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.
FABULA PRESS CONTEST – THE NIVALIS
$10 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline March 31, 2016. The contests are not theme bound. There is no restriction on genre either, and we are happy to read historical fiction, mystery/suspense, and horror. However, for consistency of presentation we cannot accept children’s stories, fantasy, young adult or chick lit; likewise hardcore science fiction is not something we are looking for, but are open to science based/alternative history based literary works. The contest is open to all writers 18 years old or above. Stories must be written in English, original and unpublished. Stories must be not less than 1,500 words and no more than 7,000 words in length. First Prize: $250. Second Prize $150. Third Prize $100. All longlisted entries (top 10-15) will be published in an anthology, and non-prize-winning published entries will be paid $50 each.
SC FIRST NOVEL COMPETITION
$35 ENTRY FEE.
The South Carolina First Novel Prize recognizes one of South Carolina’s exceptional writers by providing a book contract with Hub City Press. The competition is a highly competitive, anonymous process. Publication by Hub City of at least 2,000 copies of the book will bring recognition that may open doors to other resources and opportunities. The book will be nationally distributed. Deadline: March 15, 2016. Must be a SC resident. Must not have published a novel before, but may have published a book of nonfiction, short stories, poetry or children’s literature. Only manuscripts between 150 and 400 (single-sided) pages are eligible.
JAMES JONES FIRST TIME NOVELIST AWARD
$30 ENTRY FEE.
Awards $10,000 to an American writer with a first fiction novel in progress in 2016. Two runners-up will each receive $1,000. Entrants are asked to supply a two-page outline of their entire novel, plus the first 50 pages of the work. The fellowship is only for unpublished first novels: collections of short stories, memoirs and self-published novels are not eligible. To enter this contest, writers must be United States citizens. Deadline March 15, 2016.
POETRY FOR KIDS POETRY CONTEST
$19 ENTRY FEE.
The contest offers five cash prizes: $650 for the winner, $350 for second place, and $100 for third, fourth, and fifth places. Deadline February 29, 2016. To enter our poetry writing contest, submit an original, unpublished poem, rhyming story, haiku, limerick or anything that constitutes a poem, 500 words or less. Remember, longer doesn’t necessarily mean better. Your submissions can be for any age child up to 18-years-old, and any topic you choose.
$20 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline February 14, 2016. What does LOVE mean to you? We want your fiction, non-fiction and poetry, exploring love in any of its myriad expressions: romantic, platonic, parental, and much, much more. We know there is a whole world of love out there, and we want to read about it. All submitted works must be original and unpublished works. Texts must be written in English. Fiction (maximum 2,000 words). Non-fiction (maximum 2,000 words). Poetry (1-3 poems per single submission – total maximum 75 lines). First prize $1,000 CDN (per category) plus a full manuscript review by the literary agency The Rights Factory. Three honorable mentioned per category: Guaranteed publication in donttalktomeaboutlove.com
NO ENTRY FEE.
Calling for feature essays on the short story form, either recommending a short story, collection or anthology, or profiling the life and writing of a short story writer. We look, above all, at the quality of prose, the insights offered, and your ability to really hook your readers. The focus must be on the short story form, but is a non-fiction contest. 750 to 2,000 words. There is a £500 first prize, plus 2x runner prizes £100 each. Deadline March 6, 2016, 11:59pm (GMT).
$13.59 ENTRY FEE.
Hourglass Literary Magazine announces its maiden competition for: best short story, best essay, best poem. The winning entry in each catvegory (short story, essay and poem) will receive US $1,000 as prize money. The jury, comprising highly respected authors Sibelan Forrester, Jelena Lengold and John K. Cox has the right to give a special prize (US $500 for entry in each category). Ten Finalists, as well as the winners, in each category will be published in the first issue of the literary magazine. All published works will be financially compensated and finalists will be provided with one copy of the printed edition of the Hourglass Literary Magazine. Final closing date is 11:59 P.M. May 31, 2016.
NO ENTRY FEE.
The winning poet in 2016, as judged by the Zócalo staff, will receive $500. Poems must be original and previously unpublished work. Entries will be accepted until February 5, 2016. Entries will be judged based on originality of ideas, how well the poem fits the theme, and style. The winning poem becomes the property of Zócalo Public Square.
