The Best Writing Contests of 2022

Writing competitions curated by Reedsy

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Showing 384 contests


The Diana Woods Memorial Award

Lunch Ticket

Twice each year, in memory of Diana Woods, a work of creative nonfiction (3,500 words or less) is selected for the DWM award, and published in Lunch Ticket alongside two finalists. This cycle, we are seeking work on the theme of Openings. Send us your memoir, personal essays, and flash nonfiction that meets, exceeds, or explodes our expectations of how openings look, feel, and sound.

Top prize

$250

Additional prizes

Publication in the Lunch Ticket Magazine

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: September 01, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Non-fiction

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James Laughlin Award

Academy of American Poets

Offered since 1954, the James Laughlin Award is given to recognize and support a second book of poetry forthcoming in the next calendar year. Along with $5,000, the winner receives an all-expenses-paid weeklong residency in Miami Beach, Florida, and distribution of the winning book to approximately one thousand Academy of American Poets members. Submissions are accepted January 1 through May 15 each year.

Top prize

$5,000

Additional prizes

Distribution of book to Academy of American Poets members

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: May 15, 2022


Genres

Poetry

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Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award

Claremont Graduate University

Unlike many literary awards, which are coronations for a successful career or body of work, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award was created to both honor the poet and provide the resources that allow artists to continue working towards the pinnacle of their craft. The work submitted must be a first book of poetry published between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

Top prize

$100,000

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: July 01, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Poetry

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The Restless Books Prize For New Immigrant Writing

Restless Books

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. Submissions for the 2021 Prize in Nonfiction are open from September 10, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

Top prize

$10,000

Additional prizes

Publication by Restless Books

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: March 31, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Non-fiction

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Irene Adler Prize

Lucas Aykroyd

The Irene Adler Prize offers a $1,000 US scholarship to a woman pursuing a degree in journalism, creative writing, or literature at a recognized post-secondary institution in the U.S. or Canada, based on an essay competition.

Top prize

$1,000

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: April 30, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Essay

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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.

Top prize

$500

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: February 28, 2022


Genres

Fiction, Novel, 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, 2022


Genres

Poetry

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Hillerman Prize

St. Martin's Press and Western Writers of America

Sponsored by St. Martin's Press and Western Writers of America, the Tony Hillerman Prize is awarded annually for the best first mystery set in the Southwest. The winner receives a contract with St. Martin's Press for publication of the novel and $10,000.

Top prize

$10,000

Additional prizes

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: January 01, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Fiction

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Jane Martin Poetry Prize (UK)

Girton College

A UK-only competition for young poets (aged 18-30 years). The winners receive a cash prize of £700 and have an opportunity to give a reading at a celebratory event at Girton College.

Top prize

£700

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: March 05, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Poetry

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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.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

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

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: December 31, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Short Story, Fantasy, Science Fiction

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Interactive Romance Writing Contest

Sana Stories

The theme of our current Writing Contest is ‘Slow Burn’ - the romantic pull between two characters that just keeps on going! Stories need to be written with our Writing Tool, have min. 5000 words, have at least one choice situation where the story branches. Adaptations of linear stories are also welcome.

Top prize

€500

Additional prizes

€200, €100

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: April 11, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Short Story, Young Adult

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The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry

African Poetry Book Fund

The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry is awarded annually to an African poet who has not yet published a collection of poetry. Along with $1,000, the winner recives book publication through the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal. Poetry manuscripts should be at least 50 pages long. [Submissions open September 15, 2021]

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Book publication through the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: December 01, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Poetry

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Inkitt's Writing Contest

Inkitt

Inkitt’s Writing Contests regularly give authors the opportunity to share their books with readers around the world and showcase their talents. Their monthly cash prizes give you the chance to win money and exclusive book badges for your writing! Each month one grand prize winner, and two runners up will be selected.

Top prize

$300

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: January 31, 2022


Genres

Fiction

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Justice Centre Essay Contest

Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms asks Canadian students to answer (in 1000-2500 words) the following question: Should citizens who refuse to get vaccinated have the same rights and freedoms as those who do get vaccinated? This contest is open to all Canadian youth who will be between the age of 15–24 on the date they submit their essay.

