Orison Books seeks to publish spiritually-engaged poetry, fiction, and non-fiction of exceptional literary merit. In our view, spiritual writing has little to do with subject matter. Rather, the kind of work we seek to publish has a transcendent aesthetic effect on the reader, and reading it can itself be a spiritual experience. Such work is not merely about spiritual contemplation, but itself leads the reader into profound contemplation. It is not merely about the sublime, but itself has a sublime effect on the reader. It is not merely about the mystery of being, but itself heightens the reader’s sense of the mystery underlying the fabric of our daily lives.

The poet Gjertrude Schnackenberg, in an interview with Jonathan Galassi, articulated a perspective on literature that resonates with our mission, and her words are worth sharing: “When I said that poetry tries and wants to make contact with reality, that is, with uttermost-being (truth, God, whatness, somethingness-nothingness, chaos-order)—to the Veda seers, the vibrating void; to the eighth-century Chinese poets, that-which-is-self-engendering; to mathematicians, a veil of numbers; to the Jewish mystics, the En-Sof; to Christian mystics, the indwelling of God and emanation of Christ in all things; to the animal kingdoms on earth, the starry night; to contemporary physicists, the excitation of superstrings; to cosmologists, the residue of an explosion of something to whose pre-explosion existence there is perhaps, as my friend Elaine Scarry once said to me, ‘no door’—I am referring very specifically and particularly to the material we are made from, this animated-in-us matter which we, in turn, express such a passionate drive to know (and which, in turn, has evolved a way to be known, through us, and is the source and object of our wonder and compulsion).”

Orison Books seeks to be broad, inclusive, and open to perspectives spanning the spectrums of spiritual and religious thought, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Orison Books titles have been reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Foreword Reviews, Booklist, The Jewish Review of Books, The Washington Independent Review of Books, The Rumpus, Pleiades, Beloit Poetry Journal, and many other places. Poems from our books have twice been featured in The New York Times Magazine and our books have been named finalists for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, The National Jewish Book Award in Poetry, and The Paterson Poetry Prize.

General submissions are open year-round in the following categories:

-Non-fiction
-Poetry in Translation
-Anthology Proposals

General Fiction submissions are open during the month of October only.

We do not consider self-help or “inspirational” manuscripts.

We hold two annual contests:

The Orison Prizes in Poetry & Fiction for book-length manuscripts (submission period: December 1 – April 1)
The Orison Anthology Awards for single works in 3 genres (poetry, fiction, & non-fiction; submission period: May 1 – August 1)

Orison Books releases all titles in print, and prose titles in both print and e-book formats. We offer a small advance on royalties for all books accepted for publication through our open submission periods, and a cash prize as well as a standard royalties contract for manuscripts selected as contest winners.

Orison Books publishes The Orison Anthology every year, a collection of the best spiritual writing in all genres published in periodicals in the preceding year. Editors of periodicals may submit work for consideration from August 1 – September 15.

For more information, please consult the guidelines below.

Contests

The Orison Prizes in Poetry & Fiction

Each year from December 1 – April 1 we accept submissions of full-length poetry (50 – 100 pp.) and fiction (minimum 30,000 words) manuscripts for consideration for The Orison Prizes in Poetry & Fiction. Fiction manuscripts may be a collection of short stories or flash fiction, a novella, or a novel. All manuscripts will be read “blind” (do not include any identifying information in your manuscript). Original English work only; no translations. Finalists will be selected by the editorial staff at Orison Books, and a winner will be selected in each genre by different prominent writers acting as contest judges each year. Current or former students of the judge in the genre in which they are submitting, or anyone with a close personal relationship with that judge, are not eligible to submit. In the event that a judge does not select a winner in their genre from among the finalists, the Editor will select a winner. The editors also reserve the right to select no finalists, in which case all entry fees will be refunded to contest entrants. All finalist manuscripts will be considered for publication under a standard royalties contract.

The winner in each genre will receive a $1,500 cash prize, publication, and a standard royalties contract.

Entry Fee: $30
2018 Judges: Vandana Khanna (poetry) and Lan Samantha Chang (fiction)
Entry Period: December 1, 2017 – April 1, 2018
Electronic submissions only: follow the Submittable link below

ABOUT THE JUDGES

Vandana Khanna‘s first poetry collection, Train to Agra, won the Crab Orchard Review First Book Prize, and her second collection, Afternoon Masala, was the co-winner of the Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize. She is also the author of a chapbook of poems, The Goddess Monologues (Diode Editions). Her work has appeared in journals such as Crazyhorse, Callaloo, The Missouri Review, 32 Poems, and Indiana Review, as well as in the anthologies Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation and Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry. She has taught English and Creative Writing at colleges and universities across the country including Indiana University, Pitzer College, and the University of Southern California.

