Call for Submissions: the 2023 Empathy Prize for Nonfiction


CONTACT: Kelsey Timmerman, Senior Editor, The Facing Project Press –

The Facing Project Press has opened submissions for its 2023 Empathy Prize for Nonfiction.

Established in 2021 with the publication of J.R. Jamison’s memoir, HILLBILLY QUEER, The Empathy Prize for Nonfiction will be awarded biennially for a book-length work that embodies The Facing Project’s mission of creating a more understanding and empathetic world through stories that inspire action. The winner of the 2023 Empathy Prize will receive $1,000 and a publishing contract to work with The Facing Project Press’s editorial team to bring their book to publication.

The Facing Project Press will consider narrative nonfiction, memoir, or essay collections between 60,000 and 85,000 words that have stunning, page-turning prose and center on people connecting across differences and current events. The press seeks to lift up underrepresented voices writing on race/ethnicity, class, geography/culture, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and ability.

Writers who are 18 years of age or older by the September 30, 2021, deadline and who have lived in the United States for the past two years (citizenship is not a requirement) are eligible. Agented and un-agented submissions may be made via Submittable:

All submissions will be reviewed by a sub-committee of The Facing Project’s board of directors that includes Kelsey Timmerman (co-founder, senior editor of the Press, and New York Times bestselling author of the WHERE AM I? series); J.R. Jamison (co-founder and author of HILLBILLY QUEER); Jane Friedman (editor of The Hot Sheet and author of THE BUSINESS OF BEING A WRITER); and others from The Facing Project board of directors, including volunteers. The winner will be announced in March 2022.

“The Empathy Prize fills a niche in the publishing world by bringing high-quality works of nonfiction to readers who need them the most,” said Kelsey Timmerman, Senior Editor of The Facing Project Press. “After the success of J.R. Jamison’s memoir, we look forward to working with a new writer whose story connects people, creates conversation, and challenges perceptions.”   

About The Facing Project and The Facing Project Press:

The Facing Project Press is an imprint of The Facing Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that creates a more understanding and empathetic world through stories that inspire action. The organization provides tools and a platform for individuals and communities to share their stories, connect across differences, and begin crucial conversations through their own narratives. Over 100 Facing Projects have been organized in 18 states, and The Facing Project Radio Show airs once a month on select NPR-affiliate stations and via NPR One.  

The Facing Project Press was established in the spring of 2020 to provide a publishing outlet for books written and developed by Facing Project communities. In addition to the titles from Facing Project communities, The Facing Project Press acquires memoirs, narrative nonfiction, and essay collections that strive to live out the mission of The Facing Project through The Empathy Prize.

Learn more about The Facing Project’s work at or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @FacingProject.

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