The Best Writing Contests of 2023

Writing competitions curated by Reedsy

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Showing 547 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, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Short Story

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Dave Williamson National Short Story Competition

Manitoba Writers' Guild

Open to writers across Canada. Short prose in English, 2,500-5,000 words in any fiction genre. We actively encourage submissions from all writers who are 18 years of age or older.

Top prize

$1,000 CAD

Additional prizes

2nd: $600 CAD | 3rd: $400 CAD

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $15

Deadline: March 01, 2023


Genres

Fiction

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Chapter One Prize

Gutsy Great Novelist

The Gutsy Great Novelist Chapter One Prize is awarded for an outstanding first chapter of an unpublished novel. The prize is open internationally to anyone over 18 writing a novel in English in any genre for adult or YA readers. Winners will be announced March 31, 2023.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

2nd: $500 |3rd: $250

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $20

Deadline: March 01, 2023


Genres

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

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Romance on the Road

Intrepid Times

Write an original, factual, first-person travel story about a time you experienced romance while traveling. Feel free to explore romance in all of its manifestations, but ensure that your travel story builds itself around the context of a place or experience. Editors will be looking for originality, voice, and a satisfying story arc that captures attention and makes use of imagery to pull the reader along at every step.

Top prize

$200

Additional prizes

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: March 19, 2023


Genres

Non-fiction, Romance, Travel

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Aurora Polaris Creative Nonfiction Award

Trio House Press

We seek un-agented full-length creative nonfiction manuscripts including memoir, essay collections, etc. 50,000 - 80,000 words.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $25

Deadline: August 31, 2023


Genres

Essay, Memoir, Non-fiction

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100 Word Writing Contest

Tadpole Press

100 words per entry. Submit as many entries as you’d like. All ages. All genders. All nationalities. All writers welcome. This year's theme is the power of words. The words we write, the words we say, the words we keep to ourselves. They make a difference in the lives of those around us. How can you use your words to instill a sense of calm, of hope, of community? To remind one another of the beauty of diversity. To encourage us to support, love, and inspire one another.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

2nd: writing coach package 3rd: developmental or diversity editing package.

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: April 30, 2023


Genres

Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Thriller, Young Adult

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Southword Literary Essay Competition

Munster Literature Centre

The competition is open to original, unpublished, personal essays between 2500 ‒ 5000 words. We’re looking for personal, confessional essays which border on memoir ‒ gripping essays full of memories and feelings. The best indicator of the kind of thing which interests us is what we have published in past issues; essays by Kim Addonizio, Sandra Beasley, Simon Van Booy, Carlo Geblér, Thomas Lynch, Anthony Walton, Helen Mort and Kim Moore.

Top prize

€1,000

Additional prizes

8 Runners-Up: €500

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $22

Deadline: February 28, 2023


Genres

Essay

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FemmeFluenza 3.0

WriteFluence

This is our third exclusively-for-women-writers story-writing international contest. ‘Cos life is all about celebrating womanhood and surviving through various challenges it brings along! Theme: Separation. Word count: 1000 – 2500 words. Author eligibility: Writers of age 16 and above, from all across the globe. All entries must be in English. Only original works that have not been published in print, digital or online publications will be considered.

Top prize

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $2

Deadline: February 20, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Short Story

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International Welsh Poetry Competition 2023

International Welsh Poetry Competition

The first Welsh Poetry Competition was set up by poet & writer Dave Lewis in 2007. The aim is to inspire people to capture life in the present day and to give a voice to a new generation of poets and writers. We are not interested in purely academic types of literature but would much rather see pure raw passion burst onto the creative writing scene in Wales.

Top prize

£500

Additional prizes

2nd: £250 | 3rd: £125

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $8

Deadline: June 04, 2023


Genres

Poetry

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International Poetry Book Awards 2023

Poetry Book Awards

The Poetry Book Awards is an annual, international book award given to the best poetry books produced by indie writers, self published authors or books published by small, truly independent presses. We are proud to be a Welsh based international awards programme, open to all indie authors and self published poets globally.

Top prize

£400

Additional prizes

2nd: £200 | 3rd: £100 | Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $44

Deadline: July 31, 2023


Genres

Poetry

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NextTribe Short Story Contest for Women (Over 45)

Next Tribe Inc

We believe women age 45+ have much fuel to write good stories, so our contest is exclusively for this demographic.

Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

2 runners up: $100 | Publication in NextTribe

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $25

Deadline: May 08, 2023


Genres

Short Story

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Desperate Literature Prize for Short Fiction

Desperate Literature

The aim of the Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize is both to celebrate the best of new, boundary-pushing short fiction and to give winners the most visibility possible for their writing. This year, the stories of 2000 words or fewer will be judged by Ottessa Moshfegh, Tiffany Tsao, and Mariana Enriquez.

Top prize

€1,500 + a 7-day stay at the Civitella Ranieri artist’s residency in Umbria, Italy

Additional prizes

2nd and 3rd place: €750

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $22

Deadline: April 16, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Short Story

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Eco Friendly Writing Contest

Howard's New Beginnings

The aim of the contest is to share eco-friendly ideas. Tell us something you think helps make the planet become more eco-friendly such as an eco-friendly product or packaging, a recipe for a natural product, or a waste-management tip. Up to 500 words. Any writer from anywhere can submit an entry. Contest deadline is April 22 2023, Earth Day.

Top prize

$150

Additional prizes

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $5

Deadline: April 22, 2023


Genres

Essay, Non-fiction, Science Writing

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Flash Memoir

Writer Advice

WriterAdvice seeks flash memoir, a personal life story running 750 words or less.

Top prize

$150

Additional prizes

Publication in our e-zine

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $5

Deadline: March 02, 2023


Genres

Memoir

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Booksie 2023 Poetry Contest

Booksie

Booksie is looking to crown its 2018 Poet Laureate. The poetry can be of any type, length, or content, but it must be your own. The poetry can be serious or whimsical, fact or fiction, but it should strike a chord that makes us sit up and take notice. We're looking for poems that say something and make a reader sit up and think. You may submit as many entries as you like.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

$150 to two runners-up

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $7

Deadline: June 15, 2023


Genres

Poetry

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The TRP Southern Breakthrough Series

Texas Review Press

The TRP Southern Poetry Breakthrough Series highlights a first full-length collection by emerging authors from each state in the southern U.S. This year's state is South Carolina. Open to any poet born in South Carolina, currently residing in South Carolina, or who has lived in South Carolina for five consecutive years at any point, who has not yet published a full-length collection of poetry. The author may have published chapbooks or books in other genres. Submissions accepted through Submittable only.

Top prize

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: February 28, 2023


Genres

Poetry

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Writing MAGIC

Sadie Tells Stories

Write a short story, under 500 words that is all about magic. It can be for any age group. It can be fiction or non-fiction. Get creative. Have fun. And share your magic with the world!

Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

$150 USD for second prize

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: April 01, 2023


Genres

Fantasy, Fiction, Short Story, Flash Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult

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Folly Journal Open Short Story Prize

Folly Journal

Folly is a new independent literary and arts journal from New Zealand, drawn to satirical takes on the social scene, dark humour and starkly honest account of ordinary life. The inaugural issue will be published late 2023 and will feature shortlisted submissions to the Folly Journal Open Short Story Prize. We are seeking international submissions that take risks, scream with honesty and celebrate life’s extraordinary moments.

Top prize

$1000 NZD

Additional prizes

2nd: $500 NZD | 3rd: $200 NZD | Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $3

Deadline: May 31, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Short Story

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Competition 14

Free Flash Fiction

The Bi-monthly Free Flash Fiction Competition promotes the work of flash fiction authors. The winner of the current competition will be invited to be the judge for the next competition. Submit a flash fiction piece between 100 and 300 words, on any theme.

Top prize

$150

Additional prizes

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $4

Deadline: February 23, 2023


Genres

Flash Fiction

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Superhero Competition

Green Stories project at University of Southampton

Organised by the University of Southampton, Green Stories is a ‘free’ writing competition project with a range of categories for novelists and short story writers. Entries should conform with positive visions of more sustainable futures and/or the inclusion of green solutions but needn’t have an explicitly green theme.

Top prize

£500 prize

Additional prizes

A scene from the winner’s story turned into a 1-page comic strip, made by a professional artist.

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: April 15, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Novel, Short Story

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The One Page Poetry Contest

One Page Poetry

One Page Poetry is dedicated to the art of expressing a poetic theme on a single page, whether your poem is four lines or forty, whether yours is a love poem, inspirational poem, philosophical poem, or just one that is fun or whimsical. We welcome any and all poetic forms, as long as they fit on a single page.

