We champion the weird, the unwieldy, and the unclassifiable.


This year's Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize is now closed to submissions. Thank you to everyone who entered their manuscripts! Subscribe to our mailing list to receive updates including our announcement of the 2014 winning author and 2015 prize submission details.

Black Balloon will announce a winner on Monday, March 16, 2015.

We reserve the right to withhold the prize if, in our sole discretion, no qualified entries are received.


Mike Meginnins won the inaugural Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize in 2013 for his novel, Fat Man and Little Boy which publishes Fall 2014. For more information about this surreal and ambitious debut, please click here.


Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson was a man who defied convention at every turn. A one-eyed, one-armed lunatic genius who never gave up, he began his military career fully intact, but eventually lost his right eye (Corsica, 1793) and his right arm (the Canary Islands, 1797) in battle. He refused to wear an eye patch over the wound and used it to deliberately ignore a direct order from a superior officer during the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801, coining the phrase “turning a blind eye.” When egomaniac and noted short stack Napoleon attempted to use our beloved balloons for evil during the 1798 Battle of Aboukir with a “military balloon corps,” Nelson immediately destroyed the approaching objects, putting a permanent stop to the short-lived European militarization of these symbols of wonder. Our hero.

Like Nelson, we believe in relentless creativity and perseverance against all odds. Are you the next literary Horatio Nelson we're looking for?