Our mission at Narratively is to publish untold human stories that surprise, delight and captivate readers. We are currently accepting submissions for our Memoir Prize, which you can submit to below and read more about here. We're taking a temporary pause from accepting other submissions as we rework our submissions process. We will be reopening all submissions soon — stay tuned for details and subscribe to Narratively to make sure you don’t miss any announcements.  (If you have submitted something prior to this date, we will absolutely still review your submission.) Thank you for understanding, and we hope you submit to our Memoir Prize!


From Tuesday, September 26, 2023, through Thursday, November 30, 2023, Narratively is accepting entries for our 2023 Memoir Prize. We’re on the hunt for revealing and emotional first-person nonfiction narratives from unique and overlooked points of view. Entries will be judged on a rolling basis in four rounds: the first three by experienced Narratively readers and staff, and the final by our incredible and generous guest judge, New York Times bestselling memoirist Stephanie Land

Eight years ago, we were thrilled to publish Stephanie’s story, “The Three Car Crashes That Changed My Life.” That story ultimately became a part of Stephanie’s book-length memoir, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, which was an instant bestseller, hailed as a “personal, unflinching look at America’s class divide” by President Barack Obama, and adapted into the Netflix series Maid — which is Netflix’s most-watched limited series in history, drawing more than 67 million viewers in its first month alone. Stephanie’s second memoir, Class: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education, is set to be published in November 2023.

We’ll award the top three writers the following cash prizes, as well as publication on Narratively.com and inclusion in a special Narratively 2023 Memoir Prize Digital Collection:

  • Grand Prize: US$3,000
  • Finalist: US$1,000
  • Finalist: US$1,000

Further, Narratively editors will work with the Finalists to potentially adapt their stories into larger projects in different mediums (TV, film, podcasts, etc.).

Competition Info:

  • Prize period opens: 9 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on September 26, 2023 
  • Prize period closes: 9 p.m. EDT on November 30, 2023. We will not accept entries once the prize period closes.
  • Final decision announced: On or around February 5, 2024. Entrants will be notified via Submittable and/or email.
  • Entry fee: US$20, nonrefundable and due at time of entry; free entry for subscribers (become one here!)
  • Eligibility: Open to folks 18 years of age or older on or before 9 a.m. EDT on September 26, 2023, and who are not employed by, related to or sharing living quarters with Narratively staff or our guest judges. This competition is open to anyone, including past and current Narratively contributors. Current and former Narratively editors are ineligible.

What should my entry look like?

As with all Narratively stories, submissions should be composed of vivid, active scenes, unique characters and an engaging narrative arc. We have a few rules to follow, but encourage maximum creativity within these guidelines. The best way to get a sense of what we’re looking for is to read the stories on the list of examples we love below. 

Here are a few examples of first-person Narratively pieces we love:

Why do we charge a fee? Your entry fee will allow us to compensate the people who are helping us effectively and fairly evaluate every single Prize submission — from our freelance readers to our Prize editors, copyeditors, fact-checkers, visual editors and producers. 

Submission Guidelines:

  • Ready-to-publish pieces only — no pitches accepted
  • Word count: 2,000 to 7,000
  • Nonfiction, written in the first person and in English (translations permitted)
  • Original and previously unpublished as a written work
  • Simultaneous submissions are permitted, but must notify Narratively if entry is accepted elsewhere.
  • Multiple submissions from a single author are permitted, but each must be submitted and paid for individually.
  • Adaptations from other media (podcasts, scripts, etc.) are permitted with disclosure.
  • Any citations should be in endnote form and listed at the end of the Submission.
  • Please remove your name and contact information from your Submission.
  • Narratively prefers common fonts such as Times New Roman and Arial, at 10-12-point size, double spaced, for ease of reading. Please do not include images or graphics.

To answer your questions: 

  • This competition is open to anyone, including past and current Narratively contributors. (Current and former Narratively editors, however, are ineligible.)
  • The Grand Prize Winner and Finalists will be required to sign our standard Contributor Agreement.
  • These are a few of the key points in our agreement:    
  • You retain print publication rights, should you pursue a book version of your story now or in the future.
  • Narratively has the right to pursue TV and film projects based on the work. These projects could be either unscripted/documentary or fictional (inspired by your story).
  • Revenue from any TV or film projects is shared with contributors.
  • We publish Narratively Out Loud, which features read-aloud audio versions of all Narratively stories, so the contract also gives us the rights to produce those.

Take a look at our FAQ page here

Please review our complete Official Rules & Submission Guidelines here.

For more about who we are, what we look for and how we help adapt written stories for TV, film and podcasts, please visit our website.

Still have questions? Email us at prizes@narratively.com.

Not yet ready to submit? Subscribe to Narratively here to receive helpful reminders about deadlines, prize updates and announcements and news about future prizes on a variety of topics.

Having trouble logging into Submittable? Click here for help.

Best of luck!