We found over four dozen high-quality poetry and prose contests that are free to enter with deadlines between November 15-December 31.
In this issue: Please enjoy “Vigil” by Giuseppe Ungaretti, illustrated by Julian Peters.
Open at Winning Writers
WERGLE FLOMP HUMOR POETRY CONTEST – NO FEE
Free to enter, $2,250 in prizes, including a top award of $1,000.
TOM HOWARD/JOHN H. REID FICTION & ESSAY CONTEST
$5,000 in prizes, including two top awards of $2,000 each.
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- Enter fun writing contests with cash prizes. Over $5,000 in cash prizes this year. View our contest listing.
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Upcoming contest deadlines:
Loop Poetry Contest
Loop Poetry requires that the last word of each line becomes the first word of the next line. There is also a rhyme scheme: ABCB. $100 cash prize. Deadline: November 15 (tonight!)
ABC Poetry Contest
Write a one-stanza, five-line poem. The first letter of each of the first four lines follow the order of the alphabet while the last line can be any letter whatsoever. For example, a poet might choose to use the following letter combination: D-E-F-G-A. The winner takes away $100.Deadline: November 20.
Cinquain Poetry Contest
Each line in a cinquain has a specific number of syllables: 2 syllables, then 4, 6, 8, and 2 syllables again. Win $100. Deadline: November 24.
One Line Poem Contest
Write a monostich poem, a poem with a single line. Since the poem is so short, the title often plays an important role. Winner receives $100. Deadline: November 30.
2-4-2 Poetry Contest
Write a poem with two syllables in the first line, four in the second, and two in the third line.$100 cash for the winner. Deadline: December 3.
See all our upcoming contests and find out more.
Congratulations to Berwyn Moore (featured poem, “Ambisinistrous”), Carolyn Howard-Johnson (featured poem, “Out of Malibu: An American Exodus”), Sandra Hunter, Adrianne Aron, Valerie Collins, Linda Sonna, Irvin Schonfeld, Mary M. Sesso(featured poem, “When the Day Lillies Open”), William Ellis, Shirani Rajapakse, L.B. Gschwandtner, Thelma T. Reyna (featured poem, “2020”), Alberta Nassi, and Ndaba Sibanda.
Learn about our subscribers’ achievements and see links to samples of their work.
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The Two Sylvias Press Advent Calendar is filled with surprise prompts to help you write 31 new poems in December!
Our online virtual Advent Calendar is easy to use—simply click on the calendar date and a prompt appears. Each prompt is no more than three sentences in length, guiding you with ideas and suggestions for a new poem.
Once you open a prompt, it remains accessible, so no problem if you skip a day or two—the prompts will be waiting for you. The calendar and all of the prompts will be available through the month of January.
You will receive an access code for the Advent Calendar’s web page at the end of November. Your daily surprise prompts are ready for you to click on December 1st.
And, you can give our Online Poetry Prompt Advent Calendar as a gift (see our website for more details).
To see a sample prompt and order your Advent Calendar, please visit Two Sylvias Press.
Deadline: December 15
Judge — Luis Rodriguez is an American poet, novelist, journalist, critic, and columnist. He was the Los Angeles Poet Laureate from 2014-2016.
Prizes — $1,500 & publication (winner); $500 & publication (honorable mention); all finalists will be published in the 2018 Spring/Summer awards issue. Finalists will be paid at regular contributor rates.
Submit up to 3 poems online or by mail. $20 entry fee includes copy of the awards issue. Please submit previously unpublished work only. Any size print run or online publication (including blogs and/or social networking) disqualify an entry.
For complete guidelines please visit our website.
december magazine was founded in Iowa City in 1958 by a group of poets, writers, and artists who declared, “We are humanists…far more concerned with people than dogmatic critical or aesthetic attitudes.” december was a pioneer in the “little” magazine and small press movement, publishing cutting-edge fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and art. Its pages have included Donald Barthelme, Marvin Bell, Stephen Berg, Rita Mae Brown, Raymond Carver, Stephen Dunn, Donald Hall, Michael Harper, Donald Justice, Ted Kooser, Philip Levine, Joyce Carol Oates, Marge Piercy, William Stafford, C.K. Williams, Charles Wright, and James Wright.
Relaunched this decade by Gianna Jacobson, december continues its original mission—publishing exceptional, thought-provoking poetry, prose, and art; championing the work of unheralded writers and artists and celebrating fresh work from seasoned voices; and promoting and advocating for december‘s writers in the literary and general communities.
First Prize: $3,500, publication in LitMag, and agency review
Second Prize: $1,000 and agency review
Finalists: Five finalists will receive $100 each.
Agency review by Sobel Weber Associates (clients include: Viet Thanh Nguyen, Richard Russo, Laura Lee Smith)
All finalists will be considered for possible agency review.
All entries will be considered for publication.
Deadline: December 15, 2017.
Contest Fee: $20.
Submission Guidelines: Entries must be short stories between 3,000 and 8,000 words. Please use 12pt type, preferably Times New Roman, and submit your short story as either a Word doc or a PDF. Only previously unpublished short stories are eligible. Writers may submit multiple stories, each of which requires a separate submission. Submissions through Submittable only.