Top prize

$2,000

Additional prizes

2nd: $1000 | 3rd: $500

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $25

Deadline: September 30, 2023


Genres

Poetry

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"It's All Write!" Teen Writing Contest

Ann Arbor District Library

The Ann Arbor District Library is excited to host its 30th annual “It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest in Winter 2022! Young Adult authors take part as judges each year, who then read and select the winning stories. Stories are judged in three different categories: Grades 6-8, Grades 9 & 10, and Grades 11 & 12. The top three writers in each age group receive fabulous prizes. This is an ever-growing, state-wide contest.

Top prize

$250

Additional prizes

2nd: $150 | 3rd: $75

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: March 05, 2023


Genres

Children's

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J. Michael Samuel Prize for Emerging Writers Over 50

Lambda Literary

The J. Michael Samuel Prize honors emerging LGBTQ writers over the age of 50. This award is made possible by writer and philanthropist Chuck Forester, who created it out of the firmly held belief that “Writers who start late are just as good as other writers, it just took the buggers more time.” The prize will go to an unpublished LGBTQ writer over 50 working in any genre.

Top prize

$5,000

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: February 17, 2023


Genres

LGBTQ

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Judith A. Markowitz Award for Exceptional New LGBTQ Writers

Lambda Literary

Lambda Literary has played a pivotal role in nurturing the development of exceptional new LGBTQ writers through the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, internships, and writing and performance opportunities. The Judith A. Markowitz Award for Exceptional New LGBTQ Writers recognizes LGBTQ-identified writers whose work demonstrates their strong potential for promising careers.

Top prize

$1000 (x2)

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: February 17, 2023


Genres

LGBTQ

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Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction

Lambda Literary

Lambda Literary’s Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction, in memory of the beloved activist and author, honors lesbian/queer-identified women and trans/gender non-conforming nonfiction authors. The award will go to a writer committed to nonfiction work that captures the depth and complexity of lesbian/queer life, culture, and/or history.

Top prize

$2,500

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: February 17, 2023


Genres

LGBTQ, Non-fiction

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Jim Duggins, PhD Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize

Lambda Literary

Dedicated to the memory of author and journalist Jim Duggins, this prize honors LGBTQ-identified authors who have published multiple novels, built a strong reputation and following, and show promise to continue publishing high quality work for years to come.

Top prize

$5000 (x2)

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: February 17, 2023


Genres

Fiction, LGBTQ, Novel

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Autumn House Poetry Contest

Autumn House Press

For the 2023 contest, the Autumn House staff as well as select outsider readers serve as the preliminary readers, and the final judge is Toi Derricotte. The winner receives publication of a full-length manuscript and $2,500.

Top prize

Book publication | $1,000 honorarium | $1,500 travel/publicity grant

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $30

Deadline: March 31, 2023


Genres

Poetry

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The Iowa Review Awards

The Iowa Review

Each January since 2003, The Iowa Review has invited submissions to The Iowa Review Awards, a writing contest in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Winners receive $1,500; first runners-up receive $750. Winners and runners-up are published in each December issue.

Top prize

$1,500

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $20

Deadline: January 31, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, Short Story

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Morton and McCarthy Prizes

Sarabande Books

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 requirements

💰 Fee: $29

Deadline: February 15, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Short Story

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The Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction

Association of Writers & Writing Programs

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

$5,500

Additional prizes

Publication by Red Hen Press

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $30

Deadline: March 03, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Short Story

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The Donald Hall Prize for Poetry

Association of Writers & Writing Programs

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

$5,500

Additional prizes

Publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $30

Deadline: March 03, 2023


Genres

Poetry

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AWP Prize for Creative Nonfiction

Association of Writers & Writing Programs

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 requirements

💰 Fee: $30

Deadline: March 03, 2023


Genres

Non-fiction

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AWP Prize for the Novel

Association of Writers & Writing Programs

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 New Issues Press

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $30

Deadline: March 03, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Novel

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The Berkeley Fiction Review Sudden Fiction Contest

Berkeley Fiction Review

Submit pieces under 1000 words for a chance to be featured in the next issue of our journal as well as a cash prize of up to $150!

Top prize

$150

Additional prizes

2nd: $100 | 3rd:$50 | Honorable mentions: $25

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $5

Deadline: March 05, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Short Story

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Tor House Prize for Poetry

Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation

The annual Tor House Prize for Poetry is a living memorial to American poet Robinson Jeffers. The contest is open to well-crafted poetry in all styles, ranging from experimental work to traditional forms, including short narrative poems. Poems should be no longer than 3 pages.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

$200 for honorable mention

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: March 15, 2023


Genres

Poetry

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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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