Undergraduate essay contests (order an essay inexpensively)

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Undergraduate Essay Contests & Scholarships

UNDERGRADUATE BILL GALLAGHER ESSAY CONTEST

Deadline for receipt of all materials: 8am Monday, April 9, 2018. All papers must be digitally submitted to Abby Gitlitz agitlitz@indiana.edu.

The Bill Gallagher contest is the department’s annual undergraduate student essay contest and is open to any undergraduate. The topic is open but should deal in some direct way with issues pertinent to the study of religion. Papers need not have been written for a religious studies course. Criteria on which the papers will be judged include clarity, focus, development of the subject or problem, use of evidence and sources, originality and creativity. While the paper must be academic it may use innovative and creative styles of writing. Undergraduate papers should be 10-20 double-spaced pages in length. For students: Please make sure your name, phone number, email address, and class standing are clearly indicated on the front page. Please number subsequent pages.

Minimum of 10 pages. Students who have shorter essays from their previous and current coursework are encouraged to expand those papers for submission.

One submission per student.

Second prize $300

1st place: Josie Wenig, "Beyond “Transvestite Saints”: Gendered Layering and Trans Temporalities in the Life of Pelagia."

2nd place: Samuel Stubblefield, "Ovid at the Limits of Irony: Fiction and Empire in Metamorphoses 1 and 15."

3rd place: Celia Daniels, "Divinity in Literature: Speech Acts, Paradise Lost, and the Character of God."

UNDERGRADUATE HONORS ESSAY CONTEST

Deadline for receipt of all materials: 8am Monday, April 9, 2018. All papers must be digitally submitted to Abby Gitlitz agitlitz@indiana.edu.

Awarded in Spring, on the basis of the best Honors Essay written for R499 in the current academic year.

2016 Winner: Annie Brackemyre, "What is Religious about Indiana’s Religious Voucher Schools?."

UNDERGRADUATE HONORS ESSAY RESEARCH GRANT

Fall 2017 – Deadline for receipt of all materials: 5pm Monday, October 30.

Awarded in the fall and the spring, on the basis of the best thesis prospectus, drafted in the first semester (R399), that outlines the research project to be completed. To be eligible, the prospectus must be submitted by the final class day of the semester. The prize is $100 toward research expenses in the second semester (R499). Research expenses are to be approved by the student’s thesis advisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Please submit your prospectus to Abby Gitlitz, agitlitz@indiana.edu. For more information contact Professor Michael Ing, Director of Undergraduate Studies at ming@indiana.edu.

Sycamore Hall 230, Bloomington, IN 47405-7005 | Phone: (812) 855-3531 | Fax: (812) 855-4687

NORTH AMERICAN CONFERENCE ON BRITISH STUDIES UNDERGRADUATE ESSAY CONTEST 2018

Each year the NACBS awards eight prizes of $100.00 each to the best essays on British topics submitted by undergraduates studying in American and Canadian universities.

Essays may be from any department –History, English, Philosophy, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, etc.–as long as they relate to British Studies and date from 2017/2018.

Essays must have been written while the author was a degree-seeking undergraduate at a U.S. or Canadian college or university.

Essays should be no longer than 25 pages (please, no theses).

Submissions must be accompanied by a nominating letter from the professor who taught the course for which the essay was written. Nominating faculty must be current members of the NACBS . Please include the permanent mailing address and email contact information for the student.

Send an electronic copy of the essay and the letter of nomination (as two separate documents-either WORD or PDF) to EACH of the following three members of the prize committee by 11:59 p.m. on July 31, 2018 , via e-mail. The essay file should be named (NOMINEE’S NAME_Essay). The letter of nomination file should be named (NOMINEE’S NAME_Letter). Contact details, including current e-mail addresses, for the committee members appear below:

RECENT AWARD WINNERS

NACBS Undergraduate Essay Prize Winners 2017

Annual Undergraduate Contests

Every year the Program in Creative Writing awards up to $7,000 to undergraduates at various stages in their studies. The following prizes are awarded at the end of the spring semester at a special ceremony and reading. Please read the criteria carefully; most students are eligible to apply for more than one prize. See the exact deadlines for each prize below; most are due on March 15, though the thesis prizes are not due until April 23. E-mail your entries as pdf attachments to uwisc.cwp@gmail.com. In the subject line of your e-mail, write the full name of the prize to which you are applying, as listed below. In the body of the e-mail, please include your full name, current address, @wisc email, alternate non-wisc email, phone number, and the creative writing courses you’ve taken this year (if any), as well as the names of the instructors who taught them. All currently enrolled students are eligible to apply to the Hill and Muller awards, regardless of their enrollment in creative writing courses.

PLEASE NOTE: You may be eligible to apply for more than one prize. If you do submit to more than one prize, you must send separate emails for each prize entry, indicating the prize to which you are applying in the subject line of each e-mail. Failure to do this may result in an incomplete consideration of your application. The group of poems or stories, however, may be the same for each prize application.

The Charles M. Hart, Jr. Writers of Promise Awards are given for the best poetry and fiction by students enrolled in ENGL 207: Intro to Fiction & Poetry. Students taking English 207 in either semester of the academic year may submit one story or three poems. Although there is no minimum or maximum word criteria for stories, we suggest you keep fiction submissions between five and thirty double-spaced pages in length. The final deadline for this competition is March 15.

The George B. Hill Award ($100-$500) and The Therese Muller Memorial Award ($100-$300) are awarded for poetry and short stories, respectively, submitted in a campus-wide competition. Any currently enrolled student may submit one short story and/or three poems. Story submissions will also be considered for the $500 Henry Douglas Mackaman Undergraduate Writer’s Award (see below). Although there is no minimum or maximum word criteria for stories, we suggest you keep fiction submissions between five and thirty double-spaced pages in length. The deadline for this competition is March 15.

