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Creative Writing Contests

Short Story and other creative writing contests and competitions with big cash prizes like the ones below can provide a real step up for writers. Writing competitions can jumpstart a career. This happened to me when I submitted a sample of my unpublished novel to the Chapters/Robertson Davies writing contest for unpublished novelists. I'll never forget the thrill of excitement I felt when they contacted me with the news that I was one of six hundred writers invited to submit an entire novel manuscript.

I decided then that if my manuscript went further in the writing contest, I'd use that honour to find an agent, and I began my research. When I learned that the shortlist of five novels included mine, I contacted the agent I most wanted to represent me, and she signed me and had a publisher interested within two weeks. What an exciting time! If I won the contest, McClelland and Stewart would publish my novel and I would receive an advance on royalties. If I went no further than the shortlist, HarperCollins would publish the novel and I would receive a larger advance on royalties. The way I saw it, I couldn't lose!

I did not win the contest, but I won a career all the same.

So I encourage you to seek out creative writing contests and send only your best, most polished work, as winning means publication and often significant payment. Creative Writing Contests

PLEASE NOTE: I publish this list of creative writing contests as a service to visitors. It takes considerable time even to keep it current, so please do not write to ask me questions about any of the contests. If you have questions, please contact the organizer of the contest.

If you want to be aware of writing contests all year, well in advance, consider purchasing the book Writing to Win by Moira Allen, which is one of the most complete sources of which I am aware.


Current FICTION Writing Contests

SEPTEMBER Creative Writing Contests

  1. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 15, 2014:
    Bartleby Snopes Dialogue Only Contest
    Prize: $500

  2. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 15, 2014:
    Robert Watson Literary Prize
    Prize: $1000

  3. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 15, 2014:
    The Maine Review Rocky Coast Fiction Contest
    Prize: $150

  4. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 15, 2014:
    The Short Story Contest
    Prize: £300

  5. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 30, 2014:
    Glimmer Train Family Matters Fiction Award
    Prize: $1500 opens SEPTEMBER 1

  6. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 30, 2014:
    Thomas Morton Memorial Prize
    Prize: $1000

  7. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 30, 2014:
    Writers' Forum Short Story Contest
    Prize: £300

  8. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 30, 2014:
    Flash 500 Flash Fiction Contest
    Prize: £300

  9. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 30, 2014:
    Writers of the Future Fiction Contest
    Prize: $1000

  10. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 30, 2014:
    Dark Tales Short Story Competition
    Prize: £100

  11. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 30, 2014:
    Chariton Review Short Fiction Prize
    Prize: $500

  12. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 30, 2014:
    Tethered by Letters Short Story Contest
    Prize: $250

OCTOBER Creative Writing Contests

  1. DEADLINE OCTOBER 1, 2014:
    Aura Estrada Short Story Contest
    Prize: $1500

  2. DEADLINE OCTOBER 1, 2014:
    Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize in Fiction
    Prize: $5000

  3. DEADLINE OCTOBER 1, 2014:
    Alligator Juniper Fiction Contest
    Prize: $1000

  4. DEADLINE OCTOBER 1, 2014:
    Mighty River Short Story Contest
    Prize: $1000

  5. DEADLINE OCTOBER 1, 2014:
    18th Annual Zoetrope: All Story Short Fiction Contest
    Prize: $1000

  6. DEADLINE OCTOBER 1, 2014:
    Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Contest
    Prize: $500

  7. DEADLINE OCTOBER 1, 2014:
    American Literary Review Literary Awards - Short Story
    Prize: $1000

  8. DEADLINE OCTOBER 14, 2014:
    The Calvino Prize
    Prize: $1500

  9. DEADLINE OCTOBER 15, 2014:
    The Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Competition
    Prize: $500

  10. DEADLINE OCTOBER 15, 2014:
    Miami University Press Novella Award
    Prize: $750 advance + publication

  11. DEADLINE OCTOBER 15, 2014:
    Ruminate Magazine William Van Dyke Short Story Contest
    Prize: $1500

  12. DEADLINE OCTOBER 18, 2014:
    Ventura County Writers' Club Short Story Contest)
    Prize: $500

  13. DEADLINE OCTOBER 20, 2014:
    Rick DeMarinis Short Story Award
    Prize: $1250

  14. DEADLINE OCTOBER 26, 2014:
    16th Annual Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival Short Story Contest
    Prize: $500

  15. DEADLINE OCTOBER 31, 2014:
    Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Award
    Prize: $1500

  16. DEADLINE OCTOBER 31, 2014:
    Flash 500 Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competition
    Prize: £500

  17. DEADLINE OCTOBER 31, 2014:
    Raspberry & Vine Short Story Competition
    Prize: $300

  18. DEADLINE OCTOBER 31, 2014:
    Writers' Forum Short Story Contest
    Prize: £300

  19. DEADLINE OCTOBER 31, 2014:
    Black River Chapbook Contest
    Prize: $500

  20. DEADLINE OCTOBER 31, 2014:
    Dana Awards for Novel and Short Fiction
    Prize: $1000

NOVEMBER Creative Writing Contests

  1. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 1, 2014:
    Malahat Review Open Season Awards Fiction
    Prize: $1000

  2. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 1, 2014:
    CBC Literary Award for Short Stories
    Prize: $6000 Opens SEPTEMBER 1

  3. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 1, 2014:
    Nilsen Literary Prize for a First Novel
    Prize: $2000

  4. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 15, 2014:
    Sixth Annual Saints and Sinners GLBT Literary Festival Short Fiction Contest
    Prize: $500

  5. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 16, 2014:
    Tenessee Williams Literary Festival Fiction Contest
    Prize: $1500

  6. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 17, 2014:
    New Millennium Writings Fiction Award
    Prize: $1000

  7. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 30, 2014:
    International Aeon Award Short Fiction Contest
    Prize: €1000

  8. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 30, 2014:
    Magic Oxygen Literary Competition
    Prize: £1000

  9. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 30, 2014:
    Prairie Fire Fiction
    Prize: $1250

  10. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 30, 2014:
    Writers' Forum Short Story Contest
    Prize: £300

  11. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 30, 2014:
    Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers
    Prize: $1500 Opens NOVEMBER 1

  12. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 30, 2014:
    Fall Story Contest
    Prize: $2500

  13. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 30, 2014:
    International Fish Short Story Prize
    Prize: €3000

  14. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 30, 2014:
    Hackney Short Story Award
    Prize: $600 U.S. residents only

  15. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 30, 2014:
    International Aeon Award Short Fiction Contest (4th quarter)
    Prize: €1000

  16. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 30, 2014:
    WOW! Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contest
    Prize: $350

  17. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 30, 2014:
    Good Read Novel Contest
    Prize: $500

  18. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 30, 2014:
    Atlantis Short Story Contest
    Prize: $300 + critique

DECEMBER Creative Writing Contests

  1. DEADLINE DECEMBER 1, 2014:
    The Fiddlehead Literary Contest
    Prize: $2000

  2. DEADLINE DECEMBER 1, 2014:
    Mona Schreiber Prize for Humorous Fiction
    Prize: $500

  3. DEADLINE DECEMBER 15, 2014:
    The Writer's Digest Annual Short Short Story Competition
    Prize: $3000

  4. DEADLINE DECEMBER 31, 2014:
    Writers' Village International Short Fiction Competition
    Prize: £1000

  5. DEADLINE DECEMBER 31, 2014:
    FreefallAnnual Prose Contest
    Prize: $500

  6. DEADLINE DECEMBER 31, 2014:
    Writers' Forum Short Story Contest
    Prize: £300

  7. DEADLINE DECEMBER 31, 2014:
    Flash 500 Flash Fiction Competition
    Prize: £300

  8. DEADLINE DECEMBER 31, 2014:
    Canadian Tales of the Mysterious Short Story Competition
    Prize: $500

  9. DEADLINE DECEMBER 31, 2014:
    Writers of the Future Fiction Contest
    Prize: $1000

  10. DEADLINE DECEMBER 31, 2014:
    Boulevard Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers
    Prize: $1500

JANUARY Creative Writing Contests

  1. DEADLINE JANUARY 1, 2015:
    Mississippi Review Prize
    Prize: $1000

  2. DEADLINE JANUARY 2, 2015:
    Glimmer Train Fiction Open Award
    Prize: $2500

    (OPENS DEC 1)
  3. DEADLINE JANUARY 15, 2015:
    K. Margaret Grossman Fiction Award
    Prize: $1000

  4. DEADLINE JANUARY 23, 2015:
    PRISM International Short Fiction Contest
    Prize: $1500

  5. DEADLINE JANUARY 30, 2015:
    Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize
    Prize: $1000 (OPENS DEC 1)


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Creative NON-FICTION Writing Contests

  1. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 15, 2014:
    The Maine Review Rocky Coast Creative Nonfiction Contest
    Prize: $150

  2. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 15, 2014:
    Literal Latte Essay Award
    Prize: $1000

  3. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 22, 2014:
    The Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest
    Prize: $1000

  4. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 30, 2014:
    Hunger Mountain Creative Non-Fiction Prize
    Prize: $1000

  5. DEADLINE OCTOBER 1, 2014:
    American Literary Review Literary Awards (Essay)
    Prize: $1000

  6. DEADLINE OCTOBER 1, 2014:
    Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Nonfiction Prize
    Prize: $5000

  7. DEADLINE OCTOBER 1, 2014:
    Alligator Juniper Creative Nonfiction Contest
    Prize: $1000

  8. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 1, 2014:
    Malahat Review Open Season Awards Creative Nonfiction
    Prize: $1000

  9. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 17, 2014:
    New Millenium Award for Creative Non-Fiction
    Prize: $1000

  10. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 21, 2014:
    Prism Literary Non-fiction Contest
    Prize: $1500

  11. DEADLINE JANUARY 17, 2015:
    Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition
    Prize: $300 OPENS NOVEMBER 1 (North Carolina residents only)

  12. DEADLINE JANUARY 31, 2015:
    New Millenium Award for Creative Non-Fiction
    Prize: $1000 (OPENS DEC 1)

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Click HERE to see MORE CONTESTS

Post Creative Writing Contests Here

Are you administrating a fiction or creative non-fiction contest? If so, you may post the details here.

I will review them, and if accepted, they will go 'live' a day or two after you submit.

GUIDELINES FOR POSTING


  1. Post fiction and creative non-fiction writing contests only; all others will be deleted

  2. Please begin with your contest deadline in uppercase letters, followed by the contest name and the prize amount as shown in other listings

  3. Post the URL that links to the contest information in the text box

  4. List the 1st prize amount; submissions with no prize amount will be deleted

  5. 1st Prize must be $200 or more

  6. Prizes must be guaranteed


You may post as many contests as you like, but please post each contest separately, and only once during the contest period.

Thank you!

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More Contests

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DEADLINE APRIL 30TH, 2013, Mystery & Mayhem Cozy Awards, Prize: $250 
http://chantireviews.com/contests/cozy-mystery-novels-writing-contests-mystery-and-mayhem-mm-awards/ Manuscripts (completed) and Published Novels, including …

DEADLINE APRIL 30, 2012, 2012 Spring Romance Short Story Contest, $500 USD 
http://www.coffeeandcreampublishing.com/contest/11-2012-spring-romance-short-story-contest

DEADLINE MARCH 1, 2012 There is Hope Magazine Writing Contest Top Prize $500 and photo shoot 
There is Hope Magazine is a new biannual magazine which is premiering in June, 2012. This magazine will feature articles of how everyday people are overcoming …

JANUARY 31, 2012. The Creative Nonfiction Down Under Essay Contest. $6,500. 
JANUARY 31, 2012 The Creative Nonfiction Down Under Essay Contest PRIZE: $6500 AUS The literary magazine Creative Nonfiction, in association with …

DECEMBER 31, 2011: THE METCALF-ROOKE AWARD, $1500.00 
www.biblioasis.com The METCALF-ROOKE AWARD, given annually to one previously unpublished work of fiction, has been championing new and up-and-coming …

NOVEMBER 1, 2011 The Malahat Review's 2012 Open Season Awards $1000 in each of three categories 
http://www.malahatreview.ca/contests/open_season/info.html Entry fee: $35 CAD for Canadians, $40 USD for Americans, $45 USD for entries from elsewhere. …

