May Deadlines: 8 Contests and Prizes This Month

April 26, 2024

There is spring in the air, and new growth on all the trees. Show us what you can create yourself, and submit to one of these contests!

OPEN NOW! The Masters Review Anthology Prize

It’s finally that time of year again, when The Masters Review is accepting entries for our anthology! For the thirteenth volume, we are looking for stories from the best emerging writers. Submissions can be fiction or narrative nonfiction, but they need to be fewer than 7,000 words. The winners will be published in print and online in The Masters Review Anthology, and $7,000 will be awarded between the ten finalists. This contest is judged by the marvelous Gina Chung, and she is hoping for stories that leave her feeling changed by the end. Check it out!

Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: June 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 $3,000, 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 actor and producer Sam Waterston. 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 $2,000, publication, and agency review to the winners of each category. Dantiel W. Moniz is judging fiction, Augusten Burroughs is judging nonfiction, and Porsha Olayiwola is judging poetry. Guidelines here.

Entry Fee: $30 Deadline: May 15

The Loraine Williams Poetry Prize

Cole Swenson, a former Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of the Iowa Poetry Prize, is judging this contest for The Georgia Review, and she is looking for a masterful poem! Entries may include up to three poems, but must be fewer than ten pages total. The final winner will receive $1,500 and publication, but all submitted poems will be considered for publication (at $4 a line). Learn more here.

Entry Fee: $30 Deadline: May 16

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 8,000 words, and the best essay receives $2,500 and publication. The Robert Day Award for Fiction may also be up to 8,000 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 20

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 $2,000, publication, and twenty-five 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 $1,000 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 $1,000 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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