Erica Verillo compiled this list of writing contests at Published To Death. None of the following 29 writing contests charge an entry fee. The prizes vary from being published to $10,000. The contests include various genres and forms.
Helen Schaible Shakespearean/Petrarchan Sonnet Contest. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $50, 2nd Prize $35, 3rd Prize $15, three Honorable Mentions, three Special Recognitions. Deadline: September 1, 2020.
AILACT Essay Prize. Genre: Papers related to the teaching or theory of informal logic or critical thinking, and papers on argumentation theory. Prize: $700 top prize. Deadline: September 1, 2020.
The Sator New Works Award. Genre: Debut book-length work of fiction or non-fiction by an author who identifies as trans or nonbinary. Prize: $2,500 advance and publication. Deadline: September 1, 2020.
American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Prizes. Genre: English translations of poetry, fiction, drama, or literary prose originally written in Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, or Swedish by a Scandinavian author born after 1800. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: September 1, 2020.
PEN Prison Writing Contest. Restrictions: Anyone incarcerated in a federal, state, or county prison in the year before the September 1 deadline is eligible to enter. Genres: Poetry, fiction, drama, creative nonfiction. Prize: $200 top prize per category. Deadline: September 1, 2020.
Stories Out of School. Genre: Flash fiction. The story’s protagonist, or its narrator, must be a K-12 teacher. Stories must be between 6 and 749 words and previously unpublished. Prize: First-prize winners receive $1000; second-prize winners, $500. Deadline: September 1, 2020.
IWSG. Genre: Science Fiction. Theme: Dark Matter. Word count: 4500-6000. Prize: The winning stories will be edited and published by Dancing Lemur Press’ imprint Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title. Deadline: September 2, 2020.
#PitMad Pitch Party. #PitMad is a pitch party on Twitter where writers tweet a 280-character pitch for their completed, polished, unpublished manuscripts. Agents and editors make requests by liking/favoriting the tweeted pitch. Every unagented writer is welcome to pitch. All genres/categories are welcomed. Deadline: September 3, 2020.
On The Premises Short Story Contest. “For this contest, write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which either a specific scent, or the sense of smell in general, is important to the story.” Prize: Winners receive between US$60 and US$220, and publication. Deadline: September 4, 2020.
Hubert Butler Essay Prize. Restrictions: Open to European Union citizens aged 18+. Genre: Essay on theme “Communal solidarity and individual freedom: antagonists or allies?” 3,000 words max. Prize: Up to 1,000 pounds. Deadline: September 4, 2020.
The Gotham “Manuscript-to-Market” Fellowship. Restrictions: Open to people of color who have completed a book manuscript (or nonfiction book proposal) and are ready to go to market with their book. Three fellowships will be offered every year. Prize: Admittance to the Gotham Writers Conference—the panels and presentations as well as a seat at a pitching roundtable with two agents in your genre. The Gotham course How to Get Published or Nonfiction Book Proposal. A one-on-one Agent Evaluation session and a Query Letter Coaching session, both with a literary agent. Deadline: September 8, 2020.
Young Lions Fiction Award. Restrictions: Open to US citizens 35 years of age or younger. Genre: Novel or a collection of short stories. Each year, five young fiction writers are selected as finalists by a reading committee of Young Lions members, writers, editors, and librarians. Submissions by publisher only. Authors may not submit their own work. Prize: $10,000.00. Deadline: September 11, 2020.
Green Stories Writing Competition. Genre: Children’s books about building a sustainable society. Prize: £200 for best pre-school/illustrated book (aimed at age 2-6) and £200 for best novel in young reader’s category. Deadline: September 14, 2020.
Artist Trust: La Salle Storyteller Award. Restrictions: Open to residents of Washington State. Students enrolled in a degree-granting program are ineligible. Genre: Fiction. Grant: $10,000. Deadline: September 14, 2020.
