G&A: The Contest Blog

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

Opportunities for poets and fiction writers abound in August’s last contest deadlines. These awards all feature a cash prize of $1,000 or more and close on August 30 or August 31. Good luck!

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award: Two prizes of £1,000 (approximately $1,235) each and publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual are given annually for a poem and a short story. The winner in poetry also receives a membership to the Poetry Society in London, and the winner in short fiction receives a consultation with the literary agency Redhammer Management. Both winners receive a subscription to Granta and a selection of books from Bloodaxe Books and Vintage Books. Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: £12 (approximately $15) for poetry or £18 (approximately $22) for a short story.

Baton Rouge Area Foundation Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence: A prize of $15,000 is given annually to an emerging African American writer for a book of fiction published in the current year. The winner also receives travel and lodging expenses to attend an awards ceremony and participate in educational outreach events in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in January 2021. Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: none.

Black Lawrence Press St. Lawrence Book Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Black Lawrence Press is given annually for a debut collection of poems or short stories. The editors will judge. Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: $25.

Ex Ophidia Press Poetry Book Prize: A prize of $1,000, publication by Ex Ophidia Press, and 15 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Sharon Cumberland, Gregory C. Richter, and Richard-Gabriel Rummonds will judge. Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: $25.

Gemini Magazine Flash Fiction Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gemini Magazine is given annually for a short short story. The editors will judge. Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: $6.

Grid Books Off the Grid Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Grid Books is given annually for a poetry collection by a writer over the age of 60. Marilyn Nelson will judge. Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: $25.

Journal of Experimental Fiction Kenneth Patchen Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Journal of Experimental Fiction and JEF Books is given annually for an innovative novel.  Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: $25.

Masters Review Short Story Award for New Writers: A prize of $3,000 and publication in Masters Review is given twice yearly for a short story by a writer who has not published a novel (writers who have published story collections are eligible). The winning story will also be sent to literary agents from the Bent Agency, Carnicelli Literary Management, Compass Talent, Fletcher & Company, and Sobel Weber for review. Deadline: August 30. Entry fee: $20.

Munster Literature Centre Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition: A prize of €1,000 (approximately $1,090) and publication by the Munster Literature Center is given annually for a poetry chapbook. The winner will also receive accommodations to give a reading at the Cork International Poetry Festival in March 2021. Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: €25 (approximately $27).

Omnidawn Publishing Open Book Prize: A prize of $3,000, publication by Omnidawn Publishing, and 100 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Brian Teare will judge. Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: $27.

Talking Gourds Fischer Prize: A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a single poem. The winner also receives $500 in travel expenses to attend the Talking Gourd Awards in Telluride, Colorado, in October. Claire Blotter will judge. Deadline: August 30. Entry fee: $10 ($25 for three poems).

University of New Orleans Press Publishing Lab Prize: A prize of $10,000 and publication by University of New Orleans Press is given annually for a short story collection or a novel. Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: $28.

Utica College Eugene Nassar Poetry Prize: A prize of $2,000 is given annually for a poetry collection published in the previous year by a resident of upstate New York. The winner will also give a reading and teach a master class at Utica College in April 2021. Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: none.

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out the Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

 

Submissions Open for Gotham Writers Manuscript-to-Market Fellowships

The deadline is approaching for the inaugural Gotham Manuscript-to-Market Fellowships, presented by the Gotham Writers Workshop. Designed to support “people of color who have completed a book manuscript (or nonfiction book proposal) and are ready to go to market with their book,” the fellowships will be awarded to three writers each year. The winning writers will receive admittance to the Gotham Writers Conference, a seat at a pitching roundtable with two agents, a Gotham course on publishing, a one-on-one agent evaluation session, and a query letter coaching session. Each year at least one fellowship will be awarded to a Black applicant.  

Using only the online submission system, submit the first ten pages of a fiction or nonfiction manuscript or a nonfiction book proposal and the project’s query letter by September 8. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The Gotham Writers’ Workshop was founded in 1993 by New York City writers Jeff Fligelman and David Grae as a home for writing courses. In the years since, the workshop has expanded into online courses, published a series of books on the craft of writing, held events across New York City, and, most recently, debuted the Gotham Writers Conference in 2019. This year’s conference will be held online from October 16 to October 18; winning fellows may choose to attend this year or in 2021.