The Henry Douglas Mackaman Undergraduate Writer’s Award ($500) is awarded to the best short story written by a sophomore, junior, or senior, submitted in a campus-wide competition. All applicants to the Muller Awards will also be considered for the Mackaman Award. Although there is no minimum or maximum word criteria for stories, we suggest you keep fiction submissions between five and thirty double-spaced pages in length.

The Ron Wallace Poetry Thesis Prize ($1,000) is awarded annually for the best poetry thesis completed during the current academic year by an English Major with an Emphasis in Creative Writing. The deadline for this prize is April 20.

The Eudora Welty Fiction Thesis Prize ($1,000) is awarded annually for the best fiction thesis completed by an English Major with an Emphasis in Creative Writing. The deadline for this prize is April 20.

The Cy Howard Memorial Scholarship in Creative Writing ($1,000) is awarded annually to a recipient judged to be the most promising Senior English Major with an Emphasis in Creative Writing. All applicants to the Felix Pollak and Eudora Welty Thesis Prizes will be considered for the Cy Howard Memorial Scholarship (for this prize only, there is no need to submit multiple times to be considered for multiple awards).

The University Book Store

Academic Excellence Awards

In addition to the prizes awarded by the Program in Creative Writing, each year the University Book Store awards up to twenty $1,000 prizes to students who have completed “major projects” under the direction of a UW-Madison faculty member. This year’s Book Store Award deadline is March 8. For each of the past several years, at least six of these prizes have gone to creative writers. The exact guidelines are available by clicking here. Please note that your application will require a letter of recommendation from your project’s faculty advisor (for example, the instructor assigned to you for ENGL-695).

Writing Contests, Grants & Awards

The Writing Contests, Grants & Awards database includes details about the creative writing contests—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, and more—that we’ve published in Poets & Writers Magazine during the past year. We carefully review the practices and policies of each contest before including it. Ours is the most trusted resource for legitimate writing contests available anywhere.

Literary Awards

Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Enizagam are given annually for a group of poems and a short story. Jesse Nathan will judge in poetry, and Rachel Khong.

Sozopol Seminars

English and Bulgarian Scholarships

Ten scholarships, valued at approximately $1,600 each, to attend the Sozopol Seminars in Sozopol, Bulgaria, are given in alternating years to five fiction or creative.

Trustees of the Robert Frost Farm

Frost Farm Prize

A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a poem written in metrical verse. The winner also receives a scholarship and honorarium to give a reading at the Frost Farm Poetry.

Fish Publishing

Poetry Prize

A prize of €1,000 (approximately $1,180) and publication in the Fish Publishing anthology is given annually for a poem. The winner and 10 runners-up are also invited to give a.

Lascaux Review

Flash Fiction Prize

A prize of $1,000 and publication in Lascaux Review is given annually for a work of flash fiction. Previously published and unpublished stories are eligible. Submit up.

Four Way Books

Levis Prize in Poetry

A prize of $1,000 and publication by Four Way Books is given annually to a U.S. poet for a poetry collection. The winner will also be invited to participate in a reading in New.

Winter Story Contest

A prize of $2,500 and publication in Narrative is given annually for a short story, a short short story, an essay, or an excerpt from a longer work of fiction or.

Gemini Magazine

Short Story Contest

A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gemini Magazine is given annually for a short story. The editors will judge. Submit a story of any length with a $7 entry fee by.

Airlie Press

Airlie Prize

A prize of $1,000 and publication by Airlie Press will be given annually for a poetry collection. The editors will judge. Using the online submission system, submit a.

Bosque Press

Bosque Fiction Prize

A prize of $1,000 and publication in bosque is given annually for a short story or a novel excerpt by a writer over the age of 40. Timothy Schaffert will judge. Using.

Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing

Poetry and Prose Prizes

Two prizes valued at $1,600 each will be given annually to a poet and fiction writer to attend a weeklong seminar at the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Summer.

Elixir Press

Antivenom Poetry Award

A prize of $1,000 and publication by Elixir Press is given annually for a first or second poetry collection. Jennifer Franklin will judge. Submit a manuscript of at least 48.

Cleveland State University Poetry Center

Poetry Book Competitions

Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center are given annually for poetry collections. The First Book Competition is open to poets.

Chapbook Contest

A prize of $1,000, publication by CutBank, and 25 author copies is given annually for a chapbook of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. The editors will judge.

Arts & Letters

Arts & Letters Prizes

Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Arts & Letters are given annually for a group of poems, a short story, and an essay. Alfred Corn will judge in.

Cleveland State University Poetry Center

Essay Collection Competition

A prize of $1,000 and publication by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center is given annually for an essay collection. Brian Blanchfield will judge. Using the online.

Black Lawrence Press

Hudson Prize

A prize of $1,000, publication by Black Lawrence Press, and 10 author copies is given annually for a collection of poems or short stories. The editors will judge. Using the.

Florida Review

Editors’ Awards

Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Florida Review are given annually for a group of poems, a short story, and an essay. The editors will judge. Submit.

Banipal Trust for Arab Literature

Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation

A prize of £3,000 (approximately $4,020) is given annually for a book of poetry or fiction translated from Arabic into English and published for the first time in English.

Winning Writers

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

A prize of $1,000 and publication on the Winning Writers website is given annually for a humorous poem. Jendi Reiter will judge. Using the online submission system, submit a.

Gulf Coast

Writing Contests

Three prizes of $1,500 each and publication in Gulf Coast are given annually for a poem, a short story, and an essay. Submit up to five poems totaling no more than 10.

