Archive April 2021

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

Whether you are polishing a short piece or developing a full-length manuscript, there are several exciting writing contests accepting submissions into early May. These contests include financial support and a residency opportunity for a nonfiction writer working on a manuscript about the desert. All offer a cash prize of $1,000 or more and close on May 1, May 3, or May 5.

Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Atlanta Review is given annually for a single poem. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: May 1. Entry fee: $15.

Australian Book Review Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize: A prize of AUD $6,000 (approximately $4,681) is given annually for a story. A second-place prize of AUD $4,000 (approximately $3,121) and a third-place prize of AUD $2,500 (approximately $1,951) are also given. The winners will all be published in Australian Book Review. Gregory Day, Melinda Harvey, and Elizabeth Tan will judge. Deadline: May 3. Entry fee: AUD $25 (approximately $20).

Bristol Short Story Prize: A prize of £1,000 (approximately $1,390) and publication in Volume 14 of the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology is given annually for a short story. Irene Baldoni, Tom Robinson, and Mahsuda Snaith will judge. Deadline: May 5. Entry fee: £9 (approximately $13).

Georgia Review Loraine Williams Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,500 and publication in Georgia Review is given annually for a single poem. Arthur Sze will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: May 1. Entry fee: $15 entry fee (no fee for current subscribers).

High Desert Museum Waterston Desert Writing Prize: A prize of $2,500 and a two-week residency at the PLAYA artists and scientists’ retreat in Summer Lake, Oregon, is given annually for a nonfiction work-in-progress that “recognizes the vital role deserts play worldwide in the ecosystem and the human narrative, with the desert as both subject and setting.” The winner will also be provided with travel and lodging to attend a reception and awards ceremony at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon, in September. Deadline: May 1. Entry fee: none.

Leapfrog Press Fiction Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Leapfrog Press is given annually for a short story collection, novel, or novella. Ann Hood will judge. Deadline: May 3. Entry fee: $35.

University of Nebraska Press Backwaters Prize: A prize of $2,000, publication by University of Nebraska Press, and 20 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. An honorable mention prize of $1,000 and publication by University of Nebraska Press will also be given. Huascar Medina will judge. Deadline: May 1. Entry fee: $30.

Wick Poetry Center Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize: A prize of $2,500 and publication by Kent State University Press is given annually for a debut poetry collection. The winner is also invited to teach a weeklong writing workshop at Kent State University and give a reading with the judge. Tracy K. Smith will judge. Deadline: May 1. Entry fee: $30.

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.

BOMB Fiction Contest Open for Submissions

Submissions are open for the biennial BOMB Fiction Contest. The winning writer will receive a prize of $1,000 and publication in BOMB. Novelist Ottessa Moshfegh, the author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation and Death in Her Hands, will judge.

Using only the online submission system, submit a short story of up to 5,000 words and a cover letter with an entry fee of $25 by May 3. For writers in the United States, the entry fee includes a one-year subscription to BOMB. The winner will be revealed on July 31. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Founded in 1981, BOMB is a multimedia publishing house that spotlights artists and artwork in various disciplines, including literature, film, and visual art. In addition to publishing a print quarterly—which features interviews, portfolios, as well as essays, fiction, and poetry—BOMB maintains a regular online publication. BOMB also hosts one literary contest each year, alternating between poetry and fiction. The winner of the most recent fiction contest was Alexandra Gauss for her story “Sanssouci.”

Deadline Approaches for the Backwaters Prize in Poetry

The Backwaters Prize in Poetry is accepting submissions. Established in 1998, the prize is awarded for a book-length poetry manuscript. The winning writer will receive $2,000, publication by the Backwaters Press, and 20 author copies. An honorable mention prize of $1,000 and publication by the Backwaters Press will also be given.

Using only the online submission system, submit a manuscript of 60 to 85 pages with a $30 entry fee by May 1. Huascar Medina will judge. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Founded in 1997, the Backwaters Press was acquired by the University of Nebraska Press (UNP) in 2018. Operating as a distinct imprint within UNP, Backwaters seeks to “plant its roots firmly in the Great Plains, delighting readers with literature of enduring value and consequence.” The winner of the 2020 prize was Nathaniel Perry for Long Rules: An Essay in Verse, which is forthcoming in November.

Cave Canem Poetry Prize Accepting Submissions

The deadline is approaching for the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Founded in 1999 to help discover “exceptional manuscripts by Black poets of African descent,” the prize celebrates a debut book of poetry by a Black writer. The winning writer will receive $1,000, a critique session with the prize judge, publication by Graywolf Press, fifteen author copies, and a reading event.

Using only the online submission system, submit a cover letter and a manuscript of 48 to 75 pages by April 30. Only writers who have not published a full-length book of poetry are eligible. Writers who have published chapbooks or who self-published books with limited print runs are eligible. Rachel Eliza Griffiths will judge. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The Cave Canem Foundation was established in 1996 with the ambition to “remedy the under-representation and isolation of African American poets in the literary landscape.” Cave Canem’s many programs include an annual writing retreat and numerous community-based workshops. The winner of the 2020 Cave Canem Poetry Prize was Aurielle Marie, whose book, Gumbo Ya Ya, is forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press in fall 2021.