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Leapfrog Press
~ Can of Worms
Fiction Prize


Can of Worms is delighted to announce a collaboration with New York-based publisher Leapfrog Press in presenting their global fiction prize. Going forward, Can of Worms will publish the winner in the U.K. while Leapfrog Press will publish the winner in the U.S.

For further information and for interviews, please contact:
Tobias Steed ~
North American Publicist enquiries: Mary Bisbee-Beek,

The annual prize, founded by Leapfrog publisher Lisa Graziano in 2009, for unpublished short and long form adult, YA and MG fiction, attracts hundreds of submissions each year and the winner receives a publishing contract and advance, runners up receive a cash prize and critiques of their work. Can of Worms’ publisher, Tobias Steed, says, “I came across Leapfrog first on account of the diversity of voices on their publishing programme, only to discover a formidable list of finalists in the annual fiction prize, such as Helen Phillips, whose first book, And Yet They Were Happy, was published by Leapfrog in 2011, and whose latest novel, The Need (S&S, 2019), is a National Book Award finalist. She also received the 2017 John Gardner Fiction Book Award, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and the Italo Calvino Prize.

“We are looking forward to participating in the judging. All submissions are anonymized and closed in June. To assist Lisa in compiling this year’s short list, we have recruited Akua Rugg, formerly the arts editor of Race Today and a founding member of the Alliance of the Race Today Collective.”

The winner this year will be chosen by Cris Mazza, whose most recent novel is Yet to Come (BlazeVox Books, 2020). Mazza has published 18 other titles of fiction and literary nonfiction; her first novel, How to Leave a Country (Coffee House Press), won the PEN/Nelson Algren Award for book-length fiction, and she is well known for her critically acclaimed Is It Sexual Harassment Yet? She is professor in and director of the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Other notable contest winners include from the U.K., Brighton-based author, Katayoun Medhat, for The Quality of Mercy (Leapfrog, 2017), Part I of the Milagro Mysteries trilogy exploring cultural diversity in the American Southwest. Medhat was raised in Iran in a multicultural household, has lived in Berlin and London, practices as an intercultural psychotherapist and has a Ph.D. in medical anthropology, which led her to the Navajo Nation. Leapfrog’s most recent winner is Pamela Laskin for Why No Goodbye?, a YA novel in verse about a young Rohingya boy who is left behind when his family escapes. Laskin is a lecturer in the English Department at The City College and the author of five books of poetry.

Graziano says, “The pairing with Can of Worms will give our award winners greater global reach and we are thrilled for our 2019 prize winner, Lara Tupper, whose story collection Amphibians will be published simultaneously in the U.S. by Leapfrog, and in the U.K. by Can of Worms in March 2021. The 2020 contest long list will be announced later in July and the winner soon after. The 2021 contest will open for submissions January 15, 2021.”


About Leapfrog Press: Based in New York State, Leapfrog publishes fiction, non-fiction, juvenile fiction and poetry, and is distributed to the trade by Consortium Book Sales & Distribution.

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