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DIRECTORY

Best Humor Writing Contests in 2024

Showing 40 contests that match your search.

Genres: Humor and Non-fiction

Please submit funny, creative nonfiction stories 300-1200 words in length, set in or relating to work. If it makes us laugh, it works. No entry fee and submit as many times as you want before December 18th deadline. Prizes are: $500 and a print copy of the book for first place, $200 and a print copy for second place, and $100 and a print copy for 3rd, 4th, and 5th places. All featured stories will receive a digital copy of the book on publication. The best submissions will be featured in an anthology of funny workplace stories.

Top Prize:

$500

Additional prizes:

2nd: 200 and print copy | 3rd, 4th, & 5th: $100 and print copy

📅 Deadline: December 18, 2023 (Expired)

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Novel, Romance, Science Fiction, and Young Adult

Have you completed the first draft of your novel? Are you ready to pass it on to a fresh pair of eyes, to see if you are on the right track? Is your all-important first chapter ready for submission to an agent? Whatever your plans, your first chapter must shine – it must grab your readers or quickly lose their interest.

💰 Entry fee: $22

📅 Deadline: February 29, 2024 (Expired)

Goldfinch Books Novel Award

Goldfinch Books

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

Goldfinch Books, an independent bookshop, café and event space in Alton, Hampshire, UK has announced a UK nationwide literary competition to coincide with the inaugural Alton Arts Festival. The Goldfinch Novel Award 2024 is a prize for emerging authors (aged 16+) with completed young adult or adult novels. This competition is open to authors in the UK and will have a prize of £300 for the winning novel, chosen by judge Kiya Evans, Associate Literary Agent at Mushens Entertainment.

Additional prizes:

Goldfinch Membership

💰 Entry fee: $14

📅 Deadline: May 15, 2024

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Summer Nanofiction Battle

Writing Battle

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller, and Young Adult

Two days to write a 250 word short story. The peer-powered quarterly writing contest where every story receives oodles of feedback. Write one. Read ten. Win thousands.

Additional prizes:

Genre Runner-up (x4): $375 | Feedback by industry professionals

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: August 02, 2024

Frightening First Line Contest 2023

Gotham Writers Workshop

Genres: Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Short Story, and Thriller

Autumn is the season of rustling leaves, a chill in the air, and, of course, Halloween. In that spirit, we invite you to create the first line of a frightening story. But we want that first line to be so intriguing or chilling or scary that it makes our skin tingle and our nerves twitch.

💰 Entry fee: $0

📅 Deadline: November 30, 2023 (Expired)

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Thriller, and Young Adult

The Not Quite Write Prize for Flash Fiction challenges writers to create an original piece of flash fiction based on two typical writing prompts plus one ""anti-prompt"". An anti-prompt is a challenge to break a specific “rule” of writing while telling a great story. Participants compete for AU$2,000 in cash prizes, including AU$1,000 for the winner, cash prizes for the entire shortlist and two bonus ‘wildcard’ prizes. Winners are read aloud on the Not Quite Write podcast, where the judges share in-depth analysis about the entries and offer free writing advice. The Not Quite Write Prize for Flash Fiction is hosted in Australia and open to all writers of any age and level of ability around the world.

Additional prizes:

Publication on the Not Quite Write website and podcast

💰 Entry fee: $16

📅 Deadline: April 21, 2024

Oxford Flash Fiction Prize 2024

Oxford Flash Fiction

Genres: Flash Fiction, Fiction, Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, and Young Adult

Write yourself into history and become one of the greats with the Oxford Flash Fiction Prize. For centuries, the greats have come to Oxford to ink masterpieces. Now, in one of the oldest towns, where the history of the English language can be traced back to its ancient streets, we are celebrating one of the newest forms in literature – flash fiction.

