Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 6, 2016

The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize

The Winner of Kelly Light’s New Picture book Louise and Andie: The Art of Friendship I Carol Baldwin. Congratulations! Please send me your address.


In 1970, Louise Meriwether published her novel of life in the post–Harlem Renaissance era, Daddy Was a Number Runner. Nearly fifty years later it is still considered a classic. Following Paule Marshall’s 1959 Brown Girl, Brownstones, Daddy Was a Number Runner is one of the first contemporary American novels featuring a young black girl as the protagonist. The book inspired the careers of writers like Jacqueline Woodson and Bridgett M. Davis, among many others.

In order to celebrate Meriwether’s achievements and continue her legacy, the Feminist Press has partnered with TAYO Literary Magazine to launch a contest seeking the best debut books by women and nonbinary writers of color.

First time authors, submit your complete manuscript, either fiction, including novels and short story collections, or narrative memoir, of 50,000 to 80,000 words, and you could receive $5,000 and a publishing contract from the Feminist Press!

One winner will be announced in February 2017.




The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize is open to women and nonbinary writers of color (or those who self-identify as other than white) who are residents of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia, and US territories and possessions; 18 years of age or older at time of entry; and who have not had a book published or have a book under contract at the time of submission. All federal, state, and local regulations apply. LIMIT ONE ENTRY PER PERSON. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED. Employees of the Feminist Press and TAYO Literary Magazine and their immediate family members and persons living in their household are not eligible to enter.


There will be two (2) rounds of judging, as follows:

ROUND #1: All entries will be reviewed by a group of judges made up of staff, board members, and allies of the Feminist Press and TAYO Literary Magazine.

tatari Jones

Tayari Jones, Final Judge

Ana Castillo

Ana Castillo, Final Judge

ROUND #2: The top five (5) submissions chosen in the first round will be reviewed by acclaimed authors Tayari Jones and Ana Castillo, along with Feminist Press publisher and executive director Jennifer Baumgardner and TAYO Literary Magazine editor-in-chief Melissa Sipin. The panel will choose one manuscript as the winning entry from that group. The winner will be announced in February 2017.


DEADLINE for Contest entries is 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Time) on July 31, 2016.


All manuscripts should be sent to louisemeriwetherprize [at] gmail [dot] com with the subject line “The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize” followed by your name and book title. Please send manuscript as a PDF, and also include a cover letter with the following: author statement, a brief bio, how your work fits with TAYO and the Feminist Press, a brief list of writers (up to three) you consider are part of your writing lineage, and your manuscript’s word count.

The work submitted for consideration may not be under contract elsewhere.


One winner will win $5,000 (half at the time of the initial award and half upon publication) and a contract to publish their book with the Feminist Press in print and digital editions in spring 2018. We expect to work closely with the winner and provide editorial guidance on their manuscript.

Questions & FAQs:

For more information and FAQs, please visit The Feminist Press’s announcement here! For the official press release, please visit: here.

Lastly, if you have any other questions, please contact lbrown [at] gc [dot] cuny [dot] edu, the Feminist Press’s Contest Coordinator. Thank you!

Talk tomorrow,


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