Winter Writing Contests: Start Submitting!

writing_contestThere are lots of great contests and journals that are accepting submissions right now for many different types of work, including fiction, non-fiction, fan and flash fiction, essays, short stories, and poetry. Why enter writing contests, you ask?

  • Entering these types of contests can help you keep your writing and publishing momentum going.

  • Submitting to writing contests is a great way to gain credibility as a writer/author.

  • They can help create interest in your work, leading to other opportunities and potentially, to sales.

  • An award will give you an edge, which may be all the difference needed to propel your work into bestseller territory.

  • When you win or get placed, you can say you are an “award-winning author,” giving your writing a boost that comes from a third-party endorsement.

  • Awards can help you gain credibility with readers, reviewers, reporters, agents, and publishers.

Below is a list of writing contests for the winter that we put together to help you submit your work. Now get submitting!

Jeff Marks Memorial Poetry Prize

Deadline: December 15, 2014

Submissions are open for the 2015 Jeff Marks Memorial Poetry Prize, judged by National Book Award Winner Mary Szybist! Winner receives $1,500, Honorable Mention receives $500, both published in december magazine’s Spring awards issue. All finalists listed and considered for publication. $20 entry fee includes copy of awards issue. Up to 3 poems per entry. Guidelines at, submit online at

Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition

Deadline: December 15, 2014

We’re looking for short fiction stories! Think you can write a winning story in less than 1,500 words? Enter the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition for your chance to win $3,000 in cash, get published in Writer’s Digest magazine, and a paid trip to our ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference! The winning entries will be on display in the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition Collection.

The Press 53 Award for Short Fiction

Deadline: September 1 – December 31, 2014

Publication of winning short story manuscript. $1000 advance plus travel to Winston-Salem, NC, for a launch party weekend, plus attendance as our special guest to the annual Gathering of Writers in October. Finalists announced by March 1. Winner announced on May 3 (National Press 53 Day). Publication date October at annual Gathering of Writers. Reading fee: $30. Judged by Press 53 publisher Kevin Morgan Watson and fiction editor Christine Norris.

2014 Walker Percy Prize in Short Fiction

Deadline: December 31, 2014

Submissions are open for the 2014 Walker Percy Prize in Short Fiction! Winner receives $1,000 and publication in New Orleans Review. All finalists considered for publication. Enter previously unpublished original stories up to 7,500 words. The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript. Entries may be simultaneous submissions but the entry fee is nonrefundable if the story is accepted elsewhere. There is no limit on the number of entries you may submit. Entry fee is $15. Sponsored by the Walker Percy Center for Writing & Publishing. Enter at This year’s final judge TBA. Winner announced and published in 2015.

Glimmer Train’s Fiction Open

Deadline December 31, 2014
1st place has been increased to $2500 and includes publication in Glimmer Train. 2nd/3rd: $1000/$600, consideration for publication. Results announced on March 1. Word count generally ranges 2000-8000, though up to 20,000 is fine. There are no theme restrictions. One of the most respected short-story journals in print, Glimmer Train is represented in recent editions of the Pushcart Prize, Pen/O. Henry, New Stories from the SouthNew Stories from the Midwest, and Best American Short Stories anthologies. Submit online:

Tupelo Quarterly’s Prose Open Contest

Submission deadline: January 1, 2015

Tupelo Quarterly’s Prose Open Contest is now accepting entries in all styles, sensibilities and related genres—fiction, nonfiction, lyric essay and hybrid work. No singular genre preferred; the sole criterion is excellence. The winner will receive $1,000 and publication in the Winter 2015 issue of Tupelo Quarterly. Runners-up and finalists will also be published. Final judge is Joanna Howard. There is a reading fee of $20. Please visit for full submission guidelines.

2015 Colorado Prize for Poetry: Call for Submissions

Deadline: January 14, 2015

$2,000 honorarium and book publication. Submit book-length collection of poems by January 14, 2015. Final judge is Laura Kasischke. The $25 entry fee includes one-year subscription to Colorado Review. Obtain complete guidelines by sending SASE or visiting website. Colorado Prize for Poetry, Center for Literary Publishing, 9105 Campus Delivery, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-9105.

Dora and Alexander Raynes Poetry Prize judged by L.S. Asekoff

Deadline: January 15, 2015

The Dora and Alexander Raynes poetry prize from Jewish Currents magazine is now accepting submissions. NOTE: Poets of all ages, backgrounds, religions/non-religions, and orientations are encouraged to submit. This year’s theme is “The World to Come.” Our judge is the venerable and gracious L. S. Asekoff. $1,000 first prize, $180 for two second prizes, and magazine publication. The top 36 poems will be collected into an anthology Summer 2015. All poems considered for future publication in the magazine. Details for online and snail mail submissions:

The Boiler Flash Essay Contest

Submission Deadline: January 15, 2015

The Boiler challenges you to submit flash essays under 600 words. We’re open to hybrid forms of poetry, essay, and memoir. The only things that matters are whether you can sustain our attention and craft a well-written, sleek, beautiful little thing. Two winners will receive $600 and publication in our spring issue. Finalists will be considered for publication in our spring issue and other prizes. Submissions open October 31st and close January 15th. We will announce the winner in the spring of 2015. To get an idea of what we like, read magazines like Brevity, Sweet, or other flash journals.

