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Reliable Competitions With Money Prizes

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Have you ever ever Googled “writing contests”? Many require “studying charges” or prizes — like seeing your work in print — you can solely obtain should you pay for it.

Some official contests do cost small entry charges, however typically a price generally is a crimson flag for a rip-off, so these may be those you wish to keep away from. 

Apart from, there are many free writing contests that encourage and encourage boundless creativity with actual money prizes and career-advancing alternatives! Since it may be onerous for a author to know the place to seek out them, we did the legwork for you.

We discovered 40 respected, well-reviewed, free writing contests for poets, fiction writers, essayists and extra. With 1000’s of {dollars} in money prizes and quite a few alternatives to safe a publishing contract, you’re positive to seek out the precise free writing contest in your work.

(For those who don’t thoughts paying a bit of cash to enter, our mates over at Sensible Blogger have rounded up some nice writing contests which have small entry charges. And should you’re nonetheless hungry for extra alternatives, we even have posts on writers grants and writing fellowships.)

Fiction and nonfiction writing contests this 12 months

Able to share your novel or private essay with the world? Whether or not you’re a beginner or extra established author, you’re probably eligible for a number of of those contests.

Listed below are some fiction and nonfiction writing contests price contemplating.

1. L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest

No matter your emotions about L. Ron Hubbard’s work and philosophy, the prizes for this common contest are nothing to sneeze at. Each three months, winners earn $1,000, $750 and $500, plus an extra annual grand prize of $5,000.

Submissions should be brief tales or novelettes (as much as 17,000 phrases) within the style of science fiction or fantasy, and new and beginner writers are welcome to use.

Deadlines: Quarterly on March 31, June 30 and September 30.

2. Inkitt

This boutique publishing agency affords money prizes and promotional packages to successful authors. Submit a novel of 10,000 phrases or extra in any fiction style (no fanfic or poetry).

Inkitt’s writing contest runs month-to-month and offers authors the possibility to win money prizes as much as $300, unique e-book badges and promotional packages whereas showcasing their books to Inkitt’s viewers of greater than 3 million customers. Winners are decided by Inkitt’s distinctive algorithm primarily based on general reader engagement.

Deadline: See particular person contest pages.

Disclosure: Inkitt is an promoting associate of The Write Life. We maintain our advertisers to excessive requirements and vetted this contest similar to others on this checklist. 

3. Drue Heinz Literature Prize

You possibly can win $15,000 and publication by the College of Pittsburgh Press with this prize, awarded for a set of brief fiction.

It’s possible you’ll submit an unpublished manuscript of brief tales, two or extra novellas or a mix of novellas and brief tales. Your whole phrase depend needs to be between 150 and 300 typed pages. You should even have already revealed a novel or book-length work of fiction “with a good writer,” or no fewer than three brief tales or novellas in nationally-recognized journals.

Deadline: Annual submissions should be postmarked between Might 1 by way of June 30.

4. St. Francis School Literary Prize

Since 2009, this biennial literary award has honored mid-career writers who’ve just lately revealed their third, fourth or fifth work of fiction. The winner receives $50,000 and could also be invited to the St. Francis School campus in Brooklyn, New York, to ship a discuss their work or educate a mini fiction workshop to St. Francis college students.

Deadline: Biennially; the competition was not provided the final two years as a result of pandemic and restricted campus entry

5. Younger Lions Fiction Award

This $10,000 award acknowledges “younger authors,” which the foundations outline as any creator aged 35 or youthful. Submit any novel or assortment of brief tales revealed or scheduled to be revealed within the calendar 12 months. Works should be written for adults; youngsters’s or YA items are ineligible.

Deadline: Submissions for this 12 months are open as of Might; deadline is TBA

6. Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prizes

The most effective-loved small presses within the artistic writing world, Graywolf Press hosts quite a lot of contests for each established and up-and-coming writers. Graywolf additionally affords smaller fiction and nonfiction prizes, with genres rotating by 12 months; 2020 was a nonfiction 12 months, so fiction was up in 2021, then again to nonfiction in 2022, and so forth. These awards embrace a large advance — $12,000 in earlier years — in addition to publication with Graywolf.

Deadline: Contest is held yearly with rotating genres; this 12 months’s deadline is TBA.

