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Best Writing Contests in 2024

Showing 382 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: Mystery and Short Story

Every year since 2014, the CWA and the Margery Allingham Society have jointly held an international competition for a short story of up to 3,500 words. Our mission is to find the best unpublished short mystery, and not only that, but one which fits into Golden Age crime writer Margery Allingham’s definition of what makes a great story. Entries are invited from all writers, published or unpublished, writing in English.

Top Prize:

£500

Additional prizes:

Two weekend passes to CrimeFest

💰 Entry fee: $16

📅 Deadline: February 29, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Short Story, and Flash Fiction

Biopage is hosting a writing contest to remind people the benefits of writing. Each story (or once chapter of your stories) is limited to 5,000 characters or roughly 1,000 words. You can write about good life experience, or bad, embarrassing, frightening ones. You can win $300, and five runners-up can win $100 each.

Top Prize:

$300

📅 Deadline: July 31, 2024

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Genres: Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller, and Young Adult

The Letter Review Prize for Books is open to writers from anywhere in the world. Seeking most unpublished (we accept some self/indie published) novels, novellas, story collections, nonfiction, poetry etc. 20 entries are longlisted.

Top Prize:

$1000 USD shared by 3 winners

💰 Entry fee: $25

📅 Deadline: April 30, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, and Young Adult

The Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize is a writing competition sponsored by the stage and radio series Selected Shorts. Selected Shorts is recorded for Public Radio and heard nationally on both the radio and its weekly podcast. This years entries will be judged by Carmen Maria Machado (In the Dream House, Her Body and Other Parties).

Top Prize:

$1000 + free 10 week course with Gotham Writers

💰 Entry fee: $25

📅 Deadline: March 01, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Poetry

Every Tuesday at 12pm (Irish time) from 9th April 2024 – 28th January 2025, five words will be posted on this competition page. Entrants will have one week to compose and submit one or more poems which include all five words given for that week. The winners & shortlist are announced around the first week of March.

Top Prize:

$750

Additional prizes:

Publication in Five Words Vol XVIII

💰 Entry fee: $5

📅 Deadline: January 28, 2025

AWP Prize for Creative Nonfiction

Association of Writers & Writing Programs

Genres: Non-fiction

AWP sponsors the Award Series, an annual competition for the publication of excellent new book-length works. The competition is open to all authors writing in English regardless of nationality or residence, and is available to published and unpublished authors alike.

Top Prize:

$2,500

Additional prizes:

Publication by the University of Georgia Press

💰 Entry fee: $30

📅 Deadline: February 28, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

Established to recognise and encourage creative writing and provide a platform for publication, the Anthology Short Story Competition is open to original and previously unpublished short stories in the English language by a writer of any nationality, living anywhere in the world. There is no restriction on theme or style. Stories submitted must not exceed the maximum of 1,500 words. Writers can submit as many entries as they wish. Each submission will require a separate entry form and is subject to a separate entry fee.

Top Prize:

€1,000

💰 Entry fee: $19

📅 Deadline: July 31, 2024

Flash Fiction Award

Bath Flash Fiction Award

Genres: Fiction and Flash Fiction

In addition to winning cash prizes, entrants have the opportunity to appear in our print and digital anthology collections. Our books are published by the award-winning small press Ad Hoc Fiction, and are available to buy from their own independent bookshop as well as worldwide from Amazon. 300 word limit.

Top Prize:

£1000

Additional prizes:

£300 for 2nd, £100 for 3rd

💰 Entry fee: $10

📅 Deadline: June 02, 2024

Genres: Fiction, Non-fiction, and Short Story

Welcome to the 31st annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest. Submit published or unpublished work. $9,000 in prizes.

Top Prize:

$3,000

Additional prizes:

Two-year gift certificate from Duotrope; 10 Honorable Mentions will receive $300 each

💰 Entry fee: $22

📅 Deadline: May 01, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, LGBTQ, Non-fiction, and Poetry

So To Speak is seeking submissions for poetry, fiction, and non-fiction with an intersectional feminist lens! It is no secret that the literary canon and literary journals are largely comprised of heteronormative, patriarchal, cisgender, able-bodied white men. So to Speak seeks work by writers, poets, and artists who want to challenge and change the identity of the “canonical” writer.

Top Prize:

$100

Additional prizes:

Publication

💰 Entry fee: $4

📅 Deadline: March 15, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Essay and Memoir

We want to hear about an experience in your life, rife with characters and description and conflict and scene… but we also want to hear how you make sense of this experience, how it sits with you, and why it has surfaced as writing. Open a window into your life and invite your readers to enter.

