Illustration by Johanna Lindsholm

Essay Awards

Literal Latté
Essay Awards

  • First Prize
    $1000
  • Second Prize
    $300
  • Third Prize
    $200

Contest Guidelines

  1. Send unpublished Essays, 10,000 words max. All topics.
  2. Postmark by September 30th.
  3. Name, Address, Telephone Number, Email Address (optional) — on Cover Page only.
  4. If by regular “snail mail” post: include Self Addressed Stamped Envelope or email address for reply.
  5. Include $10 Reading Fee per essay — OR —
    $15 Reading Fee for two essays.
  6. All entries considered for publication

All currency above given in US dollars.

We are now accepting online submissions via Submittable! Click the button below to visit our Submittable page.

Online Submissions – Click Below

Snail-Mail Submissions:  Reading fees — by check or money order — should be made out to Literal Latté and included with your entry manuscript.) Mail to:

Literal Latté Awards

200 East 10th Street, Suite 240
New York, NY 10003
(212) 260-5532

Contact Us

Literal Latte Essay Award Winners

Please note that this listing may be incomplete.

Fall 2016 Issue

Requiem For All The Words That Didn’t Make It Into Tweets By Laura S. Distelheim

First Prize, 2015 Literal Latte Essay Award.
A gap year, he calls it because he’s learned to speak in tweets. So a gap year he says, at gatherings of his family and at reunions with his friends, and at the job interviews he’s been spending his days going on lately, where I envision bald and bespectacled men and staccato-speaking women sitting across their desks from him…

Posted in Essays | Tagged , | 2 Responses
Fall 2016 Issue

The Mysterious Crotch-Grabbing Handshake: Hard Lessons in Vietnam By Angela Smith Kirkman

Second Prize, 2015 Literal Latte Essay Award.
That’s it. I’m done with these useless Vietnam guidebooks. The very next smoldering cauldron of incense we pass, I’m chucking all of them in. Not one makes any mention of the disturbing crotch-grabbing ritual into which all three of my children have been indoctrinated….

Posted in Essays | Tagged , | 8 Responses
Fall 2016 Issue

Truth Be Told By Tammy McKillip

Third Prize, 2015 Literal Latte Essay Award.
There is an old Yiddish proverb: A half-truth is a whole lie. My kids have never asked how my father died or how their dad’s father died (the same way, when my husband was 12). I have not told them and have no idea what I’ll say when the time comes, but it will probably be a lie….

Posted in Essays | Tagged , | 2 Responses
Spring 2015 Issue

Apple By Amy Glynn

First Prize, 2014 Literal Latte Essay Award.
In the beginning was the word and the word was… no. Wait. Before a word there is indrawn breath, inspiration, the original pregnant pause. Godhead, aleph, ein sof, unsounded sound….

Posted in Essays | Tagged , | 2 Responses
Spring 2015 Issue

David the Green Dragon Goes to the Opera By Tamie Parker Song

Second Prize, 2014 Literal Latte Essay Award.
I was meeting three times a week, sometimes more, with a man. In between our meetings I waited to see him again. I drove through the traffic of Berkeley, meandered through Berkeley’s utopian grocery stores, every activity I did, really, just a disguise for waiting….

Posted in Essays | Tagged , | 6 Responses
Spring 2014 Issue

Juanita and the Beach of Fairies By Jean Guerrero

First Prize, 2013 Literal Latte Essay Award.
On April 23, 2011, during what is known in Mexico as Semana Santa — or “Holy Week” — I went swimming off of the coast of an abandoned beach at the edge of the northernmost jungle in the Americas, Los Tuxtlas, and a rip current sucked me out to sea.

Four other foreigners and I were the only people on the beach; we were a 20-minute hike from our rental vehicle and about an hour from the nearest town of Catemaco, a small lakeside pueblo known primarily for its shamans….

Posted in Essays | Tagged , | 8 Responses
Spring 2014 Issue

Wood Swivel Chairs By J. L. Cooper

Second Prize, 2013 Literal Latte Essay Award.
In 1959 I was a nine-year-old freckled blond kid wearing a Red Sox little league hat just to the left of center, hungry for swings at wild pitches and the chase of impossible fly balls. On Saturdays after games, my father brought me to the newsroom where he worked as city desk editor for a small paper struggling to remain a daily….

Posted in Essays | Tagged , | 12 Responses
Spring 2014 Issue

Oddballs and Angels: A Tribute to Phoebe Snow By Glenn Berger

Third Prize, 2013 Literal Latte Essay Award.
In April of 2011, at the age of 60, singer/songwriter Phoebe Snow died. When I heard the news, I walked into my hallway, and stared at the gold record of her album, Second Childhood, which hung on my wall. I floated back to when I first met Phoebe. In 1973, I had just become an assistant recording engineer at A & R Studios in New York….

Posted in Essays | Tagged , | 11 Responses
Winter 2013 Issue

Luffing By Mary Heather Noble

Second Prize, 2012 Literal Latte Essay Award.
When I think about my father, the picture that always comes to mind is him standing on the shore of Lake Erie against the distant Cleveland skyline. He watches the wind socks on the pier waving in the breeze, their streamers a rainbow contrast against the blurry city beyond. I imagine in his mind a single perpetual question: Is it going to be a good day for a sail?

Posted in Essays | Tagged , | 5 Responses
Winter 2013 Issue

The Other Chair By Annita Sawyer

First Prize, 2012 Literal Latte Essay Award.
On G8-East, an inpatient psychiatry unit at the West Haven VA hospital, it was time for team meeting. I scribbled the last of my therapy notes, tucked the pen and notebook under my arm, grabbed my sweater, and slipped a loaded key ring over my wrist….

Posted in Essays | Tagged , | 1 Response
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