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This is a list of writing contests


Charley Brindley

Writers Free Reference

Writing Contests

This is a collection of websites dealing with writing contests

Maintained by Charley at

Young woman writing a book

Young woman writing a book

Photo credit: Old Musty Books

There are hundreds of literary contests, online and off. Most are real; some are even prestigious. But many are fake. And of the legitimate ones, few are important enough to provide a meaningful addition to your writing resume.

Contest Fakes

Fake contests come in many different guises, but they all have a common goal--to take your money.

Some are outright scams. A few examples, drawn from Writer Beware's files: One fee-charging literary agency advertises a contest where the prize is agency representation. Representation is indeed offered (to everyone who enters), but the catch is that it comes with a hefty editing fee attached.

Another agency uses a false name to run its contest--entrants are told that even though they didn't win their work is "exceptional", and referred to the agency, which charges an up-front fee.

An editing service uses a contest as a way to acquire pool of potential customers. The contest is genuine in that there are winners who get prizes, but everyone else is told that their work needs help, and offered the chance to buy it at a "discount" from the service.

A similar contest scheme is run by a company that provides coverage for screenplay authors. In addition, guaranteed agency representation is promised for "exceptional" scripts. What's not revealed: the agency is run under a different name by the same people who run the coverage service, and its track record is slim to none.

A charity runs a contest in conjunction with a book publisher, with the prize being a publication contract. Entry fees go to support the charity's endeavors. What's not disclosed: the charity and the publisher are run by the same person, and the charity has no verifiable activities.

Other contests are run by questionable publishers. Often the prize is a book contract, and winners don't find out until afterward that they must pay a fee for publication, or agree to pre-purchase large numbers of books, or pay the publisher for a publicity campaign (a good reason never to enter a contest that doesn't allow you to refuse a contract if it's offered). Or the publisher may provide the entrants' contact information to a vanity publishing service or a fee-charging literary agency, which then sends out solicitations and pays the first publisher a kickback if any of the entrants bite.

Then there are the "contest mills", which make money on the front end via entry fees. Some advertise enormous prizes--$15,000 for the winner, $10,000 for second place, and so on--with correspondingly high entry fees--$25 or $30. But if you read the fine print, you'll discover that the contest owner reserves the right to award prizes on a pro rata basis--i.e., the prize amounts are determined by the number of entrants, thus guaranteeing a profit no matter what. Other contest mills are run by writers' magazines, which conduct a dozen or more contests a year, or by Internet-based groups that offer monthly contests, and advertise under several different names and URLs to draw more entrants.

Contest mills aren't really scams, since there usually are winners, and they really do receive prizes. Even so, contests of this kind can be considered fake, since they exist for no other reason than to make a profit for the organizations conducting them. Also, because of the lack of rigorous judging standards, they're unlikely to carry any professional prestige.

By far the most common of the fake contests are the ones conducted by the vanity anthology companies. These companies publish collections of poems, short stories, or essays, which are sold not to the public, but to the contributors. Sometimes publication is contingent on purchase of the anthology and sometimes it isn't, but either way the anthology can't be obtained except by paying for it. Because inclusion in these anthologies is offered to everyone who enters the contests, an anthology-published poem isn't considered a legitimate literary credit.

Story credit: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

Literary Agents email addresses

If you've written a story or a novel, click Literary Agents email addresses to see a list of literary agents' e-mail addresses
These are non-fee agents and if they have a website, you will see a link to the website listed next to the agent's email address

Get Published Now

Get Published Now Newsletter

Query writing contest

FIRST PLACE winner receives a 30-minute, one-on-one phone consultation with me and a evaluation evaluation of their query (a $99 value). Plus, the winning query will be posted on this website along with my full evaluation comments. (Agents troll through teaching websites like this one, always hoping to find talented writers with fabulous stories.)

HONORABLE MENTION query entry will be posted on this website, along with evaluation comments from me.

EVERY WRITER WHO PARTICIPATES in the contest will receive my comments regarding the most important challenge in their query letter that might prevent positive response from agents/editors/publishers.