Waterston Desert Writing Prize

Waterston Desert Writing Prize

A prize of $2,000 and a four-week residency at the PLAYA retreat in Summer Lake, Oregon, is given annually for a nonfiction work-in-progress that “recognizes the vital role.

Poetry International

Poetry International Prize

A prize of $1,000 and publication in Poetry International is given annually for a poem. Victoria Chang will judge. Submit up to three poems with a $15 entry fee ($3.

Southeast Missouri State University Press

Cowles Poetry Book Prize

A prize of $2,000, publication by Southeast Missouri State University Press, and 30 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Submit a manuscript of 48 to 100.

Orison Books

Prizes in Poetry and Fiction

Two prizes of $1,500 each and publication by Orison Books are given annually for a poetry collection and a book of fiction. Vandana Khanna will judge in poetry, and Lan.

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Loyola University Chicago

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Undergraduate Essay Contest

2018 Undergraduate Essay Contest

The History Undergraduate Essay Contest, sponsored by the Department of History, gives History Majors and Minors the opportunity to gain recognition for excellence. Students whose entries are judged to merit awards by the History Department faculty will be eligible for cash prizes: 1st prize, $150; 2nd prize, $100; 3rd prize, $50.

DEADLINE: Monday, March 19, 2018

  • Any current undergraduate History Major or Minor at Loyola University Chicago is eligible to enter the contest.
  • The entry should deal with a historical theme or topic, or a subject of current or general interest discussed from a historical perspective. Any essay written for an undergraduate history course at Loyola in 2016 or 2017 is eligible. One essay per person may be submitted.
  • Entries must also include notes and a bibliography of sources used. On correct footnote and bibliography form, see Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 7th edition.
  • Entries will be judged on the basis of content and style. To qualify for an award, the entry must be accurate in grammar and spelling and must be clear in its organization and presentation.

NORTH AMERICAN CONFERENCE ON BRITISH STUDIES UNDERGRADUATE ESSAY CONTEST 2018

Each year the NACBS awards eight prizes of $100.00 each to the best essays on British topics submitted by undergraduates studying in American and Canadian universities.

Essays may be from any department –History, English, Philosophy, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, etc.–as long as they relate to British Studies and date from 2017/2018.

Essays must have been written while the author was a degree-seeking undergraduate at a U.S. or Canadian college or university.

Essays should be no longer than 25 pages (please, no theses).

Submissions must be accompanied by a nominating letter from the professor who taught the course for which the essay was written. Nominating faculty must be current members of the NACBS . Please include the permanent mailing address and email contact information for the student.

Send an electronic copy of the essay and the letter of nomination (as two separate documents-either WORD or PDF) to EACH of the following three members of the prize committee by 11:59 p.m. on July 31, 2018 , via e-mail. The essay file should be named (NOMINEE’S NAME_Essay). The letter of nomination file should be named (NOMINEE’S NAME_Letter). Contact details, including current e-mail addresses, for the committee members appear below:

RECENT AWARD WINNERS

NACBS Undergraduate Essay Prize Winners 2017

Columbia College

Undergraduate Awards (essay contest)

The Undergraduate Awards scheme was established in 2008 by two Trinity College Dublin graduates to celebrate undergraduate students who propose fresh arguments and new approaches to contemporary problems, and to provide them with a global platform from which to accelerate their ideas. To gain these benefits, students submit essays to an international competition each year, in one of approximately twenty categories.

Undergraduate Award winners in each category are brought to Dublin, Ireland for a three-day summit in the fall, where they participate in seminars, discussions, and networking events with each other. Each winner’s essay is also published in the annual Undergraduate Awards journal and placed in the libraries of all of Ireland’s (and Northern Ireland’s) academic institutions, to showcase excellence in undergraduate thought and written analysis.

UCLA Undergraduate Essay Prizes

Announcing the Competition for the 2018 Peter Rotter and Teague-Melville Essay Prizes

Recognizing superior achievement in undergraduate writing in the Humanities

Prize winners receive up to $1,000 each

Nominations of student essays are now being accepted for the 2018 Essay Prizes. If your students have produced superior work, please consider nominating their papers. All instructors/TAs are limited to three nominations and any submissions beyond that will not be considered.

Eligibility The competition is open to all UCLA undergraduates who have written a humanities-focused essay in Spring 2017, Summer 2017, Fall 2017, or Winter 2018. The submitted paper must have been written as a course assignment during one of these quarters. The prizes will honor the best humanistic writing in lower- and upper-division undergraduate classes. One prize will be reserved for outstanding writing in an introductory-level course. While foreign language essays are welcome, they must be accompanied by the writer’s own English translation.

The essay must be nominated by the instructor that explains the assignment and highlights the paper’s strengths. Online submissions by instructor/TA only will be eligible. Students interested in applying should contact their instructor and provide them with the following information: their full name, current mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address, and student identification number. Incomplete online forms will not be considered, and it is the responsibility of the student to confirm receipt by the Writing Programs Office via email only prior to the deadline.

Deadline Nominated essays can be submitted online from now until Monday, April 16 at 4:00pm. Winners will be announced in May and honored at an awards ceremony in late May. For more information, please contact Marissa Martinez at marissa@humnet.ucla.edu or at (310) 206-1145.

Click here to proceed to the online form.
Kurnitz Creative Writing Award

The Kurnitz Creative Writing Award is sponsored by the Dashew Center for International Students & Scholars. This writing competition is specifically designed to recognize the creative writing work of international students.

UCLA Writes!

146 Humanities Bldg PO Box 951384 | Los Angeles, CA 90095 | P: 310-206-1145

University of California © 2018 UC Regents

31 Free Writing Contests: Legitimate Competitions With Cash Prizes

When I was about 12, I saw an ad in a magazine for a poetry contest that sounded fancy and impressive, something like “International Library of Poetry.” I bled poetry at that age, so I crossed my fingers and sent in a poem I’d been slaving over for weeks.

