All posts by Lisa Hase-Jackson

Julia Peterkin Summer Literary Contest Opens June 1


Two $500 Awards

South 85 Journal, Converse College MFA program’s online literary journal, is adding poetry to it’s annual Julia Peterkin summer literary contest.

As in past years, the contest honors South Carolinian author Julia Peterkin, an1896 graduate of Converse College whose novel, Scarlet Sister Mary, received the Pulitzer in 1929.

The journal will accept submissions for the Julia Peterkin Literary Award for both Flash Fiction and Poetry from June 1 through August 1. Winners will be announced during the month of October. One winner in each genre will receive a cash prize of $500 and four runners-up in each genre will also be named and published alongside the winning selection in the Fall / Winter issue of South 85 Journal. Only the winners will receive a cash award.

South 85 Journal editors will review submissions and forward them to the presiding judges. Converse College MFA faculty member Marlin Barton will make the final selections for the Flash Fiction award and Converse College MFA faculty member Denise Duhamel will make the final selection for the Poetry award. All submissions will be read blind.

For the flash fiction award, submit your previously unpublished fiction of 850 words or less.

For the poetry award, submit up to three previously unpublished poems of 50 lines or fewer.

South 85 Journal is especially interested in work that demonstrates a strong voice and/or a sense of place, but the editors consider all quality writing.

For more information or to submit, visit the contest page on Submittable at

South 85 Journal is a semi-annual online literary journal run by the Converse College Low-Residency MFA Program.  We publish fiction, non-fiction, poetry, reviews, and art by new, emerging, and well-established writers and artists. Visit our website at

South 85 Journal General Submission Period Open

South 85 Journal is currently accepting submissions of Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry until April 15, 2020 and would love to see your work. Take a look at our past issues for a sense of what we like. Guidelines are as follows:

• Manuscripts should be sent as an attachment through our Submittable page.
Fiction submissions should be between 2000 and 5000 words. Please include the word count in an upper corner of the first page. For fiction that is under 850, please consider submitting during our yearly Julia Peterkin flash fiction contest.
Non-fiction submissions should be no longer than 6000 words. Please include the word count in your email.
Poetry submissions should contain no more than 4 poems up to 8 total pages, one poem per page.
• Please send only one submission per category (Poetry, Fiction, and Non-Fiction) during each reading period.  You are welcome to submit to multiple categories.
• We will publish flash fiction, short stories, and novel excerpts, provided they can stand on their own. We do not publish genre fiction or children’s stories.We encourage you to read archives of South 85 Journal and acquaint yourself with the material we publish before submitting your work.
• Type should be no smaller than 12-pt. font. Please use standard fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica or Goudy, and refrain from script or “flowery” lettering.
• Submissions should be saved in Word or Rich Text format.
• Number pages consecutively, double space, and use margins of at least one inch.
• Place your name, email address, and word count in an upper corner of the first page.
• We accept simultaneous submissions. If it is accepted elsewhere, please withdraw your work via Submittable.
Please include a professional bio of 50 words or fewer written in the third person with your cover letter. 

South 85 Journal does not publish work which has been previously published either in print or online. Our reply time is typically six to eight weeks.

We acquire exclusive first-time Internet rights only. All other rights revert to the author at publication, but we offer formal, written reassignments upon request. Works are also archived online. We are unable to pay for submissions. We ask that whenever an author reprints the work that first appeared in our pages, South 85 Journal be given acknowledgment for the specific work(s) involved.

South 85 Journal at AWP

After much discussion and hand wringing, we have decided to cancel our reading at AWP.
Several contributors have written to say they will not be attending AWP amid concerns related to the coronavirus and while the health risk is difficult to truly gauge, we would really hate to be the cause for quarantine or illness. We plan to organize a reading in Kansas City next year and invite you all to join us then.
If you still plan to attend AWP, stop by the Converse College table (T1932) for some great swag (cell phone pockets) and see our list of scheduled book-signings.
Thank you for your patience and understanding. Hope to see you in 2021.

Welcome to the Fall / Winter 2019 Issue

I am pleased to announce that, as of December 15th, the Fall / Winter Issue of South 85 Journal has been live. Here’s what you’ll find in this issue:

Julia Peterkin Flash Fiction Contest Results

Regular Features

We are pleased to present work by the following writers:

December Book Reviews

Our book reviewers take a look a recently published books in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry:

Upcoming Submission Opportunities

Our next general submission period is from February 1 to April 15, 2020 for the fall / winter 2020 issue. We charge a $3.00 fee to help defray the cost of operating a literary journal, though all submissions are FREE for the first week of the submission period. For more information, check out our full submission guidelines.

The Julia Peterkin Flash Fiction Contest for 2020 will be open June 1 to August 1, 2020.

About Us

South 85 Journal is published by the Converse College Low-Residency MFA program, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary! Thank you to our staff of volunteers who put countless hours into making this issue happen.

We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together!




2019 Julia Peterkin Flash Fiction Contest Winner

South 85 Journal is delighted to congratulate Benjamin Garcia, whose flash fiction story “Mourning Dove,” was selected by Marlin Barton as winner of the 2019 Julia Peterkin Flash Fiction Contest.

Benjamin Garcia’s first collection, THROWN IN THE THROAT (Milkweed Editions, Fall 2020), was selected for the 2019 National Poetry Series by Kazim Ali. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in: The Missouri Review, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Kenyon Review, and Crazyhorse. Find him on twitter: @bengarciapoet

Honorable mention goes to “Distilled Water” by Ethan Joella.

Ethan Joella teaches English and psychology at University of Delaware and runs his own business that specializes in writing workshops and online course development. His work has appeared in River Teeth, The International Fiction Review, The MacGuffin, Rattle, Delaware Beach Life, and Third Wednesday. He has published two poetry chapbooks and lives in Delaware and Pennsylvania with his wife and daughters.

This year’s finalists are “Chappaquiddick” by Leah Browning, “Pieces” by Kenneth Weene, and “My New Young Wife” by Hal Ackerman.

This year’s submissions were particularly well written making the final decision difficult.

Look for these winning stories in the December 2019 issue of South 85 Journal.