The Best Writing Contests of 2022

Writing competitions curated by Reedsy

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Showing 537 contests


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!

Top prize

$250

Additional prizes

Publication on Reedsy Blog

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $5

Deadline: December 31, 2022


Genres

Fiction, Short Story

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AIIRA Writing Contest

AI Institute for Resilient Agriculture

We invite contestants to submit writing that imagines the world in the year 2050 and explores the relationship between humans, technology, and their food: what will food look, taste, and feel like; where will it come from; who will produce and transport it; and how will we access and consume it? The world you bring to light should be believable and probe the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the future of agriculture. Your submission can be fiction or creative non-fiction, but keep in mind that the strongest submissions will use research to support the reality described. Contestants must be undergraduate students to submit to this contest.

Top prize

$2,000

Additional prizes

2nd: $1,500 | 3rd: $1,000

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: December 31, 2022


Genres

Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Non-fiction, Science Writing, Short Story

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NOWW 25th International Writing Contest

Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop (NOWW)

A Canadian contest with an international flair. As part of our 25th anniversary celebration, we have increased the prize total to $1800 over six major categories: poetry, short fiction, creative non-fiction, crime fiction, literary critical writing, and The Bill MacDonald prize for prose (A Northwestern Ontario setting must be central to the work).

Top prize

$150 CAD

Additional prizes

Publication in NOWW magazine

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: February 28, 2023


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Non-fiction, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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Voice.Club - Flash Fiction Writing Contest

Voice.Club

Express yourself in a supportive, family-friendly community, as you develop your writing skills. Voice.club is a family-friendly platform where creators can express themselves in a supportive environment. Our recurring writing contests have attracted talented writers from all over the world, and invite you to write a story of 350 words or less, based on our current prompt.

Top prize

$50 Amazon Gift Card + Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $0

Deadline: December 31, 2022


Genres

Flash Fiction, Short Story

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Clash of the Query Letters

Darling Axe Editing

Our judge, Michelle Barker, will be asking herself one question: does this query letter convince me that I'm in the hands of an adept novelist with a unique and engaging story to tell?

Top prize

CAD $700

Additional prizes

CAD $200 for 2nd place, $100 for 3rd place

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $4

Deadline: January 31, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, Novel

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Medical Student Essay Contest

Hektoen International Journal of the Medical Humanities

Students currently enrolled in a medical school or program are encouraged to submit to our Medical Student Essay Contest. Essays can be on any topic as it relates to medicine. Art, history, and literature topics are preferred.

Top prize

$3,500

Additional prizes

Runner-ups: $2,500

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: March 15, 2023


Genres

Essay, Memoir

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Stories Through The Ages - Baby Boomer Plus

Stories Through The Ages

Stories Through The Ages - Baby Boomers Plus 2023 is open to people born 1966 or earlier. The deadline for entries is June 15, 2023. There is no prompt for the contest. Authors may write about any topic. The entry fee is $20 ($15 if submitting more than one story). The word count for this contest is 900 - 5000 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.

Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

2nd: $200 | 3rd: $100

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $20

Deadline: June 15, 2023


Genres

Short Story, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Non-fiction

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Pet Flash Fiction Contest

Booksie.com

Write a true story about a pet in 300 words or less! To make it extra enjoyable, please show us a picture of your pet if you can! It can be silly, sad, scary, or any adjective so long as it involves your furry or scaly friend.

Top prize

$250

Additional prizes

2 runner-up: $50

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $5

Deadline: February 28, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Humor, Young Adult

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The Goldilocks Zone

Sunspot Lit

Inspired by the search for Goldilocks Zone planets, Sunspot Lit is looking for one short story, CNF, artwork, poem, graphic novel, or script that combines excellence with appeal. Literary and genre works accepted; feedback available.

Top prize

$200

Additional prizes

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $9

Deadline: December 19, 2022


Genres

Crime, Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Poetry, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Script Writing, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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Minds Shine Bright Writing Competition

Minds Shine Bright

As we adjust to new realities, inflationary pressures, geo-political tensions, environmental challenges and more it’s time to imagine and explore. The Minds Shine Bright writing competition Confidence 2023 is open and calling for entries of short stories, short scripts, flash fiction and poetry which explore the theme of confidence in some way.

Top prize

$1,080

Additional prizes

$540 for each category winner | $118 for commended entries

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $4

Deadline: February 28, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Poetry, Script Writing, Short Story

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Elegant Literature's Contest For New Writers

Elegant Literature

One of the largest awards open to unpublished writers, and the only one closed to professionals. We are the first magazine to pay pro rates and only accept submissions from new writers. Each month we hold a contest based on a short fiction prompt. One new author receives the grand prize. We also choose the best stories, pay the authors above-professional rates, and publish them in our magazine. November's head judge is Nathan Baugh.

