Poetry Judge: DONIKA KELLY


Nonfiction Judge: RAJIV MOHABIR


Open May 1ST to August 1ST.

K-Ming Chang author photo

Poetry Judge: Donika Kelly

DONIKA KELLY is the author of The Renunciations, winner of the Anisfield-Wolf book award in poetry, and Bestiary, the winner of the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and a Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Kelly’s poetry has been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Publishing Triangle Awards, the Lambda Literary Awards, and longlisted for the National Book Award. A Cave Canem graduate fellow, National Endowment for the Arts fellow, and founding member of the collective Poets at the End of the World, she has also received a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and a summer workshop fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center. She earned an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin and a PhD in English from Vanderbilt University. Her poems have been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. Donika lives in Iowa City with her wife, the nonfiction writer Melissa Febos, and is an assistant professor in the English Department at the University of Iowa, where she teaches creative writing.


Eduardo C. Corral author photo

Fiction Judge: Chigozie Obioma

Chigozie Obioma was born in Akure, Nigeria. His two novels, The Fishermen (2015) and An Orchestra of Minorities (2019) were shortlisted for The Booker Prize, making him one of only two novelists to be shortlisted for all their works. They have won about a dozen prizes including the FT/Oppenheimer Award for Fiction, an LA Times Book prize, Internationaler Literaturpris, an NAACP Image Award,and have been nominated for many others. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages. The Fishermen was adapted into an award-winning stage play by Gbolahan Obisesan that played in the UK and South Africa between 2018-2019. He was named one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2015. His work have been published in The Guardian, VQR, Paris Review, New York Times, and elsewhere. He is the James E. Ryan Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and divides his time between the US and Nigeria.

Su Cho Author photo.

Nonfiction Judge: Rajiv Mohabir

Poet, memoirist, and translator, Rajiv Mohabir is the author of four books of poetry including Whale Aria (Four Way Books 2023), Cutlish (Four Way Books 2021) which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and recipient of the Eric Hoffer Medal Provocateur. His poetry and nonfiction have been finalists for the 2022 PEN/America Open Book Award, the Lambda Literary Award in Poetry and in Nonfiction, the Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction, and both second place and finalist for the Guyana Prize for Literature in 2022 (poetry and memoir respectively). His translations have won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the American Academy of Poets in 2020. He is an assistant professor of poetry at the University of Colorado Boulder.


J K Chukwu author photo.

Flash Judge: Intan Paramaditha


Intan Paramaditha is the author of The Wandering, a novel on the politics of travel in a choose-your-own adventure format, and a feminist horror story collection Apple and Knife. Both were translated from Indonesian to English by Stephen J. Epstein and published by Harvill Secker, Penguin Random House UK. Her new novel, Malam Seribu Jahanam (2023), weaving gothic elements, Islamic stories, and Southeast Asian folktales, was published in Indonesia (English translation in progress). She received a Ph.D from New York University and currently works as a Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Macquarie University, Sydney.


  • Through August, we will be accepting submissions across genres for our annual contest! Essays, stories, poems, flash, and any other form of hybrid writing that takes risks and experiments with form & content are welcome. This year, BWR seeks to publish the strange & surreal, to complicate rather than complete or compare, to share unusual art-forms and underacknowledged experiences. BWR is named after the Black Warrior River, a name honoring Chief Tuskaloosa, a paramount chief of the Mississippi nations. Like the river, our journal is constantly changing & deeply resilient. We are the longest-running journal helmed by graduate students the United States, running continuously since 1974. While we’re based in Alabama and pride ourselves on featuring local writers and artists alongside Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners, we have serious national reach and are often considered on the forefront of experimental, fabulist, and all-around “weird” literature and a home for marginalized voices. We believe in pushing boundaries, fostering innovation, and amplifying voices often unheard in traditional literary spaces.

    We strongly recommend checking out a past issue of Black Warrior Review before submitting to our contests to get an idea of our general aesthetic. You can order a copy of issue 50.2 here to check out last year’s winners and our other fabulous contributors in glossy print.

    Categories Accepted

    • Short stories: 1,001 – 6,000 words
    • Flash fiction/nonfiction: up to 1,000 words per piece
    • Poetry: up to 5 poems per packet
    • Creative Nonfiction: 1,001-6,000 words


    Students, faculty, staff, and administrators currently affiliated with the University of Alabama are ineligible for consideration or publication. Intimate friends, relatives, colleagues, and former or current students of the judges are ineligible to submit in that category. Previous winners should wait three years after their winning entry is published before entering again.

    Black Warrior Review adheres to the CLMP Contest Code of Ethics. You can read about this code here.

    Our Submission Guidelines

    Submit your work through Submittable at bwr.submittable.com/submit. We do not accept mailed submissions.

    Upload your submission as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf.

    Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry: There is a $20 entry fee for both domestic and international submissions. 

    Flash: There is a $10 entry fee for up to 2 pieces in any genre (fiction or nonfiction) of up to 1,000 words (respectively, not altogether).

    Please email us at blackwarriorreview@gmail.com with any questions.

    Winners and runners-up will be informed in September of 2024, and we will announce the winners & runners-up publicly in October. We accept, and encourage, simultaneous submissions and only ask that you withdraw your piece(s) using Submittable upon acceptance elsewhere. We do not accept work previously published elsewhere.

    No AI Submissions

    We currently do not accept work from artificial intelligence (“AI”) generators or similar. By submitting your entry here, you are attesting that your work was not created, in whole or in part, with an AI generator or similar.