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 MEMOIR MAGAZINE #METOO TRIGGER WARNING NONFICTION ESSAY CONTEST
$12 ENTRY FEE. Deadline February 28, 2018. The theme for the #MeToo Trigger Warning Nonfiction Essay Contest is Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse. Pseudonyms are allowed. The winning story receives $500 and publication in Memoir Magazine, and a note from our judge on why the story was chosen. Short and Long listed applicants will receive publication. Limit 100 words to 7,000 words. Nonfiction only. Open to all writers internationally.
IRENE ADLER PRIZE FOR WOMEN WRITERS
NO ENTRY FEE. Deadline April 30, 2018. A $1,000 scholarship to a woman pursuing a degree in journalism, creative writing, or literature at a recognized post-secondary institution in the U.S. or Canada, based on an essay competition. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or Canadian citizens. Submit a 500-word essay in English on one of the following three topics (but with an original title):
“Which female writer has influenced you the most?”
“What is the biggest improvement in women’s lives that you’d like to see in the next five years?”
“What is your most important writing project for 2018?”
FARMER’S ALMANAC – HOW WEATHER CHANGED MY LIFE ESSAY CONTEST
NO ENTRY FEE. Deadline January 26, 2018. Prizes are first $250; second $150; third $100. Limit 200 words per essay. All entries become the property of Yankee Publishing, which reserves all rights to the material. Winners will appear in The 2019 Old Farmer’s Almanac and on Almanac.com.
TO HULL AND BACK SHORT STORY CONTEST
£9 ENTRY FEE. Deadline April 30, 2018. Christopher Fielden’s Annual Short Story Competition “To Hull And Back” is a humorous writing contest. First Prize: £1,000. Second Prize: £500. Third Prize: £250. Three Highly Commended: £50. Fourteen Shortlisted: £25. All winners and shortlisted entries will be published in the To Hull And Back Short Story Anthology. This will be available as a professionally published, printed book and as a Kindle download. The book will have an ISBN number. If you’re published in the book, a writer’s profile will appear alongside your story and on the website.
BATH CHILDREN’S NOVEL AWARD
£25 ENTRY FEE. Deadline November 2018. Opens in May 2018. The Bath Novel Award is a competition open to novelists, of any nationality, who have yet to sign a traditional publishing deal for a novel. Submit a novel extract (up to the first 5,000 words) and synopsis (one page). Novels can be in any genre written for middle grade or young adult readers. Picture books are not eligible. The winner will receive £2,000. One shortlisted writer will receive a £500 voucher from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy which may be exchanged for editorial reports and / or mentoring hours to the value of £500 in either of Cornerstones’ US or UK houses. There is no cash alternative to this prize. Shortlisted writers will also be offered the opportunity to be introduced to an individually tailored list of literary agents by email or other means. This is an entirely free and optional service.
FLASH 500 SHORT STORY CONTEST
£7 ENTRY FEE. Deadline February 28, 2018. This contest is for stories between 1,000 and 3,000 words. Prizes are £500, £200, £100.
REFLEX FLASH FICTION
ENTRY FEE £7 / $9 / €9. Deadline February 28, 2018. Entries must be fiction but can be on any subject, and written in any style or form. We do not recommend poems and stories written for children. Please, no fan fiction or use of copyrighted material, characters, song lyrics etc. The flash fiction competition is international and welcomes entrants from all countries. Entries must be at least 180 words but no more than 360 words. Prizes: £1,000 first, £500 second, £250 third.
WISCONSIN WRITERS AWARDS
$25 ENTRY FEE. Deadline January 31, 2018. The Council currently sponsors eight annual awards for deserving writers throughout the state and two biennial awards to individuals or organizations who have made significant contributions to literature in the state, known collectively as The Wisconsin Writers Awards. Seven of the eight annual Wisconsin Writers Awards are judged by a writing professional who resides outside the state (read more about our contest judges) and are accompanied by a prize of $500. The lone exception, The Essay Award for Young Writers, is judged by the CWW Board and is accompanied by a prize of $250. In addition, our First Prize winners (excluding the Young Writers, Major Achievement, and Sholes awards) receive a one-week residency at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts. Judges for each contest may designate a single honorable mention in their category or may decide to make no award. An Honorable Mention is accompanied by a prize of $50 and a one-week residency at the Painted Forest in Valton, WI. The CWW owns no rights to submitted works.
YEMASSEE WRITING PRIZES
ENTRY FEE $17-$22. Deadline: January 15, 2018. The author of the winning poetry chapbook will receive $1,000 and 25 copies of their chapbook. Submit one chapbook with 20-26 pages of poetry. The author of the winning short story up to 7,500 words. will receive $750 and publication in Yemassee 24.2. The author of the winning poem will receive $750 and publication in Yemassee 24.2.
PERMAFROST BOOK PRIZE IN FICTION
$20 ENTRY FEE. Deadline January 15, 2018. We prefer manuscripts that are a minimum of 150 pages. Welcomes manuscripts from any writer, including non-US citizens, writing in English. Prize $1,000 and publication through University of Alaska Press.
