The Best Mystery Writing Contests of 2022

Writing competitions curated by Reedsy

Showing 37 contests


Caledonia Novel Award

Caledonia Novel Award

Now in our ninth year of competition, we are an Edinburgh-based, international award for unpublished and self-published novelists in all genres for adults and YA. This year's judge is Charlotte Seymour, literary agent at Johnson & Alcock. On top of the £1,500 top prize, the best entry from the UK and Ireland will receive a place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre.

Top prize

£1, 500

Additional prizes

Free place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre.

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $30

Deadline: November 01, 2022


Genres

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

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First 5 Pages Prize

Stockholm Writers Festival

SWF is proud to launch the First 5 Pages Prize to mark our 5th anniversary. Dazzle us with your brilliance. Delight us with your wit. Deceive us with your dastardly plot-twists. There will be one Grand Prize winner chosen from all entries. The winner will receive: $1000 cash, a ticket to SWF22, a pitch meeting with an agent conducted over Zoom, two night’s accommodation at a boutique hotel, and a full developmental edit donated by Reedsy, the industry’s leading platform for writing services.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

A full developmental edit donated by Reedsy & pitch meeting with an agent

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $20

Deadline: January 31, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Novel, Novella, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult

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2nd Annual WCWF Writing Contest

Wine Country Writers' Festival

Fire up those pens and get those unpublished stories and poems submitted to WCWF 2nd Annual Writing Contest. Three winners in each category, publication in Anthology, and your own copy. Entries: $15 or two for $25. See the contest rules and enter now. Blind Judging.

Top prize

$150

Additional prizes

Publication in an anthology

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $15

Deadline: July 29, 2022


Genres

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

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ElegantLiterature's Fiction Contest

ElegantLiterature.com

We help new talent go pro, award life-changing prize money, and promote fiction writers worldwide. Each month we hold a contest based on a short fiction prompt. You write a wonderful story and enter the contest. We choose the winner who receives the grand prize. We also choose the best stories, pay the authors above-professional rates, and publish them in our magazine. Anyone can submit work to the magazine for free, but you must be an Elegant+ Member to enter the contests and win prizes. Membership is $10/month.

Top prize

$3000 USD + $0.10/word for publication

Additional prizes

Publication in online monthly magazine

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: May 31, 2022


Genres

Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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The Synopsis Skirmish—a contest for querying authors

Darling Axe Editing

Summarize your novel in 500 words for a chance at a $1000 CAD prize pool! Our judge, Michelle Barker, will be asking herself one question: "Does this synopsis convince me that I'm in the hands of an adept novelist with a unique and engaging story to tell?"

Top prize

$560

Additional prizes

$200 for second place, $100 for third

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $5

Deadline: May 31, 2022


Genres

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

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Fiction Factory Flash Fiction

Fiction Factory

We welcome previously unpublished stories (max 1,000 words) on any theme. Our judge is looking for freshness, originality and strongly drawn characters.

Top prize

£200

Additional prizes

£50, £25

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $7

Deadline: November 30, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Crime, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller

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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: $5

Deadline: March 31, 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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Creative Writing Ink Short Story Competition 2022

Creative Writing Ink

We're looking for short stories of up to 3000 words. Stories can be any theme, genre, or subject - the world is your oyster! Top prize is £1000, plus a free creative writing course of your choice and publication on our site. Two runners-up will receive £200 each."

Top prize

$1,333

Additional prizes

Free creative writing course, publication online

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $12

Deadline: September 30, 2022


Genres

Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult

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The Christy Award

The Christy Award

The Christy Award® was established in 1999 to acknowledge the value and impact of the novel of faith in contemporary culture. Since that time, the Christys have been a focal point for the writers and publishers in our community, symbolizing the best aspirations and accomplishments of writers who write from a perspective of faith and who create stories with matters of belief at their core.

Top prize

Award

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $175

Deadline: March 31, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Christian, Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Romance, Young Adult

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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, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

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

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The Writerwerx University Novel Opening Contest

Writerwerx University

Submit the first 1,000 words of your published book.

Top prize

$2,000

Additional prizes

2nd Place: $1,000 cash/prizes, 3rd Place $100 cash/prizes

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $20

Deadline: February 28, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult

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Debut Dagger

Crime Writer's Association

The Debut Dagger is a competition for the opening of a crime novel by a writer who isn’t represented by an agent by the time the competition closes, and who has never had a traditional contract for any novel of any length, or who has never self-published any novel of any length in the last 5 years. Writers submit their opening 3,000 words and a 1,500 word synopsis. Entries from shortlisted writers are sent to UK literary agents and publishers. Every year, authors find representation this way.

