The Best Essay Writing Contests of 2022

Writing competitions curated by Reedsy

Showing 49 contests


swamp pink Prizes

crazyhorse

From January 1st to January 31st, submit short stories and essays of up to 25 pages or a set of 1-3 poems. Winners in each genre will receive $2,000 and publication.

Top prize

$2,000

Additional prizes

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $20

Deadline: January 31, 2023


Genres

Essay, Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, 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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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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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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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 (Expired)


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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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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Climate Change Writing Competition

Write the World

This month, dear writers, ahead of COP27, help us raise the voices of young people in this urgent fight. In a piece of personal narrative, tell the world’s leaders gathering in how climate change impacts you. How has this crisis changed your environment, your community, your sense of the future? Storytelling, after all, plays a critical role in helping us grasp the emergency through which we are all living, igniting empathy in readers and listeners—itself a precursor to action.

Top prize

$100

Additional prizes

Runner-up: $50

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: October 18, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Essay, Memoir, Non-fiction

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Leiby Chapbook Contest

The Florida Review

A prize of $1,000 and publication by Florida Review is given annually for a chapbook of short fiction, short nonfiction, or graphic narrative. Submit a manuscript of up to 45 pages with a $25 entry fee by December 31. All entries are considered for publication. All entrants receive a 1-year subscription. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $25

Deadline: December 31, 2022


Genres

Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Humor, Memoir, Non-fiction, Novella, Short Story

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Inception 2022: $250 for Best Opening

Sunspot Lit

Beginnings weight one moment with a particular power. A poem handles this differently than flash fiction, a novel, a graphic novel or an art series. Send your best opening. No restrictions on theme, category, or the length of the piece or collection from which the excerpt comes. Publication will be offered to runners-up and finalists.

Top prize

$250

Additional prizes

Publication in digital and print editions

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $8

Deadline: October 09, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Romance, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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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, 2023


Genres

Children's, Essay

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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.

Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

Publication for winner and runner-up

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $9

Deadline: November 14, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

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

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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.

Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

Publication in "AZURE: A Journal of Literary Thought"

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $15

Deadline: February 22, 2023


Genres

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

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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: November 30, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

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

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Youth Voices Contest

Strategies For Youth

Today about 52% of public schools in the United States employ a full-time School Resource Officer (SRO). In the aftermath of the Uvalde massacre, once again, many people are questioning the value and purpose of having SROs in school. For almost 20 years, research has documented that students of color are disproportionately arrested by SROs, and many students of color say they do not feel safe in the presence of SROs. As a student between the ages of 12-18 years old we want to know about your experiences with, and thoughts about, having SROs in your school. Please respond to one of the following questions in your essay.

Top prize

$750

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $0

Deadline: January 06, 2023


Genres

Essay

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Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award

Killer Nashville

The Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award 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.

Top prize

$250

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $79

Deadline: June 15, 2023


Genres

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

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The Annual Writerwerx University Short Story Contest

Writerwerx University

Submit your piece of 2,000 words or less to compete with writers all over the country for cash, prizes, and bragging rights! There are no theme or topic restrictions. Erotic, religious, and technical shorts are welcome.

Top prize

$2,500

Additional prizes

2nd: $1500 | 3rd: $150

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $25

Deadline: August 31, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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ScienceQuest NextGen Science Literary Writing Competition

Zoomcatchers

Established to recognize and encourage creative writing and provide a platform for publication, this science literary competition is open to original and previously unpublished short stories in the English language by a writer of any nationality, living anywhere in the world. Writing samples submitted must be from the genres of: Science fiction, Dystopian, Futuristic, Fantasy, Paranormal ​​ We accept essay, short story, and novel submissions up to 15 pages in length, double-spaced.

Top prize

$200

Additional prizes

Consultation with literary agent Leticia Gomez

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $20

Deadline: September 05, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Essay, Fantasy, Novel, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Young Adult

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Editor's Prize - Work Anthology

Unleash Press

Writers are invited to submit creative interpretations on Work for an upcoming anthology and the chance of winning the editors' prize. Essays, fiction, drama, and poetry interpretations of the theme will be accepted. Submissions should have a total word count of no more than 5,000 words. All authors chosen for the anthology will receive a paperback copy of the book. Only one editor’s prize will be selected.

Top prize

150

Additional prizes

Publication in anthology

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: December 30, 2022


Genres

Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Poetry, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller

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Seven Hills Literary Contest and Penumbra Poetry and Haiku Contest

Tallahassee Writers Association

The Seven Hills Literary Contest and Penumbra Poetry and Haiku Contest (collectively, “the Contest”) is sponsored annually by the Tallahassee Writers Association. The contest is open to English-language entries from around the world. For the first time, we are open to published entries as well as unpublished entries.

Top prize

$300

Additional prizes

Published in the Seven Hills Review

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $15

Deadline: September 30, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Children's, Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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MacQ-15 Ekphrastic Writing Challenge: "The Question of Questions"

MacQueen's Quinterly

For our tenth themed writing challenge, MacQueen’s Quinterly is calling for literary works in multiple genres: flash and micro-fiction, nonfiction, poetry, prose poetry, and poetic hybrids. Each piece entered must include one “q” word and must address the theme described in our contest guidelines and publisher's commentary.

Top prize

$200

Additional prizes

Publication in Issue 15 of MacQueen's Quinterly online

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $4

Deadline: August 21, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Essay, Flash Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, Poetry, Science Writing

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M&P High School Essay Contest

McMillan & Phillips Digital Creative Agency

McMillan & Phillips is an award winning creative digital agency on the search for the next generation of marketers who want to shake up the status quo, and usher in a new era. The contest is open to United States high school students in grades twelve attending public, private, parochial, or home schools.

