The Carolyn Bush Award aims to support innovative, hybrid, and cross-genre work that contributes to expanding the discourses and practices of poetry. Titles selected for this award are published as part of the Passage Series, which assembles books by emerging writers and artists that imagine new possibilities and expressions of the poetic, the political, and the social.
This award honors the life and work of Wendy’s Subway co-founder Carolyn Bush and seeks to provide in-depth editorial and professional support to an emerging writer in her name.
The winner will author a publication with Wendy’s Subway, receive an honorarium of $1,250, a standard royalty contract, and 25 author copies. Crucial to the award is the editorial support provided to complete the manuscript for publication. The winner will receive two consultations at key stages in the manuscript’s progress with established writers who will offer rigorous feedback and suggestions for revisions or further development. The winner will also receive two advisory meetings for professional development to learn strategies for residency and fellowship applications, crafting personal statements, submitting to journals and magazines, and self-publishing. Additionally, free enrollment in two workshops at Wendy’s Subway and a one year key-holding “Contributor” membership to the Wendy’s Subway reading room in Brooklyn, which includes a library collection of over 3,000 titles, will be made available to the winner.
Wendy’s Subway is committed to a publishing practice that amplifies marginalized and underrepresented writers. The Carolyn Bush Award aims to encourage an emerging writer to follow and develop their work and envision a future in the field with confidence and an abundance of support.
Deadline and Announcement
Submissions will be accepted through October 10, 2022. The winning book will be announced in Winter 2023 and published in Spring 2024.
About this Award
This award has been established in honor of founding member of Wendy’s Subway, Carolyn Bush (1990-2016). In honoring Carolyn and continuing her legacy, we seek to acknowledge her fiercely particular approach to learning, writing, and collaborating. Carolyn chose her own path and followed her own schedule. She was wary of formal education but sought out workshops, reading groups, and informal collectives where learning is enacted relationally, as a form of exchange and intimacy. She engaged mentors but was skeptical of received wisdom of any kind. Her library included poetry and fiction, mystical and religious texts, feminist theory and biography, and idiosyncratic curricula including a collection of texts on the limits of language itself. The poetry and essays she left us are densely allusive, hybrid in forms, galvanized by her concern with social and political justice, and alive with the curiosity and irreverence for which she was famous and beloved. She loved truth-tellers, and was one.
The Wendy’s Subway Carolyn Bush Award Editorial Committee, composed of Wendy’s Subway staff, as well as Harris Bauer, Gabriel Kruis, and Matt Longabucco. To learn about our staff visit our About page.
This award is intended for emerging writers residing in New York City. We welcome submissions from female-identifying, genderqueer, non-conforming, non-binary, and trans writers.
Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but should the manuscript be accepted for publication elsewhere, we ask that you notify us as soon as possible and withdraw your Submittable application.
Format and Guidelines
We seek early-stage manuscripts of 20 pages in length to be considered for the Carolyn Bush Award. Your manuscript may include visual art and illustrations. It may not be a translation of another author’s writing and should reflect your original work.
Applications also consist of a 500-word written reflection about your work, how you see it developing, and how you think you will benefit from this opportunity with Wendy’s Subway to do so. The manuscript need not be complete at the time of application. While excerpts from the manuscript may have been previously published (as chapbooks, in journals), the manuscript as a whole should reflect a new and unpublished work. Please include page numbers, a title page, a table of contents, and acknowledgments listing previous publications (if applicable). You may only submit one manuscript for consideration. You will not have the opportunity to make any edits or revisions to your manuscript in Submittable once it has been submitted. We encourage applicants to familiarize themselves with our publishing initiative and public programs to learn more about the mission and activities of Wendy’s Subway.
Conflict of Interest
Wendy’s Subway abides by the Code of Ethics developed by the Community of Literary Magazines and Publishers (see below). We are committed to fairly and ethically evaluating each and every submission. Close friends, relatives, colleagues, and students (past and present) of any the judges are not eligible to submit. You can write us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about your eligibility or the application process.
CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believe that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines — defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.
How to Submit
Please submit online using our Submittable page. No hard copies accepted. There is an entry fee of $15.
The $15 submission fee assists our small press support publishing costs and writer honoraria. We recognize that not everyone can afford this expense at this time, and are committed to making the contest as accessible as possible. We are offering a fee waiver if this expense presents a hardship for you. Please email email@example.com with any questions or to make a request, using the subject line “CBA Fee Waiver.”