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PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers 2022

The PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers 2022 is one of the most anticipated literary contests available to writers.

PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers 2022 | How To Submit

Robert J Dau Short Prize



The PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers is one of the most anticipated literary contests available to writers. The Robert J. Day Prize recognizes 12 emerging writers each year for their debut short story published in a literary magazine, journal, or cultural website, and aims to support the launch of their careers as fiction writers.


 The 12 winning stories are selected by a committee of three judges who are well-respected experts in the art of the short story. 

The prize is generously supported by the family of the late Robert J. Dau, whose commitment to the literary arts has made him a fitting namesake for this career-launching prize. Inspired by Dau’s hometown in northern Michigan and its proximity to Walloon Lake, where Ernest Hemingway spent much time and derived inspiration from, the prize promotes emerging voices and spotlights the next generation of fiction writers.


Prize: The winning writers each receive a $2,000 cash prize and will be published by Catapult in their annual anthology, Best Debut Short Stories: The PEN America Dau Prize.


Key Dates For Submission And Deadline

Submissions for the 2022 cycle will be open June 1–November 15, 2021.


Eligibility And Submissions Guidelines For Robert J Dau Short Story Prize For Emerging Writers 2022


Stories must be submitted by editors of literary magazines, journals, or cultural websites and published in the English language. 

Publications may be based and/or distributed anywhere in the world, so long as the story submitted was originally written in and published in English. Authors may not submit their own work.


Participating publications include literary magazines, journals, or cultural websites published on a recurring schedule.


Stories must have been published or forthcoming in the applicable calendar year.


Editors from eligible publications may only submit a writer’s debut short story. “Debut” is defined as the writer’s absolute first fiction publication in any language, which has undergone an editorial review process and been accepted and published in a literary outlet that the author is not academically or professionally associated with. 

Translations are ineligible. 

Writers who have published one or more books which have undergone editorial review are ineligible.


Editors from eligible publications may submit up to four eligible stories from debut authors in a given award year. 

Stories may not exceed 12,000 words in length.


Both the editor and debut author must agree to and sign the award’s declaration of eligibility, which outlines serial rights for Catapult’s forthcoming anthology, and upload all application materials and submit online via Submittable.



Robert J Dau Short Story Prize For Emerging Writers 2021 WINNERS

The judges:  Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Beth Piatote

“Force, Mass, Acceleration” (The Southern Review), Heather Aruffo

“Good Girls” (Barrelhouse), Lindsay Ferguson

“The First Time I Said It” (The Georgia Review), Isaac Hughes Green

“Maria” (Waxwing Magazine), Amy Haejung

“The Math of Living” (Virginia Quarterly Review), Nishanth Injam

“Transit” (Virginia Quarterly Review), Khaddafina Mbabazi

“Re:Frankie” (Porter House Review), Mackenzie McGee

“The Strong-Strong Winds” (adda), Mathapelo Mofokeng

“Salt” (Michigan Quarterly Review), Alberto Reyes Morgan

“The List” (Kestrel: A Journal of Literature and Art), Stanley Patrick Stocker

“Taxi” (Midwest Review), Pardeep Toor

“Mandy’s Mary Sue” (Sine Theta Magazine), Qianze Zhang








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Pawners Paper: PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers 2022
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The PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers 2022 is one of the most anticipated literary contests available to writers.
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