7. The Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans

Hosted by the distinguished Iowa Evaluate, the Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award is obtainable to U.S. army veterans and active-duty members writing in any style about any topic. Manuscripts of as much as 20 pages will likely be accepted, and the first-prize winner will obtain $1,000 and publication within the Evaluate. A second place prize of $750 can be accessible, in addition to three runner-up prizes of $500 every.

Deadline: Biennially. The subsequent contest will likely be held in 2022.

8. New Voices Award

Introduced by Lee & Low Books, an award-winning youngsters’s e-book writer, this award is given for a beforehand unpublished youngsters’s image e-book manuscript of not more than 1,500 phrases written by a author of shade or Indigenous/Native writers who’s a resident of the U.S.

The winner receives $2,000 money and an ordinary publication contract, and an extra Honor Award winner will obtain a money prize of $1,000. It’s possible you’ll submit as much as two manuscripts.

Deadline: Submissions for this 12 months will likely be accepted Might 1 to July 31. 

9. Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

For 15 years, this contest has offered visibility for rising African American fiction writers and allows them to give attention to their writing by awarding a $15,000 money prize. Eligible authors ought to submit a piece of fiction, akin to a novel or brief story assortment, revealed within the calendar 12 months. (Galleys for publication throughout the 12 months are additionally accepted.)

Deadline: Yearly; the deadline is August 15, every year

10. PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Honoring the most effective work of fiction revealed by an American creator in a single calendar 12 months, this award has been given to the likes of John Updike, Philip Roth and Ann Patchett. Novels, novellas and collections of brief tales are all eligible.

The winner receives a hefty money prize — as much as $15,000 prior to now — and an invite to learn on the award ceremony in Washington, D.C. Plus, there aren’t any submission charges or utility kinds to take care of; simply ship a PDF of every e-book (as many as you’d like) to [email protected].

Deadline: Annually, submissions will likely be accepted from July 1 to October 31.

11. PEN/Robert J. Dau Brief Story Prize for Rising Writers

This contest requires you to have already revealed a brief story in a literary journal or journal or cultural web site. However should you’ve made your debut (however gone no additional), you might be eligible for the beneficiant money prize of $2,000, which is yearly awarded to 12 rising writers, whose works are then revealed collectively in an anthology.

Brief tales of as much as 12,000 phrases are eligible and should be revealed within the calendar 12 months previous the 12 months during which the award is given. Moreover, maintain this in thoughts: Submissions are solely eligible if submitted by an editor. Authors might not submit their very own work.

Deadline: Annual submission window between June and November.

12. Anisfield-Wolf Guide Awards

Fiction and nonfiction writers who’ve just lately revealed a e-book that “contribute[s] to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of cultural range” are eligible for this award, which affords $10,000 money in addition to media and publicity alternatives. Plus, winners obtain their prize at a ceremony in Cleveland.

Submissions should be revealed within the prior 12 months (so books revealed final 12 months are eligible for the award this 12 months).

Deadline: Annual submission window is September 1 by way of December 31.

13. Marfield Prize (aka Nationwide Award for Arts Writing)

Introduced by the Arts Membership of Washington, this award seeks to honor nonfiction books that take care of the “visible, literary, media, or performing arts.” The prize is $10,000 and could also be awarded to works of criticism, artwork historical past, memoirs and biographies, and essays.

Deadline: Yearly within the final quarter of the 12 months; the submission window is often between November 16 to December 31.

14. W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Navy Fiction

For those who’re a warfare buff, this competitors is for you. It awards $5,000 — and a 24-karat-gold-framed quotation of feat — to the most effective piece of fiction set throughout a interval when the U.S. was at warfare (warfare might both be the principle plot of the piece or just present the setting). Submissions could also be grownup or YA novels.

Deadline: Yearly on December 1.

15. Pals of American Writers Chicago Awards

FAW presents two annual awards: an Grownup Literature Award for literary fiction or nonfiction, and a  Younger Folks’s Literature Award for a youngsters’s/YA e-book.

Authors should reside within the state of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota or Wisconsin — or they need to set their e-book in a type of areas. Prize quantities range from 12 months to 12 months, however you don’t should trouble with an utility and all winners are celebrated on the group’s Might luncheon.

Deadline: Yearly in December

16. Hektoen Grand Prix Essay Contest

Hektoen Worldwide, an internet journal devoted to medical humanities, affords two prizes yearly for essays of not more than 1,500 phrases: $5,000 is awarded to the winner and $2,500 to the primary runner-up. Eligible matters are broad as long as they’ve a relation to drugs, and plenty of embrace artwork, historical past, literature, training and extra.

