Creative Writing Contests & Competitions


Winning a writing contest can bring you recognition and help get your work noticed by agents and editors. Our Writing Contests, Grants & Awards database offers a year’s worth of listings from Poets & Writers Magazine, and connects poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers with the most comprehensive selection of contests that provide publication and/or funding for writers.

We also offer a Submission Calendar that includes writing contests arranged by deadline date, as well as Recent Winners, a section from the magazine that features newly announced contest winners. You can stay informed with G&A: The Contest Blog, featuring reports from the world of writing contests, including news of extended deadlines, recent winners of notable awards, new contest announcements, interviews with winners, and more.

We carefully review the practices and policies of each writing competition and awards program before including it in our listings, both in print and online, ensuring that Poets & Writers is the most trusted resource for legitimate grants and awards for writers.

Use our Submissions Tracker to easily keep track of which contests you’ve submitted to, the amount of money you’ve spent on fees, the status of your submissions, and how much time has passed since you submitted your work—all in one place.

Other Resources

PEN America offers a list of grants, awards, fellowships and residencies on its website. Also, contact your state or local arts council to learn about grants for writers available in your area.

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First Book Contest Sponsored by FDU MFA & Serving House Books

First Book Contest
Deadline April 1, 2011

Sponsored by the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Serving House Books
We’re looking for exceptional prose and poetry from writers who have not yet published full length books. There’s NO ENTRY FEE, but there are some rules and regs. Please read carefully.
* Prose entries may be novels, story collections, or works of creative nonfiction. They should be between 40,000 and 75,000 words.
* Poetry entries may be a collection of poems or a single long poem. They should be between 50 and 100 pages.
* There is no entry fee.
* Winners in each category will be invited to the FDU Madison campus for one week as a visiting writer to participate in the BA in Creative Writing program. They also will give a public reading in New York City and receive 20 copies of the published book of their work.
*All entries must be submitted in digital format as a Microsoft Word doc or docx or as an rtf file at:


* Entries must be received by midnight April 1, 2011 and winners will be announced on June 1, 2011.
* The winning entries will be selected by faculty members of the MFA in Creative Writing Program.
And here are the caveats and disclaimers in the usual small print.
* Current and former students, graduates, employees and faculty of Fairleigh Dickinson University may not participate.
* If a winner is not a resident of the United States or Canada, an alternative to the campus visit and New York reading will be determined.
* Work previously published in magazines, journals, or similar print or web outlets may be part of the entry manuscript with an indication of the publication source.
* Authors of the winning entries are responsible for obtaining all appropriate permissions and releases.
* The books selected will be copyrighted in the name of the authors.
* The sponsors reserve the right not to select a winner in either category if a suitable entry cannot be found.
* Serving House Books is a publication-on-demand publisher with all of its books available through and through major distributors. Certain works are also available on Kindle, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble in consultation with the author.

America's Next Author

America's Next Author - Social Short Story Writing Contest

Join online at

Deadlines: The first deadline is October 9, 2012. Stories can be entered until November 27, 2012, but entering sooner provides more chances at nomination.

Entry fee: FREE!

About America's Next Author

America's Next Author is the first real social writing contest. Winners will be chosen based on a unique combination of votes from readers and publishing industry experts.

Having a well-written, engaging story is a must, but in this contest, authors will improve their chances of winning by getting their friends and family to vote for their story. Don't yet have a huge online fan base? Our judges will be watching for writing talent and choosing four wild card nominees that will be sent straight to the final rounds of competition.

Transparent and Interactive Experience

America's Next Author is not a standard short story writing contest! In most writing contests, authors are left in the dark. They don't know what other people submitted, and after months of not hearing a word they never find out why they didn't win. We decided to change all that and created a writing contest that is a transparent and socially interactive experience. Instead of being boring and frustrating, America's Next Author is fun and exciting.

Each contestant will get an Author Page, which will display their author photo, bio, and the full text of the author's story. This means that all of the contestants can read each other's work and each author can use their page as a platform to build an online following and gain worldwide exposure.

Competition Rounds

The competition will have eight nomination rounds. Stories will be ranked daily based on votes and activity on social media. Each week, the top-ranking author will be nominated for the final round. Even if a story isn't nominated, it will still be in the running for nomination during the next week. Authors can join during any week in the competition, but it's best to join as early as possible for more chances at being nominated.

After eight weeks there will be eight nominees, and our panel of judges will also choose four wild card authors. In the next round, these twelve authors will need to get as many votes as possible for the opportunity to advance to the finals.

Only three stories will be selected for the final round, and the authors of these stories will compete head-to-head during two special writing assignments. These authors will battle against each other in a brief but intense bout of writing competition for the Grand Prize of $5000, worldwide press coverage, and the chance to be published.


Grand Prize: $5,000 USD and support in getting published
First Prize: $500 USD
Second Prize: $500 USD


Short story of 2500-5000 words in English
All fiction genres are accepted
Poetry not accepted
Contestants must be 18 or older
Contestants may reside in any country
Stories must be original
Read the full official rules at

Enter your story today at

Bryant-Lisembee Book Prize

Red Paint Hill Publishing
2015 Bryant-Lisembee Book Prize

Winner receives

2016 print publication
20 author copies

Opens July 1, 2015
Closes July 31, 2015

Winner will be announced: October 2015
Judge: Jennifer Givhan


You must identify as female. #readwomen

Your name should not appear anywhere in or on your manuscript. Please send your bio and contact info in the body of your email.

Full length manuscripts (50+ pages) should be sent as a PDF to, please include CONTEST in the subject line.

We will only accept electronic submissions.

Poems may be previously published.

Simultaneous submissions are OK.

Red Paint Hill Bryant-Lisembee Book Prize $20 Reading Fee

Creative writing Opportunity


At CWC we have over 100 writers involved in two projects that have already begun. Our objective is to produce a full length collaborative fiction novel in 8 months. 

All writers are allotted chapters to work on, each chapter has 3 writers, and the best fit is chosen. That a 1 in 3 chance of becoming part of a published novel. It's very exciting indeed, and it's lots of fun! Our first collaboration; The Concierge has now been published and is getting great reviews!

We have just announced the start date of project 4, which will be in the Fantasy Genre. It is totally free to participate, and CWC promote and encourage all our writers through online bio's, author spotlight, and our soon to be added page: books by CWC authors. 

Check out our website and what we are all about! (We're also running a Kickstarter campaign, details are on the website - any help with this would be incredible!)