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The Best Writing Contests of 2023

Writing competitions curated by Reedsy

  • Children's

Flash Fiction

  • Non-fiction

Science Fiction

  • Science Writing
  • Script Writing
  • Short Story
  • Young Adult

Manage a competition? Submit it here

essay contest to win money

Join our short story competition

Submit a short story based on 1 of 5 weekly prompts. Winners get $250.

Showing 628 contests

The reedsy prompts contest.

Every Friday, Reedsy sends out five writing prompts. Enter your response within a week for a chance at $250. Winners may also be included in a future issue of Reedsy’s literary magazine, Prompted.

Additional prizes

$25 credit toward Reedsy editorial services

Entry requirements

Deadline: December 31, 2023

Fiction, Short Story

100 Word Writing Contest

Tadpole Press

Can you write a story using 100 words or less? Pieces will be judged on creativity, uniqueness, and how the story captures a new angle, breaks through stereotypes, and expands our beliefs about what's possible or unexpectedly delights us. In addition, we are looking for writing that is clever or unique, inspires us, and crafts a compelling and complete story. The first-place prize has doubled to $2,000 USD.

2nd: writing coach package

Deadline: November 30, 2023

Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Thriller, Young Adult, Children's, Poetry, Romance, Short Story, Suspense, Travel

SNHU 2022 Fall Fiction Contest

Southern New Hampshire University

SNHU is hosting its 9th annual Fall Fiction Contest, where you can showcase your talents and creativity by submitting an original short story. This contest is open to any writer, based in the continental U.S., and submissions will be accepted from Oct. 2-31. By entering, you'll have the opportunity to win up to $3,000 in SNHU scholarships, have your short story featured in The Penmen Review and more.

$3000 scholarship


💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: October 31, 2023

WOW! Women on Writing Fall 2023 Flash Fiction Contest

WOW! Women on Writing

Seeking short fiction of any genre between 250 - 750 words. The mission of this contest is to inspire creativity, great writing, and provide well-rewarded recognition to contestants.

2nd: $300 | 3rd: $200 | 7 runner-ups: $25 Amazon Gift Cards

WOW! Women On Writing Quarterly Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest

WOW! Women On Writing

Seeking creative nonfiction essays on any topic (1000 words or less) and in any style--from personal essay and memoir to lyric essay and hybrid, and more! The mission of this contest is to reward bravery in real-life storytelling and create an understanding of our world through thoughtful, engaging narratives. Electronic submissions via e-mail only; reprints/previously published okay; simultaneous submissions okay; multiple submissions are okay as long as they are submitted in their own individual e-mail. Open internationally.

Non-fiction, Essay

New Writers Flash Fiction Competition 2024

New Writers

The New Writers Flash Fiction Competition 2024 is open to writers from around the world, and offers a top prize of £1,000, a second prize of £300 and a third prize of £200. The deadline is midnight (UK time) on Wednesday 31st January 2024 and £1.00 from each entry will be donated to the First Story charity.

2nd: £300 | 3rd: £200

Deadline: January 31, 2024

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Short Story

The Letter Review Prize for Books

The Letter Review

The Letter Review Prize for Books is open to writers from anywhere in the world. Seeking most unpublished (we accept some self/indie published) novels, novellas, story collections, nonfiction, poetry etc. 20 entries are longlisted.

$1000 USD shared by 3 winners

Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

Letter Review Prize for Nonfiction

Letter Review

The Letter Review Prize for Nonfiction (0 - 5000 words) is open to writers from anywhere in the world. Accepting most forms of Nonfiction. Three winners are published and every entry is considered for publication. 20 entries are longlisted.

$1000 (shared by 3 winners)

Essay, Memoir, Non-fiction, Humor

The Letter Review Prize for Poetry

The Letter Review Prize for Poetry (up to 70 lines) is open to writers from anywhere in the world and has no theme or style restrictions. Three winners are published and every entry is considered for publication. 20 entries are longlisted.

Letter Review Prize for Short Fiction

The Letter Review Prize for Short Fiction (0 - 5000 words) is open to writers from anywhere in the world and has no theme or genre restrictions. Three Winners are published and every entry is considered for publication. 20 entries are longlisted.

Flash Fiction, Short Story, Fiction

FFF Competition 18

Free Flash Fiction

The Bi-monthly Free Flash Fiction Competition promotes the work of flash fiction authors. The winner of the current competition will be invited to be the judge for the next competition. Submit a flash fiction piece between 100 and 300 words, on any theme.

2x Highly Recommended £30.00 | 2x Shortlisted £20

Deadline: October 23, 2023

Fiction Factory Poetry Competition

Fiction Factory

This is a UK based competition but we welcome international entries. Poets are invited to enter poems (maximum 40 lines excluding title) on any theme. Discounts are offered on multiple entries. Besides the cash prize, our judge, poet and author and mentor, Helen Cox, will offer feedback on five of the winner's poems plus an hour-long mentorship zoom call about their poetry.

Feedback on poems, a Zoom mentorship call, and publication

Story Unlikely's Short Story Contest

Story Unlikely

Story Unlikely's Annual Short Story contest is simply looking for great stories, judged both by the technical and literary quality as well as the author's ability to tell a story. We are not genre specific, and judging is blind, not based on the author's credentials, background, or pedigree. This is merit only. May the best story win.

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

Ironclad Creative Short Story Competition

Ironclad Creative CIC

The Ironclad Creative Short Story Competition is for both published and unpublished writers. We’re looking for original writing in English and you can be from anywhere in the world. We are looking for short stories that respond in any way to the word DUSK. We accept any genre and length of story up to 6k words. We’re looking for writers who have exciting voices and can move us - that can happen in any genre of prose. We’re not accepting plays or poetry for this competition.

2nd: £50 | Two runners up: £25 | Publication in anthology

Deadline: November 16, 2023

Frightening First Line Contest 2023

Gotham Writers Workshop

Autumn is the season of rustling leaves, a chill in the air, and, of course, Halloween. In that spirit, we invite you to create the first line of a frightening story. But we want that first line to be so intriguing or chilling or scary that it makes our skin tingle and our nerves twitch.

Free Gotham Writers class

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Short Story, Thriller

Novel Fair 2024

Irish Writers Centre

Now in its 12th year, the Novel Fair is an annual competition initiated by the Irish Writers Centre. Described by The Irish Times as ‘A Dragons’ Den for writers’, each year the Fair introduces twelve up-and-coming writers to top publishers and literary agents, giving novelists the opportunity to bypass the slush pile, pitch their ideas and place their synopsis and sample chapters directly into the hands of industry professionals. Novel Fair has been attended by representatives from: Curtis Brown, Penguin Random House, Conville & Walsh, époque, Fletcher & Co, Poolbeg Press, Harper Collins, John Murray, Hachette, Lilliput Press, New Island Books, The Book Bureau, The Bent Agency, Greene & Heaton, Storyline Literary Agency and many others.

Present your novel to leading publishers and agents at the Irish Writers Centre

Runners up: Critique from the judging panel

Deadline: September 30, 2023

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Novel, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult

Winter Flash Fiction Battle

Writing Battle

Three days to write a 1000 word short story. The peer-powered quarterly writing contest where every story receives oodles of feedback. Write one. Read ten. Win thousands.

Feedback by industry professionals.

Deadline: February 01, 2024

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Short Story, Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller

Autumn Short Story Battle

Five days to write a 2000 word short story. The peer-powered quarterly writing contest where every story receives oodles of feedback. Write one. Read ten. Win thousands.

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller

7 Day Story Writing Challenge

Register now for our next 7-day story writing challenge. A secret theme, a randomly assigned genre, and just 7 days to write a story of no more than 2,000 words. Our 7-day story writing challenges take place throughout the year. The challenges are free and you can even get feedback on your story. Take part in one challenge or take part in all of them!

Deadline: October 16, 2023

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Short Story, Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult

Writing LOVE

Sadie Tells Stories

Writing LOVE is a 500 word short story contest. It can be fiction or non-fiction. It can be a love of anything. A love for life, for nature, for a life partner, for peace, for justice, for a passion... The story also doesn't need to be about love, it just has to have an element of love.

Deadline: November 15, 2023

Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Young Adult

Inspiring Fiction's Fantasy Contest

Inspiring Fiction

Inspiring Fiction’s fantasy short story contest is on the theme ‘Belonging’. The winner and shortlisted entries will be published in the second issue of Mirk Fantasy Magazine.

Publication in Mirk Fantasy Magazine

Fantasy, Fiction, Short Story

Valorious Awards

Hopper Creative Group LLC

The Valorious Awards, sponsored by international best-selling author, Christopher Hopper, is an annual competition seeking to recognize and encourage emerging artists in two categories: best sci-fi novel, best sci-fi voice actor. The awards seek to recognize emerging independent authors and character actors and discover new and exciting talent within the world of science fiction.

2nd: $250 | 3rd: $150

Short Story Competition 2023

Write the World

What truth do you want to convey through your stories? This month, write a short story of up to 1000 words and invite readers into a contained universe. With only a small word limit to work with, you must choose carefully. Remember, as Neil Gaiman once said: “Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams.”

Runner up: $50 | Best peer review: $50

Deadline: November 27, 2023

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing 2023

Fantasy and sci-fi stir our imaginations, inviting us to think outside the limits of the life we know. This month, you have the extraordinary and exciting task of reimagining the world. In a fantasy or sci-fi short story, take your readers on a journey into a world of your imagination.

Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Story

Nature & Environmental Poetry 2023

In his groundbreaking course on ecopoetry, writer and professor Craig Santos Perez focuses on how to use poetry as a voice for the planet. This month, write a poem about what you know and love from the natural world. Your poem may focus on an element of the environment under threat, explore changes in nature, or honor the planet we call home.

Deadline: September 25, 2023 (Expired)

The Failing Writers £500, 500 Word, Flash Fiction Competition

The Failing Writers Podcast

The Failing Writers Podcast presents its 3rd annual flash fiction competition. This year, with an apt subject to write about... 'Failing'. Check our blog for all the details from Monday the 4th of September, and write your way to £500 plus a skip-full of plaudits, bragging rights and jigs around the kitchen. (To hear past winners, just skiffle through our episodes to find the flash fiction winner eps and enjoy!)

Deadline: September 28, 2023 (Expired)

Elegant Literature's Award For New Writers

Elegant Literature

One of the largest awards open to unpublished writers, and the only one closed to professionals. We are the first magazine to pay pro rates and only accept submissions from new writers, putting over $100k into the hands of emerging talent around the globe. One new writer receives the grand prize. We also choose the best stories, pay the authors above-professional rates, and publish them in our magazine. September's guest judge is multi-award winning author Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki.

Paid publication, 25 x $20 USD | Free entry to Novelist Accelerator | Now Novel Package

Deadline: October 01, 2023

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult, Flash Fiction, Science Writing

Matter Poetry Contest

MATTER is our most inclusive contest. All poems that become finalists will be presented in the Matter XXIII anthology. The intention behind this particular contest is to give great odds for publication. It's one of MATTER’s, and Oprelle’s, founding principles: to uplift potentially unheard voices, their stories and poems, to prevent them from being lost in the masses.

Publication in Matter Anthology

Deadline: September 09, 2023 (Expired)

I Am In Print Novel Award 2023

I Am In Print Ltd

I Am In Print are excited to be working with Canelo, one of the largest independent digitally focused publishers in Europe and one of the largest UK fiction publishers by volume, to find the best, as yet unpublished, manuscripts. Novels entered must be complete, written in English and be between 70,000 and 100,000 words. The award is open to writers globally and novels written for an adult audience in the following genres are welcome: Action thriller, Cosy mystery, Crime, Historical adventure, Horror, Psychological thriller, Romance, Saga. First prize is £1000 plus a 60 minute online consultation with a Canelo Editor!

60 minute online consultation with a Canelo Editor

Deadline: October 09, 2023

Crime, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Novel, Romance, Thriller

Wenlock Olympian Society Short Story Competition

Wenlock Olympian Society

This is an international competition. There should be a maximum of up to 2,500 words on any theme and in any genre except YA and Children's stories. The contest will be judged by acclaimed author Philip Caine and winners announced in March 2024.

2nd: £50 | 3rd: £25

Deadline: October 30, 2023

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller

The Book of the Year Awards

The Independent Author Network

The Independent Author Network presents the 2024 IAN Book of the Year Awards, an international contest open to all authors with 55 fiction and non-fiction categories. Winners are eligible to receive a share of cash prizes of $6,000 USD. Open to all English language print and eBooks available for sale, including small presses, mid-size independent publishers, university presses, and self-published authors.

$6,000.00 USD in total cash prizes

Deadline: August 15, 2023 (Expired)

Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Thriller, Young Adult


Bergen International Literary Festival

Write your story about the climate crisis in a poem or a personal essay.

Deadline: October 15, 2023

Essay, Memoir, Non-fiction, Poetry, Science Writing, Young Adult

The Goldilocks Zone

Sunspot Literary Journal

Sunspot Lit seeks a story, essay, excerpt from longer prose pieces, artwork, graphic novel, or poem that combines excellence in craft with reader or audience appeal. Feedback for fiction and nonfiction submissions available for additional fee.

Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, Poetry, Script Writing, Short Story

Indignor Play House Annual Short Story Competition

Indignor House Publishing

Indignor House Publishing is proud to announce that our annual writing competition (INDIGNOR PLAYHOUSE Short Story Annual Competition) is officially open with expected publication in the fall of 2024. Up to 25 submissions will be accepted for inclusion in the annual anthology.

Deadline: March 31, 2024

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Short Story, Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult

The Masters Review Novel Excerpt Contest

The Masters Review

Each fall, The Masters Review hosts a call for novel excerpts! Writing a novel can be an arduous and lonely process, but we’re here to champion the great work being produced. Whether your book is not quite finished or ready to pitch, we want to read your words. For this contest, we’re looking for self-contained excerpts that display a strong voice, compelling characters, and carefully constructed narrative arcs. You may submit an excerpt from any section of your completed or in-progress novel, but choose wisely: a synopsis should not be required for understanding the excerpt. As always, we have no limitations on genre, though we are primarily interested in literary fiction.

2nd: $300, online publication | 3rd: $200, online publication

Deadline: November 12, 2023

Fiction, Novel

Discover the finest writing contests of 2023 for fiction and non-fiction authors — including short story competitions, essay writing competitions, poetry contests, and many more. Updated weekly, these contests are vetted by Reedsy to weed out the scammers and time-wasters. If you’re looking to stick to free writing contests, simply use our filters as you browse.

Why you should submit to writing contests

Submitting to poetry competitions and free writing contests in 2023 is absolutely worth your while as an aspiring author: just as your qualifications matter when you apply for a new job, a writing portfolio that boasts published works and award-winning pieces is a great way to give your writing career a boost. And not to mention the bonus of cash prizes!

That being said, we understand that taking part in writing contests can be tough for emerging writers. First, there’s the same affliction all writers face: lack of time or inspiration. Entering writing contests is a time commitment, and many people decide to forego this endeavor in order to work on their larger projects instead — like a full-length book. Second, for many writers, the chance of rejection is enough to steer them clear of writing contests. 

But we’re here to tell you that two of the great benefits of entering writing contests happen to be the same as those two reasons to avoid them.

When it comes to the time commitment: yes, you will need to expend time and effort in order to submit a quality piece of writing to competitions. That being said, having a hard deadline to meet is a great motivator for developing a solid writing routine.

Think of entering contests as a training session to become a writer who will need to meet deadlines in order to have a successful career. If there’s a contest you have your eye on, and the deadline is in one month, sit down and realistically plan how many words you’ll need to write per day in order to meet that due date — and don’t forget to also factor in the time you’ll need to edit your story!

For tips on setting up a realistic writing plan, check out this free, ten-day course: How to Build a Rock-Solid Writing Routine.

In regards to the fear of rejection, the truth is that any writer aspiring to become a published author needs to develop relatively thick skin. If one of your goals is to have a book traditionally published, you will absolutely need to learn how to deal with rejection, as traditional book deals are notoriously hard to score. If you’re an indie author, you will need to adopt the hardy determination required to slowly build up a readership.

The good news is that there’s a fairly simple trick for learning to deal with rejection: use it as a chance to explore how you might be able to improve your writing.

In an ideal world, each rejection from a publisher or contest would come with a detailed letter, offering construction feedback and pointing out specific tips for improvement. And while this is sometimes the case, it’s the exception and not the rule.

Still, you can use the writing contests you don’t win as a chance to provide yourself with this feedback. Take a look at the winning and shortlisted stories and highlight their strong suits: do they have fully realized characters, a knack for showing instead of telling, a well-developed but subtly conveyed theme, a particularly satisfying denouement?

The idea isn’t to replicate what makes those stories tick in your own writing. But most examples of excellent writing share a number of basic craft principles. Try and see if there are ways for you to translate those stories’ strong points into your own unique writing.

Finally, there are the more obvious benefits of entering writing contests: prize and publication. Not to mention the potential to build up your readership, connect with editors, and gain exposure.

Resources to help you win writing competitions in 2023

Every writing contest has its own set of submission rules. Whether those rules are dense or sparing, ensure that you follow them to a T. Disregarding the guidelines will not sway the judges’ opinion in your favor — and might disqualify you from the contest altogether. 

Aside from ensuring you follow the rules, here are a few resources that will help you perfect your submissions.

Free online courses

On Writing:

How to Craft a Killer Short Story

The Non-Sexy Business of Writing Non-Fiction

How to Write a Novel

Understanding Point of View

Developing Characters That Your Readers Will Love

Writing Dialogue That Develops Plot and Character

Stop Procrastinating! Build a Solid Writing Routine

On Editing:

Story Editing for Authors

How to Self-Edit Like a Pro

Novel Revision: Practical Tips for Rewrites

How to Write a Short Story in 7 Steps

How to Write a Novel in 15 Steps

Literary Devices and Terms — 35+ Definitions With Examples

10 Essential Fiction Writing Tips to Improve Your Craft

How to Write Dialogue: 8 Simple Rules and Exercises

8 Character Development Exercises to Help You Nail Your Character

Bonus resources

200+ Short Story Ideas

600+ Writing Prompts to Inspire You

100+ Creative Writing Exercises for Fiction Authors

Story Title Generator

Pen Name Generator

Character Name Generator

After you submit to a writing competition in 2023

It’s exciting to send a piece of writing off to a contest. However, once the initial excitement wears off, you may be left waiting for a while. Some writing contests will contact all entrants after the judging period — whether or not they’ve won. Other writing competitions will only contact the winners. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind after you submit:

Many writing competitions don’t have time to respond to each entrant with feedback on their story. However, it never hurts to ask! Feel free to politely reach out requesting feedback — but wait until after the selection period is over.

