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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 Send unpublished Essays, 10,000 words max.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 2018 Issue

Broken Bones and Pygmy Donkeys By Megan Williams

First Prize, 2017 Literal Latte Essay Award.
By June, the weather is already so sweltering, the very concept of summer feels oppressive. As I park beneath a giant walnut tree at Abington Friends School and walk Gus and Grace across the parking lot for the last time as second graders, the mixture of sadness and happiness that accompanies every end and beginning of the school year as a parent engulfs me. I breathe in the soupy air and count. Based on the estimated start date Detective Brody gave me, I will start the Philadelphia Police Academy in ten weeks….

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Fall 2018 Issue

Write What You Know By Kathleen Spivack

Second Prize, 2017 Literal Latte Essay Award.
“Write about what you know,” my journalism teacher, Mrs. Orsini admonished. What did she mean by that? It was rather like being told, “Work for a living!” At fourteen such exhortations were meaningless. I stared, both fascinated and repelled, at Mrs. Orsini’s long painted toenails. She was married to a podiatrist, she had told us girls. Why would anyone choose that field? What induced her to marry such a man?

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Fall 2018 Issue

Losing My Mind and Getting a New One By Judith Hannah Weiss

Third Prize, 2017 Literal Latte Essay Award.
I’m not an expert on brain injury. I am a person who has one. It was an accident — the accident of a drunk with a truck. It was a Code 4 emergency, which means my life was threatened. Then it wasn’t my life. My head hit the headrest so hard it broke the seat. The good news was I survived. The bad news was brain damage….

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Spring 2017 Issue

By Lia Woodall

First Prize, 2016 Literal Latte Essay Award.
ellipsis (i?l?p.s?s)
n, pl -ses (-si:z)
A series of dots, typically three, that usually indicates an intentional omission of a word, sentence or whole section from a text without altering its original meaning…

Posted in Essays | Tagged , | 6 Responses
Spring 2017 Issue

Middens By Carol Smith

Second Prize, 2016 Literal Latte Essay Award.
The sense of dread begins to build even before I punch in the code on the metal entry box. The gate scrapes open and I pass through, driving down the catacomb of storage lockers with their corrugated metal doors. About twice a year, I gather the nerve to visit my storage locker and face the endless task of whittling down what I’m keeping. I survey the unit, a steel tomb of unmet dreams, overstated ambitions and boxed-up grief….

Posted in Essays | Tagged , | 2 Responses
Spring 2017 Issue

Livin’ On a Prayer By Sandra A. Miller

Third Prize, 2016 Literal Latte Essay Award.
We take the tram down Leopoldstrasse to the UBahn station and go thirteen long stops to the end of the line where Klinikum Grosshadern dominates a bland corner of the mostly lively Bavarian city of Munich. We walk approximately a quarter mile down a corridor the width of a swimming pool, past what my sister calls the turban stalls: temporary shopping booths where visitors can purchase knit cancer hats in forcibly happy patterns, as well as painted Easter eggs hung on string, crocheted book bags, and teddy bears sporting ledershosen….

Posted in Essays | Tagged , | 3 Responses
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 , | 4 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 , | 12 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 , | 4 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