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As always, every form and genre is represented. There are prizes for novel manuscripts, poetry, short stories, essays, works of nonfiction, children's books and more. Some of these contests have age and regional restrictions, so be sure to check submission guidelines before submitting.
Many contests are offered annually, so if you miss your ideal contest this year, you can always enter next year. For a month-by-month list of free contests see: Writing Contests. (You can also get a jump on next month's contests by checking that page periodically.)
United States/Japan Creative Artists Residencies. This is a 3-5 month residency in Japan. Grant: $24,000. Deadline: February 1, 2018.
The John Gardner Fiction Award is sponsored by the Binghamton Center for Writers-State University of New York with support from the Office of the Dean of Binghamton University's Harpur College of the Arts & Sciences. Genre: Novel or collection of fiction published in 2017. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 1, 2018.
Wednesday Club Poetry Prize. Restrictions: Adults over 18; living within a 50-mile radius of St. Louis. Genre: Poetry. Two individual poems. Prizes: $500, $300, $150. Deadline: February 1, 2018.
Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award is sponsored by the Binghamton Center for Writers-State University of New York with support from the Office of the Dean of Binghamton University's Harpur College of the Arts & Sciences. Genre: Poetry book in English published in 2017. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 1, 2018.
Paterson Fiction Prize. Genre: Published novel or collection of short fiction. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 1, 2018.
Paterson Prize for Books for Young People. Genre: Most outstanding published book for young people. There is a $500 award in each category: Pre-K - Grade 3; Grades 4 - 6; Grades 7 - 12. Prize: $500. Deadline: February 1, 2018.
Gannon University Poetry Contest. Restrictions: Entrants must be a US high school student or a home-schooled student in grades nine through twelve.Genre: Poetry. Each student may enter 1 or 2 poems; each poem may be no longer than 50 lines. Prize: First Place: $100.00 Second Place: $75.00 Third Place: $50.00. Deadline: February 1, 2018.
The Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award. Genre: Short story of no more than 8,000 words that shows the near future (no more than about 50-60 years out) of manned space exploration. Prize: Publication as the featured story on the Baen Books main website paid at the normal paying rates for professional story submissions. Deadline: February 1, 2018.
$1000 for 1000 Words Creative Writing Contest is sponsored by the Leyla Beban Young Authors Foundation. Restrictions: Students enrolled in grades 6-12. Genre: Short fiction of exactly 1000 words. Prize: Two $1,000 scholarship prizes will be awarded, one for grades 6-8 and one for grades 9-12. Seven $100 cash prizes will also be awarded for winning entries, one per grade level. Deadline: February 1, 2018.
Wednesday Club Junior Poetry Contest. Restrictions: High School Students in grades 10 through 12 in High Schools in St. Louis and the St. Louis area. Genre: Poetry. Two individual poems. Prizes: $100, $80, $60, $40, $20, $10 for all honorable mentions. Deadline: February 1, 2018.
The Levis Reading Prize is sponsored by the Department of English and its MFA in Creative Writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Restrictions: The prize is given annually for the best first or second book of poetry published in the previous calendar year. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $5000. Deadline: February 1, 2018.
Golfwell. Genre: Golf stories, fiction or nonfiction, 700 words max. Prize: Golfing books. Deadline: February 1, 2018.
Hart Crane Memorial Poetry Award. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $100. Deadline: February 1, 2018.
The Waterman Fund Essay Contest. Genre: Personal essays between 2000 and 3000 words. The topic is, simply, wilderness and wildness. Prizes: The winning essayist will be awarded $1500 and publication in Appalachia Journal. The Honorable Mention essay will receive $500. Deadline: February 2, 2018.
Zocalo Public Square Poetry Prize. Restrictions: Open to US poets only. Genre: Poetry that evokes a connection to place. Prize: $500. Deadline: February 2, 2018. Note: Winning author gives up all rights.
Student Stowe Prize. Restrictions: Open to US high school and college students. Genre: published writing on a social justice or human rights topic, in the spirit of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Prize: Up to $2,500. Deadline: February 2, 2018.
Charles Crupi Memorial Poetry Contest. Restrictions: Open to high school students in Michigan. Genre: Poetry. Prize: 1st place - $250 and publication in The Albion Review, 2nd place - $150 and publication in The Albion Review; 3rd place - $100 and publication in The Albion Review. Deadline: February 3, 2018.
