Writing contests provide steps up for a writer – especially a struggling writer. A portfolio that contains contest wins means more than many clips. Can’t afford the entry fees? Consider entering one contest a quarter or something more amiable to your pocketbook. A few are free. Contests provide prizes, prestige and usually publication with many offering book contracts. Denouncing contests from your writing repertoire is like discounting an entire genre or refusing to eat yellow vegetables. You’re giving up something valuable that may serve you and your career well.
THE SFWP WRITERS CONTEST
$30 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline July 20, 2017. All fiction and creative nonfiction will be eligible despite genre, form, subject, or length. We take full-length manuscripts, works-in-progress, collections short or long, and essays. We don’t care about what the big presses believe to be “marketable,” we want to see excellence in writing, no matter the form it takes. Past winners have ranged from flash fiction to memoir to magical realism to literary fiction to cultural essays. The length of your entry is not an issue. There’s no minimum or maximum. The grand prize is $1,500, and two runner-ups will receive $1,000 each. Authors retain all rights to their work. Winners will be offered a competitive book contract for full-market, frontlist release. There’s no obligation to sign this contract. All unpublished work is eligible.
ISLAND VERSE PRIZE
$20 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline June 30, 2017. Winner receives chapbook publication by Island Verse Editions which are perfectly bound and beautifully typeset, a $250 honorarium and 10 contributor copies. Entrants must be 18 years of age, and have NOT published a full-length collection of poetry. Manuscript should include a table of contents, and be no more than 28 pages.
WRITING PITTSBURGH BOOK PRIZE
NO ENTRY FEE.
Deadline October 23, 2017. The Writing Pittsburgh Book Prize will recognize one book focusing on a subject of regional and national significance, by a writer with a meaningful Pittsburgh connection. The author of the winning manuscript will receive a $10,000 honorarium; publication of their book by CNF’s independent book imprint, In Fact Books (IFB); national distribution; and a marketing and publicity campaign. The winning author will work with CNF/IFB’s editorial staff to refine and polish the manuscript. Publication will occur between one year and 15 months from the announcement of the prize.
$15 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline October 16, 2017. The Talking Writing Prize is an annual contest that celebrates the diversity online of original, personally driven writing. This year’s Talking Writing Prize for Personal Essay will spotlight our annual holiday theme. We’re looking for honest, unsentimental nonfiction about soul searching through words. How do you tackle life’s Big Questions? Writers are invited to address mortality, belief, culture of origin, atheism, or any other issues connected to making meaning in a complicated world. Length: Up to 2,000 words. Include only the story title (not your name or affiliation) on the first page and in the page headers. Prize: $500 and publication in Talking Writing.
THE ADVENTURE WRITER’S NOVEL CONTEST
$25 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline June 30, 2017. There is no synopsis round this year. Instead, there is a “Opening Round” where judges read the first 3,000 to 5,000 words and score the manuscript based on that opening section. Top ten scores (semi Finalists) will then go to the full “Manuscript Round” where judges can read as much as they want/need to score the manuscript. The top three from the manuscript round are our finalists. No science fiction. $1,000 prise, and the three finalists are invited to the banquet. The term “new” means any unpublished novel, regardless of date of authorship; alternatively, the term means any novel published by any source, but only so long as the total number of copies sold or given away, in eBook, audio, paperback, or hardcopy formats, does not exceed 5,000.
MOTH INTERNATIONAL SHORT STORY PRIZE
€12 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline June 30, 2017. First prize is €3,000. Second prize is a week’s writing retreat at Circle of Misse in France. Third prize is €1,000. The winning stories will be published in the autumn issue of The Moth Magazine. There is a word limit of 6,000.
HOWLING BIRD PRESS
$25 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline June 30, 2017. The competition is open to all writers in English, whether published or unpublished. Author of the winning manuscript receives a cash award of $1,000, which serves as an advance, with book subsequently published by Howling Bird Press under a standard book contract. Manuscripts should be between 60 to 80 pages long.
