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DIRECTORY

Best Writing Contests in 2024

Showing 383 contests that match your search.

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

Every Friday, Reedsy sends out five writing prompts. Enter your response within a week for a chance at $250. Winners may also be included in a future issue of Reedsy’s literary magazine, Prompted.

Top Prize:

$250

Additional prizes:

$25 credit toward Reedsy editorial services

💰 Entry fee: $5

📅 Deadline: December 31, 2024

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Poetry, Science Fiction, Short Story, and Thriller

Our contest provides a First, Second, and Third prize for both prose and poetry. There are no themes or special requirements so just send us your best work. We recommend you read through previous editions or listen to the works and author interviews on our Story Discovery Podcast to get a sense of the range of creativity we enjoy.

Top Prize:

$500 + publication and author interview on Story Discovery podcast

Additional prizes:

2nd: $150 | 3rd: $75

💰 Entry fee: $12

📅 Deadline: May 05, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Essay, Humor, Memoir, and Non-fiction

Narratively is currently accepting submissions for their 2023 Memoir Prize. They are looking for revealing and emotional first-person nonfiction narratives from unique and overlooked points of view. The guest judge is New York Times bestselling memoirist Stephanie Land.

Top Prize:

$3,000

Additional prizes:

$1,000 and publication

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: November 30, 2023 (Expired)

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Genres: Poetry

The 42 Miles Press Poetry Award was created in an effort to bring urgent and original voices to the poetry reading public. The prize is offered annually to any poet writing in English, including poets who have never published a full-length book as well as poets who have published several. New and Selected collections of poems are also welcome.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Publication

💰 Entry fee: $25

📅 Deadline: June 15, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Science Fiction, and Suspense

The Vonnegut Prize is an annual fiction competition intended to recognize the finest speculative fiction, which can include, but is not limited to, work influenced by the postmodern science-fiction of Kurt Vonnegut. We love Vonnegut’s dark humor, but please avoid mere imitation. We are enthusiastic about all work painted with speculative fiction’s broad brush: fairy tale, magical realism, fabulism, the fantastic, horror, Afro-futurism, science fiction hard and soft, and everything in between. The winning entry will appear in the North American Review's annual summer issue, and all finalists will be considered for publication.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Publication

💰 Entry fee: $23

📅 Deadline: November 02, 2024

Genres: Memoir

Everyone has a story to tell. What’s yours? Authors are invited to share a unique life experience. Whether your memoir recounts a transformative journey, a poignant moment, or a life-altering event, we welcome your story. The Anthology Personal Memoir Competition is open to original and previously unpublished memoirs in the English language by writers of any nationality, living anywhere in the world.

Top Prize:

€500

Additional prizes:

Publication

💰 Entry fee: $12

📅 Deadline: August 31, 2024

Bridport Short Story Prize

Bridport Arts Centre

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

Gail Honeyman was shortlisted in our competition and went on to write Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, winning the Costa debut novel award. All the winning and highly commended pieces are entered into the Sunday Times Audible competition, top prize £30,000. UK based writers are entered into the BBC short story competition. That's not all, literary agent A.M. Heath reads all the shortlist and considers representation. Long story short? You are 5,000 words away from success.

Top Prize:

£5000

Additional prizes:

£1000 for 2nd, £500 for 3rd

💰 Entry fee: $17

📅 Deadline: May 31, 2024 (Expired)

Four Line Poem

FanStory.com Inc.

Genres: Poetry

Write a four line poem that has a specific syllable count. The first line has 1 syllable, the second line has 5 syllables, the third line has 5 syllables, and the last line has 9 syllables. The subject can be anything.

Top Prize:

$100

💰 Entry fee: $10

📅 Deadline: May 16, 2024 (Expired)

The Free Verse Prize

Poetry Society

Genres: Poetry

The Free Verse Prize is a new poetry prize, which supports the Free Verse Poetry Book and Magazine Fair. The judge is poet and former Poetry Book Fair director, Chrissy Williams. Poems can be on any theme, and should have fewer than 40 lines.