White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails Prize in Southern Poetry. Restrictions: Open to all poets who currently reside in and have had residency in one of the following states for a minimum of 12 consecutive months: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia. Genre: Poetry. "WOKC invites poets from across the South to explore the topic of Faith." Prize: $1,500. Deadline: February 4, 2018.
Sweek #My2018 Contest. Genre: Short story about your plans in 2018. Note: your story is not about writing your resolutions for next year, the mission is to give your real life story a fictional layer. Prize: Grand prize $200; Best story per language: $50. Deadline: February 6, 2018.
Nelson Algren Literary Awards is a short story contest sponsored by the Chicago Tribune. This contest is open to residents of the United States. All entries must be: fiction, less than 8,000 words, double spaced, written in English. Prize: One grand prize winner will receive $3,500. Four finalists will each receive $1,000. Five runners-up will each receive $500. Total value of all prizes: $10,000. Deadline: February 7, 2018.
Bethesda Literary Festival Essay and Short Story Contest. The Bethesda Urban Partnership & Bethesda Magazine have partnered to honor local writers at the Bethesda Literary Festival. Genres: Essays and poetry. Adult and high school student categories. Restrictions: Residents of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are eligible. Prizes: First Place: $500 and published in Bethesda Magazine. Second Place: $250. Third Place: $150. Honorable Mention: $75. Deadline: February 9, 2018.
Life Writing Prize. Restrictions: Writers must be UK residents who have not published a full-length work. Genre: Nonfiction based on a significant portion from the author’s own personal experience; A complete work of fiction or non-fiction of over 30,000 words; Ten or more short stories either in a collection or published individually; A professionally produced theatre script or screenplay, or radio play; Twenty or more poems either in a collection or published individually. Prize: £1500, an Arvon course, two years’ membership to the Royal Society of Literature, a development meeting with literary agent Robert Caskie and a development meeting with an editor at Unbound. Two highly commended writers receive £500, a writing mentor, a development meeting with agent Robert Caskie and a development meeting with an editor at Unbound. Deadline: February 9, 2018.
Luminarts Creative Writing Program. The Creative Writing Competition awards five $5,000 grant awards and Luminarts Fellowships across categories of creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Open to writers between the ages of 18 and 30 years old at the time of application; be enrolled in, or have graduated from, a degree program; and live within 150 miles of the Union League Club of Chicago. Genre: Poetry or prose, fiction and nonfiction. Prize: $5,000 and publication in Luminarts Review, a literary journal. Deadline: February 9, 2018.
Library of Virginia Literary Awards. Restrictions: Open to writers who were born in or are residents of Virginia or, in the case of nonfiction, books with a Virginia theme, are eligible. Genre: Books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction published in the previous year. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: February 10, 2018.
Writers’ Trust / McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. Restrictions: Only works from writers who are Canadian citizens, whether living in Canada or abroad, or permanent residents of Canada are eligible. Genre: Short story or excerpt from a fiction work-in-progress first published by a Canadian magazine or annual anthology during the previous calendar year. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: February 12, 2018.
Writers' & Artists' Yearbook Short Story Competition. Genre: Short story. All entries must be original unpublished prose of 2,000 words or fewer. Prize: £500 and publication. Deadline: February 13, 2018.
The Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry is an annual regional prize, presented in partnership by Milkweed Editions and the Lindquist & Vennum Foundation. Restrictions: Open to residents of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $10,000 as well as a contract for publication to the author of the winning manuscript. Deadline: February 14, 2018.
Harold Morton Landon Translation Award. Genre: Poetry collection translated from any language into English and published in the previous calendar year. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 15, 2018.
Bala Kids/Khyentse Foundation Children's Book Prize. Genre: Children's book on Buddhist themes and values. Prize: $5,000 and publication by Bala Kids, an imprint of the Buddhist magazine and publishing house Shambhala. Deadline: February 15, 2018.
Words and Brushes. Genre: Fiction inspired by artwork. Prize: $300 top prize. Deadline: February 15, 2018.
Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards for Excellence in Published Haiku, Translation, and Criticism. Genre: Published book. Books must have been published in 2016 and must clearly contain a printed 2016 copyright. A member, author, or publisher may submit or nominate more than one title. At least 50 percent of the book must be haiku, senryu, or haibun, or prose about these subjects (books mostly of tanka, for example, are not eligible). Prize: $500. Deadline: February 15, 2018.
Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowships. Restrictions: Open to Kentucky poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. Genre: Literary arts. Prize: $7,500. Deadline: February 15, 2018.
Brilliant Flash Fiction. Genre: Flash fiction based on Adam Kluger’s art; 300 words max. Prize: 50 euro first prize (or equivalent amount in your currency), 25 euro second prize,15 euro third prize. Deadline: February 15, 2018.
New England Youth Outdoor Writing Contest. Restrictions: The contest is open to students in New England. Submissions from students in grades 6-8 will be entered in the Junior Division; grades 9-12 will be entered in the Senior Division. Genre: Prose or poem, The topic must be outdoor-oriented (fishing, hunting, boating, canoeing, hiking, camping, nature, ecology, etc.). 500 words max. Prize: $125, $150. Deadline: February 15, 2018.
Scotiabank Giller Prize. Restrictions: Open to books published in Canada in English. Books must be published in Canada in English between October 1, 2017 and February 28, 2018 to be eligible for the 2017 Prize. Must be nominated by publisher. Genre: Fiction. Full-length novel or collection of short stories published in English, either originally, or in translation. Prize: $100,000 to the winner and $10,000 to each of the finalists. Deadline: February 15, 2018.
Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Award. Genre: Poetry - translation into English of a significant work of modern Italian poetry. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: February 15, 2018.
New York City Emerging Writers Fellowship. Restrictions: "Applicants must be current residents of one of the five boroughs, and must remain in New York City for the entire year of the fellowship. Students in degree-granting programs are not eligible to apply, even if the focus of study is not directly related to writing. This program supports emerging writers whose work shows promise of excellence. Applicants can be of any age, but must be in the early stages of their careers as fiction writers and will not have had the support needed to achieve major recognition for their work. We define “emerging writer” as someone who has not yet had a novel or short story collection published by either a major or independent publisher and who is also not currently under contract to a publisher for a work of fiction. Eligible applicants may have had stories or novel excerpts published in magazines, literary journals or online, but this is not a requirement." Genre: Fiction. Grant: $5,000. Deadline: February 15, 2018.
Wiley-Silver Prize in Civil War History. Genre: First book or monograph in Civil War history published in the previous year. Books or monographs published by scholarly or popular presses are eligible. Prize: $2,000. Deadline: February 16, 2018.
Black Caucus of the American Library Association Self-Published E-Book Literary Award. Restrictions: Open to African-Americans. Genre: Self-Published E-Book in fiction and poetry. Prize: $500. Deadline: February 17, 2018.
Past-Year Memoir Contest. Genre: True story about your past year in 17 words. Prize: Free Gotham class of your choosing. Deadline: February 19, 2018.
Lex Allen Literary Festival Prizes. Restrictions: Open to undergraduate college students. Genres: Poetry and fiction. Prize: $100. Deadline: February 20, 2018.
The Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award supports the work of a promising early-career nonfiction writer on a story that uncovers truths about the human condition. Genres: Nonfiction journalism works in progress with “strong, character-driven narratives with detailed scene writing and lyrical description.” Restrictions: The award will not fund proposals to report on armed conflicts where journalists are already imperiled, nor projects that are mainly investigatory. Prize: $12,500 grant and use of the NYU library. Deadline: February 20, 2018.
Everything Change Climate Fiction Contest. Genre: Fiction about climate change. Prize: The winning story will receive a $1000 prize, and nine finalists will receive $50 prizes. Deadline: February 28, 2018.
Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing. Restrictions: Open to first-generation residents of the United States. “First-generation” can refer either to people born in another country who relocated to the U.S., or to American-born residents whose parents were born elsewhere. Genre: Unpublished fiction and nonfiction books. Prize: $10,000 and publication. Deadline: February 28, 2018.
Auditory Cortex. Restrictions: Open to Asian poets. Genre: Poetry. Poems must be written and read in the author’s local variety of English (e.g. Brunei English, Burmese English, Chinese English, Fijian English, Filipino English, Guamanian English, Hawaiian English, Hong Kong English, Japanese English, Kazakh English, Malaysian English, Samoan English, Singapore English, Sri Lankan English, Thai English, Tok Pisin, Tongan English, Vietnamese English, etc.) Prize: First Prize: HK$500, Second Prize: HK$300, Third Prize: HK$200, Highly Commended (up to 8): HK$100 each. Deadline: February 28, 2018.
