Open to women writers over the age of 40 who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, currently living in the U.S., who have not published a full-length book of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction (chapbooks excluded).


Sept. 30, 2021


$1,000 & more!


Dec.1, 2021

Due to the ongoing pandemic, changes have been made to the 2021 award submission process. If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Williams-Devereux by phone +1 (412) 578-6346 or by email

Submission information

Submission deadline: Thursday, Sept.30, 2021, 11:59 P.M. EST
Submission email: 
Judge: Lee Ann Roripaugh


One prize in the form of $1000; round-trip travel, lodging, and a public reading at Carlow University in Pittsburgh with the final judge; and publication of the winning poem in Voices from the Attic. Prize valued at $2,000.


Open to women writers over the age of 40 who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, currently living in the U.S., who have not published a full-length book of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction (chapbooks excluded). 

You are not eligible to submit your work if any of these apply: 

  • You have published a full-length book of poetry (48+ pages), fiction (50+ pages), or nonfiction (48+ pages). This includes full-length books published under pen names or in languages other than English.
  • Your first full-length book will be published after the submission deadline. The promise of publication is considered to be publication.
  • You turn 40 after the submission deadline.
  • You are a past Dobler Award winner. 
  • You are a current Carlow University student or employee.


  • You have self-published a book of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction of any length; or
  • You are the author of a nonfiction work that is an academic/technical textbook, a research monograph, theological text, or a children’s book.


  • Up to 2 unpublished poems of any style. One 2-poem entry per person. Each poem must be 75 lines or fewer (not counting stanza breaks). All entries will be anonymously judged, so no identifying information, such as your name, address, etc., should appear on your poems.
  • A cover sheet with your name, address, phone number, e-mail, title(s) of poem(s), and a 1-paragraph bio. 
  • Put all your poems and your cover sheet into one document and title it: Last Name 2021 Dobler Award (e.g., Jones 2021 Dobler Award)
  • All documents must be in Microsoft Word or PDF formats (doc, docx, pdf). We will not accept poems submitted in the body of an email. 

Poem Eligibility

Poems that have appeared in a self-published book of poetry of any length are eligible for submission. 

Poems are considered not eligible for submission if:

  • They have appeared in a literary magazine/journal/newspaper, either in print or online, or
  • They have appeared as part of a publicly viewed multimedia work, lecture, or performance, or
  • They have been accepted for publication in a book, journal, etc., that is being published by a press after the contest deadline, or
  • They have been selected as a finalist, honorable mention, or winner of another writing contest.


The copyright reverts to the writer. The winning poem is considered a publication and thus could not be sent out to other literary magazines; however, it could be included in a book of poems. 


All entries must be emailed to by Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, 11:59 p.m. EST. 


Our editorial team will review your emailed submission to confirm its eligibility. Once they have done so, they will email you a link to pay your $20 submission fee online by credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express). If you wish to pay by check, please note this in your submission email, and we will contact you to arrange payment.


The winner will be notified by phone or email by Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. All other entrants will receive an email after this date, listing the winner and finalists. The results and winning poem will be posted on the Carlow University website. All entrants will receive a copy of “Voices from the Attic”. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Do you accept simultaneous submissions?
Answer: Yes. Please notify us as soon as possible if your poems are accepted elsewhere.

Question: I am a past Dobler Award entrant. Can I reapply?
Answer: Yes. This includes finalists and honorable mentions.

Question: Is an editor of an anthology of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction eligible to submit?
Answer: Yes.

Question: I live outside of the United States for part of the year or live outside of the U.S. on a military base. Am I eligible to submit?
Answer: Yes, as long as you have a permanent U.S. residence address.

Contact Dobler Award

Contact us with any questions.

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