DEADLINE DECEMBER 31, 2011: DREAM QUEST ONE WRITING CONTEST  
URL: http://www.dreamquestone.com The Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest is international and open to anyone who loves writing a story that is …

10th October 2011 
Dramatic First Paragraph Fiction Competition 1st Prize: £100 2nd Prize: £50 Entry fee: £2.00 Closing date: 10th October 2011 You have just …

SEPTEMBER 20 - HOOT monthly flash fiction mini contest - 30% of submission $$ 
HOOT is a literary magazine on a postcard! We publish flash fiction, non-fiction and poetry of <150 words. The writing is coolly/beautifully designed on …

OCTOBER 14 2011, Stringybark Australian History Short Story Award, A$300 
http://www.stringybarkstories.net Australian history is endlessly fascinating, despite what some of us learnt at school. Stringybark Stories invites …

SEPTEMBER 30, 2011 
Our contest is simple but competitive, and takes place quarterly. Winners and runners-up will be published once a year in our literary anthology, Colonnade. …

AUGUST 31 2011, LEAP LOCAL TRAVEL STORY COMPETITION, $500 FIRST PRIZE AND TWO $150 SECOND PLACE PRIZES 
Leap Local Travel Story Competition Leap Local?s annual travel story competition awards a $500 first prize and two $150 runners-up prizes for a 500-650 …

DECEMBER 31, 2011 LeafGuard Name the Squirrel Contest $1,500 
Our LeafGuard Squirrel needs a name and we could use your child's help to come up with one. Your child could win up to a $1,500 head start toward their …

30 NOVEMBER 2011 - INKTEARS SHORT STORY COMPETITION - PRIZE £1,000 
INKTEARS SHORT STORY COMPETITION 2011 Now open for entries – winner’s prize increased this year to £1,000 Type: Short story (UK + International) …

DECEMBER 1ST 2011, WRITING FOR A PURPOSE! FICTION & NONFICTION BOOK PUBLISHED AND $250 CASH PRIZE 
http://www.wix.com/writingforapurpose/purpose What? Writing for a Purpose is a contest that was established to assist young writers who have a message, …

SEPTEMBER 21st, 2011 -- ANDERBO NO-FEE NOVEL CONTEST -- $500 
http://www.anderbo.com/anderbo1/andernovelcontest-02.html anderbo.com Anderbo Novel Contest ANDERBO SEEKS NOVELIST (by September 21st, 2011) …

SEPTEMBER 3 34th ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL 3-DAY NOVEL CONTEST Prize $500+ publication 
Register by September 2, 2011 Contest dates: September 3-5, 2011 Entry fee: $50-$55 Info:  http://www.3daynovel.com The 3-Day Novel Contest is a notorious …

29 JULY 2011 ARTHRITIS CARE CREATIVE WRITING COMPETITION £500 OPEN UNIVERSITY VOUCHER 
Arthritis Care is launching its fifth annual creative writing competition. This year’s theme is If I were an Olympian. We’d like you to tell us what being …

DEADLINE OCTOBER 31, 2011 Atlantis Short Story Competition Prize: $300 + in-depth feedback 
Info: http://www.atlantis-shortstorycontest.com/ Unpublished writers from every edge of this beautiful planet are encouraged to submit their short story …

AUGUST 15 2011, H.O.W Journal Summer Writing Contest, Up to $500 Prize 
Fiction judged by MARY GAITSKILL Guidelines: -The contest is open to all writers and all themes -The word limit is 12,000. -We do consider unpublished …

JUNE 14, 2011 THE EYES OF BABYLON NATIONAL MULTI-GENRE WRITING CONTEST Prize: $1000 
THE EYES OF BABYLON NATIONAL MULTI-GENRE WRITING CONTEST The producers of The Eyes of Babylon have launched a national writing contest to promote the …

DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 1, 2011 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction: $1,000 
Contest for original works of fantasy, science fiction, mystery, or horror, 4,000 words or less. Deadline: September 1, 2011. GRAND PRIZE: $1,000, 4 runners-up …

MAY 31, 2011 FLANNERY O'CONNER AWARD FOR SHORT FICTION $1000 
Accepting collections of original short fiction. Manuscripts should be 40,000-75,000 words & should be accompanied by a $25 submission fee, manuscript …

APRIL 29TH, 2011 50 Plus Writing Contest- $500 
At Impowerage we believe it?s never too late to follow your dreams whatever they may be. We know that life is far from over at 50 and it?s never too late …

Click here to write your own.

