1st Annual Variant Literature Pizza Prize

Now in its inaugural year, the Variant Literature Pizza Prize is annually awarded to three writers across poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Winners, along with an additional nine finalists, will be published in a special issue of Variant Literature. Pizza Prize winners will receive a local pie of their choice, publication, and an interview with the guest editor, published as part of the special issue. This year’s guest editor is Aram Mrjoian.

Pizza, of course, is a meal best shared. In this spirit, Pizza Prize winners will also have the opportunity to award a pizza to another writer or artist of their choice whose work they believe deserves more recognition. Winners will provide a brief explanation of why they selected their nominees, whose bios will also be shared in the prize announcement.

Send up to 15 pages in a single document (think of this as your pizza), which can include as many pieces as desired across genres (one topping or supreme!). There is a $5 submission fee, which will go directly toward the cost of pizza for the winners. Any leftover fees will be placed into a fund to pay future Variant Literature contributors.

The inaugural Pizza Prize special issue will publish in September 2022.


Call for Submissions from Guest Editor Aram Mrjoian

For me, pizza is the best kind of quotidian gift. Pizza can be found everywhere: local joints, national chains, grocery stores, made from scratch, or delivered right to your front door. Pizza can be cheap and easy or artisanal and expensive. It’s a basic meal to love, savor, and share.

Across genres, I am craving work that feels cheesy, hearty, communal, intimate, and timeless. Send me your work that’s had time to proof, carefully crafted, marrying your favorite flavors, fresh and warm from the oven. I’m not too worried about presentation—I want sustenance and joy. I want the kind of writing that everyone wants to devour. Keep me coming back to fight for the last piece. In particular, send writing that reflects the ethos of pizza: accessible and welcoming, jubilant and unpretentious. There’s no right or wrong here, just make sure that all are welcome and can grab a plate.

I’m ready to read whatever pie you build. I can’t wait to share a slice.