As spring continues on its way, we’ve said goodbye to the crocuses, the snowbells, and the daffodils. And just like the flowers, these contests are also only here for a limited time. Make sure you check them out before they’re gone!
Never before has each word in a submission been worth so much… You might be limited to 1000 words, but the winner will be rewarded with $3000! Second and third place receive $300 and $200, respectively, and all stories are considered for publication. We’re only looking for previously unpublished stories, but you’re allowed both simultaneous and multiple submissions. Our guest judge is Stuart Dybek, and we’re asking you to amaze him! Don’t miss it!
Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: May 30
If you have a poem to share, Ruminate wants to read it! Judged by the fantastic Matthew Olzmann, the first-place prize is $1500 and publication. The runner-up receives $300, and all entries are considered for publication. Each submission is only two poems, but there are no limits on the number of entries per person. Submit here.
Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: May 1
Arthur Sze, the celebrated professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts, is judging this contest for The Georgia Review, and they are 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: $15 Deadline: May 1
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 $2500, 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. Submission guidelines here.
Entry Fee: FREE Deadline: May 1
This amazing prize is available through Duke University, and it’s based on the collaboration between photographer Dorothea Lange and writer Paul Taylor. They’re looking for extended and ongoing projects that rely on combining words and images, up to nineteen images and fifteen pages! Applications must include a project description, a statement, and a biography. The winner will receive $10,000, a feature story, and their work will be placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University. More details here.
Entry Fee: $60 Deadline: May 15
If you write your fiction with a futuristic or supernatural bent, this is the contest you’ve been waiting for! Hidden River Press is looking for an original unpublished work of speculative fiction, and the winner will receive $1000 and publication. Make a note that submissions need to include a brief biography, outline, and full synopsis along with the full manuscript! Details here.
Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: May 15
If your stories are compelling, captivating, and concise, then Carve Magazine has the contest for you! Judged by Leesa Cross-Smith, 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-first anniversary of the contest, so don’t waste any more time! Submit here.
Entry Fee: $17 Deadline: May 15
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. Kiley Reid is judging fiction, Paul Lisicky is judging nonfiction, and Paige Lewis is judging poetry. Guidelines here.
Entry Fee: $24 Deadline: May 15
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 18
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 Ann Harleman. Submit here.
Entry Fee: $40 Deadline: May 31
The University of Georgia Press has offered this award since 1983, and it has become an important showcase for talented emerging writers. Series editor Roxane Gay 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
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