OCTOBER 1ST 2011 SPILLING INK FICTION PRIZE 
2011 Spilling Ink Short Story Prize Prizes: 1st £500, 2nd £250, 3rd £125, plus Shortlisted All winning and shortlisted entries will be published …

SEPTEMBER 1ST 2011 UNBOUND PRESS BEST NOVEL AWARD 
2011 Unbound Press Best Novel Award Prizes: 1st £500 & Publication, 2nd £250 & Publication, plus Honourable Mentions – receive free, detailed critique …

AUGUST 1ST 2011 UNBOUND PRESS FLASH FICTION AWARD 
2011 Unbound Press Flash Fiction Award Guest Judge: Laura Marney, author of numerous short stories and four novels. Prizes: 1st £250, 2nd £125, 3rd …

JULY 1ST 2011 SPILLING INK SHORT STORY PRIZE 
2011 Spilling Ink Short Story Prize Prizes: 1st £250, 2nd £125, 3rd £50, plus Shortlisted All winning and shortlisted entries will be published and …

MAY 1ST 2011 UNBOUND PRESS SHORT FICTION AWARD 
2011 Unbound Press Short Fiction Award Guest Judge: Elizabeth Reeder. Prizes: 1st £250, 2nd £125, 3rd £50, plus Shortlisted All winning and shortlisted …

DEADLINE DECEMBER 31, 2011 
Canadian Tales of the Mysterious Short Story Competition: Prize $500 http://www.redtuquebooks.ca/RTevents/ShortStoryCompetition.pdf

30/04/2011,AD COPYWRITING CONTEST,£100 
Are you a marketing professional, marketing student, or copy writer? Whether you're in the industry or a creative type who loves to play with words, we …

31/May/2011.Travel Writing contest.£100 
http://www.thetravelwritingcontest.com Are you a travel writer producing creative or creative non-fiction work? If you're a travel writer - either …

JUNE 1, 2011, GRITLIT CHALLENGE OF THREE, $200 FIRST PRIZE 
The gritLIT Challenge of Three 3000 words or 300 lines! Hamilton's literary festival, seeks three outstanding works of short fiction and three suites …

MARCH 15, 2011, The Pinch Literary Awards, $1500 and publication 
A prize of $1,500 and publication in the Pinch is given annually for a short story; Rick Bass will judge. Submit a story of up to 5,000 words with a $20 …

1 FEBRUARY 2011, DUNDEE INTERNATIONAL BOOK PRIZE, £10,000 
Expired, but watch for this prize next year! The prize, despite its name, is open to new writers from any part of the world. The writers can have had …

FEBRUARY 1: RUMINATE NONFICTION PRIZE, $500 
Ruminate is thrilled to announce our first annual Ruminate Nonfiction Prize. The first place story will win a $500 prize and the runner-up will win …

JANUARY 15TH EXTENDED DEADLINE, 2011 Third Coast Fiction Contest, $1000 
Judge: Brad Waston. EXTENDED Deadline: Jan. 15th. A prize of $1000 and publication will be given to the best short story. Complete Guidelines: …

NOVEMBER 30TH EXTENDED DEADLINE, 2011 Kore Press Short Fiction Award, $1,000 
Judge: Antonya Nelson EXTENDED deadline: NOVEMBER 30th, 2010 A prize of $1,000 plus chapbook publication by Kore Press will be given for a short story …

MARCH 31, 2011 BRISTOL SHORT STORY PRIZE £1,000 
http://www.bristolprize.co.uk/rules.html 1st Prize - £1,000

OCTOBER 31, 2010, 2011 Kore Press Short Fiction Award, $1000 
Judge: Antonya Nelson Deadline: October 31, 2010 A prize of $1,000 plus chapbook publication by Kore Press will be given for a short story written in …

Click here to write your own.



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