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Contests & Publishing Opportunities

Click on contest titles below to get to websites for the most recent deadlines, submission guidelines, entry fees, and $ awards. If you know of contests not listed here or know of changes to information below or broken links to referred websites below, please email Board Member Kymberley Pekrul at kpekrul.editor@gmail.com. This listing is offered for your information and not meant to be an endorsement for any contest (except for WWA’s own Jade Ring Contest).

QueryLetter.com Writing Contest. This writing contest is all about book blurbs. The twist? We want blurbs about completely made-up, nonexistent books. Get creative!  Write and submit a back cover blurb of 100 words or fewer that sets the stage for a novel, establishes the characters, and raises the stakes in a way that makes readers want to find out more.  Let your imagination go wild—and who knows? You may be inspired to turn your blurb into a novel of your own one day. $500 award.

Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards   For fiction and nonfiction writers who have recently published a book that “contributes to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures. Offers $10,000 cash as well media and publicity opportunities. Submissions must be published in the prior year. Annual submission window is September 1 through December 31

Bacopa Literary Review  Categories: Creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, humor, short short. Deadine May 31, 2020

Bartleby Snopes Annual Dialogue Only Contest: $, up to 2,000 words

Blue Mountain Arts Poetry Contest: $, poems for greeting cards

Blue Bus Publishing announces our 2nd annual Journal from the Heartland Writing Contest, open to interested writers with connections to Wisconsin. Entries may be on any subject or theme – essays, environmental narratives, and other prose of less than 2,000 words accepted. (No poetry this year.) Deadline for submissions March 21, 2019. First place is $125.00, second: $50.00, third: $15.00. Entry fee $10.00 per submission, paid by mail. Send money order, cashier’s check or personal check made out to Blue Bus Publishing to: Blue Bus Publishing, PO Box 194, Amherst, WI  54406.

Email entries to:  journalfromtheheartland@gmail.com  as a .doc or .docx attachment with only the title and page numbers on contest entry itself. Include name, phone number, and email address in the body of your email, also please provide a 2-3 sentence bio describing yourself. Type “Writing Contest Entry” in the subject line. We prefer email submissions but hard copies can be mailed to address above.

For more information, contact Eleonore Hebal at journalfromtheheartland@gmail.com

Bo Carter Memorial Contest: Sponsored by the Waukesha Writers Workshop, January to April each year. $ Click here for submission details.

W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction   $Awards $5,000 to the best piece of fiction set during a period when the U.S. was at war (war may be the main plot or simply provide the setting). Submissions may be adult or YA novels: Annually on December 1

Conium Review Flash Fiction Contest: $, publication

Council for Wisconsin Writers Published Writing Contest: $, Authors who had their work published in 2017 may enter. Categories: book-length fiction, nonfiction and poetry; short fiction and nonfiction; a set of five poems two of which must have been published in the contest year, and children’s literature. $25 fee. Deadline: Jan 31, 2018

Drue Heinz Literature Prize   Awards$15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press for a collection of short fiction. You may submit an unpublished manuscript of short stories, two or more novellas or a combination of novellas and short stories. Your total word count should be between 150 and 300 typed pages. Annual submission window is May 1 through June 30

Erma Bombeck Writing Competition; $$, humor

Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence  for emerging African American fiction writers awarding a $10,000 cash for a novel or short story collection, published in the calendar year. Check website for current deadline.

Ernest Hemingway Flash Fiction Prize: $, publication; up to 1500 words

Fabled Collective: Women of the Woods
This collection is about the lore, myths, and legends of women who dwell in the forest.
 Historically, it’s the witches, artists, and outcasts who make the dark forest their home. Writers can retell a piece of folklore or create something altogether new. They want spooky, eerie, gothic tales, stories with rich, haunting settings that leave out the gore and focus more on a feeling of dread and foreboding. Think dark fantasy or quiet horror.  Deadline: 30 June 2020
Length: 2,000-8,000 words Pay: $0.01/word.

Fanstory’s Tombstone Poetry Contest: $, Brief, humorous epitaphs

Fictional Black Ink’s Halloween Flash Fiction Contest: $, publication; up to 1,000 words.

