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The Reedsy Prompts Contest

Reedsy

Respond to one of Reedsy's weekly writing prompt newsletters with a short story for the chance to win $250 and be featured on the Reedsy Blog!


Deadline December 31, 2021

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Top prize

$250

Additional prizes

Publication on Reedsy Blog

Genres

Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $5

Fish Flash Fiction Prize

Fish Publishing

The Fish Flash Fiction Prize is an opportunity to attempt one of the most interesting and rewarding tasks – to create, in a tiny fragment, a completely resolved and compelling story in 300 words or less. The top ten stories will be published in the FISH ANTHOLOGY 2022.


Deadline February 28, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

€1,000

Additional prizes

2nd place €300, 3rd place an online writing course with Fish

Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $16

Fish Short Memoir Prize

Fish Publishing

Everyone has a memoir in them. Go for it! Write a piece of your life, send it to Fish. Qian Julie Wang, author of her memoir Beautiful Country, will select 10 short memoirs to be published in the Fish Anthology 2022, which will be launched during the West Cork Literary Festival.


Deadline January 31, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

€1,000

Additional prizes

2nd place receives €200 and an online writing course

Genres

Memoir, Non-fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $21

Fish Short Story Prize

Fish Publishing

The Fish Short Story Prize was started in 1994, and has become an established event on the literary calendar. This year’s judge is Sarah Hall. Her critically acclaimed second novel, The Electric Michelangelo, was nominated for the 2004 Man Booker Prize. Sarah will select 10 short stories to be published in the Fish Anthology 2022, which will be launched during the West Cork Literary Festival.


Deadline November 30, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

€3,000

Additional prizes

5 day Short Story Workshop at the West Cork Literary Festival

Genres

Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $23

Fish Poetry Prize

Fish Publishing

The top ten poems of the annual Fish Poetry Contest will be published in Fish Anthology. First prize winner will receive €1000 and the second prize winner will receive a week in residence at Anam Cara Writers ' Reatreat.


Deadline March 31, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

€1000

Additional prizes

A writer's retreat for 2nd place, €200 for 3rd place

Genres

Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $17

7 Day Story Writing Challenge

Globe Soup

Register now for our next 7-day story writing challenge. A secret theme, a randomly assigned genre and just 7 days to write a story of no more than 2,000 words. Our 7 day story writing challenges take place throughout the year. The challenges are free and you can even get feedback on your story. Take part in one challenge or take part in all of them!


Deadline November 08, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

£500

Additional prizes

Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $0

2022 Book Prize

Unleash Press

Writers are invited to submit novels, short story collections and creative nonfiction manuscripts. The Editors' Prize winner receives a publication contract with Unleash Press and $1000 prize, along with 10 printed copies of the final book. We may also offer publication contracts to additional outstanding manuscripts.


Deadline January 05, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publishing contract

Genres

Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Memoir, Novel, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $35

Caledonia Novel Award

Caledonia Novel Award

We are an Edinburgh-based, international award for unpublished and self-published novelists in all genres for adults and YA.


Deadline November 01, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

£1, 500

Additional prizes

Free place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre

Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Novel, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $35

The X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize

Texas Review Press

Established in 1998, The X. J. Kennedy Prize highlights one full-length collection of poetry per year. Since 2019 the Prize comes with a $10,000 advance, a standard royalty contract, and 20 copies of the published book.


Deadline September 30, 2021

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Top prize

$10,000 advance

Additional prizes

Royalty contract with TRP, publication, 20 author copies

Genres

Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $28

The Megaphone Prize

Radix Media

The Megaphone Prize by Radix Media is dedicated to publishing timely and interrogative work by debut writers of color. This year, the prize is open to short story collections. Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, will judge and choose the winning manuscript.


Deadline September 30, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publication, 20 author copies

Genres

Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $20

Do Wha(TS) Write

Do Wha(TS) Write

Contest entries should be flash fiction or short stories, with an absolute word limit of 1000 words. There is no required prompt or topic. Write whatever you'd like! We want to see you get creative!


Deadline December 31, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

$200 (CAD)

Additional prizes

Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $2

Accenti Writing Contest

Accenti Magazine

The Accenti Writing Contest is inviting submissions for original and unpublished prose under 2,000 words. $1000 and publication is awarded to the winner.


