15 Writing Contests with Cash Prizes

Contributed By S. Kalekar

These are competitions for writers in various geographical demographics, ages, stages of their careers and genres – poetry, fiction, screenwriting, non-fiction and art criticism. Most have cash prizes, ranging from $250 to several thousand dollars. Most are for unpublished writing.

1. 2017 Linda Flowers Award

This award is for North Carolina writers. Entries (3-10 pages) of fiction, non-fiction or poetry must be deeply and palpably engaged with some aspect of North Carolina, must draw on particular North Carolina connections and/or memories, and profoundly celebrate excellence in the humanities.
Value: $1,500 and a stipend for a writer’s residency at Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities in Southern Pines, North Carolina
Deadline: 16 June, 2017
Open for: Authors aged 18 or over, living in North Carolina
Details here.

2. Creative Future Literary Awards

This is a writing competition for poetry (200 words) and flash fiction (300 words) on the theme of ‘Important Nothings’ – a Jane Austen quote to celebrate her 200th anniversary this year. It is for under-represented writers in the UK – carers and care leavers, those with physical, mental or learning disability or sensory impairment, long-term illness, substance misuse issues, for the homeless or those in temporary accommodation, abuse survivors, long-term unemployed, offenders or ex-offenders, part of the black, minority ethnic and refugee (BMER)/traveller community, LGBTQ community, or older persons.

Value: 12 prizes, including cash – £200, £150, £100, £50 – for each prose and poetry; professional mentorship and manuscript consultation for the top two categories; and courses/workshops, and inclusion in an anthology for all winners
Deadline: 26 June 2017
Open for: Under-represented writers in the UK
Details here.

3. Waterford Poetry Prize 2017

This is a poetry prize for those living in Ireland. There is a 40-line limit and they accept only hard copy submissions.

Value: €400 and a writing course; €300; €200
Deadline: 26 June 2017
Open for: All writers living on the island of Ireland
Details here.

4. NYFA Canadian Women Artists’ Award

This is an award for Canadian women artists, including students in bachelor’s or master’s degree programs, living in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut. There are various submission requirements, including a work sample (see guidelines). Artists can apply in various categories, including fiction, non-fiction literature, poetry, playwriting/screenwriting. The award is meant to support an early-career artist.

Value: $5,000
Deadline: 30 June 2017
Open for: Female Canadian citizens between the ages of 21 and 35 who are living and working in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut
Details here.

5. Bath Spa University – Novel in 25 Words

This contest celebrates 25 years of teaching creative writing at Bath Spa University. They want a novel in 25 words, on any topic, by anyone who is not a published author.

Value: £500 for the overall winner; for the winner and two runners-up, a recording of a reading by Jeremy Irons, publication, and sponsored travel within UK and an overnight stay in London for the anthology launch in September
Deadline: 30 June 2017
Open for: Anyone who is aged 18 or over, and is not a published author
Details here.

6. The British Czech & Slovak Association’s 2017 Writing Competition

They are looking for fiction or non-fiction on the links between Britain and the Czech/Slovak Republics, at any stage in their history, or describing society in transition in the Republics since 1989. Topics could be history, politics, the sciences, economics, the arts or literature. The writing must be 1,500-2,000 words and the suggested (not compulsory) theme is Brexit. Writers can submit as many entries as they like. Their website says the competition is open to writers of all ages, educational backgrounds and nationalities, and the competition is subject to terms and conditions, which are available by email or a phone call.

Value: £300 and £100, and publication in the British Czech and Slovak Review
Deadline: 30 June 2017
Open for: All writers
Details here.


8. 2018 Oregon Literary Fellowships

These are for helping Oregon writers initiate, develop or complete literary projects in poetry, fiction, literary nonfiction, drama and young readers literature. Writers in the early stages of their career are encouraged to apply. Submit 15 pages of poetry or 25 pages of prose; the work could be published or unpublished. Writers may also ask to be considered for Writers of Color Fellowship, Women Writers Fellowship, Oregon Arts Commission Fellowships or the Swails/Monroe Fiction Fellowships. There are also fellowships for Oregon-based magazines/small presses.

