Wilkes University

James Jones First Novel Fellowship

James Jones First Novel Fellowship 2019

A prize of $10,000 is given annually for a novel-in-progress by a U.S. writer who has not published a novel. Runners-up will receive $1000. A selection from the winning work is published in Provincetown Arts.

Congratulations! This year, the James Jones Fellowship had a total of 580 submissions.

Below are the top three novels as decided by the judges.

Winner ($10,000):

  • Marco Kaye, Maplewood, New Jersey, is the winner of the James Jones First Novel Fellowship with his manuscript titled LEVON.

Runners-Up ($1,000):

  • Lorinda Toledo, West Hollywood, CA, is the first runner-up winner with her manuscript titled The Nature of Fire.
  • Latifa Ayad, Columbus, Ohio, is the second runner-up winner with her manuscript titled The Realm Unknown.

Thank you to everyone who participated.

2019 Judges: Dr. Nancy McKinley, author and founding member of the Wilkes University Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing; Greg Hrbek, novelist, author and past James Jones First Novel Fellowship winner with his novel The Hindenburg and Mary Kay Zuravleff, novelist, author and past James Jones First Novel Fellowship winner with her novel The Frequency of Souls.

The 29th Annual James Jones First Novel Fellowship will be awarded to an American author of a first novel-in-progress, in 2020, by the James Jones Literary Society.

The award is intended to honor the spirit of unblinking honesty, determination, and insight into cultural and social issues exemplified by the late James Jones, author of From Here to Eternity and other prose narratives of distinction. Jones himself was the recipient of aid from many supporters as a young writer and his family, friends, and admirers have established this award of $10,000 to continue the tradition in his name. Two runners up awards of $1000 each may be given by the Jones Literary Society. All selections are at the discretion of the judges. For more about James Jones and the James Jones Literary Society go to jamesjonesliterarysociety.org

Eligible writers

  • Have never published a novel
  • Are U.S. citizens
  • May have published any other type of work including non-fiction articles and short stories

Non eligible writers

  • Officers of the James Jones Literary Society
  • Writers who have published previous novels

Eligible submissions

  • Unpublished novels
  • Novels in which one or more chapters have been published

Non eligible submissions

  • Collections of short stories
  • Linked short stories
  • Self-published novels

Note: Manuscripts may be simultaneously submitted for the First Novel Contest and to a publisher for publication. If the work is accepted by a publisher at any time up to the announcement of the First Novel winner, the Society must be notified and the selection will be withdrawn from the contest.

Entry Fee: A $30 check/money order, payable to Wilkes University, not to James Jones First Novel Fellowship, must accompany each entry. For online submissions there is an additional $3.00 processing fee.

Manuscript Guidelines: A two-page (maximum) outline or synopsis of the entire novel and the first 50 pages of the novel-in-progress are to be submitted. A specific format for the outline or synopsis is not required.

The manuscript must be typed and double-spaced; outline may be single-spaced. Entrants should include their name, address, telephone number and e-mail address (if available) ONLY on the cover letter, but nowhere else on the manuscript. Pages should be numbered. For online entriesplease attach your cover letter in the cover letter box, and your outline/synopsis and the first 50 pages of you novel as one document under attached files. Please do not include your name in the title of your attached file.

Submissions will be acknowledged only if accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped postcard. No manuscripts will be returned. Failure to comply with manuscript guidelines may disqualify entries.

For a copy of the press release on the winners, please submit a SASE (to the address listed in the next paragraph) marked "Winners 2020 Contest." The press release will be available in late Fall 2020.

Entries for the 2020 contest will be accepted after October 1, 2019.

DEADLINES: Entries can be mailed via SNAIL MAIL or our ONLINE SUBMISSION FORM. Hard Copy entries should be sent to the James Jones First Novel Fellowship, c/o M.A./M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Wilkes University, 84 West South Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766, and postmarked no later than March 15, 2020 midnight Eastern Standard time.

ONLINE SUBMISSION FORM entries should be sent to jamesjones.submittable.com/submit ELECTRONIC ENTRIES should be sent no later than midnight, March 15, 2020 Eastern Standard time.

The winner will be notified in September 2020. An excerpt from the winning manuscript will be published in Provincetown Arts (July 2021.)

For more information, please contact us via e-mail.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: We usually receive close to 600 manuscripts. 580 manuscripts were submitted to the 2019 contest.

A: Yes, multiple entries from the same author are allowed, but each submission must be mailed separately along with a $30.00 entry fee and $33 for each online entry which includes a processing fee.

A: No. Please keep a copy of the original version you submitted to the contest. All judges will read the original version.
A: Yes. We do not accept entries from authors who have self-published.