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Best Short Story Writing Contests in 2024

Showing 124 contests that match your search.

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

Every Friday, Reedsy sends out five writing prompts. Enter your response within a week for a chance at $250. Winners may also be included in a future issue of Reedsy’s literary magazine, Prompted.

Top Prize:

$250

Additional prizes:

$25 credit toward Reedsy editorial services

💰 Entry fee: $5

📅 Deadline: December 31, 2024

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

Enter themed storytelling contests to put your creativity to the test and be in with a chance of winning cash prizes and more. To submit, you'll need to sign up for a monthly fee of $9.99, or $4.99/month for 3 months.

Top Prize:

$1,000 — $5,000

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: March 07, 2024 (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.

Top Prize:

£1,200

Additional prizes:

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

💰 Entry fee: $16

📅 Deadline: June 30, 2025

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Genres: Flash Fiction, Short Story, and Fiction

This Prize is free to enter. 2-4 Winners are published. We Shortlist 10-20 writers. Seeking stories 0-5000 words. Judges’ feedback available. Open to writers from anywhere in the world, with no theme or genre restrictions. Judged blind. All entries considered for publication + submission to Pushcart.

Top Prize:

$500

Additional prizes:

Publication by The Letter Review

📅 Deadline: April 30, 2024

A Warm Mug of Cozy Anthology

Warm Mug of Cozy

Genres: Crime, Flash Fiction, Mystery, and Short Story

Do you like writing short cozy mysteries? If so, we would love to invite you to submit your work for potential inclusion in our first Warm Mug of Cozy Anthology. Theme: No restriction, as long as your story follows the classic rules of Cozy Mystery.

Top Prize:

2% royalties per published story ($)

💰 Entry fee: $5

📅 Deadline: March 31, 2024 (Expired)

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

Imagine 2200 is an invitation to writers from all over the globe to imagine a future in which solutions to the climate crisis flourish and help bring about radical improvements to our world. In 2,500 to 5,000 words, show us the world you dream of building. A great Imagine story is not afraid to explore the challenges ahead — the path to climate progress will involve struggle and adaptation, and we invite you to show that — but ultimately offers hope that we can work together to build a more sustainable and just world. We want to see stories that incorporate real world climate solutions and climate science, as well as cultural authenticity (a deep sense of place, customs, cuisine, and more) and characters with fully-fledged identities.

Top Prize:

$3,000

Additional prizes:

Publication in magazine

📅 Deadline: June 24, 2024

Fish Short Memoir Prize

Fish Publishing

Genres: Memoir, Non-fiction, and Short Story

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.

Top Prize:

€1,000

Additional prizes:

2nd: Writing Course (online) + €300 | 3rd: €300

💰 Entry fee: $18

📅 Deadline: January 31, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Science Fiction, and Short Story

2023 Contest Theme is: Preserve or Purge. We ask that authors try and incorporate both concepts into their speculative work. This can be conveyed in the setting, plot, characters, dialogue; the only limit is your imagination. The theme must be integral to the story in some way and not just mentioned in passing.

Top Prize:

$200

Additional prizes:

2nd: $100 | 3rd: $50

💰 Entry fee: $0

📅 Deadline: March 31, 2024 (Expired)

Anthology Flash Fiction Award

Anthology Magazine

Genres: Fiction, Short Story, and Flash Fiction

The Anthology Flash Fiction Competition is open to original and previously unpublished flash fiction on any theme in the English language by writers of any nationality. We are looking for writing that is clever and unique, inspires us, and crafts a compelling story. Max 250 words.

Top Prize:

€300

💰 Entry fee: $12

📅 Deadline: September 30, 2024

Genres: Fiction, Flash Fiction, and Short Story

The challenge: write a story using 100 words on one of four topics. Open to all ages with a special prize for authors 14 years or younger. The contest supports nonprofit literacy programs.

Top Prize:

$200

Additional prizes:

6 cash prizes of $100 each; publication in digital magazine, inclusion in webcast

💰 Entry fee: $12

📅 Deadline: February 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.

Top Prize:

$1000 USD shared by 3 winners

💰 Entry fee: $25

📅 Deadline: October 31, 2023 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Science Writing, and Short Story

CAPTRS is building a catalog of threats, called the “Universe of Threats,” which will be used to prepare decision makers for future threats. We invite you to submit a 2,500 word or less story describing a threat scenario related to natural disasters, including floods, wildfires, hurricanes or another natural disaster of your choosing.

