grey moth torch

Illustration: Jared Rogness

Contest Information:

You may submit only one piece of creative nonfiction, no longer than 30 pages in a Word document. All contact information should be entered in your cover letter. No names or addresses should appear on manuscripts, please. Your piece will be assigned a log number so it can be “read blind.” Simultaneous submission to other journals or competitions is not allowed. Payment will be required as part of the sign up procedure which will provide you with a one-year subscription of North American Review.

First Prize: $500
Deadline: April 1, 2017
Judge: To Be Announced

Submissions open November 2016


2016 Torch Prize Winner

Judge: Patricia Hampl

“In the beginning, there was Beauty. Beauty in the four directions. Beauty in the frigid and pale north where the pelican and the egret blend into the glittery frost; Beauty in the scorched and dark south where turtles take their sweet time, stewing in the faithful heat, and alligators swirl in shiny hot waters; Beauty in the rising plenty of the east, wet with the dew of eternal early mornings, of baby whistling ducks and cackling geese forever in their fluffy, untested feathers; Beauty in the dry and aging west, as grey haired red wolves say goodnight, goodnight.”

The essay winner of the 2016 Torch Prize is Wendy A. Gaudin. Her essay titled “Beauty”, will be featured in the 301.4 Fall Issue of the North American Review.

Wendy A. Gaudin is an American historian, an essayist, a poet, and a university educator.  She is a descendant of Louisiana Creoles who migrated to California.

The essay runner up of the 2016 Torch Prize is Lynn Casteel Harper. Her essay titled “The Golden Hour”, will be featured in the 301.4 Fall Issue of the North American Review.

2015 Torch Prize Winner

Judge: Eula Biss

clinton crockett peters“Before gunships, stolen children, ribbons, and sextants, Australia was the land of gnomes with giant feet that used to lie down and shade themselves with their ankles in the broiling heat of day.”

Clinton Peters’
 essay, titled “Rabbits and Convicts,” was featured in the 300.4 Fall Issue of the North American Review.

Clinton Crockett Peters has an MFA from the University of Iowa and is pursuing a PhD in creative writing.  His work has been published in Shenandoah, Hunger Mountain, Fourth Genre, DIAGRAM,  and others. Visit and follow him on Twitter

About Rafael Torch: Rafael Torch died in December, 2011, at the age of 36, after a courageous four-year attempt to overcome sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. A native Chicagoan, Rafael graduated from Antioch College and obtained a Master’s Degree in Humanities from the University of Chicago in 2005 where he received numerous acclaims for his writings including the Illinois Arts Council Literary Award. Rafael dedicated his life to impacting lives of high school students. As a teacher at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, The Latin School of Chicago and The Meadows School in Las Vegas, NV, Rafael influenced hundreds of minds as he challenged his students to rise to their greatest potential. His students had a profound impact on his life and he cared for them deeply. Rafael was also a committed, passionate writer who drew upon personal experiences to find inspiration. Rafael, whose award-winning work and vivid essays have appeared in many journals including Crab Orchard Review, Antioch Review, North American Review,wrote with honesty, insight and wit. At the time of his death, Rafael’s immediate family included his beloved wife, Emily Olson-Torch and 4-month-old son, Rocco James. (adapted from Chicago Sun Times)