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Lyd Havens, collective member and chapbook judge

"Regarding what I'm looking for: I'd be very interested to see work that provides vivid and unexpected metaphors/imagery, but above all, I would love to see honest work. That can be a pretty open-ended word when it comes to poetry, but define it however you want! I want to see honesty that will comfort me, and honesty that will startle me."

The Garden Party Chapbook Contest! 


  • Tremendous thanks to everyone who trusted us with their work—we received 147 submissions during our 1-week period in early January!

  • Our team spent most of January reading all the entries, and then most of February re-reading entries to provide personal feedback and determine our finalists

  • In March, we responded to all of our submissions, with a +97% personalized rejection rate.

  • In April, we picked our three winners!

Much love for our finalists(!):​​


Yearly Contest Details

SUBMISSION PERIOD: Submissions are closed, but will reopen in 2024!

Our three judges—Laura Villareal, Stephen Furlong, and Lyd Havens—each picked a winner. We're excited to bring three collections into print! 

All submission entries should be accompanied by a 2-4 sentence bio and any relevant links in the body of the email. Please attach your chapbook manuscript as a pdf / doc / docx to the email.


  • Submissions must be ~20 pages min/~30 pages max (including ToC, Acknowledgements, etc)

  • Acknowledgments page required for all previously published pieces

  • Please start each piece on a new page

  • Individual pieces may be previously published, but large portions of the manuscript cannot be already published

  • Prose, poetry, and hybrid combinations are all welcome (in traditional or experimental styles)

  • Please double-space all fiction and essays 

  • We’re open to collaborations, translation, reviews, art, and anything you can think of–surprise us!

  • International submissions are accepted

  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please keep us in the loop if you hear back elsewhere 

  • Please include your pronouns in your bio/submission so we can properly refer to you <3​

One manuscript per person, please. Any entry received after the selected dates will not be considered for publication. We read every manuscript, and will have our picks for finalists within two months of submissions!


  • 20 author copies (plus additional copies at-price as desired)

  • Free copies of the other winning chaps for the year

  • An initial print run of 125 copies, with additional print runs as needed 

  • Beautiful cover art! We'll work with you if you have someone in mind, or we'll find somebody wonderful together 

  • Expert printing & binding

  • Online release of our winning chaps as free ebooks later in the year

  • An invitation to feature at our Garden Party online reading

  • Reviews & blurbs for your book from within our network

  • Invitation to join the Garden Party Collective—lend your voice for picking new winners in future contests

  • Winners will have extensive involvement regarding their cover art, interior design, and general editing, with plenty of guidance from our entire collective—let's grow your writing with lots of different perspectives!​

ROYALTIES: We initially pay our authors w/ 20 copies of their chaps + free copies of the other 2 winners, and also provide royalties once we break even on production costs.

For context/transparency, we'll be selling the chapbooks to people at a "Pay-What-You-Can" rate (see below). As such, our goal each contest is trying to break even. Once we reach that point though, the Garden Party Collective would split all profits with each writer, 50/50. We'll use our share for future GPC projects and promotion!  

DISTRIBUTION: like our previous project, Nostrovia! Press, we believe in accessibility, which is why all of our print copies are sold at a "Pay-What-You-Can" rate to ensure money is never a gatekeeping factor for the amazing writing we want to share! And we also will share all of our winners as free ebooks later each year for further availability. 


We also donate chaps to fundraisers, literary events, and schools. 

If you have such an organization, please contact us! We'd love to help you out! 

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