G&A: The Contest Blog

Four Prizes for LGBTQ Writers from Lambda Literary

Submissions are open for four prizes administered by Lambda Literary, including the inaugural Randall Kenan Prize for Black LGBTQ Fiction. Founded in memory of author Randall Kenan, who died last year at age fifty-seven, the prize will award $3,000 to a Black LGBTQ writer, “whose fiction explores themes of Black LGBTQ life, culture, and/or history.” Meanwhile, this year’s Jim Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists’ Prize will award two writers $5,000 each; the Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction will award one writer $2,500; and the Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers will grant two writers $1,000 each.

Using only the online submission system, submit to any of the four prizes by February 15. All applications require a cover letter, a curriculum vitae or résumé, and at least one writing sample. Each contest has different eligibility requirements; for example, writers submitting to the Randall Kenan Prize must have published at least one book of fiction. Visit the website for complete guidelines, including descriptions of the body of work required for eligibility for each prize. None of the contests require an entry fee.

Lambda Literary is a nonprofit that “nurtures and advocates for LGBTQ writers,” and is home to the Lambda Literary Awards, or “Lammys,” which honor the best LGBTQ books of the year. Lambda also runs a writer’s retreat and a program that brings queer and trans writers into schools to meet with young readers.

Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize Deadline Nears

Submissions are open for the tenth annual Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize. Given to a U.S. poet for a poem which “evokes a connection to place,” the prize includes $1,000, publication on the Zócalo website, and an invitation to read the winning poem at an awards event in spring 2021. Unexpected or unconventional interpretations of the theme of place are welcome. Poets are encouraged to consider places “of historical, cultural, political, or personal importance” and landscapes that may be “literal, imaginary, or metaphorical.”

Submit up to three poems of any length via e-mail by January 29. The editors will judge. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Founded in 2003 and based in Los Angeles, Zócalo Public Square publishes journalism alongside essays and poetry and seeks to “connect people to ideas and to each other by examining essential questions in an accessible, broad-minded, and democratic spirit.” Recent winners of its poetry prize include Jai Hamid Bashir and Erica Gross.

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

In these uncertain times, set aside a weekend to escape into your writing and submit to contests. With deadlines of January 30 or January 31, these awards include grants for women writers and a prize for a manuscript on the subject of music. All feature a cash prize of $1,000 or more.

AKO Caine Prize for African Writing: A prize of £10,000 (approximately $12,860) is given annually for a previously published short story by an African writer. Shortlisted writers will receive £500 (approximately $643). Writers who were born in Africa, who are African residents, or who have a parent who is African by birth or nationality are eligible. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: none.

Austin Community College Balcones Prizes: Two prizes of $1,500 each are given annually for a poetry collection and a book of fiction published during the previous year. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: $25 for poetry and $30 for fiction.

Black Lawrence Press Big Moose Prize: A prize of $1,000, publication by Black Lawrence Press, and 10 author copies is given annually for a novel. The contest is open to traditional novels “as well as novels-in-stories, novels-in-poems, or other hybrid forms that contain within them the spirit of a novel.” The editors will judge. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: $25.

Crazyhorse Writing Prizes: Three prizes of $2,000 each and publication in Crazyhorse are given annually for a poem, a short story, and an essay. Yona Harvey will judge in poetry, Rumaan Alam will judge in fiction, and Sabrina Orah Mark will judge in nonfiction. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: $20 (includes subscription).

Fish Publishing Short Memoir Prize: A prize of €1,000 (approximately $1,170) and publication in the Fish Publishing anthology is given annually for a short memoir. The winner is also invited to give a reading at the West Cork Literary Festival in July 2021. Blake Morrison will judge. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: €18 (approximately $21) for online entries or €20 (approximately $23) for postal entries.

Ghost Story Screw Turn Flash Fiction Competition: A prize of $1,000 and publication on the Ghost Story website and in the 21st Century Ghost Stories anthology will be given annually for a flash fiction piece with a supernatural or magical realism theme. The editors will judge. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: $15.

Iowa Review Awards: Three prizes of $1,500 each and publication in Iowa Review are given annually for works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Tracie Morris will judge in poetry, Jamel Brinkley will judge in fiction, and Melissa Febos will judge in nonfiction. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: $20.

Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award: A prize of $1,200, publication by Main Street Rag, and 50 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. The editors and previous winners will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: $25 entry fee ($27 for electronic submissions).

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 an emerging writer. The winning story will also be reviewed by a select group of literary agents. Writers who have published a book with a circulation of 5,000 or more copies are ineligible. Helen Oyeyemi will judge. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: $20.

Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Individual Artists Grants for Women: Grants of up to $1,500 each are given in alternating years to feminist poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers who are citizens of the United States or Canada. The current round of grants will be awarded to poets and nonfiction writers. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: $25.

New Millennium Writings New Millennium Writing Awards: Four prizes of $1,000 each and publication in New Millennium Writings are given twice yearly for a poem, a short story, a work of flash fiction, and a work of creative nonfiction. Previously unpublished works or works that have appeared in a journal with a circulation of under 5,000 are eligible. The editors will judge. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: $20.

North Carolina Writers’ Network Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize: A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a short story. The winning story will also be considered for publication in Thomas Wolfe Review. Therese Anne Fowler will judge. Deadline: January 30. Entry fee: $25.

Regal House Publishing Terry J. Cox Poetry Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Regal House Publishing is given annually for a poetry collection. Martha Kalin will judge. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: $25.

Schaffner Press Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Schaffner Press is given annually for a poetry collection, a novel, a short story collection, an essay collection, or a memoir that “deals in some way with the subject of music and its influence.” Deadline: January 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.

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

Resolving to carve out more time for your creative practice in 2021? Ring in the new year by submitting to writing contests. With deadlines of either January 14 or January 15, these awards include two residencies earmarked for Texas writers, as well as an opportunity for a nonfiction writer to spend creative time in a desert environment. All offer a cash prize of $500 or more.

Asheville Poetry Review William Matthews Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Asheville Poetry Review is given annually for a single poem. The winner is also invited to give a reading at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, North Carolina. Quincy Troupe will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $20.

Australian Book Review Calibre Essay Prize: A prize of $5,000 AUD (approximately $3,807) is given annually for an essay. A second-place prize of $2,500 AUD (approximately $1,903) will also be given. The winners will be published in Australian Book Review. Sheila Fitzpatrick, Billy Griffiths, and Peter Rose will judge. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $25 AUD (approximately $19).

Autumn House Press Rising Writer Prizes: Two prizes of $500 each and publication by Autumn House Press will be given annually for a debut poetry collection and a debut book of fiction by writers who are 36 years old or younger. The winners will each also receive a $500 grant for travel and book promotion. Matthew Dickman will judge in poetry and Maryse Meijer will judge in fiction. All finalists will be considered for publication. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $25.

Burnside Review Press Book Award: A prize of $1,000, publication by Burnside Review Press, and 10 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Jennifer Chang will judge. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $25 (includes one title from the press’s catalogue).

Colorado Review Colorado Prize for Poetry: A prize of $2,000 and publication by the Center for Literary Publishing is given annually for a poetry collection. Sherwin Bitsui will judge. Deadline: January 14. Entry fee: $28 (includes subscription).

Ellen Meloy Fund Desert Writers Award: A prize of $5,000 is given annually to enable a creative nonfiction writer “whose work reflects the spirit and passions for the desert embodied in Ellen Meloy’s writing” to spend creative time in a desert environment. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $15.

French-American Foundation Translation Prizes: Two prizes of $10,000 each are given annually for translations from French into English of a book of fiction and a book of nonfiction (including creative nonfiction) published during the previous year. A jury of translators and literary professionals will judge. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: none.

New American Press Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,500, publication by New American Press, and 25 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Quan Barry will judge. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $20.

North Carolina Writers’ Network Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition: A prize of $1,000 is given annually for an essay “that is outside the realm of conventional journalism and has relevance to North Carolinians.” The winning essay will also be considered for publication in Ecotone. Destiny O. Birdsong will judge. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $12 ($10 for NCWN members).