Top prize

$675

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $49

Deadline: February 28, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Mystery, Novel, Novella, Suspense, Thriller

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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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The Daphne du Maurier Award For Excellence in Mystery/Suspense Unpublished Division

RWA Kiss of Death Chapter

The Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense is named for Daphne du Maurier, the author of Rebecca, a suspense novel with romantic and gothic overtones and a precursor to today’s romantic suspense. The writing contest is for unpublished authors of mystery, suspense, and thrillers with or without romantic subplots.

Top prize

Award

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $30

Deadline: March 15, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Mystery, Suspense, Romance, Thriller

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The Daphne du Maurier Award For Excellence in Mystery/Suspense (Published Division)

RWA Kiss of Death Chapter

The Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense is named for Daphne du Maurier, the author of Rebecca, a suspense novel with romantic and gothic overtones and a precursor to today’s romantic suspense. The writing contest is for published authors of mystery, suspense, and thrillers with or without romantic subplots.

Top prize

Award

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $30

Deadline: March 15, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Mystery, Suspense, Romance, Thriller

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The Dante Rossetti Awards

Chanticleer Book Reviews and Media

The Dante Rossetti Awards Categories are: Contemporary Young Adult; SFF & Paranormal; Dystopian/Edgy/Urban; Mystery/Thriller/Suspense; Historical Young Adult; YA Adventure/Romance. The Chanticleer Prize Package includes: A Prize Ribbon to use in promotion at book signings and book festivals Digital Badges for display on your website or incorporation into book covers Book stickers to identify your print books to bookstore shoppers as they browse.

Top prize

$1,000

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $99

Deadline: June 30, 2022


Genres

Fiction, Mystery, Novel, Romance, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult

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The 2022 First Chapter Book Contest

TheNextBigWriter, LLC

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 requirements

💰 Fee: $5

Deadline: May 14, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

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

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The George Floyd Short Story Competition Vol2

Nottingham Writers' Studio

We’ll be taking stories of up to 5,000 words, on the theme of the environment and the ongoing climate crisis. Entrants can write in any genre. There is no fee to take part and we’re offering cash prizes to every successful applicant plus publication in our next anthology. 1st - £250 2nd - £125 3rd - £75 Runner up - £15

Top prize

£250

Additional prizes

Publication in anthology - Earth 2.0

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $0

Deadline: February 28, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Non-fiction, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult

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Stringybark Open Short Story Award 2021

Stringybark Publishing

We are looking for great short stories that address any theme that grabs you. But to just make life not too easy, the story has two stipulations. Firstly, it is to be written for those over the age of 16 and secondly, it must have a link, no matter how tenuous, to Australia. 1500 word limit.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $14

Deadline: February 13, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

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

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Henshaw Short Story Competition

Henshaw Press

We are a small group of writers, editors, lecturers and of course readers who wish to actively support creative writing. We run quarterly competitions throughout the year with closing dates at the end of March, June, September and December. Our aim is to encourage as wide a range of writing as possible and competitions are open for any subject and any style.

Top prize

$260

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $8

Deadline: March 31, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Christian, Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Humor, LGBTQ, Mystery, Suspense, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, Travel

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CWA Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition

Crime Writers' Association

Every year since 2014, the CWA and the Margery Allingham Society have jointly held an international competition for a short story of up to 3,500 words. Our mission is to find the best unpublished short mystery, and not only that, but one which fits into Golden Age crime writer Margery Allingham’s definition of what makes a great story. Entries are invited from all writers, published or unpublished, writing in English.

Top prize

£500

Additional prizes

Two weekend passes to CrimeFest

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $16

Deadline: February 28, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Mystery, Short Story

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Season Themes

HAVOK Publishing

HAVOK is a constant flash fiction contest, with rolling deadlines. Each season is split into monthly competitions with thematically connected prompts in a range of genres.

Top prize

$100

Additional prizes

Publication in an anthology. Potential for larger gift card wins.