REGISTER for the contest to receive a download link to your copy of my 37-page Query "Sales Pitch" e-workbook (a $14.95 value). Download and complete the writing exercises. This will help you draft the best query you possibly can as you go for the gold: a 30-minute consultation with me and your evaluated query posted on this website.

Submission Guidelines~ Write your query following the digital format on the Query Page.
Maximum number of words: 350
Times Roman or Georgia 12-point font.
Single space. Flush left (no indents).
Leave one space between paragraphs.
Cut and paste your query into the contact box on the contest registration page which is sent to you upon payment of the fee.

How to Register~
Entry fee: $20 per query. Use the Paypal "Buy Now" button below. Once you've made payment, you'll receive an acknowledgment email containing
1) link to the Contest Entry Form
2) link to the 37-page query "Sales Pitch" e-workbook
3) The date you can expect to receive constructive comments (from me) about your query entry.
Submissions--open now.
Submissions--close November 21.
Winner is announced Dec 1.

For complete submission instructions, please visit: Get Published Now

Calyx Press

Calyx Publishing

2013 Flash Fiction


Online submissions for the flash fiction contest will be accepted from April 1, 2013 - May 31, 2013.

CALYX Press is accepting short-short fiction (or poetry!) submissions for the 2013 Online Competition. Show us what you’ve got, ladies...on the page.

This year’s theme is "A new creation story." Make it the title of your work, a jumping-off point, or a general suggestion that gets you moving in a totally new direction. We accept fiction, poetry, or reeeeeaaalllly short, one-act plays. All we want is innovative, beautiful, edgy, brilliant writing… in 250 words or less.

The top five submissions will be published on our website,


Our mission is to nurture women’s creativity by publishing fine art and literature by women, both online and in print, so we are looking for women-identified writers only. And please, submitters must be 18+.

Submissions must be 250 or less. Submissions that exceed the word limit will be printed out and fed to the office goldfish. This is an online competition, so there’s no need to send a hardcopy manuscript. Simply click here to submit via our online submission manager, make an account and choose "Flash Fiction Contest" from the drop-down menu. Then just follow the steps! There is no entry fee, so really, what do you have to lose? The submissions must be new and unpublished.

The writer will retain all property and copyright laws concerning their submitted work.

By entering this contest, writers understand that they are granting CALYX Press temporary publishing rights and electronic archiving rights.

Multiple entries are accepted.

Submissions will be accepted until May 31, 2013 at midnight.

Submissions will be reviewed by out qualified editorial panel and the winners will be announced in June.

The top 5 contestants will be published on our blog. All participants will receive the satisfaction of contributing to the world of amazing art created by powerful women.

For complete submission instructions, please visit: Calyx Press


America's Next Author

A Unique Writing Contest

The Requirements

» Short story of 2500-5000 words in English
» All fiction genres are accepted
» Poetry not accepted
» Contestants must be 18 or older
» Contestants may reside in any country
» Stories must be original
» Read the full official rules here

The Plan

1. Write an awesome story and submit it!

2. Get your friends, family, and followers to judge your story. 3. Be nominated!

Each week brings another chance for your story to advance and win, even if it didn't advance the week before! Join by October 9th so that your story has the greatest chance of winning.

» Nomination rounds begin October 9th.
» Finalists will be announced December 4th.
» Winners will be announced December 18th.

The Prizes

Grand Prize: $5,000 USD and support in getting published
First Prize: $500 USD
Second Prize: $500 USD

For complete submission instructions, please visit: America's Next Author

CJM Books

Our contest is simple but competitive, and takes place quarterly. Winners and runners-up will be published once a year in our literary anthology, Colonnade. Here's the deal:

This year, 2012, the Colonnade Writing Contest invites fiction and non-fiction authors from any genre to submit their best previously unpublished work to compete for a place in our yearly anthology, Colonnade. The result is an internationally distributed collection of the best stories and essays of the year by authors who have the ability to stand out from amongst a diverse pack.