Top prize

$3,000

Additional prizes

Paid publication, 25 x $20 USD.

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: December 01, 2022


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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Creative Writing Contest-CWC11

Dharma Inc. Intl.

What are the changes you would like to see, to make the world a better place?  Our world is seeing a lot of changes. What are the beneficial ones, which ones are harmful? Which changes, from what you have seen, will make things better?

Top prize

$900

Additional prizes

2nd: $300 | 3nd: $100

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: December 04, 2022


Genres

Essay

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National Essay Contest

U.S. Institute of Peace

The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) partners with the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) on the annual National High School Essay Contest. The contest engages high school students in learning and writing about issues of peace and conflict, encouraging appreciation for diplomacy’s role in building partnerships that can advance peacebuilding and protect national security.

Top prize

$2,500

Additional prizes

Runner-up: $1,250

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: April 03, 2023


Genres

Essay

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Muse of Fire BIPOC Playwriting Festival

Atlanta Shakespeare Company

The Atlanta Shakespeare Company is launching a new playwriting initiative for historically marginalized artists. The "Muse Of Fire Playwriting Festival'' invites playwrights of the global majority to create a full-length play that reimagines Shakespeare’s themes and plots through the lens of BIPOC America.

Top prize

$5,000

Additional prizes

Stage reading in summer 2023

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: April 15, 2023


Genres

Script Writing

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The Anne Marie Gracie Memorial Poetry Competition

Alex Frew

The contest is a loving tribute to Anne Marie Gracie, who died of cancer. All profits from the competition will go to Ayrshire Cancer Support.

Top prize

$118

Additional prizes

2nd: $60 | 3rd: $30

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $3

Deadline: April 30, 2023


Genres

Poetry

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Human Rights Essay Contest for High School Students

RICHARD M KEMPER FOUNDATION

Respect for human rights seems to be eroding in many countries. Do you agree? If so, provide examples and explain what you think is the major cause of the problem and how it should be addressed? If you disagree, explain the reason you disagree.

Top prize

$3,000

Additional prizes

2nd: $1500 | 3rd: $750

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: December 10, 2022


Genres

Non-fiction

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Pulp Fictional Writing Competitions

Pulp Fictional.com

Our Flash contest is now open and will run until 1st January 2023. The Short Story contest begins on the same date and will run until 31st May 2023.

Top prize

$452

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: May 31, 2023


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Short Story, Thriller

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Monthly Short Story Contest

Olde Wolf

Here at Olde Wolf, we love seeing writers show off their skills. Whether you’re a seasoned author or up-and-coming talent, we encourage you to enter our monthly writing contest!

Top prize

$100

Additional prizes

Featured on Olde Wolf's website

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $0

Deadline: November 30, 2022


Genres

Fiction

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Newbie Flash Fiction

FanStory.com Inc.

The challenge of this writing contest is to share a story that uses exactly 100 words. Write about anything but can you share a complete story with only 100 words?

Top prize

$100

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: July 08, 2023


Genres

Flash Fiction

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Debut Dagger

Crime Writer's Association

The Debut Dagger is a competition for the opening of a crime novel by a writer who isn’t represented by an agent by the time the competition closes, and who has never had a traditional contract for any novel of any length, or who has never self-published any novel of any length in the last 5 years. Writers submit their opening 3,000 words and a 1,500 word synopsis. Entries from shortlisted writers are sent to UK literary agents and publishers. Every year, authors find representation this way.

Top prize

$577

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $41

Deadline: February 28, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Mystery, Novel, Novella, Suspense, Thriller

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2-4-2 Poetry Contest

FanStory.com Inc.

Share a 2-4-2. What's that? That's a poem with only three lines that has 8 syllables total! So the first line of your poem will have two syllables. The second line will have four. And the final line will have two again. Cash prize to the winner.

Top prize

$100

Additional prizes

Winning poems will be featured on the FanStory.com welcome page.

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: July 11, 2023


Genres

Poetry

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Share A Story In A Poem

FanStory.com Inc

Share a poem that rhymes and also tells a story. We included an example of this type of poem in the contest announcement. To the winner goes a cash prize.

Top prize

$100

Additional prizes

Winning poems will be featured on the FanStory.com welcome page.

