G&A: The Contest Blog

The X. J. Kennedy Prize Open for Submissions

Submissions are open for this year’s X. J. Kennedy Prize. Given for a full-length poetry collection, the prize includes publication with Texas Review Press, a $10,000 advance, a standard royalty contract, and twenty author copies. Poets at any stage of their career are eligible to submit and the prize is not limited to a particular style or form of poetry.

Using only the online submission system, submit a manuscript of 50 to 100 pages with a $28 entry fee by September 30. Kazim Ali will judge. The winner will be revealed in December. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The X. J. Kennedy prize was first awarded in 1998 and the most recent winner was Brooke Sahni for her debut collection, Before I Had the Word. The prize’s namesake, X. J. Kennedy, has been widely celebrated for his poetry and books for young readers. Kennedy earned the Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers in 2015 and the Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America in 2009. In his citation for the Jackson Prize, the judges praised Kennedy for delivering “wit, savagery, and compassion” in his work. In admiration of his characteristic brevity, they added, “The size of his poems is small but their scope is vast.”

Off the Grid Poetry Prize Accepting Submissions

The deadline is approaching for the eleventh annual Off the Grid Poetry Prize. Given for a poetry collection by a writer over the age of 60, the award includes $1,000 and publication by Off the Grid Press, an imprint of Grid Books. The prize aims to reward writers “ripened in craft and vision.”

Using only the online submission system, submit a manuscript of at least 50 pages with a $25 entry fee by August 31. Jimmy Santiago Baca will judge. The winner will be announced by the end of the year. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Poets Tam Lin Neville and Bert Stern founded Off the Grid Press in 2003 with the goal to “provide a forum for older poets who are sometimes overlooked by the current marketplace.” The press later rebranded as Grid Brooks while preserving Off the Grid Press as an imprint. While the Off the Grid Poetry Prize remains reserved for older writers, Grid Books is open to writers of all ages and champions “creative work that springs from the margins.” In addition to poetry, the press also seeks to publish scholarly editions and oral history projects.

 

Upcoming Contest Deadlines


Leave the dog days of summer behind and reinvigorate your writing practice by submitting to one of the following fourteen contests, which close on August 30 or August 31. These contests include opportunities for writers at all stages of their careers; one contest is reserved for poets over the age of 60. All offer a cash prize of $1,000 or more.

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award: Two prizes of £2,500 (approximately $3,434) each and publication in 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 Vintage Books. Oz Hardwick will judge in poetry and Katy Guest will judge in fiction. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: £12 (approximately $16) for one poem and £18 (approximately $25) for one short story.

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 10 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Kathleen Flenniken 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: $7.

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. Jimmy Santiago Baca will judge. Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: $25.

Gulf Coast Barthelme Prize for Short Prose: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gulf Coast is given annually for a short work of prose. Molly McCully Brown will judge. Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: $20 (includes subscription).

Gulf Coast Prize in Translation: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gulf Coast is given in alternating years for a group of poems or a prose excerpt translated from any language into English. The 2021 prize will be given for prose. Sophie Hughes will judge. Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: $10 (include half-year subscription) or $20 (includes full-year subscription).

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 an emerging writer. Writers who have not published a book are eligible, as are writers who have published a book with a circulation of less than 5,000. The winning story will also be sent to literary agents from the Bent Agency, Carnicelli Literary Management, Compass Talent, Fletcher & Company, Sobel Weber, and Writers House for review. Kristen Arnett will judge. Deadline: August 30. Entry fee: $20.

Munster Literature Center Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition: A prize of €1,000 (approximately $1,191) 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 2022. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: €25 (approximately $30)

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. John Yau 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 will also be featured in a Bardic Trails reading online. Donald Levering will judge. Deadline: August 31. Entry fee: $10 for a poem of up to three pages (add an additional $10 for postal submissions).

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

Utica College Eugene Paul 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 2022. 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.