EMRYS CHAPBOOK PRIZE
$20 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline July 15, 2017. The Emrys Press Chapbook Prize honors a book of original poetry in English by a single author; translations are not eligible. The winning poet will receive a $1,000 honorarium upon publication plus 20 copies of the book. In addition, he/she will be invited as guest for one week of the Rensing Center, a gorgeous arts/writing retreat near Greenville SC, in the Appalachian foothills. Manuscripts should be 24 to 26 pages in length.
STRINGYBARK DOG EAT DOG SHORT STORY CONTEST
ENTRY FEE A$12.
Following our popular thematic Stringybark Erotic Fiction Award 2015 where the story related to the name of a cocktail, this award gives writers free-rein to dance with the Devil and break the ground rules of good writing by submitting a story which contains a common cliché and is titled that cliché. There are some great lists of clichés on the web to whet your appetite. NOTE: This competition is not to see how many clichés you can shoehorn into your story. Rather it is to inspire you to write a great story. We don’t like clichés and wouldn’t want to see more than one in your tale. The Prize value for this competition is over $1000 in cash and books. International entries are most welcome. Deadline July 16, 2017. First, second, and third prizes offer publication, copy of the ebook, copy of the paperback, and any two Stringybark anthologies. In addition, first prize pays A$450, second prize A$250, and third prize A$100. The maximum length of each entry is 1,500 words excluding the title.
UNDER THE GUM TREE ESSAY CONTEST
$20 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline June 30, 2017. Contest entries must be previously unpublished, submitted blind, and not exceed 5,000 words. Winner and any honorable mention(s) will be announced in Fall 2017. One winner will receive a $500 cash prize, publication in our January 2018 issue, and a one-year subscription in 2018 to keep or gift. The winner also receives the option to guest-edit a section of a future issue of Under the Gum Tree; in this way, we desire to push the limits of our aesthetic and include more and more voices. Honorable mention(s) will be published and receive a one-year subscription to keep or gift, plus a mystery box of inspirational CNF goodies including books and UTGT schwag.
WINCHESTER POETRY PRIZE
£5 ENTRY FEE.
First Prize: £1,000. Second Prize: £500. Third Prize: £250. Deadline July 31, 2017. In addition to receiving cash prizes winners will be invited to read at a special prize-giving event at Winchester Poetry Day on Saturday October 14, 2017. Winning and commended poems will also be published in a competition anthology.
WOVEN TALE PRESS COMPETITION
$20 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline July 31, 2017. Submit 6,000 words maximum of literary fiction or creative nonfiction. All submissions considered for publication. First prize is a one-week writing retreat in the legendary Hamptons in New York. Seven nights and accommodations for two in a spacious, four-bedroom residence within walking distance to the beach and town. Also, publication and a complimentary copy. Second prize is $300 and publication. Third prize is $100 and publication.
LOIS CRANSTON MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE
$15 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline June 30, 2017. $300 prize and one-year subscription. Please submit up to three unpublished poems (six pages maximum). Simultaneous submissions are discouraged. The CALYX editorial collective reads all manuscripts first, then selects 10-20 finalists to send to the final judge.
WELLS FESTIVAL OF LITERATURE CONTEST
£6 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline June 30, 2017. This year, to celebrate our Silver Anniversary, we have raised the prize money to 1st: £750, 2nd: £300 and 3rd: £200 in all three categories. We continue to offer the Hilly Cansdale local poetry prize of £100 and the Wyvern local short story prize, also £100. In addition, there is a £100 local prize in the Book for Children category. Short stories may be on any subject and should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length. Poetry entries may be on any subject but must not exceed 40 lines in length. Children’s book stories may be on any subject. We ask, however, that the stories are aimed at readers aged 9+; this allows entrants to write either middle grade or teenage novels. We also ask for the first three chapters only, plus a synopsis.
RATTLE POETRY PRIZE
ENTRY FEE A ONE-YEAR SUBSCRIPTION.
Deadline July 15, 2017. The annual Rattle Poetry Prize offers $10,000 for a single poem to be published in the winter issue of the magazine. Ten finalists will also receive $200 each and publication and be eligible for the $2,000 Readers’ Choice Award, to be selected by subscriber and entrant vote. Additional poems from the entries are frequently offered publication as well. In 2016, we published 21 poems from just over 4,000 entries.