If you’ve submitted the same work to more than one writing competition or literary magazine, remember to withdraw your submission if it ends up winning elsewhere.

After you send a submission, don’t follow it up with a rewritten or revised version. Instead, ensure that your first version is thoroughly proofread and edited. If not, wait until the next edition of the contest or submit the revised version to other writing contests.

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essay contest to win money

Essay Writing Contests: The Ultimate List

essay contest to win money

Did you know that the very first recorded essay contest can be traced back to the early 16th century, initiated by none other than the renowned philosopher and essayist Michel de Montaigne? In 1580, Montaigne published his collection of essays titled 'Essais,' which not only marked a pivotal moment in the evolution of the essay as a literary form but also contained an implicit challenge to his readers. He encouraged them to engage with his ideas and respond by writing their own essays, essentially laying the groundwork for what we now recognize as essay contests.

Fast forward to the vibrant year of 2023, and this tradition of writing competitions has evolved into a global phenomenon, offering emerging writers from all walks of life a captivating platform to share their thoughts, emotions, and narratives with the world.

Essay Writing Contests: Short Description

In this article, our essay writer will explore the world of essay writing contests, presenting you with an exclusive selection of the most promising opportunities for the year ahead. Each of these competitions not only provides a stage to demonstrate your writing prowess but also offers a unique avenue for personal growth, self-expression, and intellectual exploration, all while competing for impressive writing awards and well-deserved recognition. Whether you're an emerging talent or a seasoned wordsmith, these contests are poised to be the catalyst for your creative aspirations in 2023.

Exploring Top Essay Writing Contests for Participation

If you enjoy expressing your thoughts and ideas through writing, you're in for a treat. Essay writing competitions in 2023 offer you a chance to do just that and win some great prizes in the process. We've put together a list of contests specially designed for students like you. These contests cover various interesting essay topics , giving you a unique opportunity to showcase your writing skills and potentially earn cash prizes or scholarships. So, let's explore these fantastic opportunities to share your voice and make your mark in the world of writing.

essay writing contest

Pivotal Essay Contest

Pivotal Essay Contest invites pre-university students worldwide to join a transformative platform that transcends traditional contests. It's an opportunity to showcase critical and creative thinking skills while addressing global challenges. The top three entrants compete for a prize pool of $25,000, while the top 50 finalists gain access to the prestigious Pivotal Library. The most exceptional 5% earn an exclusive invitation to the intellectual haven of the Pivotal Circle, fostering connections with peers who share their dedication to making a difference. And if you're determined to learn how to overcome writer's block for this contest, we have a wealth of expert tips and strategies to guide you through the process!

Deadline: October 10, 2023

  • 1st Place: $15,000
  • 2nd Place: $7,000
  • 3rd Place: $3,000

Native Voices Award

Don't miss your chance to share your unique voice and stories with the world while preserving your copyrights with the Native Voices Award competition. Open to individuals 18 years or older, particularly indigenous storytellers from Native American, First Nation Australian, and Polynesian communities. Submissions can include an original, unpublished work in English, such as a short story collection, flash fiction, nonfiction essays, scripts, poetry, or visual art collection. Authors and artists must be able to receive prizes through Paypal or an Amazon gift card and permit the winning submission to be published in the Kinsman Quarterly, promotional announcements, and social media outlets. Copyrights for the individual submission remain with the author or artist, while copyrights for the anthology as a collection are reserved by Kinsman Avenue Publishing, Inc.

Deadline: October 31, 2023

  • First Place: $500 cash prize and publication in the Kinsman Quarterly and Native Voices
  • Second Place: $250 cash prize and publication in the Kinsman Quarterly and Native Voices
  • Third Place: $100 cash prize and publication in the Kinsman Quarterly and Native Voices
  • Six Finalists: $25 gift card and publication in the Kinsman Quarterly and Native Voices
  • Six Honorary Mentions: Publication in the Kinsman Quarterly and Native Voices

John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest

High school students across the United States are invited to participate in one of the best writing competitions 2023 - the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest. Craft an original essay, between 700 and 1,000 words that delves into acts of political courage by U.S. elected officials from 1917 onward. Explore their principled decisions, despite political pressures, for the greater good. Utilize a minimum of five varied sources and adhere to contest requirements. This opportunity is open to high school students in the U.S. and those studying abroad, except past winners and finalists, as well as employees of John Hancock Financial Services and their families.

Contest Topic: Describe and analyze an act of political courage by a U.S. elected official who served during or after 1917.

Deadline: Submissions open on September 1, 2023, with a deadline of January 12, 2024.

  • First Place: $10,000
  • Second Place: $3,000
  • Five Finalists: $1,000 each
  • Ten Semifinalists: $100 each

The AIIRA Writing Contest

The A.I. Institute for Resilient Agriculture is dedicated to advancing A.I. in agriculture. This contest seeks to spark discussions, promote A.I. education, inspire creativity, and provoke nuanced thought about A.I.'s role in shaping careers and industries.

Contest Topic: How will AI change the landscape of your career within the next decade?

Deadline: September 30, 2023.

  • First Place: $500 USD
  • Second Place: $400 USD (x2)
  • Third Place: $250 USD (x3)

OxBright Essay Competition 

Join the OxBright Essay Competition 2023 by submitting your essay exploring the role of long-term thinking in fostering optimism about the future, including the perspective of women in STEM and various subject categories. Being 15-18, you stand a chance to win over £100,000 worth of academic prizes, including exclusive opportunities and recognition. Submit your entry by September 30, 2023, and get ready for a chance to shape the future.

Deadline : September 30, 2023

  • Most Outstanding Essay: Win a place on the Oxford Scholastica Academy's residential Oxford summer school worth £6,495.
  • Best Essay (per subject category): Get an OxBright online course or internship worth £995.
  • Highly Commended: The top 20% of entries receive a certificate of achievement

essay writing contests

Bennington Young Writers Awards

The Bennington Young Writers Awards celebrate the literary talent of high school students, offering recognition and substantial prizes. Whether you excel in nonfiction, fiction, or poetry, this competition welcomes fiction writers to submit their original work. Not only can you win up to $1,000, but exceptional students may also secure scholarships valued at up to $60,000 for Bennington College.

Deadline : November 1, 2023

  • First-place winners in each category: $1,000
  • Second-place winners: $500
  • Third-place winners: $250

Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest

The Atlas Shrugged essay writing contest, inspired by Ayn Rand's epic masterpiece, is a global platform for students to explore and express their ideas. Atlas Shrugged is a heroic mystery novel written by Ayn Rand. Participants are invited to choose a prompt and craft an 800-1,600-word essay that delves into the novel's themes and philosophy. This contest is open to students from around the world, offering them the opportunity to engage with Rand's thought-provoking work and compete for significant cash prizes.

Deadline : November 6, 2023

  • First prize: $10,000
  • Three second prizes: $2,000 each
  • Five third prizes: $1,000 each
  • 25 finalists: $100 each
  • 50 semifinalists: $50 each

Ready to Break Free From Essay Stress?

Let our writing wizards rescue your grades with a tailor-made essay that'll make your professors do a double-take!

The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers

This is one of the top poetry contests, hosted annually by the esteemed Kenyon Review, and is a celebration of young literary talent. Established in 2007, this prize aims to honor exceptional young poets who exhibit promise and creativity. Winners of this prestigious prize not only receive scholarships to the Young Writers Workshop but also the opportunity to see their work in print through publication. If you're in grades 10 or 11 and have a passion for poetry, this competition is the perfect platform to showcase your skills and gain recognition.

Deadline : November 1-30, 2023

  • Scholarships to Young Writers Workshop
  • Publication

The Heartland Review 

ElizabethTown Review Press invites writers to submit their best creative nonfiction pieces during their Fall 2023 open call. With a generous word limit and an open canvas for topics, your work can stand alone or be a glimpse of your larger literary journey. Submissions must not exceed 5,000 words and can be flash pieces or chapters from your unpublished book (in the U.S.). Upon publication, rights revert back to you. Be part of the first 50 submissions in August and September for your chance to be featured in our upcoming journal.

Deadline : November 15, 2023

Book Prize - Unleash Press

Calling all authors, Unleash Press invites submissions of novels, short story collections, and creative nonfiction manuscripts across a diverse array of genres, including Essays, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Memoirs, Novels, Short Stories, and Nonfiction. If you're looking for resources like free Harvard online courses to hone your writing skills, consider entering this competition. The coveted Editors' Prize offers not only a $1,000 cash reward but also the prestigious opportunity to secure a publication contract with Unleash Press, catapulting your work into the literary spotlight. Plus, the winner receives ten printed copies of their final book to proudly share with friends and family. With additional prospects for outstanding manuscripts, this competition opens doors for both emerging and seasoned writers.

Deadline : December 15, 2023

  • $1,000 cash prize
  • Publication contract with Unleash Press
  • Ten printed copies of the final book

essay writing contests

Editor's Choice Award

Are you a poet or writer with a penchant for pushing the boundaries of traditional genres? The Editor's Choice Award beckons you to submit your most intriguing hybrid creations—whether they are lyric essays, prose poems, short-shorts, collages, or micro-memoirs, and let your imagination roam freely. Get set to participate as the competition swings open its doors for entries starting May 1, 2023. With an impressive word limit of 8,000, there's ample room for your artistic expression.

