They may seem too good to be true, but we promise that none of these events are April Fool’s Day pranks! We checked each and every one ourselves, so you can go ahead and submit with confidence!
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. Vandana Khanna is judging poetry, Lan Samantha Chang 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
The Southampton Review
TSR accepts submissions in different categories twice each year, and they’re only accepting entries for fiction, nonfiction, poetry, plays, and screenplays until the beginning of April. You may only submit once per reading period, but if you want to be published alongside the best established authors and newcomers, this could be your shot! Submission guidelines here.
Entry Fee: $3 Deadline: April 1
Waterston Desert Writing Prize
Inspired by author and poet Ellen Waterston, this prize provides financial and other support to writers of literary nonfiction whose work illustrates artistic excellence and a connection to the desert. The Waterston Desert Prize recognizes one writer with $2000, a reading and reception, and a four-week residency at Summer Lake, OR. Applicants need to provide a biographical statement, a proposal, and a writing sample. Details here.
Entry Fee: FREE Deadline: April 1
Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting
If you think that you’re the next cinema legend, 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: $60 Deadline: April 10
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In honor of Vern Cowles, a man who loved literature, Southeast Missouri State University Press offers this prize for an unpublished poetry manuscript.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 receives 30 copies of their book. Get started!
Entry Fee: $25 Deadline: April 13
Chautauqua Editor’s Prize
The Chautauqua Institution is an educational center in New York State, and their literary journal has always focused on personal, social, political, spiritual, and aesthetic inquiry. Now, for the first time, Chautauqua will be awarding a prize to the writing that best features an issue’s theme and the spirit of the journal! They publish one volume a year, at the start of summer, and this year’s theme is the courage, grit, determination, and energy that make up moxie. All submissions to the publication are automatically considered, and the winner receives $1000 and a nomination for the Pushcart Prize! Learn more here.
Entry Fee: $3 Deadline: April 15
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 $1000 first-place prizes! Mary Gaitskill is judging the fiction section, Kevin Prufer is judging the poetry section, and the amazing Roxane Gay is judging the nonfiction applicants. All of the winners and a selection of the runners up will be published! See more here.
Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: April 15
Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize
Named after the first director of the University of Pittsburgh Press, this prize is offered to any poet and their 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! Guidelines 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 incomparable and highly-decorated Jim Shepard, 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 6000 words, but simultaneous submissions are allowed. Do it!
Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: April 30
Glimmer Train Fiction Open
Occurring twice a year, this is the spring installment of Glimmer Train’s Fiction Open contest! It’s open to all writers, all subjects, all themes, and entries can run from 3000 to 20,000 words. The winner receives $3000, the runner-up receives $1000, and both are published in Glimmer Train Stories, along with 10 copies of that issue. Submit here.
Entry Fee: $21 Deadline: April 30
Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Contest
Also from Glimmer Train, the Very Short Fiction Contest is open to all writers, and any story that hasn’t appeared in a print publication is welcome! Entries can range from 300 words to 3000. First place receives $2000 and publication in Glimmer Train Stories. Winners are announced November 1. Guidelines here.
Entry Fee: $16 Deadline: April 30
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 30
Pro Forma Contest
Grist, and the University of Tennessee, are 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 Emilia Phillips, first-place wins $1200 and publication in the journal. Don’t miss it!
Entry Fee: $18 Deadline: April 30
Red Hen Press Nonfiction Award
Red Hen Press wants to recognize the art of true storytelling through literary craft, and they welcome work from all authors! Essay collections, memoirs, research-driven works, and narrative nonfiction are all welcome, although they must be a minimum of 150 pages. The award is $1000, and also includes publication of the winning entry. Judged by Florencia Ramirez! Submission guidelines here.
Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: April 30
by Kimberly Guerin