Value: Unspecified, but nine writers and two publishers were awarded $3,500 each last year
Deadline: 10 July 2017
Open for: Current, full-time Oregon residents; the requirements for residency are different for various fellowships

Details here and here.

9. The H.G. Wells Short Story Competition

This competition is free to enter for those 21 years and under. Writers must submit a 1,500-5,000 word story on the theme ‘Light’. Entry implies permission for stories to be used in an anthology.

Value: £1,000 for those aged 21 or younger, and publication
Deadline: 16 July 2017
Open for: Free for those aged 21 or younger; for older writers there is an entry fee and the prize money is lower
Details here.

10. Frieze Writer’s Prize 2017

This is an international award to discover and promote new art critics. Send one unpublished review of a recent contemporary art exhibition, of 700 words (could also be translated work).

Value: £2,000 and a writing commission for frieze magazine
Deadline: 18 July 2017
Open for: Any writer over 18 years of age, who has published no more than three pieces of writing on art
Details here.

11. The Joan Aiken Future Classics Prize

This contest is to search for a standout junior novel, that has the potential to be a classic. Submission requirements include the first 10,000 pages of the manuscript.

Value: £1,000 and a full set of ‘The Wolves Chronicles’ for the winner; finalists get a chance to meet Julia Churchill, children’s book agent at A. M. Heath, to discuss their work
Deadline: 31 July 2017
Open for: Un-agented children’s book writers in the UK or Ireland
Details here.

12. Polar Expressions Publishing: 10th Annual National Poetry and Short Story Competitions

These competitions, for poetry and short stories, are open for Canadian residents and citizens of all ages. Poems must be up to 48 lines and short stories, up to 750 words.

Value: CA$500, CA$250, CA$100 each in poetry and short story for those aged 16 or over; CA$200, CA$100 and CA$50 each in poetry and short stories for those aged 15 and under; publication
Deadline: 31 July 2017
Open for: Canadian residents and citizens
Details here.

13. The 2017 Winter Tangerine Awards

This is for new and emerging poets and writers. Submit up to 4 poems (up to 8 pages) and/or 12 pages of prose.

Value: Two prizes of $250, publication; $20 for finalists
Deadline: 1 August 2017
Open for: New and emerging poets and writers (those who have not published a book)
Details here.

14. 2018 PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History

This is for a literary unpublished non-fiction work-in-progress that uses oral history to illuminate an event, individual, place, or movement. Scholarly/academic writing is ineligible. The grant is to help maintain or complete the ongoing project. There are various submission requirements, including a writing sample (20-40 pages) and transcripts of the project interviews (6-10 pages).

Value: $10,000
Deadline: 15 August 2017
Open for: A single individual, writing in English
Details here.

15. LaSalle Storyteller Award

This supports an artist working in storytelling in the Washington State. The 2017 award is for fiction. There are various submission requirements, including a work sample.

Value: $10,000
Deadline: 28 August 2017; see guidelines for details about consultation, Webinar and preliminary review dates
Open for: Washington State artists
Details here.


Bonus: 2 Competitions With Non-Cash Prizes

2017 The Review of English Studies Essay Prize

This is for essays by those studying for a higher degree, in Britain or abroad. The Review of English Studies publishes literary-historical research in all areas of English literature and the English language. The essay can be on any relevant subject, from the earliest period to the present. The prize aims to encourage fine scholarship amongst postgraduate research students. Submit one essay, up to 10,000 words, including footnotes and references. Their website has detailed instructions on presentation and style.

Value: No cash prize; publication in and a year’s subscription to The Review of English Studies, and £500 worth of OUP books

Deadline: 30 June 2017
Open for: Anyone studying for a higher degree, or who completed one no earlier than January 2015.
Details here.

Undiscovered Voices Fellowship

This is for writers in the Washington area having limited income. The prize is free workshops, to help the writer develop a manuscript. Submission requirements include reference letters and writing samples in one genre – 8 pages of poetry, 10 pages of fiction or non-fiction, or 15 pages of a script or screenplay.

Value: No cash prize; complementary writing workshops by The Writer’s Center for the winner for a period of one year (up to 8 workshops)
Deadline: 16 June 2017
Open for: Writers in the Washington area earning less than $25,000/year
Details here – scroll down to the middle of the page.


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