December Deadlines: 11 Contests and Prizes Ending This Month

November 25, 2020

It has been A YEAR, to put it mildly, and many people have used writing as an outlet to express themselves. If you have something to say, or yell, or SHOUT, here’s your chance to share it with a ready audience! Let yourself be heard!


FEATURED! Short Story Award for New Writers OPENS December 1st!

Our own contest isn’t ending anytime soon, but that just gives you more of an opportunity to get started! The Masters Review is looking for stories under 6000 words, written by emerging writers who have a way with words and a love for language! The winner receives $3000, publication online, and agency review, and the runners-up also receive cash prizes, publication, and review. Judged by the wonderful Helen Oyeyemi! Learn more here.

Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: January 31

Stegner Fellowship

This astounding fellowship is offered to ten writers through Stanford University, five in poetry and five in literary fiction, and the winners receive tuition, workshops and other events, and a yearly living stipend of $37,500 for two years. They’re looking for writers who are diverse in experience and style, who have talent and the ability to focus. You’ll need two contacts for recommendations, a statement of plans, and a manuscript up to 9000 words, but this could be your shot! Overview here.

Entry Fee: $85 Deadline: December 1

W. Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction

There are some very specific contests out there, and this is one of them! Administered by the American Library Association, this award honors the best fiction published in the last year that was set in a time when the United States was at war. It recognizes the service of American veterans and military personnel, although the incidences of war may only function as the setting of the story. All entries are judged on the excellence of writing and attention to detail. The winning entrant will receive $5000 and a gold-framed citation of achievement. More details here.

Entry Fee: FREE Deadline: December 1

Chautauqua Prize

This competition is a daring gauntlet run by the Chautauqua Institute, but the reward at the end is worth the work! A $7500 prize and one-week residency is awarded to an author of a book of original fiction or narrative nonfiction that was published this year. They accept all books published in 2020, from short story collections to memoirs. Could this be you? Do it!

Entry Fee: $75 Deadline: December 15

The Danahy Fiction Prize

The University of Tampa and Tampa Review are looking for the very best unpublished work of short fiction, but they can’t choose yours unless you enter! Manuscripts must be original, and contain between 500 and 5000 words (although slight deviations are usually allowed). The winner receives $1000 and publication in Tampa Review. Check it out!

Entry Fee: $23 Deadline: December 31

Dorset Prize

This is a call to all poets, who like to dream big! Offered through Tupelo Press, this contest is judged by the inspiring poet Tyehimba Jess. All poets writing in English are eligible, although the poetry manuscript should be between 48-88 pages. The winner of the Dorset Prize receives $3000, a week-long residency at MASS MoCA, 20 copies of the winning title, a book launch, and a national distribution with promotion and publicity! Wow! Learn more here.

Entry Fee: $30 Deadline: December 31

The Lascaux Prize in Short Fiction

If you think you’re ready to medal in writing short fiction, then this is the contest for you! The Lascaux Review is accepting stories for submission, and their length should not exceed 10,000 words. All finalists in this contest will be published, but the winner also receives $1000 and a bronze medallion for their efforts. Learn more here!

Entry Fee: $15 Deadline: December 31

2021 Microfiction Contest

The editors at River Styx are looking for stories that are short and sweet – does that describe your style? Stories must be less than 500 words, but three stories are allowed per entry! There are no other restrictions, and first place receives $1000 and publication in River Styx! Submit here.

Entry Fee: $15 Deadline: December 31

Press 53 Award for Short Fiction

This is an annual award given by Press 53, to the author of an outstanding and unpublished short story collection. It is open to all writers in the United States or one of its territories, regardless of publishing history. The winner will be published by Press 53 under a standard publishing contract, with a $1000 cash advance, and will also receive 50 copies of their book. More details here.

Entry Fee: $30 Deadline: December 31

Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers

If you are an unpublished author, this is an opportunity meant specifically for you! Boulevard’s contest is meant to honor a writer who has never published a book, with a $1500 prize, and publication in an issue of Boulevard. Entries must be less than 8000 words, but there is no limit on the number of entries. Do it!

Entry Fee: $16 Deadline: December 31

Virginia Woolf Award for Short Fiction

LitMag is looking for short stories, between 3000 and 8000 words, with little constraints beyond that! Only unpublished short stories are eligible, but authors may submit multiple times. The winner receives $2500, publication, and agency review, and three finalists will  receive $100 and possible agency review and publication. Submit here!

Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: December 31

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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