Poetry Society of Virginia North American Book Award: A prize of $1,000 will be given annually for a book of poetry published during the previous year. The winner will be invited to read at the spring festival of Poetry Society of Virginia in May 2021. Self-published books and books that have previously received any other awards are ineligible. Luisa Igloria will judge. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $35 ($25 for Poetry Society of Virginia members).

University of Texas Dobie Paisano Fellowships: Two residencies, cosponsored by the Texas Institute of Letters, at a rural retreat west of Austin are given annually to writers who are native Texans, who have lived in Texas for at least three years, or who have published significant work with a Texas subject. The six-month Jesse H. Jones Writing Fellowship is given to a writer in any stage of their career and includes a grant of $18,000. The four-month Ralph A. Johnston Memorial Fellowship is given to a writer who has demonstrated “publishing and critical success” and includes a grant of $24,000. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $20 ($30 to enter both competitions).

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.

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

Consider setting aside time this holiday season to submit to the last writing contests of the year. With deadlines of either December 30 or December 31, these awards, all of which offer a cash prize of at least $500, include opportunities for both manuscripts and published works. Plus, six of the contests require no entry fee. 

Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Awards: Four prizes of $500 each are given annually for a poetry collection, a first novel, a book of fiction, and a book of nonfiction (including creative nonfiction) by African American writers published in the United States in the previous year. The awards honor books that depict the “cultural, historical, and sociopolitical aspects of the Black Diaspora.” Publishers may nominate books published in 2020. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: none.

Boulevard Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers: A prize of $1,500 and publication in Boulevard is given annually for a short story by a writer who has not published a nationally distributed book. The editors will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: $16 (includes subscription).

Cleveland Foundation Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards: Three to four prizes of $10,000 each are given annually for a poetry collection, a book of fiction, and a book of nonfiction (including creative nonfiction) published during the previous year that “contribute to our understanding of racism and appreciation of cultural diversity.” Rita Dove, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Joyce Carol Oates, Steven Pinker, and Simon Schama will judge. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: none.

Codhill Press Poetry Award: A prize of $1,000, publication by Codhill Press, and 25 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. James Sherwood will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: December 30. Entry fee: $30.

Crosswinds Poetry Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Crosswinds is given annually for a single poem. Margaret Gibson will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: $20.

Florida Review Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Florida Review is given annually for a chapbook of short fiction, short nonfiction, or graphic narrative. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: $25.

Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry Griffin Poetry Prize: Two prizes of $65,000 CAD (approximately $50,824) each are given annually for poetry collections published during the previous year by a Canadian poet or translator and by an international poet or translator. Finalists in each category receive $10,000 CAD (approximately $7,820) for their participation in the Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist Readings held in Toronto. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: none.

Kallisto Gaia Press Acacia Fiction Prize: A prize of $1,200 and publication by Kallisto Gaia Press is given annually for a collection of short works of fiction. Richard Z. Santos will judge. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: $25 (includes a copy of the winning collection). 

Kallisto Gaia Press Saguaro Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,200 and publication by Kallisto Gaia Press is given annually for a poetry chapbook. ire’ne lara silva will judge. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: $25 (includes a copy of the winning collection).

Lascaux Review Prize in Short Fiction: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Lascaux Review is given annually for a short story. Previously published and unpublished stories are eligible. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: $15.

LitMag Virginia Woolf Award for Short Fiction: A prize of $2,500 and publication in LitMag is given annually for a short story. The winner will have their work reviewed by agents from Bankoff Collaborative, the Bent Agency, Brandt & Hochman, Folio Literary Management, InkWell Management, Sobel Weber Associates, and Triangle House Literary. The editors will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: $20.

Moth Poetry Prize: A prize of €6,000 (approximately $7,342) and publication in the Moth is given annually for a single poem. Three runner-up prizes of €1,000 (approximately $1,224) each are also given. The four shortlisted poets, including the winner, will also be invited to read at an awards ceremony at the Poetry Ireland festival in Dublin in spring 2021. Nick Laird will judge. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: €15 (approximately $18) per poem. 

Poetry Society of America Alice Fay di Castagnola Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication on the Poetry Society of America website will be given annually for a group of poems from a manuscript-in-progress. Elisa Gabbert will judge. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: $15.