Deadlines Approaches for Stories Out of School Flash Fiction Contest

Submissions are open for the 2021 Stories Out of School Flash Fiction Contest, presented by the Academy for Teachers. The annual prize was founded to inspire “honest, unsentimental stories about teachers and the rich and complex world of schools.” The winning writer will receive $1,000 and publication in A Public Space.

Using only the online submission system, submit a short story of 6 to 749 words and an author bio by September 1. The main character or narrator of the story must be a K–12 teacher. Jonathan Lethem will judge. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The Academy for Teachers organizes master classes and other enrichment programs for New York City educators. In pursuit of the mission to “raise respect for the teaching profession,” the academy also maintains several special projects, including a chapbook series where prominent writers reflect on their most influential teachers, and, since 2018, the Stories Out of School Flash Fiction Contest.

Photo: Contest judge Jonathan Lethem

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

Bring in mid-August by submitting to contests with deadlines of August 15 or August 20. These poetry and fiction awards all offer cash prizes of $1,000—or $500 with the opportunity to receive two cases of craft beer!

Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales Poetry Prize: A prize of $500, publication by Broadkill River Press, 10 author copies, and two cases of Dogfish Head craft beer are given annually for a poetry collection written by a poet living in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., or West Virginia. The winner is expected to attend a reading and award ceremony at the Dogfish Inn in Lewes, Delaware, on December 12. Lodging is provided, but travel expenses are not included. Edgar Kunz will judge. Deadline: August 15. Entry fee: none.

Grayson Books Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Grayson Books is given annually for a poetry collection. Brian Clements will judge. Deadline: August 15. Entry fee: $25.

Kallisto Gaia Press Poetry and Short Fiction Prizes: Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in the Ocotillo Review are given annually for a poem and a short story. Chip Dameron will judge the Julia Darling Memorial Poetry Prize; Charlotte Gullick will judge the Chester B. Himes Memorial Short Fiction Prize. Deadline: August 20. Entry fee: $20 (includes a copy of Ocotillo Review).

Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Red Wheelbarrow is given annually for a single poem. The winner will also receive 20 copies of a letterpress broadside of the winning poem. Dorianne Laux and Joseph Millar will judge. Deadline: August 15. Entry fee: $15.

The Word Works Tenth Gate Prize: A prize of $1,000, publication by the Word Works, and 50 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection by a poet who has published at least two full-length books of poetry. Lee Ann Roripaugh will judge. Deadline: August 15. Entry fee: $25.

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out the Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence Open for Submissions

Submissions are open for the 2020 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Sponsored by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, this annual award “serves to inspire and recognize rising African-American fiction writers of excellence at a national level.” Given for either a novel or a collection of short stories published in 2020, this award includes a $15,000 cash prize. The winner will also receive the opportunity to attend the prize ceremony in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and participate in educational outreach events at schools and after-school programs in the area; travel expenses are funded by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

Mail a completed registration form and eight copies of a published book or galley to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation offices by August 31. Anthony Grooms, Edward P. Jones, Elizabeth Nunez, Francine Prose, and Patricia Towers will judge. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

In honor of the late Ernest J. Gaines, a cherished Louisiana writer, recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, and National Book Critics Circle Award winner, this contest is now in its fourteenth year. The winner of the 2020 book prize will be selected in November of this year, and the awards ceremony will take place on January 28, 2021. Previous winners of the award include Victor LaValle, T. Geronimo Johnson, Jamel Brinkley, and Bryan Washington.

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

The end of the month and its last contest deadlines are arriving sooner than you might expect. With a deadline of July 30 or July 31, these awards include opportunities to publish single poems and flash fiction, as well as longer projects. All offer a cash prize of $1,000 or more.

