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2019 Writing Contests: The Ultimate Guide

August 23, 2018 9 min read 0 Comments

Writing Contests

Finding the right writing contest for you can be a difficult and time-consuming process. I googled the term “writing contests” and got 126,000,000 results. For that reason, we compiled a comprehensive and up-to-date list of the best writing contests in 2019.

You’re here because you’re looking for credible writing contests that offer cash prizes and/or the ability to get your work in front of more people. Discover the best essay, poetry, novel, and short story writing competitions for fiction and non-fiction writers.

Disclaimer:The majority of the descriptions of each contest were taken directly from the most relevant contest website.

We did the leg work and we’ll continue to curate and update this list throughout the year. If you want to receive updates when we update this list, sign up for updates!

Submit your work to these competitions for a chance to win notoriety, rewards and of course, cash prizes.

Related: Struggling to get your piece finished before the competition deadline? UseSprinter, our online, distraction-free writing tool. Produce your best work by staying productive and creative.

Did we miss a writing competition? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting at us, @astrohaus.


20 Writing Contests in 2019

1. 2020 Tufts Poetry Awards

The Tufts poetry awards – based at Claremont Graduate University and given for poetry volumes published in the preceding year – are not only two of the most prestigious prizes a contemporary poet can receive, they also come with hefty purses: $100,000 for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and $10,000 for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. This makes the Kingsley Tufts award the world’s largest monetary prize for a single collection of poetry. And for most poets who have just published their first collection of verse, $10,000 should keep the pen scribbling.

Deadline:June 30, 2019 Fee: None Prize: $10,000 - $100,000 View Contest

2. The Platform Review Chapbook Contest

The Platform Review is currently accepting fiction, nonfiction, and poetry submissions for their chapbook contest. One winner in each genre (one poetry and one prose) will be selected for publication. The winning manuscripts will be determined in the summer and awarded with the fall publication of a beautifully designed, letterpress-printed, limited-edition chapbook-printed and bound by artists specifically chosen by the journal. The edition is limited to 100 signed and numbered copies, fifteen of which are reserved for the author to sell and the remainder of which will be sold by The Platform Review. After all books are sold the author will have the right to offer the manuscript as an eBook through The Platform Review's site.

      Deadline: March 31, 2019 Fee: $15 Prize: Publication & Limited Edition Chapbook View Contest

      3. Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

      In its 18th year, the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest seeks today’s best humor poets. All submissions must be less than 250 words. A cash prize of $1,000 and publication on the winning writers website is given annually to the poet with the most humorous poem.

      Deadline: April 1, 2019 Fee: None Prize: Up to $1,000 View Contest

      4. The Juniper Literary Prizes

      The Juniper Literary Prizes showcase distinctive and fresh voices and share their work with a wide array of readers. Every year, faculty-judges from the distinguished University of Massachusetts MFA program select two winners in poetry, two in fiction, and one in creative nonfiction, and the awardees each receive an honorarium of $1,000 and a publication contract with the University of Massachusetts Press.

      Deadline:September 30, 2019 Fee: $30 Prize: $1,000 View Contest

      5. 2019 EYELANDS 2nd International Flash Fiction Contest

      Inkitt is “the world’s first reader-powered book publisher.” Launched in mid-2016, Inkitt’s boutique publishing house has helped authors publish over 30 Amazon best sellers. Go check out their site to vote for others work or submit your own. Included in the publishing deal, the winner will get a dedicated marketing team, professional editing, cover art, and royalties.

      The theme of this years EYELANDS contest is Spring. Entries must be short stories, of any genre, maximum length is 500 words and must be previously unpublished in a book, printed magazine or web-based journal. Entries must be in English.  Learn more by following the link. 

      Deadline: March 20, 2019 Fee:$10 Prize: Week-long holiday at Three Rock Resort  View Contest

      6. 2019 African American Voices in Children’s Literature: Writing Contest

      Strive Publishing & Free Spirit Publishing are partnering to shine a spotlight on
      Minnesota’s African American authors in the first annual African American Voices
      in Children’s Literature Writing Contest.

      Eligible entries will include original fiction or nonfiction board books for ages 0–4 (50–125 words) and picture books for ages 4–8 (300–800 words) featuring contemporary African American characters and culture and focusing on one or more of the following topics: character development, self-esteem, diversity, getting along with others, engaging with family and community, or other topics related to positive childhood development.