Poetry Society of America Four Quartets Prize: A prize of $20,000 is given annually for a unified and complete sequence of poems published in the United States. in a print or online journal, a chapbook, or a book. Three finalists, including the winner, will receive $1,000 each. Carolyn Forché, Donika Kelly, and Arthur Sze will judge. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: none.

Poetry Society of America Robert H. Winner Memorial Award: A prize of $2,500 and publication on the Poetry Society of America website is given annually to a poet over 40 who has published no more than one book. Heid E. Erdrich will judge. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: $15.

Press 53 Award for Short Fiction: A prize of $1,000, publication by Press 53, and 50 author copies is given annually for a story collection. Kevin Morgan Watson will judge. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: $30. 

River Styx Micro-Fiction Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in River Styx is given annually for a short short story. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: $15 (includes a copy of the prize issue) or $20 (includes subscription).

Tupelo Press Dorset Prize: A prize of $3,000 and publication by Tupelo Press is given annually for a poetry collection. The winner also receives a weeklong residency at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Tyehimba Jess will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: December 31. Entry fee: $30.

Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award: A prize of at least $3,000 is given annually for a first novel published during the previous year. The winner and two additional guest panelists (usually the winner’s agent and editor) will also receive lodging and travel expenses to attend the First Novelist Award Night at Virginia Commonwealth University in fall 2021. Deadline: December 30. 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.

Deadline Approaches for Kresge Artist Fellowships

Applications are open for the 2021 Kresge Artist Fellowships, which offer $25,000 no-strings-attached grants and professional development to Detroit artists. Administered by Kresge Arts in Detroit, the fellowship program is open to artists in different disciplines each year; this cycle, Kresge will award ten fellowships to artists working in the literary arts, and ten to artists working in the visual arts. Literary arts may include arts criticism, creative nonfiction, graphic novels, poetry, spoken word, zines, or interdisciplinary work. Across disciplines, the fellowship program seeks to “recognize creative vision and commitment to excellence” and is available to emerging and established artists alike. Within the fellowship application, artists are invited to indicate if they would also like to be considered for the Gilda Awards—$5,000 no-strings-attached grants specifically designated for emerging artists—if they are not selected as fellows.

Using only the online submission system, complete a series of questionnaires and statements about your practice, biography, and community impact, and submit this information along with a resume and three to eight work samples by January 14. Residents of Michigan’s Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties are eligible. There is no entry fee. Work samples may be text, audio, or video files. An anonymous panel of both national and local artists and art professionals will judge. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Funded by the Kresge Foundation and administered by the College for Creative Studies, Kresge Arts in Detroit seeks to strengthen and celebrate the artistic communities in metropolitan Detroit. In addition to the Kresge Artists Fellowships and Gilda Awards, the organization also selects a single artist each year for the $50,000 Kresge Eminent Artist Award. Over the past twelve years, Kresge has dispensed over $6 million in funding to local artists.

Disquiet Prize Accepting Submissions

Submissions are now open for the 2021 Disquiet Prize. Sponsored by the Disquiet International Literary Program, an annual writers workshop held in Lisbon, the prize awards three fellowships for tuition to writers working in the genres of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction; a grand prize winner will additionally receive a travel stipend and housing in Lisbon for the duration of the workshop. In the event that public health conditions prohibit the conference from being held in 2021, winners will be offered the option to defer their fellowships to a future year or to accept an alternative cash prize of $1,000. All three fellows will also receive publication. The winning poet’s work will appear in the Common, and the work of the winning fiction writer and nonfiction writer will be published on the Granta and Ninth Letter websites respectively.

Submit up to six poems, totaling up 10 pages, or one story, novel excerpt, or essay of up to 25 pages with a $15 entry fee by January 15. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Established in 2010, the Disquiet International Literary Program “aims to deepen mutual understanding among writers from North America and writers from Portugal” and takes its name from Lisbon poet Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet. A decision about whether or not the conference will proceed in 2021 will be announced on the workshop’s website in February.

Kallisto Gaia Press Prizes in Poetry and Fiction Open for Submissions

The deadline is approaching for two prizes administered by Kallisto Gaia Press. Given for a poetry chapbook and a collection of short fiction, the Saguaro Poetry Prize and the Acacia Fiction Prize each offer an award of $1,200 and publication. Winners will also receive 20 copies of their chapbook or book, as well as up to 20 galleys to be sent to reviewers and award sponsors of their choosing.