Top Prize:

£500

Additional prizes:

Publication in Poetry News and the Poetry Book Fair programme

💰 Entry fee: $6

📅 Deadline: March 18, 2024 (Expired)

Fiction Potluck

The Writer's Workout

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

Fiction Potluck is free to enter and open to fiction writers of all ages around the world. One entry per person per challenge. Submissions are accepted six weeks at a time, starting in January, April, July, and October. The challenge and guest judge will change each open period. The guest judge picks the challenge—we never know what we'll get!

Top Prize:

Query package reviews to all finalists

📅 Deadline: May 20, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

Write a short story, 5 pages maximum length, on any subject or theme, fiction, non-fiction, creative nonfiction (including essay compositions, diary, journal entries, short stage plays, screenplays, and screenwriting). All entries must be either typed or legibly hand printed. Multiple and simultaneous poetry and short story entries are accepted.

Top Prize:

$250

Additional prizes:

2nd: $125 | 3rd: $50

💰 Entry fee: $10

📅 Deadline: September 30, 2024

Black Orchid Novella Award

Wolfe Pack & Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine

Genres: Crime, Mystery, and Novella

Novellas are an important part of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe's opus. To celebrate this format, the Wolfe Pack and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine have partnered to sponsor the Black Orchid Novella Award. Each entry must be an original, unpublished work of fiction that conforms to the literary tradition of the Nero Wolfe series.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Publication in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine

📅 Deadline: May 31, 2024 (Expired)

Bridport Novel Award

Bridport Arts Centre

Genres: Fiction and Novel

Your novel doesn't have to be finished. We initially need only 5,000 to 8,000 words plus a 300 word synopsis. If you're long listed we'll ask for a total of 15,000 words, including your original word count. Shortlisted? Then we need a total 30,000 words, again including your original entry and long listed word count. It all adds up to an incredible opportunity.

Top Prize:

£1500

Additional prizes:

£750 for the runner up and three prizes of £150

💰 Entry fee: $29

📅 Deadline: May 31, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction and Non-fiction

The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing was created in 2016 to honor outstanding debut literary works by first-generation immigrants, awarded for fiction and nonfiction in alternating years. The winner receives $10,000 and publication by Restless Books.

Top Prize:

$10,000

Additional prizes:

Publication by Restless Books

📅 Deadline: May 31, 2025

Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry

Lynx House Press

Genres: Poetry

The annual Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry awards $2000 plus publication for a full-length poetry collection. The Prize is awarded for an unpublished, full-length volume of poems by a U.S. author, which includes foreign nationals living and writing in the U.S. and U.S. citizens living abroad. Lynx House Press has been publishing fine poetry and prose since 1975. Our titles are distributed by the University of Washington Press.

Top Prize:

$2,000

Additional prizes:

Publication

💰 Entry fee: $28

📅 Deadline: June 16, 2024 (Expired)

The Porter Fleming Literary Competition

The Morris Museum of Art

Genres: Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, and Script Writing

Welcome to the 2024 Porter Fleming Literary Competition, now in its twenty-ninth year of recognizing outstanding writing and writers. The competition honors the memory of Porter Fleming, one of Augusta, Georgia’s leading citizens and foremost philanthropists. The competition is administered, with the support of the Porter Fleming Foundation, by the Morris Museum of Art, the first museum in the country to focus on the art and artists of the American South. Writers, ages 18 and older, who reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, D.C are invited to apply.

Top Prize:

1st place in each genre category: $1,000

Additional prizes:

2nd place: $500 & 3rd place: $250 in each of the four genre categories

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: February 16, 2024 (Expired)

The Hudson Prize

Black Lawrence Press

Genres: Essay, Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, and Short Story

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Hudson Prize for an unpublished collection of poems or prose. The prize is open to new, emerging, and established writers.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Publication

💰 Entry fee: $28

📅 Deadline: March 31, 2024 (Expired)

The Selah Awards

Blue Ridge Mountains Conference

Genres: Christian

The Selah Awards are open to all published authors whose books were published between December 16, 2020 and December 15, 2021 with either traditional or nontraditional publishers.

Top Prize:

Award

💰 Entry fee: $45

📅 Deadline: December 31, 2023 (Expired)

Acrostic Poetry Contest

FanStory.com Inc.