Deadline February 07, 2022

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Top prize

$1000 (CDN)

Additional prizes

$100 (CDN) for three runners-up

Genres

Fiction, Non-fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $30

Writers of the Future

L. Ron Hubbard

L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest is an opportunity for new writers of science fiction and fantasy to have their work judged by some of the masters in the field and discovered by a wide audience. Prizes of $1000, $750 and $500 are awarded every three months. From the four 1st Place winners each year, one story is selected as the grand prize winner and the author receives an additional $5000 cash prize.


Deadline September 30, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

$750 for 2nd place, $500 for 3rd, £5000 annual grand prize

Genres

Fiction, Short Story, Fantasy, Science Fiction,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: FREE

Black River Chapbook Competition

Black Lawrence Press

Twice each year Black Lawrence Press run the Black River Chapbook Competition for an unpublished chapbook of poems or prose between 16-36 pages in length. The contest is open to new, emerging, and established writers.


Deadline October 31, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

Publication by Black Lawrence Press

Genres

Poetry, Short Story, Fiction,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $15

First Book Award

Academy of American Poets

The First Book Award is a $5,000 first-book publication prize. The winning manuscript, chosen by an acclaimed poet, is published by Graywolf Press. The winner also receives an all-expenses-paid six-week residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center, in the Umbrian region of Italy.


Deadline October 01, 2021

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Top prize

$5,000

Additional prizes

Publication by Graywolf Press

Genres

Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $35

Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

Cleveland Foundation

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards recognizes outstanding works that contribute to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of cultural diversity. Awards are given for fiction, poetry and nonfiction.


Deadline December 31, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

$10,000

Additional prizes

Genres

Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $0

Willow Run Poetry Book Award

Hidden River Arts

Hidden River Arts offers a yearly prize of $1000 and publication in Hidden River Press, an imprint of Hidden River Publishing, for an unpublished book-length collection of poetry between 75 and 100 pages long.


Deadline February 21, 2022

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Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publication in Hidden River Press

Genres

Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $20

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

Winning Writers

Now in its 21st year, this contest seeks today's best humor poems. No fee to enter. Submit published or unpublished work. $3,500 in prizes.


Deadline April 01, 2022

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Top prize

$2,000

Additional prizes

Two-year gift certificate for Duotrope

Genres

Humor, Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $0

F(r)iction Short Story Contest

F(r)iction

We seek work that actively pushes boundaries, that forces us to question traditions and tastes. If your work takes risks, we want to read it. We like strong narratives that make us feel something and stories we haven’t seen before. Each entry should be between 1,001 and 7,500 words.


Deadline October 30, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Considered for publication in F(r)iction

Genres

Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $15

F(r)iction Flash Fiction Contest

F(r)iction

We seek work that actively pushes boundaries, that forces us to question traditions and tastes. If your work takes risks, we want to read it. You may submit up to three entires for $12. A single entry is $10. Each entry can be up to 1,000 words long.


Deadline October 30, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

$300

Additional prizes

Considered for publication in F(r)iction

Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $10

F(r)iction Poetry Contest

F(r)iction

We seek work that actively pushes boundaries, that forces us to question traditions and tastes. If your work takes risks, we want to read it. You may submit up to three entries for $12. A single entry is $10. Each poem can be up to three pages.


Deadline October 30, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

$300

Additional prizes

Considered for publication in F(r)iction

Genres

Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $10

WOW! Women On Writing Quarterly Flash Fiction Contest

WOW! Women On Writing

Seeking short fiction of any genre between 250 - 750 words. The mission of this contest is to inspire creativity, communication, and well-rewarded recognition to contestants.


Deadline November 30, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

$400

Additional prizes

Interview on WOW! Blog, $25 Amazon gift card

Genres

Flash Fiction, Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $10

Cranked Anvil Flash Fiction Competition

Cranked Anvil Press

Our quarterly flash fiction competition is open for entries all year round. The competition is open to any theme or genre, and your story must be a maximum of 500 words (not including the title). You can enter up to two stories in each quarterly competition.