TOMAZ SALAMUN PRIZE
$12 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline July 16, 2017. The Tomaž Šalamun Prize is open to poets at any stage of their career. Previous publication is neither a requirement nor a restriction. You can enter if you’ve published no books or 100 books. Translations into English are acceptable if the author is still living and has given written permission. Prose poetry and hybrid forms are also acceptable. The winning chapbook will be published by Factory Hollow Press in Amherst, MA. The prize winner will receive $500, 10 free copies of their chapbook, and a free one-month residency at the Tomaž Šalamun Center for Poetry in Ljubljana, Slovenia. If a translation wins the prize, the translator will receive $500, 10 copies of the chapbook, and the residency. Individual pieces in the chapbook may have been published in print and/or online journals, but the chapbook itself must be previously unpublished.
TWO SYLVIAS PRESS POETRY PRIZE
$28 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline June 30, 2017. Winner receives $1,000, publication, and 20 author copies. Submit 60-90 pages of poetry.
BIOM NARRATIVE MEDICINE ESSAY CONTEST
NO ENTRY FEE.
The Bureau of International Osteopathic Medicine (BIOM) at the American Osteopathic Association is proud to announce its inaugural narrative medicine essay competition. Narrative medicine is a form of creative nonfiction that reflects on the lived experience of illness, healing, and clinical care. BIOM invites submissions of narrative medicine essays focused on global health or an international experience of healthcare. BIOM will award $750 for the first-prize winner, $500 for second prize, and a single award of $1500 grand prize across all competition plus public presentation at the annual BIOM International Seminar in Philadelphia, PA, in October 2017. This competition is only open to students and recent graduates (medical residents) of American colleges of osteopathic medicine. Deadline September 5, 2017.
LOUISE MERIWETHER FIRST BOOK PRIZE
NO ENTRY FEE.
The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize is open to women of color and nonbinary writers of color who are residents of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia, and US territories and possessions; 18 years of age or older at time of entry; and who have not had a book published or have a book under contract at the time of submission. First time authors, submit your complete manuscript, either fiction or nonfiction, of 30,000 to 80,000 words, and you could receive a $5,000 advance and publication by the Feminist Press. Deadline July 31, 2017.
THE PUBLISHING LABORATORY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS
$18 ENTRY FEE.
The selected author will receive $1,000 advance on royalties and a contract to publish with UNO Press. The work does not have to be regionally focused. UNO Press is based at the University of New Orleans and distributed by Hopkins Fulfillment Services. There is no word limit. There is no limit on subjects covered. Works of fiction (novels and short story collections) only. The contest is open to all authors, regardless of publishing history. The finalists are read by students at our publishing institute in the fall of 2017, and one is chosen to become a book. The class will focus on making the book a critical and commercial success upon its release in the spring of 2018. Deadline August 15, 2017.
2017 ADVENTURE WRITERS COMPETITION
$25 ENTRY FEE.
The 2017 Adventure Writer’s Competition is sponsored by the Clive Cussler Collector’s Society. If your novel has sold or given away less than 5,000 copies, you can enter it! Read the complete rules to make sure you qualify! Even if you wrote a million seller before, enter your new book. There is no synopsis round this year. Instead, there is an “Opening Round” where judges read the first 3,000-5,000 words and score the manuscript based on that opening section. Top ten scores (semi-finalists) will then go to the full “Manuscript Round” where judges can read as much as they want/need to score the manuscript. The top three from the manuscript round are our finalists. We are the only contest we know of that focuses on Adventure Writing. No vampires or romance novels to compete with here! The competition is open to all writers over the age of 18 as of March 1, 2017. Deadline June 30, 2017. The winner will be announced at the Clive Cussler Collector’s Society Dinner in October and by press release to the general media as well as receive a $1,000 prize.
THE HOPPER POETRY PRIZE
$25 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline July 1, 2017. This contest is open to poets with an identified interest in the natural world and whose work explores issues tied to our ever-changing environment. The winning poetry manuscript will be selected by the editors of The Hopper in collaboration with Dede Cummings, publisher of Green Writers Press, to be published by Green Writers Press as a collection in the spring of 2018. The winning poet will also receive $250 in prize money. The competition is open to all poets, regardless of publication history. Publication is contingent on the poet’s agreeing to the terms of the publishing agreement. The manuscript must be a minimum of 45 pages and a maximum of 90 pages in length. All manuscripts must be paginated. Each new poem must start on a new page.