Notification: The contest will be judged by the editors of the magazine. The winning short stories and finalists will be announced publicly on our Web site and social media as well as by email to all contestants in March of 2018.
Deadline: January 15, 2018. $1,000 and book publication for each winner.
The annual John Ciardi Prize for Poetry and the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction are awarded to collections of poetry and short fiction in English by a living author. Guidelines available here.
Prize-winning books have received reviews or features in: Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Reviews, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Kansas City Star, Slate, Garrison Keillor’s Writers Almanac, etc., and won or placed in the Poets’ Prize, Eric Hoffer, IPPY, ForeWord, Chautauqua, Balcones Fiction, Devil’s Kitchen, etc.
Founded in 1971 and part of the University of Missouri-Kansas City since 1983, BkMk Press publishes collections of poetry, short fiction, and creative essays. Publishing roughly six titles a year, the press has over 140 titles in print.
BkMk Press, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 5101 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110.
Deadline: January 31, 2018
Sponsored by Cogswell College. Submit a set of 1-6 poems. The winner will receive:
- Publication online and in the print issue of COG, as well as a $1,000 prize
- A blurb about your short story by luminary poet Major Jackson
- Your story adapted as an animated short film, 2D animation, graphic book/ebook, or series of interpretive illustrations by students in Cogswell’s celebrated Digital Art & Animation Program and Digital Audio Technology Program
Check out Cogzine and enter the contest at COG’s Submittable site.
The adaptation of 2016-17’s winning poem by Megan Merchant will be published online in late November. Meanwhile, please enjoy this animation made from “The Last Gun” by Anne Harding Woodworth, 2015-2016 COG Poetry Awards winner:
Entries must be received by January 31, 2018
Submissions are now being accepted for the eighth William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. This award, given by Stanford University Libraries in partnership with the William Saroyan Foundation, recognizes newly published works of fiction and nonfiction with a $5,000 award for the winner in each category.
The prize is designed to encourage new or emerging writers and honor the Saroyan literary legacy of originality, vitality, and stylistic innovation. For entry forms and more information on the prize, visit the Saroyan Prize website.
Congratulations to our 2016 Fiction Winner T. Geronimo Johnson, author of Welcome to Braggsville, and our 2016 Nonfiction Winner Lori Jakiela, author of Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe. See our complete list of 2016 winners and finalists.
Deadline: February 26, 2018
Seeking altered states might be one of the oldest human hobbies—for better and for worse—and we’re looking for stories that capture the widest possible range of experiences and voices. Whether you (or someone else) were tipsy or wasted, soooooooo drunk or just a little high—on life, or love, or power, or something else—we want to hear your story about being under the influence.
As always, we’re interested in stories that are more than mere anecdotes, and we love work that incorporates an element of research and/or makes a connection to a larger story or theme. We welcome personal stories as well as profiles, and above all, we are looking for narratives—true stories, rich with scene, character, detail, and a distinctive voice—that offer a fresh interpretation or unique insight into the theme.
If we’re being honest, we’re also especially hoping for some happy (or at least lighthearted, if not downright funny) stories—a mix of uppers and downers, as it were.
CNF editors will award $1,000 for best essay and $500 for runner-up. All essays submitted will be considered for publication.
See our complete guidelines.
Winning Writers editor Jendi Reiter‘s fourth poetry book and second full-length collection, Bullies in Love, is available from Little Red Tree Publishing, with illustrations by fine art photographer and Massachusetts Cultural Council award winner Toni Pepe. Poems in this collection have won prizes from Atlanta Review, Anderbo, Alligator Juniper, Descant, New Millennium Writings, Solstice Literary Magazine, Wag’s Revue, and others.
Based in North Platte, NE, Little Red Tree publishes books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and art that “delight, entertain, and educate”, as well as the print and online literary magazine Peacock Journal.
“In her remarkable collection of poems, Bullies In Love, Jendi Reiter has created an complex odditorium of characters with unique and often disturbing voices: poems peopled with bullies, the disenfranchised, monsters, prostitutes, criminals, the abused and forgotten, all searching for meaning, for faith and love in a postmodern, often cynical world.”
—Pamela Uschuk, author of Crazy Love, 2010 American Book Award Winner, and Blood Flower (Wings Press)
Please enjoy this sample poem and purchase Bullies in Love on Amazon.
not the turn to gold but touch he
wanted most, no object that
flesh of his
supper gelled to shining
ore lumps when he bit, that sepals
stiffened on the rose
like nipples bared to frost. not
the lark that lasted but the scar
its moneyed weight peeled
down the tree. not the trophy
hound, that sudden andiron
dropped from his lap,
but the fox, stinking, invisible,
myth to asses’ ears,
no nodding velveted clefts
named his errata, not a page
or armed barber kissed the riverbed
to scandalize the reeds
into singing true. and when his daughter,
as he’d tell it, sprang
into his transmuting arms, and after,
there was no god to take the hardening gift away.
This poem was first published in Solstice Lit Mag.