Genres: Poetry

To enter this poetry contest share an acrostic. That's a poem where the first letter of each line spells out a word (downwards). Cash Prize

Top Prize:

$100

💰 Entry fee: $10

📅 Deadline: October 16, 2022 (Expired)

Travel Writing Award

Ottawa Tourism

Genres: Travel

Ottawa Tourism offers an annual $500 CAD prize for outstanding travel writing featuring Canada’s Capital Region. Eligible entries include items in English or in French that have appeared in magazines, newspapers, or online media in 2023 that highlight Ottawa as a travel destination.

Top Prize:

$500 CAD

📅 Deadline: February 02, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Short Story

Open to all writers except SiWC paid staff, board members, and immediate families. Young writers are welcome to enter, but must be aware that their work will be judged blind among submissions made by adult writers. Please read the contest rules below before entering.

Top Prize:

$1,000

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: September 15, 2024

Dream Quest One Poetry

Dream Quest One

Genres: Poetry

Write a poem, 30 lines or fewer on any subject, style, or form, typed or neatly hand printed.

Top Prize:

$250

Additional prizes:

2nd: $125 | 3rd: $50

💰 Entry fee: $5

📅 Deadline: September 30, 2024

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

2024 marks the 10th anniversary of the BBC YWA, an award created to inspire and encourage the next generation of short story writers, open to 14 – 18-year-olds. BBC Radio 1 Presenter Katie Thistleton returns as Chair of Judges for the YWA for the seventh time.

Top Prize:

£15,000

Additional prizes:

4x shortlisted stories: £600

📅 Deadline: March 18, 2024 (Expired)

J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Awards

Columbia Journalism School

Genres: Non-fiction

Two J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Awards, in the amount of $25,000, are given annually to aid in the completion of significant works of nonfiction on topics of American political or social concern. Recognizing that a nonfiction book based on extensive research often overtaxes the resources available to its author, the project envisions the Awards as a way of closing the gap between the time and money an author has and the time and money that finishing a book requires.

Top Prize:

$25,000

📅 Deadline: December 07, 2023 (Expired)

Genres: Poetry

The New Writers Poetry Competition 2024 is open to published and unpublished poets from around the world. There is no specific theme but poems should be no longer than 42 lines. NewWriters.org.uk will donate £1.00 from each entry to First Story (a creative writing charity in the UK).

Top Prize:

£1,000

Additional prizes:

2nd: £300 | 3rd: £200

💰 Entry fee: $13

📅 Deadline: July 31, 2024

Genres: Fiction, Flash Fiction, Memoir, and Poetry

Write By The Sea is a dynamic boutique literary festival set in the beautiful fishing village of Kilmore Quay, County Wexford. The independent panel of judges will select the winners of each category and winners will be invited to read their work as part of the Festival.

Top Prize:

€500

Additional prizes:

2nd: €300 | 3rd: €200 | Publication

💰 Entry fee: $10

📅 Deadline: June 21, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Horror

Twice each year TGS awards $1,500 and both online and print publication to the winner of our short story competition. Two other writers receive Honorable Mention awards that include publication and cash prizes of $300. Online publication dates are June 1, and October 31.

Top Prize:

$1,500

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: April 30, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Poetry

“Poetry lays the foundations for a future of change," wrote Audre Lorde. This month, sow your own seeds of change into stanzas, meter, or free verse, or else write and perform an original piece of spoken word (poetry performed aloud). We’ll award two top prizes—one for a written poem, and one for a recorded performance.

Top Prize:

Best entry: $100

Additional prizes:

Runner up: $50 | Best peer review: $50

📅 Deadline: May 27, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

What truth do you want to convey through your stories? This month, write a short story of up to 1000 words and invite readers into a contained universe. With only a small word limit to work with, you must choose carefully. Remember, as Neil Gaiman once said: “Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams.”

