Are writers still eligible if they have published poetry and/or nonfiction before? 

Yes. As long as the story submitted is a first published work of fiction, the writer is eligible for this award. 

The story I plan to submit does not fit the exact formatting specifications (i.e. Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, double-spaced). Do I need to reformat? 

We understand that many literary journals publish stories according to their formatting conventions and that therefore, the style of the PDFs does not conform to the formatting specifications.  If the copy is legible online and in hard copy, you do not need to reformat.

We would like to nominate an author who had a short story published on another online magazine almost simultaneously. We accepted the writer’s story first, but the magazine published their work first. Which publication is eligible to submit? 

Under normal circumstances, we would consider whichever work was readable to the public first as the “debut story.” If, however, the timing is too close to call, please have a discussion with the other publisher and decide which journal should submit to the prize and consult with the author. If this situation presents itself as an issue, please write to awards@pen.org for more clarification. 

An author has published work on a blog or as part of a school project, is he or she eligible? 

An author would only be ineligible if he or she had a previous original publication with a literary magazine, journal, or cultural website.

The author I wish to nominate has a piece that was accepted to our magazine in 2017, but the story will be published in 2018, can I still submit his or her work for the 2018 awards cycle? 

For the 2018 awards, stories must be published in 2017 to be considered eligible. If the story is published in 2018, you may submit it for the 2019 awards cycle. 

Can I submit galleys from our forthcoming Fall or Winter issue? 

Yes. You may submit galleys for forthcoming stories as long as they are formally published by the end of the required year.