April Deadlines: 10 Contests and Prizes Available This Month

March 28, 2020

The slowly improving weather doesn’t quite matter when we’re still stuck inside, but what better way to alleviate your boredom than to enter these contests? Pour your passion and emotion (or even your irritation) into your writing, and never give up! The show will go on!

Nimrod Literary Awards

These awards, the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction and the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, are presented by Nimrod International Journal through the University of Tulsa. Contestants should enter 3-10 pages of poetry, or up to 7500 words of prose. The winner of each category will receive $2000, publication, and a trip to Tulsa for the Awards Ceremony and Writing Conference in October! Details here.

Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: April 1

The Orison Prizes in Poetry and Fiction

Every year Orison Books accepts submissions of full-length poetry and fiction manuscripts between December and April, and this year’s window is closing fast! Fiction entries may be novellas, novels, or collections of short stories and flash fiction, but they must be a minimum of 30,000 words. Poetry entries may be between 50 and 100 pages. Katie Ford is judging poetry, Samrat Upadhyay is judging fiction, and the winners of each genre receive $1500, publication, and a standard royalties contract. Check it out!

Entry Fee: $30 Deadline: April 1

Waterston Desert Writing Prize

Inspired by author and poet Ellen Waterston, this prize provides financial and other support to writers whose work reflects a connection to the desert. The Waterston Desert Prize recognizes one writer with $2500, a reading and reception, and a residency at Summer Lake, OR. Applicants need to provide a biographical statement, a proposal, and a writing sample. Submission guidelines here.

Entry Fee: FREE Deadline: April 1

Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting

If you think you have that movie magic, now’s your chance! This contest awards up to five $35,000 fellowships to amateur screenwriters, who are allowed to enter up to three original screenplays no longer than 160 pages. Fellowship winners are expected to complete at least one original feature film screenplay during the Fellowship year. Do it!

Entry Fee: $63 Deadline: April 9

Cowles Poetry Book Prize

In honor of Vern Cowles, a man who loved literature, Southeast Missouri State University Press offers this prize for an unpublished poetry manuscript. It is open to any living poet writing in English, age 18 or older, and the manuscript only needs to be 48-100 pages! First place receives $2000, publication and distribution, and receives 30 copies of their book. Get started!

Entry Fee: $25 Deadline: April 10

New Ohio Review Contest

All three of the New Ohio Review’s contests are ending this month, so enter now if you want to receive one of the three $1500 first-place prizes! Lauren Groff is judging the fiction section, Ada Limón is judging the poetry section, and Ira Sukrungruang is judging the nonfiction applicants. All of the winners and a selection of the runners up will be published! See more here.

Entry Fee: $22 Deadline: April 15

The 2020 Gulf Coast Prize

Here is an opportunity for all writers, as Gulf Coast’s contest rewards authors in nonfiction, fiction, and poetry! Emma Copley Eisenberg judges nonfiction, Daniel Peña judges fiction, and Kazim Ali judges poetry. The winner in each category receives $1500, and two honorable mentions in each category also receive $250. Make sure you submit to the correct category! Check it out here.

Entry Fee: $23 Deadline: April 16

Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize

Named after the first director of the University of Pittsburgh Press, this prize is offered for a first full-length book of poems! The winner receives a $5000 cash award as well as publication under the Pitt Poetry Series. The winner will be announced in the fall, so get the process started now! Learn more here!

Entry Fee: $25 Deadline: April 30

CRAFT Short Fiction Prize

This journal wants your best fiction – stories that explore craft, stories that linger, and stories that feel fresh and new- and they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is! Judged by the wonderful Alexander Chee, the top three stories will be selected for publication in CRAFT, and they will receive $2000, $500, and $300 respectively. The absolute maximum length for these entries is 5000 words, but simultaneous submissions are allowed. Do it!

Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: April 30

Pro Forma Contest

Grist is looking for authors who make the most of structures in writing, creating an interesting opportunity to play with form and function! Submissions can be fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or any other form of literary expression. Judged by Joy Priest, first-place wins $1200 and publication in the journal. Don’t miss it!

Entry Fee: $18 Deadline: April 30

by Kimberly Guerin



At The Masters Review, our mission is to support emerging writers. We only accept submissions from writers who can benefit from a larger platform: typically, writers without published novels or story collections or with low circulation. We publish fiction and nonfiction online year-round and put out an annual anthology of the ten best emerging writers in the country, judged by an expert in the field. We publish craft essays, interviews and book reviews and hold workshops that connect emerging and established writers.

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