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 GALLEY BEGGAR PRESS SHORT STORY PRIZE
£10 ENTRY FEE. Deadline August 27, 2017. First prize £1,000 or 12 months of editorial support from the directors of Galley Beggar Press. £150 to each shortlisted author. £50 of book tokens to each longlisted author, plus a four-book subscription to Galley Beggar Press. This year, there are 70 free entries available to those with low incomes. These are offered on a first come, first serve basis – and after first emailing us.
GRINDSTONE SUMMER NOVEL OPENING COMPETITION
£6 ENTRY FEE. Deadline August 28, 2017. First prize £250. Second prize £100. Third prize £50. Limit 1,000 words of your novel or novel-in-progress.
INTERNATIONAL WILLESDEN HERALD SHORT STORIES COMPETITION
£7.50 ENTRY FEE. Deadline August 31, 2017. Word limit 7,500 on any theme. First Prize: The one-off Willesden Herald mug inscribed “Willesden Short Story Prize 2017” and £300. Second prize £200. Third prize £100, and £75 to each of the remaining seven short-listed. This competition is open to all aged 18 or over, regardless of nationality or country of residence.
HAMMOND HOUSE SHORT STORY PRIZE
£10 ENTRY FEE. Deadline August 31, 2017. This prestigious prize is awarded each year for a short story on a chosen theme. This year’s theme is ETERNAL. The winner receives a cash prize and worldwide publication of their story. Winner £500. Second £100. Third £50.
ENCHANTING TRAVELS TRAVEL WRITER AWARD
NO ENTRY FEE. Deadline August 31, 2017. Enchanting Travels offers custom, tailor-made journeys to 32 destinations in Africa, South America, Asia and India. To celebrate the fascinating stories that can only be experienced when one travels, we award the Enchanting Travels Travel Writer Grant. The winner receives USD$1,000, as well as the opportunity to take up an internship or write your thesis at Enchanting Travels. Any student aged between 18 to 32 years who is studying any of the following subject themes, or similar: Tourism, English, Journalism, Literature, Geography, Anthropology, History. A jury of our own travel experts will choose the 10 best submissions, and the winner will be determined by online voting on the Enchanting Travels Facebook page.
MSLEXIA NOVEL COMPETITION
£25 ENTRY FEE. Deadline September 18, 2017. The competition is open to women of any nationality from any country, and welcomes 5,000 word extracts of completed, unpublished novels of at least 50,000 words in length (not including the title). As well as the top prize of £5,000, the winner and four finalists will receive manuscript feedback and introductions to agents and editors at a special event held in London. Novels must be for adult or young adult readers; non-fiction or fiction for children under 13 is not eligible.
THE LARRY BROWN SHORT STORY AWARD
$10 ENTRY FEE. Deadline October 31, 2017. Submit a short story less than 4,000 words. First place $250, second place $75, third place $25.
HUB CITY SHORT STORY BOOK PRIZE
$25 ENTRY FEE.
The contest includes book publication and will be judged in its first year by Lee K. Abbott, author of seven collections of short stories. Submissions open on August 1, 2017 and will close January 1, 2018. The new prize is open to emerging writers in thirteen Southern states. Submitters must currently reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia or West Virginia, and must have no previously published books. The first winning book will be published in Spring 2019.
THE CREATIVE INSTITUTE AWARD
$5 ENTRY FEE. Deadline August 31, 2017. Word limit: 2,000 words. Prizes: $200, $100, $50. Top five winners will receive an eMedal to display on site/social media, in addition to publication in our fifth anthology entitled LOST. First place winner may choose a free, tutored writing course in lieu of $200 prize. We will also publish ten stories chosen as Judge’s Picks (stories that a judge nominates for publication). Themed, unpublished story must include this sentence: “I am completely and utterly lost.” No swearing, profanity, explicit sexual scenes, graphic violence, etc. Winners must agree to publication. Direct questions to head judge, Jianna Higgins, at email@example.com.
SLO NIGHTWRITERS GOLDEN QUILL WRITING CONTEST
$15 ENTRY FEE. Deadline September 15, 2017. Flash/Short Fiction up to 1,500 words. Poetry up to 40 lines. Creative Nonfiction up to 1,500 words. Prizes in each category: First place $500, second place $250, third place $100.
