Molly Ivors Prize for Fiction

This contest on hiatus until further notice. We did not open it up for 2016, and there are no plans to run it in 2017. The below information refers to the 2015 contest.


Photo by Dan Monick

Contest Description
Gorsky Press is pleased to announce our annual Molly Ivors Prize for Fiction.  The writer of the winning manuscript gets a $1,000 advance plus publication.  We are seeking book-length submissions of fiction.  We are open to novels, novellas, short story collections, and blended genres.  We know that “book-length” is a nebulous descriptor.  We want the manuscript to be long enough to go into a print object with a spine, which typically (but not necessarily) means at least 40,000 words.  Contemporary publishing standards place short story collections at somewhere around 60,000 words and novels at somewhere between 80,000 and 100,000 words.  These are not hard and fast numbers.  They are loose guidelines.

Entry Fee
There is a $25 entry fee.  The entry fee will help offset printing costs and the award for the winner.  No one is getting rich off this contest.  Our goal is simply to publish at least one book a year for which the quality of the manuscript is the main consideration.  The winning manuscript will become that book.

We will are currently accepting submissions.  The submission deadline is September 1, 2015.  Click the link below to submit your manuscript electronically.

Submit to Gorsky Press

We only accept online submissions.

Who is Molly Ivors?
Molly Ivors is one of our favorite fictional characters.  She steals a little bit of James Joyce’s story “The Dead” from the protagonist Gabriel.  She is a university-educated teacher and an ardent supporter of her local culture.  She confronts Gabriel about his literary column that aggrandizes British books while ignoring local ones.  She calls him out on his snobbery.  She is a strong, intelligent woman in early twentieth-century Ireland.  She’s passionate about her ideas.  She’s fearless.  One Joyce scholar pointed out to us that she’s no fun to dance with.  We agree that Gabriel didn’t enjoy dancing with her.  She was probably fun to dance with for everyone at the party who wasn’t quite as grandiose as Gabriel.

She’s a good model for the kind of author we’re looking for: smart, fearless, and passionate about sharing her (or his) ideas.

If you haven’t yet read “The Dead,” you can read it at Project Gutenberg.  You don’t have to read it before entering the contest.  You will not be quizzed on it.

Contest Behind the Scenes
Gorsky Press has entered into a partnership with the English Program at California State University Channel Islands for this project.  Students in Sean Carswell’s “Publishing House” class will help select the winning manuscript.  The class will work with Gorsky Press through every stage of publication, from the manuscript selection to the graphic design to the production of promotional materials.  This means that the winner will have a team of two dozen motivated individuals putting out her or his book.

It doesn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with our back catalog.  We understand it is difficult to discern a specific aesthetic for the press.  We have published a young adult novel, literary fantasy, rugged poetry, mainstream literary fiction, zine collections, and a couple of books that seem to defy any categorization.  We think they’re all linked by the three vague adjectives we used to describe Molly Ivors: smart, fearless, and passionate.  With that in mind, give us your best.  We’ll repay in kind.

The winner of this contest cannot be a student, former student, or faculty member of CSUCI. Employees and volunteers of Razorcake/Gorsky Inc. also may not participate.  If you fall into these categories, please do not enter the contest.  Everyone else is more than welcome.

Further Information
If you have additional questions, you can contact us by emailing to gorskypress [at]  Please be patient in waiting for a response.  We receive a lot of emails, and we work through them as quickly as we can.

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