Deadline Approaches for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

Submissions are open for the 2021 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Established by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the prize offers $15,000 for a work of fiction by an emerging African American author in order to “support and enable the writer to focus on writing.” Travel expenses will be covered for an award ceremony in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on January 27, 2022. During the week of the ceremony, the winning writer is also asked to lead local students in writing workshops meant to inspire their creativity and interest in the arts.

Mail a completed registration form and eight copies of a published novel or short story collection (or galleys) to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation by August 15. Entries must be received by the deadline in order to be considered. Writers must be African American U.S. citizens and “not yet widely recognized for their work.” Only books published or scheduled for publication in 2021 are eligible. 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 and the mailing address.

Named in honor of the celebrated Louisiana author Ernest J. Gaines, who died in 2019, the prize was conceived “to inspire and recognize rising African American writers of excellence as they work to achieve the literary heights for which Ernest J. Gaines is known.” Gabriel Bump earned the 2020 prize for his debut novel, Everywhere You Don’t Belong.

Dogfish Head Poetry Prize Open for Submissions

The deadline is approaching for the nineteenth annual Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, given for a book-length manuscript by a poet living in Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., or West Virginia. Perfect for beer lovers, the award includes $500, publication by Broadkill River Press, 10 author copies, and two cases of Dogfish Head craft beer. The winner is expected to attend a reading and awards ceremony at the Dogfish Inn in Lewes, Delaware, on December 11. Lodging for a two-night stay at the inn is provided, but travel expenses are not included.

Submit a manuscript of 48 to 78 pages to dogfishheadpoetryprize@earthlink.net by August 15. Only writers over the age of 21 are eligible. Hayden Saunier will judge. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The most recent recipient of the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize was Susan Rothbard, whose winning manuscript, Birds of New Jersey, was praised by Edgar Kunz, the final judge, as a “sometimes shocking, often bemused, and always insightful collection.”

Upcoming Contest Deadlines


As the Olympics kick off, seek out some worthy competition of your own. Opportunities abound for poets, fiction writers, and nonfictions writers in these nine contests with deadlines of July 31. All award a cash prize of $1,000 or more and many award publication. Good luck, writers!

Howling Bird Press Book Contest—A prize of $2,500 and publication by Howling Bird Press is given in alternating years for a book of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. The 2022 prize will be awarded in fiction. Novels, novellas, and story collections are eligible. Entry fee: $25.

Mudfish Poetry Prize—A prize of $1,200 and publication in Mudfish is given annually for a single poem. Marie Howe will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Entry fee: $20 ($3 for each additional poem).

Munster Literature Center Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition— A prize of €2,000 (approximately $2,382) 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 in West Cork and accommodation at the Cork International Short Story Festival. Simon Van Booy will judge. Entry fee: €18 (approximately $21).

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, 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. Entry fee: $27.

New Millennium Writings Writing 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. Entry fee: $20.

Prairie Heritage, Inc. Jan Garton Prairie Heritage Book Award—A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a published book of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction that “illuminates the heritage of North America’s mid-continental prairies.” Authors, publishers, and the general public may submit two copies of a book published between 2017 and 2020. 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. Entry fee: $30.

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, printed by Felicia Rice at Moving Parts Press. Mark Doty will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Entry fee: $15.

Sewanee Review Fiction, Poetry, and Nonfiction Contest—Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Sewanee Review are given annually for a group of poems, a short story, and an essay. Paisley Rekdal will judge in poetry, Brandon Taylor will judge in fiction, and Stephanie Danler will judge in nonfiction. Entry fee: $30 entry fee (includes a subscription to Sewanee Review). 

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.

Jan Garton Prairie Heritage Book Award Accepting Submissions

Submissions are open for the Jan Garton Prairie Heritage Award. Sponsored by the nonprofit organization Prairie Heritage, Inc., the annual award honors a book in any genre “that illuminates the heritage of North America’s mid-continental prairies.” The organization particularly looks to celebrate books that center non-European experiences of life in the region, as well as those that consider how “denizens of the prairie, human and non-human, have lived or can live together without the destruction and exterminations that have characterized the past.” The winner will receive $1,000.