NORTH AMERICAN SNOWSPORTS JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION CONTEST
$25 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline March 1, 2016. NASJA East is seeking works that tell exceptional stories about snow sports. Theses stories should depict people having fun participating or watching snow sports. The goal is to promote snow sports. These works can be in the form of stories, photos or videos or any combination thereof. Eligible entries: Written content (photos are encouraged), Photographs, Videos. Judges may select 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners, and must select a 1st place winner. Ties are prohibited. Only the first place winner is awarded the $500. Judges may award one or more Honorable Mentions at their discretion. All entries must relate to events that occurred between January 1, 2015 and March 1, 2016.
FROST FARM PRIZE FOR METRICAL POETRY
$5 ENTRY FEE.
The winner receives $1,000, publication in Evansville Review and an invitation, with honorarium, to read in June 2016 as part of The Hyla Brook Reading Series at the Robert Frost Farm. The reading opens the Frost Farm Poetry Conference, which is devoted to metrical poetry. The winner also receives a scholarship to attend the conference. Deadline is April 1, 2016.
WATERSTON DESERT WRITING PRIZE
NO ENTRY FEE.
Deadline April 1, 2016. Prize annually honors literary nonfiction that illustrates artistic excellence, sensitivity to place, and desert literacy – with the desert as both subject and setting. Recognizes one writer with a $1,500 cash award, a reading and reception at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon, and a four-week residency at PLAYA at Summer Lake, Oregon.
SNYDER POETRY PRIZE
$25 ENTRY FEE.
Pays $1,000, publication of winning manuscript in a paperback edition, 50 copies of the published book (in lieu of royalties), and featured reading at Ashland University (optional). Original collection of poems of 64 to 96 pages, with no more than one poem per page. Deadline April 1, 2016.
EVENT HORIZON MAGAZINE SCIENCE POETRY CONTEST
NO ENTRY FEE.
Submitted work shall be inspired by and/or incorporate scientific thinking, concepts, or principles. Winner receives $500 and publication in the magazine. Open to anyone. Deadline February 29, 2016. Submission attachment can include up to three original poems written in the English language, with each poem beginning on a new page. There is no limit for line count.
PINCH LITERARY AWARDS
$20 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline March 15, 2016. Entries consist of one to three poems or prose of up to 5,000 words. First Place in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry each receive $1,000.
NIVALIS SHORT STORY CONTEST
$10 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline March 31, 2016. Nivalis 2016 is not theme bound. There is no restriction on genre either, and we are happy to read historical fiction, mystery/suspense, and horror. However, for consistency of presentation we cannot accept children’s stories, fantasy, young adult or chick lit; likewise hardcore science fiction is not something we are looking for, but are open to science based/alternative history based literary works. Stories must be not less than 1500 words and no more than 7,000 words in length.
YORK LITERATURE FESTIVAL POETRY CONTEST
£5 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline February 14, 2016. First prize: £500. Second Prize: £125. Third Prize: £75. The York prize (£50) will be awarded to an excellent poem from an entrant with a York postcode. At the judge’s discretion, up to ten Highly Commended and up to 15 Commended poems will each win their writer a certificate. Poems are welcomed on any subject. To be eligible, poems must be in English, run to no longer than 40 lines, and fit on a single A4 page. Entrants must be over 18 and live in the British Isles.
BATH SHORT STORY AWARD
£8 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline April 25, 2016. We invite local, national and international entries from published and unpublished writers. Short stories of up to 2,200 words in all genres, styles welcome. No lower word limit. 1st £1,000. 2nd £200. 3rd £100. Local prize: £50 voucher. The Acorn Award for unpublished writers of fiction: £50.
KILLER NASHVILLE’S CLAYMORE AWARD
$30 ENTRY FEE.
Annual contest for unpublished manuscripts with an element of thriller, mystery, or suspense. Judges will consider any subgenre of mystery or thriller, including political thriller, cozy, police procedural, private eye, romantic suspense, paranormal mystery, and historical mystery. Ten finalists are chosen through a blind judging process. The winner receives an engraved replica of a Claymore Dagger, free admission to the current year’s Killer Nashville, and more. The top ten finalists also receive prizes. Any manuscript of exceptional merit deemed ready for submission will be recommended by Killer Nashville to agents, editors, and publishers regardless of placement in the contest. The winner is announced during the Guest of Honor dinner & Awards ceremony Banquet on the Saturday evening of the Killer Nashville conference. All entries must be postmarked, or submitted by 11:59 PM (Central time), on April 30, 2016.
$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.
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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.