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: January 31, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Fantasy, Flash Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller

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The Adventure Writers Competition

Adventure Writers

Any novels between 50,000 and 200,000 words that are in the realm of action/adventure/thriller/mystery - and chocked-full of adventure - are welcome. New and previously published books welcome, though you must have sold or given away less than 10,000 books of the title(s) you enter. We do not accept sci-fi, fantasy, horror or young children's books. See our website for info on rules and entering.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Consideration by Braveship Books for publishing/promotion, free book trailer, free editing sample

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $35

Deadline: April 30, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Novel, Thriller, Mystery

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Black Orchid Novella Award

Wolfe Pack & Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine

An important part of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe's opus are novellas. To celebrate this format, the Wolfe Pack and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine have partnered to sponsor the Black Orchid Novella Award. Want to submit an entry for the this year's contest? It's important that you read the rules and follow the procedures carefully.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publication in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: May 31, 2022


Genres

Crime, Mystery, Novella

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Crucible First Novel Award

Grindstone Literary

The Crucible First Novel Award is a brand new, free to enter competition for unrepresented authors. We are looking for the best new novels in crime, mystery, and thriller, and are asking entrants to submit the first 5,000 words of their manuscripts, along with a 150 word 'elevator pitch'. We will choose the best 20-30 entries, and compile them into the Crucible Chapbook, which will be sent to a list of agents and agencies.

Top prize

Published in chapbook & sent to agencies

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: February 01, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Mystery, Novel, Thriller

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Book Pipeline Unpublished Contest

Book Pipeline

Launched in 2014, Book Pipeline connects writers worldwide with publishers, editors, agents, and the film industry. Through two submission platforms—Unpublished and Adaptation—the company seeks both new and established authors. For over 22 years, Pipeline has bridged the gap between up-and-coming writers and the industry through a unique, long-term, hands-on facilitation process. The result thus far has been $8 million in scripts sold to studios and networks since 1999.

Top prize

$15,000

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $45

Deadline: May 25, 2022


Genres

Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Non-fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult

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Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition

Minotaur Books & Malice Domestic

Welcome to the Tony Hillerman Prize for Best First Mystery Set in the Southwest Competition! The Competition is open to any writer, regardless of nationality, aged 18 or older, who has never been the author of any Published Mystery Novel (including self-published works and ebooks), as defined by the guidelines below, and is not under contract with a publisher for publication of a mystery novel.

Top prize

$10,000 advance

Additional prizes

Contract with Minotaur Books

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: November 30, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Mystery, Novel

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Tony Hillerman Prize for Best First Mystery set in the Southwest

Minotaur Books

Welcome to the Tony Hillerman Prize for Best First Mystery Set in the Southwest Competition! Please read all of the rules and guidelines before submitting your entry. You can find the complete rules and guidelines on our website.

Top prize

$10,000 advance

Additional prizes

Contract with Minotaur Books

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: January 01, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Mystery, Novel

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Claymore Award

Killer Nashville

Created in 2009, the Killer Nashville Claymore Award assists new and rebranding English-language fiction authors to get published, including possible agent representation, book advances, editor deals, and movie and television sales. The contest is limited to only the first 50 double-spaced pages of unpublished English-language manuscripts containing elements of thriller, mystery, crime, or suspense NOT currently under contract.

Top prize

Possible contract with Mystery Writers of America

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $40

Deadline: April 01, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Novel, Science Fiction, Thriller

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Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition

Mystery Writers of America & Minotaur Books

MWA is the premier organization for mystery and crime writers, professionals allied to the crime-writing field, aspiring crime writers, and folks who just love to read crime fiction. To enter, you must complete an online entry form and upload an electronic file of your Manuscript. The entry form will allow you to upload one electronic file.

Top prize

Advance against future royalties of $10,000 & publishing contract

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: December 17, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Mystery, Novel

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Oxford Flash Fiction Prize

Oxford Flash Fiction

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 want to celebrate one of the newest forms in literature – flash fiction.

Top prize

$1,300

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $8

Deadline: January 31, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Christian, Crime, Fantasy, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, LGBTQ, Mystery, Suspense, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, Travel

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The Screw Turn Flash Fiction Competition

The Ghost Story

We’re interested in flash fiction pieces of between 250 and 1,000 words. We’re seeking the finest work we can find that incorporates an uncanny element. Ghost stories are welcome, of course—but your submission may involve any paranormal or supernatural theme, as well as magic realism. What we’re looking for is superb writing, fresh perspectives, and maybe a few surprises.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

print and online publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $15

Deadline: January 31, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Short Story, Thriller

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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, 2022


Genres

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

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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**

Top prize

$350

Additional prizes

Publication in Etched Onyx On-line magazine

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $11

Deadline: November 26, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

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

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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!

Top prize

£1000

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $16

Deadline: December 31, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

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

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