The deadlines for each quarter are March 31st, June 30th, September 30th, and December 31st. Each quarter's submissions will placed into one of two categories (fiction or non-fiction) and will be judged as independent groups, with one winner and two runners up for each category. The two winners and four runners-up from each of the four quarterly rounds will be announced on these dates: April 15th, July 15th, October 15th, and January 15th. Quarterly first place winners will receive a $125 cash prize. The runners-up and the winners will each be eligible for publication in that year's issue of Colonnade, our yearly anthology.

Out of these twenty-four best works of the year one story will be chosen as the Colonnade Story of the Year and one essay chosen as Essay of the Year, and each will be awarded $600 in cash and two complimentary copies of Colonnade.

For complete submission instructions, please visit: CJM Books

Escuela Delengua

Micro stories contest

What is a micro story?

A micro story, also called flash fiction or mini narration, is a story of a predetermined maximum length which still contains the essential elements of narration: one or more characters acting in a more or less settled time and space, according to the traditional idea of introduction, climax and resolution. See submitted micro stories


The micro stories have to be submitted in Spanish. The topic of the micro stories is totally free, but all of them have to contain the word 'flamenco' in any of the acceptable derivations, singular or plural, masculine or feminine. The maximum length of the stories is 140 characters, including blanks – like a tweet.


09th of January, 2012 – 16th of April, 2012: submitting the micro stories using the form below 17th of April, 2012 – 15th of May, 2012: everyone visiting this site will be able to vote for the best micro stories The 10 micro stories with the most votes will win a free Intensive Spanish Course or a discount:
1st prize: a 4-weeks Intensive Spanish Course
2nd prize: a 3-weeks Intensive Spanish Course
3rd prize: a 2-weeks Intensive Spanish Course
4th to 10th prize: a 15% discount on an Intensive Spanish Course of 2, 3 or 4 weeks

Every participant can submit a maximum of 3 stories, although the same participant cannot be awarded more than once.

For complete submission instructions, please visit: Escuela Delengua

Intimate Landscape

"Intimate Landscape" Juried Writing Competition

Open to Interpretation is now calling on writers to submit images for consideration in a juried book competition.

Project Details
Open to Interpretation is a collaborative book project bringing together photographers, poets and writers. Each book begins with a themed call for photos. The chosen photos become the literary inspiration for the writers' submissions. A book is created that matches each winning photo with two stories or poems that offer different interpretations of the image. The unique collaboration adds new dimensions to both the photos and the written word.

Book Title: Open to interpretation
Theme: Intimate Landscape
Judge: Patrick Thomas, Editor + Program Manager at Milkweed Editions
Submission Fee: $10 per entry
Deadline for Submission: March 29, 2012
Results Announced: April 19, 2012

$300 Judge's Selection Award

Judge Patrick Thomas is the editor and program manager at Milkweed Editions. As an editor, his work focuses on acquisitions that consider our relationship to the more-than-human world. As program manger, he works to find the best way to bring literary art to the widest possible audience. He lives in Minneapolis, MN.

For further details go to Intimate Landscape

Writers Type

Writers Type Open Competitions


Submissions to the monthly competition in each category are accepted electronically. Entries submitted after midnight, Pacific Standard Time, on the last day of a given month will be entered into the following month's competition.

If requested at the time of submission, winners and first runners-up in each category will receive our reader comments via e-mail. Winners who have granted us the right to post their winning entry will have the opportunity to edit and resubmit their work based on our reader comments before we announce the winner on our website.

Monthly winners and first runners-up are announced approximately three weeks after the last day of each month. If the author has given permission to post the submitted work, the winning entry is hosted on this site and linked to the announcement.

For further details go to Writers Type

Sanguine Theatre Company

Sanguine Theatre Company announces our 3rd annual playwriting competition.

Project Playwright is a result of Sanguine’s love for playwrights and new works. Once all submissions have been read a panel will select a number of scripts from which Sanguine Theatre Company will produce a staged reading in New York City of excerpts from the plays that will be determined by Sanguine Theatre Company in collaboration with the playwrights. From there, a grand prize winner will be chosen and have his or her play fully produced in a New York City theatre along with opportunities to workshop their script.