Deadline : October 16, 2023

Anthology Poetry Competition 

Renowned as one of the premier writing contests of 2023, the Anthology Poetry Competition stands as a beacon for poets seeking recognition and a platform for their work. Established with the noble goal of recognizing and fostering excellence in the art of poetry, this competition welcomes original and previously unpublished poems in the English language, transcending borders and inviting poets from all corners of the world to participate. Your poetic creations should not exceed 40 lines, giving you the canvas to craft a concise and impactful piece. The competition is open to multiple entries per person, each requiring a separate entry form and a modest entry fee of €18.

Deadline : October 31, 2023

  • First Place: €1,000 cash prize + the honor of seeing their work published in an upcoming Anthology issue
  • Second Place: €250
  • Third Place: €150

The Chilling Pen Award

The Chilling Pen Award 2023 invites writers from across the globe to explore the multifaceted theme of betrayal in both fiction and nonfiction pieces, transcending personal, political, and societal dimensions. If you have an interest in participating in essay writing contests, this competition offers a unique platform. With a maximum word limit of 1,000 words and an open embrace of all genres and styles, entrants are encouraged to craft original, unpublished works. Submissions must be free from A.I. assistance and can be submitted via our designated form on Google Drive. Winners will be revealed on October 31, 2023, with first, second, and third-place entries showcased on our website and social media platforms.

Deadline : October 1, 2023

  • $500, $300, $100

The SmokeLong Grand Micro Competition 

The SmokeLong Quarterly Micro Fiction Writing Competition beckons writers of literary fiction, nonfiction, and hybrid genres to craft compelling micro-narratives of up to 400 words (excluding the title). The entry fee is a modest $13, and submissions can be in any language accompanied by an English translation, fostering inclusivity. Authors and translators may equally share the prize money. Entries, both previously published and unpublished, are welcome, with blind judging conducted by a panel of 15 SmokeLong editors from around the world. The competition closes on November 10, 2023, and all shortlisted entries will be featured in the December 2023 issue of SmokeLong Quarterly.

Deadline : November 10, 2023

  • Grand Prize of $1500
  • Second Place at $500
  • Third Place at $300

The Moth Nature Writing Prize

A beacon among the notable writing contests of 2023, The Moth Nature Writing Prize is a celebration of the exquisite craft of nature writing. This prestigious award, open to writers of short stories, essays, and poetry, seeks to foster a deeper connection with the natural world. With a generous word limit of 4,000 words, entrants have ample space to craft their narratives. Open to individuals aged sixteen and above, as long as the work is original and previously unpublished, this competition stands as a testament to the harmonious blend of literary excellence and reverence for the natural world.

  • €1,000 cash prize for the 1st prizewinner + an enriching week at Circle of Misse in France
  • A 2nd prize of €500
  • A 3rd prize of €250

In 2023, the world of writing competitions offers a diverse tapestry of opportunities for writers across the globe. From exploring the depths of nature to delving into the mysteries of microfiction, these competitions beckon with enticing prizes and platforms for your creative voice. So, pick your favorite, sharpen your pen, and embark on a journey of literary excellence!

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30 Free Writing Contests With Cash Prizes ($75 to $75,000)

These are contests, awards, and fellowships ranging from $75 to $75,000, for writers of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and plays, and for editorial writers/columnists. They are broadly divided geographically, i.e. international prizes (which also includes those that do not specify anything about geographic restrictions), prizes for writers in the US and Canada, and those for writers in the UK. None charge an entry fee. Also see details about the international Novel Prize that ends on 1 July 2020, and pays $10,000, here . – S. Kalekar


PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants This international grant is to support the translation of book-length works of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, or drama that have not previously appeared in English in print or have appeared only in an outdated or otherwise flawed translation. Works should be translations-in-progress, as the grant aims to provide support for completion. The works must be translated into English. Projects may have up to two translators. There are various submission requirements, including a 10-12 page translation sample. Value: $2,000-$4,000 Deadline: 1 June 2020 Open for: All translators Details here and here .

Words Without Borders Poems in Translation Contest This is a poetry translation contest. It is open to contemporary international poetry translated from other languages into English. Apart from the cash prize, four winning translated poems will be co-published on Words Without Borders, the digital magazine for international literature, and in Poem-a-Day, the popular daily poetry series produced by the Academy of American Poets, throughout September, which is National Translation Month. Value: $150 each for winning poets and translators Deadline: 1 June 2020 Open for: All poet-translators Details here .

Atlanta Review: Dan Veach Prize for Younger Poets

The Dan Veach Prize for Younger Poets solicits poems from college-age students, aged 18-23, on any subject or style. Poems with an international focus are especially welcomed, but all poems must be written in English.  Students may submit up to two poems (40 lines or fewer for each poem). A letter of recommendation from a teacher or other person well-acquainted with the student’s writing must accompany the poem(s).  The recommendation letter should affirm that these poems are the student’s original work. Value: $100 Deadline: 1 June 2020 Open for: College-age poets (18-23 years) Details here .

Writing For Peace This is an international contest for young writers (ages 13-19) to expand their empathy skills by researching an unfamiliar culture and writing from the point-of-view of a character within that new world, while exploring social, political, and environmental pressures, and universal themes. They accept fiction, non-fiction, and poetry submissions (see guidelines for themes). Value: $200 Deadline: 1 June 2020 Open for: All writers aged 13-19 Details here .

TreadBikely They want a piece of writing in any format – short story, essay, poetry, song lyrics, etc – about bicycles and the cycling experience. Please read the terms carefully – all work submitted is the property of TreadBikely. Value: $150, $100, $50 Deadline: 1 June 2020 Open for: All writers Details here .

Green Stories Writing Competitions: QuiBi (8-10 minute episodes for new platform) Their guidelines say, “We are looking for 3 – 15 ten-minute episodes of 8-10 minutes each  (suitable for new platform Quibi – designed for mobile phones) that in some way touches upon ideas around building a sustainable society. … We will consider all genres – rom-com, literary fiction, science fiction, mystery, crime etc. – but stories must engage with the idea of environmentally sustainable practices and/or sustainable societies.” Writers should send a minimum of 3 episodes and an outline of the others and/or synopsis of the whole story. They can send more than 3, but should specify which ones they would like the judges to read – “we suggest the first episode and any that most show how the story meets the green stories criteria.” Apart from the cash prizes, BBC Writers room have agreed to read the top five scripts and follow up with any writers they think have promise. In addition, Red Production Company have agreed to read the winning script and  consider it for production.  Value: £500, £100, £50; best student submission prize of £50 Deadline: 4 June 2020 (extended) Open for: All writers Details here .

Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award This grant is for supporting the recipient in crime fiction writing and career development activities. She or he may choose activities that include workshops, seminars, conferences, and retreats, online courses, and research activities required for completion of the work. An unpublished writer is preferred, however publication of several pieces of short fiction and/or up to two self-published or traditionally published books will not disqualify an applicant. The application process includes a writing sample – an unpublished piece of crime fiction, written with an adult audience in mind. This may be a short story or first chapter(s) of a manuscript in-progress, 2,500 to 5,000 words. Previous writing or publishing experience is not required. Value: $2,000; the winner can choose from a range of activities Deadline: 8 June 2020 Open for: Writers of color Details here .

Sapiens Plurum: Interspecies Interaction Sapiens Plurum conducts an annual short fiction contest, opening on Earth Day of each year. The purpose of the contest is to entice authors to conceive of the future in terms of desirable outcomes, and imagine how we might get there. The topic of this year’s contest is, ‘Interspecies Interaction’. Their guidelines say, “How can technology increase empathy and connection? The news today is full of examples of technology creating dissension and amplifying differences. We ask authors to imagine ways that technology can improve how we relate to each other and bring us closer, even across species. We welcome stories that view life from another species’ point of view and/or explore empathy between different forms of life.” (See guidelines for details). Submissions should be 1,500-3,000 words. Value: $1,000, $500, $300 Deadline: 9 June 2020 (extended) Open for: All writers Details here and here .

Defenestration.net Short Story Contest They want a short story which should include an incident of defenestration – the art or –ism of throwing people out of windows. This need not be literal. Their team defines such an incident as follows – “a sudden, immediate, even violent shift, change, or seismical event between the beginning and the end.” There will voting by four judges for this contest, with fan voting counting as an additional judge vote. Value: $75, two runner-up prizes of $30 each Deadline: 9 June 2020 Open for: All writers Details here .

Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize This is a second book award (see guidelines) for a collection of poetry by Black poets of African descent who have had no more than one full-length book of poetry published by a professional press. Apart from a cash prize, the poet also gets their manuscript published by Northwestern University Press. There is no entry fee this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Value: $1,000 Deadline: 12 June 2020 Open for: Black poets of African descent who have had no more than one full-length book of poetry published by a professional press Details here .

The Norton Writer’s Prize This prize is for undergraduates who are enrolled during the 2019-20 academic year in an accredited 2- or 4-year college or university aged 17 or above. They will accept literary narratives, literary and other textual analyses, reports, profiles, evaluations, arguments, memoirs, proposals, mixed-genre pieces of 1,000-3,000 words. Entries require nomination by an instructor. Value: Three prizes of $1,000 each Deadline: 15 June 2020 Open for: Undergraduates Details here .