THE REHOBOTH BEACH READS SHORT STORY CONTEST
$10 ENTRY FEE.
The goal of the Rehoboth Beach Reads contest is to showcase good writing while creating a great book for summer reading. One of the most popular activities for residents and visitors is reading on the beach, and the contest seeks to collect the kinds of short, engaging stories that help readers relax, escape, and enjoy their time at the beach. Theme: BEACH LIFE. Length must be 500–3,500 words. Deadline July 1, 2017.
EMERALD THEATRE 10-MINUTE PLAY CONTEST
$10 ENTRY FEE.
Theme: “That’s so gay.” The words, “That’s so gay.” Must be spoken by a character. Every script must have two to four characters. No children’s shows or musicals. Ten pages (10 minutes) max. Will be staged in strict “black box” style. Deadline June 30, 2017. 1st prize $300 – plus a trophy. 2nd prize $200 – plus a medal. 3rd prize $100 – plus a medal.
ST MARTIN’S MINOTAUR/MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA FIRST CRIME NOVEL COMPETITION
The Competition is open to any writer, regardless of nationality, aged 18 or older, who has never been the author of any Published Novel (in any genre)(except that authors of self-published works only may enter, as long as the manuscript submitted is not the self-published work) and is not under contract with a publisher for publication of a novel. Murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the story. Deadline in December each year.
EMERGING PLAYWRIGHT AWARD
NO ENTRY FEE.
Plays MAY HAVE BEEN developed or produced elsewhere, BUT NEVER PRODUCED in New York City. There is no limit to submissions. Subject matter and character variations are open. There is no submission fee. It usually takes up to six months for us to read and process your script. Plays from overseas and throughout the United States are accepted and considered. BUT special attention will be given to playwrights who live in or near New York. No deadline. Year-round submissions accepted. Our $500 Emerging Playwright Award (coupled with press coverage) is given to playwrights who show excellence and dedication throughout this process – from development to the stage.
$5 ENTRY FEE (approx £3).
We hold a monthly Writing Maps Writing Contest to coincide with the launch each month of a new Writing Map product. We challenge you to write and share a 150-word piece in response to our Prompt of the Month. Each month’s two winning entries will be published in The A3 Review, the new Writing Maps Journal, a fold-out literary magazine to be published every six months. The contest closes at midnight (GMT) on the fourth Saturday of the month. There is no restriction on theme or style. We encourage prose, poems, prose poems, graphic stories and hybrid forms. First prize £150, second prize £75, third prize £50.
NOTE: See more contests by joining our newsletters. We can keep you loaded with contests without you looking anywhere else!
Please remember to read ALL guidelines for a contest. FundsforWriters tries to research contests to the best of our ability, but we cannot confirm the credibility of each and every one without entering them ourselves. Be informed and be alert as you would with any market, publisher, agent or competition.
Dear Hope, The Emerald Theatre Company’s 10-minute play fest is going into its second year. Without you, and FundsforWriters, the first year might not have been possible. Thanks to the publicity from your newsletter, our little Memphis, Tennessee event received scripts from Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, the UK and New Zealand.
This wealth of wonderful material yielded quality vignettes that made the best local actors and stage directors (including a popular local radio personality) eager to donate their time and talent – their presence, in turn, sold tickets. We played to packed houses and everyone had a great time. To our astonishment, Vermont Pride Theatre got wind of the show and asked to put it on in its entirety this coming July – meaning the playwrights who won prizes and recognition in our fest, will now receive additional recognition along with royalties.
The bottom line is, without you, we would have had something rinky dink – with you we had something substantial. The publicity you provided on the front end made all the difference in the world! ~Caroline Sposto, www.whycaroline.com, (610) 597-9803
Hi Hope, we met at the SCWW conference in Myrtle Beach last October, and I was so impressed with your lecture that I subscribed to FFW as soon as I got home. I wanted to drop you a line to let you know that because of FFW, I submitted AND WON The 2008 William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers! My novel will be finished this week, and next weekend I’m going to Malice Domestic to accept the award. Thanks you, and keep up the great work.