Milkweed Editions publishes 18-20 books per year of nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and translation. We believe that literature has the potential to change the way we see the world, and that bringing new voices to essential conversations is the clearest path to ensuring a vibrant, diverse, and empowered future. To learn more about Milkweed Editions and the work we champion, read our story»


Milkweed Editions has shifted to using Submittable and shorter, genre-specific reading periods to become more responsive and writer-friendly. You can check the status of your submission by logging into your Submittable account. 

Poetry Prizes

Milkweed Editions participates in the following annual poetry prizes, all of which include a cash prize and publication by Milkweed Editions:

  • JAKE ADAM YORK POETRY PRIZE: an annual prize for a first or second collection, presented in partnership by Milkweed Editions and Copper Nickel. The prize awards $2,000 and publication by Milkweed Editions. Submissions to the prize are open from July 1–October 15, 2017. Please do not send manuscripts to Milkweed Editions—instead, please refer to Copper Nickel’s submission guidelines for complete details.
  • LINDQUIST & VENNUM PRIZE FOR POETRY: an annual regional prize, presented in partnership by Milkweed Editions and the Lindquist & Vennum Foundation. Established in 2011 with the aim of supporting outstanding poets from the upper Midwest and bringing their work to a national stage, the prize awards $10,000 and publication by Milkweed Editions. The winner is selected from among five finalists by an independent judge. Submissions to the 2017 prize were open from January 2–February 15, 2017. Review complete guidelines to the Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry»
  • MAX RITVO POETRY PRIZE: Designed to honor the legacy of one of the most original and accomplished poets to emerge in recent years—and to reward outstanding poets for years to come—the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize is the most lucrative first-book prize in the U.S. Presented in partnership with the Alan B. Slifka Foundation, the prize awards $10,000 and publication to the author of a debut collection of poems. Submissions to the 2017 prize will be open from July 1–August 31, 2017. Review complete guidelines and submit to the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize»
  • NATIONAL POETRY SERIES: Milkweed Editions is one of five participating publishers in the National Poetry Series, which was established in 1978 to recognize and promote excellence in contemporary poetry. Five winners are selected each year, and each receives a prize of $10,000 and publication. Learn more and submit at

Open Submissions Periods

Milkweed Editions anticipates opening for several submissions periods in 2017. Dates can be found below and are subject to change; please check the website as your intended submission period approaches. Descriptions of each genre-specific submissions period and what we are looking for in nonfiction, fiction, and poetry can also be found below. Reviewing previous titles published by Milkweed Editions is another excellent resource.

We do our best to respond to submissions in a timely manner. Due to our staff size, however, our review time may take longer. Please be patient while we give your manuscript our full consideration.

  • LITERARY NONFICTION: Milkweed Editions will be open to manuscripts of literary nonfiction from January 15–February 15, 2017. We publish primarily works of literary nonfiction that focus on nature and the environment, a deeply felt sense of place, and/or the relationships between human and natural communities. We publish few works of memoir that do not bear a direct connection to these themes, and we are not interested in literary biographies or in manuscripts written for an academic, business, or scientific audience. Please submit a query letter with three opening chapters (of a full-length book) or three representative essays (of a collection).
  • FICTION: Milkweed Editions will be open to manuscripts of fiction (novels, novellas, and short story collections) from May 1–May 31, or until we reach a cap of 800 submissions, whichever comes first. We will open for additional submissions of fiction from June 1–June 7, or until we reach a cap of an additional 800 submissions, whichever comes first. We are not currently accepting any children’s or YA manuscripts, and any submitted will be automatically declined. We do not publish romance, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, crime, or westerns. Please submit a query letter with three opening chapters (of a novel) or three representative stories (of a collection).
  • POETRY: Milkweed Editions will be open to single-author collections of poetry beginning October 1, 2017. Submissions will close once we have received 800 manuscripts, or on October 31, 2017 (whichever comes first). Manuscripts must be at least 60 pages long. Please submit a cover letter along with the complete collection.

How to Submit a Manuscript

Electronic Submissions

Milkweed Editions considers manuscripts sent through Submittable during one of our open submissions periods. (Button below.) Please note: No manuscript revisions or corrections can be made to files while submissions are under consideration. Unsolicited manuscripts and queries submitted via email will not be considered.