Goi Peace Foundation: International Essay Contest for Young People This is an international essay contest for people aged up to 25 years, in two categories – children and youth. The theme is ‘A Letter to Myself in 2030’. Their guidelines say, “Imagine what an ideal world ten years from now would be like. Write a letter from yourself in 2030 to your present (2020) self, in which you describe the state of the world, the way people are living, and what you, yourself, are doing in society. In addition, include any important message that you might wish to tell your present self.” Entries can be in English, French, Spanish or German (up to 700 words), or Japanese (up to 1,600 characters). Value: For each category, the first prize is JPY100,000 (about $900) and a sponsored trip to the award ceremony in Tokyo and a Minister of Education award; JPY50,000 (about $450); five third prizes, and 25 honorable mentions Deadline: 15 June 2020 Open for: People aged up to 25 years Details here .

Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Contest This is for junior and senior division (11-14 and 15-18) students worldwide. The theme for this ocean awareness contest is ‘Climate Hope: Transforming Crisis’- it invites students to learn about the climate crisis and its impact on oceans; discover or imagine solutions at local, national, or global scales; and create work that explores hope in action. Apart from prose (all forms) and poetry, the categories are art, film, music, and a new category, interactive & multimedia. Value: Senior division – $1,500, $1,000, $500, $250 in each category; Junior division – $1,000, $750, $250, $100 for each category Deadline: 15 June 2020 Open for: Students ages 11-18 Details here

Drue Heinz Literature Prize This international award is open to authors who have published a novel, a book-length collection of fiction or at least three short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or literary journals. It is for an unpublished manuscript of short fiction, or two or more novellas, or a combination of one or more novellas and short stories. Manuscripts must be 150-300 pages. Value: $15,000 Deadline: 30 June 2020 Open for: Published writers Details here .

Blue Mountain Arts Biannual Poetry Card Contest Blue Mountain Arts is a greeting card company and this international contest is for poetry for its greeting cards. Poems for this contest can be rhyming or non-rhyming, though they do find that non-rhyming reads better. Writers can enter the contest as often as they like. Value: $350, $200, $100 Deadline: 30 June 2020 Open for: All writers Details here .

Richard J. Margolis Award The award is for non-fiction writers of social justice journalism. It is for a promising new journalist or essayist whose work combines warmth, humour, wisdom and concern with social justice. Applications should include 2-3 non-fiction writing samples, up to 30 pages. Value: $5,000, residency at Blue Mountain Centre artists’ colony Deadline: 1 July 2020 Open for: Unspecified Details here

Green Stories Writing Competitions: Full-length novel This is a contest for a full-length novel (for adults – the deadline for children’s stories is in September). Their guidelines say, “We are looking for Full-Length Novels for adults that in some way touch upon ideas around building a sustainable society. … We will consider all genres – rom-com, literary fiction, science fiction, mystery, crime etc. – but stories must engage with the idea of environmentally sustainable practices and/or sustainable societies.” Submissions should be 5000 – 10,000 words (of a 50,000-100,000 word novel) that must include the following: the first chapter; another chapter that best showcases how your novel meets the green stories criteria; a third chapter (suggest the final chapter if possible); and a one-page synopsis. Apart from the cash prize, they have agreement from Peter Cox from the literary agency, Redhammer Management, to provide a one to one mentoring session with the winners (at their office in London or virtual meeting). Value: £500, £100, £50; best student submission prize of £50 Deadline: 2 July 2020 (extended) Open for: All writers Details here .

Hubub: Four prizes This poetry magazines asks contributors to mail three to six poems for their annual issue. There is no separate entry for the prizes; they are chosen by external judges from entries for a previous issue. Regular poems selected for publishing get a small honorarium. Value: The Vern Rutsala Award of $1.000; the Vi Gale Award of $500; the Kenneth O. Hanson Award of $200; and the Stout Award of $175.  Deadline: Open now Open for: All poets Details here .


The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture: Hiett Prize in the Humanities This prize is aimed at identifying candidates in the early stages of their careers devoted to the humanities and whose work shows extraordinary promise to have a significant impact on contemporary culture. Applications include a Narrative Profile of Accomplishments and Published Work, and a plan for Future Scholarship and/or Project in the Humanities. Applicants must be active and continuing in their work. Age and length of experience are not necessarily limiting factors. Past winners have included writers of columns, nonfiction, poetry and memoir, and journalists. Value: $50,000 Deadline: 1 June 2020 (extended) Open for: Those resident in the US Details here .

ABA Journal/Ross Writing Contest for Legal Short Fiction They want short stories (up to 5,000 words) that illuminate the role of the law and/of lawyers in modern society. This contest is for US citizens or legal permanent residents. Value: $3,000 Deadline: 1 June 2020 Open for: US writers Details here .

The Stony Brook Short Fiction Prize This prize is for short fiction of up to 7,500 words. It is for undergraduates enrolled full time in US and Canadian universities and colleges for the academic year 2019-20. This prize has traditionally encouraged submissions from students with an Asian background, but they urge all students to enter. Value: $1,000, scholarship to the Southampton Writers Conference Deadline: 1 June 2020 Open for: Undergraduate students from the US and Canada Details here

Fraser Institu te Student Essay Contest

For this year’s essay contest, the theme is ‘ The Ideas of Milton Friedman: Exploring the Connections between Economic Freedom and other Freedoms or Aspects of the Human Condition.’ (See their extensive guidelines for details) . The contest is for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students studying in Canada and Canadian students studying abroad. Value: CAD1,500, CAD1,000, CAD500 each in high school, undergraduate, and graduate categories Deadline: 1 June 2020 Open for: Canadian students Details here .

Berton House Writer-in-Residence This is for published Canadian writers (of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, young readers, playwriting). Four writers will be selected to live and work in Dawson City, Yukon, in the childhood home of noted Canadian author Pierre Berton. Residents will receive an honorarium. Housing and travel costs are covered. Special access requirements will not affect a writer’s application or chances of being selected. Value: CAD9,000, Residency Deadline: 8 June 2020 Open for: Canadian writers Details here .

Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship This award is for an outstanding mid-career editorial writer or columnist to help broaden his or her journalistic horizons and knowledge of the world. The annual award can be used to cover the cost of study, research and/or travel in any field. The fellowship results in editorials and other writings, including books. One of the eligibility requirements is, the candidate must hold a position as a part-time or full-time editorial writer or columnist at a news publication located in the US. Applications also are welcome from freelance opinion writers who devote a majority of their time, or derive a majority of their income, from that pursuit. The application includes five samples of editorials or columns. (Also see the Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award of $10,000, for a person or persons who have fought to protect and preserve one or more of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment; the entrants need not be journalists.) Value: $75,000 Deadline: 20 June 2020 Open for: Editorial writer/columnist at a news publication in the US Details here .

WRITERS IN THE UK/IRELAND (+ EU) Note: King Lear Prizes has one entry category that is open for non-UK residents also.

Galton & Simpson Bursary for Comedy Writing This is a bursary for comedy writing aimed at writers and writing partnerships, to develop a script for broadcast consideration under the guidance of established industry practitioners and BBC Comedy Commissioning. Applicants must submit a sample script of 30 pages/30 minutes maximum duration, supported by a series development plan and a short (one page) biog/statement. BBC Comedy will shortlist four projects for further consideration. One final award winner will have their script developed for broadcast consideration, with advice and input from leading industry practitioners, and receive a bursary. Value: £5,500 Deadline: 5 June 2020 Open for: UK residents, or EU or UK national resident in an EU member state Details here .

Sphinx Theatre Company: Sphinx 30 This is an opportunity for emerging/mid-career female writers in the UK. It is part of Sphinx 30, a year-long programme celebrating  Sphinx Theatre’ s 30th anniversary. Sphinx 30 will be launched with the pilot of  Sphinx Lab , a new writers’ development programme for female playwrights; it will offer advice from leading female playwrights, advice from the industry, craft and business skills, and a chance to write a play and receive guidance on your work, with the aim to equip female playwrights with information, skills and dramaturgy on their work to support their careers. Playwrights will receive a £1,000 seed commission to write the new play, written for the main stage. Submission requirements include a 10-page example of your playwriting. Value: 10 seed commissions of £1,000 each Deadline: 15 June 2020 Open for: Female playwrights in the UK Details here .

Writers & Artists: Working-Class Writers Prize This is for writers with a working class background, in the UK and Ireland. Submission requirements include the beginning of a work-in-progress in any genre of prose, of up to 2,000 words. They have other prizes also apart from the cash prize, including a year-long writing mentoring from their judge, and a year’s free subscription to The Society of Authors.

Value: £200

Deadline: 15 June 2020 Open for: UK writers Details here .

Phil Fox Award for Playwriting They invite playwrights with any level of experience from across the UK to submit full-length scripts about issues related to addiction. The winning writer will get a commission to develop the winning script, or to develop a new script about issues related to addiction, and mentoring. Value:  £6,000 commission Deadline: 16 June 2020 Open for: UK playwrights Details here .

King Lear Prizes This is for amateur UK writers and artists who are stuck at home because of Coronavirus, and who are aged above 70 years; one of the categories is also open for overseas participants. Their website says, “Our greatest writer, William Shakespeare, was faced with a similar situation, with outbreaks of the plague throughout his career, and in particular in 1605-06, when he wrote his King Lear. We have launched the King Lear Prizes to encourage amateurs and beginners to have a project to get stuck into, and to create new works of literature, poetry, music, drama and art during the time they are quarantined.” Entrants must not have had their work published before in a ‘paid for’ book, magazine or other format, or be a professional in the category that they are entering (though self-published is ok). The categories are: short stories (up to 10,000 words), poetry (up to 40 lines), solo musical composition (up to 4 minutes), short drama (up to 15 minutes in running time), and art. There is also a Chairman’s Prize, in any art form, for those not eligible for other categories – they will also accept non-UK citizens overseas in this category. Value: £1,000 in each category Deadline: 19 June 2020 (for postal entries, postmarked by 17 June) Open for: Amateur UK writers aged over 70 years Details here (home page), here (rules) and here (how to enter).

