The Eliud Martínez Prize

2023-24 Judge: Juanita E. Mantz • DEADLINE EXTENDED: February 29, 2024

Juanita E. Mantz (“JEM”) is a USC Law educated lawyer, writer, performer, and podcaster who believes writing has the power to change the world.

Juanita is a creative nonfiction writer who has 2 books, a YA memoir titled “Tales of an Inland Empire Girl” (Los Nietos Press, Jan 2022) that won a bronze medal at the 2023 Latino Books to Movies Award and a hybrid chapbook titled “Portrait of a Deputy Public Defender, or how I became a punk rock lawyer” (Bamboo Dart Press, Aug 2021) which was awarded a gold medal at the International Latino Book Awards for best first book, nonfiction English.

She was awarded a 2023 Individual Artist Fellowship at the established artist range from the California Arts Council.

She is an alumni of the VONA and Macondo workshops and has presented at UCR Writers’ Week, the Tomás Rivera Conference, the UCR Punk Conference, Pasadena LitFest, AWP & Beyond Baroque. She produced and taught the ASA 2020 Freedom Course on Combatting Mass Incarceration.

She is in the low residency MFA creative writing program at UNO and was named the 2022 writer in residence at Pasadena City College.

Check out her video podcast, “Life of JEM” where she does live interviews with writers. It’s available on Apple Podcasts and on Amazon.

Find her on twitter @lifeofjem, on IG @lifeofjem1 and read her blog at Listen to her Life of JEM podcast at

Find everything on her author website:

The Inlandia Institute is a literary nonprofit and publishing house based in Inland Southern California dedicated to celebrating the region in word, image, and sound.

​​The Eliud Martínez Prize was established to honor the memory of Eliud Martínez (1935–2020), artist, novelist, and professor emeritus of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. One prize of $1,000 and book publication through Inlandia Books will be awarded for a book of fiction or creative nonfiction by a writer who identifies as Hispanic, Latino/a/x, or Chicana/o/x.

Our literary expression occupies a place within our American national literature, and among the literatures of the world.

—Eliud Martinez


  • Submissions accepted only from writers who identify as Hispanic, Latino/a/e/x, or Chicana/o/x.
  • Manuscripts can be fiction or creative nonfiction, including memoir, essays, stories, and multi-genre or hybrid works.
  • At this time, only submissions written primarily in English will be considered. 
  • Manuscripts must be submitted anonymously. Do not include any identifying information on the manuscript itself, in the file name, or headers/footers.
  • Manuscripts can be under consideration by other publishers, but the winning writer must agree to withdraw their entry from consideration by other publishers. There will be no refunds of entry fees. 


  • 150 to 300 typed pages in 12-point Times New Roman, 1-inch margins, double-spaced, page numbering in upper-right corner.
  • Submit as a PDF but have the full manuscript available as a Word document on request.
  • Longer works of up to 500 pages may only be submitted in proposal form: excerpt, table of contents, and synopsis. 
  • All manuscripts must be complete to be considered. Do not submit works-in-progress. 


  • Any writer residing in the U.S. or its territories of Hispanic, Latino/a/e/x, or Chicana/o/x descent may enter the contest, with the exception of current colleagues and/or students, close friends, or family of the judge. Additionally, anyone currently serving in the Inlandia Institute in the last two years, either as an employee or on the Inlandia Institute Board of Directors, or is a close family member, is not eligible.

Inlandia Institute abides by the CLMP Contest Code of Ethics, as written by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses: “The Community of Literary Magazines and Presses believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. Intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest.”