Marblehead Festival of Arts

There are presently no open calls for submissions.

Marblehead Writers Festival Contest Rules and Information

This contest is for Massachusetts writers who are not published in book form by a traditional or independent publishing house. (But poets who have been published before in any form, including chapbooks, are welcome to submit, as are self-published authors. Self-published authors are also allowed to submit their self-published work.) 

The top two submissions in each category will be read by literary agents and editors (with the exception of the poetry category--this will be read by a multi-published poet), who will determine the winner of the "Golden Cod Award" in each category. 

There will be one winner in each category. The winner in each category will be presented the "Golden Cod Award" on Saturday June 30th at the Literary Meet & Greet, at the Abbot Public Library in Marblehead, prior to the Author Keynote Panel. You need not be present to win.

In addition, the “Essex Award" will be awarded to a single Essex County writer of  great promise, selected from across all categories, who resides, works, or belongs to a writing group in Essex County.  

If you are submitting work to our contest, please consider joining us for our festival events in Marblehead! A full roster of our activities, including a June 30th reception and keynote author panel, and a complete day of writing workshops on July 4th, can be found at the Marblehead Festival of Arts website at

Submission Guidelines:

  • Electronic only, via this website    
  •  Length of Entries: Poetry category: one poem of 32 lines or fewer. All other categories: first 10 consecutive pages of unpublished manuscript.
  • Format: Entries for all categories (except Poetry) to be double-spaced, one-inch margins, Times New Roman or similar standard 12-point font. We ask poets to use a standard 12-point font, but do not require standard margins.
  • Required for all categories (except Poetry): Either a blurb, a pitch, or a simple synopsis. The point of this part of the entry is to give the context and story arc. One page MAXIMUM, 12 point standard font (such as Times New Roman), one-inch margins, double-spaced. You may include a blurb/pitch and a synopsis if desired, but together they must not be longer than one page. The point of this part of the entry is to give the context and story arc. This part of the entry will not be judged. 
  • A maximum of two (2) entries allowed. The two entries may be in the same contest category, or one in each of two different contest categories. For example, you may submit two Children's entries, or, alternatively, you may submit one Children's entry and one Poetry entry. NO ENTRY MAY BE SUBMITTED INTO MORE THAN ONE CATEGORY. 
  •  The Marblehead Writers Festival welcomes and encourages entries from writers of all backgrounds, groups and identities.

Categories and Judges:

o   Adult Fiction

Judge:  Lana Popovic, Chalberg & Sussman Literary Agency 

o   Adult Non-Fiction

Judge:  Katie Rose Hope, M.I.T. Press

o   Young Adult Fiction

Judge: Rebecca Podos, The Rees Agency

o   Children’s Fiction

Judge:  Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Associates 

o   Poetry 

Judge: Barbara Siegel Carlson, multi-published Massachusetts poet

Please select the category or categories to which you will be submitting your work. (Maximum number of submissions: two.)