34 Free Writing Contests and Cash Grants for Writers (Up to $70,000)

These are contests/grants for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, up to about $70,000. One of the deadlines is in September, the rest are in October. – S. Kalekar


T Paulo Urcanse Prize for Literary Excellence

T Paulo Urcanse was a Portuguese writer and activist, most famous for his short novel, The Pucker Fish. He spent a lot of money entering prizes for his short fiction and poetry, but never won. In his honor, the High Horse Magazine is issuing a prize for literary excellence – it is open to “poets, writers, and essayists of all colors and stripes. Whether you be a lonely writer looking for community and wanting to make your literary debut, or a similarly eggheaded and celebrated writer in the vein of the namesake of this prize, we welcome your submissions with open arms, without fees or prerequisites”.
Value: $250, $100, $50
Deadline: 1 October 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Changing Skies Climate Fiction Contest
Their website says, “Changing Skies is our climate change-focused journal, launched by our parent title, Hindsight Creative Nonfiction. Launched in 2022, Changing Skies seeks more submissions for our upcoming 2023 Volume II issue. Send us your creative nonfiction writing (prose only; no poetry for this contest) about climate change! How has it affected you? People you know? If it’s about climate change, we want to read it.” Please note, all submissions will also be considered for print and online publication, including podcast. They have other opportunities too on the Submittable page, please be sure to submit in the correct category. They’re affiliated with University of Colorado Boulder.
Value: $500, $200
Deadline: 1 October 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Table//FEAST Literary Magazine Contests
They are accepting entries for two contests; one is open to writers ages 50 years and above, and the other is open to LGBTQIA2S+ writers.
— The 50 & Up Writer Awards: This contest will focus on only accepting works from writers 50 years and up. There will be a winner in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction that receive $50, and for any and each year of age past that mark, one additional dollar will be added to a writer’s prize.
— The Kenan Ince Memorial Prizes in Poetry & Prose: This contest will focus only on accepting works from LGBTQIA2S+ writers. There will be a category open to prose and one open to poetry. Each winner will receive $250.
Values: See above
Deadline: 1 October 2023 for both Table//FEAST Literary Magazine contests
Open for: See above
Details here.

Mallorqueta Inaugural Short Story Contest
They want a short story of up to 5,000 words. The narrative must have a connection to Mallorca, either in setting or relevance to Mallorcan culture. The winning piece will be published in the first issue of Mallorqueta magazine, scheduled for 1 March 2024, and receive a cash payment. They accept entries in all genres. The competition is open to authors of all nationalities. Submissions may be in English, Catalan or Spanish.
Value: €300
Deadline: 1 October 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

The Camargo Core Program
This residency at Cassis, France is for artists (including writers, playwrights and translators) and scholars/thinkers, to think, create and connect. Applicants should have a publication and/or grant track record. They welcome spouses/partners and dependent minor children. Fellowships span 10 weeks.
Value: $350 per week, basic coach class travel (see guidelines)
Deadline: 1 October 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.
(And A Public Space Writing Fellowship, for writers who have not yet published a book, is scheduled to open in the Fall; three Fellows will be awarded $1,000 each, editorial support to prepare a piece for the magazine, and other benefits; keep a lookout on their website for announcements.)

Getty Scholar Grants
These are for researchers of all nationalities who are working in the arts, humanities, or social sciences, for established scholars and writers who have achieved distinction in their fields. Recipients can pursue their own projects free from academic obligations and make use of Getty collections. There are three-, six-, and nine-month residencies. The annual theme for this cycle is Extinction. Also see their FAQ. And see the African American Art History Initiative Fellowship on the program page.
Value: $21,500-65,000, residency
Deadline: 2 October 2023
Open for: Established scholars and writers
Details here and here.

