Mayborn Writing Contests

Tell Us Your Story!

Enter the Mayborn Writing Competition for a chance to win a publishing contract with Brown Books Publishing Group.

For over eighteen years, the Mayborn Writing Conference has cultivated a platform for aspiring nonfiction authors to submit and gain recognition for their work. They are proud to present a new grand prize for the first-place winner of the 2023 book manuscript contest. 
The Mayborn conference has partnered with Dallas-based publisher, Brown Books Publishing Group, to create a first-of-its-kind, nation-wide opportunity, where the winner of the book manuscript contest will receive a full publishing contract with BBPG. Details for this submission process are listed in the application below. 
With almost three decades in the book industry, Brown Books Publishing Group is one of the fastest growing independent publishers in the country. With many notable and award-winning authors, BBPG is seeking its next bestseller and has partnered with the Mayborn conference to find it.  
Manuscripts submitted for this contest must be completed nonfiction works that have not been previously published. Acceptable topics include, but are not limited to: business, self-help, political, memoirs, religious, travel, relationships, etc. Books should be a minimum of 50,000 words in length and submitted according to the guidelines. Applicants may be represented by an agent, though this is not a requirement. 
A limited number of manuscripts will be considered for this unique and exciting opportunity. Please submit all your materials according to the guidelines addressed in the submission form. Failure to meet all the guidelines listed will result in disqualification from the contest.
The competition will close on March 18, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. CST or when the Mayborn Writing Conference has reached its submission cap, whichever comes first. 
For more information about Brown Books Publishing Group, please visit:

Book Manuscript - $60 entry fee per submission

Download application

On-Going Contests from Previous Years
$1,500 awarded to the winner in each category
Conference attendees will once again have the opportunity to submit their best personal essays and reported narratives to the annual Mayborn Writing Competition. If you are interested in submitting to the personal essay or reported narrative competitions, the deadline for materials is TBD.  You may enter more than one category. Winners are recognized at the Literary Lights Dinner at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. Cash prizes are mailed to winners after the conference.
Our contests are for our conference attendees, the conference registration and any contest entry fees must also have been paid by the deadline.
As part of the Mayborn Writing Competition, group workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions will be held starting Friday morning of the conference. The Mayborn strives to place as many entrants as possible in group workshops; those unable to be accommodated in a group workshop due to space restrictions will have the opportunity for a 30-minute one-on-one coaching session with one of our talented alumni writers!
Late entries are NOT accepted into the contests; however, any conference registrant who wants to submit a work after the deadline may pay the same fee and have the opportunity to be placed in a group workshop or receive a one-on-one coaching session. These placements will be made on a space available basis and at the contest coordinator's discretion.

Our 2023 entry entry forms will be available in Spring 2023. Please note that contest entries are only accepted from conference attendees.

Other Mayborn writing contests will open and accept entries at a later date. Check back in spring 2023 for details. 


NOTE: Any person who is employed full-time or part-time in any capacity with the Mayborn School of Journalism or Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism is not eligible to participate in any of the three contests.

For any questions, please contact:

Jo Ann Livingston
Writing Contest Coordinator