The Forge Literary Magazine  publishes one prose piece per week, fiction or non-fiction. Open to all genres and voices. Limited number of fee-free submissions in all months (the window closes when the limit is reached, and will re-open the following month) except September, which is when they run a contest.Deadline: Until filled, each month except September
Length: Prefer up to 3,000 words; won’t accept anything above 5,000 words.Pay: $60

Fractured Lit publishes micro and flash fiction from writers of any background or experience. Both micro and flash categories are open year round. They will also consider reprints, but they do not pay for these. Deadline: Ongoing   Length: Up to 400 words for micro-fiction; 401-1,000 words for flash fiction  Pay: $50 for micro, $75 for flash fiction.

Friends of American Writers Award: for published books by residents of IL, IN, IO, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, SD, and WI; or the locale of the book must be in these states; self-published and e-books not eligible.

Golfwell’s Annual Golf Story Writing Competition: $, publication on the Golfwell website.

Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize   This prize provides a $12,000 advance and publication by Graywolf Press. The judges look for winners who push the boundaries of traditional literary nonfiction. Deadline: Annually in May

Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters Microfiction Contest: $; flash fiction up to 500 words

The Hal Prize: $+ A Wisconsin-based contest — Sponsored by The Peninsula Pulse; offers publication, a week stay at Write On, Door County, and other prizes. Open to writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and photographers throughout the United States.

Hektoen Grand Prix Essay Contest  Hektoen International, an online journal dedicated to medical humanities, offers two prizes annually for essays of no more than 1,600 words in two categories: $1,200 for an essay suited for their Famous Hospitals section, and $1,000 for the best essay suited for the sections of Art Flashes, Literary Vignettes, Moments in History or Physicians of Note. Check website for annual deadlines.

Inkitt Thrillseeker Contest  Deadline May 31, 2020 Submit your novel for prizes and other amenities.

Ireland Writing Retreat   listed among the Top Ten artistic retreats of any kind in Europe by The Guardian newspaper in London, hosts week-long retreats several times every year in Donegal, Paris and along the Black Sea in Romania. It has named its inaugural competition the ‘Wild Atlantic Writing Awards’ (WAWA). Two categories - flash fiction and creative  nonfiction, 500 words. Winning entry will receive 500 euro in cash, plus 990 euro in the form of free participation to one of our retreats, including amenities.

Jade Ring Contest: Wisconsin Writers Association Annual Contest. Fiction, Nonfiction & Poetry; win publication, cash prizes and WWA membership. Gain valuable feedback from a professional critique.

James Laughlin Award:  For published poets; $5,000 plus all-expenses-paid week-long residency at The Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, and distribution of the winning book to approximately 1,000 Academy of American Poets members.

Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize: (The Missouri Review) $$, fiction, poetry, nonfiction

L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest: $$$, quarterly; short stories, novelettes; science fiction or fantasy

Literary Fiction Publishers, 26 seeking submissions

The Lindenwood Review Prose Poetry Contest: (St. Charles, MO) $, 3 prose poems; publication

The Masters Review Short Story Contest: $$, publication, 6000 words or less from unpublished authors, Portland, OR

Mighty River Short Story Contest: $$, publication, stories up to 30 pages

Minotaur Books / Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition   Awards an original book-length manuscript where “murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the story.” The winner receives a publication contract with Minotaur Books and an advance of $10,000 against future royalties. Deadline: Annually in the last quarter of the year.

Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award  Open to African American poets, previously published or not, this award provides a $500 prize and publication by Broadside Lotus Press in a book-length collection of poems (approximately 60 to 90 pages).  Deadline: Annually on March 1

Nelson Algren Short Story Award: $$; presented by the Chicago Tribune

New Voices Award: sponsored by Lee & Low Books: $$, for children’s picture books by a writer of color

Nilsen Literary Prize for a First Novel: $$, publication; Southeast Missouri State University Press

North Street Book Prize for Self-Published Books $  Deadline: June 30. 6th year.  Prizes increased to $12,500, including a top award of $5,000. This year's categories: Mainstream/Literary FictionGenre FictionCreative Nonfiction & MemoirPoetry, Children's Picture Book, and Graphic Novel & Memoir. Fee: $65 per entry. 

Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest will award $8,000 in prizes, including two top awards of $3,000 each.

