January Deadlines: 13 Prizes and Contests Ending This Month

December 29, 2023

It gets dark so early now, but don’t worry about how to avoid falling asleep before dinner… Take a look at these contests, and you’ll surely be inspired to stay up late!

FEATURED! Winter Short Story Award for New Writers

This one is our own contest, and it’s featured for so many good reasons! The Masters Review is looking for stories under 6,000 words, written by emerging writers who can take chances and be bold! The winner receives $3,000, publication, and agency review, and the runners-up also receive cash prizes, publication, and review. Judged by the wonderful Kelly Link! Details here.

Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: January 28

The 2024 MR Prize

Awarded through Mississippi Review, this prize is available to writers and poets alike! Winners receive $1,000 and publication for the categories of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Prose entries should be 1,000-8,000 words, and poetry should be under ten pages, but there is no limit on the number of entries! Learn more here.

Entry Fee: $16 Deadline: January 1


Steinbeck Fellowships in Creative Writing

The Steinbeck Fellows Program of San José State University, endowed by Martha Heasley Cox, is looking for emerging writers of any age and background! Their creative writing fellowship accepts work in fiction, drama, creative nonfiction, and biography (but not in poetry). Accepted fellows will receive a $15,000 stipend, interaction with other writers and faculty, and monthly readings. Each application needs to include a prospectus, resumé, three letters of recommendation, and a writing sample. See more here!

Entry Fee: FREE Deadline: January 5

Desert Writers Award

Established to honor the memory of Ellen Meloy, the Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers is devoted to literary and creative nonfiction work about the desert. The Fund provides support to writers whose work brings deeper meaning to the body of desert literature, awarding $5,000 every spring! To be considered, entrants must include the completed application form, a biographical statement, a project proposal, and a ten-page writing sample. More details here!

Entry Fee: $15 Deadline: January 15

2023 Literary Awards

Created by the Santa Fe Writers Project, this contest is meant to recognize excellence in writing! Entries can be fiction or nonfiction, of any genre (past winners have included flash fiction, memoirs, short story collections, essays, and even a graphic novel). This year’s judge is the mega-talented Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. The grand prize is $1,500, and two runners-up will receive $500. Winners will then be offered a competitive book contract, separate from the prize money! Check it out!

Entry Fee: $30 Deadline: January 15

Cai Emmons Fiction Award

This new contest is for fresh and original stories, to honor the life and legacy of beloved Red Hen Press author Cai Emmons! Acceptable submissions must be fiction, with a minimum of 150 pages. The winner, selected by inaugural judge Aimee Liu, receives $5,000 and publication by Red Hen Press. Learn more here!

Entry Fee: $25 Deadline: January 16

The Big Moose Prize

If you’ve recently finished writing a novel, here is an opportunity to get published! Black Lawrence Press is awarding this prize, and it’s open to new, emerging, or established authors. They allow traditional novels as well as novels-in-stories, novels-in-poems, and other hybrid forms. The winner receives $1,000, book publication, and ten copies of their book. Details here.

Entry Fee: $28 Deadline: January 31

Chautauqua Janus Prize

For the seventh time, the Chautauqua Janus Prize will be awarded this summer, and the time to apply is running out! It is meant to be a celebration of an emerging writer’s daring innovation of literary form and function that reorders and upsets readers’ imaginations in a single work of short fiction or nonfiction. Not only does the winner receive $5,000 for their manuscript, they will also give a lecture in the summer and receive publication in Chautauqua. This is specifically a prize meant for emerging writers, who have yet to publish any prose books. Judged by Jimin Han. Apply here.

Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: January 31

The Iowa Review Awards

In this threefold contest offered by The Iowa Review, contestants can submit entries for fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Multiple entries are allowed, and different genres constitute different entries. The fiction judge is Brandon Taylor, the nonfiction judge is Lauren Haldeman, and the poetry judge is Sarah Minor. Prose submissions may be up to twenty-five pages, and poetry submissions may be up to ten pages. The winners in each category receive $1,500 and publication. Choose the correct category when you submit, and good luck! More details here.

Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: January 31

New Millennium Awards

There’s a little something for everyone in this contest, presented by literary journal New Millennium Writings! Writers can send in submissions for poetry, fiction, flash fiction, or nonfiction, with no restrictions on style or subject matter. Fiction and nonfiction must be less than 7500 words, flash fiction must be less than 1,000 words, and poetry may include three poems less than five pages long. First place in each category receives $1,000, a certificate, publication online and in print, and two copies. Select finalists may also be published and receive complimentary copies. Don’t wait!

Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: January 31

The Screw Turn Flash Fiction Competition

The Ghost Story is looking for the finest work they can find that incorporates the uncanny, as long as it’s fewer than 1,000 words! Stories don’t need to involve ghosts specifically, but they do need fresh perspectives and superb writing. The winner receives $1,000 and both online and print publication. Submit here!

Entry Fee: $15 Deadline: January 31

Short Memoir Prize

This annual contest from Fish Publishing is a true challenge—anyone’s memoir can be captivating, if written to turn the ordinary into a masterpiece! Judged by Sean Lusk, first place receives $1,035 and publication, and the other nine finalists are published as well. See more here!

Entry Fee: $19 Deadline: January 31

swamp pink Prizes

These are actually three contests offered by swamp pink, formerly known as Crazyhorse, looking for exceptional writing and outstanding poetry! The judges are Jenny Xie for poetry, Jaquira Díaz for nonfiction, and Daniyal Mueenuddin for fiction. Submissions may be up to twenty-five pages, or a set of one to three poems, and the winner of each contest receives $2,000 and publication. Make sure to select the correct contest for your submission! Submission details here.

Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: January 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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