Lamar York Prizes in Fiction and Nonfiction

Deadline: January 31, 2015

Two prizes of $1,000.00 each and publication in The Chattahoochee Review are awarded to a winning story and essay in the annual Lamar York Prizes for Fiction and Nonfiction. Entries must be submitted via Submittable (under the appropriate contest category) between October 1 and January 31. All entries will be considered for publication. An entry fee of $15 (nonrefundable) includes a one-year subscription to The Chattahoochee Review beginning with the Spring/Summer 2015 issue. Visit for complete guidelines.

The Crazyhorse Prizes in fiction, nonfiction, & poetry

Deadline: January 31, 2015

From January 1 to January 31, Crazyhorse will accept entries for our annual Prizes in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry. Winners receive $2,000 and publication. The $20 entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Crazyhorse; all manuscripts entered will be considered for publication. Adam Johnson (fiction), Dinty W. Moore (nonfiction), and Alberto Ríos (poetry) will select the winners. For more information, please visit our website:

Arcadia Short Story Contest

Deadline: February 1, 2015

A prize of $1,000 and publication in Arcadia is given annually for a short story. Submit exceptionally well-crafted short stories of less than 12,000 words with a $15.00 entry fee between November 1 and February 1. All stories submitted will be considered for publication in Arcadia. The editors will judge and a winner will be announced in March. The winning story will appear in the spring issue of Arcadia. For more details and to submit:!contests/cr6f

The Meadow Novella Prize

Deadline: February 1, 2015

The Meadow is now accepting novella manuscripts from October 15th to February 1st. Upload manuscripts between 18,000 to 35,000 words through Submittable. Judged by Brandon Hobson. Entry fee: $15 paid through Submittable. Winner receives $500, 50 copies, and publication in the 2015 issue. View submission guidelines:

W.B. Yeats Society of NY Poetry Competition

Deadline: February 1, 2015

First prize $500, second $250, honorable mentions. Unpublished poems in English up to 60 lines on any subject, each (judged separately) typed on 8½ x 11-inch sheet without author’s name. Attach to each 3×5 card with title and entrant’s name and contact information. Entry fees: $8 first poem, $7 each additional. Include SASE for judge’s report, also posted on in March. Winners receive Yeats Society memberships and are honored at early April ceremony in NYC. Authors retain rights, but permit us to publish winning entries. These are complete guidelines, no entry form needed. 2015 judge: Jessica Greenbaum.

bioStories Announces Essay Contest

Deadline: February 16, 2015

bioStories is seeking submissions for its 2nd annual essay contest. The 2015 theme is “Elders”. In keeping with its mission to “share the extraordinary stories of ordinary people,” bioStories is seeking outstanding nonfiction pieces that interpret the thematic focus on “elders” broadly and imaginatively. Winner receives $250 and publication. Entry fee $10. Detailed contest submission guidelines are linked via the homepage and on the “contest” tab of our website:

2nd Annual Zero Bone Poetry Prize

Deadline: February 28, 2015
Named in honor of the distinguished American poet Emily Dickinson, the competition welcomes submissions of unpublished, original poems. Open to all poets—those with or without previous publishing credits and from anywhere in the world. (Winners outside the U.S. will need a Paypal account to receive their award.) Winning manuscripts will reflect the thoughtful humanity and careful craftsmanship of Emily Dickinson’s poetry, though not necessarily her style. Nature themes are especially welcome as are all styles of poems. Maximum of 5 poems. $2 submission fee per poem. Top place winners: $200, $100, $50. Judge TBA.

St. Petersburg Review Poetry Contest

Deadline: March 1, 2015

St. Petersburg Review is an independent, international, nonprofit, annual review of contemporary literature that seeks to foster and promote global connections and affinities through the annual publication of quality fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama from all countries. Our poetry contest, which has a 5% or better publication rate, will be accepting submissions September 1, 2014 – March 1, 2015. Visit for complete information on the contest and other SPR activities.

Prospero Prizes for Poetry and Flash Fiction

Deadline: March 15, 2015

Attend, Leviathan. SHARKPACK Poetry Review Annual seeks poetry and very short fiction of unusual philosophical and/or imaginative power for our second issue, themed ‘Cities, Sites.’ The Prospero Prizes include a cash award of $150 and feature publication; winners will be chosen from general (free!) submissions. 1-3 prizes will be awarded. Please visit for guidelines and further details. We’re very grateful for your interest.

Willow Springs Fiction Prize 2015

Deadline: March 15, 2015

Willow Springs Fiction Prize—$2,000 plus publication. Submission deadline: March 15, 2015. Original, unpublished work only; no word limit for submissions. $15 entry fee. All entrants receive a one-year subscription to Willow Springs. Submit a story online at More details here:

Penny Fiction 2015: A Flash Fiction Writing Competition from HWP

Deadline: Rolling

Haunted Waters Press editor, Penny Dreadful, seeks exceptionally small works of fiction to be showcased in Penny Fiction, a regular feature of the literary journal, From the Depths. Stories may also appear in the Penny Fiction Poster Collection. In keeping with the 2015 theme featuring works which depict a slice of life in rural America, tell us a story in exactly 21 words—no more, no less. The contest will be held in three rounds. Each round ends upon receipt of 200 submissions. One Submittable submission per author, per round. For full submission details visit

Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

Early-Bird Deadline: April 1, 2015

Whether you’re a professional writer, a part-time freelancer or a self-starting student, here’s your chance to enter the premier self-published competition exclusively for self-published books. Writer’s Digest hosts the 23rd annual self-published competition–the Annual Self-Published Book Awards. This self-published competition, co-sponsored by Book Marketing Works, LLC spotlights today’s self-published works and honors self-published authors.


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