November Deadlines: 9 Contests and Prizes Ending This Month

October 28, 2020

Do you have your Halloween costume ready to go? No? Only a few days left to decide! Thankfully, you have a little extra time to get your manuscripts in submission shape for these contests that are closing in the next month!

FEATURED The Masters Review Chapbook Contest

Our inaugural chapbook contest, judged by Steve Almond, is closing this month! The winning writer will be awarded $3000, manuscript publication, a subscription to Journal of the Month, and 50 copies of their winning manuscript. We’re seeking to celebrate bold, original voices within a single, cohesive manuscript of 25 to 40 pages. We’re interested in collections of short fiction, essays, flash fiction, novellas/novelettes, longform fiction or essays, and any combination thereof, provided the manuscripts are complete (no excerpts, chapters, works-in-progress, or other incomplete work), and function cohesively. We’ve published a (brief) list of our favorite chapbooks, and had a conversation with the editors about what kind of chapbooks we’re hoping to find in our submissions! Full submission details here.

Entry fee: $25 Deadline: November 15

FC2’s Innovative Fiction Contests

Two contest deadlines wrapped into one! FC2 is offering two manuscript prizes: the Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest, and the Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize. Both contests have a November 1 deadline. The Sukenick is open to US writers who have not published with FC2 previously. The final judge for the Sukenick this year is Vi Khi Nao. The winner receives a $1,500 prize, and publication by FC2. The Doctorow is judged this year by Joyelle McSweeney and is only open to US writers who have published at least three books of fiction previously. The prize for the Doctorow is $15,000 as well as publication by FC2. For both contests, FC2 is looking specifically for fiction considered “too challenging, innovative or heterodox” for traditional publishing. Take a look!

Entry fee: $25 Deadline: November 1

So to Speak Contests

So to Speak‘s annual contests in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and visual art are open until November 10 this year! For poetry, the journal of language + feminism + art is looking for 3-5 of your best poems. The winning poem will be award $500 and up to three finalists could also be selected for publication. The judge for poetry this year is Roya Marsh. In fiction and nonfiction, judged by Natalie Lima and Sophia Shalmiyev respectively, So to Speak is looking for up to 4,000 words of your best work. In visual art, the journal is looking for any form. The past winners have included photography, paintings, digital media, sculpture and more. The winner will be awarded publication alongside the $500 prize. Sheilah and Dani Restack are this year’s judges. And special this year: the submission fee is waived for Black and Indigenous writers. Learn more here.

Entry fee: $10 Deadline: November 10

Nilsen Literary Prize for a First Novel

The Nilsen Literary Prize for a First Novel is awarded to one unpublished manuscript a year, with a $2,000 prize and publication by Southeast Missouri State University Press. The prize is open to English-writing, US residents who have not published a novel. The deadline for this year’s contest has been extended to November 13, so you have a few extra weeks this year to polish up your manuscript. Find out more.

Entry fee: $25 Deadline: November 13

Academy of American Poets First Book Award

This prize is open to any US citizen (or US resident for the last ten years) who hasn’t published a book of poetry. Formerly known as the Walt Whitman Prize, this award has been running since 1975. The winning manuscript, selected by this year’s judge Claudia Rankine, will be published by Graywolf Press and pay its winning writer a $5,000 prize. The winner also receives an all-expenses-paid six-week residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in italy Submit between 48 and 100 pages of original, English poetry, although submissions are limited to one manuscript per submitter. Check it out!

Entry fee: $35 Deadline: November 16

53-Word Story Contest

Hosted monthly by Press 53, the 53-Word Story Contest is looking for stories of, you guessed it, 53 words exactly. The winner is published in Prime Number Magazine and wins a free book from Press 53. And better yet, it’s free to submit! You’ve got nothing to lose! Take a look at previous winners and get cracking on your own. A note: There’s a monthly theme, so be sure to look out for that when the calendar rolls over to November officially. Details here.

Entry fee: FREE! Deadline: November 15

One Teen Story Teen Writing Contest

Once a year One Teen Story hosts its Teen Writing Contest, limited to writers ages 13-19 and looking specifically for fiction focused on the teen experience. Stories should have teens as their protagonists, as well, but there’s no limit based on genre. Honorable mentions will be made based on age groups: 13-15, 16-17, and 18-19. The winner will receive a $500 prize and publication in One Teen Story. Submissions should be no longer than 4,500 words. Submit now!

Entry fee: FREE! Deadline: November 20

Hayden’s Ferry Review

Hayden’s Ferry Review is seeking flash-length submissions for their online companion issue with the theme Haunted. They write, “The ‘haunting’ is often associated with the ethereal; ghosts and phantoms, curses and spells, creaky floorboards and shadowy apparitions. We pair hauntings with darkness, fairy tales, the spirit world. But the things that haunt us are often more complex—they are places, people, memories, objects, obsessions, systems.” Got a story or short poem that fits this theme? Great! No? Well, you’ve still got about a month to get writing. Find more here.

Entry fee: FREE! Deadline: November 30

Blue Mountain Review’s LBGTQ Poetry Chapbook Contest

This contest is open only to members of the LBGTQ community. Submit up to 20 pages of poetry to this contest for the opportunity to win $200 and 100 copies of your book. 2nd and 3rd place finalists also receive monetary prizes ($100 and $50 respectively). The judges for the contest this year are Nickole Brown, author of Sister, Fanny Says, To Those Who Were Our First Gods and The Donkey Elegies, as well as Jessica Jacobs, author of Take Me With You, Wherever You’re Going. Submit here.

Entry fee: $25 Deadline: November 30

by Cole Meyer




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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