Deadline November 30, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

£100

Additional prizes

£25, publication online

Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $4

Wild Atlantic Writing Awards (WAWA)

Ireland Writing Retreat

Buoyed by a sense of freedom, we’ve decided this edition of our ‘Wild Atlantic Writing Awards’ should be completely open, meaning you can choose whatever theme you wish. We welcome whatever stories you decide to send to us, as long as it is within our customary 500-word limit and is either flash fiction or creative nonfiction. ​


Deadline September 30, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

€1000

Additional prizes

Genres

Flash Fiction, Non-fiction,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $12

Stories Through The Ages - Baby Boomer Plus

Stories Through The Ages

Stories Through The Ages - Baby Boomers Plus is open to people born 1966 or earlier. There is no prompt for the contest Authors may write about any topic. The entry fee is $25 ($20 if submitting more than one story). The word count for this contest is 900 - 4000 words. Cash prizes of $500, $200 and $100 will be awarded. There will be a minimum of 15 finalists whose story will appear in the book.


Deadline June 15, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

Genres

Short Story, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Non-fiction,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $25

Brick Road Poetry Book Contest

Brick Road Poetry Press

The first place winner receives a publication contract with Brick Road Poetry Press and $1000 prize, publication in both print and ebook formats, and 25 copies of the printed book. We may also offer publication contracts to the top finalists.


Deadline November 01, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publication contract with Brick Road Poetry Press

Genres

Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $30

Writer's Digest Poetry Awards

Writer's Digest

Calling all poets! We’re on the look out for poems of all styles–rhyming, free verse, haiku, and more for the Annual Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards! This is the only Writer’s Digest competition exclusively for poets. Enter any poem 32 lines or less for your chance to win $1,000 in cash.


Deadline November 01, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publication in Writer's Digest

Genres

Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $25

The Exeter Novel Prize

Creative Writing Matters

We accept the first ten thousand words including synopsis of a novel that has not been accepted for publication by a traditional publishing house. We are delighted to welcome Kate Nash of the Kate Nash Literary Agency as our final judge.


Deadline January 01, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

£500

Additional prizes

Genres

Fiction, Novel,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $23

Self-Publishing Literary Awards

The Black Caucus of ALA

The Black Caucus of ALA (BCALA) honors the best self-published ebooks by an African American author in the U.S. in the Fiction and Poetry genres.


Deadline February 28, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

Genres

Fiction, Novel, Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: FREE

Tusculum Review Poetry Chapbook Prize

The Tusculum Review

A prize of $1,000, publication of the chapbook in The Tusculum Review’s 2022 issue, and creation of a limited edition stand-alone chapbook is awarded for the winning collection of poems.


Deadline June 15, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publication in The Tusculum Review, creation of a limited edition chapbook

Genres

Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $20

Anthology Poetry Award

Anthology Magazine

Entries are now invited for the Anthology Poetry Award. Established to recognise and encourage excellence in the craft of poetry writing and to provide a platform for publication, it is open to original and previously unpublished poems in the English language. Poems submitted must be on the theme of ‘Freedom’ and should not exceed 40 lines.


Deadline October 31, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

Publication in Anthology Magazine, one-year subscription

Genres

Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $15

The Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award

The Ghost Story

The Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award competition for full-length short stories on a supernatural theme is now open for submissions! Twice each year TGS awards $1,500 and both online and print publication to the winner of our short story competition.


Deadline September 30, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

$1,500

Additional prizes

online and print publication

Genres

Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $20

Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest

Fiction Collective Two

The FC2 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest is open to any writer in English who has not previously published with FC2. Submissions may include a collection of short stories, one or more novellas, or a novel of any length. There is no length requirement. Works that have previously appeared in magazines or in anthologies may be included.


Deadline November 01, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

$1,500

Additional prizes

Publication by FC2

Genres

Fiction, Novel, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $25

Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize

Fiction Collective 2

The FC2 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize is open to any writer in English with at least three books of fiction published. Submissions may include a collection of short stories, one or more novellas, or a novel of any length.


Deadline November 01, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

$15,000

Additional prizes

Genres

Fiction, Novel, Novella, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $25

The Rubery Prize

Rubery Book Awards

The Rubery Prize is a prestigious international book award seeking the best books by indie writers, self published authors and books published by independent presses, judged by reputable judges. Through our reputation of finding quality and outstanding books we aim to bring recognition to the works that win and heighten an author's profile.


Deadline March 31, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

£2000

Additional prizes

£200, a write-up

Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $60

Discover the finest writing contests of 2021 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 2021 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 2021

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 2021

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.