And, lo and behold, the people behind the contest quickly wrote back to tell me my poem had been selected as a winner!

I was speechless with honor. Of the thousands of poets who must have submitted to the contest — no doubt many of them adults much wiser and more skilled than me — my poem had been chosen to be featured in an exclusive, hardcover anthology! And honored on a something-karat-gold plaque!

Of course, I had to pay $50 if I wanted to see my work in print in the anthology, and I had to pay another $100 if I wanted the plaque. Those were the only “prizes.”

Even as a pre-teen, I sensed a scam .

Sadly, not much has changed when it comes to companies trying to take advantage of writers who want a chance at recognition and maybe a little bit of money. Google the term “writing contests,” and you’ll come up with approximately 8 million results. It can be hard for a writer to know where to start looking for competitions, and how to tell if they’re legitimate or not.

So I’ve done the legwork for you.

Here are 31 reputable, well-reviewed, free writing contests for poets, fiction writers, essayists and more. Some legitimate contests do charge a small entry or “reading” fee, but often a fee can be a red flag for a scam, so you may want to stick to free contests — and there are certainly enough of them.

Fiction and nonfiction writing contests

Ready to share your novel or personal essay with the world? Whether you’re a newbie or more established writer, you’re likely eligible for a few of these contests.

1. L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest

Whatever your feelings about L. Ron Hubbard’s work and philosophy, the prizes for this regular contest are nothing to sneeze at. Every three months, winners earn $1,000, $750 and $500, or an additional annual grand prize worth $5,000.

Submissions must be short stories or novelettes (up to 17,000 words) in the genre of science fiction or fantasy, and new and amateur writers are welcome to apply.

Deadlines: Quarterly on January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1.

2. Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

Awarded to “the most promising and innovative literary nonfiction project by a writer not yet established in the genre,” this prize provides a $12,000 advance and publication by Graywolf Press.

If you live in the U.S. and have published at least one book (in any genre), you’re eligible to submit a current manuscript in progress for consideration. The judges look for winners who push the boundaries of traditional literary nonfiction.

Deadline: Contest is every other year, with the last one running in 2016. The 2018 deadline has not been announced.

3. Drue Heinz Literature Prize

You can win $15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press with this prize, awarded for a collection of short fiction.

You may submit an unpublished manuscript of short stories, two or more novellas or a combination of novellas and short stories. Your total word count should be between 150 and 300 typed pages.

Deadline: Annual submission window is May 1 through June 30.

4. Tony Hillerman Prize

Presented by St. Martin’s Press and WORDHARVEST, this prize awards the best first mystery novel set in the Southwest with $10,000 and publication by St. Martin’s Press.

It’s open to professional or non-professional writers who have not yet had a mystery published, and there are specific guidelines for the structure of your story: “Murder or another serious crime or crimes must be at the heart of the story, with emphasis on the solution rather than the details of the crime.”

5. St. Francis College Literary Prize

This biannual prize honors mid-career writers who have recently published their third, fourth or fifth work of fiction. The winner receives $50,000 but must be able to appear at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY to deliver a talk on their work and teach a mini-workshop in fiction to St. Francis students.

Deadline: Biannually; the deadline for work published between June 2015 and May 2017 is May 15, 2017.

6. Young Lions Fiction Award

This $10,000 award recognizes “young authors,” which the rules define as any author aged 35 or younger. Submit any novel or short story published or scheduled to be published in the calendar year. Works must be written for adults; children’s or YA pieces are ineligible.

Deadline: Annually in the fall (most recently in August or September). 2017 deadline not yet announced.

This boutique publishing firm offers a full-fledged publishing deal to its contest winner. Submit a novel of 20,000 words or more in any fiction genre (no fanfic, short stories or poetry) and if it’s selected, Inkitt will provide you with professional editing, a cover design, and 25 percent royalties. They also have a strategy to get you into the Amazon Top 100. (Not too shabby.)

Inkitt runs contests regularly, so be sure to check back often !

Deadline: See individual contest pages.

8. Real Simple’s Life Lessons Essay Contest

Have you ever had a “eureka” moment? If you have, and you can write a compelling personal essay about it in no more than 1,500 words, you may be able to win $3,000 in Real Simple’s annual essay contest.

Deadline: Annually; 2017 deadline has not yet been announced.

9. New Voices Award

Presented by Lee & Low Books, an award-winning children’s book publisher, this award is given for a previously unpublished children’s picture book manuscript (of no more than 1,500 words) written by a writer of color.

The winner receives $1,000 cash and a standard publication contract. You may submit up to two manuscripts.

Deadline: Submissions must be postmarked by September 30 each year.

10. Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

This contest aims to provide visibility for emerging African American fiction writers and to enable them to focus on their writing by awarding a $10,000 cash prize. Eligible authors should submit a work of fiction, such as a novel or short story collection, published in the calendar year.

Deadline: Annually; 2017 deadline has not yet been announced.

11. PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Honoring the best work of fiction published by an American author in a single calendar year, this award has been given to the likes of John Updike, Philip Roth and Ann Patchett.

The winner receives $15,000 and an invitation to read at the award ceremony in Washington, DC. Four finalists also each receive a $5,000 award.

Deadline: Annually on October 31 for books published that calendar year.

12. Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize

Presented by the Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival, this annual prize awards $500 cash for “the best Brooklyn-focused non-fiction essay which is set in Brooklyn and is about Brooklyn and/or Brooklyn people/characters.” (So it’s Brooklyn-centric, if you haven’t picked up on that yet.)

Submissions should be four to 10 pages (up to 2,500 words), and five authors will be chosen to read and discuss their submissions at the annual December event.

