James Jones First Novel Fellowship

James Jones First Novel Fellowship 2020

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. 

Congratulations! This year, the James Jones Fellowship had a total of 554 submissions.

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

Winner ($10,000):

  • Morgan M. X. Schulz, Wilmington, North Carolina, is the winner of the James Jones First Novel Fellowship with his manuscript titled Good Morning, Dr. Du Bois.

Runner-Up ($1,000):

  • Jessie Roy, Chicago, IL is the first runner-up winner with her manuscript titled Brides.

Thank you to everyone who participated.

2020 Judges: Dr. Nancy McKinley, author of St. Christopher on Pluto and founding member of the Wilkes University Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing; Barbara Taylor, author of Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night and All Waiting Is Long; Laurie Loewenstein, author of Death of a Rainmaker and James Jones Society president.

The 30th Annual James Jones First Novel Fellowship will be awarded to an American author of a first novel-in-progress, in 2021, 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 or permanent residents of America with Green Cards
  • 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  • Unpublished novels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.



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. Please 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.

Entry Fee: $30 plus a $3.00 processing fee.

Entries for the 2021 contest will be accepted after October 1, 2020.

ONLINE SUBMISSION FORM should be submitted through Submittable jamesjones.submittable.com/submit no later than midnight, March 15, 2021 Eastern Standard time.

The winner will be notified in September 2021. 

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

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Yes, resubmitted manuscripts are accepted.

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 submitted separately. $30 for each online entry plus a $3 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.
A: NO. The contest is only open to unpublished novels.