The Al Blanchard Award/ How To Apply (Prize: $100)

Mar 20, 2024by Kelechi Okoro0

The Al Blanchard Award, named in honor of Al Blanchard, a prominent figure in the mystery writing community, celebrates the best crime short story by a New England author or one with a New England setting.

Established by the New England Crime Bake Committee, this award offers writers an opportunity to showcase their talent and receive recognition in the genre. In addition to a cash prize of $100, the winner earns publication in the esteemed 2024’s Best New England Crime Stories anthology and receives free admission to the Crime Bake Conference.

Submission Guidelines For The Al Blanchard Award

  • Writers interested in submitting to the Al Blanchard Award must adhere to specific guidelines outlined by the New England Crime Bake Committee.
  • These guidelines ensure fairness and consistency in the selection process.
  • Submissions must be previously unpublished and no longer than 5,000 words.
  • The short story can fall within various genres, including mystery, thriller, suspense, caper, and horror, with the caveat of no depiction of torture or killing of children or animals.
  • The committee seeks engaging crime stories with either a New England authorship or setting.
  • Writers are encouraged to craft compelling narratives that captivate readers and demonstrate their storytelling prowess within the crime genre.
  • Creativity and originality are highly valued, as is adherence to the specified word count and genre limitations.
  • Submissions that deviate from the outlined guidelines or contain gratuitous violence towards children or animals will not be considered.
  • Additionally, stories exceeding the maximum word count or previously published works will be disqualified.
  • Writers should ensure their submissions align with the contest requirements to avoid automatic rejection.


Read: How To Write A Story Like A Literary Great 

Additional Information

  • Send your submissions to: [email protected] Type “Al Blanchard Award” in subject line. (Without it, attachments will not be opened.)
  • Include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address, as well as your story title and word count in the main body of your e-mail.
  • Send your story as an attachment in Word format, double-spaced.
  • The attachment will be coded to insure anonymity and be sent on to the judges. Therefore, your name should not appear anywhere in the attachment.
  • They will promptly acknowledge the receipt of your submission.
  • Limit of two stories per person.
  • The judges will consider previously submitted stories, provided they have not been published in the meantime, and we have only seen them once before.
  • Apart from the cash award, the winner also gets publication in Level Best Books’ Crime Fiction anthology, and admission to the Crime Bake Conference (conference attendance is not a requirement).

Eligibility Criteria

  • The Al Blanchard Award is open to all writers, regardless of location, provided their submissions meet the specified criteria.
  • Authors must either hail from New England or set their story in one of the six New England states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or Rhode Island.
  • Aspiring writers and established authors alike are welcome to participate, fostering a diverse range of voices in the crime fiction community.
  • There is no entry fee.

Author Rights

Authors retain full rights to their submissions, even if selected as the winner of the Al Blanchard Award.

By submitting their work, writers grant permission for publication in the 2024’s Best New England Crime Stories anthology, as well as acknowledgment at the Crime Bake Conference.

The New England Crime Bake Committee respects authors’ intellectual property and ensures proper accreditation and recognition for their contributions.


In addition to the prestige of winning the Al Blanchard Award, the selected winner receives a cash prize of $100.

This financial reward acknowledges the dedication and talent demonstrated in crafting an exceptional crime short story. Alongside the cash prize, authors benefit from exposure through publication in the anthology and networking opportunities at the Crime Bake Conference.


The deadline for submissions to the Al Blanchard Award is midnight on April 30, 2024. Writers should plan accordingly to ensure their stories are submitted on time and in accordance with the specified guidelines. Late submissions will not be accepted, so prompt attention to the deadline is crucial for prospective participants.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *