October Deadlines: 16 Contests Ending This Month

September 28, 2019

We may be approaching Halloween, but nothing is scarier than the prospect of missing out on these amazing literary contests! Thankfully for you, we’ve gone ahead and laid out the deadlines in chronological order, so entering these competitions should be as easy as (pumpkin) pie!

American Literary Review Awards

In this threefold contest offered by American Literary Review, contestants can submit entries for short fiction, essays, and poetry! Submissions may be up to 8000 words for short fiction, 6500 words for essays, or up to three poems, and the winner of each contest receives $1000 and publication. Learn more here.

Entry Fee: $15 Deadline: October 1

Anton Chekhov Award for Flash Fiction

Are your stories brief, brisk, and bracing? LitMag has the contest for you! All submissions need to be between 500 and 1500 words, and previously unpublished. Judged by the editors of the magazine, the winner receives $1250, publication, and agency review. Three finalists will receive $100 and consideration for agency review, and all entries will be considered for publication. Submit here.

Entry Fee: $16 Deadline: October 1

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

Mary C. Mohr Awards

All three of the Southern Indiana Review’s contests are ending this month, so enter now if you want to receive one of the three $2000 first-place prizes! Nickolas Butler is judging the fiction section, José Olivarez is judging the poetry section, and Sarah Perry is judging the nonfiction applicants. All of the winners and a selection of the runners up will be published! See more here.

Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: October 1

Mighty River Short Story Prize

Southeast Missouri State University Press currently has two contests open, and both of them are perfect for emerging writers! Submissions to the Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Contest must be less than 500 words, but there are no restrictions on style or content. The winner receives $500 and publication. As for the Mighty River Short Story Contest, there is a limit of 30 pages, with $1000 and publication going to the winner. Both contests are read and judged anonymously. Learn more here.

Entry Fee: $20 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 Beth Ann Fennelly, offers $1000, a reading at the festival, and publication. The fiction contest, judged by Maurice Carlos Ruffin, gives $1500, a reading at the festival, accommodation for the festival, and publication to the winner. Finally, the very short fiction contest, judged by Jac Jemc, awards the winner with $500, a reading at the festival, and publication. There are a lot 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 Tommy Orange, winner of the 2019 PEN/Hemingway Award and 2019 Pulitzer Prize finalist. 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 8

Emerging Writer’s Prize in Fiction

The Arkansas International is currently accepting submissions for their contest, but all good things will eventually come to an end. Entries are only open to writers who haven’t published a full-length book, and must be less than 7500 words. The winning prose piece will be chosen by Sigris Nunez, and will receive $1000 and publication. Don’t lose your chance!

Entry Fee: $20 Deadline: October 13

A Public Space Emerging Writer Fellowships

This amazing fellowship will be awarded to three writers, who will each receive $1000, six months of editorial support to prepare a piece for publication, mentorship, and a public reading in New York City. They’re looking for writers who have not yet published or been contracted to write a book-length work, and that could be you! Submit here.

Entry Fee: FREE Deadline: October 15

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 Kim Chinquee. Submit here!

Entry Fee: $25 Deadline: October 15

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 Kellie Wells. Rules here!

Entry Fee: $18 Deadline: October 15

The SmokeLong Flash Fellowship for Emerging Writers

Given by SmokeLong Quarterly, this program is looking for a writer eager to work on their craft, and excited about the opportunity to work with the journal! Applications must include a short bio and three examples of your flash fiction. The winner will be considered the “writer in residence” for four issues, have the opportunity to work with staff, and receive $1000. There is also a free application for any writers who can’t afford the fee. Submit here.

Entry Fee: $8 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 Allison Joseph! Details here.

Entry Fee: $25 Deadline: October 31

Blue Light Books Prize

If you have an unpublished short story collection, this could be your big break! Indiana Review and Indiana University Press are currently accepting submissions for this prize. A manuscript of outstanding merit will be selected, and the winner will receive a publication contract, a prize of $2000 against future royalties, and a public reading. The final judge will be Michelle Pretorius. Do it!

Entry Fee: $20 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 64 to 90 pages. Once chosen by judge Holly Karapetkova, the winner receives $1000 and publication. Submission guidelines here.

Entry Fee: $25 Deadline: October 31


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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