Deadline: Annually in mid-November.

13. Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

Fiction and nonfiction writers who have recently published a book that “contributes to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures” are eligible for this award, which offers $10,000 cash as well media and publicity opportunities.

Submissions must be published in the prior year (so books published in 2016 are eligible for the 2017 award).

Deadline: Annual submission window is September 1 through December 31.

14. Marfield Prize (a.k.a. National Award for Arts Writing)

Presented by the Arts Club of Washington, this award seeks to honor nonfiction books that deal with “any artistic discipline (visual, literary, performing, or media arts, as well as cross-disciplinary works).” This may include criticism, art history, memoirs and biographies, and essays.

Deadline: Annually in the last quarter of the year; the 2017 deadline has not yet been announced.

15. W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction

If you’re a war buff, this competition is for you. It awards $5,000 to the best piece of fiction set during a period when the U.S. was at war (war may either be the main plot of the piece or simply provide the setting). Submissions may be adult or YA novels.

Deadline: Annually on December 1.

16. Friends of American Writers Chicago Awards

FAW presents two annual awards: an Adult Literature Award for literary fiction or nonfiction, and a Juvenile Literature Award for a children’s/YA book.

Authors must reside in the state of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota or Wisconsin — or they must set their book in one of those locations. Prize amounts vary from year to year but are typically between $500 and $2,000.

Deadline: Annually at the end of the year; 2017 deadline has not yet been announced.

17. Hektoen Grand Prix Essay Contest

Hektoen International, an online journal dedicated to medical humanities, offers two prizes annually for essays of no more than 1,600 words in two categories.

The Grand Prize of $1,200 is given for an essay suited for their Famous Hospitals section, while a Silver Prize of $1,000 is given to the best essay suited for the sections of Art Flashes, Literary Vignettes, Moments in History or Physicians of Note.

Deadline: Annually; 2017 has passed and 2018 deadline is not yet announced.

18. Nelson Algren Short Story Award

Presented by the Chicago Tribune, this award presents $3,500 to one grand prize winner, $1,000 to four finalists and $500 to five runners-up for a short fiction story of less than 8,000 words.

You may submit up to two short stories, but note that your name must not appear anywhere on your submission as the process is anonymous.

Deadline: Annually; 2017 has passed and 2018 deadline is not yet announced.

19. Minotaur Books / Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition

Writers 18 and older who have never had a novel published (in any genre) are eligible for this prize, awarded for an original book-length manuscript where “murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the story.” The winner receives a publication contract with Minotaur Books and an advance of $10,000 against future royalties.

Deadline: Annually in the last quarter of the year. The deadline for 2017 awards has passed; the deadline for 2018 awards has not yet been announced.

20. FutureScapes Writing Contest

Want to change the world? Then listen up.

FutureScapes is looking for concrete, substantive pieces that “can provide a roadmap for cities, states, and nations to follow.” If you just want to write the next Hunger Games , this isn’t the contest for you, but if you’re inspired by politics and civic issues, you’ve found the right place. (Case in point: the inaugural theme, “ Empowerment Cities ,” features a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville.) First place wins $2,000; second place $1,000; and four runners-up will get $500 each. Oh, and did we mention publication in an anthology that will be “distributed to mayors, governors and members of the U.S. Congress”?

Deadline: Annually; deadline for 2017 is TBD.

21. Stowe Prize

This biennial prize of $10,000 honors an American author whose work has had an impact on a critical social justice issue (as did Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin ).

In addition to submitting a copy of your book or written work, you must also complete a 250-word statement that describes the tangible impact your piece has made in the world and outlining any social justice work you perform outside of your writing.

Deadline: Biennially in odd-numbered years. The deadline for 2017 awards has passed, and the deadline for 2019 have not yet been announced.

22. The Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Non-Fiction

Creative nonfiction essays of no more than 5,000 words on any subject, are eligible for consideration for this award, whose winner receives $250 and publication in Lunch Ticket , the literary and art journal produced by the MFA community of Antioch University Los Angeles.

Works must not have been published elsewhere. Award winners are required to submit a 100-word biography, recent photo and a short note thanking the Woods family for their generosity and support.

Deadlines: Biannual reading periods are the month of February for the Summer/Fall issue and the month of August for the Winter/Spring issue.

23. Words & Brushes

This contest seeks to foster collaborations between artists and writers. Select a piece of artwork from the gallery provided and submit a short story inspired by it and you could win $350 — plus a spot in a future art book showcasing these collaborations. Short stories should be between 2,000 – 5,000 words.

Deadline: Annually; 2017 has passed and 2018 deadline is not yet announced.

24. Write the World

For young writers ages 13-18, this cool contest also serves as a mini writer’s camp. Recognizing that “a first draft is never perfect,” submissions actually receive peer review by authors, writing teachers and other experts and writers are given the chance to revise their pieces based on this feedback before submitting them for final prize consideration. There’s a $100 prize for the winner and $50 for the runner-up (plus $50 for the best peer-reviewer). All three are featured on Write the World’s blog alongside comments from a guest judge. And since each month’s prompt is from a different genre, developing writers get a chance to test out different styles.

Stuck with writer’s block and looking for a way to jumpstart your escape? Prose offers weekly challenges meant to spark your creativity; many are just for fun, but look for the weekly numbered challenges posted by Prose (rather than community members or sponsors) for a chance to win money.

Prizes are typically between $100 – $200 and word counts are low — some as low as under 150, some as high as 500, but all say “quality beats quantity.” So even if all you get from the prompt is a chance to flex your brain, it’s not a bad deal.

Poetry contests

Curious about opportunities for poets? Your stanzas — rhyming or not — could be worth a fair amount of money in these competitions.

26. Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award

Open to African American poets, previously published or not, this award provides a $500 prize and publication by Boardside Lotus Press for the best book-length collection of poems (approximately 60 to 90 pages).

Deadline: Annually on March 1.

27. James Laughlin Award

If you’re already a published poet, this is the award for you; it’s given for a second book of poetry due to come out in the forthcoming year. The winner receives $5,000 and an all-expenses-paid week-long residency. In addition, copies of her book are distributed to the 1,000 members of the Academy of American Poets.

Deadline: Annual submission window is January 1 through May 15.

28. African Poetry Book Fund Prizes

The APBF awards three prizes annually for African Poetry. The Glenna Luschei Prize for Afican Poetry gives $5,000 for a book of original African poetry published in the prior year.

The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets gives $1,000 and a publication contract for an unpublished book-length collection of poetry by an African author.

The Brunel University African Poetry Prize is a new prize that grants £3,000 to a poet who was born in Africa, is a national of an African country or has African parents, who has not yet had a full-length book of poetry published. (U.S. citizens qualify.) To submit, you’ll need 10 poems.

Deadlines: See individual prize pages.

29. Tufts Poetry Awards

Claremont Graduate University presents two awards each year to poets they deem to be “outstanding.” The Kate Tufts Poetry Award grants $10,000 for a published first book of poetry that shows promise.

The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award grants a mammoth $100,000 for a published book of poetry by an an established or mid-career poet.

Deadline: Books published between July of the previous year and June 30 of the current year are eligible for the following year’s prize (i.e. award for 2017 was for works publishing between between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016). Deadline for 2018 awards has not yet been announced.

Writing contests with multiple categories

Some contests accept submissions in multiple categories, so you could submit a novella as well as a poem or other work.

30. Binghamton University Book Awards

Sponsored by the Binghamton Center for Writers — State University of New York, this competition offers a $1,000 prize for work published in the previous year in two separate categories. The John Gardner Fiction Book Award goes to the best novel or collection of fiction, while the Milt Kessler Poetry Book award goes to the best book of poems.

Deadline: Annually on March 1 for books published the previous year.

31. Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition

(Editor’s note: We were so excited to include this competition that we overlooked its entry fees. We’ll leave it in the post for those interested in submitting their work, but please note that this contest is not free.)

One of the longest-running writing competitions — it’s now in its 83rd year — this contest spotlights up and coming writers in a number of categories, including Memoirs/Personal Essay, Magazine Feature Article and Genre Short story.

The Grand Prize winner gets $5,000, a feature in Writer’s Digest magazine, a paid trip to a writing conference and more. Runners-up earn prizes in first through tenth places.

Deadline: Annually; May 5, 2017.

Where to find more legitimate, free writing contests

Looking for more opportunities to submit your work to writing contests? Here are a few great sites to keep an eye on.

Winning Writers

A number of the contests found on our list came highly recommended by this site, which compiles some of the best free literary contests out there. You can sort contests by recommendation level (Highly Recommended, Recommended or Neutral), view plenty of info on requirements and even see which contests are better for beginners, intermediate writers and pros.

They also offer a handful of contests themselves , including the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest (which sounds delightful).

Poets & Writers

Another fantastic source for legitimate writing contests I consulted when compiling this list, Poets & Writers vets competitions, contests, awards and grants to make sure they’re following legitimate practises and policies. It’s worth checking out regularly as it features both annual and one-time contests.

Cathy’s Comps and Calls

Writer, poet and editor Cathy Bryant sources legitimate, free-to-enter writing contests and calls for submission. She releases a new list of contests and calls each month, so check back monthly for new opportunities.

Are you planning to enter any writing contests this year? Which ones?

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase through our links, you’re supporting The Write Life — and we thank you for that!

This post originally ran in February 2016. We updated it in March 2017.

About the Author: Kelly Gurnett

Kelly Gurnett runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits and is growing her own freelance writing, editing and blogging empire day by day. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook and hire her services here.

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What a brilliant list! Thank you. Thank you too for the mention of Comps and Calls – I love finding free writing competitions, and some of them have very impressive prizes. I’m one of those old-fashioned writers who think that we should be paid for our work – and free comps are a great way of achieving that.

I’m with you on that “old-fashioned” notion. ��

Can I take part being Pakistan?

Ha! Of course! I get emails from people all over the world who have had success via Comps and Calls. Good luck!

While free writing contests are definitely great, it would be a little odd to overlook ones with fees. A lot of times you will be paying a fee somewhere along the way, it’s just nice when it’s upfront and not in the form of stealing your work. Check this one out, insider tip:

Good advice, Tiffany. For example, the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition (https://www.wclibrary.info/erma/) opens for entries on December 4, 2017, and there is a $15 fee which goes to fund four prizes ($500 to each winner plus a free registration, valued at $400+, to the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop at the University of Dayton, April 2018). Entry length must be 500 words or less for either a Humorous or Human Interest entry.

I have problems in finding short story competitions as I live in England. If you do post any short story competitions or any in the literary format, that would excite my senses.

You may want to check out these sites- but be aware, some require subscriptions, give precedence to subscribers or charge small entry fees; but not all do, and there are some free entrance comps in Canada that are worthwhile.

(These are monthly.)

There are many more, I’ve only begun to root those out.- I’ll post more as I discover them.

my problem is that I am disabled and I am looking for grant help.

Looking for a contest that my 10 old son can enter or a publishing company that can help with self-publishing. Any recommendation or advice please?

Please contact the publisher to discuss self-publishing for your son.

Our university just launched a new competition (no entry fee, no gimmicks) called FutureScapes. We’re an innovation office, and we’re looking for help from writers to help us envision cities of the future. Hugo-Award winning author Mary Robinette Kowal will be our judge this inaugural year. $2,000 for first place.