The Society of Authors: The Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year The prize is for a published or self-published book or e-book of fiction, non-fiction or poetry of high literary merit. It is for UK/Ireland based authors between the ages of 18 and 35. Value: £5,000; three awards of £500 each Deadline: 22 June 2020 Open for: Young UK/Irish writers Details here .

Author Bio:  S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine. She is the author of  182 Short Fiction Publishers.  She can be reached  here .

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Find details about every creative writing competition—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, grants for translators, and more—that we’ve published in the Grants & Awards section of Poets & Writers Magazine during the past year. We carefully review the practices and policies of each contest before including it in the Writing Contests database, the most trusted resource for legitimate writing contests available anywhere.

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Writing Contests, Grants & Awards

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The Writing Contests, Grants & Awards database includes details about the creative writing contests—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, and more—that we’ve published in Poets & Writers Magazine during the past year. We carefully review the practices and policies of each contest before including it. Ours is the most trusted resource for legitimate writing contests available anywhere.

New York Public Library

Cullman center fellowships.

Fifteen fellowships are given annually to artists, academics, and creative writers, including poets, fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers, and translators, whose work...

Dzanc Books

Prize for fiction.

A prize of $5,000 and publication by Dzanc Books is given annually for a novel. Mark Dunn, Alan Grostephan, and Julie Ann Stewart will judge. Using only the online submission...

Short Story Collection Prize

A prize of $2,500 and publication by Dzanc Books is given annually for a story collection. The editors will judge. Using only the online submission system, submit a manuscript...

Ghost Story

Supernatural fiction award.

A prize of $1,500 and publication on the Ghost Story website is given twice yearly for a short story with a supernatural or magic realist theme. The winning work will...

PEN/Faulkner Foundation

Award for fiction.

A prize of $15,000 is given annually for a book of fiction published during the current year. Four finalists each receive $5,000. The winner and finalists will also be invited...

Hackney Literary Awards

Novel contest.

A prize of $5,000 is given annually for an unpublished novel. Submit a manuscript of any length with a $30 entry fee by September 30. Visit the website for complete guidelines...

Lascaux Review

Prize in creative nonfiction.

A prize of $1,000 is given annually for an essay. The winner and finalists will also be published on the Lascaux Review website. Previously published and unpublished...

University of Arkansas Press

Miller williams poetry prize.

A prize of $5,000 and publication by University of Arkansas Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Patricia Smith will judge. Using only the online submission system...

Texas Review Press: The University Press of SHSU

X. j. kennedy poetry prize.

A prize of $10,000, publication by Texas Review Press: The University Press of SHSU, and 10 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Richard Blanco will judge....

California State University in Fresno

Philip levine prize for poetry.

A prize of $2,000, publication by Anhinga Press, and 25 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. The winner will also be invited to give a public reading at...

University of Mississippi

Willie morris award for southern fiction.

A prize of $12,000 is given annually for a novel published during the current year that asks readers “to engage with or reflect on the complexities of the American South.” The...

Nature Writing Prize

A prize of €1,000 (approximately $1,092) and online publication in Irish Times is given annually for a poem, a story, or an essay that features “an exploration of the...

Winning Writers

Tom howard/margaret reid poetry contest.

Two prizes of $3,000 each, two-year gift certificates for membership to the literary database Duotrope, and publication on the Winning Writers website are given annually for a...

George Garrett Fiction Prize

A prize of $1,000, publication by Texas Review Press: The University Press of SHSU, and 20 author copies is given annually for a short story collection or novel. Using only the...

Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry

A prize of $3,000 is given annually for a single poem that evokes the American South. The winner will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Oxford, Mississippi, for the...

Willie Morris Award for Southern Nonfiction

A prize of $12,000 is given annually for a book of nonfiction published during the current year that asks readers “to engage with or reflect on the complexities of the American...

Nonfiction Contest for Emerging Writers

A prize of $1,000 and publication in Boulevard is given annually for an essay by a writer who has not published a full-length book in any genre with a nationally...

Poetry Contest

A prize of $2,000 will be given annually for a single poem. A second-place prize of $1,000 will also be given. Mark Graham, Monique Jonath, and Ann Tinkham will judge. Using...

Connecticut Poetry Society

Vivian shipley poetry award.

A prize of $1,000 and publication in Connecticut River Review and on the Connecticut Poetry Society website is given annually for a single poem. Antoinette Brim-Bell...

University of Iowa Press

Iowa short fiction award.

Two prizes of publication by the University of Iowa Press are given annually for first collections of short fiction. Submit a manuscript of at least 150 pages by September 30....

Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival

Fiction contest.

A prize of $1,500 is given annually for a short story by a writer who has not published a full-length book of fiction. The winner also receives domestic airfare of up to $500,...

Georgia Writers

John lewis writing grants.

Three grants of $500 each are given annually in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction to “elevate, encourage, and inspire the voices of Black writers in Georgia.” Grantees also...

Action, Spectacle

Editors’ poetry & prose prize.

A prize of $1,000 and publication in Action, Spectacle will be given annually for a poem, a short work of fiction, or a short work of creative nonfiction. English...

American Poetry Review

Honickman first book prize.

A prize of $3,000 and publication by American Poetry Review is given annually for a debut poetry collection. The winning book will be distributed by Copper Canyon Press...

Missouri Review

Jeffrey e. smith editors’ prize.

Three prizes of $5,000 each and publication in Missouri Review are given annually for a group of poems, a short story, and an essay. Submit up to 10 pages of poetry or...

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Friday, February 12, 2021

  • 11 Writing Contests for High School Students with Cash Awards

Calling all high school student writers! If you’re looking for scholarships or ways to fund your future education, look no further than writing contests. 

If you are a talented writer, you can find plenty of contests that will allow you to submit your writing for consideration. Many of them offer cash prizes and/or scholarships. 

Below are 11 writing contests for high school students, but you can find plenty of other contests, both niche and general, by searching online.

1. Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards celebrate art created by students age 13 and older in grades 7 through 12 on both a regional and national scale. You can submit in a huge variety of categories and styles, and you can enter awards that have cash prizes or scholarships.

Categories include science fiction and fantasy writing, critical essays, humor, dramatic scripts, and more.

Prizes vary as well. Gold medal portfolio winners can earn a $10,000 scholarship, and silver medal winners with distinction can earn a $1,000 scholarship, and there are more options for various categories. Fees to apply also vary by region, but the fee is generally $7 for a single entry and $25 for a portfolio entry.

Since these contests vary, you can use Scholastic’s Affiliate Partner search to find out when projects are due for your specific area.

2. Young Lions Fiction Award

To apply for this award, sponsored by the New York Public Library, any writer age 35 or younger may submit a novel or collection of short stories.

Each year, a reading committee of Young Lions members, writers, editors, and librarians select five finalists, and a panel of judges selects the winner.

The winner of this award will receive a $10,000 scholarship.

The deadline to apply is usually in September of the scholarship year, and it’s free to apply.

3. Ocean Awareness Contest

Students ages 11 through 18 from around the world are invited to participate in the Ocean Awareness Contest by submitting work in the form of visual art, creative writing, film, interactive and multimedia, performing arts, and poetry and spoken word.

The Junior Division is for students ages 11 through 14, and the Senior Division is for students ages 15 through 18.

In the Junior Division, the Gold Award is $1,000, Silver $750, Bronze $250, and Honorable Mention $50. In the Senior Division, the Gold Award is $1,500, Silver $1,000, Bronze $500, and Honorable Mention $100.

The 2021 theme is WATER RISING, and students can choose from five different prompts to which they will respond through their choice of submission.

4. The Adroit Prizes for Poetry and Prose

Each year, the Adroit Prizes awards two students who must be in high school or studying at the undergraduate level. 

Submissions may include up to six poems (maximum of ten pages single-spaced) and/or up to three works of prose (combined word limit of 3,500 words). Students may submit excerpts of longer works if they choose. 

Simultaneous submissions are also accepted, as long as students acknowledge in their cover letter that the work has been submitted elsewhere. Students may only submit one work per genre, per year, but they may submit entries to both the poetry and prose categories in a given year.

The submission fee is $13, but students can fill out a form if they need financial assistance.

All submissions will be considered for publication in the Adroit Journal , and winners will be awarded $200. 

The deadline for this prize is typically in April each year.

5. NSHSS Creative Writing Scholarship

High school students of all ages are eligible for this creative writing scholarship, sponsored by the National Society of High School Scholars. Students can submit work (that has not been previously published) in one or both categories: poetry and fiction. 

In the poetry category, students may submit their original poetry in any style, from formal verse to free verse and experiment. The poem should be formatted as you wish it to appear in publication.

In the fiction category, students may submit a piece of short fiction, no more than 5,000 words and not single-spaced. The student may choose any genre, including graphic novel or short story.

A prize of $2,000 will be awarded to one student winner in each category.

Though the submissions are closed for the 2020 scholarship, the 2021 scholarship applications will be open, likely sometime in the spring of 2021.

6. YoungArts Competition

Emerging artists ages 15 through 18, or grades 10 through 12, are invited to apply for this award in various disciplines, including visual arts, writing, and music, by submitting a portfolio of work. The winner is selected through a blind adjudication process conducted by an independent panel of highly accomplished artists. 

There is a $35 application fee, but it can be waived.

Winners of the YoungArts Competition receive financial awards up to $10,000, creative and professional development experiences with renowned guest artists, and eligibility for a nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the arts. 

The application for the 2021 competition is closed, but the 2022 YoungArts application will open in the summer of 2021. By visiting the website, you can sign up for application news and updates.

7. The American Foreign Services Association Essay Contest

US students grade 9 through 12, as well as students in the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, or US citizens attending school abroad or at home are welcome to submit an essay identifying the United States’ strengths and weaknesses in establishing peace in foreign countries. The essay must be between 1,000 and 1,250 words and answer three questions about US foreign policy and national security.

The winner will receive a $2,500 cash prize as well as a Washington D.C. trip and a scholarship to attend Semester at Sea. A runner-up will receive $1,250 and a scholarship to attend the International Diplomacy Program of the National Student Leadership Conference.

The deadline to apply is April 5, 2021, and there’s no application fee.

8. The Lewis Center Ten-Minute Play Contest

Students in the eleventh grade (or international equivalent) are eligible for this annual playwriting contest. Each year, the jury consists of members of the Princeton University Program in Theater faculty.

Applicants may submit only one play of 10 pages maximum. 

The award for first prize is $500, second prize $250, and third prize $100.

Entries for the 2021 prize are due by March 31, 2021 at 11:59 pm EST.

9. We the Students Essay Contest

This contest, run by the Bill of Rights Institute, asks students to answer the question, “What are the essential qualities of a citizen in your community in 21st century America?” in an essay between 500 and 800 words. 

Students must be US citizens or legal residents between the ages of 14 and 19 attending public, private, charter, or religious schools in the U.S., U.S. territories or districts, or Armed Forces schools abroad to apply. Home-schooled students and those enrolled in correspondence or GED programs are also eligible to apply.

One national winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize and a scholarship to Constitutional Academy. 6 runners-up will receive $1,250 each, and eight honorable mentions will receive $500 each. 

The deadline to enter is April 15, 2021 at 11:59 pm PST.

10. Young Writers Awards

To promote excellence in writing at the high school level, Bennington College invites submissions from students in grades 9 through 12 for this annual award.

Students may submit work in three different categories:

  • Poetry: a group of three poems
  • Fiction: a short story (1,500 words or fewer) or a one-act play (no more than 30 minutes of playing time)
  • Nonfiction: a personal or academic essay (1,500 words or fewer)

A first, second, and third place winner is selected in each category. First place winners are awarded $500, second place $250, and third place $125.

There is no fee to enter this competition, which typically runs from September 3 to November 1 each year, with winners posted on the website in mid-April.

11. YouthPLAYS

Students under the age of 19 may submit a one-act, non-musical play of at least ten pages for consideration. The play submitted should be the work of a single author, appropriate for high school audiences, and contain at least two characters, with one or more of those characters being youths in age-appropriate roles. The contest encourages large casts with multiple female roles.

One winner will receive $200, have their play published by YouthPLAYS, and receive a copy of Great Dialog, a program for writing dialog. One runner-up will receive $50 and a copy of Great Dialog.

The deadline to apply is May 1, 2021.


Since 2002, NSHSS has supported young academics on their journey to college and beyond as they prepare to become the leaders of tomorrow. The mission behind NSHSS is to recognize academic excellence and honor high-achieving students, providing them with the resources and network to excel in college, career and community. In doing so, NSHSS connects members with global events, scholarship opportunities , college fairs, internships, career and leadership programs , partner discounts, and more. Discover what makes NSHSS worth it to student members and how you can get involved. 

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7 writing contests with huge cash prizes

contests huge prizes

1. Sunday Times Short Story Award Cash Prize: £30,000 (~€34,000) Submit: a story of up to 6000 words Languages: English Eligibility restrictions: open to all nationalities, but the author must have a record of prior publication in creative writing in the United Kingdom or Ireland Open for submissions: usually October through December

2. César Egido Serrano Foundation International Flash Fiction Competition Cash Prize: $20,000 (~€17,000) (plus an all-expenses-paid trip to attend an award ceremony in Madrid) Submit: a story of fewer than 100 words on the theme of “The Word, bridging the gap between different cultures and religions.” Languages: English, Spanish, Hebrew, or Arabic Open for submissions: this prize isn’t offered on a regular schedule; past submissions periods have run from June through November

3. The Montreal International Poetry Prize Cash prize: CA$20,000 (~€13,000) Submit: a single poem of no more than 40 lines long Languages: English Open for submissions: usually January through May every other year (next prize year 2020)

4 & 5. Manchester Metropolitan University Poetry and Short Story Prizes Cash Prize: £10,000 (~€11,000) Submit: three to five poems totalling no more than 120 lines or a story of up to 2,500 words (submissions fee is £18 per entry) Languages: English Open for submissions: usually February through September

6. The Mogford Prize for Food & Drink Writing Cash prize: £10,000 (~€11,000) Submit: a short story in which food and drink feature prominently Language: English Open for submissions: usually November through January

7. The Moth Poetry Prize (formerly the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize) Cash prize: €10,000 Submit: as many poems as you like as long as they haven’t been previously published (submission fee is €15 per poem) Language: English Open for submissions: usually July through December

39 responses on "7 writing contests with huge cash prizes"

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Nice collection.

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Thanks for the list! Your email was helpful. The César Egido Serrano Foundation International Flash Fiction Competition has not announced their winners yet, I took part in the contest last year.

' src=

i hop particip by short arabic story..thank you

' src=

The Sunday Times EFG Bank short story award for 2019 has still not been announced (2 September 2018). Does anyone know why not?

' src=

Thanks a lot for the fine information. I want to take part in the forthcoming poetry competition Certainly, it makes me to grow and glow into literary thirst

' src=

i hope to participate for 2019 . thanks

' src=

Hi I’m interested in receiving news and joining mailing list .Thanks so much . Dianne Bailey

' src=

I love it and hope to participate.

' src=

Please send notifications in my email regarding the latest prize money writing contests. I am from India.

' src=

Please can you tell me when your next poetry contest is for 2019 and how much is entry fee Thank you Lois G. Cannon

' src=

Hi Lois, We’re a creative writing school. We don’t run any contests ourselves. This post on where to submit should help you find upcoming poetry contests. Good luck.

' src=

Thank you so much. Will try got it poetry competitions this year.

' src=

I would love to participate fro the poetry competition in 2019.

' src=

Hi, I’m from India. can i participate in this writing contest.

' src=

Hi,I’m interested in your compensation but can I get some information on next upcoming competition? Thank you.

' src=

Hello! Thank you for sharing this information about the competition. But can you explain where can I get more information?

' src=

Id love to pat take this year

' src=

Hello! I belong to pakistan .can i take part in this competition?and what would be the procedure ?

' src=

Can you tell me when the Museum of Words, Flash Fiction Contest opens for submissions in 2019. I can’t find where the page is on their website to upload it before November 23rd. Are they a legitimate organization?

Hi JR, The Museum of Words Flash Fiction contest is legit but the organisers do seem a bit disorganised. They just announced the winners of the 2017 competition at the beginning of this year (2019). If they indeed stick to the pattern of every other year, they should announce a new contest this year. Our bet would be 23 November, the International Day of Words. We’ll be keeping an eye out.

' src=

How do I join any of the competitions listed?

' src=

Thanks a lot! I will participate for sure.

' src=

Write and send a story for 2020?

' src=

I’d like to help my brilliant West African poet friend enter writing and poetry competitions, however, I have only been able to find competitions which accept English. I’m hoping that a reader can help us out here, and reply with names/links etc, of competitions which accept writings in French, which I will forward to my friend. I would really like to help him get his work published, and perhaps even win a competition. He is very talented. Please help if you can! Thank you. (I do not speak French!)

' src=

Awesome places to submit manuscripts. Thank you so much!

' src=

give me a chance

' src=

Hi how can I participate in The Montreal International Poetry competition please. Would you kindly guide me in brief how to join please.

' src=

Dear Sirs/Madam,

Greetings of the day; joy, love and peace ve with you all.

As I have a keen interest in submitting like the 40 line poem, I highly appreciate if would kindly informed when the next submission date is open.

Thanks so much.

' src=

Hi! For this flash fiction thing sounds super cool! Where do I submit? Is there one this year?

' src=

Good for mind explorers amidst pandemics which has already decayed countless minds. muhammadasifnadeem1447 at gmail.com Muhammad Asif Nadeem, Associate Professor , MA English, MA TEFL, ICMAP-p-2, @7 Years of College and university lectures. those who read it please guide me for other resource allocation for this humble slot. lend a helping hand. Thanks.

' src=

International writing contests are windows thru which one is able to catch a glimpse of bluer skies.

' src=

Sir/Ma’am, It’s an excellent opportunity for a new emerging writers like me to come across such scopes extended by you.But I would like to request you to make me know as to how I can avail this grand opportunity through my mail ID as cited below for further communication.

' src=

Thank you for this!!

' src=

Unfortunately, a few of these involve a submission fee, which is NOT good practice.

' src=

I am unable to find any link of the competition no.2 on their page. kindly help, thanks.

' src=

Julius Odeke a Ugandan in East Africa wants to participate, any guidance palease.

' src=

I hope to enter the one of theses, once i turn 14. Can’t wait!