Top Prize:

$5,000

Additional prizes:

2nd: $2,500 | 3rd: $1,000 | Publication on CAPTRS website

📅 Deadline: January 31, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

The Letter Review Prize for Short Stories (1000-3000 words) is open to writers from anywhere in the world and has no theme or genre restrictions. Winners are published and every entry is considered for publication. 20 entries are Longlisted.

Top Prize:

$1000 prize pool

Additional prizes:

2nd: $250 | 3rd: $150

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: December 31, 2023 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

ABR welcomes entries in the 2024 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize. The Jolley Prize is worth a total of $12,500 and is for an original work of short fiction of between 2,000 and 5,000 words, written in English. This is the fifteenth time the Jolley Prize has run and it is one of the world’s leading prizes for short fiction.

Top Prize:

$6000 AUD

Additional prizes:

2nd: $4000 AUD | 3rd: $2500 AUD

💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: April 22, 2024 (Expired)

Writers of the Future

Writer's of the Future

Genres: Fiction, Short Story, Fantasy, and Science Fiction

L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest is an opportunity for new writers of science fiction and fantasy to have their work judged by some of the masters in the field and discovered by a wide audience. Prizes of $1000, $750 and $500 are awarded every three months. From the four 1st Place winners each year, one story is selected as the grand prize winner and the author receives an additional $5000 cash prize.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

$750 for 2nd place, $500 for 3rd, £5000 annual grand prize

📅 Deadline: September 30, 2022 (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.

Top Prize:

£100

Additional prizes:

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

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: September 30, 2024

Morton and McCarthy Prizes

Sarabande Books

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

This contest is open to any short fiction writer of English. Submissions may include a collection of short stories, one or more novellas, or a short novel. Works that have previously appeared in magazines or in anthologies may be included.

Top Prize:

$2,000

Additional prizes:

Publication by Sarabande Books

💰 Entry fee: $29

📅 Deadline: February 15, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Flash Fiction, and Short Story

The aim of the Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize is both to celebrate the best of new, boundary-pushing short fiction and to give winners the most visibility possible for their writing. That’s why we’ve teamed up with fourteen different literary and artistic institutions to not only offer cash prizes and writing retreats but also to ensure that all our shortlisters have the opportunity to be published in multiple print and online journals, have their work put in front of literary agents, and present their stories in multiple countries.

Top Prize:

€2,000 + week's stay at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation artists' residency

Additional prizes:

2nd + 3rd: €1000 | All shortlisters: publication in our print collection Eleven Stories | All longlisters: One-year subscription to The Literary Consultancy's "Being a Writer" platform | One shortlister: two-week residency at Studio Faire, France

💰 Entry fee: $22

📅 Deadline: December 04, 2024

Genres: Fiction, Short Story, and Flash Fiction

Biopage is hosting a writing contest to remind people the benefits of writing. Each story (or once chapter of your stories) is limited to 5,000 characters or roughly 1,000 words. You can write about good life experience, or bad, embarrassing, frightening ones. You can win $300, and five runners-up can win $100 each.

Top Prize:

$300

📅 Deadline: January 31, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Humor, and Short Story

The Folly Prize launched in 2023 with fierce competition from an incredible array of edgy, off the wall, sexy, fun writing submitted by talented writers from around the globe. The 2024 Folly Prize runs from 15 January - 30 April 2024, with a cash first prize of $1000 NZD and a Runner up prize of $500 NZD. The Prizewinner Runner Ups will be published in Issue 2 of Folly, due to be launched in late October 2024 and will receive a copy of the publication. We encourage entries from writers from around the world, and are specifically looking for work that is accessible (fun), yet well written. Your story doesn't need to be New Zealand-centric - we are looking for local and international stories that are pacey, provocative, honest and light. We want to choke into our coffee and laugh out loud. Submissions are via our Submittable portal, found on the Submissions page.

Top Prize:

$1000 NZD

Additional prizes:

Runner-up: $500 NZD

💰 Entry fee: $6

📅 Deadline: April 30, 2024

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)

F(r)iction Contests

Brink Literacy Project

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

For our contests, we seek writing that pushes boundaries and challenges us to think differently. We like work that features complex characters and strong narratives, and plays with genre, setting, voice, you name it. For Spring 2024, we have Wole Talabi judging Short Story, Sherrie Flick judging Flash Fiction, C. S. E. Cooney judging Poetry, and Marin Sardy judging Creative Nonfiction.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Publication

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: November 03, 2024

2024 International Literary Prize

Hammond House Publishing

Genres: Poetry, Script Writing, and Short Story

Our Annual Literary Prize is back again for 2024, with bigger cash prizes, publication for all shortlisted entries in our annual anthologies, a televised award ceremony, and an inspiring new theme.

