2021 PRIZES

We're pleased to announce the Steel Toe Books 2021 Prize in Poetry and the Steel Toe Books 2021 Prize in Prose, for fiction and nonfiction is open! 

All books submitted to the awards are considered for general publication and are published as print and eBooks. In addition to the winner, we  look to publish 1-3 other titles in each category. 

Please Meet Our 2021 Poetry Judge: Kelli Allen

Kelli Allen’s  work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in the US and  internationally. Allen is the Founding Editor of Book of Matches  literary journal. She is an award-wining poet, editor, and dancer. She  is the recipient of the 2018 Magpie Award for Poetry. Her latest book is  Banjo's Inside Coyote (C&R Press, 2019).

Please Meet Our 2021 Prose Judge, for fiction and nonfiction: Brian Leung

Brian Leung is the author of Take Me Home (HarperCollins), which was a recipient of a Willa Award for Historical Fiction. World Famous Love Acts (Sarabande Books), the recipient of both the Mary McCarthy Award in  Short Fiction and the Asian American Literary Award for fiction, and the  well-received novel, Lost Men (Random House). His latest book is Ivy vs Dogg: With a Cast of Thousands! (C&R Press).


In addition, we have an open chapbook category which includes an honorarium, copies, and an invitation to read at our next event! We  publish 1-3 chapbooks per year. 

Steel Toe has published 24 books since 2003 and is excited to begin publishing fiction and nonfiction in 2021 from our 2020 awards.

Please see individual entry categories for guidelines.  All submissions are read blind and delivered as such to judges who choose the final selection and shortlist.

In addition to the prize winners, we consider all other submissions for publication. 

Please send us your edgy and risk-taking, diverse and dynamic work! All subject matter welcome, inclusive of historically marginalized voices.



$500 award and publication for a full length collection of prose in the form of Novel, Short Story, Essay, Creative Nonfiction, Memoir and hybrid forms. No maximum page count. All manuscripts are considered for standard publication. Longlist, award, and shortlist are announced in October 2021. The selection will also receive a $1,000 promotional campaign across social media and other ad networks.

Deadline September 1, 2021

Submission Guidelines:

Include a summary of the book as well as a longer synopsis (250 words max) in the section below and submit the manuscript separately with no identifying marks.  Please also include a bio.

Manuscript Formatting Guidelines:

12 point font, double spaced.

***please remove all identifying marks from the submission***

We encourage all identities, peoples, and positive beliefs to submit!

STB is looking to publish 1-3 full length books from our open submission pool, selected by the editor and other staff each year. Our prize submissions are selected by judges, so our open submission period will be looked at with a different eye.  We offer 15 copies and a standard publication contract, with invitations to events and readings. All books are distributed with Small Press Distribution.

Deadline: July 1, 2021


Submission Guidelines:

Please include a short bio, a general synopsis, and a detailed synopsis in the section below and attach your submission separately with no identifying marks.  You can also include beneath the synopsis an optional self-critique and discussion of themes and craft in your work.

We encourage all identities, peoples, and positive beliefs to submit!


Manuscript Formatting Guidelines:

12 point font, single space for poetry and double space for prose. Standard font style.  

***please remove author name and other author identifying remarks from the submission***



Ends on $25.00
$25.00

$500 award and publication for a full-length poetry collection. No maximum page count. All manuscripts are considered for standard publication. Longlist, award, and shortlist are announced in October 2021. The selection will also receive a $1,000 promotional campaign across social media and other ad networks.

Deadline September 1, 2021

Submission Guidelines:

Please include a short bio and synopsis in the section below and attach your submission separately with no identifying marks.

Manuscript Formatting Guidelines:

12 point font, single space.

***please remove author name and other author identifying remarks from the submission***

We encourage all identities, peoples, and positive beliefs to submit!

Steel Toe Books