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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

Etched Onyx and the Story Discovery Podcast

Onyx Publications

Submitted works must be previously unpublished fiction, nonfiction, poetry or flash fiction. We are open to all styles, genres, and types of writing. We suggest you checkout our free archived editions to get a sense of what we publish. All stories published in the magazine also include a narration of the story and an author interview on our podcast. **Early Bird deadline 8th October, reduced fee of $7.50**


Deadline November 26, 2021

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Top prize

$350

Additional prizes

Publication in Etched Onyx On-line magazine

Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Non-fiction, Poetry, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $11

Saudi Historical Novel Award

Historical Novel Society

Inaugural Saudi Historical Novel Award. Entries must have historical Saudi themes or characters. Please read full guidelines.


Deadline July 01, 2022

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Top prize

£10,000

Additional prizes

runner up prize of £3,000 and a 3rd prize of £2,000

Genres

Fiction, Novel,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $0

Saudi Historical Short Story Award

Historical Novel Society

Inaugural Saudi Historical Short Story Award. Entries must have historical Saudi themes or characters. Please read full guidelines.


Deadline November 15, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

£10,000

Additional prizes

5 runners up prizes of £1,000

Genres

Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $14

Flash Fiction Competition

Globe Soup

Globe Soup are looking for the best flash fiction of no more than 800 words. The competition features a secret location in which all participants must set their story. Participants can get extensive feedback on their entry by joining Globe Soup's writing group and free entry to their monthly micro fiction contests and other opportunities to win cash prizes!


Deadline December 31, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

£1000

Additional prizes

Genres

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

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $16

The Bird in Your Hands Prize

Thin Air Magazine

The Bird in Your Hands Prize is a contest that centers and celebrates BIPOC voices. This is a no-fee contest accepting poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in any form under 500 words. The winner of the contest will be awarded $1000, published in Thin Air Magazine, and interviewed for Thin Air Online.


Deadline December 01, 2021

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Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publication in Thin Air Magazine; cash prizes for runner-up and second runner-up

Genres

Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $0

Annual Contest Submissions

So to Speak Journal

So to Speak seeks work by writers who want to challenge and change the identity of the “canonical” writer. Our mission is to amplify voices of BIPOC, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, women, neurodivergent people, people of different religions or none, migrants, refugees & immigrants (regardless of citizenship), and incarcerated writers. Free submissions for Black and Indigenous Writers.


Deadline November 14, 2021

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Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

Publication for winner and runner-up

Genres

Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, Poetry, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $9

Lazuli Literary Group Writing Contest

Lazuli Literary Group

We are not concerned with genre distinctions. Send us the best you have; we want only for it to be thoughtful, intelligent, and beautiful. We want art that grows in complexity upon each visitation; we enjoy ornate, cerebral, and voluptuous phrases executed with thematic intent.


Deadline October 21, 2021 (Expired)

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Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

Publication in "AZURE: A Journal of Literary Thought"

Genres

Essay, Fiction, Poetry, Short Story, Flash Fiction, Non-fiction, Novella, Script Writing,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $15

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. You can write in any genre, but the theme is abundance. Give us a glimpse of something that reveals the abundance of this big, beautiful, unexpected life that we’ve got. Make us “see a World in a Grain of Sand.”


Deadline November 30, 2021

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Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

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

Genres

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

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $10

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.


Deadline January 01, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

$10,000

Additional prizes

Publication

Genres

Crime, Fiction,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: FREE

Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition

Lorian Hemingway

Writers of short fiction may now enter the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. The competition has a history of literary excellence, and Lorian Hemingway and her small judging panel are dedicated to enthusiastically supporting the efforts and talent of writers of short fiction whose voices have yet to be heard.


Deadline February 15, 2022

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Top prize

$1,500

Additional prizes

Second and third-place winners receive $500 each

Genres

Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $15

Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award

Poets & Writers, Inc.

Poetry manuscripts should not exceed 10 pages, single or double-spaced (minimum of seven pages). Fiction manuscripts should not exceed 25 pages and must be double-spaced. Fiction manuscripts may include stories and/or excerpts from novels.


Deadline March 01, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

Genres

Fiction, Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $0

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.


Deadline December 21, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

UCLA Extension Writers’ Program

Genres

Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $0

Fall Travel Writing Contest

Nowhere Magazine

We are looking for young, old, novice and veteran writers to send us stories that possess a powerful sense of place. Stories can be fiction, nonfiction, poetry or essay.


Deadline December 15, 2021

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Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Genres

Essay, Non-fiction, Poetry, Fiction,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $20

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.


Deadline February 15, 2022

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Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Genres

Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: FREE

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.


Deadline February 15, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publication by Bilingual Press

Genres

Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: FREE

CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition

Crime Writers Association

Our mission is to find the best unpublished short mystery — one that fits into legendary crime writer Margery’s definition of what makes a great story: “The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly, a Crime, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.”


Deadline February 28, 2022

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Top prize

£500

Additional prizes

Two passes to Crimefest & a selection of books

Genres

Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $16

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.


Deadline March 15, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

$10,000

Additional prizes

Genres

Fiction, Novel,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $33

The Lascaux Prize in Poetry

The Lascaux Review

Poems may be previously published or unpublished, and simultaneous submissions are accepted. 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.


Deadline March 31, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Genres

Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $15

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.


Deadline April 01, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

Publishing contract

Additional prizes

Discounted admission to Killer Nashville, introductions to agents/editors

Genres

Fiction, Novel,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $40

Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award

Killer Nashville

The Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Awardé is committed to discovering new writers, as well as superlative books by established authors and, upon discovery, sharing those writers and their works with new readers. There are a large number of both fiction and non-fiction categories you can enter.


Deadline June 15, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

$250

Additional prizes

Genres

Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Poetry, Science Fiction, Script Writing, Short Story, Thriller,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: FREE

Narrative Prize

Narrative Magazine

The Narrative Prize is awarded annually for the best short story, novel excerpt, poem, one-act play, graphic story, or work of literary nonfiction published by a new or emerging writer in Narrative. The submission system is open all year.


Deadline June 15, 2022

Learn more
Top prize

$4,000

Additional prizes

Genres

Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $27

Annual Flash Fiction Competition

Flash 500

This quarterly open-themed competition has closing dates of 31st March, 30th June, 30th September and 31st December. The results will be announced about six weeks after each closing date and the three winning entries each quarter will be published on the website.


Deadline December 31, 2021

Learn more
Top prize

£300

Additional prizes

£200, £100

Genres

Fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $7

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

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

Learn more
Top prize

$1000 (CDN)

Additional prizes

$100 (CDN) for three runners-up

Genres

Fiction, Non-fiction, Short Story,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $30

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

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

Learn more
Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publication in Hidden River Press

Genres

Poetry,

Entry fee

💰 Entry Fee: $20

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.