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We love work that is linguistically, intellectually, and emotionally demanding of the reader.  We want art that grows in complexity upon each visitation; we enjoy ornate, cerebral, and voluptuous phrases executed with thematic intent. Writers we admire are Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, Jorge Luis Borges, Charles Dickens, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Thomas Mann, Marcel Proust, Robert Musil, T.S. Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, John Milton, Aphra Behn, Herman Melville, and Italo Calvino.  


  • Deadline: Feb 22, 2023 (11:59pm EST)
  • Submission fee: $15


  • Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays, philosophical ruminations, stageplays, fragments, chapters, and excerpts are all acceptable. We are not concerned with genre distinctions—send us the best you have; we want only for it to be thoughtful, intelligent, and beautiful. All writers tend to develop a scrap heap of brilliant writing - sharp dialogue that has been cut in service of a plot, a philosophical tirade that can't quite be couched in a narrative, a stunning imagistic landscape of linguistic pyrotechnics that deserves an audience... Literary beauty exists in more than the conventional narrative, we believe, and the most cerebral moments cannot necessarily be expressed in more than bursts and fragments. We would love to provide a space for those portions of works that have been cut away through no fault of their own.


  • You may submit multiple pieces as long as each is accompanied by a separate entry fee. One poetry submission may include up to 5 unrelated (or related) poems.
  • Page limit for any type of submission: 150 pages.
  • The winning entry will be published online in AZURE: A Journal of Literary Thought. An excerpt from this piece will appear on the contest page.
  • We will give as many first place prizes as the top submissions warrant--that is, if multiple pieces strike us as first place winners, each winner will receive $500. Happenstance has nothing to do with quality.


  • Both previously published and unpublished works are eligible, provided that potential publication in AZURE: A Journal of Literary Thought does not infringe on previously held rights.
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine, even encouraged--your work deserves its due! If your work is published elsewhere before the end of our judging period, you are still eligible for the prize money, so you may choose to leave your work under consideration provided that you will allow us to publish a short excerpt from your piece on our website (we are also happy to link to the publication where the entire work can be found).
  • While works previously published in AZURE: A Journal of Literary Thought are not eligible, an author whose work we have previously published may submit a new work for consideration.
  • If you have previously been the winner of a Lazuli Literary Group Writing Contest, you are not eligible to submit.
  • You may not submit pages that have been workshopped (or the product of pages that have been workshopped) with an editor of AZURE, but you CAN submit other pages from the same piece (for example, if you workshopped only Chapter 1 of a novel, you may still submit Chapter 8 to the contest; in this case, you MUST remove Chapter 1 from the submitted document).


  • All submissions are read blind (without knowledge of the author's name or background information). Your name should not appear in the submission document.
  • The winning submission(s) will be selected by Sakina B. Fakhri, the editor of AZURE: A Journal of Literary Thought.
  • A cover letter is not required and will not affect the success of your submission, but please include a short bio that we can use in the event of publication.

DISCOUNTED COPIES OF AZURE FOR ENTRANTS With thanks for your participation in the contest, we offer discounted print copies of "AZURE: A Journal of Literary Thought"  on the contest checkout page on Submittable. If you are placing an order, please include your FULL shipping address in your contact form. Also, please note that we are currently only able to ship within the U.S. and Canada. If you live outside the U.S. and would like to order a copy of AZURE, you may order through Amazon or, if funds and location make it possible for you (in support of indie bookstores en masse), through our affiliate page at Bookshop.org. ​  

WE WILL DONATE 20% OF YOUR CONTEST FEE... to a particular charitable organization for each contest. We believe that part of the reason we create literature and cultivate expression is to create a better world--for each contest, we will aim to highlight and contribute to an organization that does just that.  ​For the Fall 2023 Writing Contest, 20% of your contest fee will go to GiveDirectly, an organization that seeks to combat poverty in the long-term by providing digital cash transfers to individuals to spend on items of their choice, such as medicines, livestock, water, school fees, solar lights, tin roofs, irrigation, and business creation. Funds have been donated worldwide to individuals in countries including Kenya, Rwanda, Liberia, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Togo, DRC, Uganda, and the United States.  If you would like to apprise us of an endeavor close to your heart that would benefit from writers' donations, please reach out to us through the contact form and we will consider it for our next contest.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.