Authors, publishers, and the general public may nominate books for the award. Submit two copies of a book published between 2017 and 2020 by mail by July 31. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The mission of Prairie Heritage, Inc., is to “preserve the tallgrass prairie and its heritage,” with a particular concern for sharing the stories of the region’s Black settlers. The organization is based in Junction City, Kansas. The 2020 winner of its book award is Phong Nguyen, who received the honor for his novel The Adventures of Joe Harper (Outpost19, 2016).

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

The summer literary contest season is in full swing! With deadlines of July 15 or July 16, these opportunities include multiple contests for single poems and a set of prizes for work concerned with health and illness. 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 for a group of poems, a story, and an essay about health, healing, illness, the body, and the mind. Crystal Valentine will judge in poetry, Amy Hempel will judge in fiction, and Michele Harper 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 Cincinnati Review are given annually for a poem, a short story, and an essay. Rebecca Lindenberg will judge in poetry, Michael Griffith will judge in fiction, and Kristen Iversen will judge in nonfiction. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: July 15. Entry fee: $20 (includes subscription).

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

Futurepoem Other Futures Award: A prize of $1,000, publication by Futurepoem, and 25 author copies is given annually for a book of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or hybrid-genre work. The editors will judge. Deadline: July 15. Entry fee: $28.

Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition: A prize of £1,000 (approximately $1,318) and publication on the Ledbury Poetry Festival website is given annually for a single poem. The winner is also invited to read at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in Ledbury, England, in July 2022; travel expenses are not included. Anthony Anaxagorou will judge. Deadline: July 15. Entry fee: £5.75 for one poem (approximately $6), and £3.50 (approximately $4) for each additional poem.

Narrative Poetry Contest: A prize of $1,500 and publication in Narrative is given annually for a poem or group of poems. The poetry editors will judge. Deadline: July 16. Entry fee: $25 (includes three months of access to Narrative Backstage).

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 is 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 Spotlight Award winner; three independent judges will choose the Story Prize winner. The deadline for books published between January 1 and June 30 is July 15. The deadline for books published during the second half of the year is November 15. Entry fee: $75.

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. Lauren Camp will judge. Deadline: July 15. Entry fee: $25 (fee waivers available).

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

The final contests of the month of June feature a wealth of opportunities for poets and fiction writers to win book or chapbook publication. Other awards include a position as a writer-in-residence at Bard College and a retreat in Missé, France. All of these contests offer a prize of $1,000 or more and have a deadline of June 30. Good luck, writers!

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. Entry fee: none.

Barrow Street Press Book Prize—A prize of $1,500 and publication by Barrow Street Press is given annually for a poetry collection. A. Van Jordan will judge. Entry fee: $25 ($28 for electronic submissions).

Bauhan Publishing May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize—A prize of $1,000, publication by Bauhan Publishing, and 50 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Meg Kearney will judge. Entry fee: $30.

Cider Press Review Editors’ Prize Book Award—A prize of $1,000, publication by Cider Press Review, and 25 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $26.

Finishing Line Press New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition—A prize of $1,500 and publication by Finishing Line Press is given annually for a poetry chapbook by a writer who identifies as a woman and has not yet published a full-length collection. Leah Huete de Maines will judge. Entry fee: $15. 

Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry Griffin Poetry Prize—Two prizes of CAD $65,000 (approximately $51,078) each are given annually for poetry collections by a Canadian poet or translator and by an international poet or translator published during the previous year. Finalists receive CAD $10,000 (approximately $7,860) each for their participation in the shortlisted authors event to be held in Toronto. Ilya Kaminsky, Aleš Šteger, and Souvankham Thammavongsa will judge. Publishers make all submissions for the contest. The deadline for books published between January 1 and June 30 is June 30. The deadline for books published during the second half of the year is December 31. Entry fee: none.

Hidden River Arts William Van Wert Memorial Fiction Award—A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a short story or a novel excerpt. Entry fee: $17.

