Jelly Bucket

There are presently no open calls for submissions.

Jelly Bucket [jel-ee buhk-it]-noun

1) archaic slang for a lunch pail, formerly used by coal miners and other laborers residing in Appalachia.

2) Bluegrass Writers Studio's annual graduate-student-produced literary journal.

Jelly Bucket is published annually by Bluegrass Writers Studio, the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Eastern Kentucky University. Founded in 2009, Jelly Bucket features established and new writers. We accept works of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, as well as visual art. Preference is given to visual art that incorporates text and/or features an aspect of the book arts, but all genres are welcome. Our reading period for our annual journal runs from July 1st through December 1st, and our reading period for our annual contest runs from February 1st through April 1st (see contest guidelines below).

Submitting Your Work

Only one submission per genre per reading period. Simultaneous submissions are considered, but if your work is accepted elsewhere please withdraw submission via Submittable. If you need to withdraw a portion of a submission, leave a comment on your submission via Submittable. Previously published work will not be accepted. We define previously published work as a piece published in another journal (paper or electronic), in a book or chapbook (traditionally or self-published), or one that is currently online in a public blog or within a public forum.

To view individual genre guidelines, please click the link below.


Jelly Bucket Editor's Prize in Poetry and Prose

Contest dates | February 1, 2017 – April 1, 2017
Submission Fee | $10 per entry

Winner in each genre will receive:

  • $100 prize money 
  • Online publication on Jelly Bucket’s website
  • A full tuition waiver for workshop of their choice at the 2017 Bluegrass Writers Studio Domestic Summer Residency
  • An invitation to read at the Jelly Bucket launch party
  • A shout out on the BGWS social media pages and in issue 8 of Jelly Bucket (print)

The grand prize winner (chosen from the three genre winners) will have their piece published in issue 8 of Jelly Bucket (print).

Finalists will be eligible for publication on Jelly Bucket’s website.

This contest is open to new and emerging writers only. What does this mean? Writers without a published book are welcome to submit! Simply put, we’re looking for great new writing! Pick your poison as far as genre and push the limits in a creative way. We won’t shy away from great writing even if it makes our Great Aunt Millie uncomfortable.

Students and faculty of Eastern Kentucky University are not eligible for this contest. Alumni must have graduated at least four years prior to the contest date in order to be eligible. This contest will be judged by Jelly Bucket editing staff and Bluegrass Writers Studio graduate students. The grand prize winner will be chosen from the three genre winners by Jelly Bucket's managing editor.

Submission Guidelines

With all submissions, please include a short biography (about 50-100 words) in your cover letter. This bio will be included with your piece should you win or place. To view individual genre guidelines, please click the link below.


University Disclaimer

Jelly Bucket cannot accept work from current students at Eastern Kentucky University. In addition, a minimum of 4 years must have passed between study at the University and submissions to the journal. There is a publication at the University for student work, titled Aurora Online, whose reading period takes place each Fall.