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Willow Springs Books is seeking submissions for the inaugural Emma Howell Rising Poet Prize, a first poetry book prize for poets 35 years old and younger who have not yet published a book-length poetry manuscript. 

The contest is in honor of Emma Howell who was born in Portland, Oregon, and died in 2001, at the age of twenty. She lived in Spain and Brazil and traveled widely. She left behind a loving family, many close friends, and a single volume of poetry, Slim Night of Recognition. In an effort to promote the publication of young poets and to honor Emma’s memory, as well as the time and effort her father, Christopher Howell, former Director of Willow Springs Books, has put into our press, we are ecstatic to be launching this new prize.


Poets 35 or younger who have not previously published a book-length poetry manuscript are eligible. Poets who have previously published chapbooks are welcome to enter.

Poets may submit one manuscript per year. Manuscripts that have been submitted in previous years may be resubmitted.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed. If you have submitted your manuscript elsewhere, we request that you notify us immediately if you have an offer for publication. If your submission is selected as the winner of the Emma Howell Rising Poet Prize, you must agree to immediately withdraw the manuscript from consideration elsewhere upon your naming as the winner.


Submissions must be original, book-length poetry manuscripts (minimum of 48 pages) written in English. There is no maximum page count. Translations are not accepted. One manuscript per submission. 

Manuscripts must contain page numbers and a table of contents. Individual poems may have been previously published in journals, chapbooks, anthologies, or limited edition volumes, but please note which poems and where they have been published on an acknowledgments page. The collection as a whole must be previously unpublished.


Finalists will be notified in late March. The winner will be chosen in mid-April.

The winning submission will be published in late May 2022. The winning submitter will be awarded a $2000 cash prize. We are happy to consider cover and design suggestions made by the author upon their selection as the winner.

The winning author will be expected to visit Spokane, Washington, during the week of 6/05/22 - 6/10/22 to perform miniature craft lectures, attend workshops, and give a public reading for Willow Springs Books and Eastern Washington University’s MFA program. Airfare and lodging will be provided by Willow Springs Books. If the COVID-19 pandemic precludes travel at the time, we will arrange for all of the above to happen via Zoom.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.