Top prize

3 month remote editorial internship with M&P

Additional prizes

2nd place: $155 USD | 3rd place: one year subscription to Sanvello

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $0

Deadline: May 16, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Essay

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YeahWrite Super Challenge

YeahWrite

The Super Challenge is a prompted, 48-hour flash competition alternating between fiction and creative nonfiction. Prompts are released on a Friday night; writers have 48 hours to craft a response in 1,000 words or fewer. Professional editors read all entries and provide detailed feedback on each. The top writers move on to round 2 with new prompts.

Top prize

$150

Additional prizes

$100 for second place | $50 for third place

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $35

Deadline: December 23, 2022


Genres

Essay, Flash Fiction, Non-fiction

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Geminga: $250 for Tiny Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, or Art

Sunspot Lit

Authors and artists eligible. Sunspot Lit’s Geminga contest honors the power of the small. No restrictions on theme or category. $250 cash, publication for the winner, and publication offered to runners-up and finalists. Enter as many times as you like, but only one piece per submission.

Top prize

$250

Additional prizes

Publication in digital and print

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $6

Deadline: June 30, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

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

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Mr. Rosewood Short Story Contest

WriteFluence

A brand new challenge is here! After the success of Mrs. Rosewood’s antics last year, here’s Mr. Rosewood waiting for you to write about any of his days into a story. He could be bright, gloomy, witty, loveable, or always ready to fight. It’s your character, create him! Then, tell us a story about a day in the life of your Mr. Rosewood and get published in our next publication.

Top prize

Publication in anthology

Additional prizes

Publication, eCertificates and Author features

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $2

Deadline: April 15, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Essay, Fiction, Short Story

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Teen Angst: Mix Tape Vol 2

4 Horsemen Publications, Inc.

Poetry, Journals, Diaries & Love Letters, we all have them collecting dust on a shelf, in a box under your bed, or hidden away in the attic where no one can find them. That journal, diary, or even composition book full of your teen angst. We want them. In the raw, unedited, all the teen angst you can hit us with. Take a picture of the journal, the page, angsty doodles,love letters and more. We will share them to the world, all backgrounds, all ages and generations (including our own)! This project is co-hosted between 4 Horsemen Publications and Battle Goddess Productions.

Top prize

Publication in anthology

Additional prizes

Access to buy author copies at a discounted rate

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $0

Deadline: June 30, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Essay, Memoir, Non-fiction, Poetry

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Emerging Writer's Contest

Ploughshares

In the spirit of the journal 's founding mission, the Ploughshares Emerging Writer's Contest recognizes work by an emerging writer in each of three genres: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. One winner in each genre per year will receive $2,000 and publication in the literary journal. Authors are considered "emerging" if they haven 't published or self-published a book.

Top prize

$2,000

Additional prizes

Publication in Ploughshares

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $24

Deadline: May 15, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

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

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2023 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.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publishing contract

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $35

Deadline: December 31, 2023


Genres

Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Memoir, Novel, Short Story

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The Fountain Essay Contest

Fountain Magazine

We want to hear your COVID-19 story. What has the virus taught you about life? If you were not infected, what has your experience been like as an “outsider?” We encourage our contestants to explore this issue in a way that is most meaningful to them, and to do so while making sure to avoid speculative narratives and political polarization.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

$500, $300, $150

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $0

Deadline: April 01, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Essay, Memoir, 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: May 30, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Essay

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Red Hen Press Women's Prose Prize

Red Hen Press

Established in 2018, the Women’s Prose Prize is for previously unpublished, original work of prose. Novels, short story collections, memoirs, essay collections, and all other forms of prose writing are eligible for consideration. The awarded manuscript is selected through a biennial competition, held in even-numbered years, that is open to all writers who identify as women.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publication by Red Hen Press

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $25

Deadline: February 28, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Non-fiction, Short Story, Essay, Memoir, Novel

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Olive Woolley Burt Awards For Creative Writing

League of Utah Writers

The Olive Woolley Burt Awards are open to the general public for previously unpublished work. Discounts for entry given to members of the League of Utah Writers.

Top prize

$150

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: May 13, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

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

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Dandy Writers Short Story Contest

Dandy Writers

Submit a story of no more than 200 words. Your submission must be in line with the theme of the month. A writer is only permitted to submit one application per month. No more than one application. No plagiarism, even if it’s your work already published. Your work must be yours. Your data entered must be accurate. You must pay the entry fee. Note: Failure to comply with these rules will result to your application cancelled. And your entry fee will not be refunded. Thanks as you obey these rules.

Top prize

$300

Additional prizes

Writing Job

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $5

Deadline: May 30, 2023


Genres

Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Short Story

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Share Your Story

FanStory.com Inc.

Write about an event in your life. Everyone has a memoir. Not an autobiography. Too much concern about fact and convention. A memoir gives us the ability to write about our life with the option to create and fabricate and to make sense of a life, or part of that life.

Top prize

$100

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: September 15, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Essay, Memoir

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FemmeFluenza 2.0

WriteFluence

Become a published woman author by this International Women’s Day! Announcing our second exclusively-for-women-writers story-writing international contest FemmeFluenza 2.0 ‘Cos life is all about celebrating womanhood and surviving through various challenges it brings along! Theme: Survival stories through various challenges faced by women – be it prejudices, physical or emotional abuse, sexual harassment, corporate biases, denied education, breast cancer, female infanticide, gender discrimination, single-parenthood, divorce, social stigmas and taboos, etc.

Top prize

Publication

Additional prizes

Author features and Merit certificates (digital)

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $2

Deadline: February 15, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

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

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