Winning or placing in a contest brings writers validation, publicity that gives weight to resumes and platforms, some handy prize money, and free copies of anthologies/magazine issues containing the winning entry that can be handed out at book fairs and conventions. We can’t enter them all or we’ll go broke paying the entry fees. My suggestion: if you’re just getting started, don’t try the most prestigious contests first because your competition will include widely known authors. Look for those where you have your best chance in terms of that competition and the contest theme.
- Bellevue Literary Prize – Poetry and Prose. Three prizes of $1,000 each. Works about health, healing, illness, body, and mind. Online submission system. $20 entry fee. July 1 deadline.
- Boston Review – Poetry. $1,500 and publication for a poem or group of poems. Up to five poems on no more than ten pages. $20 entry fee. June 1 deadline.
- Glimmer Train – Short story award for new writers. Prize of $2,500 and publication for winning story between 1,000 and 12,000 words. $18 entry fee. Submit between May 1 and June 30.
- Lost Horse Press – Idaho Prize for Poetry. $1,000 and publication. Submit manuscript of at least 48 pages. $20 to $30 entry fee depending on whether you submit by mail or online. May 15 deadline.
- New American Press – New American Fiction Prize. $1,000 and publication. Submit a selection of short stories, flash fiction, novella or novel of at least 100 pages. $25 entry fee. June 15 deadline.
- Philadelphia Stories – Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction. $2,000 and publication. Winner will receive free travel ans lodging to read at Rosemont College in October. Short story up to 8,000 words. $15 entry fee. June 15 deadline.
To keep up with contests throughout the year, look at the Poets & Writers database of Writing Contests, Grants & Awards
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of Eulalie and Washerwoman, a story about a conjure woman fighting the Klan set in the Florida Panhandle of the 1950s.