Deadline: Yearly; September 15 is often the deadline

17. Biopage Storytelling Writing Contest

There’s no denying it: social media is a big half of our Twenty first-century lives. It’s simple to get used to limiting our communications to 280-character and emoji-strewn snippets, which is why this advertising and marketing agency is internet hosting an essay writing contest to “remind individuals of the advantages of writing.”

Essays of as much as 5,000 characters (roughly 1,000 phrases) will likely be accepted, and proper now they’re searching for tales of COVID-19 quarantine life. The grand prize winner will obtain $300, and 5 runners-up will likely be awarded $100 every.

The competition is free to enter, however you’ll must register for a Biopage account to be eligible.

Deadline: July 31, every year

18. St. Martin’s Minotaur / Thriller Writers of America First Crime Novel Competitors

Writers 18 and older who’ve by no means had a novel revealed (in any style) are eligible for this prize, awarded to an unique book-length manuscript the place “homicide or one other severe crime or crimes is on the coronary heart of the story.” The winner receives a publication contract with Minotaur Books and an advance of $10,000 in opposition to future royalties.

Deadline: December 17, every yea

19. ServiceScape Brief Story Award

ServiceScape, a platform matching freelance writers, editors and graphic designers with shoppers (i.e. an awesome place to search for paid writing work!) affords a yearly Brief Story Award of $1,000 to a successful fiction or nonfiction work of 5,000 phrases or fewer. The winner can even have their story featured on the ServiceScape weblog, which sees 1000’s of readers every month.

Deadline: November 29, every year

20. Stowe Prize

This biennial prize of $10,000 honors an American creator whose grownup fiction or nonfiction work has had an affect on a crucial social justice problem (as did Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin). The e-book should be written by a U.S. creator and have been revealed in the US throughout the earlier three calendar years.

Deadline: Contact the Harriet Beecher Stowe Middle for this 12 months’s deadline

21. The Diana Woods Memorial Award in Artistic Nonfiction

Artistic nonfiction essays of not more than 5,000 phrases on any topic are eligible for consideration for this award, whose winner receives $250 and publication in Lunch Ticket, the literary and artwork journal produced by the MFA group of Antioch College Los Angeles.

Works should not have been revealed elsewhere. Award winners are required to submit a 100-word biography, latest photograph and a brief be aware thanking the Woods household for his or her generosity and assist.

Deadlines: Biannual studying durations are in February for the Summer time/Fall problem and in August for the Winter/Spring problem.

22. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms Essay Contest

Annually, this Canadian group affords three prizes, starting from $500 to $1,500, to the essay with essentially the most considerate, well-reasoned arguments round a selected human-rights theme. (For instance, 2022’s immediate was, “Canadian governments are making Digital ID applied sciences a precondition of entry to important companies and items. What can Canadians do to guard their Constitution rights and freedoms in opposition to the hazards of those applied sciences?

The competition is open to Canadian faculty and college college students, and essays needs to be 2,500 phrases or much less in size.

Deadline: October 31, every year

23. Write the World

For younger writers ages 13-18, these cool contests additionally function mini workshops. Recognizing that “a primary draft is rarely good,” submissions really obtain peer assessment by authors, writing lecturers and different specialists and writers are given the possibility to revise their items primarily based on this suggestions earlier than submitting them for remaining prize consideration.

Contests range every month, however there’s a $100 prize for the winner and $50 for the runner-up (plus $50 for the most effective peer-reviewer). All three are featured on Write the World’s weblog alongside feedback from a visitor choose. And since every month’s immediate is from a unique style, growing writers get an opportunity to check out completely different types.

Deadline: Month-to-month.

24. Prose.

Caught with author’s block and searching for a method to jumpstart your escape? Prose affords weekly challenges meant to spark your creativity; many are only for enjoyable, however search for the weekly numbered challenges posted by Prose (somewhat than group members or sponsors) for an opportunity to win cash.

Prizes are usually between $100 to $200 and phrase counts are low — some as little as beneath 150, some as excessive as 500. So even when all you get from the immediate is an opportunity to flex your mind, it’s not a foul deal.

Deadline: Weekly and month-to-month.