For details please visit: Sanguine Theatre Company

Strictly Shakespeare writing contest

With the popularity of reality T.V. shows featuring singing, dancing and even ice skating, we at Strictly Shakespeare decided to open our own UK based competition for amateur writers, authors and poets and jazz it up with a little 'Strictly' fun! Celebrities are welcome to try out but this is a free for all!


On the 1st of every month a prose and poetry prompt will be left on the Strictly news page.

Contestants will have two weeks to pen their take on that specific prompt before the competition deadline at midnight on the 14th of every month.

We at Strictly will then choose the TEN top entries in prose and poetry and open our email accounts for Public VOTING to began.

Every day one entry in each section will be knocked out due to public opinion. (The votes will be cumlative so if you don't get a chance to vote each day, DON'T WORRY!)

After TEN days we will have a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner in each section who will win a monetary award based on the site's popularity that will hopefully become a fixed cash prize soon.

Any news and updates will be posted on the NEWS tab.

Simple as that - LET'S BEGIN!

Website: Strictly Shakespeare

Accenti Magazine Writing Contest

Accenti Magazine

Announces Writing and Photo Contests

First Prize: $1000

Deadline: February 7, 2012

Tuesday, August 22, 2011 - Accenti Magazine is proud to announce its 7th Annual Writing Contest and 5th Annual Photo Contest. First Prize for each contest is $1000 and publication in Accenti. Second and third place winners receive $250.00 and $100.00 respectively. The deadline is February 7, 2012.

Winning entries will be presented at the Accenti Magazine Awards during the 14th Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival, April 18-23, 2012. The Accenti Magazine contests are open to all writers and photographers, established and emerging, worldwide.

Accenti's writing contest is open to fiction and nonfiction on any topic; and Accenti's photo contest asks participants to "Capture an Italian Moment" anywhere in the world. Past writing contest winners include Elizabeth Cinello (2011, Toronto) Loretta Di Vita (2010, Montreal), Ivano Stocco (2009, Valencia, Spain), Paul French (2008, Toronto), Maria Francesca LoDico (2007, Montreal) and Sheila Wright (2006, Warkworth, Ontario). Photo winners include Marcel van Balken (2011, Amstelveen, The Netherlands), Amy Occhipinti (2010, Toronto), Robert T. Norton (2009, Toronto) and Nick Colarusso (2008, Montreal).

About Accenti Magazine

Founded in Montreal in 2003, Accenti aims to bring together readers and writers around the idea of shared cultural experience and heritage, to encourage creative expression and celebrate common cultural values. For more information, please visit

Media: (514) 329-3254 (106) /


Creative Writers

Creative Writers' Circle Short Story Contest

Write an original short story based off of the prompt given at our website and submit to enter the contest, which offers cash prizes as well as some fantastic items from our sponsor. The contest is completely free, and anyone can enter by simply e-mailing us their entry. Visit our website for contest and prize info, as well as instructions on how to submit:

Entry fee: NONE - FREE

Word Limit: 3,500

Website: Creative Writers' Circle

Discovering the Undiscovered Book-Length Competitions

Grace Notes Book-length manuscripts

2nd Annual Discovering the Undiscovered contests for book-length manuscripts, awarding over $2000 in cash and product prizes to winners & finalists PLUS publishing offers through both Grace Notes Books and NOTES Magazine. These contests are open to:


Memoirs or other long form creative nonfiction

Collections of short fiction, essays, or a combination of both

Poetry collections over 35 pages

More information: Grace Notes

Gemini Magazine Fiction, Poetry, a little craziness & more

Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest

Gemini Magazine


2nd PLACE: $100



DEADLINE: March 31, 2012

All Five Finalists Will Be Published in The June 2012 Issue of Gemini

No restrictions on content, style, genre or length. Flashes, novel excerpts, experimental, mainstream, literary, noir, romance—all types of short fiction are welcome. Simply send your best unpublished work by email or snail mail.

