Best American Newspaper Narrative Writing Contest


Each year, we invite submissions of extraordinary long-form narrative nonfiction that were published the prior year in a daily U.S. newspaper or a U.S. newspaper website. Writers and editors may submit from one to five narratives, including narratives that are part of a series. The Best American Newspaper Narratives writing contest jurors, a pool of award-winning narrative writers and editors from around the country, will select three winners, three runners-up and four notable narratives.

  • First place winner will receive $5,000 and free registration to attend the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference July 21-23, 2017, in Grapevine, Texas
  • Second place winner will receive $2,000
  • Third place winner will receive $1,000

If the winning narrative is co-authored by more than one writer, the Mayborn will divide the award among all authors. The three winning narratives, the three runners-up and the four notable narratives will be published by the University of North Texas Press/Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism in both print and e-book form, in an anthology called the Best American Newspaper Narratives. Rights are granted nonexclusively and the newspaper retains copyright (see entry agreement/release form for additional details).

Details for the 2017 contest:

  • Entries must have been published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016.
  • Entries must be submitted electronically via email to
  • Each emailed submission must be in Word format and be capable of printing out on 8.5X11-inch paper.
  • Type “BANN Writing Contest” in the subject line of the entry email.
  • Entries must be submitted to the contest no later than 11:59 p.m. CST Feb. 15, 2017.
  • Cost is $50 per entry. The maximum number of entries is five from a daily U.S. newspaper or U.S. newspaper website. If a 3-part narrative series is submitted (at 3-times the entry fee), editors may only submit two other narratives to the contest.
  • Entry agreement/release form per entry requires signatures of editor and all authors on a story.
  • Entrants to the BANN writing contest are not required to register for the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference but are encouraged to do so.

Editors and writers are encouraged to submit a short cover letter for each entry explaining the challenges involved in producing the narrative and readers’ reaction to the story after it was published.

Winners will be announced by May 1. Please download the entry agreement/release form via the button below. Read, fill out, sign and scan the completed entry agreement/release form; a scanned copy MUST be returned with your entry.

Jo Ann Livingston: or 214-403-5853 cell phone for contest questions
Jordan Williams: or 940-565-2205 for registration questions

Click the button below to download the application.