October Deadlines: 10 Contests and Prizes Closing This Month

September 29, 2020

Is it too late to say that we’re living in unprecedented times? Many of our favorite magazines and contests have had to take a hiatus, but here are all of the opportunities still waiting for you to share your voice!

Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize

In this amazing contest offered by The Missouri Review, contestants can submit entries for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Not only do the winners in each contest receive $5000 and publication, but there is also a reception and reading in their honor! Make sure to choose the correct category when you submit, and good luck! More details here.

Entry Fee: $25 Deadline: October 1

Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival

There are four writing contests being offered this year, and they cover a full range of wonderful challenges and prizes! The one-act play contest, judged by Peter Hagan, rewards the winner with $1500, a staging of the play, and publication. The poetry contest, judged by Paisley Rekdal, offers $1000, a reading at the festival, and publication. The fiction contest, judged by Minrose Gwin, gives $1500, a reading at the festival, accommodation for the festival, and publication to the winner. Finally, the very short fiction contest, judged by Leigh Camacho Rourks, awards the winner with $500, a reading at the festival, and publication. There are many more details here!

Entry Fee: $25 Deadline: October 1

Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Competition

Founded by Francis Ford Coppola, Zoetrope: All-Story is meant to explore the intersections of story, art, fiction, and film. This contest is open to all genres of literary fiction, with no formatting restrictions! The entries need to be less than 5,000 words and previously unpublished, and will be judged by Téa Obreht, winner of the Orange Prize and finalist for the National Book Award. First prize is $1000, second is $500, and third is $250. All three prizewinners and seven honorable mentions will be considered for representation. Check it out!

Entry Fee: $30 Deadline: October 13

Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship

There is no better chance for American poets who wish to travel than this opportunity, and it’s not too late! Applicants must send in an application and a 40-page poetry sample to the Trustees at the law firm Choate, Hall & Stewart, who will choose up to two recipients. The winner must then leave North America for an entire year, produce at least three poems, and will then be awarded $60,500. Find out more here!

Entry Fee: FREE Deadline: October 15

Calvino Prize

Sponsored by the University of Louisville, their Creative Writing Program is searching for outstanding and experimental fiction, in the style of fabulist writer Italo Calvino. Take note, however, that entries ought to be inspired by Calvino, not merely imitating him! First place receives $2000, publication, and an invitation to read at the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture (all expenses paid!). Judged by Joyce Carol Oates. Submit here!

Entry Fee: $25 Deadline: October 15

Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award

In honor of the poet Benjamin Saltman, Red Hen Press is looking to reward a previously unpublished original collection of poetry! Open to all poets, each manuscript must be a minimum of 48 pages, and submitted without any identifying material. The award is $3000, and also includes publication of the winning entry and a four-week residency at PLAYA in southern Oregon. Judged by Jeffrey Harrison! Details here.

Entry Fee: $25 Deadline: October 31

Black River Chapbook Competition

Black Lawrence Press presents a great opportunity for poets and fiction writers with short manuscripts! The contest is open to new, emerging, and experienced writers, whose entries will be read blind by the panel of editors. The winner is awarded $500, publication, and 10 copies of their book. Guidelines here.

Entry Fee: $15 Deadline: October 31

Creative Nonfiction Prize

If you have an unpublished creative nonfiction piece, this could be your big break! Indiana Review and Indiana University Press are currently accepting submissions for this prize. An entry of outstanding merit will be selected, less than 5000 words, and the winner will receive publication and $1000. The final judge will be Bassey Ikpi. Do it!

Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: October 31

Fabulist Fiction Chapbook Contest

Presented by Omnidawn Publishing, this competition is on the hunt for fiction that pushes boundaries! Fabulist fiction, in this instance, includes magical realism and the literary forms of fantasy, science fiction, horror, fable, and myth, as long as they’re written in English and don’t exceed 17,500 words. The winner receives $1000, publication, 100 free copies of their chapbook, and extensive advertising and publicity. Judged by Molly Gloss. Rules here!

Entry Fee: $18 Deadline: October 31

Vern Rutsala Book Prize

Cloudbank Books was founded in 2000 by Peter Sears, the Poet Laureate of Oregon from 2014 to 2016, and this contest is dedicated to another great Oregon poet, Vern Rutsala! They are looking for a wide range of styles, forms, and aesthetics, from lyric poetry to flash fiction, although entries must be between 60 to 90 pages. Once chosen by judge Christopher Buckley, the winner receives $1000 and publication. Submission guidelines here.

Entry Fee: $25 Deadline: October 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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