Top prize

$2,000

Additional prizes

$1000 for 2nd, $500 for 3rd

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: October 31, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Essay, Non-fiction

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Drue Heinz Literature Prize

University of Pittsburgh Press

The Drue Heinz Literature Prize recognizes and supports writers of short fiction and makes their work available to readers around the world. The award is open to authors who have published a book-length collection of fiction or at least three short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or literary journals.

Top prize

$15,000

Additional prizes

Publication in University of Pittsburgh Press

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: June 30, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Short Story

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Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award

Tufts Poetry Awards

Kate Tufts established the $50,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award at Claremont Graduate University in 1992. As Kate Tufts observed, these awards are intended “to give a poet a little breathing room and a little recognition.” The legacy created with the Kingsley & Kate Tufts Poetry Awards will continue to inspire countless generations of poets and lovers of poetry.

Top prize

$100,000

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: July 01, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Poetry

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Drue Heinz Literature Prize

University of Pittsburgh Press

The Drue Heinz Literature Prize recognizes and supports writers of short fiction and makes their work available to readers around the world. The award is open to authors who have published a book-length collection of fiction or at least three short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or literary journals.

Top prize

$15,000

Additional prizes

Publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: June 30, 2022


Genres

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MBF/de Groot Prize

Miami Book Fair

The Miami Book Fair has partnered with The de Groot Foundation to launch the Miami Book Fair/de Groot Prize to be awarded to an author for an unpublished novella. We created the MBF/de Groot Prize to fan the flame in emerging writers who yearn to be published. We want the prize to bring out the best in new authors who have a story that needs to be heard.

Top prize

$6,000

Additional prizes

Publication by Melville House & an expense-paid trip to the Miami Book Fair

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: May 30, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Novella

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We the Students Essay Contest

Bill of Rights Institute

The Bill of Rights Institute engages, educates, and empowers individuals with a passion for the freedom and opportunity that exist in a free society. Students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Armed Forces schools abroad, and students in United States territories are eligible to participate in its contest.

Top prize

$7,500

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: April 15, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Children's, Essay

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World Historian Student Essay Competition

World History Association

The World Historian Student Essay Competition is an international competition open to students enrolled in grades K–12 in public, private, and parochial schools, and those in home-study programs. Membership in the World History Association is not a requirement for submission. Past winners may not compete in the same category again.

Top prize

$500

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: May 01, 2022


Genres

Children's, Essay

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Kate Tufts Discovery Award

Claremont Graduate University

The Kate Tufts Discovery Award was created in 1994, a year after the inception of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. It is presented to a first book by a poet of genuine promise. The Kate Tufts Discovery Award offers a hefty prize of $10,000 and is given for poetry volumes published in the preceding year: between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

Top prize

$10,000

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: July 01, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Poetry

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Jane Austen Society of North America Essay Contest

Jane Austen Society of North America

JASNA conducts an annual student Essay Contest to foster the study and appreciation of Jane Austen's works in new generations of readers. Students world-wide are invited to compete for scholarship awards in three divisions: high school, college, and graduate school.

Top prize

$1,000 scholarship

Additional prizes

Two nights’ lodging for JASNA’s Annual General Meeting

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: June 02, 2022


Genres

Children's, Essay

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Amazing Women’s Edition Contest

National Youth Foundation

Founded by Black women with a vision for change, the mission of the National Youth Foundation is to promote diversity, inclusion and gender equality through innovative literary programs. To honor the vast accomplishments of women in the United States, the National Youth Foundation is pleased to announce the Amazing Women’s Edition (AWE) competition. This writing contest is open to students in grades K to 8 residing in the United States.

Top prize

$500

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: January 07, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Children's

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National Youth Foundation "I Matter" Contest

National Youth Foundation

Founded by Black women with a vision for change, the mission of the National Youth Foundation is to promote diversity, inclusion and gender equality through innovative literary programs. The “I Matter” poetry contest was launched by a 14-year old student who took action to educate the world about why Black Lives Matter. The contest calls upon students across the country to submit poems on this important topic.

Top prize

$500

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: July 23, 2022


Genres

Children's, Poetry

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VFW Voice of Democracy

Veterans of Foreign Wars

The VFW is dedicated to promoting patriotism and investing in our future generation. If you are a democracy-loving high school student interested in a $30,000 college scholarship or a patriotic middle school student interested in winning $5,000, these scholarships may be for you.