Top Prize:

Best entry: $100

Additional prizes:

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

📅 Deadline: June 24, 2024

Askew's Word on the Lake Writing Contest

Shuswap Association of Writers

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

Whether you’re an established or emerging writer, the Askew’s Word on the Lake Writing Contest has a place for you. Part of the Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival in Salmon Arm, BC, the contest is open to submissions in short fiction (up to 2,000 words), nonfiction (up to 2,000 words), and poetry (up to three one-page poems).

Top Prize:

$200 CAD

Additional prizes:

Publication

💰 Entry fee: $11

📅 Deadline: January 31, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Non-fiction, and Novel

Where talented authors meet publishing professionals with the power to make a difference in the success of their books. Every author who enters a title in the IR Discovery Awards will receive a verdict, written by an IndieReader reviewer and based on their assessment after reading the complete book.

Top Prize:

First look consideration by a top, NYC-based literary agency

Additional prizes:

$500, publicist consultation service, Reedsy credit, custom author website

💰 Entry fee: $150

📅 Deadline: February 14, 2024 (Expired)

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

A Very Short Story Contest

Gotham Writers Workshop

Genres: Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Humor, Memoir, and Non-fiction

Write a great short story in ten words or fewer. Submit it to our contest. Entry is free. Winner of the bet gets a free Gotham class.

Top Prize:

Free writing class from Gotham Writers Workshop.

📅 Deadline: May 31, 2024

Rhyming Poetry Contest

FanStory.com Inc.

Genres: Poetry

Write a poem of any type that has a rhyme scheme.

Top Prize:

$100

💰 Entry fee: $10

📅 Deadline: August 12, 2024

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)

Genres: Essay, Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, and Poetry

As we move forward we carry our culture wherever we go. It keeps us alive. This is why we propose the theme to be “¡Hacia delante!”. A phrase that means to move forward. This year we ask that you think about the following questions: What keeps you moving forward? What do you carry with you going into the future? How do you celebrate your successes, your dreams, and your culture?

Top Prize:

$100

Additional prizes:

Publication in magazine

📅 Deadline: February 07, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Novel, Thriller, and Mystery

Any novels between 50,000 and 200,000 words that are in the realm of action/adventure/thriller/mystery - and chocked-full of adventure - are welcome. New and previously published books welcome, though you must have sold or given away less than 10,000 books of the title(s) you enter. We do not accept sci-fi, fantasy, horror or young children's books. See our website for info on rules and entering.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Two AWC Finalist Awards: $500

💰 Entry fee: $50

📅 Deadline: April 30, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Poetry

For our Poetry Prize, send no more than three poems in a single document. The winner will be awarded $1000 and publication in an upcoming issue of Indiana Review. This year's contest will be judged by Oliver Baez Bendorf.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Publication

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: March 31, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Poetry, and Short Story

"Reputation is an idle and most false imposition, oft got without merit and lost without deserving." - William Shakespeare For some, it is a lifetime’s pursuit, often slipping through their grasp while others see it fall into their hands by mere chance. However achieved, through talent or luck, Fame can be an ill-fated prize. The 19th Elmbridge Literary Competition, run in partnership by The R C Sherriff Trust and Elmbridge Borough Council, is looking for short stories and poems on the theme of the double-edged sword that is ‘FAME’.

Top Prize:

£250

Additional prizes:

Published chapbook

💰 Entry fee: $6

📅 Deadline: February 23, 2024 (Expired)

African Diaspora Awards 2024

Kinsman Avenue Publishing, Inc

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

Up to $1000 in cash prizes for the African Diaspora Award 2024. African-themed prose and poetry wanted. Top finalists are published in Kinsman Quarterly’s magazine and the anthology, “Black Butterfly: Voices of the African Diaspora.”

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Publication in anthology, "Black Butterfly: Voices of the African Diaspora" and print and digital magazine

💰 Entry fee: $25

📅 Deadline: June 30, 2024

Annual Student Essay Contest

Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

Genres: Essay and Non-fiction

For this year’s Essay Contest, we are asking students to think about why the story of the Oklahoma City bombing is important today.

Top Prize:

$1,000

📅 Deadline: March 04, 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: Poetry

The Montreal International Poetry Prize is committed to encouraging the creation of original works of poetry, to building international readership, and to exploring the world’s Englishes. The Montreal Prize awards one prize of $20,000 CAD to a poet for a single poem of 40 or fewer lines. A jury of internationally reputed poets and critics selects a shortlist of approximately 60 poems, from which a judge chooses one winner.

