The Aggrey Prize for Poetry [1st or 2nd book prize]

submitted by

Inverted Syntax

Call For Submissions

Named after the Aggrey family of Ghana, the prize seeks to identify, award, and honor those whose original work focuses on any aspect of life from the perspective of those within the BIPOC community. The Aggrey Prize is dedicated to the discovery of exceptional first- or second-poetry collections written in English by a writer who identifies as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color (BIPOC) residing within the United States, regardless of citizenship. The poetry manuscript can be a hybrid, that is, it can intersect with any genre, including speculative prose and visual elements (note: we do not publish photographs and cannot print in color); essentially, we are looking for work that celebrates hybridity and resists genre specificity.

Judged by the editors of Inverted Syntax, one winner will be selected with the possibility of runners-up.

​Winner receives:

  • Publication with Inverted Syntax Press (using Bookmobile for printing and Itasca Books for distribution).
  • 25 author copies.
  • $500 prize money.
  • 5%-10% standard royalties on net receipts.
  • Assistance in planning a reading launch with other writers within the winner’s state and elsewhere when possible.
  • Inverted Syntax-hosted online reading launch
  • Weeklong writing retreat to a historic Victorian home located in Leadville, Colorado, with up to four members of your writing community.

NOTE: Inverted Syntax may also offer a runner-up publication of another manuscript in addition to the winner. This runner-up author will receive everything listed above with the exception of the $500 prize.
​All other submission entries are also considered for publication and long-listing.
Any work published beyond the winner and runner-up will receive everything listed above with the exception of the prize money and the writing retreat.

Contest guidelines:

  • The Aggrey Prize for Poetry is open to writers who identify as BIPOC, of any citizenship residing in the United States who have published no more than one book in any genre.​
  • Inclusion of other languages/ code-switching/meshing is very much welcome as long as the book is largely written in English.
  • Theme: We are looking to amplify the myriad experiences, struggles, triumphs, and aspirations of the diverse narratives within the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities through the power of poetry. We aim to create a space for solidarity, healing, and empowerment, showcasing the richness and complexity of BIPOC voices in contemporary poetry. While there is no specific theme for this book contest, we encourage submissions that reflect on intersectional perspectives, including those that delve into themes of identity, cultural heritage, social justice, resilience, and the nuanced complexities of lived experiences. We encourage genre-breaking writing–hybrid, speculative, and experimental submissions.
  • We will accept submissions between June 5 and August 15. The winner will be announced 6 months after the submission window closes.
  • Please send a manuscript that is between 48-100 pages, not including front matter.
  • The manuscript should be paginated and include a table of contents.
  • Do not put your name on any page within the manuscript or in the file name.
  • Include an acknowledgements page, for example, list any previously published poems.
  • We accept simultaneous submissions. Notify us immediately if your work is picked up elsewhere.
  • We accept multiple submissions, but each submission must be accompanied by its own fee.
  • We will not accept changes to your manuscript during our review period.
  • Anyone affiliated with the editors or reading staff of Inverted Syntax is not eligible.
  • Any writer residing outside of the USA is not eligible.
  • Submission Fee is $20 (Why we charge fees explained here)
  • If the submission costs are a burden, please include an explanation of your situation and why you want to publish with Inverted Syntax, and we will send you a waiver for a reduced fee of $10.

Submission Period
June 5, 2024 - August 15, 2024

Contact Name
Nawal Nader-French
Contact Title
Contact Email Address

Poetry Press