In the summer of 1816, in response to a challenge from friends to write the most terrifying possible ghost story, the young Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley dreamed up the story of a young scientist and his monstrous creation. The “Frankenstein monster” has fascinated the imagination ever since.
In conjunction with the ASU Frankenstein Bicentennial Project, Creative Nonfiction magazine is daring writers (as Mary Shelley was dared in Geneva) to write original and groundbreaking stories in the spirit of Frankenstein—but nonfiction. That is to say, we’re looking for true stories that explore humans’ efforts to control and redirect nature, the evolving relationships between humanity and science/technology, and contemporary interpretations of monstrosity.
Essays must be vivid and dramatic; they should combine a strong and compelling narrative with an informative or reflective element and reach beyond a strictly personal experience for some universal or deeper meaning. We’re open to a broad range of interpretations of the “Frankenstein” theme, with the understanding that all works submitted must tell true stories and be factually accurate. Above all, we're looking for well-written prose, rich with detail and a distinctive voice.
Creative Nonfiction editors and a judge (to be announced) will award $10,000 and publication for Best Essay and two $2,500 prizes and publication for runners-up. All essays will be considered for publication in the winter 2018 issue of the magazine.
Guidelines: Essays must be previously unpublished and no longer than 4,000 words.
A note about fact-checking: Essays accepted for publication in Creative Nonfiction undergo a rigorous fact-checking process. To the extent your essay draws on research and/or reportage (and it should, at least to some degree), editors will ask you to send documentation of your sources and to help with the fact-checking process. We do not require that citations be submitted with essays, but you may find it helpful to keep a file of your essay that includes footnotes and/or a bibliography.
There is a $20 reading fee. Subscribers to CNF/TS never pay a reading/convenience fee of any kind when submitting, though. Ever. Not a subscriber? Choose the discounted subscription add-on when uploading your submission, or include a check for the appropriate amount when submitting by mail.
You may submit essays online or by regular mail:
By regular mail
Postmark deadline March 20, 2017
Please send manuscript, accompanied by cover letter with complete contact information including the title of the essay and word count; SASE or email for response; and payment to:
5119 Coral Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Deadline to upload files: 11:59 pm Eastern Time, March 20, 2017
Current subscribers can upload submissions here for free >>**
**Please note that we will check all submissions against our subscriber database. Submissions uploaded through the free option by non-subscribers will not be read.