Your Ultimate Guide to Writing Contests Through 2022

Guide to christian writing contests in 2017

Regardless where you are on your writing journey, you can benefit from entering contests.

The right contest can tell you:

  • Where you stand
  • How you measure up against the competition
  • What you still need to learn

And you could win cash.

That’s why my team researched a wide range of high-quality contests. We’ve included free competitions and also many with modest entry fees.

Contents

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Short Story Writing Contests

SiWC Writing Contest

Prize:

1st: $1,000 plus publication

Honorable Mention: $150

Entry Fee: $15

Deadline: 09/17/21

Sponsor: Surrey International Writers’ Conference

Description: Short stories in any genre must be 2,500-4,000 words. They must be unpublished (including online). Writers must pay the $15 entry fee for each submission. Under 18s welcome too.


Great American Fiction Contest

Prize:

1st: $1,000, publication in The Saturday Evening Post

Runners-up (5): $200

Entry Fee: $10

Deadline: 7/1/21

Sponsor: The Saturday Evening Post

Description: The Saturday Evening Post welcomes unpublished short stories of 1,500 to 5,000 words in any genre touching on the publication’s mission, “Celebrating America—past, present, and future.” No extreme profanity or graphic sex. Work published on a personal website or blog is still eligible.


WOW / Women On Writing Quarterly Flash Fiction Competition

Prize:

1st: $400, $25 Amazon gift certificate

2nd: $300, $25 Amazon gift certificate

3rd: $200, $25 Amazon gift certificate

Runners-up (7): $25 Amazon gift certificate

Honorable mentions (10): $20 Amazon gift certificate

Entry Fee: $10 (or $20 with feedback)

Deadline: Quarterly (next 5/31/21 and 8/31/21)

Sponsor: WOW / Women On Writing

Description: This flash competition runs four times a year and is open to all styles and genres. The competition closes each quarter after 300 entries have been received, or at deadline. WOW / Women On Writing runs a quarterly nonfiction essay competition too, also with cash prizes.


Bristol Short Story Prize

Prize:

1st: £1,000 ($1,400)

2nd: £500 ($700)

3rd: £250 ($350)

Shortlisted (17): £100 ($140)

Entry Fee: £9 ($12.50)

Deadline: 5/5/21

Sponsor: Bristol Short Story Prize

Description: Published and unpublished writers around the world over 16 eligible. Stories must be no more than 4,000 words in any genre or style, written in English. Enter online or by mail.


Aesthetica Creative Writing Award

Prize: £2,500 ($3,450)

Entry Fee: £18 ($25)

Deadline: 8/31/21

Sponsor: Aesthetica Magazine

Description: Short stories of up to 2,000 words on any theme are eligible for this international literary prize “celebrating innovation in content, form, and technique.” Unpublished or previously published work. Multiple entries permitted, though each incurs an entry fee.


Novel Writing Contests

University of New Orleans Press Lab Prize

Prize: $10,000 advance and publication

Entry Fee: $28

Deadline: 9/1/21

Sponsor: University of New Orleans

Description: The Publishing Laboratory at the University of New Orleans aims to offer “innovative publicity and broad distribution” for an unpublished novel or short story collection. No word limit or restriction on subjects. Open to authors worldwide.


The Bath Novel Award

Prize: £3,000 ($4,150)

Entry Fee: £28 ($39)

Deadline: 5/31/21

Sponsor: The Bath Novel Award

Description: First 5,000 words of a novel plus one-page synopsis. Unpublished or self-published writers only. Any genre suitable for adults or young adults. Free entry for writers on a low income.


The Times/Chicken House Competition

Prize: £10,000 ($13,800) advance plus publishing contract

Entry Fee: £18 ($25)

Deadline: 5/14/21

Sponsor: The Times (newspaper) and Chicken House (publisher)

Description:

Organizers are “looking for original ideas, a fresh voice, a diverse range of entries and stories that children will love!” Full-length submissions only (ideally 30,000 to 80,000 words). Suitable for children or young adults. International entries welcome. One manuscript per writer.


Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction

Prize: $5,000 and publication by Dzanc Books

Entry Fee: $25

Deadline: 9/30/21

Sponsor: Dzanc Books

Description: Requests “daring, original, and innovative” novels. Open to all, published, unpublished, or agented.


