October Deadlines: 9 Contests and Prizes This Month

September 25, 2023

These contests are sure to make you light up like a jack-o-lantern! Find a contest that works for you, and then submit your favorite work!

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 8,000 words for short fiction, 4,000 words for essays, or up to five poems, and the winner of each contest receives $1,000 and publication. Learn more here.

Entry Fee: $15 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 $5,000 and publication, but there is also promotion by the magazine! 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 $1,500, a staging of the play, and publication. The poetry contest, judged by Stephanie Burt, offers $1,000 and a reading at the festival. The fiction contest, judged by Margot Douaihy, gives $1,500, a reading at the festival, and accommodation for the festival. Finally, the very short fiction contest, judged by Tara Lynn Masih, 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 The entries need to be less than 5,000 words and previously unpublished, and will be judged by Jamil Jan Kochai, finalist for the 2020 PEN/Hemingway Award. First place is $1,000, second place is $500, and third place is $250. All three prize winners and seven honorable mentions will be considered for representation. Check it out!

Entry Fee: $30 Deadline: October 2

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 two applications and a forty-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 $71,000. 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 $2,000 and publication. Judged by Aimee Bender. 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 forty-eight pages, and submitted without any identifying material. The award is $3,000, and also includes publication of the winning entry. Judged by Juan Felipe Herrera! 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 ten copies of their book. Guidelines 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 manuscripts in a wide range of styles, forms, and aesthetics, from lyric poetry to flash fiction, although entries must be between sixty to ninety pages. Once chosen by judge Robert Morgan, the winner receives $1,000 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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