I’ve added it to July’s list for Comps and calls. Many thanks for getting in touch!

Hi Cathy and everyone,

The is a Mini Essay Writing Contest at biopage.com and there is no entry fee. The top prize is $1,000 and three runner-ups can win $200 each, which may be running bi-monthly. It is for really short essays with a limit of 1,000 words.

In the age of social media with majority of postings are pictures and videos, Biopage likes to encourage people to write – write about themselves, write their life stories and life experiences.

Here is the webpage to enter the contest:

Everyone can be a good writer and everyone is welcomed to participate!

Pity I cannot contest, being Sri Lankan. >>sigh<<

You can enter my contest.

We had winners from 5 different countries last year.

Stop discriminating writers. I’m a South African and I’d like to enter this competition. I’m already have the script.

hello sir, would it be possible for me to join even if I’m from the Philippines?

Old fashioned notions were/are just once legitimate notions of claims for money or what else, when in a time there were hardly or very little amount of writing gigs to get; let alone having someone getting paid for it. Now it is like there are too many people as working in the business here of transposing things across for a living. That really the only thing these vetted competitions do now is, just bunch up a bunch of people who cannot write, among judges judging as judges cannot much write either, and they sit around give a small vagabond gift amount of money in discovery for those who suck less at it. As really a sign should go up before hand about how real writers we really need not to apply here anymore. As none of the spirit of writing is left of writing. Everyone writes politically correct as only to affirm the lack for want of any real creativity getting dispersed.

Amen to that! I’ve read winners’ stories of a certain contest that is held by a magazine every year which I will not name and when I see the judges’ names, I think “Well, they don’t know anything about writing!” No wonder this was chosen.

Speak for yourself, honey. I’ve got a very politically INCORRECT story I’m working on right now. Who knows if anyone will publish it, though. It’s satirical and quite offensive.

While I like how your not afraid to speak your mind, and I really have no say in what you put in your books, could you please try not to offend too many people? This is just a suggestion, so feel free to do whatever you like.

My mind is full of stories to tell.. I am an idea person. Is there a place in this writers world for one like myself? Perhaps a writer lacking an idea? My mind screams..my voice mute. ��

Maybe you just need a writing partner. You have my attention.

I love to write, but I am almost always of of ideas…

Maybe you can let me know

Were do I find the legitmate ways to to get paid for entering contests? many are

scams so far that I researched, and entered. please let me know thanks.

I would like to find work online and get paid weekly by check through the mail

do you know of such?

Nice Post and thanks for the sharing free Legitimate contest list.

can i participate from sri lanka??

Every competition has its own rules, so you’d have to check the rules of the one you want to enter. Many are open worldwide, though, so good luck!

I see you havent included the South African Writers college competition – held annually..its free to enter and the 1st prize is R10,000..

The theme this year is “A person’s world is only as big as his heart”

Deadline April 30th

Only open to South African writers who have not been published.

Contests with a deadline past 1st April haven’t gone up yet – I put them up monthly at Comps and Calls. Is there an URL with guidelines?

Yes, the URL for the College is :www.sawriterscollege.co.za

Its only for unpublished SA writers but the prizes are pretty darned good: R10,000. R5,000 and R2000… and its free to enter. Cheers Ginny

Thanks! I’ve added it to the list. It’ll go up on 1st April and will be in the ‘Competitions’ section. Thanks for that and best wishes.

Im an indian Is it possible to take part in poetry competition I have not published even 1 book

Great List of Writing Contests!! Thank you very much for putting this together. As a aspiring beginner writer this is great place to decide,what contest to enter!

Folks might also want to check out Stories to Change the World, a short story contest for youth and adults about positive and possible futures. Deadline is approaching, check it out!

Here’s another competition for your list, this one for women only, memoir and contemporary/historical fiction: http://www.storycircle.org/SartonLiteraryAward/

Susan Wittig Albert

Sarton Award Coordinator

Thanks for sharing, Susan!

TWL Assistant Editor

This one has a $60 entry fee.

Got anything for children?

I’m only twelve, and yet I am currently working on my own fantasy/science fiction that can be entered into several of these contests

I’m only twelve, and yet I am currently working on my own fantasy/science fiction book (full lengh) that can be entered into several of these contests

The entry fee for the SCN competition is $90 and the prize money is $150.00 – does this look enticing to anyone, considering the effort involved for the author?

Thanks for this excellent list, Kelly!

I’ll be adding a direct link to it to my recent post over at The Kill Zone called “Indie Book Contests 2015” http://killzoneblog.com/2015/02/indie-book-contests-2015.html

and I’ll also add a link on my ongoing, continually updated list of Writers’ Conferences & Book Festivals in North America:

Thanks for sharing this post, Jodie!

TWL Assistant Editor

I like the competitions but I’m in South Africa? Can’t I enter? I think taking people only in one country isn’t fair because there is a great deal of talent out there that just needs to be found.

Yes. Also in SA, and I find it sooooo hard finding a compitition I can do.

Sounds like there is a need for writing competitions in SA. Why not start some?!

Apologies for the n00b question but out of interest – when they say ‘unpublished’ – do they mean unpublished which would include self published ebooks?

And if you were to submit something previously published on Kindle or Smashwords or the like – could you take it down for a period and still be considered?

I’d check the specific guidelines for each contest. Some specify whether situations like self-publication are acceptable or not. If the guidelines don’t go into any detail on that, you could always try contacting the organization sponsoring the contest.

I’m not sure about pulling down something that HAS previously been published, however. That feels like a risky gamble that might get you in trouble.

Thanks for posting this list. When it comes to short stories, I never think about competitions and always look for publications instead.

This is a great reminder of another valid option.

Thanks, Kelly, for this interesting article and list. One does have to watch out for scams and ineffective ways of publishing your work. And entering legitimate writing contests sounds a lot more challenging and rewarding.

When I was a college student, I had written some poems and essays, and was encouraged by friends to get them published. Being the babe in the woods I was at the time, I got about 30 to 40 copies published through a local “vanity press,” which cost me about $80 at the time. Learned my lesson to avoid being so vain.

Hello Kelly! Thank you for providing us with this awesome list! ��

Good compilation, will be of great help to me.

Thanks for sharing.

Correction: the Writer’s Digest contests are NOT free to enter. There are different fees listed on the site, as follows:

“Early-Bird Entry fees are $25 for the first manuscript; $20 for each additional entry submitted during the same transaction. Poems are $15 for the first entry; $10 for each additional poem submitted submitted during the same transaction. Entries submitted after the May 4, 2015 Early-Bird deadline are $30 for the first manuscript; $25 for each additional entry submitted during the same transaction. Poems are $20 for the first entry; $15 for each additional poem submitted submitted during the same transaction.”

Thanks, Laura! Another reader brought this to our attention as well, and I’ve added a note to the post.

TWL Assistant Editor

You are absolutely wright and why they are not recommended on Predators & Editors.

Your use of “wright” makes me wonder about any writing skills you may possess…

Everyone makes the odd mistake. Don’t judge someone by a single typo.

It is eye and I prefer to poses and to use my pen as the double edged sword it is don’t worry lady i’m sure this went over his head also.

This was a lot of work, but such a great resource for writers. Thanks for sharing this!

I’m just so stunned that the horrid poetry-competition people had so little concern for such a young aspirant poet, what a sick twisted lot they are, and you’re right, this kind of dream-baiting continues. Sharks and charlatans all, but the good thing is that you didn’t give up on your dream of writing, so you go girl -go for gold and more power to you!

Sadly, there are all sorts of ways writers and wannabe writers can fall into the wrong hands, from scam competitions to content mills that pay pennies per word. It’s all about knowing where to look for the legitimate resources. (This site is a great place to start.) ��

I wrote a piece to this site called the Eber & Wein publishing.

how well do you know about them? is this site scam? I never

sent in any money I was told I could win cash, and prizes, and

my name can be in this analogy. then you have to buy that.

Thanks for the list. Please can you give more lists for contests for African writers?

Great list of resources for free contests. I quite often scour Poets & Writers for possibilities and have heard of some of the others, like Story Circle Network, but some of these were quite new to me. Appreciate the time it takes to curate such a list and so glad you shared it with us. I’ll be passing it along to some of my friends and followers.

Can I join this Writing Contests ? I live in India.

Kindly respond me.

You’ll have to check with the individual competitions to see whether they allow worldwide entries. Good luck!

TWL Assistant Editor

Is there any writing contest in Peabody and I never public a book but can I still enter the writing contest is there more writing contest for Peabody with out scams .

This is a great list but is this just for writers in the US. I am in the UK.

Fair point, Ian — we’re based in the U.S. and know more about competitions here. We’ll see what we can do about a more international follow-up!

TWL Assistant Editor

Ian, Comps and Calls (that Heather lists) is UK-based. Although I include many international calls, it is UK-centric, simply because that’s my largest area of knowledge.

Thanks for chiming in, Cathy — good to know! All credit for the list goes to Kelly Gurnett, though ��

TWL Assistant Editor

Thank you so much. I’m so inspired seeing these all lined up in one place. Cheers!

This is well time for me and I am excited. I’m looking for ways to gain money for my Master’s and get recognized for the love of my heart: writing. I’m applying to some now and even composing new pieces. I’ve even set aside a certain amount of money that I’m writing to give to enter.

I love to write as well! I am only ten years old though, so I probably won’t be able to enter many contests even if I wanted to. I’m writing a novel called Cat Quest. Its not childish and stupid. I’m actually serious. I work on it about every other day or when I get time. I’m not lying. Could you experienced authors give me some tips?

Appreciate this list, my writing goal for this year- well, one of them, is to seek new writing and publishing opportunities and challenges. Thank you.

We provide a contest where you get paid either way, so long as you make the cut. It’s a bit different from the average writing contest, in that it is a public head to head battle. Check out thewritersarena.com for more info.

Thanks for sharing, Tony!

TWL Assistant Editor

That doesn’t offer any prize, does it?

Thanks for sharing, posted your site on my blog: hoyeocmova.com

At FanStory.com we have a membership fee $6.95 per month (or $48 for one year or $67 for two years). With the membership fee you can enter all of our contests at no charge. That’s over 50 contests every month. Some have a cash prize ($100) and others are just for the fun of the competition.

Thanks for sharing, Tom!

Wish to get info on free contests for poets in Nigeria.

Hey.. I have a short story of my stolen childhood.. Its a memoir.. It has touched a lot of ppl nd its very deep.. A lot of ppl who have read it has gained goose bumps nd a lot of others has related a lot to it.. I have councillors stating I should get it published as its very helpful to thoughts who have been through similar.. I write a lot about life nd the deeper I go with my words the more ppl feel it.. I have had a few ppl state they felt like it was happening to them the words stand out so much.. The only problem is as u see here with this paragraph I’m not so good with my editing.. I don’t know how or where to start with getting my writing seen to for hell in weather I can get my words out there.. I wouldn’t mind starting with competitions but its also great to have someone around that knows where nd how to help me start to get this out there.. My email is mines_l@yahoo.com I got a feeling this is a long shot but I’m keen to start somewhere.. It would be a great honor if u could pls give me some advice on where or how to start.. If u could pls email me I will be an honour

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