Claymore Award

Prize: Discounted admission to Killer Nashville International Writers’ Conference, with introductions to agents/editors

Entry Fee: $40

Deadline: TBD 2021

Sponsor: Killer Nashville

Description: First 50 double-spaced pages of unpublished English-language manuscripts. Should contain elements of thriller, mystery, crime, or suspense. Killer Nashville suggests “Action, Adventure, Alternate History, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Speculative, Suspense, Thriller, and Western.” No cash prize.


Poetry Writing Contests

Diode Editions Book & Chapbook Contests

Prize: $1,000, 25 author copies, and publication of selected poems in Diode Poetry Journal

Entry Fee: $20

Deadline: 8/15/21

Sponsor: Diode Editions

Description: Poetry books and chapbooks of 58-85 pages. Translations, collaborations, hybrid works, and prose poetry also accepted.


Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize

Prize: $2,500 plus publication

Entry Fee: $30

Deadline: 5/1/21

Sponsor: Wick Poetry Center

Description: Open to poets who’ve not yet published a full-length collection. Submissions of 50-70 pages. Winner’s poetry published by Kent State University Press.


Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry

Prize: $2,000 plus publication

Entry Fee: $28

Deadline: 6/15/21

Sponsor: Lynx House Press

Description: Awarded annually for a full-length volume of poems (U.S. authors only). Poems published in journals, magazines, or chapbooks can be included. All entries receive a Blue Lynx book.


Ó Bhéal Five Words International Poetry Competition

Prize:

1st: €750 ($890)

2nd: €500 ($590)

3rd: €250 ($295)

Entry Fee: €5 ($6)

Deadline: Ongoing

Sponsor: Ó Bhéal

Description: Each Tuesday, five new words are published on Ó Bhéal’s website. Entrants have a week to write and submit a poem (up to 50 lines) containing all five words. Winner and shortlist announced March 2022. International entries welcome.


The Montreal International Poetry Prize

Prize: $20,000 CAD ($15,920 USD)

Entry Fee: $20 CAD ($16 USD)

Deadline: 5/15/22

Sponsor: Department of English at McGill University and others

Description: The Montreal Prize is awarded every 2 years for a single poem of 40 or fewer lines. Submissions open in January 2022. Entry fee rises to $25 CAD ($20 USD) from 2nd May.


Nonfiction Writing Contests

Narrative Prize

Prize: $4,000

Entry fee: $27

Deadline: Yearly on June 15th

Sponsor: Narrative

Description: Awarded for the best piece published by a new or emerging writer in Narrative.


Lascaux Prize in Creative Nonfiction

Prize:

Winner: $1,000 and bronze medallion

Finalists: $100

Entry Fee: $15

Deadline: 9/31/21

Sponsor: The Lascaux Review

Description: Requests entries of “memoirs, chronicles, personal essays, humorous perspectives, literary journalism—anything the author has witnessed, experienced, learned, or discovered.” 10,000 words or shorter, written in a non-academic style.


Gabriele Rico Challenge for Nonfiction

Prize: $1,333

Entry Fee: $20

Deadline: 11/1/21

Sponsor: Reed Magazine

Description: Submissions of no more than 5,000 words. Requests “personal essays or narratives” not “scholarly papers or book reviews.” Piece should be a standalone essay, not an excerpt.


2021 Travel Writing Competition

Prize: £1,000 ($1,385)

Entry Fee: £8 ($11)

Deadline: TBD 2022

Sponsor: Globe Soup

Description: Writers worldwide can enter an unpublished “article, opinion piece, destination guide, literary nonfiction, memoir, or any other form of nonfiction travel writing.” 2,000 words maximum.


Free Writing Contests Through 2022

53-Word Story Contest

Prize: Publication, a free book from Press 53

Deadline: Frequent writing contests; deadline is 15th of each month.

Sponsor: Prime Number Magazine

Description: Submit a 53-word story based on a prompt. No prize beyond publication.


The Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans

Prize:

1st: $1,000 and publication in The Iowa Review

2nd: $750

3rd (3 selected): $500

Deadline: TBD 2022

Sponsor: The Iowa Review

Description: Due to a donation from the family of veteran and antiwar author, Jeff Sharlet, The Iowa Review holds The Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans. Note: U.S. military veterans and active duty personnel only. Any genre and any topic, including poetry, short stories, and creative nonfiction.


New Writers Awards

Prize: Winning authors tour several colleges, giving readings & lectures, and publicizing their books. Each receives an honorarium of at least $500 per college, plus travel expenses and more.

Deadline: TBD 2021

Sponsor: Great Lakes Colleges Association

Description: Newly published writers’ award for a first published volume of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Note: Publishers (not writers) are invited to submit works that “emphasize literary excellence.” Entries must be published in the United States or Canada in either 2020 or 2021. Children’s books not accepted.


Young Lions Fiction Award

Prize: $10,000

Deadline: TBD 2021

Sponsor: New York Public Library

Description: Awarded to a writer of 35 or younger for a novel or a collection of short stories. Seeks to encourage young and emerging writers of contemporary fiction.


The Iowa Short Fiction Award

Prize: Publication in the University of Iowa Press

Deadline: 09/30/21

Sponsor: University of Iowa Press

Description: Annual competition, seeking 150-page (or longer) collections of short stories. Writers must not have a (traditionally) published novel or fiction collection. Entries must be postmarked between August 1st and September 30th.


Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Prize:

Winner: $15,000

Finalists (4 selected): $1,500

Deadline: October 2021

Sponsor: Pen/Faulkner Foundation

Description: Accepts traditionally published (not self-published) books and is peer-juried. Winner receives a substantial cash prize and is honored as “first among equals.” Advanced reading copies or proofs permitted for books due in November or December 2021.


Friends of American Writers Literary Award

Prize: $1,000 – $3,000

Deadline: TBD 2021

Sponsor: Friends of American Writers Chicago

Description: Current or former residents of the American Midwest (or books set in the Midwest). Traditionally published novels or creative nonfiction books welcome. Authors must have three or fewer books published, including the submission. Self-published books and e-books not accepted.


Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

Prize: $10,000 (4 awards)

Deadline: 12/31/21

Sponsor: Cleveland Foundation

Description: Seeks fiction, poetry, and nonfiction books published the previous year (books published in 2021 are eligible for the 2022 prize) “that contribute to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of cultural diversity.” Four top prize awards, for fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and lifetime achievement. Self-published work and e-books not accepted.


Cabell First Novelist Award

Prize: $5,000

Deadline: TBD 2021

Sponsor: Virginia Commonwealth University

Description: Seeks to honor first-time novelists “who have navigated their way through the maze of imagination and delivered a great read.” Novels published the previous year are accepted. Winning author (and, typically, their agent and editor) attend public reading and Q&A, with travel expenses provided.


The Gabo Prize

Prize: $200 and publication

Deadline: Every February and August

Sponsor: Lunch Ticket

Description: For translators and authors of multilingual texts (poetry and prose). Award given twice yearly, in June and December.


Transitions Abroad Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest

Prize:

First: $500

Second: $150

Third: $100

All Finalists: $50

Deadline: TBD 2021

Sponsor: Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc.

Description: Seeking inspiring articles or practical mini-guides based on personal experience of moving, living, and working abroad. 1,200-5,000 words.


Short Fiction Prize

Prize: $1,000 and a scholarship to the 2022 Southampton Writers Conference.

Deadline: 6/1/21

Sponsor: Stony Brook University

Description: Seeking short stories (no more than 7,500 words) by undergraduates at American or Canadian colleges. Winning short story considered for publication in TSR: The Southampton Review.


The Wallace Stegner Prize in Environmental Humanities

Prize: $5,000 and publication.

Deadline: TBD 2021

Sponsor: The University of Utah Press

Description: Wallace Stegner was a student of the American West, an environmental spokesman, and a creative writing teacher. In his memory, the University of Utah Press seeks book-length monographs about environmental humanities. Projects focusing on the American West preferred.


Drue Heinz Literature Prize

Prize: $15,000 and publication

Deadline: May 1 – June 30 yearly

Sponsor: University of Pittsburgh Press

Description: Seeks unpublished short fiction or novella collections. Only open to previously published writers.


Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

Prize: $15,000

Deadline: TBD 2021

Sponsor: Baton Rouge Area Foundation

Description: Honors novels and short story collections by African-American writers ( must be US citizens). Entries to be published in 2021 accepted. Self-published books not eligible.


International Flash Fiction Competition

Prize:

First: $20,000

Three runners-up: $2,000

Deadline: TBD

Sponsor: The César Egido Serrano Foundation

Description: With over 40,000 participants, this prize invites authors to submit flash fiction in Spanish, English, Arabic, and Hebrew. Stories must be original, unpublished, and 100 words or under.


The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize

Prize:

1st: £10,000 ($13,840)

2nd: £3,000 ($4,150)

3rd: £2,000 ($2,770)

Deadline: TBD 2022

Sponsor: The Alpine Fellowship

Description: This prize has an annual theme (2021’s was “Untamed: On Wilderness and Civilization.”) Entries must be unpublished and a maximum of 2,500 words. Poetry, prose, or non-academic essays welcome.


