Submissions Now Open for the 2019 Langston Hughes Creative Writing Awards



The Lawrence Arts Center and The Raven Book Store announce their joint sponsorship of the 2018 Langston Hughes Creative Writing Awards.  Two awards of $500 each are given annually, one in the area of poetry and one in the area of fiction. Selection will be based on the quality of the work presented and will be made by a committee of outstanding regional writers. The committee reserves the right to issue no awards.

This year’s judges are: Darren Canady, Denise Low, Mary O’Connell, and Justin Runge.

Growing up in Lawrence prepared Langston Hughes (1902-1967) to understand the difficulties of a racist society as well as the complexities of life itself. He responded by writing in diverse genres–poetry, fiction, drama, memoir, travel narrative–and in diverse styles, drawing on the rich culture of African Americans and the many voices of American democracy. His writing reflected this diversity – shifting from the psychological and political to the lyrical, the tragic, the humorous, crossing literary boundaries, always experimental, always seeking to express a clearer, more memorable vision of the reality he experienced. The Langston Hughes Award seeks to encourage and support poets and writers who, today, are continuing to present their life experiences creatively through poetry, stories, and non-fiction prose. Surprise us. Move us. Help us see ourselves and our lives in new ways.


  • Writers of poetry or fiction.
  • Writers currently living in Douglas County, Kansas, and who have lived here for one year prior to submission of materials.
  • Writers who are 21 years old or older.
  • Writers who have published a book-length volume of poetry or fiction are not eligible.  (Self-published works, such as chapbooks, are exempted.)
  • Previous winners ARE NOT eligible.


  • The manuscript should be typed, double-spaced in 12-point type with one-inch margins.   Please submit ONE (1) only document for your submission.  Multiple pieces should be contained in a single document.
  • Title your poetry submission collection.
  • Submit no more than 10 poems.
  • No more than 20 pages or 5,000 words will be accepted.
  • Manuscripts must be in English.
  • Chapters of a novel are to be accompanied by a brief synopsis of entire work.
  • Writer’s name should NOT appear in the manuscript.
  • Please include contact information (email address, telephone number, and address) as well as a short biography in the bio section of your profile on Submittable.
  • Writers may enter in either or both categories, but an individual may win in only one category.
  • No entry fee required.



On Friday, February 1, 2019, Langston Hughes’ Birthday, a celebration and reading will be held in honor of the award winners.  All applicants will be notified prior to the announcement.


Only submissions received through Submittable will be considered. Click here to submit.



Langston Hughes Spoken Word competition for Douglas County (KS) high school students. Part of the official annual Langston Hughes Creative Writing Awards, this first-year prize pays tribute to the work of Langston Hughes and recognizes young talent with a $400 cash prize. Click here for more information.