May Deadlines: 11 Prizes and Deadlines This Month

April 27, 2023

We’re hoping that the past rain showers will bring up many May flowers. And we hope that you’ve used your time well, and that you now have a stack of writing that you can submit to these contests!

OPEN NOW: Spring Small Fiction Awards

The Masters Review has a new contest open now, looking for the titans of the tiniest writing forms! Microfiction is less than 500 words, Flash Fiction is between 501 and 1000 words, and Sudden Fiction is between 1001 and 1500 words. First place in each category receives $1000 and online publication! Judged by the magnificent K-Ming Chang! More details here.

Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: June 1

FEATURED: 2023 Online Novel Workshop

There are still spots available for this year’s Novel Workshop, but not for long! Writers are invited to submit the first fifty pages of their novels, a brief synopsis, any challenges, and what feedback they’re seeking. This course includes personalized feedback from an experienced small press editor, an opportunity to join a curated writing group with other participants, curated learning materials, and more! Sign up here.

Entry Fee: $497 Deadline: May 2

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. They’re looking for creative or literary nonfiction, with an engaging style, unique voice, and a fresh perspective. The Waterston Desert Prize recognizes one writer with $3000, a residency at Summer Lake, OR, and a reading and reception at the High Desert Museum in Bend, OR. Applicants need to provide a biographical statement, a proposal, and a writing sample. Judged by the Washington poet laureate, Rena Priest. Submission guidelines here.

Entry Fee: FREE Deadline: May 1

The Emerging Writer’s Contest

Ploughshares prides itself on their commitment to promoting the work of up-and-coming writers, and that means you! This contest is meant to celebrate emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, awarding $2000, publication, and agency review to the winners of each category. Gish Jen is judging fiction, Meghan O’Rourke is judging nonfiction, and Sandra Cisneros is judging poetry. Guidelines here.

Entry Fee: $24 Deadline: May 15

The Loraine Williams Poetry Prize

Hanif Abdurraqib, winner of the 2022 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, is judging this contest for The Georgia Review, and he is looking for a masterful poem! The final winner will receive $1500, publication, and a trip to Atlanta for a public reading, but all submitted poems will be considered for publication (at $4 a line). Learn more here.

Entry Fee: $30 Deadline: May 15

Raymond Carver Short Story Contest

If your stories are compelling, captivating, and concise, then Carve Magazine has the contest for you! Judged by the publisher and editing team at Carve, the winner receives $2000, second-place receives $500, third-place is given $250, two Editor’s Choice recipients get $125, and all of the winning entries will be read by three literary agents. This is the twenty-third anniversary of the contest, so don’t waste any more time! Submit here.

Entry Fee: $18 Deadline: May 17

New Letters Prizes

There are actually three contests here, one each for poetry, nonfiction, or fiction! The Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction submissions may be up to 8000 words, and the best essay receives $2500 and publication. The Robert Day Award for Fiction may also be up to 8000 words, the Patricia Cleary Miller Award for Poetry up to six poems, and the winner of these contests also receives $2500 and publication. Make sure to select the correct contest for your submission! More details here.

Entry Fee: $24 Deadline: May 22

Autumn House Press Contests

In this threefold contest offered by Autumn House Press, contestants can submit manuscript entries for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The categories are judged by Pam Houston, Jenny Boully, and Toi Derricotte, respectively. The winners in each category receive publication, a $1000 honorarium, and a $1500 travel/publicity grant to promote their book! Make sure to choose the correct category when you submit, and good luck! Find more details here.

Entry Fee: $30 Deadline: May 31

Elixir Press Fiction Award

This contest is sponsored by Elixir Press, and is open to all authors writing in English! They’re accepting both novels and short story collections, as long as the submissions are literary quality. Simultaneous submissions are welcome, and the winner receives $2000, publication, and 25 copies of their winning manuscript. Judged by Kirk Wilson. Submit here.

Entry Fee: $40 Deadline: May 31

Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction

The University of Georgia Press has offered this award since 1983, and it has become an important showcase for talented emerging writers. Series editor Lori Ostlund is looking for short story collections, which may include novellas and long stories, and the competition is open to all authors writing in English who reside in North America. The winner receives a cash award of $1000 as well as a standard book publishing contract with the University of Georgia Press. More information here.

Entry Fee: $30 Deadline: May 31

Guy Owen Prize

Southern Poetry Review is looking for the perfect poem, and it could be yours! They’re accepting three to five poems in every submission, and the winning poem will receive $1000 and publication. Enter here!

Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: May 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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