Bard College Fiction Prize: A prize of $30,000 and a one-semester appointment as writer-in-residence at Bard College is given annually to a U.S. fiction writer under the age of 40. The recipient must give at least one public lecture and meet informally with students but is not expected to teach traditional courses. Deadline: July 30. Entry fee: none.

Howling Bird Press Book Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Howling Bird Press is given in alternating years for a book of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. The 2021 prize will be awarded in poetry. Deadline: July 31. Entry fee: $25.

Munster Literature Centre Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition: A prize of €2,000 (approximately $2,180) and publication in Southword is given annually for a short story. The winner also receives a weeklong residency at the Anam Cara Writer’s Retreat on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork and accommodation at the Cork International Short Story Festival. Billy O’Callaghan will judge. Deadline: July 31. Entry fee: €18 (approximately $20).

Narrative Spring Story Contest: A prize of $2,500 and publication in Narrative is given annually for a short story, a short short story, an essay, a short work of graphic fiction or creative nonfiction, or an excerpt from a work of fiction or creative nonfiction. A second-place prize of $1,000 is also awarded. The editors will judge. Deadline: July 31. Entry fee: $27.

New Millennium Writings New Millennium Awards: Four prizes of $1,000 each and publication in New Millennium Writings and on the journal’s website are given twice yearly for a poem, a short story, a short short story, and an essay that have not appeared in a print publication with a circulation over 5,000. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: July 31. Entry fee: $20.

Prairie Heritage, Inc. Jan Garton Prairie Heritage Book Award: A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a book of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction published in the previous year that “illuminates the heritage of North America’s mid-continental prairies.” Deadline: July 31. Entry fee: none.

Press 53 Award for Poetry: A prize of $1,000, publication by Press 53, and 50 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Tom Lombardo will judge. Deadline: July 31. Entry fee: none.

Red Hen Press Novella Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Red Hen Press is given annually for a novella. Donna Hemans will judge. Deadline: July 31. Entry fee: $25.

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out the Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Submissions Open for PEN/Jean Stein Grants for Literary Oral History

The deadline is approaching for the PEN/Jean Stein Grants for Literary Oral History. Starting this cycle, PEN America will award two writers grants of $15,000 each, expanding the program from a single grant of $10,000. The prizes will support literary works of nonfiction that use oral history to “illuminate an event, individual, place, or movement.” Only unpublished works-in-progress are eligible.

Using only the online submission system, submit a writing sample of 20 to 40 pages, 6 to 10 pages of transcribed interviews, a curriculum vitae, a project outline, a project description, a statement on how and why oral history is being used in the project, and a statement on how the grant would be useful to the project by August 1. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Established in 2017, the PEN/Jean Stein Grants are awarded by PEN America, a nonprofit organization advancing freedom of expression, and are made possible by a donation from Jean Stein, whose is remembered for pioneering the genre of narrative oral history. The inaugural grant recipient was Aleksandar Hemon, who received the grant for How Did You Get Here?: Tales of Displacement, a project to record the experiences of immigrants fleeing genocide in Bosnia.

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

Escape the midsummer heat and spend time in the shade submitting to fiction, poetry, and nonfiction contests. With deadlines of either July 14 or July 15, these contests include several opportunities for writing on a theme, including a prize for writing about health and illness and a prize for travel writing. All offer a cash prize of $1,000 or more.

Bellevue Literary Review Prizes in Poetry and Prose: Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Bellevue Literary Review are given annually to a poet, a fiction writer, and a creative nonfiction writer for works about health, healing, illness, the body, and the mind. Jen Bervin will judge in poetry, Dan Chaon will judge in fiction, and Kay Redfield Jamison will judge in creative nonfiction. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: July 15. Entry fee: $20. 

Cincinnati Review Robert and Adele Schiff Awards: Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in the Cincinnati Review are given annually for a poem, a short story, and an essay. The editors will judge in nonfiction. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: July 15. Entry fee: $20 (includes subscription). 