We publish both new and established writers. Everyone gets a chance. Email:

More information: Gemini Magazine

Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival

5th Annual Fiction Contest

Judge: Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours

Grand Prize $1,500

Domestic airfare (up to $500) and French Quarter accommodations to attend the 2013 Festival in New Orleans

VIP All-Access Festival Pass ($500 value)

Public reading at a literary panel at the 2013 Festival (March 20-24)

Publication in Louisiana Literature

Top Ten Finalists

Names will appear on website. Finalists will also receive a panel pass ($75 value) to attend the 2013 Festival.

Submit unpublished short stories up to 7,000 words. Unlimited entries per person.

Deadline: November 15, 2012

For eligibility and full guidelines see our contest page: Tennessee Williams Contest

25th Annual One-Act Play Contest

Grand Prize: $1,500

Staged reading at the 2013 Festival (March 20-24) Full production at the 2014 Festival

VIP All-Access Festival pass for 2013 and 2014 ($1,000 value) Publication in Bayou

Top Ten Finalists Names will appear on website. Finalists will also receive a panel pass ($75 value) to attend the 2013 Festival Submit unpublished, never publicly performed one-act plays up to one hour in length.

Deadline: November 1, 2012

For eligibility and full guidelines see our contest page: Tennessee Williams Contest

Writers’ Village Short Fiction contest spring 2010

Writers’ Village Winter 2012 Competition

Prizes total $1360 in Writers’ Village story contest

A first prize of $800 can be won in the winter round of the Writers’ Village contest for short fiction up to 3000 words in any genre. Second prize is $400, third is $160 and there are five runner-up prizes of a free entry in the next round.

Every story, win or lose, also gains a free critique - a feature thought to be unique among low-fee writing contests. Winning stories will be showcased at the site. Fee is $19 per story.

Entries are welcomed worldwide. Deadline is 31st December 2012.

Address: Village Guild, The Old School House, Leighton Buzzard, Beds LU7 9DP, UK.

Details at:

Carebox show you care contest

Essay contest ..... Carebox Show You Care contest

CAREBOX™ was created as a thoughtful way to let friends and family know you care. Maybe someone you know is going through a difficult time, or maybe you just want to let them know you're thinking of them. Either way, these thoughtful gifts will brighten their day, and maybe even help make things a little better.

CAREBOX™ came about as a result of the founder losing both of her parents to cancer. She wanted to find a way to help people reach out when they didn't really know what to say, much less do.

She also made it her mission to work towards a world that's free from cancer. That's why a portion of the profits from each box goes towards organizations fighting cancer through research, education, and early detection.

Win this house contest

Give Me That House contest ..... Enter an essay or a video

You could WIN A HOUSE!
You could win $10,000 CASH!

Short story contest about rain

Short Story contest ..... Rain Stories

Summer is about to end? Autumn is knocking at the door? Stormy weather and rain predicted? It is time to read a book or even write one. Take advantage of the unpleasant rainy weather and enter the latest BookRix Short Story Writing Contest for free: Tell us your rain story, turn your wordsmith powers into positive cashflow and fame. Write a story that has anything to do with rain, or Mr. Rain, or a dog named Rain, whatever.

Key Facts:

Anyone registered at our website can join the contest (except citizens of Germany, Austria and Switzerland).
Authors and readers can enter the competition for free and win cash money.
Enter a book about rain that you have already written and published or write a new rain story.

Write an Essay! Film a Video! Go For the Win!!

Do you dream of TRULY owning a beautiful family home of your own- mortgage-free? With an investment of only $75 and a little skill, your dream could come true

We all want the American Dream. But what is the American Dream? It is having a home. Do you dream of having a home to really call your own, free and clear of mortgage? That is a dream we all share.

Forget the worry of being strapped to a mortgage.
Forget the debt.
Forget the worry of sinking home values.
Forget the worry of money owed to the bank or mortgage company.

Looking at the economy today, it may seem an even more impossible dream to own a home than ever before. But if you have $75 and the talent and courage to develop a exceptional short video or short essay that stands above the rest - then this dream could be your reality. And in addition, 2nd place prize is $10,000. There is a great oppotunity in front of you, but only if you enter! See full contest rules here.

So how do you do it? Use your talents!

What Inpsires You? Submit your essay or video on this topic!