      Deadline: June 30, 2019 Fee: None Prize: $1000 View Contest

      7. 2019 Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction

      The Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction was established in 2004 in memory of Liza Nelligan, a writer, editor, and friend of many in Colorado State University’s English Department, where she received her master’s degree in literature in 1992. By giving an award to the author of an outstanding short story each year, we hope to honor Nelligan’s life, her passion for writing, and her love of fiction.

      The Nelligan Prize is offered annually. The winner receives a $2,000 honorarium and the story is published in the fall/winter issue of Colorado Review.

      Deadline: March 14, 2019 Fee: $15 Prize: $2,000 View Contest

      8. SFC Literary Prize

      The biennial $50,000 Literary Prize is sponsored by St. Francis College to offer its support and encouragement to the literary community and mid-career authors who have recently published their 3rd to 5th work of fiction. 

      • Self-published books and English translations are considered.
      • The next Prize will be for work published between June 2017 and May 2019.

      Deadline: May 15, 2019 Fee: None Prize: $15,000 View Contest

      9. The Restless Books Prize For New Immigrant Writing

      The ethos of the modern world is defined by immigrants. Their stories have always been an essential component of our cultural consciousness, from Isaac Bashevis Singer to Isabel Allende, from Milan Kundera to Maxine Hong Kingston. In novels, short stories, memoirs, and works of journalism, immigrants have shown us what resilience and dedication we’re capable of, and have expanded our sense of what it means to be global citizens. In these times of intense xenophobia, it is more important than ever that these boundary-crossing stories reach the broadest possible audience.

      With that in mind, we are proud to present The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing. We are looking for extraordinary unpublished submissions from emerging writers of sharp, culture-straddling writing that addresses identity in a global age. Each year, a distinguished panel of judges will select a winning manuscript to be published by Restless Books. We can’t wait to read and share what the new voices of the world have to say.

      Deadline: March 31, 2019 Fee: None Prize: $10,000 View Contest

      10. Sarton Women's Book Awards

      The Sarton Women’s Book Awards are given annually to women authors writing chiefly about women in memoir, nonfiction, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, and young adult. The awards are limited to submissions originally written in English and published by small/independent publishers, university presses, and author-publishers (self-publishing authors). The award program is named in honor of May Sarton, who is remembered for her outstanding contributions to women's literature as a memoirist, novelist, and poet.

      Deadline: July 1, 2019 (Early Bird Entry) Fee: $90 (Early Bird Fee)  Prize: $100 + commemorative medallion and advertising considerations View Contest

      11. 6th Ó Bhéal Five Words International Poetry Competition

      The O Bheal Five Words Poetry Competition is one of the more unique competitions on this list. Instead of opening yearly or even quarterly, this contest is held weekly. Every Tuesday around noon (UTC), from the 16th of April 2019 until the 28th of January 2020, five words are posted on the competitions page. Entrants have one week to compose and submit one or more poems which include all five words given for that week. One winner is selected from all the weekly winners.

      Deadline: Weekly, through January 28, 2020 Fee: €5 Prize: €500 View Contest

      12. L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest

      Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest is an opportunity for new writers of science fiction and fantasy to have their work judged by some of the masters in the field and discovered by a wide audience.

      Deadline: March 31, 2019 Fee: None Prize: Up to $5,000 View Contest

      13. Writer's Digest Annual Writing Competition

      Writer’s Digest has been shining a spotlight on up and coming writers in all genres through its Annual Writing Competition for more than 80 years. Enter our 88th Annual Writing Competition for your chance to win and have your work be seen by editors and agents! Almost 500 winners will be chosen. The top winning entries of this writing contest will also be on display in the 88th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition Collection.

      Deadline: May 6, 2019 Fee: $25 Prize: $5,000 View Contest

      14. Drue Heinz Literature Award

      The Drue Heinz Literature Prize recognizes and supports writers of short fiction and makes their work available to readers around the world. The award is open to authors who have published a book-length collection of fiction or at least three short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or literary journals.

      Manuscripts are judged anonymously by nationally known writers. Past judges have included Robert Penn Warren, Joyce Carol Oates, Raymond Carver, Margaret Atwood, Russell Banks, Rick Moody, and Joan Didion.

