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Red Hen Press Fiction Award

Red Hen Press

The Red Hen Fiction Award is for a fresh and original story of fiction with a minimum of 150 pages. The awarded manuscript is selected through an annual submission process which is open to all authors. Award is $1000 and publication of the awarded manuscript by Red Hen Press.


Deadline September 30, 2020

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Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publication by Red Hen Press

Genres

Fiction, Novel,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $25

100 Word Flash Fiction Contest

FanStory

Write a flash fiction story on any topic that uses exactly 100 words. The winner takes away a $100 cash prize. All writers will receive feedback for their submission.


Deadline September 16, 2020

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Top prize

$100

Additional prizes

Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $9

Gemini Magazine 12th Annual Flash Fiction Contest

Gemini Magazine

We are open to any subject, genre or length. All five finalists will be published online in the October 2020 issue. Both new and experienced writers have won our contests. All entries are read blind.


Deadline August 31, 2020

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Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Genres

Fiction, Short Story, Flash Fiction,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $6

WOW! Women On Writing Spring 2020 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 May 31, 2020

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Top prize

$400

Additional prizes

Interview on WOW! Blog

Genres

Flash Fiction, Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $10

Saints & Sinners Fiction Contest 2020-2021

Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival

The winner will be selected from this year’s submissions of original, unpublished short stories between 3,000 and 7,000 words with LGBT content on the broad theme of “Saints and Sinners.” This contest would not be possible without a generous grant from The John Burton Harter Foundation.


Deadline October 02, 2020

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Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

Publication in anthology from Bold Strokes Books

Genres

Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $20

TWF Fiction Contest 2020-2021

Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival

This contest is open only to writers who have not yet published a book of fiction. Published books include self-published books with ISBN numbers. Those who have published books in other genres besides fiction remain eligible.


Deadline October 02, 2020

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Top prize

$1,500

Additional prizes

Publication in Louisiana Literature

Genres

Fiction,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $25

TWF Very Short Fiction Contest 2020-2021

Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival

A submission is one original short story, written in English, up to 1,000 words.


Deadline October 16, 2020

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Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

Publication in New Orleans Review Web Features

Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $10

2019 SFPA Poetry Contest

Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA)

The annual SFPA Speculative (Dwarf/Short/Long) Poetry Contest is open to all poets, including non-members of the SFPA. Awards will be given across 3 categories.


Deadline August 31, 2020

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Top prize

$100

Additional prizes

Genres

Poetry, Fiction,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $2

Fiction Factory FLASH Fiction

Fiction Factory

Maximum 1,000 words in any genre other than Children's and Young Adult Fiction. This is an international competition but entries must be written in English.


Deadline July 31, 2020

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Top prize

$180

Additional prizes

Publication in an anthology.

Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $7

Flash Fiction Award

Bath Flash Fiction Award

Entrants have the opportunity to appear in our print and digital books. We own a small press, Ad Hoc Fiction, which publishes quality books and also runs a weekly micro-fiction contest. In addition, we organize the UK's annual Flash Fiction Festival.


Deadline June 07, 2020

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Top prize

$1,200

Additional prizes

Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $12

The Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest

The Saturday Evening Post

In its nearly two centuries of existence, The Saturday Evening Post has published short fiction by a who's who of great American authors, including Ray Bradbury, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Louis L'Amour, Sinclair Lewis, Jack London, Joyce Carol Oates, Edgar Allan Poe, Anne Tyler, and Kurt Vonnegut, among so many others. Now you have the opportunity to join our illustrious lineup by entering The Saturday Evening Post 's Annual Great American Fiction Contest.


Deadline July 01, 2020

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Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

Publication in The Saturday Evening Post

Genres

Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $10

Bridport Flash Fiction Prize

Bridport Arts Centre

It may be the sprint of creative writing but that doesn’t mean you can rush the creative process. Take us somewhere fast then let your story marinade in the reader's mind. Make every one of your 250 words count. There is no minimum number of words, just like there is no limit to your imagination. They say lightning doesn't strike twice but we want to feel the electricity in your story right from the beginning through to the very end.


Deadline May 31, 2020

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Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $9

The Lascaux Prize in Flash Fiction

The Lascaux Review

The Lascaux Prize in Flash Fiction will reopen 1 January 2020. Stories may be previously published or unpublished, and simultaneous submissions are accepted. True stories and prose poetry are welcome as long as they’re written in a narrative style. Winner receives $1,000, a bronze medallion, and publication online in The Lascaux Review. The winner and all finalists will be published in the annual print journal Lascaux 8.


Deadline June 30, 2020

Learn more
Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $15

Discover the finest writing contests of 2020 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 2020 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 for your career as 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 2020

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 2020

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.