SEAT 14C PRIZE
NO ENTRY FEE. Deadline August 25, 2017, by 11:59 pm Pacific Time. The winning story will be uploaded to Seat 14C on the seat map (see website). The winner will also receive: Roundtrip economy airfare to Tokyo, Japan for you and (1) guest on ANA Airlines* (ARV: $6,000); four nights’ accommodation in a 4-Star Hotel (ARV: $1,500); check for $1,500 (ARV: $1,500); GoPro Hero5 Black 4K video camera (ARV: $400); ili Handheld Universal Translator (ARV: $249), and membership and access to the acclaimed Science Fiction Advisory Council. Stories must be a minimum of 2,000 and a maximum of 4,000 words. Your story is a first-person account of the passenger in Seat 14C, on ANA Flight #008, as this passenger discovers they’ve mysteriously been transported 20 years into the future.
SAINTS AND SINNERS FICTION CONTEST
$20 ENTRY FEE. Deadline October 3, 2017. The winner will be selected from this year’s submissions of original, unpublished short stories between 3,000 and 7,000 words with LGBT content on the broad theme of “Saints and Sinners.” One grand prize of $500 and two second place prizes of $100 will be awarded. In addition, the top stories will be published in an anthology from Bold Strokes Books. There will also be a book release party and reading held during the 15th annual Saints and Sinners Literary Conference in New Orleans in 2018. A list of the top ten finalists will be posted on our website and in our e-newsletter. Word Count: 3,000 to 7,000.
TENNESSEE WILLIAMS FESTIVAL VERY SHORT FICTION CONTEST
$10 ENTRY FEE. Deadline November 8, 2017. Grand Prize $500, passes to Panels and Master Classes ($200 Value), public reading at a literary panel at the next Festival, and publication in New Orleans Review Web Features. The top nine finalists will have their names published on this site. This contest is open only to writers who have not yet published a book of fiction. Published books include self-published books with ISBN numbers. Those who have published books in other genres besides fiction remain eligible. A submission is one original short story, written in English, up to 1,000 words.
SLO NIGHTWRITERS GOLDEN QUILL WRITING CONTEST
$15 ENTRY FEE. Deadline September 15, 2017. The theme for this year’s contest is LIBERATION. Enter in one or more of the three categories: Flash/Short Fiction up to 1,500 words, Poetry up to 40 lines, Creative Non-Fiction up to 1,500 words. Prizes awarded in each category. First Place $500. Second Place $250. Third Place $100.
THE HISTORICAL WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION DOROTHY DUNNETT SHORT STORY COMPETITION
£5 ENTRY FEE. Deadline September 1, 2017. Prizes: £500, publication in the Whispering Gallery and on the website, mentoring session from author and agent, tickets to receive your award at the HWA Crowns Ceremony in London. Two Highly Commended entries will also receive mentoring and invitations to the award ceremony in London. We are celebrating Historical Fiction and the works of Dorothy Dunnett which will be reissued by Penguin this autumn. We will also introduce a brand new competition for unpublished short stories of up to 3,500 words. Choose your theme, your genre, and your period and bring the past alive. The only condition is that your story is set at least 35 years in the past.
BLACK WARRIOR REVIEW
$20 ENTRY FEE. Deadline September 1, 2017. Prize $1,000 and publication in each genre. Submit fiction or nonfiction up to 7,000 words, or a packet of up to three poems.
NO ENTRY FEE. Deadline October 13, 2017. FutureScapes asks writers to envision a particular future, and tell its story. Theme is “Blue Sky Cities.” We’re seeking stories set in a near-future city where significant strides have been made toward improving air quality, climate adaptation, or even net positive impacts on climate and air quality. Submit fiction up to 8,000 words. Prizes are $2,000 first place, $500 to each of the five runners-up. An anthology will be published and distributed to mayors, governors and members of the US Congress.
ROYAL DRAGONFLY BOOK AWARD
$60 ENTRY FEE. Deadline October 1, 2017. Honors published authors of all types of literature — fiction and nonfiction — in 66 categories. The grand prize winner receives $500, a certificate commemorating their accomplishment, and 100 Grand Prize seals. All first place book contest winners of all categories will be put into a drawing for a $100 prize. In addition, each first place winner in each category receives a certificate commemorating their accomplishment, and 25 award seals.
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.
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.
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.
ST MARTIN’S MINOTAUR/MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA FIRST CRIME NOVEL COMPETITION
NO ENTRY FEE. 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.