Top Prize:

£1000

Additional prizes:

Worldwide publication for all shortlisted entries

💰 Entry fee: $10

📅 Deadline: September 30, 2024

Annual Short Contest

Gemini Magazine

Genres: Flash Fiction, Poetry, and Short Story

We hold three annual contests: Flash Fiction, Short Story, and Poetry. We are committed to keeping entry fees low so no one who wants to enter is excluded for financial reasons, and we sometimes waive fees for those in extreme circumstances. It’s not about the money—it’s about finding and publishing the best work available.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Publication in Gemini Magazine

💰 Entry fee: $8

📅 Deadline: January 04, 2024 (Expired)

HG Wells Short Story Competition

HG Wells Competition

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction, and Short Story

There are two different competitions in 2024: one for those 21 and under, and one for those over 21. The competition for those 21 and under is free to enter and has a prize of £1,000 for the winning entry. All shortlisted entries will also be published in a quality, professionally published paperback anthology.

Top Prize:

Under 21: £1,000 | Over 21: £500

💰 Entry fee: $12

📅 Deadline: July 08, 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.

Top Prize:

$500 Editors' Choice award

Additional prizes:

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

📅 Deadline: March 01, 2024 (Expired)

Western Writing Contest

FanStory.com Inc.

Genres: Fiction and Short Story

Share your Western story for this writing contest. Share your story that has a clear western theme. Your old west story can earn you a cash prize.

Top Prize:

$100

Additional prizes:

Winning stories will be features on the FanStory.com welcome page.

💰 Entry fee: $10

📅 Deadline: March 16, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Short Story

Open theme/subject/genre. Maximum 3,000 words. 2 runners-up prizes of $200 each and a free writing course of choice.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

2x runners up: $200 | Free writing course | Publication

💰 Entry fee: $9

📅 Deadline: April 30, 2024

Jim Martin Memorial Story Contest

Arizona Mystery Writers

Genres: Fiction, Mystery, and Short Story

Every year the Arizona Mystery Writers hosts the Jim Martin Memorial Story Contest. Naturally, since we’re the Arizona Mystery Writers, we want a mystery story, but we’re flexible about the boundaries of that category, and we also accept thrillers and suspense stories. It doesn’t matter if your story’s characters are in outer space, riding horses, or living underground. Costumes and settings don’t matter as long as the story is a mystery, thriller, or suspense tale as described.

Top Prize:

$200

Additional prizes:

2nd: $100 | 3rd: $75

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: August 01, 2024

Bacopa Literary Review Annual Writing Contest

Writers Alliance of Gainesville

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

Bacopa Literary Review’s 2024 contest is open from March 4 through April 4, with $200 Prize and $100 Honorable Mention in each of six categories: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Flash Fiction, Free Verse Poetry, Formal Poetry, and Visual Poetry.

Top Prize:

$200

Additional prizes:

100

📅 Deadline: April 04, 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 (Expired)

"Write On!" Short Story Contest

Ann Arbor District Library

Genres: Children's and Short Story

The annual "Write On!" Short Story Contest for Grades 3-5 accepts story entries each winter. All writers, their friends, and families are invited to a Story Celebration and awards ceremony on Saturday, April 23, 2022, featuring a published children's author and the top three writers in each grade will receive an award.

Top Prize:

Publication on website

📅 Deadline: February 05, 2024 (Expired)

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.

Top Prize:

£3,000

Additional prizes:

2nd: £500 | 3rd: £250 | Publication

💰 Entry fee: $12

📅 Deadline: February 29, 2024 (Expired)

South Warwickshire Literary Festival Writing Competition

South Warwickshire Literary Festival

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

Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction 800 words, Poetry 40 lines, any genre any style. Over 16s only

Top Prize:

£50

Additional prizes:

Read entry at literary festival, September 2024 UK

💰 Entry fee: $5

📅 Deadline: March 29, 2024 (Expired)

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

We are looking for short stories that respond in any way to: 7:12am. You can use that in the text, as a theme, or any way you want. We accept any prose genre and any length of story up to 6k words. We’re looking for writers who have exciting voices and can move us - that can happen in any genre of prose. We’re not accepting plays or poetry for this competition.

Top Prize:

£100

Additional prizes:

2nd: £50 | 3rd & 4th: £25 | 10 short-listed entries: publication

💰 Entry fee: $8

📅 Deadline: April 30, 2024

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.

Prompts | Prompts Sans Serif | 2024-03

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