Food-Writing Contest

This contest is currently closed. Thank you for your participation!

The contest opens September 1 and closes October 31. 

Proust began with a madeleine dipped in lime tea. Roald Dahl’s story featuring a leg of lamb still shocks people. Laura Esquivel’s Tita and her recipes continue to enchant readers.

500-word limit. All entries will be judged anonymously. No author-identification of any kind on the manuscript. Send all entries to us through Submittable.

The contest judge will be Mark Rotella, author of Stolen Figs: And Other Adventures in Calabria and Amore: The Story of Italian American Song, both from Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Other publications include The New York TimesThe L.A. TimesThe Washington PostThe Wall Street JournalVanity Fair, and Saveur Magazine. He has appeared on National Public Radio, CBS’s The InsiderEntertainment Tonight, and ABC News. A former senior editor at Publishers Weekly, he is now a creative writing professor and director of the Coccia Institute at Montclair State University.

Entry fee: $7
Writers may submit as many stories as they like, but only one story per entry fee, please.

First prize: $250 
Second prize: $150
Third prize: $75
Five runners-up: a cookie assortment from Insomnia Cookies

All winning entries will be published in a special issue of Vestal Review and advertised ceaselessly on social media. Though we make every effort to get back to our submitters within a month, for this special issue, we’ll get back to all our entrants only after the contest is over, a week to two weeks after October 31, 2022. The issue should appear in late November 2022.

Any questions? Email us at

We’re hungry for your writing!