Using only the online submission system, submit a manuscript for either contest with a $25 entry fee by December 31. Poetry manuscripts must be 28 to 48 pages. Fiction manuscripts may be any combination of short stories, flash fiction, or novellas, and must be 40,000 to 75,000 words. ire’ne lara silva will judge in poetry and Richard Z. Santos will judge in fiction. All submitting writers will receive a copy of the winning book or chapbook of their respective contest. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Kallisto Gaia Press is a literary arts nonprofit seeking “to promote finely crafted writing with an expressive and meaningful voice.” In addition to publishing books, the press is also home to two literary journals, the Ocotillo Review and the Texas Poetry Calendar.

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

Dreaming of a post-pandemic future? Consider submitting to one of the following contests, which include opportunities to travel—public health conditions permitting—to Ireland and Texas. All close on November 30 and offer a cash prize of $1,000 or more.

Beloit Poetry Journal Chad Walsh Chapbook Series: A prize of $2,500, publication by Beloit Poetry Journal, and 50 author copies is given annually for a poetry chapbook. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $20.

BOA Editions A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by BOA Editions is given annually for a first book of poetry by a U.S. resident. Aimee Nezhukumatathil will judge. Entry fee: $25.

Fish Publishing Fish Short Story Prize: A prize of €3,000 (approximately $3,939) and publication in the annual Fish Publishing anthology is given annually for a short story. The winner will also be invited to attend a five-day short story workshop and read at the West Cork Literary Festival in West Cork, Ireland, in July 2021. Emily Ruskovich will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Entry fee: €20 (approximately $26) for online submissions or €22 (approximately $29) for submissions by mail.

LitMag Anton Chekov Award for Flash Fiction: A prize of $1,250 and publication in LitMag will be given annually for a piece of flash fiction. The winner will also have their work reviewed by agents from the Bent Agency, Brandt & Hochman, Folio Literary Management, InkWell Management, Sobel Weber Associates, and Triangle House Literary. The editors will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Entry fee: $16.

Munster Literature Center Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize: A prize of €2,000 (approximately $2,378), publication in Southword, and a weeklong residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland, is given annually for a single poem. Peter Sirr will judge. Entry fee: €7 (approximately $8) for one poem or €30 (approximately $35) for five poems.

Narrative Fall Story Contest: A prize of $2,500 and publication in Narrative is given annually for a short story, a short short story, an essay, or an excerpt from a longer work of prose. A second-place prize of $1,000 and publication in Narrative is also awarded. The editors will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Entry fee: $27.

Quarter After Eight Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest: A prize of $1,008.15 and publication in Quarter After Eight is given annually for a prose poem, a short short story, or a micro-essay. Dinty W. Moore will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Entry fee: $15.

University of North Texas Rilke Prize: A prize of $10,000 is given annually for a poetry collection published in the previous year by a mid-career poet. Public health conditions permitting, the winner will also receive airfare and lodging to give a reading at the University of North Texas in April 2021. U.S. poets who have previously published at least two poetry collections are eligible. The poetry faculty of the University of North Texas will judge. Entry fee: none.

White Pine Press Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by White Pine Press is given annually for a poetry collection by a U.S. citizen. Entry fee: $20.

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.

Deadline Approaches for the Vern Rutsala Book Prize

Cloudbank Books is accepting submissions for its annual Vern Rutsala Book Prize. Given for a collection of poetry or flash fiction—or a collection that comprises work in both genres—the award offers a cash prize of $1,000. The winning manuscript will also be published by Cloudbank Books.

Submit a manuscript of 60 to 90 pages with a $25 entry fee by November 10. Satirist, critic, and novelist Christopher Buckley will judge. Both online submissions and postal submissions are accepted. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Since its launch in 2000, Cloudbank Books has published volumes of poetry across “a wide range of styles, approaches, forms, and aesthetics.” The most recent recipient of the Vern Rutsala Book Prize is Jane Craven, whose winning collection, My Bright Last Country, was published in January 2020.

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