2021 Words and Music Writing Competition

(Click icon below to see 2020 results)

Words & Music Writing Competition

We accept submissions from April 1st – August 1st.
2021 Final-round judges are as follows: Short Story – Ravi Howard; CNF – Elizabeth Miki Brina; Poetry – Aimee Nezhukumatathil; Public High School Short Story – Maurice Carlos Ruffin; and Beyond the Bars – Stacey Balkun.

Each Spring, the Peauxdunque Review invites submissions to the Words and Music Writing Competition, a writing competition in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, public high school short story, and “Beyond the Bars” (a multi-genre competition for incarcerated juveniles), associated with the Words and Music writers’ conference taking place in November each year. Winners in the poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction categories receive $750 plus admission to all Words and Music conference events. Public High School Short Story winners receive $500 plus admission to all Words and Music conference events. First runners-up in the poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and public high school short story categories receive admission to all conference events (except for manuscript reviews, which may be paid for separately). The winner of the Beyond the Bars category will receive $500. Honorable Mentions in all categories receive half-off all conference events. Winners in all categories will be published in a subsequent issue of the Peauxdunque Review, and all runners-up, finalists, and all entrants will be considered for publication.

Contest Guidelines & FAQ

Contest Rules
Prose entries must be double-spaced and no longer than 7500 words. Poetry entries may be no longer than five pages, comprised of either one poem or up to five, with no more than one poem per page (that is, a poetry entry may be one five-page poem or five one-page poems or anything in between, but may not be, for example, ten half-page poems). Work must be previously unpublished. Simultaneous submissions are fine assuming you inform us of acceptance elsewhere.
To Submit

To submit, visit peauxdunquereview.submittable.com through August 1, 2021, and follow these instructions:

• Select the appropriate genre category.

• Include a cover letter listing your name, address, e-mail address and/or telephone number, and the title of each submitted work. (Please use the “Cover Letter” form field in Submittable; do not include the cover letter as part of your uploaded document.) Cover letters for entry into the public high school submission category must also include the name of the student’s high school and the name and e-mail address of the sponsoring English or creative writing teacher. Cover letters for entrants into the Beyond the Bars category must indicate the name of the entrant’s facility where they are incarcerated, age as of January 1, 2020, and name and email address of sponsoring educator (counselor, teacher, etc.).

• Do not include your name on the manuscript itself.

• Upload your entry. Each prose piece constitutes one single entry, requiring one entry fee. Any additional prose entry requires an additional submission and entry fee. There is no limit to the amount of entries per author. One poetry entry constitutes up to five pages of poetry (one poem up to five pages, or up to five separate poems, no more than one poem per page). The Beyond the Bars category is open to any genre (poetry, short story, or creative nonfiction, subject to the word limits or page limits listed above), but is limited to one entry per person.

• Pay the indicated entry fee (free for Beyond the Bars submissions) using Paypal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover.

• If you submit more than one entry, even within the same genre, you must submit a new entry fee  with each entry (not applicable to Beyond the Bars submissions, which are limited to one entry per person).


Judges will select winners from a group of finalists chosen by Peauxdunque Review editors. All manuscripts, whether selected as finalists or not, are considered for publication.

Notice: We no longer accept paper contest submissions.

Eligibility and Conflicts of Interest
The high school short story category is open only to students in public schools.
The Beyond the Bars category is open to juveniles throughout the United States who are incarcerated (whether in juvenile detention facilities, jails, prisons, or any other carceral facilities); who were 18 years old or younger as of January 1, 2021; and who can provide the name and email address of a teacher, counselor, or other educator who sponsors the entry. Beyond the Bars is open to writing in any genre, and is free to enter, but is limited to one entry per person. Any additional entries beyond the first entry per person will be disregarded.
Previous Words and Music Writing Contest winners are not eligible to enter the competition in the same genre in which they have won.
Current Words and Music Conference administrators, Peauxdunque Writers Alliance members, and Peauxdunque Review staff are ineligible to enter the contest.
Current or former students of the category judge are ineligible to enter the contest. Judges are instructed not to award the prize to entrants with whom they have had a personal or professional relationship. Even if they can’t tell during the judging process, they have the right to change their decision if it turns out that the entrant is someone with whom there is any appearance of conflict of interest. Do NOT enter the contest if the judge is someone you know personally or have worked with professionally.
Work is ineligible to win or be considered a runner-up for our contest if it has been accepted for publication elsewhere. No exceptions. Please withdraw work from our contest immediately if these conditions apply.


If you need to contact us, please use the contact form to the right or send an email to editors@peauxdunquereview.com You can check on the status of an existing submission on Submittable. If the Submittable status shows “in progress,” that means we have not yet made a decision about the piece. If you have other submission queries, send us an email and we will respond as soon as possible.

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