Is your best skill in writing? Can you put it into words? Put that talent to work and submit an essay! You might weave the right words that lands you in a wonderful mortgage-free home of your own.

Is video your medium? Can you impress or capture a heart with your movie making skills? Submit a 3 minute video and put yourself in the running to win your slice of the American Dream!

This could be your big break. Your chance to find a true refuge from the economic woes of our time. The security of a mortgage-free home could be yours - but only if you enter - so enter now!

Southern Illinois Writers Guild

Southern Illinois Writers Guild

The SIWG Writing Contest is an annual and much anticipated event. Entries are open to all persons over 18 years, or enrolled in post-secondary education.


1st Place $100; 2nd Place $50; 3rd Place $25, in each category. Honorable Mentions as determined by judges. Winners will be published in the Writers Voice, the SIWG anthology, unless authors request otherwise. Winners will be notified by mail in September.

Entry Fee

Five dollars per entry, maximum of three entries per author. Check or money order only, no cash. Make checks payable to: John A. Logan College . Entries not enclosing the fee or following the rules will be discarded.

Entry Rules

1. Fiction - Any subject or genre. Nonfiction - Biography, memoir, article, or essay on any topic. Poetry - Any style or topic. (Please, no explicit sex or excessive violence.)

2. Original work of the entrant; unpublished at time of submission.

3. Page limit - Up to eight pages for Fiction and Nonfiction, one or two pages for Poetry.

4. Format - Standard manuscript format (8-1/2" x 11" paper, typed and double-spaced, 1" margins,12-point Times New Roman, pages numbered and title of entry on every page). Poetry may vary margins and spacing as needed.

5. Two copies of each entry.

6. Cover sheet for each entry, with contestant's name, address, category (Fiction, Nonfiction, or Poetry) and title of entry. Author's name should appear only on the cover sheet, not the manuscript. Optional - Provide email address for winner notification; brief bio to include with publication.

7. All winners must supply social security numbers in order to collect a cash prize. Please do not supply your SSN until you are notified that you have won a cash prize. There will be no exceptions to this rule.


Writer’s Relief

Writer's Relief provides literary services and writers' services is holding a special 15th anniversary contest with two first-prize winners

Notes & Grace Notes ..... This is an online writing community hosting monthly contests

Writers' League of Texas Contests ..... The Writers' League of Texas hosts several contests with deadlines in March and April

Monthly Writing Contest ..... Hosted by Scribophile, an online critique group for aspiring authors

Book Contest ..... Zimbo Books Fiction Competition

Novel Contest ..... Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Fiction Writing Contest

Writing Contests ..... Long list of writing contests

Writers Gazette ..... A list of writing contests and other writing resources

Bulwer-Lytton ..... The Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest

Writing Contests and Awards ..... From WritersNet

FreeFall Magazine Fiction and Poetry Contest ..... From The Alexandra Writers' Centre Society.

Long list of contests ..... From The Write Place

Contests and Vanity Anthologies ..... Things to look out for, from SWFA

Several Contests ..... From the Literary Times

Many more Contests ..... From Freelance Writing

Return to Writers Free Reference home page


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This page is about writing contests. There are hundreds of writing contests on the internet, and many writing contest advertized in magazines. Many writing contests have guidelines published on their website while other writing contests will have only guidelines by mail.

Some writing contests pay hundreds of dollars in prizes, while many have no awards at all, other than the possibility of publication.

Universities and other educational institutions offer writing contests for their students as well as for non-students.

Many magazines, such as Writers’ Digest offer writing contests every year.

There are writing contests for short stories, novels, poems and other types of writing.

If you've written a story or a novel, click Literary Agents email addresses to see a list of literary agents' e-mail addresses


If you have written a novel or short story and need a professional edit and analysis, please click Novel Editing to see additional information

Writers Free Reference

Writers' Free Reference is a list of free websites providing information useful to writers and others. Please click List of free reference websites to see the free list


Click to see Hannibal's Elephant Girl, a new novel by Charley Brindley

Jokes and Funny Stories

Do you need a good laugh? click Over 200 jokes and funny stories to see a wide variety of fun