Top Prize:

$100

Additional prizes:

Runner up: $50 | Best peer review: $50

💰 Entry fee: $0

📅 Deadline: November 27, 2023 (Expired)

Flying South

WS Writers

Genres: Non-fiction, Poetry, and Short Story

All entries will be considered for publication. Winning submissions in each of the three categories (Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry) will be awarded prizes of $400 for First Place, $200 for Second Place, and $100 for a total of $2,100 in prizes. All finalists will be accepted for publication and will receive one copy of the current issue of Flying South.

Top Prize:

$400

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: May 31, 2024 (Expired)

The Paul Cave Prize for Literature

Tim Saunders Publications

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, and Young Adult

The Paul Cave Prize for Literature, established in 2023 by Tim Saunders Publications, is in memory of Paul Astley Cave-Browne-Cave (1917 to 2010), a hugely inspirational magazine and book publisher. What we are looking for All forms of poetry: haiku, free verse, sonnet, acrostic, villanelle, ballad, limerick, ode, elegy, flash fiction, short stories and novellas. Work must be new and unpublished. International submissions welcome.

Top Prize:

£100

Additional prizes:

Best Short Story: £50 | Best Flash Fiction: £25 | Best Poem: £25

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: September 30, 2024

Bridport Poetry Prize

Bridport Arts Centre

Genres: Poetry

You don't have to be Tennyson. Just talented. All we ask is that you please keep poems to 42 lines, max. You can, of course, write less. In addition to the prize money, the top three poems are automatically entered into the Forward Prize For Poetry’s best single poem competition, with the chance to win a further £1000. This exclusive award is not open to the public. You can write about absolutely anything but whatever your rhyme or reason, we want to read your poetry.

Top Prize:

£5000

Additional prizes:

£1000 for 2nd, £500 for 3rd

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: May 31, 2024 (Expired)

BRMCWC Foundation Awards

Blue Ridge Mountains Conference

Genres: Christian

The mission of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference is to inspire writers to connect with God, other writers, and industry professionals as they embrace their calling with excellence. The entrant must be registered for the entire conference in order to compete.

Top Prize:

Award

💰 Entry fee: $45

📅 Deadline: April 01, 2024 (Expired)

Fischer Prize

Telluride Institute

Genres: Poetry

This annual award is open to poets of all ages living in the US. Deadline for submissions is August 31st, 2021.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Attendance at Telluride Literary Arts Festival

💰 Entry fee: $10

📅 Deadline: August 31, 2024

Genres: Fiction and Novel

Each fall, The Masters Review hosts a call for novel excerpts! Writing a novel can be an arduous and lonely process, but we’re here to champion the great work being produced. Whether your book is not quite finished or ready to pitch, we want to read your words. For this contest, we’re looking for self-contained excerpts that display a strong voice, compelling characters, and carefully constructed narrative arcs. You may submit an excerpt from any section of your completed or in-progress novel, but choose wisely: a synopsis should not be required for understanding the excerpt. As always, we have no limitations on genre, though we are primarily interested in literary fiction.

Top Prize:

$3,000

Additional prizes:

2nd: $300, online publication | 3rd: $200, online publication

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: November 12, 2023 (Expired)

Discover the finest writing contests of 2024 for fiction and non-fiction authors — including short story competitions, essay writing competitions, poetry contests, and many more. Updated weekly, these contests are vetted by Reedsy to weed out the scammers and time-wasters. If you’re looking to stick to free writing contests, simply use our filters as you browse.

Why you should submit to writing contests

Submitting to poetry competitions and free writing contests in 2024 is absolutely worth your while as an aspiring author: just as your qualifications matter when you apply for a new job, a writing portfolio that boasts published works and award-winning pieces is a great way to give your writing career a boost. And not to mention the bonus of cash prizes!

That being said, we understand that taking part in writing contests can be tough for emerging writers. First, there’s the same affliction all writers face: lack of time or inspiration. Entering writing contests is a time commitment, and many people decide to forego this endeavor in order to work on their larger projects instead — like a full-length book. Second, for many writers, the chance of rejection is enough to steer them clear of writing contests. 

But we’re here to tell you that two of the great benefits of entering writing contests happen to be the same as those two reasons to avoid them.

When it comes to the time commitment: yes, you will need to expend time and effort in order to submit a quality piece of writing to competitions. That being said, having a hard deadline to meet is a great motivator for developing a solid writing routine.

