Submissions for the Foster-Stahl Chapbook Series are OPEN as of September 1, 2023!

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MWC Press, the press imprint of The Midwest Writing Center, is thrilled to announce a new publication series: The Foster-Stahl Chapbook Series, which looks to publish outstanding short collections of poetry, prose (fiction or nonfiction), or hybrid work from poets and writers living in the upper Midwest region (this includes the following states served by Arts Midwest: IL, IN, IA, MI, MN, ND, OH, SD, WI). Submissions for the third year of the series are open now. Submissions accepted through December 31, 2023.


Mary Foster, with her late husband George

The contest is named in memory of two important figures in MWC’s history, whose lasting contributions to the Center have made this series possible: Mary Foster (1937-2019), a long-time educator and member of the MWC Board of Directors, as well as a founding member of MWC’s Legacy Society, and Richard “Dick” Stahl (1939-2020), a teacher and poet who published three collections (including Bluffing and Mr. Farnam’s Guests), and served at the inaugural Quad Cities Poet Laureate 2001-2003.

Richard “Dick” Stahl

All submitted manuscripts will be reviewed and selected by a group of writers/editors affiliated with MWC. Author of the selected manuscript will receive a publishing contract with MWC Press, a $300 publication fee, 20 copies of the finished chapbook, and an invitation to a reading in the Quad Cities (either in a virtual format, or an in-person reading, if possible, with MWC will covering travel expenses). MWC is committed to publishing at least one chapbook each year, but reserves the right to select more than one manuscript for publication. The series aims to publish at least one chapbook every year.

Submissions will be accepted via email and snail mail. Full submission details can be found below.


  • Please submit only one copy of your manuscript.
  • Manuscript page length: between 20-30 pages of poetry, prose, or hybrid works (front matter not included in count).
  • Poems must be typed.
  • Do not include photocopies of poems from magazines or journals. Manuscripts should include no more than one poem per page.
  • No illustrations may be included.
  • Multiple submissions are accepted.
  • Manuscripts with more than one author will not be accepted.
  • Translations will not be accepted.

A complete submission should include:

  • A title page with contest name (The Foster-Stahl Chapbook Series), your name, address, telephone, email, and any other relevant contact information. Your name should not appear elsewhere in the manuscript.
  • An acknowledgments page. Poems included in your manuscript may be previously published, but please include an acknowledgments page listing specific publications.
  • A complete Table of Contents.
  • Your manuscript.


  • If submitting via USPS, please make checks payable to the Midwest Writing Center

Title of MWC Press Chapbook – includes shipping

CLMP Information

MWC is a member of Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) and adheres to its Code of Ethics:

CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines—defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically.

We take our integrity very seriously and will conduct this contest as ethically as possible. If any conflict of interest should arise, we will address it as ethically, fairly, and transparently as we can. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage


The current MWC Board of Directors, Staff, Committee Members, and Volunteers are excluded, as are members of their immediate families. If any of the selected authors fall under these categories, they will be disqualified, and a replacement will be chosen from among the other finalists.


The Foster-Stahl Chapbook Series
Midwest Writing Center
c/o RIPL
401 19th St.
Rock Island, IL 61201

Email submissions can be sent to: midwestwritingcenter (at) gmail (dot) com. Please include the phrase “Chapbook Series” in the subject line.

Please contact Ryan Collins with questions:
(309) 732-7330


  • Manuscripts will not be returned.
  • If your manuscript is accepted for publication elsewhere, you must notify us ASAP.
  • A self-addressed stamped postcard for confirmation of receipt.
  • Authors of selected manuscripts will be contacted directly, and the announcement of the selection(s) will be announced on our website and on social media

The Foster-Stahl Chapbook Series is supported by the MWC Legacy Society, the estate of Mary Foster, memorial contributions made to MWC in the name of Richard “Dick” Stahl, the Scott County Regional Authority, Illinois Humanities, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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Announcing the Results of the 2021 Foster-Stahl Chapbook Series

Thank you to all the terrific poets and writers who shared their manuscripts with us for the second year of the Foster-Stahl Chapbook Series. We are grateful for everyone who gave us the opportunity to read and consider their work. The range, variety, and excellence of the submissions made them thrilling to read, and provided the series editors with an extremely difficult task in selecting a manuscript.

In the end, two manuscripts were selected for publication: one manuscript for the Series, and a second manuscript selected for publication as an Editors’ Choice. Below are the complete results, include the finalists:

Foster-Stahl Chapbook Series Selection:

Fair Exchange, No Robbery – Lalini Shanela Ranaraja (Rock Island, IL)
-publication has been delayed by request of the author due to a personal issue — we will update the status as soon as we have more information-

MWC Press Editors’ Choice Selection (will be published by MWC Press):

For a Second, In the Dark – Alec Hershman (Ann Arbor, MI)


My National Parks – Jacob Boyd
Infestations – K Anand Gall
Letter to the Aliens – Doug Paul Case
Justicia Poética – Alexandra Adriana Elisa Calleros
Demolition of Kiddieland – Cynthia Gallaher

We are planning to release both of the selected chapbooks in the fall of 2022. Submission will open for the Foster-Stahl Chapbook Series again on September 1, 2022.

Thanks to everyone who submitted their work to the Series again. We’re grateful for the opportunity to have read your work, and we wish you all the best in placing your manuscripts elsewhere.

Thanks again, all the best, and take care…

MWC Press / Series Editors

Bios for 2021 Foster-Stahl Selected Authors:

Lalini Shanela Ranaraja is a multi-genre writer, painter, and photographer from Kandy, Sri Lanka. Her work has appeared in ANGLES Magazine, Club Plum Literary Journal, Entropy, Off Assignment, SAGA, Sky Island Journal, Strange Horizons, Transition, Uncanny Magazine, and elsewhere. She holds a BA in anthropology and creative writing from Augustana College in Illinois and is pursuing an MA in International Studies at the University of San Francisco. She is a submissions editor for Uncanny Magazine. Find her online at

Alec Hershman is the queer author of two previous volumes: Permanent and Wonderful Storage (Seven Kitchens, 2019) and The Egg Goes Under (Seven Kitchens, 2017). His work has received support from the VCCA, The St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, Playa, The Jentel Foundation, The Institute for Sustainable Living, Art, and Natural Design, and the KHN Center for the Arts. He lives with his husband and dogs in Michigan. 


The Foster-Stahl Chapbook Series is supported by the MWC Legacy Society, the estates of Mary Foster and Richard “Dick” Stahl, the Scott County Regional Authority, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.