W.Y. Boyd Literary Award

Prize: $5,000 and framed certificate

Deadline: Yearly on December 1st

Sponsor: American Library Association

Description: The Association seeks Military fiction published in the previous year. Young adult and adult novels only.


BCALA Literary Awards

Prize: 4 of $500

Deadline: TBD 2021

Sponsor: Black Caucus of the American Library Association

Description: One prize each for literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books as well as first novels. Aims to “acknowledge outstanding achievement in the presentation of the cultural, historical, and sociopolitical aspects of the Black Diaspora.” Authors must be African American, born in the US, with books published during 2021.


Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

Prize: $12,000 and publication

Deadline: TBD 2022

Sponsor: Graywolf Press

Description: Awarded to the most promising and innovative literary nonfiction project by an emerging writer. Accepts memoirs, essays, biographies, histories, and more, from writers or agents. These should be works-in-progress, not yet published.


New Voices Award

Prize: $2,000 and publication ($1,000 for the Honor Award winner)

Deadline: 12/31/21

Sponsor: Lee and Low Books

Description: Seeks a children’s picture book manuscript by a U.S. writer of color or a Native/Indigenous writer. Must not have not previously published a children’s picture book. Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry accepted that addresses the needs of children of color and Native nations. Max 1,500 words, with human protagonists, aimed at children 5-12.


St. Martin’s Minotaur / Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition

Prize: Publication and a $10,000 advance

Deadline: TBD 2022

Sponsor: Minotaur Books and Mystery Writers of America

Description: Seeks mysteries by unpublished or self-published novelists. Murder or other serious crime must be at the heart of the work. Electronic submissions only.


Stowe Prize

Prize: $10,000

Deadline: TBD 2021

Sponsor: Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

Description: Named for the abolitionist and author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, this prize recognizes a U.S. author (fiction or nonfiction) whose work has made a tangible impact on a social justice issue in the past 3 years.


ServiceScape Short Story Award

Prize: $1,000

Deadline: 11/30/21

Sponsor: ServiceScape

Description: Accepts original, unpublished work (5,000 words or fewer) in any genre, fiction or nonfiction.


The Marfield Prize

Prize: $10,000

Deadline: TBD

Sponsor: The Arts Club of Washington

Description: Celebrates nonfiction books about an artistic discipline published the previous year, including “art history and criticism, biographies and memoirs, and essays.” Fiction, children’s books, and self-published works not eligible.


Bacopa Literary Review Contest

Prize:

First: $300

Second (4 awards): $100

Deadline: 05/31/21

Sponsor: The Writers Alliance of Gainesville

Description: Seeks work in the categories of poetry, prose poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. One first prize, plus one second prize for each category. All contributors receive print copy of the Bacopa Literary Review.


Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award

Prize: $.08 per word and publication

Deadline: TBD 2022

Sponsor: National Space Society and Baen Books

Description: The National Space Society and Baen Books sponsors this short fiction contest in memory of Jim Baen. Stories (maximum 8,000 words) should show the near future of manned space exploration.


James Laughlin Award

Prize: $5,000, an all-expenses-paid weeklong residency at The Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, and distribution of the winning book to Academy of American Poets members.

Deadline: Submissions accepted yearly between January 1 and May 15

Sponsor: The Academy of American Poets

Description: Offered since 1954, the James Laughlin Award is given to recognize a second book of poetry due in the next calendar year from a U.S. publisher.


Parsec Short Story Contest

Prize:

First: $200 and publication

Second: $100

Third: $50

Deadline: TBD 2022

Sponsor: Parsec, Inc.

Description: Seeks science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories from non-professional writers. There is an annual theme, which must be integral to the story in some way.


Tony Hillerman Prize

Prize: Publication and a $10,000 advance

Deadline: 1/2/21

Sponsor: Western Writers of America and St. Martin’s Press, LLC

Description: Seeks unpublished mystery novels (approximately 60,000 words) set in the Southwest by unpublished mystery novelists.


The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing

Prize: $10,000 advance and publication

Deadline: TBD 2022

Sponsor: Restless Books

Description: Looking for complete, unpublished fiction or nonfiction manuscripts from emerging writers (unpublished) who are first-generation residents of their country. Fiction manuscripts must be complete, 45,000 words or more. Nonfiction manuscripts may be a 25,000 word sample plus detailed proposal.


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