QueryLetter.com Writing Contest. This writing contest is all about book blurbs. The twist? They want blurbs about completely made-up, nonexistent books. Get creative!  Write and submit a back cover blurb of 100 words or fewer that sets the stage for a novel, establishes the characters, and raises the stakes in a way that makes readers want to find out more.  Let your imagination go wild—and who knows? You may be inspired to turn your blurb into a novel of your own one day. $500 award.

Real Simple’s Life Lessons Essay Contest  Awards $3000 for your compelling personal essay about your “eureka” moment. Deadline: Annually in mid-September

Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest  Every three months, winners earn $1,000, $750 and $500, or an additional annual grand prize worth $5,000. Short stories or novelettes (up to 17,000 words) in the genre of science fiction or fantasy, and new and amateur writers are welcome. Deadlines: Quarterly on January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1

Rollick Magazine: $, publication, themed stories, poetry, essays, reviews, art, photography

Rooglewood Press: $, children’s story 5,000-20,000 words, fairy tale themes

Shawano Area Writers: George Putz Memorial Student Writing Contest, Shawano, WI.
The contest is for three grade groups and invites entries in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Runs from January to March 31 every year. No limit or charge as to how many entries a student may submit. The contest awards first, second, third place, as well as honorable mention. Those selected will receive certificates of achievement at the awards ceremony held at the Mielke Arts Center. Rules and details available here:  http://shawanoareawriters.org

Springfield (Missouri) Writers’ Guild Annual Poetry and Prose Contest

St. Francis College Literary Prize  Biannual prize honors mid-career writers who have recently published their third, fourth or fifth work of fiction. The winner receives $50,000 but must be able to appear at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY to deliver a talk on their work and teach a mini-workshop in fiction to St. Francis students. Deadline: Biannually; the deadline for work published between June 2013 and May 2015 is August 15, 2015

Stowe Prize This biennial prize of $10,000 honors an American author whose work has had an impact on a critical social justice issue (as did Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin). Deadline: Biennially in odd-numbered years.

Tethered by Letters:  Prizes range from $300-1,000; Flash fiction, short story, poetry

Tony Hillerman Prize  Presented by St. Martin’s Press and WORDHARVEST; awards first mystery novel set in the Southwest with $10,000 and publication by St. Martin’s Press.  Deadline: Annually on June 1

T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry: $$$, publication; Submit 60-100 pages of poetry

Troubadours Poetry Award: Poems must be inspired by a musician and/or lyrics of the troubadour/story-telling tradition; Missouri Arts Council.

Tufts Poetry Awards: Claremont Graduate University (CA) $$$; for published first book of poetry

Wergle FLomp Humor Poetry Contest: $$, one funny poem, up to 250 lines

Wisconsin People & Ideas: $$, publication, short stories and poems; open to all Wisconsin residents 18 and older

Wisconsin Writers Association Jade Ring Contests: $, prose and poetry; prizes awarded at WWA’s annual fall conference

WOW! Women On Writing Q3 2020 Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest   $$, Deadline: April 30, 2020.  Creative nonfiction essays on any topic (200 - 1000 words) and in any style--from personal essay and memoir to lyric essay and hybrid, and more! The mission of this contest is to reward bravery in real-life storytelling and create an understanding of our world through thoughtful, engaging narratives. Electronic submissions via e-mail only; reprints are okay; simultaneous submissions okay; reprints okay; multiple submissions are okay as long as they are submitted in their own individual e-mail. Open internationally. Limit: 300 entries. $$ Prizes (20 winners!). Entry: $12 entry fee; critique option for an additional $13

WOW! Women On Writing Spring 2020 Flash Fiction Contest  $$, Deadline: May 31, 2020. $$Prizes (20 winners!). Top 10 stories are published in the WOW! Women On Writing e-zine, and contestants are interviewed on WOW's blog, The Muffin. Entry: $10 entry fee; critique option for an additional $10. 

Writer’s Digest Magazine: poetry, screenwriting, short-short story, popular fiction, science fiction, thriller/suspense, young adult fiction, crime, romance, horror, your story

Young Lions Fiction Award recognizes author aged 35 or younger. Submit any novel or short story published or scheduled to be published in the calendar year. $10.000 prize. Works must be written for adults; children’s or YA pieces are ineligible. Deadline: Annually in August




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