Comstock Review Muriel Craft Bailey Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Comstock Review is given annually for a single poem. Patricia Smith will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: July 15. Entry fee: $27.50 (or $5 per poem via postal mail)

Los Angeles Review Literary Awards: Four prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Los Angeles Review are given annually for a poem, a short story, a short short story, and an essay. Francisco Aragón will judge in poetry, Kristen Millares Young will judge in fiction, Ellen Meeropol will judge in flash fiction, and Aimee Liu will judge in nonfiction. Deadline: July 14. Entry fee: $20. 

Nowhere Travel Writing Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Nowhere is given twice yearly for a poem, a short story, or an essay that “possesses a powerful sense of place.” Unpublished and published pieces that have not previously been chosen as a contest winner are eligible. Porter Fox will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: July 15. Entry fee: $15. 

Rattle Poetry Prize: A prize of $15,000 and publication in Rattle is given annually for a single poem. A Reader’s Choice Award of $5,000 is also given to one of ten finalists. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: July 15. Entry fee: $25 (includes subscription).

Regal House Publishing Petrichor Prize for Finely Crafted Fiction: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Regal House Publishing will be given annually for a novel. The editors will judge. Deadline: July 15. Entry fee: $25.

The Story Prize: A prize of $20,000 is given annually for a short story collection written in English and published in the United States in the current year. Two runners-up receive $5,000 each. The $1,000 Story Prize Spotlight Award is also given for an additional short story collection “of exceptional merit.” Larry Dark and Julie Lindsey will select the three finalists and the Spotlight Award winner; three independent judges will choose the Story Prize winner. July 15 is the deadline for books published in the first half of the year. The deadline for books published during the second half of the year is November 15. Entry fee: none. 

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out the Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Bellevue Literary Review Prizes Open for Submissions

Submissions are open for the Bellevue Literary Review Prizes in Poetry and Prose. The annual contest seeks submissions from poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers whose work addresses “themes of health, healing, illness, the mind, and the body.” One winner in each genre will receive $1,000 and publication in the Bellevue Literary Review.

Using only the online submission system, submit up to three poems totaling no more than five pages or up to 5,000 words of prose with a $20 entry fee by July 15. Jen Bervin will judge in poetry, Dan Chaon will judge in fiction, and Kay Redfield Jamison will judge in creative nonfiction. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Founded by a group of physician-writers in 2000, the Bellevue Literary Review seeks to explore “human existence through the prism of health and healing, illness and disease.” Published by the New York University Langone Medical Center, the publication’s offices are located in New York City’s Bellevue Hospital, the oldest public hospital in the country. Previous contributors to the magazine include Leslie Jamison, Celeste Ng, and Rick Moody.

Deadline Approaches for the Louise Meriwether First Book Prize

Submissions are open for the 2021 Louise Meriwether First Book Prize, presented by the Feminist Press and TAYO Literary Magazine. “Granted to a manuscript that follows in the tradition of Meriwether’s Daddy Was a Number Runner, one of the first contemporary American novels featuring a young Black girl as the protagonist,” the prize honors a debut work of prose by a woman of color or a nonbinary author of color. The winning writer will receive $5,000 and publication of their book by the Feminist Press in the spring of 2021.

To submit, email a work of fiction or narrative nonfiction between 30,000 to 80,000 words and a cover letter by June 30. There is no entry fee. Feminist Press executive director and publisher Jamia Wilson, TAYO Literary Magazine editor in chief Lis P. Sipin-Gabon, author and professor Bridgett M. Davis, and past prize winner Melissa Valentine will judge. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Louise Meriwether is the author of several books and is also a journalist, antiwar activist, professor, and essayist. She has been a member of the Harlem Writers Guild since its beginning, and has won grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mellon Foundation. Meriwether received a lifetime achievement award in 2016 from the Before Columbus Foundation. That same year Gale Brewer, the Manhattan borough president, declared May 8 to be Louise Meriwether Appreciation Day. In celebration of the impact of Meriwether’s literary career, the prize furthers her “legacy of telling much-needed stories that shift culture and inspire new writers.” Finalists for the first book prize will be notified in October of this year, and the winner will be announced in March 2021. Past prize winners include YZ Chin, Claudia D. Hernández, and Cassandra Lane.

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