The Black Orchid Novella Award (2021)

The Black Orchid Novella Award (2021)

Name: The Black Orchid Novella Award (2021)
Category: Novella (in the subgenre of mystery)
Word count: between 15,000 and 20,000 words
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $1000 and publication in the Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine
Closing date: May 31, 2021

To celebrate novella, the Wolfe Pack and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine have partnered to sponsor the Black Orchid Novella Award.

Heed the words of Linda Landrigan, editor-in-chief of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. She says, “We need to stress that a novella is not a padded short story. A novella needs to be as tight and fast-paced as a short story or a novel. Authors need to ensure that the story they want to tell is properly sized for whatever format they choose.”

Mystery writers are welcome to submit their novella to this contest. International submissions are welcome — so long as they’re in English. The winner will be announced at The Wolfe Pack’s Annual Black Orchid Banquet in New York City, the first Saturday of December

Submission guidelines:

  • Each entry must be an original unpublished work of fiction that conforms to the tradition of the Nero Wolfe series.
  • The mystery should be “traditional” in flavor.
  • The crime must be solved using the deductive abilities of the sleuth. No coincidences.
  • The killer must be known to the victim. No random psycho shootings.
  • The characters (male or female) must have an engaging relationship.
  • There needs to be some wit.
  • The timing could be retro or current.
  • There should be no explicit sex or violence.
  • The detective could be a professional or amateur.
  • The setting could be NYC or Boston or wherever.
  • They are not looking for anything derivative of the Nero Wolfe character, milieu, etc.
  • Entries must be 15,000 to 20,000 words in length, and submitted by the deadline.
  • Entries must be postmarked by May 31 of the submission year.

In order to be considered, your manuscript must follow the standards set out below exactly. Your manuscript must:

  • Be typed and printed in Times Roman, 12 pt., double spaced, single side only, with 1-inch margins. All pages must be numbered.
  • Be a copy—please keep the original—manuscripts will not be returned
  • Contain two cover sheets:
    • The top cover sheet should list your name, address, phone number, novella title, word count, and number of pages
    • The bottom cover sheet should list only the title of the manuscript, the word count, and the number of pages.
  • Include a header on every page containing the title and page number only. Do not put your name or contact information on the manuscript except on one of the two cover sheets as described above.
  • Clip the pages together. Do not bind them. Do not put them in a binder of any kind.
  • If you’d like, you’re welcome to include a self-addressed, stamped postcard. The postcard will be mailed to you to indicate our receipt of your novella.
  • Submissions should be sent to:
    Jane K. Cleland, Chair
    P.O. 3233
    New York, NY 10163-3233

They do not accept any form of online submission.

Find other writing contests here


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