Lan Samantha Chang is the director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is the author of a collection of short fiction, Hunger, and two novels, Inheritance and All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost. Her work has been translated into nine languages and has been chosen twice for The Best American Short Stories. She has received creative writing fellowships from Stanford University, Princeton University, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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The Orison Anthology Awards in Fiction, Non-fiction, & Poetry

Each year from May 1 – August 1 we accept entries of unpublished single works in three genres (fiction, non-fiction, & poetry) for consideration for The Orison Anthology Awards. The winner in each genre will receive a $500 cash prize as well as publication in The Orison Anthology, an annual collection of the best spiritually engaged writing that appeared in periodicals the preceding year. (The unpublished work selected for The Orison Anthology Awards will be featured alongside the reprinted material.)

Submit up to 3 poems (10 pp. max), 1 story (up to 8,000 words), or 1 work of non-fiction (up to 8,000 words). You may submit in multiple genres, and/or submit multiple entries in each genre.

Entry Fee: $15 ($30 if you would like a copy of the anthology)
Submission Period: May 1 – August 1, 2017
2017 Judges: Justin Torres (fiction), Nickole Brown (poetry), Scott Russell Sanders (nonfiction)
Electronic submissions only: follow the Submittable link below

All manuscripts will be read “blind” (do not include any identifying information in your manuscript). Original English work only; no translations. Finalists will be selected by the editorial staff at Orison Books, and a winner will be selected in each genre by different prominent writers acting as contest judges each year. Current or former students of the judge in the genre in which they are submitting, or anyone with a close personal relationship with that judge, are not eligible to submit. In the event that a judge does not select a winner in their genre from among the finalists, the Editor will select a winner. The editors also reserve the right to select no finalists, in which case all entry fees will be refunded to contest entrants.

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Fiction

Fiction manuscript submissions are accepted during the month of October only. We consider all types of fiction, including novels, short story or flash fiction collections, and novellas. Minimum word count: 30,000 Work in English translation is also accepted. (The translator must have permission to publish the translations, or the original work must be in the public domain per U.S. and international copyright law.) When possible, Orison Books offers a small advance against royalties for books selected for publication. Send an author biography and complete manuscript.

Electronic submissions only: follow the Submittable link below
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Non-fiction

Non-fiction manuscript submissions are accepted year-round. We consider all types of non-fiction, including essay, memoir, literary criticism, etc. Minimum word count: 30,000. Work in English translation is also accepted. (The translator must have permission to publish the translations, or the original work must be in the public domain per U.S. and international copyright law.) When possible, Orison Books offers a small advance against royalties for books selected for publication. Send an author biography and complete manuscript.

Electronic submissions only: follow the Submittable link below
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Poetry in Translation

Submissions of full-length (60 pp. minimum) poetry collections in English translation are accepted year-round. The translator must have permission to publish the translations, or the original work must be in the public domain per U.S. and international copyright law. 

Electronic submissions only: follow the Submittable link below
submit

Anthology Proposals

Single- or multiple-genre anthology proposals are accepted year-round. Send a one-page description of the anthology, biographical information for the editor(s), and 30 pages of sample content.

Electronic submissions only: follow the Submittable link below

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The Orison Anthology

Editors of literary periodicals (print or digital) may nominate work in a single genre or in multiple genres to be considered for inclusion in the 2017 volume of our annual print publication, The Orison Anthology, which will reprint the finest spiritually engaged writing from a broad and inclusive range of perspectives. The work must have appeared, or be slated to appear, in the periodical during the 2016 calendar year. Work selected for inclusion will appear alongside the winners of The Orison Anthology Awards in Fiction, Non-fiction, and Poetry, judged this year by Ravi Howard, Catherine Reid, and Philip Metres. The author of any work selected for inclusion will receive a complimentary copy of the anthology; the periodical where the work originally appeared will also receive a complimentary copy.

The work may be by a single author or by multiple authors, as long as the total page count meets the requirements specified below.

By nominating work for inclusion in The Orison Anthology, you are indicating that you have acquired the permission of the author(s) to do so.

Editors may submit a scanned copy of print pages or a PDF file of the text.

Deadline: September 15, 2016
Single genre submissions: Submit up to 6 poems (40 pp. max), or up to 2 works of prose (any genre; 60 pp. max). If the work is not easily classified, submit up to 60 pages of text. In the file, include the author’s name and biography, the name of your periodical, and the issue number(s) in which the work appeared.
Multiple genre submissions: submit up to 3 poems (20 pp. max) and a work of prose (any genre; 25 pp. max). If the work is not easily classified, submit up to 60 pages of text. In the file, include the author’s name and biography, the name of your periodical, and the issue number(s) in which the work appeared.

There is no fee to nominate work for The Orison Anthology. We do, however, provide the option to support the efforts of Orison Books and the publication of The Orison Anthology by donating $10 or by pre-ordering a copy of the anthology ($25). A donation or pre-order (or lack thereof) will in no way effect the editorial choices made by the Orison Books staff.

Electronic submissions only: follow the Submittable link below
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