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: July 07, 2023


Genres

Poetry

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Science Fiction Writing Contest

FanStory.com Inc

Share a Science Fiction themed story to enter this writing contest with a cash prizes. Let your imagination fly and enjoy sharing your writing.

Top prize

$100

Additional prizes

Winning entries will be features on the FanStory.com welcome page.

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $9

Deadline: April 12, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Science Writing, Science Fiction

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Ethos Literacy Annual Short Short Story Contest

Ethos Literacy

The challenge: write a story using 100 words on one of four topics. Open to all ages with a special prize for authors 14 years or younger. The contest supports nonprofit literacy programs.

Top prize

$200

Additional prizes

6 cash prizes of $100 each; publication in digital magazine, inclusion in webcast

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $12

Deadline: January 15, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Short Story

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The Roswell Award & Feminist Futures Award

The Omega Sci-Fi Awards

The Omega Sci-Fi Awards are proud to accept entries for The Roswell Award international short science fiction story competition from writers age 16 and older. The Feminist Futures Award will be awarded to a distinct winner for an outstanding feminist sci-fi story.

Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

UCLA Extension Writers’ Program

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $0

Deadline: December 19, 2022


Genres

Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Story

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The Nervous Ghost Press Book Prize

Nervous Ghost Press

The 2021 Nervous Ghost Press Book Prizes are open to outstanding works of poetry and prose by anyone living in the United States of America. ​All work and all writers, from any point in their careers, are welcome to submit their work and get a chance of publication. Please submit a completed a manuscript (50,000-100,000 words for prose, 48-128 pages for poetry).

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publication and a Californian reading tour

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: March 31, 2023


Genres

Essay, Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, Novel, Poetry, Humor, Young Adult

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Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award

Baen Books

The National Space Society and Baen Books applaud the role that science fiction plays in advancing real science and have teamed up to sponsor this short fiction contest in memory of Jim Baen. We are seeking short stories of no more than 8,000 words, that show the near future (no more than about 50-60 years out) of manned space exploration.

Top prize

Publication on the Baen Books website for normal paying rates

Additional prizes

Free entry into the 2021 International Space Development Conference, a year's membership to the National Space Society, a prize package

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $0

Deadline: February 01, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Story

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Harold Morton Landon Translation Award

Academy of American Poets

This $1,000 award recognizes a poetry collection translated from any language into English and published in the previous calendar year. Established in 1976, it is given annually. A noted translator chooses the winning book.

Top prize

$1,000

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: February 15, 2023


Genres

Poetry

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Ambroggio Prize

Academy of American Poets

The Ambroggio Prize is a $1,000 publication prize given for a book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish and with an English translation. The winning manuscript is published by Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, publisher of literary works, scholarship, and art books by or about U.S. Hispanics.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publication by Bilingual Press

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: February 15, 2023


Genres

Poetry

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CWA Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition

Crime Writers' Association

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 requirements

💰 Fee: $16

Deadline: February 28, 2023


Genres

Mystery, Short Story

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James Jones First Novel Fellowship

Wilkes University

A prize of $10,000 is given annually for a novel-in-progress by a U.S. writer who has not published a novel. Runners-up will receive $1000. A selection from the winning work is published in Provincetown Arts.

Top prize

$10,000

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $33

Deadline: March 15, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Novel

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The Killer Nashville Claymore Award

Killer Nashville

Every year, the Killer Nashville Claymore Award assists new and rebranding English-language fiction authors get published, including possible agent representation, book advances, editor deals, and movie and television sales. While we cannot guarantee that winners and finalists of this award will receive publication, dozens of winners & runners-up of the Claymore award have gone on to find great success in their careers and many of them attribute that success to this award.

Top prize

Publishing contract

Additional prizes

Discounted admission to Killer Nashville, introductions to agents/editors

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $40

Deadline: April 01, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Novel

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The Breakwater Fiction Contest

Break Water Review

We are seeking submissions for pieces that breathe freshness to the form. We are interested in previously unpublished prose ranging from 1,000 - 4,000 words.

Top prize

$1,000

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: December 01, 2022


Genres

Fiction, Short Story

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Henshaw Short Story Competition

Henshaw Press

Short Story of up to 2000 words on any theme.

Top prize

$237

Additional prizes

2nd: $118 | 3rd: $60

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $7

Deadline: January 06, 2023


Genres

Fiction

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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. You may submit up to three entries for $12. A single entry is $10. Each entry can be up to 1,000 words long.

Top prize

$300

Additional prizes

Considered for publication in F(r)iction

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $15

Deadline: November 01, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Short Story

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Discover the finest writing contests of 2022 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 2022 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 2022

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 2022

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:

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