Today is your last chance to submit your favorite excerpt from your in-progress or unpublished novel. This year’s finalists will be chosen by Matthew Salesses, who is looking for an excerpt that will make him wait in anticipation for the release of the full novel. Submit up to 6,000 words for the chance to win $3,000, online publication and consultation with a literary agent. Submit before midnight PDT!
Guest Judge Matthew Salesses says: “I love getting to know new work and new writers through a contest, and I love getting to see novels before they go out into the world, so judging The Masters Review novel contest provides both of those things at once. I have waited years for a book based on an excerpt I read, and it is the best kind of waiting, and I am someone impatient in life. As a judge, I’m looking for an excerpt that will give me that kind of anticipation, a book that I will want to wait for. I want an excerpt that gives me a sense of the novel as a whole, rather than an excerpt that can stand alone/separate. I like novels that are difficult to excerpt, novels that contain elements of the whole in any part.”
Each fall, The Masters Review hosts a call for novel excerpts! Writing a novel can be an arduous and lonely process, but we’re here to champion the great work being produced. Whether your book is not quite finished or ready to pitch, we want to read your words. For this contest, we’re looking for self-contained excerpts that display a strong voice, compelling characters, and carefully constructed narrative arcs. You may submit an excerpt from any section of your completed or in-progress novel, but choose wisely: a synopsis should not be required for understanding the excerpt. As always, we have no limitations on genre, though we are primarily interested in literary fiction.
This year, our guest judge is Matthew Salesses, author of The Sense of Wonder, Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear, and The Hundred-Year Flood. Salesses will select the finalists from a shortlist provided by The Masters Review’s editorial team. The winning excerpt will be awarded $3,000; online publication; and an hour-long consultation with Halley Dunne Perry, a literary agent with The Hamilburg Agency. Second- and third-place excerpts will be awarded online publication and $300 and $200 respectively, in addition to written feedback from Dunne Perry.
- Submitted excerpts must be under 6,000 words.
- Submitted work must be previously unpublished. This includes personal blogs, social media accounts, and other websites. Previously published excerpts will be immediately disqualified.
- The entry fee is $20.
- Simultaneous and multiple submissions are allowed, though each submission requires a $20 entry fee.
- The winner receives $3,000; online publication; and a consultation with Halley Dunne Perry, a literary agent with The Hamilburg Agency.
- The second- and third-place finalists receive cash prizes ($300/$200), online publication, and agent feedback.
- If your submission is accepted or contracted elsewhere, please withdraw your submission on Submittable, or contact us otherwise to let us know the piece is no longer available.
- We do not require anonymous submissions for this contest, but the judge will review the shortlist anonymously.
- This contest is for emerging writers only. Writers with single-author book-length work published or under contract with a major press are ineligible. We are interested in providing a platform to new writers; authors with books published by indie presses and self-published authors are welcome to submit unpublished work.
- International submissions are allowed, provided the work is written primarily in English.
- All submissions must be double-spaced with one-inch page margins and use Times New Roman or Garamond 12 (or larger, if necessary).
- Excerpts from novels under contract for 2023 or 2024 are ineligible, but novels under contract from 2025 and beyond are eligible.
- The contest’s deadline is 11:59 p.m. PST on Sunday, November 12, 2023.
- All entries will be considered for publication in New Voices.
- Every submission will receive a response by the end of March 2024. The winners will be announced by the end of April 2024.
- Friends, family, and associates of the guest judge are not eligible for this award, nor are past winners of the Novel Excerpt Contest.
- A significant portion of the editorial letter fees go to our feedback editor.
About the Judge
MATTHEW SALESSES is the author of eight books, most recently The Sense of Wonder (Little, Brown, 2023), the national bestseller Craft in the Real World (a Best Book of 2021 at NPR, Esquire, Library Journal, Independent Book Review, Chicago Tribune, Electric Literature, and others), and the PEN/Faulkner Finalist and Dublin Literary Award longlisted novel Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear. He also wrote The Hundred-Year Flood; I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying; Different Racisms: On Stereotypes, the Individual, and Asian American Masculinity; The Last Repatriate; and Our Island of Epidemics (out of print). Forthcoming is a memoir, To Grieve Is to Carry Another Time (Little, Brown).
Matthew was adopted from Korea. In 2015 Buzzfeed named him one of 32 Essential Asian American Writers. His essays can be found in Best American Essays 2020, NPR Code Switch, The New York Times Motherlode, The Guardian, Time, VICE.com, and other venues. His short fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, American Short Fiction, PEN/Guernica, Witness, and elsewhere. He has received awards and fellowships from, among others, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, Dublin Literary Award, Bread Loaf, Glimmer Train, Mid-American Review, and [PANK] Books.
Matthew is an Assistant Professor of Writing at Columbia University. He earned a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston and an MFA in Fiction from Emerson College. He serves on the editorial boards of Green Mountains Review and Machete (an imprint of The Ohio State University Press), and has held editorial positions at Pleiades, The Good Men Project, Gulf Coast, and Redivider. He has read and lectured widely at conferences and universities and on TV and radio, including PBS, NPR, Al Jazeera America, various MFA programs, and the Tin House, Kundiman, and One Story writing conferences.