JOAN SWIFT MEMORIAL PRIZE
NO ENTRY FEE. Deadline January 15, 2018. Pays $500 and publication in Poetry Northwest for a poem or set of poems by a woman over age 65 now living and writing in the Pacific NW. Submit four to six poems to Poetry Northwest. For contest purposes, we will consider poets living in the following states and provinces: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, northern California, western Montana, British Columbia, and Alaska.
INTO THE VOID POETRY COMPETITION
$5 CAD ENTRY FEE. Deadline December 31, 2017. Poems must be unpublished. There is no theme for the competition and there are no restrictions on style or genre. Maximum 60 lines. First Place: $200 CAD and published on website. Second Place: $100 CAD and published on website. Third Place: $50 CAD and published on website. Three Runners-up: A copy of a boy named jane and published on website.
EPIPHANY’S BREAKOUT EIGHT CONTEST
$10 ENTRY FEE. Deadline February 15, 2018. Eight writers will receive publication in Epiphany’s Breakout Eight special issue; a $250 cash prize; a year-long mentorship with Epiphany editor-in-chief, 2015 National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, and 2012 Center for Fiction fellow Tracy O’Neill; a complimentary one-year student membership to the Authors Guild, including free access to seminars, webinars, and the writers’ resource library; a featured interview published on the Epiphany website, in the Authors Guild Bulletin, and on the Authors Guild website; a one-year subscription to Epiphany; and a short manuscript review. Candidates must be enrolled in an accredited university at least part-time for the academic year Fall 2017Spring 2018. The prize is open to both graduate and undergraduate students. Students need not be enrolled in MFA programs or creative writing programs.
BBC INTERNATIONAL RADIO PLAYWRITING COMPETITION
NO ENTRY FEE. Deadline January 31, 2018. Two first prizes of £2,200 for the best radio plays by writers with either English as their first language or English as their second language. Both winners’ plays will be broadcast on BBC World Service. In addition, there’s the Georgi Markov prize – for the most promising script, this prize gives the winner a chance to come to London for two weeks and work alongside BBC Radio Drama and with BBC World Service journalists. Open to anyone aged 18 or over and living outside the UK – whether you’re an established writer, completely new or anywhere in between. Submit a script for a 53-minute radio play with up to six central characters.
THE FICTION DESK GHOST STORY COMPETITION
£8 ENTRY FEE. Deadline January 31, 2018. ‘Ghost story’ can mean a lot of different things, from an encounter with an actual phantom to more unusual paranormal phenomena and unexplained events. All types are welcome, so feel free to experiment: we’re very unlikely to disqualify a story for stretching the definition of a “ghost”. This year there is a first prize of £500, a second prize of £250, and a third prize of £100.
WOMEN’S NATIONAL BOOK ASSOCIATION WRITING CONTEST
$15-$20 ENTRY FEE. Deadline March 1, 2018. Categories poetry, fiction, nonfiction and YA fiction. Pays $250 for winner in each category as well as publication in The Bookwoman. Limit 3,000 words for fiction and YA fiction,. Limit 2,500 words for nonfiction. Limit three to five pages of poetry.
2018 TEN-MINUTE PLAY FEST
$10 ENTRY FEE. Deadline April 1, 2018. Theme: GAYDAR. Every script must have two to four characters. No children’s shows or musicals. Ten pages (ten minutes) maximum. Will be staged in strict “black box” style with modest technical support. First prize $300 plus a trophy. Second prize $200 plus a medal. Third prize $100 plus a medal.
PALOOKA PRESS CONTEST
$10 ENTRY FEE. Deadline May 15, 2018. The press was founded to offer a publishing opportunity for writers seeking a home for shorter manuscripts. We consider manuscripts of all types, styles, and genres and aren’t looking for a particular aesthetic. We’re willing to give anything a fair chance. All pieces within entries are also considered for publication in the magazine. Please send your best fiction, poetry, nonfiction, graphic narrative, or hybrid genres. Manuscripts should be roughly 30-50 pages, but we’re flexible. Winner receives publication by book, $300, and 20 free copies of the book.
PSYCHOPOMP MAGAZINE SHORT FICTION AWARD
$10 ENTRY FEE. Deadline January 31, 2018. The Psychopomp Magazine Short Fiction Award recognizes outstanding pieces of fiction that push the boundaries of genre and/or form. First prize $500 and issue publication. Submit up to 6,000 words.
EVERYTHING CHANGE CLIMATE FICTION CONTEST
NO ENTRY FEE. Deadline February 28, 2018. Submit one piece of fiction up to 5,000 words using the impact of climate change. The winning story will receive a $1000 prize, and nine finalists will receive $50 prizes. Selected work will be published in an anthology by the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative at Arizona State University.
DISQUIET LITERARY PRIZE
$15 ENTRY FEE. Deadline January 31, 2018. Multi-genre award for the best poetry, fiction, or nonfiction on any subject. Entries must be in English. Entries may not be previously published. The winner in each genre will be published. The grand prize winner will also receive a full scholarship, including tuition, lodging, and a $1,000 USD travel stipend, to attend the Disquiet International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal. Runners-up will also be considered for merit-based scholarships. One entry may include up to six poems (to a maximum of ten pages) or a single prose piece up to twenty-five double-spaced pages in length.
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.