Outlet Publishing Young Writers' Short Story Competition. Restrictions: Open to ages 16-25, UK residents only. Genre: Short story. Prize: £150 top prize. Deadline: February 28, 2018.
The Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multi-Lingual Texts. Genre: Literary translations and multi-lingual texts. Prize: $200. Deadline: February 28, 2018.
Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Nonfiction. Genre: Essay, maximum 5,000 words. Prize: $250 top prize. Deadline: February 28, 2018.
YSCI-FI Flash Fiction Contest. Genre: Science fiction, fantasy, horror. Prize: $250. Deadline: February 28, 2018.
Booksie Young Writer Contest. Restrictions: Open to youth aged 13-18. Genre: Short stories of any genre. Prize: $75-$300. Deadline: February 28, 2018.
Poetry Matters Literary Prizes. Restrictions: Several categories, from middle-school to senior citizens. Genre: Poetry. Prize: 1st prize- $75; 2nd prize- $50; 3rd prize-$35; Honorable Mention- $25. Deadline: February 28, 2018.
Spirit First Meditation Poetry Contest. Genre: Poem on the theme of mindfulness or meditation. Prize: $200. Deadline: February 28, 2018.
SLF Working Class Writers Grant is sponsored by the Speculative Literature Foundation. Genres: Speculative fiction, magical realism. Restrictions: Applicants must be working class (see guidelines page for definition) and demonstrate financial hardship. Available to international writers. Prize: $750. Deadline: February 28, 2018.
We love Truth and we are damned serious.
To prove it, we are launching our first ever
“#MeTooTrigger WarningNon-Fiction Essay Contest!”
Now open for submissions!
What’s more, our judge is the incredible Chelsey Clammer!
Chelsey Clammer, is the author of the BodyHome and Circadian, winner of the 2015 Red Hen Press Nonfiction Manuscript Award. Her work has appeared in The Normal School, Black Warrior Review, The Rumpus, McSweeney’s, Hobart, Essay Daily, and The Water~Stone Review, among more than one hundred other publications. She is the Essays Editor for The Nervous Breakdown, a reader for Creative Nonfiction magazine, and an online creative writing instructor and columnist for WOW! Women On Writing. Chelsey received her MFA in Creative Writing from Rainier Writing Workshop.
The theme for the #MeToo Trigger Warning Nonfiction Essay Contest is Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse. As in, have you or someone you know survived sexual harassment, assault, rape or abuse? Perhaps you are married or related to a survivor and you’ve witnessed the emotional journey that is so rarely spoken of. If so how did it change you? How does it affect your daily life? You were strong enough to get through that, and your story matters. Why? Because Memoir is a movement. Our jam. Our way of cultivating global consciousness. And few issues today require more enlightenment than the way the pain of abuse can affect us as a person, a family, a society. Sexual violence is a public health, human rights and social justice issue. So, here’s your chance to use your voice to Change the Culture. You are not alone. Memoir Magazine stands with you! Together we can shatter the silence and end sexual violence. Your essay may be humorous, sad, upsetting. It can be one paragraph long, or several pages. It’s all up to you, but most of all it should be your untold truth expressed in your unique voice.
Pseudonyms are allowed.
The winning story receives $500 + publication in Memoir Magazine, and a note from our judge on why the story was chosen. Short and Long listed applicants will receive publication.
We look forward to reading your work!
- Submissions are now open until midnight on February 28, 2018
- 100 word min. 7000 word max.
- NonFiction only
- Open to all writers. Emerging writers and underrepresented voices are encouraged to submit!
- $12 to enter
- Previously published work is allowed
- One story per submission
- Multiple and simultaneous submissions are allowed, but please notify us if your story is accepted elsewhere
- International submissions welcome
- All contest entries shall be considered for standard nonfiction publication in Memoir Magazine
* The inspiration for our contest, in 2006, Tarana Burke founded The #Me Too Movement to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing. Using the idea of “empowerment through empathy,” the me too movement was ultimately created to ensure survivors know they’re not alone in their journey. Find out how you can directly support The Me Too Movement here: https://metoomvmt.org/
#MeToo, Abuse, Contest, Nonfiction, Rape, Sexual Awareness, Submissions, Tarana Burke, Time's Up!, writing contests