Black Lawrence Press

Creative Nonfiction Consultations with Louella Bryant

During the month of March, Black Lawrence Press authors Louella Bryant and Joe Oestreich are on board to critique creative nonfiction manuscripts; and they are accepting everything from flash-length essays to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

  • Flash Essays, up to 2 pages in length, $15
  • Essays, up to 20 pages in length, $45
  • Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $150
  • Manuscripts, up to 180 pages in length, $350
  • Long Manuscripts, up to 300 pages in length, $700

All manuscripts should be double spaced and formatted in 12-point font.

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is March 31. The consultants will complete their work and respond to all participants by April 30.

Space in this program is limited, so please be sure to submit your work soon!

Note: Please do not send manuscripts that promote hate speech, are intended to harass or bully a specific person or group of persons, or include glorified sexual violence.

Click Here to Submit

Statement of Purpose

“Great writing is meant to crush us, entertain and move us, return us to ourselves with some greater understanding of the world and its workings,” says editor Betsy Lerner in her book The Forest for the Trees. Certainly that is the response all writers want from our readers. But how do you accomplish it? First, you need commitment and perseverance, even on beautiful summer days, to sit and write and read and write more. It also helps to have a mentor, someone who sees promise in your writing and nurtures that promise. That’s where I come in.

A mentor should help a writer find the heart of a story or essay. That is, instead of criticizing and tearing down your work, I’ll help you find precisely what you’re trying to say and how to coax that heart to the forefront of the piece, and I’ll do that by showing you how to listen to your own writing and trust what it’s trying to tell you.

Once you discover what enlightenment you’re trying to offer your readers, I’ll help you find your own voice to make your stories/essays/manuscript uniquely yours. Having said that, we don’t write in a vacuum. Even though it seems like a contradiction, I’ll point you toward writers who will serve as successful examples for what you are trying to achieve in your own writing. The best writers are also readers.

You’ll get some technical tools and advice, suggestions about broad qualities such as structure and flow, and direction on more specific elements such as sentence variety and word choice. And I’ll press you to write your best.

With your submission, I’d like an informal cover letter that will tell me something about you so that I can understand where your writing is coming from. I’m eager to dig into your work, so let’s get to it!

By Louella Bryant

Black Lawrence Press accepts submissions and payment of the entry fee exclusively through our online submission manager, Submittable. We are not able to accept submissions via email or postal mail.

Need help with our submissions manager?

Upcoming Consultations

April – Poetry Consultations

May – Fiction Consultations

Louella Bryant

Louella Bryant is the author of While in Darkness There is Light, winner of the Southwest Writers Award for nonfiction, which chronicles the events leading up to the death of Charlie Dean in 1974. She is also the author of the story collection Full Bloom, which won the Premier Award for Fiction. Her young adult novel The Black Bonnet was a finalist for the Vermont Book Award, and Father By Blood won the Silver Bay Children’s Literature Award. Louella has been awarded numerous prizes for her short stories and poems, which have appeared in the magazines WomenArts Quarterly Journal, Hunger Mountain, The Adirondack Review, Fine Print, Vermont Life, The Teacher’s Voice, Farmhouse, and Mobius, and the anthologies High Horse, Tartts 2—Incisive Fiction from Emerging Writers, and A Cadence of Horses.  Her essays are included in the anthologies Far From HomeLessons From Our Parents, and Southern Sin as well as the magazines AtriumSacred Fire, and Vermont Quarterly. Formerly on the faculty of the Spalding University MFA in Writing Program, Louella now mentors writing students at the New England Young Writers Conference at Bread Loaf. Visit her at

Bryant Author page