Top prize

$30,000 college scholarship

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: October 31, 2022


Genres

Children's

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Rattle Young Poets

Rattle Foundation

Rattle is a publication of the Rattle Foundation, an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the practice of poetry, and is not affiliated with any other organization. The author of the poem must have been age 15 or younger when the poem was written, and 18 or younger when submitted.

Top prize

Publication in Rattle Magazine

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: November 15, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Children's, Poetry

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Bennington Young Writers Awards

Bennington College

Bennington College has a unique literary legacy, including twelve Pulitzer Prize winners, three U.S. poet laureates, four MacArthur Geniuses, countless New York Times bestsellers, and two of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. In celebration of this legacy, Bennington launched the Young Writers Awards to promote excellence in writing at the high school level. Our goal with this competition is to recognize outstanding writing achievement by high school students.

Top prize

$500

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: November 01, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Children's

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"Write On!" Short Story Contest

Ann Arbor District Library

The annual "Write On!" Short Story Contest for Grades 3-5 accepts story entries each winter. All writers, their friends, and families are invited to a Story Celebration and awards ceremony on Saturday, April 23, 2022, featuring a published children's author and the top three writers in each grade will receive an award.

Top prize

Publication on website

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: February 07, 2022


Genres

Children's, Short Story

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Stone Soup Flash Fiction Contest

Stone Soup

Stone Soup holds a Flash Contest during the first week of every month. The month’s first Weekly Creativity prompt provides the contest challenge. Submissions are due by midnight on Sunday of the same week. Up to five winners are chosen for publication on our blog. The winners, along with up to five honorable mentions, are announced in the following Saturday Newsletter.

Top prize

Publication on Stone Soup's blog

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: December 01, 2022


Genres

Children's, Flash Fiction

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IEW Writing Contest

Institute for Excellent Writing

We are delighted to present our annual writing contest for all aspiring and accomplished writers, ages eight to eighteen. Whether or not they have experience with IEW's Structure and Style® Writing Method, your students are invited to participate.

Top prize

$100

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: April 30, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Children's, Short Story

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Funny Festival Fables

C.A.A.B Publishin

Write us a short story about the festive period. We want tales about silly snowmen, naughty elves, and hilarious stories that would make Santa go HO! HO! HO! Entries should be around 1,000 words or less and must be sent as a Word Document with no pictures.

Top prize

$40

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: August 31, 2022


Genres

Children's, Flash Fiction

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Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award

Society of Children's Book Writers

The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award recognizes and encourages the publication of an excellent book of poetry or anthology for children and/or young adults. The award will be given to a book of poetry originally published in English. It can be a book by an individual poet or poets or an anthology.

Top prize

$1,000

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: March 15, 2022


Genres

Children's, Poetry

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$1000 for 1000 Words Contest

The Layla Beban Young Authors

The $1000 for 1000 Words fiction writing contest is open to all students enrolled in grades 6-12. Each entrant may submit a fiction piece consisting of exactly 1,000 words (not including title or author’s name). The fiction piece can be on any topic, as long as it is not vulgar or offensive, does not use inappropriate profanity, and is the original work of the entrant not previously published.

Top prize

$1,000

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: February 01, 2022


Genres

Children's, Short Story

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Lumiere Review Writing Contest

Lumiere Review

The Lumiere Review is back with our annual Writing Contest! We accept both poems and prose (fiction, nonfiction) from all writers. That said, we particularly encourage emerging writers, as well as those who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQIA, disabled, or other marginalized groups to submit to our contest. We will actively promote writers with these backgrounds.

Top prize

$100

Additional prizes

Publication in Lumiere Magazine

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: January 31, 2022


Genres

LGBTQ, Poetry, Short Story

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Lambda Literary Award

Lambda Literary

Lambda Literary Awards celebrate the best LGBTQ books published in a given year. Submissions are judged principally on literary merit and content relevant to LGBTQ lives. Lambda Literary Awards are open to all authors regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity except in the case of the special awards that mark specific stages of an individual LGBTQ writer’s career.

Top prize

Award

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: December 01, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, LGBTQ, Novel

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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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