Lascaux Review Prize in Flash Fiction—A prize of $1,000 and publication in Lascaux Review online and in print is given annually for a work of flash fiction. Previously published stories are eligible. Entry fee: $15.

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. Francesca Bell will judge in poetry, Reema Rajbanshi will judge in fiction, Lara Ehrlich will judge in flash fiction, and Beth Gilstrap will judge in creative nonfiction. Entry fee: $20.

The Moth International Short Story Prize—A prize of €3,000 (approximately $3,623) is given annually for a short story. A prize of a weeklong retreat at Circle of Missé in Missé, France, with a €250 (approximately $301) travel stipend, and a prize of €1,000 (approximately $1,208) are also given. Entry fee: €15 (approximately $18). 

New American Press Fiction Prize—A prize of $1,500, publication by New American Press, and 25 author copies is given annually for a book of fiction. Kristen Arnett will judge. Entry fee: $25.

Nowhere Magazine Travel Writing Contest—A prize of $1,000 and publication in Nowhere Magazine is given twice yearly for a poem, a short story, or an essay that “possesses a powerful sense of people, place, and time.” Unpublished and published pieces that have not previously been chosen as a contest winner are eligible. Porter Fox will judge. Entry fee: $20.

Omnidawn Publishing Poetry Chapbook Prize—A prize of $1,000, publication by Omnidawn Publishing, and 100 author copies is given annually for a poetry chapbook. Rae Armantrout will judge. Entry fee: $18. 


Twyckenham Notes Joe Bolton Poetry Award—A prize of $1,000 and publication in Twyckenham Notes will be given annually for a poem or group of poems. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $20.

University of North Texas Press Katherine Anne Porter Prize—A prize of $1,000 and publication by University of North Texas Press is given annually for a collection of short fiction. Entry fee: $25.

University of Pittsburgh Press Drue Heinz Literature Prize—A prize of $15,000 and publication by University of Pittsburgh Press is given annually for a collection of short fiction. Writers who have published at least one previous book of fiction or a minimum of three short stories or novellas in nationally distributed magazines or literary journals are eligible. Entry fee: none.

Winning Writers North Street Book Prize—A grand prize of $5,000 and seven additional prizes of $1,000 each given annually for self-published books of poetry, fiction, genre fiction, creative nonfiction, children’s literature, graphic narrative, and art books. The winners will each also receive publication of an excerpt on the Winning Writers website; a marketing consultation with author and publishing consultant Carolyn Howard-Johnson; $300 in credit at BookBaby, a distributor for self-published authors; and free advertising in the Winning Writers e-mail newsletter. Ellen LaFleche and Jendi Reiter will judge. Entry fee: $65.

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 Letras Boricuas Fellowships

Submissions are open for the Letras Boricuas Fellowships. Cosponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Flamboyan Arts Fund, the fellowships aim to connect and support Puerto Rican writers. This year fifteen writers will each receive an unrestricted grant of $25,000. A second cohort of fifteen writers will be selected in 2022 and all thirty fellows will be invited to gather in San Juan in April 2023. Writers may be working in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or children’s literature. Applications may be in Spanish and/or English.

Using only the online submission system, submit a personal statement, an artist statement, information about past publication, a résumé, and a work sample of 10 poems or up to 20 pages of writing by June 20. Spoken-word poets should submit 3 audio files of up to 2 minutes each. There is no submission fee. Writers must self-identify as Puerto Rican and live in either Puerto Rico or the United States to be eligible. Writers must also have a history of publication in their genre. Visit the website for complete guidelines, including more details about eligibility. The first cohort of fifteen writers will be announced in fall 2021.

Housed at the Flamboyan Foundation, the Flamboyan Arts Fund was created in partnership with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton, his renown musical. The fund works to “preserve, amplify, and strengthen the arts in Puerto Rico” and has provided support to both organizations and individual artists. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, meanwhile, aims to “build just communities where ideas and imagination can thrive” and is a major benefactor of the arts and humanities in the United States.

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