Up North Poetry Prize

Prize Now Closed

Win $500 + Publication / Poetry / September 1 – November 15

Judge: John McCarthy

Contest Guidelines:

  • Open to writers from or writing about the Midwest, who haven’t yet published a full-length book, and who have no book forthcoming before November 15, 2017. Writers with chapbooks and self-published books are allowed.
  • Submit up to three poems of any length.
  • All work will be considered for inclusion in Up North Lit.
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but please notify us immediately if the work we are considering has been accepted elsewhere. 
  • Winner and finalists to be published in Up North Lit.
  • Only previously unpublished work will be considered.
  • This contest will be judged blindly, so please do not include your cover letter, your name, or any contact information in your uploaded document.
  • Submit your work as a single .doc, .docx, or .pdf file.
  • Close friends of the judge, as well as close friends or family of Up North Lit editors, staff, and readers are prohibited from submitting
  • $5 entry fee to submit
  • Optional $12 entry fee will include a one-year subscription to Up North Literary Journal (free to current subscribers).


John mccarthy, 2017 judge

John McCarthy is the author of Ghost County (Midwestern Gothic Press, 2016), which was named a Best Poetry Book of 2016 by The Chicago Review of Books. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2015Copper NickelNew Poetry from the Midwest 2017, Redivider, Sycamore Review, and Zone 3. He is the 2016 winner of The Pinch Literary Award in Poetry. John edited the anthology [Ex]tinguished & [Ex]tinct (Twelve Winters Press, 2014). He is also the Managing Editor of Quiddity International Literary Journal and Public-Radio Program. He has been a writer-in-residence at creative centers in Iceland and France. John currently lives in Illinois.