NOTE: If you submit a manuscript during the incorrect genre-specific submissions period, it will be automatically declined. 


Paper Submissions

Though we strongly recommend that you use Submittable, we also accept printed submissions. We will only respond to submissions mailed with an enclosed SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope), and will only return submissions if you enclose a mailer stamped with correct postage. If you do not provide a way for us to return the manuscript, we will recycle it.

Please see the above guidelines for each genre. NOTE: We are not currently accepting any children’s or YA manuscripts, and any submitted will be automatically declined.

You may address mailed submissions to:

Nonfiction Reader [or Fiction or Poetry, as appropriate]
Milkweed Editions
1011 Washington Avenue South
Open Book, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415  
Featured Poetry
Chris Santiago

Tula: a ruined Toltec capital; a Russian city known for its accordions; Tagalog for “poem.” Inspired by the experiences of the second-generation immigrant who does not fully acquire the language of his parents, the winner of the 2016...

Cold Pastoral
Rebecca Dunham

Deepwater Horizon, Hurricane Katrina, Flint: this is the litany of our time, and these are the events traced in these poems, invoking the poet as moral witness. Incorporating interviews and excerpts from government documents and other sources,...

Analicia Sotelo

This Jake Adam York Prize winner is a vivid portrait of the artist as a young woman. At every step, these poems seduce with history, folklore, and sensory detail—grilled meat, golden habañeros, and burnt sugar—before delivering clear-eyed and...

William Brewer

Uncanny, heartbreaking, and often surreal, this National Poetry Series winner is an unforgettable elegy for the people and places that have been lost to opioids in rural Appalachia. In these poems we see both the lost and the bereaved, the...

Bright Dead Things
Ada Limón

Full of bravado and introspection, of twenty-first-century feminist swagger and harrowing loss, this collection considers how we build our identities out of place and human contact. Taking readers from New York City to rural Kentucky, these poems...

Featured Fiction
Dalia Rosenfeld

The characters of these stories are animated by forces at once passionate and perplexing. Fiercely funny and entirely original, this collection takes readers from the United States to Israel and back again to examine the mystifying reaches of our...

Craig Cliff

Tormented by the loss of his wife, department store window-dresser Colton Kemp decides to raise his newborn twins in secrecy and isolation, to become human mannequins. This debut novel is at once wildly entertaining and formally ambitious,...

Medicine Walk
Richard Wagamese

When sixteen-year-old Franklin Starlight is summoned by his ailing father, Eldon, Franklin’s sense of duty clashes with the resentment he feels for his father’s many years of neglect and drinking. But when the two men set out together on one last...

Cracking India
Bapsi Sidhwa

As the young daughter of an affluent Parsee family in Lahore, Lenny is keenly observant of the city’s astonishing diversity—Muslims and Hindus, Christians and Sikhs, coexisting together. But as Lahore descends into sectarian violence, Lenny’s...

Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse
Faith Sullivan

Widowed, penniless, responsible for her beloved baby boy, and subject to the small-town gossip of Harvester, Minnesota—Nell Stillman’s lot is not an easy one. Yet she finds strength in lasting friendships and in the rich inner life awakened by...

Featured Nonfiction
Joni Tevis

From a haunted widow’s wildly expanding mansion to atomic test sites in the Nevada desert, the settings of these essays are often places of destruction and loss. And yet this collection transforms these eerie, apocalyptic destinations into sites...

Things that Are
Amy Leach

These essays take jellyfish, fainting goats, and imperturbable caterpillars as just a few of their many inspirations. Surveying both the tiniest earth dwellers and the most far-flung celestial bodies, this is a book of wonder, one readers cannot...

Body of Water
Chris Dombrowski

The author was in the Bahamas, pursuing bonefish—one of the world’s most elusive creatures—when he had a life-changing encounter with David Pinder, a legendary bonefishing guide. Here he tells Pinder’s story, as well as that of an ecology, of an...

Robin Wall Kimmerer

As a botanist, the author has been trained to examine nature with the tools of science; as a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our teachers. Here she brings these two lenses together,...

J. Drew Lanham

Growing up on his family’s land in South Carolina, the author fell in love with the subtle beauties of the natural world around him—and grew up to be one of the lone black men in a predominantly white field. This memoir is a riveting exploration...