The Hillary Gravendyk Prize

The Hillary Gravendyk Prize, Sponsored by the Inlandia Institute

One National and one Regional Winner will each be awarded $1000 and book publication, and additional books may be chosen for publication by the editors.

The Hillary Gravendyk Prize is an open poetry book competition for all writers regardless of the number of previously published poetry collections. The manuscript page limit is 48 – 100 pages, and the press invites all styles and forms of poetry. Only electronic submissions accepted via Inlandia’s Submittable portal. Entries must be received between February 1 and April 30 at midnight Pacific Standard Time each year. Reading fee is $20. The winners will be announced late Summer/Fall, for publication in the next year.

HILLARY GRAVENDYK (1979-2014) was a beloved poet living and teaching in Southern California’s “Inland Empire” region. She wrote the acclaimed poetry book, HARM from Omnidawn Publishing (2012), and the posthumously published The Soluble Hour (Omnidawn, 2017) and Unlikely Conditions (1913 Press, 2017, with Cynthia Arrieu-King) as well as the poetry chapbook The Naturalist (Achiote Press, 2008). A native of Washington State, she was an admired Assistant Professor of English at Pomona College in Claremont, CA. Her poetry has appeared widely in journals such as American Letters & Commentary, The Bellingham Review, The Colorado Review, The Eleventh Muse, Fourteen Hills, MARY, 1913: A Journal of Forms, Octopus Magazine, Tarpaulin Sky and Sugar House Review. Hillary was two-time winner of the Eisner Prize in Poetry and was awarded a 2015 Pushcart Prize for her poem “Your Ghost,” which appeared in the Pushcart Prize Anthology. She leaves behind many devoted colleagues, friends, family and beautiful poems. Hillary Gravendyk passed away on May 10, 2014 after a long illness. This contest has been established in her memory.

This year’s competition judge is Rusty Morrison (National) and Megan Gravendyk Estrella (Regional).

Rusty Morrison has been the co-founder, co-publisher of Omnidawn ( since 2001. Her five books include After Urgency (won Tupelo’s Dorset Prize), the true keeps calm biding its story (won Ahsahta’s Sawtooth Prize, James Laughlin Award, N.California Book Award, & DiCastagnola Award from PSA), and most recently: Beyond the Chainlink (Ahsahta; finalist for the NCIB Award & NCB Award). Her new book, Risk, will be published by Black Ocean on Spring 2024. She was awarded a fellowship by UC Berkeley Art Research Center’s Poetry & the Senses Program (in the program’s inaugural year of 2020). Her poems have appeared on the Poetry Foundation website, on their podcast series Poetry Now, in Colorado Review, Fence, Iowa ReviewPoetry Daily, and elsewhere. Her creative nonfiction & poetry has appeared in Entropy; and her nonfiction at Harriet. Her critical essays appeared at Kenyon Review and Pleiades among other places. She is a recipient of fellowships from UC Berkeley’s Arts and Research Center, Civitella Ranieri, Djerassi, and other artist residencies. She has taught in MFA programs, been a visiting poet at colleges, and teaches workshops through Omnidawn and elsewhere. She offers private consultations. For more info, see her website:


Megan Gravendyk-Estrella is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse and Poet. Megan is a two-time winner of the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the author of the Seattle Young Playwrights prize-winning short play, “Good Evening Mrs. Gerfella.” Megan lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband, Jose, and his daughter, Sofia. Hillary and Megan wrote together their entire lives. Prior to Hillary’s passing, the sisters workshopped poetry and short fiction together, including many poems in Hillary’s book, Harm.

The details: One contest, two prizes, each award is granted publication and $1000: All entrants will be considered for the National Prize, and entrants who currently reside or work in Inland Southern California, the “Inland Empire,” will also be considered for the Regional Prize (Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, and any non-coastal Southern California area, from Death Valley in the northernmost region to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in the southernmost). If you believe you reside or work in an area that falls within the I.E., please select the “Yes, I live and/or work in the I.E.” checkbox on the Submittable form, or if you’re not sure, please contact the Inlandia Institute at 

Eligibility: Any American writer 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 of the above, is not eligible.

Manuscript Requirements: Please submit 48-100 pages of poetry through our Submittable portal as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf. ***Submissions will be read blind, so do not include any contact information on the manuscript itself.*** Do not include a cover page, and do not attach an acknowledgements page. No revisions to the manuscript are allowed while the contest is running; however, if your manuscript is selected for publication, revisions may be submitted at that time. Please use a standard 11 or 12 point font. If there is a significant amount of non-standard formatting, please submit as a PDF to ensure formatting remains intact. Individual poems may have been published in journals, anthologies, chapbooks, etc., but the collection as a whole must be unpublished.

Submission fee: $20 per manuscript. Multiple submissions accepted but a separate entry fee is required for each manuscript submitted. Simultaneous submissions also accepted. If accepted elsewhere, please formally withdraw your manuscript from consideration via the Submittable portal.

Each winner will receive $1000, 20 copies of their book, and a standard book contract.

Ready to submit? Go here.

The manuscripts will be screened by MFA students from local colleges and universities.

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. In 2018, God’s Will for Monsters, regional winner of the 2017 Hillary Gravendyk Prize, received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.

Hillary Gravendyk Prize winners to date include Jennifer MacKenzie, Elizabeth Galoozis, William Barnes, Tiffany Elliott, Angelica Maria Barraza, Alexandra Martinez, Michael Samra, Jonathan Maule, Bronwen Tate, Adam Martinez, Michelle Peñaloza, Elizabeth Cantwell, Malcolm Friend, Rachelle Cruz, Marco Maisto, Kenji C. Liu, and Angela Peñaredondo.