25. The Stressed Books Prize For New Immigrant Writing

First-generation immigrants have an opportunity to win $10,000 and publication by Stressed Books for telling their tales (actual or imagined). The competition alternates yearly between fiction (novel or brief story assortment) and nonfiction (memoir, essay assortment, narrative nonfiction). In 2021, it went to a piece of nonfiction of no less than 25,000 phrases; 2022 will likely be fiction.

Deadline: Submission window is often between January and March.

26. AFSA Nationwide Excessive College Essay Contest

The U.S. Institute of Peace and the American International Service Affiliation sponsor this annual highschool essay contest, the place the winner receives a $2,500 money prize, an all-expense paid journey to Washington, D.C., and a full-tuition paid voyage with Semester at Sea upon the scholar’s enrollment at an accredited college. Essays needs to be between 1,000 and 1,250 phrases and should reply all features of the immediate in addition to show an understanding of the International Service.

Runners-up get a fairly candy deal, too — a $1,250 money prize and a full scholarship to take part within the Worldwide Diplomacy Program of the Nationwide Pupil Management Convention.

Deadline: April, every year.

27. Science-me a Story

Born in 2018, the Society of Spanish Researchers invitations gifted and unique writers to jot down a 100-word blurb for a hypothetical novel. This would possibly sound very easy, however your blurb has to rapidly hook readers and make them wish to learn extra. Open to anybody over 18 wherever on this planet, your actual or fictional brief story for this competitors should be both in English or Spanish and “conceived from the target of scientific dissemination to main college” to qualify for the money prizes: £150, £100 and £50. 

Deadline: April, every year.

28. VCU Cabell First Novelist Award

Virginia Commonwealth College sponsors this award that honors an excellent debut novel revealed within the previous calendar 12 months. Whereas you will have revealed earlier books in a unique kind, the submission should be your first revealed e-book marketed as a novel.

The award is a $5,000 money prize, and the successful creator should conform to attend the award occasion, often scheduled for November.

Deadline: Yearly; the submission window runs from July 1 by way of December 30

29. Daisy Utemorrah Award

The Daisy Utemorrah Award is for an unpublished manuscript of junior or YA fiction written by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at present dwelling in Australia. Generously supported by the Copyright Company’s Cultural Fund and the State Authorities of Western Australia, the winner of the award receives $15,000 and a publishing contract with Magabala Books.

Deadline: Submission window often opens initially of every 12 months

30. Final Meal Plans Vitamin Scholarship

School college students finding out vitamin, kinesiology or exercise-science fields: you’re going to be throughout this one. Twice per 12 months, the Final Paleo Information (aka the most effective paleo useful resource on the web) awards $500 scholarships to 2 deserving college students who meet all eligibility necessities — in addition to write an 800-word essay about why you selected your subject, an affect you’d wish to make in your profession, a problem you’ve confronted and extra.

Deadlines: January 30 (awards in March) and July 31 (awards in September).

31. Insecure Author’s Help Group Annual Anthology Contest

So long as you stick with the rules, The Insecure Author’s Help Group’s annual contest welcomes your 5,000- to six,000-word (beforehand unpublished) artistic story. However earlier than you ship it off, be sure that your story is polished and formatted! Plus, the prizes aren’t too shabby — successful tales will likely be edited and revealed, authors will obtain royalties, and the highest story will even get to present the anthology its title. 

Deadlines: September 1, every year.

32. Brief Fiction Prize

For those who’re an undergrad at a school within the U.S. or Canada, this writing competitors is for you. (Historically, this contest has inspired candidates with an Asian background, however anybody is invited to use.) Submissions needs to be not more than 7,500 phrases.

One winner will get a $1,000 prize in addition to a scholarship to the following Southampton Writers Convention.

Deadline: Submission window is often between March 1- July 14

33. Bacopa Literary Evaluate Contest

The Bacopa Literary Evaluate is a world journal revealed by the Writers Alliance of Gainesville. Annually, it opens submissions for items in 4 genres: fiction, artistic nonfiction, poetry and prose poetry. Discover detailed tips for every style on its web site. First place will get $300, and the second prize in every of the 4 genres will get $100.

Deadline: Might 30, every year

Poetry contests this 12 months

Interested in alternatives for poets? Your stanzas — rhyming or not — might be price a good sum of money in these poetry competitions.

Take a look at these poetry writing contests.

