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.
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
Tell us about an amazing woman. The National Youth Foundation is pleased to announce the 2020 Amazing Women's Edition Contest student book competition. Students are tasked to get to know women in their communities and tell us about the heroines. The contest is open to students in grades K-8. Prizes include $500 for the student(s), $250 for the teacher or parent advisor and the book is published and donated to schools and libraries across the country.
Deadline: January 6, 2019 Fee: None Prize: $500 and Publication of Book View Contest
Seeking creative nonfiction essays on any topic (200 - 1000 words) and in any style--from personal essay to lyric essay to hybrid and more! The mission of this contest is to reward bravery in real-life storytelling and create an understanding of our world through thoughtful, engaging narratives. Electronic submissions via e-mail only; reprints are okay; simultaneous submissions okay; reprints okay; multiple submissions are okay as long as they are submitted in their own individual e-mail. Open internationally. Limit: 300 entries
Deadline: July 31, 2019 Fee: $12 Prize: Up to $500 + publication View Contest
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
Seeking short fiction of any genre between 250 - 750 words. The mission of this contest is to inspire creativity, communication, and well-rewarded recognition to contestants.
Electronic submissions via e-mail only; reprints are okay; simultaneous submissions okay; reprints okay; multiple submissions are okay as long as they are submitted in their own individual e-mail. Open internationally. Limit: 300 entries. Entry: $10 entry fee; critique option for an additional $10
Deadline: August 31, 2019 Fee:$10 Prize: Up to $400 + publication View 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
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
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.
Deadline: May 15, 2019 Fee: None Prize: $15,000 View Contest
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Image 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
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
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
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.
Suspense is an essential ingredient in fiction. It’s what keeps your readers turning the page long after they’ve declared that they’ll ‘read just one more page before I put the light out’. Without tension and suspense, your story is flat and lifeless.
In this post, learn 3 tried and true techniques to build the tension and keep your readers hooked with suspense.