Top Prize:

$20,000

Additional prizes:

Shortlist published in The Montreal Poetry Prize Anthology

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: May 15, 2024 (Expired)

Valorious Awards

Hopper Creative Group LLC

Genres: Science Fiction

The Valorious Awards, sponsored by international best-selling author, Christopher Hopper, is an annual competition seeking to recognize and encourage emerging artists in two categories: best sci-fi novel, best sci-fi voice actor. The awards seek to recognize emerging independent authors and character actors and discover new and exciting talent within the world of science fiction.

Top Prize:

$500

Additional prizes:

2nd: $250 | 3rd: $150

💰 Entry fee: $35

📅 Deadline: December 31, 2023 (Expired)

The Plough Prize

The Plough Arts Centre

Genres: Poetry

Now in its twenty first year, the Plough Poetry Prize is an international open competition for poems in English up to 40 lines on any subject. We're delighted that this year's competition will be judged by Roger McGough.

Top Prize:

£1,000

Additional prizes:

2nd: £500 | 3rd: £250

💰 Entry fee: $6

📅 Deadline: March 31, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Flash Fiction, Poetry, Script Writing, and Short Story

Minds Shine Bright is an arts business based in Melbourne Australia committed to supporting the arts and writers. We run two fiction writing competitions; Minds Shine Bright Confidence, a longitudinal look at the theme confidence in fiction and poetry, and Seasons a competition with a changing external theme. Light and Shadow is currently open.

Top Prize:

$500 AUD

Additional prizes:

2nd: $400 AUD | 3rd: $300 AUD | 4th: $200 AUD | Commended entries: $100 AUD

💰 Entry fee: $3

📅 Deadline: March 31, 2024 (Expired)

"Matter" Poetry Contest

Oprelle Publications

Genres: Poetry

Any topic or style is acceptable. Even though this anthology will be called Matter, all that is expected is that your poetry reflects emotions and thoughts coming from the depths of you. You need not write about a particular word. We just want you to know that your talent with words can matter to others.

Top Prize:

$200

Additional prizes:

2nd: $100 | 3rd: $50 | Publication in anthology

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: June 02, 2024

Genres: Essay and Non-fiction

A prize of $1,000, publication of the essay in The Tusculum Review’s 20th Anniversary Issue (2024), and creation of a limited edition stand-alone chapbook with original art is awarded. Editors of The Tusculum Review and contest judge Mary Cappello will determine the winner of the 2024 prize.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Publication

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: June 15, 2024

Nimrod Literary Awards

Nimrold International Journal of Prose and Poetry

Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Short Story, and Novel

All finalists in fiction and poetry will be published and paid at our standard publication rate. Semi-finalists in poetry will also be published and paid at our standard publication rate.

Top Prize:

$2000 + Publication

Additional prizes:

2nd: $1000 + Publication

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: April 01, 2024 (Expired)

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

Imagine 2200 is an invitation to writers from all over the globe to imagine a future in which solutions to the climate crisis flourish and help bring about radical improvements to our world. In 2,500 to 5,000 words, show us the world you dream of building. A great Imagine story is not afraid to explore the challenges ahead — the path to climate progress will involve struggle and adaptation, and we invite you to show that — but ultimately offers hope that we can work together to build a more sustainable and just world. We want to see stories that incorporate real world climate solutions and climate science, as well as cultural authenticity (a deep sense of place, customs, cuisine, and more) and characters with fully-fledged identities.

Top Prize:

$3,000

Additional prizes:

Publication in magazine

📅 Deadline: June 24, 2024

Genres: Poetry

The Loraine Williams Poetry Prize is an award for a single poem, to be published in The Georgia Review. The winner will receive an honorarium of $1,500 and an expenses-paid trip to Athens, Georgia, to give a public reading with the judge. We are pleased to announce that Hanif Abdurraqib will serve as the final judge for the 2023 Loraine Williams Poetry Prize.

Top Prize:

$1,500

Additional prizes:

Expenses-paid trip to Athens, Georgia

💰 Entry fee: $30

📅 Deadline: May 15, 2024 (Expired)

Morton and McCarthy Prizes

Sarabande Books

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

This contest is open to any short fiction writer of English. Submissions may include a collection of short stories, one or more novellas, or a short novel. Works that have previously appeared in magazines or in anthologies may be included.

Top Prize:

$2,000

Additional prizes:

Publication by Sarabande Books

💰 Entry fee: $29

📅 Deadline: February 15, 2024 (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:

On Editing:

Blog posts

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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