Additional prizes:

2nd Prize: £200 | 3rd Prize: £100 | New Voice Prize: £200

💰 Entry fee: $9

📅 Deadline: January 31, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, and Young Adult

Two days to write a 500 word short story. The peer-powered quarterly writing contest where every story receives oodles of feedback. Write one. Read ten. Win thousands.

Additional prizes:

Genre Runner-up (x4): $375 | Feedback by industry professionals

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: May 03, 2024

Genres: Fiction, Flash Fiction, Short Story, Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, and Young Adult

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!

Additional prizes:

Publication on website

💰 Entry fee: $0

📅 Deadline: March 11, 2024

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, and Young Adult

For this short story challenge, all participants will be randomly assigned a period in history. As soon as you receive your assignment, you'll have until the closing time to research, write, and submit a short story of no more than 4,000 words, set during this historical period.

Top Prize:

$1,131

💰 Entry fee: $17

📅 Deadline: October 28, 2022 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Humor, Non-fiction, and Short Story

July 2022 saw the launch of the 8th To Hull And Back Short Story Competition, a biennial short story contest with a humorous twist that celebrates the most imaginative and amazing short stories from writers all over the world.

Additional prizes:

2nd Prize: £600 | 3rd Prize: £300 | 3 x Highly Commended: £150 | 14 x Shortlisted: £75

💰 Entry fee: $16

📅 Deadline: June 30, 2025

Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Short Story, Crime, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Science Fiction, Thriller, and Young Adult

Our annual flagship competition, the Stringybark Stories Open Short Story Award 2023, is now bigger than ever! Thanks to Graeme Simpson and Anne Buist, a record prize pool of over $1300 is on offer. The theme is open, the only constraint is that there must be a reference to Australia somewhere in the story. It doesn't matter how small a link there is (it could be a jar of vegemite on the counter), there just needs to be one!

Top Prize:

$560

Additional prizes:

2nd: $360 | 3rd: $210 | 4th: $110

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: February 25, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Flash Fiction and Humor

Send us your skillfully written stories that are brief, humorous and engaging, with the emphasis on wit, word play, absurdity and inspired nonsense. Whether your story is designed to raise a smile or a belly laugh, we want stories that are a refuge from the relentless barrage of negativity, angst, war and climate catastrophe that dominates the web.

Additional prizes:

2nd: AUD $20 | 3rd: AUD $10

📅 Deadline: December 15, 2023 (Expired)

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, and Young Adult

We are seeking the year's best original short stories (fiction) devoted to the theme of global climate change and its human impact. We are interested in literary interpretations of how individuals and families, cities and nations are bearing the brunt of a world dominated by new extremes of weather, seasons, and eco-disasters. All genres welcome.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

2nd: $500 | 3rd: $250 | Publication in anthology

💰 Entry fee: $10

📅 Deadline: March 01, 2024 (Expired)

The Paul Cave Prize for Literature

Tim Saunders Publications

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, and Young Adult

The Paul Cave Prize for Literature, established in 2023 by Tim Saunders Publications, is in memory of Paul Astley Cave-Browne-Cave (1917 to 2010), a hugely inspirational magazine and book publisher. What we are looking for All forms of poetry: haiku, free verse, sonnet, acrostic, villanelle, ballad, limerick, ode, elegy, flash fiction, short stories and novellas. Work must be new and unpublished. International submissions welcome.

Additional prizes:

Best Short Story: £50 | Best Flash Fiction: £25 | Best Poem: £25

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: September 30, 2024

Genres: Fiction, Flash Fiction, Short Story, Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, and Thriller

Three days to write a 1000 word short story. The peer-powered quarterly writing contest where every story receives oodles of feedback. Write one. Read ten. Win thousands.

Additional prizes:

Genre Runner-up (x4): $500 | Feedback by industry professionals.

💰 Entry fee: $25

📅 Deadline: February 01, 2024 (Expired)

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

The Letter Review Prize for Unpublished Books (Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction) is open to writers from anywhere in the world. Three Winners are awarded, and 20 entries are Shortlisted.