Think of entering contests as a training session to become a writer who will need to meet deadlines in order to have a successful career. If there’s a contest you have your eye on, and the deadline is in one month, sit down and realistically plan how many words you’ll need to write per day in order to meet that due date — and don’t forget to also factor in the time you’ll need to edit your story!

For tips on setting up a realistic writing plan, check out this free, ten-day course: How to Build a Rock-Solid Writing Routine.

In regards to the fear of rejection, the truth is that any writer aspiring to become a published author needs to develop relatively thick skin. If one of your goals is to have a book traditionally published, you will absolutely need to learn how to deal with rejection, as traditional book deals are notoriously hard to score. If you’re an indie author, you will need to adopt the hardy determination required to slowly build up a readership.

The good news is that there’s a fairly simple trick for learning to deal with rejection: use it as a chance to explore how you might be able to improve your writing.

In an ideal world, each rejection from a publisher or contest would come with a detailed letter, offering construction feedback and pointing out specific tips for improvement. And while this is sometimes the case, it’s the exception and not the rule.

Still, you can use the writing contests you don’t win as a chance to provide yourself with this feedback. Take a look at the winning and shortlisted stories and highlight their strong suits: do they have fully realized characters, a knack for showing instead of telling, a well-developed but subtly conveyed theme, a particularly satisfying denouement?

The idea isn’t to replicate what makes those stories tick in your own writing. But most examples of excellent writing share a number of basic craft principles. Try and see if there are ways for you to translate those stories’ strong points into your own unique writing.

Finally, there are the more obvious benefits of entering writing contests: prize and publication. Not to mention the potential to build up your readership, connect with editors, and gain exposure.

Resources to help you win writing competitions in 2024

Every writing contest has its own set of submission rules. Whether those rules are dense or sparing, ensure that you follow them to a T. Disregarding the guidelines will not sway the judges’ opinion in your favor — and might disqualify you from the contest altogether. 

Aside from ensuring you follow the rules, here are a few resources that will help you perfect your submissions.

Free online courses

On Writing:

  • "How to Craft a Killer Short Story" (Click here)
  • "The Non-Sexy Business of Writing Non-Fiction" (Click here)
  • "How to Write a Novel" (Click here)
  • "Understanding Point of View" (Click here)
  • "Developing Characters That Your Readers Will Love" (Click here)
  • "Writing Dialogue That Develops Plot and Character" (Click here)
  • "Stop Procrastinating! Build a Solid Writing Routine" (Click here)

On Editing:

  • "Story Editing for Authors" (Click here)
  • "How to Self-Edit Your Manuscript Like a Pro" (Click here)
  • "Novel Revision: Practical Tips for Rewrites" (Click here)

Blog posts

  • "How to Write a Novel: Steps From a Bestselling Writer" (Click here)
  • "How to Write a Short Story in 9 Simple Steps" (Click here)
  • "100 Literary Devices With Examples: The Ultimate List" (Click here)
  • "20 Writing Tips to Improve Your Craft" (Click here)
  • "How to Write Fabulous Dialogue [9 Tips + Examples]" (Click here)
  • "8 Character Development Exercises to Write 3D Characters" (Click here)

Bonus resources

After you submit to a writing competition in 2024

It’s exciting to send a piece of writing off to a contest. However, once the initial excitement wears off, you may be left waiting for a while. Some writing contests will contact all entrants after the judging period — whether or not they’ve won. Other writing competitions will only contact the winners. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind after you submit:

  • Many writing competitions don’t have time to respond to each entrant with feedback on their story. However, it never hurts to ask! Feel free to politely reach out requesting feedback — but wait until after the selection period is over.

  • If you’ve submitted the same work to more than one writing competition or literary magazine, remember to withdraw your submission if it ends up winning elsewhere.

  • After you send a submission, don’t follow it up with a rewritten or revised version. Instead, ensure that your first version is thoroughly proofread and edited. If not, wait until the next edition of the contest or submit the revised version to other writing contests.

Prompts | Prompts Sans Serif | 2024-03

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