      Winners receive a cash prize of $15,000, publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press, and support in the nation-wide promotion of their book.

      Deadline: June 30, 2019 Fee:None Prize:$15,000 View Contest

      15. Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize

      Established in 1981, the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize is administered by the
      University of Pittsburgh Press. Named in honor of Agnes Lynch Starrett, the Press’s
      first director, the prize is awarded for a first full-length book of poems.

      The prize carries a cash award of $5,000 and publication by the University of
      Pittsburgh Press as part of the Pitt Poetry Series. The series is edited by Ed Ochester, who also serves as final judge in the Starrett competition.

      Deadline: April 30, 2019 Fee: $25 Prize: $5,000 View Contest

      16. Miami Book Fair/ De Groot Prize

      The Miami Book Fair, the nation’s finest and largest literary gathering, presented by Miami Dade College, has partnered with The de Groot Foundation to launch the Miami Book Fair/De Groot Prize to be awarded to an author for an unpublished novella.

      Deadline: April 30, 2019 Fee:None Prize: $6,000 and publication by Melville House  View Contest

      17. Write The World

      Founded in 2012 by David Weinstein, Write The World is a program dedicated to the development of high school aged writers. They’ve created a global community and a guided interactive process that’s subscribed to by thousands of youth writers and educators.

      Write The WorldImage via: Write the World

      Their current competition is a food writing competition. Writers aged 13-18 may submit a 600 - 1,000 word essay about food. Along with cash prizes of up to $100, youth writers will receive recognition from the global Write The World community.

      Deadline: Monthly Fee: None Prize: Up to $100 View Contest

      18. ServiceScape Short Story Award 2019

      Calling all short story writers: Are you a short story writer interested in gaining more exposure and a bigger audience for your creative work? Would an extra $1,000.00 USD in your pocket be a great thing right now?

      If so, the ServiceScape Short Story Award is the perfect way to achieve both. For this award, any genre or theme of short story is accepted. All applicants should submit their original unpublished work of short fiction or nonfiction, 5,000 words or fewer, to be considered. Along with receiving an award for $1,000.00 USD, the winner will have his or her short story featured within our blog, which reaches thousands of readers per month. Rules and exclusions apply.


      Deadline: November 30, 2019 Fee: None Prize: $1,000 View Contest

      19. Narrative Prize 2019

      THE $4,000 NARRATIVE PRIZE is awarded annually for the best short story, novel excerpt, poem, one-act play, graphic story, or work of literary nonfiction published by a new or emerging writer in Narrative.

      The winner is announced each September, and the prize is awarded in October. The award, citing the winner’s name and the title and genre of the winning piece, is widely publicized, and each winner is cited in an ongoing listing in Narrative. The prize will be given to the best work published each year in Narrative by a new or emerging writer, as judged by the magazine’s editors. In some years, the prize may be divided between winners, when more than one work merits the award.

      Deadline: June 15, 2019 Fee:None Prize: $4,000 View Contest

      20. Architecture of Power: Short Story Contest

      Welcome to 2019; polarizing political views are an ever-present reality and it doesn't seem to be improving. Whether you live in the US or on the other side of the globe our environments are actors in the theater of influence. What happens when design becomes part of the equation?

      Write a short story that puts into narrative how architecture and the built-environment affect the lives of the people in power and those on the fringes of society.

      Deadline: February 28th, 2019  Fee: $25 Prize: $500 + Bonus View Contest


      There are many good reasons to enter writing contests. First and foremost, there is the possibility of winning a cash prize. Secondly, having your name attached to a popular literary magazine or writing organization can help get your work seen.

      With that said, before taking the plunge, be sure to read the contest guidelines thoroughly. Some writing contests have regional, age, gender, ethnicity, and word count restrictions.

      If you’ve found what you’re looking for, don’t delay, get writing! Writing competitions are one of the best ways for writers to get their work in front of a broad audience.


      Carlton ClarkCarlton Clark loves to write about business, baseball, and popular culture. A writer, marketer, and entrepreneur. At the age of 14, he founded the media company ballplayerplus.com. Currently, Carlton helps businesses share their stories through social media and blogging. When he’s not writing or creating content, Carlton coaches youth baseball at his local high school and plays guitar. You can find him online on Instagram @itscarltonclark, and on Twitter @carlton_mukasa



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