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: February 29, 2024 (Expired)

Best Indie Book Award

Best Indie Book Award

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Novel, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, and Young Adult

The annual Best Indie Book Award® (or BIBA®) is an international literary awards contest recognizing self-published and independently published authors from all over the world. Entries are limited to independently (indie) published books, including those from small presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors.

💰 Entry fee: $65

📅 Deadline: August 15, 2024

Clash of the Query Letters

Darling Axe Editing

Genres: Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, Novel, Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Novella, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, and Young Adult

Our judge, Michelle Barker, will be asking herself one question: does this query letter convince me that I'm in the hands of an adept novelist with a unique and engaging story to tell?

Additional prizes:

CAD $200 for 2nd place, $100 for 3rd place

💰 Entry fee: $4

📅 Deadline: January 31, 2024 (Expired)

The Rubery Prize

Rubery Book Awards

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult, and Romance

The Rubery Prize is a prestigious international book award seeking the best books by indie writers, self published authors and books published by independent presses, judged by reputable judges. Through our reputation of finding quality and outstanding books we aim to bring recognition to the works that win and heighten an author's profile.

Additional prizes:

£200, a write-up

💰 Entry fee: $60

📅 Deadline: March 31, 2024

Edinburgh Short Story Award

Scottish Arts Trust

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Suspense, Thriller, and Young Adult

£3,000 first prize for writers worldwide and stories on any topic up to 2,000 words. We welcome stories in all genres: literary, historic, crime, romance, gritty realism, contemporary, humour and more.

Additional prizes:

2nd: £500 | 3rd: £250 | Publication

💰 Entry fee: $12

📅 Deadline: February 29, 2024 (Expired)

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

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 fee: $79

📅 Deadline: June 15, 2024

Military Anthology: Partnerships, the Untold Story

Armed Services Arts Partnership

Genres: Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Humor, Memoir, Non-fiction, Poetry, and Short Story

Partners are an integral aspect of military life, at home and afar, during deployment and after homecoming. Partnerships drive military action and extend beyond being a battle buddy, wingman, or crew member. Some are planned while others arise entirely unexpectedly. Spouses, family, old or new friends, community, faith leaders, and medical specialists all support the military community. Despite their importance, the stories of these partnerships often go untold. This anthology aims to correct that: We will highlight the nuances, surprises, joy, sorrow, heroism, tears, healing power, and ache of partnerships. We invite you to submit the story about partnerships from your journey, so we can help tell it.

Additional prizes:

$250 for each genre category (prose, poetry, visual art)

📅 Deadline: March 01, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller, and Young Adult

The Letter Review Prize for Books is open to writers from anywhere in the world. Seeking most unpublished (we accept some self/indie published) novels, novellas, story collections, nonfiction, poetry etc. 20 entries are longlisted.

💰 Entry fee: $25

📅 Deadline: October 31, 2023 (Expired)

Genres: Essay, Humor, Memoir, and Non-fiction

Narratively is currently accepting submissions for their 2023 Memoir Prize. They are looking for revealing and emotional first-person nonfiction narratives from unique and overlooked points of view. The guest judge is New York Times bestselling memoirist Stephanie Land.

Top Prize:

$3,000

Additional prizes:

$1,000 and publication

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: November 30, 2023 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Flash Fiction, Short Story, Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, and Young Adult

Indignor House Publishing is proud to announce that our annual writing competition (INDIGNOR PLAYHOUSE Short Story Annual Competition) is officially open with expected publication in the fall of 2024. Up to 25 submissions will be accepted for inclusion in the annual anthology.

Top Prize:

$500

Additional prizes:

2nd: $250 | 3rd: $150

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: March 01, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Christian, Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, LGBTQ, Mystery, Novel, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, and Travel

GVCA is excited to announce the ninth annual New Deal Writing Competition! This competition challenges writers to use a painting chosen by the staff at GVCA as inspiration for a short story. This year’s painting is “Playtime” by Fred Ross.

