Writing Contests, Grants & Awards

The Writing Contests, Grants & Awards database includes details about the creative writing contests. Poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, and more are included. 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.

Alabama State Council on the Arts

Literary Arts Fellowships

Deadline: 
March 1, 2021
Cash Prize: 
$5,000

Fellowships of $5,000 each are given annually to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers who have lived in the state of Alabama for at least two years. Submit 10 to 20 pages of poetry or prose, a résumé, and a list of publications by March 1. There is no application fee. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

Alabama State Council on the Arts, Literary Arts Fellowships, 201 Monroe Street, Suite 110, Montgomery, AL 36104. (334) 242-4076, ext. 236. Anne Kimzey, Literary Arts Program Manager.

Biographers International Organization

Hazel Rowley Prize

Deadline: 
March 1, 2021
Entry Fee: 
$25
Cash Prize: 
$2,000

A prize of $2,000 will be given annually for a work-in-progress by a writer who has not published a biography. The winner will also receive review of their manuscript by an agent, publicity through the Biographers International Organization (BIO) website, and a one-year membership in BIO. Writers who have not previously published, or who are not under contract to write, a book of biography, history, or other work of narrative nonfiction are eligible. Natalie Dykstra, Steve Paul, and Eric K. Washington will judge. Submit a proposal, a writing sample, and a résumé totaling up to 20 pages with a $25 entry fee by March 1. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Biographers International Organization, Hazel Rowley Prize, P. O. Box 33020, Santa Fe, NM 87594. Michael Gately, Executive Director. 

Hunger Mountain

Literary Prizes

Deadline: 
March 1, 2021
Entry Fee: 
$20
Cash Prize: 
$1,000
E-mail address: 

Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication on the Hunger Mountain website are given annually for a poem, a short story, and an essay. Submit up to three poems or a story or essay of up to 10,000 words with a $20 entry fee by March 1. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Hunger Mountain, Literary Prizes, Vermont College of Fine Arts, 36 College Street, Montpelier, VT 05602.

University of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellowships

Deadline: 
March 1, 2021
Entry Fee: 
$50
Cash Prize: 
$39,000

An academic year in residence, which includes a stipend of at least $39,000, at the University of Wisconsin in Madison is given annually to at least five writers working on a first or second book of poetry or fiction. Writers with an MFA or PhD in creative writing who have not published more than one book are eligible. Submit 10 pages of poetry or one story or novel excerpt of up to 30 pages, a curriculum vitae, and contact information for two references with a $50 entry fee by March 1. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellowships, English Department, 600 North Park Street, H.C. White Room 6195, Madison, WI 53706. Sean Bishop, Administrator.

Broadside Lotus Press

Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award

Deadline: 
March 1, 2021
Cash Prize: 
$500
E-mail address: 

A prize of $500 and publication by Broadside Lotus Press is given annually for a poetry collection by an African American poet. Submit two copies of a manuscript of 60 to 90 pages by March 1. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Broadside Lotus Press, Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, c/o Gloria House, 8300 East Jefferson Avenue #504, Detroit, MI 48214. (313) 736-5338.

Mississippi Arts Commission

Literary Artist Fellowships

Deadline: 
March 1, 2021
Cash Prize: 
$5,000
E-mail address: 

Grants of up to $5,000 each are given in alternating years to Mississippi poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. This year the fellowships will be offered in creative nonfiction. Applicants must be permanent residents of Mississippi. Using only the online submission system, submit 15 to 20 pages of creative nonfiction written in the past three years, a résumé, a brief biography, and a writer’s statement between January 15 and March 1. There is no application fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Mississippi Arts Commission, Literary Artist Fellowships, 501 North West Street, Woolfolk Building, Suite 1101A, Jackson, MS 39201. (601) 359-6030. Kristen Brandt, Contact.

Selected Shorts

Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize

 
Deadline: 
March 5, 2021
Entry Fee: 
$25
Cash Prize: 
$1,000
E-mail address: 

A prize of $1,000 and tuition for a 10-week writing class through New York City’s Gotham Writers Workshop is given annually for a short story. The winning work will be published in Electric Literature and recorded live at a Selected Shorts performance at Symphony Space in New York City. Joshua Ferris will judge. Using only the online submission system, submit a story of up to 750 words with a $25 entry fee by March 5. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Selected Shorts, Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize, c/o Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, New York, NY 10025. (212) 864-1414, ext. 295.

Persea Books

Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice Award

 
Deadline: 
March 7, 2021
Entry Fee: 
$30
Cash Prize: 
$2,000
E-mail address: 

A prize of $2,000 and publication by Persea Books is given annually for a poetry collection by a U.S. poet who has published at least one book of poetry. Using only the online submission system, submit a manuscript of at least 40 pages with a $30 entry fee by March 7. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Persea Books, Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice Award, 90 Broad Street, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10004. (212) 260-9256. Gabriel Fried, Poetry Editor.

Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation

Literary Awards

Deadline: 
March 8, 2021
Entry Fee: 
$100
Cash Prize: 
$10,000

Two prizes of $10,000 each are given annually for a book of fiction and a book of nonfiction (including creative nonfiction) published in the previous year that “foster peace, social justice, and global understanding.” A runner-up for each prize will receive $5,000. Publishers may submit any number of books with a $100 entry fee per title by March 8. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation, Literary Awards, P.O. Box 461, Wright Brothers Branch, Dayton, OH 45409. (937) 298-5072. Sharon Rab, Contact.

TulipTree Publishing

Wild Women Story Contest

 
Deadline: 
March 8, 2021
Entry Fee: 
$20
Cash Prize: 
$1,000
E-mail address: 

A prize of $1,000 and publication in TulipTree Review is given annually for a poem, a short story, or an essay that tells a story with female main characters who are “the heroines of their own lives.” Submit a poem, a story, or an essay of up to 10,000 words with a $20 entry fee by March 8. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

TulipTree Publishing, Wild Women Story Contest, P.O. Box 723, Canon City, CO 81215. Jennifer Top, Contact.

Colorado Review

Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction

 
Deadline: 
March 14, 2021
Entry Fee: 
$17
Cash Prize: 
$2,000
E-mail address: 

A prize of $2,000 and publication in Colorado Review is given annually for a short story. T. Geronimo Johnson will judge. Submit a story between 2,500 and 12,500 words with a $15 entry fee ($17 for online submissions) by March 14. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Colorado Review, Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction, Colorado State University, 9105 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523. (970) 491-5449. Stephanie G’Schwind, Editor.

Verse

Tomaž Šalamun Prize

 
Deadline: 
March 15, 2021
Entry Fee: 
$16
Cash Prize: 
$500
E-mail address: 

A prize of $500 and publication by Factory Hollow Press is given annually for a poetry chapnbook. The winner will also receive a monthlong residency in summer 2022 in a private apartment at the Tomaž Šalamun Center for Poetry in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Prose poetry, hybrid works, and translations of works of poetry by living writers from any language into English are also eligible. Sawako Nakayasu will judge. Using only the online submission system, submit a manuscript of 20 to 28 pages with a $16 entry fee ($12 for students) by March 15. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Verse, Tomaz Salamun Prize, University of Richmond, English Department, 106 UR Drive, Richmond, VA 23173. (804) 287-6431. Brian Henry, Prize Administrator.

James Jones Literary Society

First Novel Fellowship

 
Deadline: 
March 15, 2021
Entry Fee: 
$33
Cash Prize: 
$10,000

A prize of $10,000 is given annually for a novel-in-progress by a U.S. writer who has not published a novel. Two runners-up will each receive $1,000. Using only the online submission system, submit the first 50 pages of a novel-in-progress and a two-page outline with a $33 application fee by March 15. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

James Jones Literary Society, First Novel Fellowship, Wilkes University, Creative Writing Program, 84 West South Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766.

National Poetry Series

Open Competition

 
Deadline: 
March 15, 2021
Entry Fee: 
$35
Cash Prize:
$10,000

Five prizes of $10,000 each and publication by participating trade, university, or small press publishers are given annually for poetry collections. The 2021 publishers are Beacon Press, Ecco, Milkweed Editions, Penguin Books, and University of Georgia Press. Using only the online submission system, submit a manuscript of 48 to 64 pages with a $35 entry fee by March 15. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

National Poetry Series, Open Competition, 57 Mountain Avenue, Princeton, NJ 08540.

Washington College

Hodson Trust–John Carter Brown Library Fellowship

 
Deadline: 
March 15, 2021
Cash Prize: $20,000

A fellowship, which includes a stipend of $20,000, is given annually to a novelist or nonfiction writer working on a book relating to the literature, history, culture, or art of the Americas before 1830. The fellowship includes housing and university privileges for a two-month research period to be conducted at the John Carter Brown Library on the campus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and a two-month writing term at the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. Submit a writing sample of any length, a project description, a curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references by March 15. There is no application fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Washington College, Hodson TrustJohn Carter Brown Library Fellowship, Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, Custom House, 101 South Water Street, Chestertown, MD 21620. Juliet Kaczmarczyk, Starr Center Coordinator.

The Word Works

Washington Prize

 
Deadline: 
March 15, 2021
Entry Fee: 
$25
Cash Prize: 
$1,500

A prize of $1,500 and publication by the Word Works is given annually to a U.S. or Canadian poet for a poetry collection. Submit a manuscript of 48 to 80 pages with a $25 entry fee by March 15. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The Word Works, Washington Prize, P.O. Box 42164, Washington, D.C. 20015. 

Fourth Genre

Steinberg Essay Prize

 
Deadline: 
March 15, 2021
Entry Fee: 
$20
Cash Prize: 
$1,000
E-mail address: 

A prize of $1,000 and publication in Fourth Genre is given annually for an essay. Xu Xi will judge. Using only the online submission system, submit an essay of up to 6,000 words with a $20 entry fee by March 15. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Fourth Genre, Steinberg Essay Prize, Michigan State University, 1405 South Harrison Road, East Lansing, MI 48823.

Hidden River Arts

Eludia Award

 
Deadline: 
March 15, 2021
Entry Fee: 
$20
Cash Prize: 
$1,000
E-mail address: 

A prize of $1,000 and publication by Hidden River Publishing is given annually for a debut novel or story collection by a woman age 40 or older. Using only the online submissions system, submit a novel or story collection of any length with a $20 entry fee by March 15. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Hidden River Arts, Eludia Award, P.O. Box 63927, Philadelphia, PA 19147. Debra Leigh Scott, Founding Executive Director.