Winner: Sara Ryan, I Thought There Would Be More Wolves

I Thought There Would Be More Wolves  offers a bold voice, fierce and vulnerable. I admire that while it engages pain it does not stay in that space of hurt but pushes beyond to what’s next.” – Elizabeth Bradfield

Sara Ryan is the author of the chapbooks Never Leave the Foot of an Animal Unskinned (Porkbelly Press) and Excellent Evidence of Human Activity (The Cupboard Pamphlet). In 2018, she won Grist’s Pro Forma Contest and Cutbank’s Big Sky, Small Prose Contest. Her work has been published in or is forthcoming from Brevity, Kenyon Review, Pleiades, DIAGRAM, Prairie Schooner, Thrush Poetry Journal and others. She is currently pursuing her PhD at Texas Tech University.


Benjamin Gucciardi – West Portal

Finalists (by last name)

Mary Buchinger – The Book of Shores

Mary Jo Gillet – Strange Appetites

Molly Kugel – Hertragedarium

BeeLyn Naihiwet – Plenty.


Elizabeth Bradfield

Elizabeth Bradfield is the author of four books, most recently Toward Antarctica, and her work has been published in  The New Yorker, Kenyon Review, Poetry, The Atlantic Monthly,  and elsewhere. Her honors include the Audre Lorde Prize from the Publishing Triangle, a Stegner Fellowship, and a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Founder of Broadside Press, she works as a naturalist/guide locally as well as on expedition ships and teaches creative writing at Brandeis university.

Learn more about Elizabeth here.


The Permafrost Book Prize in Poetry welcomes manuscripts from any writer, including non-US citizens, writing in English. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but we ask that you notify us immediately if your manuscript is accepted for publication elsewhere. No past or present editorial staff members of Permafrost or the University of Alaska Press or current faculty or student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks will be eligible for the prize.

Where to Send

Send all submissions through our Submittable page:

When to Send

The deadline for submitting is March 15, 2020.


We prefer that manuscripts are at least 50 pages long.

All entries will be read anonymously. The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript. Please include two cover pages: one listing only the title of the manuscript, and the other listing the author’s name, address, telephone number, and email address. An acknowledgements page listing the publication history of individual poems may be included, if desired.

Electronic submissions only. Hard copies will not be considered.

Entry Fee

Contest entry fee is $20.


Winners will be notified by May of 2020.

Criteria and Code of Ethics

The criteria for choosing final manuscripts will be the best work submitted.

As a member of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP), the Permafrost book prize contest carefully follows the CLMP guide for ethical contests by providing clear contest guidelines and a published transparency of process. The series will ensure that all manuscripts are submitted to judges and reviewers anonymously to avoid conflicts of interest.

Selection Process

The Book Series Coordinator will track all manuscripts and prepare to send them to initial screeners who will read and rank manuscripts. During the first two years, the Coordinator duties will be shared by the Permafrost Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor. The initial screeners may consist of UAF graduate students, adjuncts, faculty, and appropriate community writers including UAF MFA graduates. Screeners will provide a list of top three choices and three alternatives. The top three from each reader in each genre will then be read by the Series Editorial Staff (comprised of Book Series Coordinators, Series Editors, Permafrost Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor and Permafrost Faculty Advisor) and narrowed to between 6-12 manuscripts. These manuscripts will then be forwarded to 2 advisory board members in each genre, who will comment on each manuscript and award ten points as they see fit. These comments and the finalists will then be forwarded to final judge.

For questions, email