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2 years ago

  • #Free Writing Contests
  • #LIterary Awards
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  • #Publishing
  • #Publishing Advice
  • #Publishing News
  • #Writing Contests

19 Free Writing Contests With Cash Prizes in 2021

19 Free Writing Contests With Cash Prizes in 2021

Below are 19 free writing contests with cash prizes and numerous opportunities to see your work published. Check 'em out and get your manuscript ready for submission!

And, if you're looking for help getting your work out into the world with care and purpose, check out these upcoming classes on the business of writing:

You can join literary agent Christopher Hermelin for his 3-Week Zoom Publishing Seminar: Getting Your Query Letter Right starting September 28th.

Sign up for Poets & Writers Magazine contributing editor Michael Bourne for his How to Pitch to your Dream Publication Zoom Seminar on October 14th.

Join our Executive Director, Blake Kimzey, for his Publishing in Literary Journals to Launch Your Career Zoom Seminar on January 13th, 2022.

And, you can get your submissions out the door and into the hands of the waiting editors below. What are you waiting for? Get out there!

You can win $15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press with this prize, awarded for a collection of short fiction.

You may submit an unpublished manuscript of short stories, two or more novellas or a combination of novellas and short stories. Your total word count should be between 150 and 300 typed pages. You must also have already published a novel or book-length work of fiction “with a reputable publisher,” or no fewer than three short stories or novellas in nationally-recognized journals.

Deadline: Annual submissions must be postmarked between May 1 through June 30.

2. Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prizes

Graywolf Press hosts a variety of contests for both established and up-and-coming writers. Graywolf also offers smaller fiction and nonfiction prizes, with genres rotating by year; 2020 was a nonfiction year, so fiction is up in 2021. These awards include a sizable advance — $12,000 in previous years — as well as publication with Graywolf.

Deadline: Contest is held annually with rotating genres; the 2021 deadline is TBA.

3. The Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans

Hosted by the prestigious Iowa Review, the Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award is offered to U.S. military veterans and active-duty members writing in any genre about any subject. Manuscripts of up to 20 pages will be accepted, and the first-prize winner will receive $1,000 and publication in the Review. A second place prize of $750 is also available, as well as three runner-up prizes of $500 each.

Deadline: Biennially. The next contest will be held in 2022.

4. PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers

This contest requires you to have already published a short story in a literary magazine or journal or cultural website. But if you’ve made your debut (but gone no further), you may be eligible for the generous cash prize of $2,000, which is annually awarded to 12 emerging writers, whose works are then published together in an anthology.

Short stories of up to 12,000 words are eligible and must be published in the calendar year preceding the year in which the award is given. Additionally, keep this in mind: Submissions are only eligible if submitted by an editor. Authors may not submit their own work.

Deadline: Contest is open annually between June and November.

5. Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

Fiction and nonfiction writers who have recently published a book that “contribute[s] to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of cultural diversity” are eligible for this award, which offers $10,000 cash as well as media and publicity opportunities. Plus, winners receive their prize at a ceremony in Cleveland.

Submissions must be published in the prior year (so books published in 2020 are eligible for the 2021 award).

Deadline: Annual submission window is September 1 through December 31.

6. Marfield Prize (aka National Award for Arts Writing)

Presented by the Arts Club of Washington, this award seeks to honor nonfiction books that deal with the “visual, literary, media, or performing arts.” The prize is $10,000 and may be awarded to works of criticism, art history, memoirs and biographies, and essays.

Deadline: Annually in the last quarter of the year; the 2021 deadline is November 16 to December 31.

7. W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction

If you’re a war buff, this competition is for you. It awards $5,000 — and a 24-karat-gold-framed citation of achievement — to the best piece of fiction set during a period when the U.S. was at war (war may either be the main plot of the piece or simply provide the setting). Submissions may be adult or YA novels.

Deadline: Annually on December 1.

8. Hektoen Grand Prix Essay Contest

Hektoen International, an online journal dedicated to medical humanities, offers two prizes annually for essays of no more than 1,500 words: $5,000 is awarded to the winner and $2,500 to the first runner-up. Eligible topics are broad so long as they have a relation to medicine, and many include art, history, literature, education and more.

Deadline: Annually; September 15, 2021 is the most current deadline.

9. St. Martin’s Minotaur / Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition

Writers 18 and older who have never had a novel published (in any genre) are eligible for this prize, awarded to an original book-length manuscript where “murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the story.” The winner receives a publication contract with Minotaur Books and an advance of $10,000 against future royalties.

Deadline: Annually in the first quarter of the year; the deadline for 2022 is TBA. 

10. ServiceScape Short Story Award

ServiceScape, a platform matching freelance writers, editors and graphic designers with clients offers a yearly Short Story Award of $1,000 to a winning fiction or nonfiction work of 5,000 words or fewer. The winner will also have their story featured on the ServiceScape blog, which sees thousands of readers each month.

Deadline: November 30, 2021

11. Stowe Prize

This biennial prize of $10,000 honors an American author whose adult fiction or nonfiction work has had an impact on a critical social justice issue (as did Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin ).

Deadline: Biennially; the 2022 deadline is TBA. 

12. The Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Nonfiction

Creative nonfiction essays of no more than 5,000 words on any subject are eligible for consideration for this award, whose winner receives $250 and publication in Lunch Ticket , the literary and art journal produced by the MFA community of Antioch University Los Angeles.

Works must not have been published elsewhere. Award winners are required to submit a 100-word biography, recent photo and a short note thanking the Woods family for their generosity and support.

Deadlines: Biannual reading periods are in February for the Summer/Fall issue and in August for the Winter/Spring issue.

13. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms Essay Contest

Each year, this Canadian organization offers three prizes, ranging from $500 to $1,500, to the essay with the most thoughtful, well-reasoned arguments around a specific human-rights theme. (For example, 2019’s prompt was, “Should universities police student behavior at private events?”

The contest is open to Canadian college and university students, and essays should be 2,500 words or less in length.

Deadline: 2021 contest guidelines and deadline TBD

14. Write the World

For young writers ages 13-18, these cool contests also serve as mini workshops. Recognizing that “a first draft is never perfect,” submissions actually receive peer review by authors, writing teachers and other experts and writers are given the chance to revise their pieces based on this feedback before submitting them for final prize consideration.

Contests vary each month, but there’s a $100 prize for the winner and $50 for the runner-up (plus $50 for the best peer-reviewer). All three are featured on Write the World’s blog alongside comments from a guest judge. And since each month’s prompt is from a different genre, developing writers get a chance to test out different styles.

Deadline: Monthly.

Prose offers weekly challenges meant to spark your creativity; many are just for fun, but look for the weekly numbered challenges posted by Prose (rather than community members or sponsors) for a chance to win money.

Prizes are typically between $100 to $200 and word counts are low — some as low as under 150, some as high as 500. So even if all you get from the prompt is a chance to flex your brain, it’s not a bad deal.

Deadline: Weekly and monthly.

16. The Restless Books Prize For New Immigrant Writing

First-generation immigrants have a chance to win $10,000 and publication by Restless Books for telling their stories (real or imagined). The contest alternates annually between fiction (novel or short story collection) and nonfiction (memoir, essay collection, narrative nonfiction). In 2021, it will go to a work of nonfiction of at least 25,000 words; 2022 will be fiction.

Deadline: Annually; the deadline for 2021 has passed. The 2022 submission deadline is TBA.

17. African Poetry Book Fund Prizes

The APBF awards three prizes annually for African Poetry. The Luschei Prize for African Poetry gives $1,000 for a book of original African poetry published in the prior year.

The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets gives $1,000 and a publication contract for a book-length collection of poetry by an as-yet-unpublished African author.

The Brunel International African Poetry Prize is a new prize that grants £3,000 to a poet who was born in Africa, or has African parents, who has not yet had a full-length book of poetry published. (U.S. citizens qualify.) To submit, you’ll need 10 poems.

Deadlines: See individual prize pages.

18. Tufts Poetry Awards

Claremont Graduate University presents two awards each year to poets they deem to be “outstanding.” The Kate Tufts Poetry Award grants $10,000 for a published first book of poetry that shows promise.

The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award grants a mammoth $100,000 for a published book of poetry by an established or mid-career poet.

Deadline: 2021 deadlines not yet announced.

19. Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

Now in its 21st year, this humor contest wants your best published or unpublished work for a grand prize of $2,000; runners-up are awarded $500 and 10 honorable mentions will receive $100 each. Writers of all ages from eligible countries can submit an original, humorous poem with 250 lines or less, and it must be in English.

Deadline : April 1, 2022.

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How to Get Published


  1. Another Way to Earn Money as a Writer: Enter Writing Contests to Win

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  2. The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Winning Research Paper Essay

    Writing a research paper essay can be an intimidating task, especially if you’re new to the process. But with the right guidance and tips, you can easily write a winning research paper essay that will impress your professor and get you the ...

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    To win Bazooka bubble gum prizes, enter a prize code into the applicable field on BazookaJoe.com. Bazooka bubble gum is not running a contest as of June 2015. Entry rules may vary depending on the nature of a contest.

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  9. Win Up To $10,000 From These Writing Contests

    Win $2,500 to $10,000 From These High-Paying Fiction Writing Competitions · 1. Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition · 2. Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize · 3

  10. Writing Contests, Grants & Awards September/October 2023

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    The Definitive List of Essay Writing Competitions 2023 · Annual Student Essay Contest. Prize: $1,000 · Crazyhorse Swamp Pink Prizes. Prize: $2,000.

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  14. 19 Free Writing Contests With Cash Prizes in 2021

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