34. Black Voices in Kids’s Literature Writing Contest

This contest is open to Black writers who’re over the age of 18 and residents of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota or Wisconsin.  It’s hosted by Try Publishing and Free Spirit Publishing and seeks to fill the necessity for Black illustration in youngsters’s and younger grownup books. Authentic board and film books for youngsters aged 0-4 and film books for ages 4-8 are eligible, offered they function modern, lifelike Black characters and tradition and give attention to character improvement, self worth, group and different features of optimistic childhood improvement.

Three prizes, starting from $250 to $1,000, will likely be awarded, and the first-place winner will likely be “severely thought-about” for publication, although it’s not assured.

Deadline: Often late July, every year. 

35. James Laughlin Award

For those who’re already a printed poet, that is the award for you; it’s given for a second e-book of poetry as a result of come out within the forthcoming 12 months. The winner receives $5,000 and an all-expenses-paid week-long residency at The Betsy Resort in Miami Seaside, Florida. As well as, copies of the successful e-book are distributed to 1,000 members of the Academy of American Poets.

Deadline: Annual submission window is January 1 by way of Might 15.

36. African Poetry Guide Fund Prizes

The APBF awards three prizes yearly for African Poetry. The Luschei Prize for African Poetry provides $1,000 for a e-book of unique African poetry revealed within the prior 12 months.

The Sillerman First Guide Prize for African Poets provides $1,000 and a publication contract for a book-length assortment of poetry by an as-yet-unpublished African creator.

The Brunel Worldwide African Poetry Prize is a brand new prize that grants £3,000 to a poet who was born in Africa, or has African mother and father, who has not but had a full-length e-book of poetry revealed. (U.S. residents qualify.) To submit, you’ll want 10 poems.

Deadlines: See particular person prize pages.

37. Tufts Poetry Awards

Claremont Graduate College presents two awards every year to poets they deem to be “excellent.” The Kate Tufts Poetry Award grants $10,000 for a printed first e-book of poetry that reveals promise.

The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award grants a mammoth $100,000 for a printed e-book of poetry by a longtime or mid-career poet.

Deadline: Submission window is July 1 to June 30, every year

38. Graywolf Press Walt Whitman Award 

The Walt Whitman Award is a $5,000 prize awarded, together with publication, to an American poet with a successful first e-book manuscript. She or he additionally receives an all-expenses-paid six-week residency on the Civitella Ranieri Middle in Umbria, Italy.

Graywolf Press can be one of many publishers of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, “a primary e-book award devoted to the invention of remarkable manuscripts by Black poets.” Winners obtain $1,000 and Graywolf publishes each third winner of the prize.

Deadline: July 1 to Sept 1, every year

39. Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

Now in its Twenty first 12 months, this humor contest needs your finest revealed or unpublished work for a grand prize of $2,000; runners-up are awarded $500 and 10 honorable mentions will obtain $100 every. Writers of all ages from eligible international locations can submit an unique, humorous poem with 250 strains or much less, and it should be in English.

Deadline: April 1, every year (and no, this isn’t an April Fools joke)

40. The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize

This writing competitors is searching for the most effective piece of unpublished, themed writing. For instance, one 12 months, the theme was “Untamed: On Wilderness and Civilization.” Submissions could also be prose, poetry or non-academic essays. Most phrase depend is 2,500, and that is open to all nationalities and to anybody 18 or older. The winner will get a £10,000 money prize, second place will get £3,000 and third place will get £2,000.

Deadline: Purposes open initially of every 12 months. Observe the Alpine Fellowship on Instagram for updates.

The place to seek out extra official, free writing contests

Searching for extra alternatives to submit your work? Listed below are a number of nice websites to regulate for writing contests.

Profitable Writers

Various the contests discovered on our checklist got here extremely advisable by this website, which compiles a number of the finest free literary contests on the market. Together with a variety of advisable contests for writers of all stripes, Profitable Writers additionally lists some contests and companies to keep away from — which is simply as helpful!

Additionally they supply a handful of contests themselves, together with the North Avenue Guide Prize .

Poets & Writers

One other unbelievable supply for official writing contests we consulted when compiling this checklist, Poets & Writers vets competitions, contests, awards and grants to verify they’re following official practices and insurance policies. It’s price testing commonly because it options each annual and one-time contests.

(This itemizing accommodates affiliate hyperlinks. Which means if you buy by way of our hyperlinks, you’re supporting The Write Life — and we thanks for that!)

The unique model of this story was written by Kelly Gurnett. We up to date the put up so it’s extra helpful for our readers. 

Photograph through Viktoriia Hnatiuk / Shutterstock 



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