South Carolina Novel Prize

Submissions open on January 1, 2020.

The First Novel Prize is now the South Carolina Novel Prize. Any S.C. writer may enter the competition, including those who have never had a novel published AND those who have been published.

We also welcome a new partner in the College of Charleston Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, led by novelist and English professor Bret Lott.


The South Carolina Novel Prize recognizes one of South Carolina's exceptional writers by providing a book contract with Hub City Press. The contest is highly competitive. All submissions will be read anonymously by our readers and judge. Winner is awarded publication by Hub City Press in the form of a printing of no less than 2000 copies to be nationally distributed to the trade in 2019. This can bring recognition that may open doors to other resources and opportunities in the literary community.

Eligibility Requirements

The applicant must:

  • Be a legal resident of the U.S. and S.C. with a permanent residence in the state for one (1) year prior to the application deadline (twelve consecutive months);

  • Be 18 years of age or older at the time of application;

  • May have published a novel, a book of nonfiction, short stories, poetry or children's literature.

  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, as long as winning author is willing to withdraw it from consideration elsewhere upon accepting S.C. Novel Prize.


March 15, 2018 Manuscripts and résumés must be submitted online before 5:00 PM no later than the stated date.


Summer 2018

Required Application Materials

Applicants must submit a manuscript and résumé online. Manuscripts submitted separately will not be processed.


The winning author will receive a book contract with Hub City Press, an award-winning independent press in Spartanburg, S.C. Upon successful execution of the contract with Hub City, the winner will receive a $1,000 advance against royalties. Hub City will publish at least 2,000 copies of the book, which includes a book for every public library branch in the state.

The winning author will also receive invitations from the College of Charleston, the South Carolina State Library and South Carolina Humanities to appear and sign books at significant events.

The winner will receive significant promotion by the sponsors of South Carolina Novel Prize: Hub City Press, the South Carolina Arts Commission, the College of Charleston, the South Carolina State Library and South Carolina Humanities. Hub City Press will promote the book through social media and by mailing galleys and news releases to national and regional reviewers and to key booksellers. Additionally, Hub City will set up author appearances at book festivals, bookstores, colleges and libraries. The S.C. Arts Commission will promote the winner and the book on the agency's websites, in the e-newsletter, through social media and by distributing news releases to media outlets around the state, and to key regional and national arts organizations. The South Carolina State Library will purchase a book for each public library branch in the state, and South Carolina Humanities will promote the winner and the book on its website and at special events.

Filing Fee: $35.00

The S.C. Arts Commission and Hub City Press reserve the right not to publish any of the submissions that have been solicited. Each submission must be accompanied by a processing fee of $35, payable by credit card with online submission. No entry fees will be returned.

How to Apply

The application link and instructions will be available January 2, 2020. For full guidelines visit The SC Arts Commission Literary Arts Program page.

Contest Partners:

The S.C. Arts Commission, Hub City Press, College of Charleston, Crazyhorse Literary Journal, The South Carolina State Library. South Carolina Humanities is a founding partner.

Previous Winners

Brock Adams

Brock Adams

Brock Adams is a senior instructor of English and creative writing at the University of South Carolina Upstate, where he also directs the Writing Center. He has published stories in Sewanee Review, Best American Mystery Stories, Barrelhouse, Acapella Zoo, and elsewhere. His book of stories, Gulf, was published by Pocol Press in 2010. He has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Central Florida.

James E. McTeer II

James E. McTeer II

James McTeer's 2014 winning novel, Minnow, received starred reviews in Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews and favorable reviews in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Los Angeles Review of Books. The book is now in its second printing.

Susan Tekulve

Susan Tekulve

Susan Tekulve’s nonfiction, short stories and essays have appeared in journals such as Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, The Georgia Review, Connecticut Review, and Shenandoah. Her story collection, My Mother”s War Stories, received the 2004 Winnow Press fiction prize. Author of Savage Pilgrims, a story collection, she has received scholarships from the the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Scholarship and teaches writing at Converse College. Her novel, In the Garden of Stone was selected by Josephine Humphreys and was published in 2013.

Matt Matthews

Matt Matthews

Matt Matthews studied journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University, then attended Union Seminary in Richmond, Va. He serves as pastor at St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC. He is married to Rachel Matthews and they have three sons. His novel, Mercy Creek was selected by Bret Lott and was published in 2011.

Brian Ray

Brian Ray

Brian Ray grew up in Marietta, Georgia, and is now Assistant Professor of English at University Nebraska-Kearney. He earned his PhD in English from UNCG and his MFA from the University of South Carolina. His novel, Through the Pale Door was selected by Percival Everett and was published in 2011.