative Shifts in Twentieth-Century Genderqueer Novels.” This thesis was presented in an abbreviated form in 2014 at Queer Yo Mind Conference in San Francisco, CA, and in 2013 at Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association Conference in San Diego, CA. While serving as the “Queerstorian” Officer of the Queer Student Union, Tobi co-founded and co-organized the First Annual Isla Vista Pride Festival in 2010 as well as the Big Queer, Little Queer mentor program in 2009. Tobi Harper, along with Red Hen Press, is committed to the queer in the matter, the wicked other, the celebration of acceptance, love, and the story that dare not speak its name.