Toni Beauchamp Prize in Critical Art Writing. Genre: Scholarly essay. All work submitted must have been written or published within the last year. Prize: $3,000. Deadline: September 15, 2020.
What’s Your Story? Restrictions: Open to Victorian residents. (Australia) Genre: Poetry, short stories, CNF. Prize: $500. Deadline: September 15, 2020.
Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize. Restrictions: Open to Black poets. Genre: Chapbook-length poetry manuscript. Prize: $500 and publication. Deadline: September 15, 2020.
The QueryLetter:com Writing Contest. Genre: Back cover blurb of 100 words or fewer that sets the stage for a novel, establishes the characters, and raises the stakes in a way that makes readers want to find out more. Prize: $500 top prize. Deadline: September 15, 2020.
Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize. Restrictions: Open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 34. Genre: Short story translation from Japanese to English. Entrants will translate ‘Yakyoku’ by Yusho Takiguchi. Prize: £1,000.00. Deadline: September 16, 2020.
Three Cheers and a Tiger. Genre: Science fiction/fantasy short story. Prize: Winning stories are published in the December issue of Toasted Cheese. If 50 or fewer eligible entries are received, first place receives a $35 Amazon gift card & second a $10 Amazon gift card. If 51 or more eligible entries are received, first place receives a $50 Amazon gift card, second a $15 Amazon gift card & third a $10 Amazon gift card. Deadline: September 20, 2020. Opens September 18.
Bodley Head/Financial Times Essay Prize. Restrictions: open to anyone between 18 and 35 years old. Genre: “A dynamic, authoritative and lively essay of no more than 3,500 words in English, on any subject.” Prize: £1,500 cash and an e-publication with The Bodley Head, publication in the FT of their winning essay and a mentoring session with The Bodley Head. Two runners-up will win £500 cash each and an e-publication with The Bodley Head. Deadline: September 24, 2020.
Cullman Center Fellowships. Fellowship. The Cullman Center’s Selection Committee awards up to 15 fellowships a year to outstanding scholars and writers—academics, independent scholars, journalists, and creative writers. Foreign nationals conversant in English are welcome to apply. Award: A stipend of up to $70,000, an office, a computer, and full access to the Library’s physical and electronic resources. Deadline: September 25, 2020.
Iowa Short Fiction and John Simmons Short Fiction Awards. Genre: Short story collection. The manuscript must be a collection of short stories in English of at least 150 word-processed, double-spaced pages. Prize: Publication by the University of Iowa Press, royalties. Deadline: September 30, 2020.
Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction Contest. Genre: Short fiction. Prize: $100. Deadline: September 30, 2020.
Victoria Literary Festival Writing Competition. Genre: Short story: 1500 words, taking into consideration the theme of the 2019 VLF festival: Hats Off. Prize: First prize will receive 350 CDN$ with four runners up receiving 50 CDN$ each. Deadline: September 30, 2020.
Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize. Restrictions: Open to writers of Caribbean birth or citizenship, living and working in the Anglophone Caribbean and writing in English, over the age of 18 by 30 September, 2018 and have no previously published a book-length work in the genre in which they are making a submission.Genre: Literary non-fiction work in progress. Prize: $20,000TT (or the equivalent in US dollars). Deadline: September 30, 2020.
Owl Canyon Press Short Story Hackathon. Genre: Short story. ” Writers are invited to create and submit a short story consisting of 50 paragraphs. The contest provides the first and last paragraph and the short story writer crafts the rest.” Prize: First prize is $1000, 2nd prize is $500, and 3rd prize is $250 with the winning short story published in an ebook short story anthology for Amazon, as well as an invitation to give a public reading at Inkberry Books in Niwot, CO. Twenty-four (24) Finalists will also have their short stories included in this ebook anthology. Deadline: September 30, 2020.
Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets. Restrictions: Poetry pamphlet. Only pamphlets published in the United Kingdom between September 2018 and this year’s closing date are eligible. Genre: Poetry. Prize: £5,000. Deadline: September 30, 2020.