Top Prize:

$200

Additional prizes:

Publication in newsletter

💰 Entry fee: $5

📅 Deadline: March 15, 2024

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller, and Young Adult

The Reader Views Literary Awards program helps level the playing field for self-published authors, recognizing the most creative and exciting new books in the industry. Our awards program is recognized industry-wide as one of the top literary awards programs for independent authors.

Top Prize:

$2,500

Additional prizes:

Several marketing prizes (e.g. book review)

💰 Entry fee: $89

📅 Deadline: December 15, 2024

The Book of the Year Awards

The Independent Author Network

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Thriller, Young Adult, Crime, and Short Story

The Independent Author Network presents the 10th Annual IAN Book of the Year Awards, an international contest open to all authors with 55 fiction and non-fiction categories. Winners are eligible to receive a share of cash prizes of $6,000 USD. Open to all English language print and eBooks available for sale, including small presses, mid-size independent publishers, university presses, and self-published authors.

Top Prize:

$2,500

Additional prizes:

$6,000.00 USD in total cash prizes

💰 Entry fee: $49

📅 Deadline: August 16, 2024

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult, Flash Fiction, and Science Writing

One of the largest awards open to unpublished writers, and the only one closed to professionals. We are the first magazine to pay pro rates and only accept submissions from new writers, putting over $100k into the hands of emerging talent around the globe. One new writer receives the grand prize. We also choose the best stories, pay the authors professional rates, and publish them in our magazine.

Top Prize:

$3,000

Additional prizes:

Paid publication, 25 x $20 USD | Free entry to Novelist Accelerator

💰 Entry fee: $10

📅 Deadline: February 29, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Humor, Memoir, Non-fiction, Poetry, Science Writing, and Short Story

The Brink Literary Journal Award for Hybrid Writing will be administered to the winner of a literary contest designed to champion innovative hybrid and cross-genre work.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Publication

💰 Entry fee: $22

📅 Deadline: February 16, 2024 (Expired)

Chapter One Prize

Gutsy Great Novelist

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

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 29, 2024.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

2nd: $500 |3rd: $250

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: March 01, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Humor and Poetry

Now in its 22nd year, this contest seeks today's best humor poems. No fee to enter. Submit published or unpublished work. $3,500 in prizes.

Top Prize:

$2,000

Additional prizes:

Two-year gift certificate for Duotrope | 2nd: $500

💰 Entry fee: $0

📅 Deadline: April 01, 2024

100 Word Writing Contest

Tadpole Press

Genres: Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Thriller, Young Adult, Children's, Poetry, Romance, Short Story, Suspense, and Travel

Can you write a story using 100 words or less? Pieces will be judged on creativity, uniqueness, and how the story captures a new angle, breaks through stereotypes, and expands our beliefs about what's possible or unexpectedly delights us. In addition, we are looking for writing that is clever or unique, inspires us, and crafts a compelling and complete story. The first-place prize has doubled to $2,000 USD.

Top Prize:

$2,000

Additional prizes:

2nd: writing coach package

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: April 30, 2024

The 2022 First Chapter Book Contest

TheNextBigWriter, LLC

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Novel, Science Fiction, Thriller, and Young Adult

Have a book or a novel idea you've been noodling? Enter your first chapter into the Booksie First Chapter Contest and see how it does. You don't need to have finished the book. You don't even need more than the first chapter. We're looking for a start that will grab our attention, that is original, that is well written, and that makes us want to beg you to see what comes next. And for those we find, we'll provide some awards to inspire you to finish writing the book or, if finished, to help get it published.

Top Prize:

$500

Additional prizes:

Gold contest badge.

💰 Entry fee: $5

📅 Deadline: May 14, 2022 (Expired)

Discover the finest writing contests of 2024 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 2024 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 2024

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 2024

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.

Writing Prompts #3

Join our short story competition

Submit a short story based on 1 of 5 weekly prompts. Winners get $250.

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