American Antiquarian Society: Fellowships for Creative and Performing Artists and Writers
These are fellowships for historical research by the American Antiquarian Society at Worcester, Massachusetts, for those who wish to produce “imaginative, non-formulaic works dealing with pre-twentieth-century American history.” Room fee will be charged if staying in the Society’s scholars’ housing. Fellowship projects may include (but are not limited to) historical novels, documentary films, TV programs, radio broadcasts, plays, screenplays, illustration and other graphic arts, magazine or newspaper articles, and non-fiction works of history for a general audience, either for adults or for children.
Value: $2,000 (less room fee of $500-700 in some cases – see guidelines), residency  
Deadline: 5 October 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here and here

The Furious Gazelle’s 2023 Halloween Writing Contest
The Furious Gazelle literary magazine wants submissions of Halloween-themed poetry, fiction, short plays, and creative non-fiction. Each writer can submit either one short story (max 4,000 words), one play 9up to 10 pages), or up to three shorter pieces (any combination of flash pieces / poems is ok as long as they don’t exceed 3 submissions). Poems shouldn’t exceed two pages; flash pieces should be capped at 1,500 words each.
Value: $50; $5
Deadline: 6 October 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

The McGraw Business Journalism Fellowship
The McGraw Fellowship provides editorial and financial support to journalists who need the time and resources to produce a significant investigative or enterprise story that provides fresh insight into an important business, financial or economic topic. They accept applications for text, photo, audio, or short-form video pieces, and they encourage proposals that take advantage of more than one storytelling form to create a multimedia package. This is not a residency Fellowship. All Fellows work from their own offices. It is open to anyone with at least five years professional experience in journalism (you do not have to be a business journalist to apply; many of their many of their previous Fellows have been generalists, or cover beats such as health care, education or the environment). Freelance journalists, as well as reporters and editors currently working at a news organization or a journalism non-profit, may apply. The application includes a story proposal. They accept applications twice a year. The deadline to apply for Fall 2023 Fellowships is October 6, 2023. Applications for the Spring 2024 Fellowships will be due March 31, 2024. Also see their FAQ.
Value: Grants of up to $15,000
Deadline: 6 October 2023 (will also consider time-sensitive projects on a case-by-case basis outside of the deadline periods)
Open for: Anyone with at least five years of experience in journalism
Details here.

Defenestrationism: 2023 Flash Suite Contest
This is a contest for at least three flash fiction pieces (up to 1,000 words each) that co-relate in some way. A single piece of the suite may have been published before, otherwise, no previously published material. Finalists will be published daily on the site, followed by at least two weeks of Fan Voting – winners will be selected by a judging panel, with Fan Voting counting as an additional judge vote.    
Value: $75, $60
Deadline: 11 October 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

One Story: Adina Talve-Goodman Fellowship
This fellowship is for an early-career writer of fiction who has not yet published a book and is not currently nor has ever been enrolled in an advanced degree program (see guidelines). “We are seeking writers whose work speaks to issues and experiences related to inhabiting bodies of difference. This means writing that centers, celebrates, or reclaims being marginalized through the lens of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, religion, illness, disability, trauma, migration, displacement, dispossession, or imprisonment.” Apart from the stipend and tuition to attend One Story’s week-long summer writers’ conference, it offers free tuition for all One Story online classes and programming; a full manuscript review & consultation with One Story Executive Editor Hannah Tinti (story collection or novel in progress up to 150 pages/35,000 words). A fiction writing sample of 3,000-5,000 words is part of the submission requirement.
Value: Stipend ($2,000) and free admission at their writers’ conference, other benefits (see above)
Deadline: 12 October 2022
Open for: Early-career fiction writers (see guidelines)
Details here.
(There are other opportunities listed too on the One Story Submittable page, please be sure to submit to the correct category.)

Preservation Foundation Essay Contest: Travel Nonfiction
They want essays, 1,000-5,000 words, by unpublished writers (see guidelines). They are currently reading for the Travel Nonfiction category – “Stories should be factual and true accounts of a trip taken by the author or a person or persons known by the author.” Please read the guidelines carefully; “contest runners-up and winners are expected to remain on the site for as long as the Preservation Foundation exists.”
Value: $200; $100
Deadline: 30 October 2023
Open for: All unpublished writers (see guidelines)
Details here.

The Open Notebook/Burroughs Wellcome Fund Early Career Fellowship Program
This is a global opportunity for early-career science journalists. The fellowship is remote and part-time. Fellows will pitch, report and write four articles for publication at The Open Notebook with the guidance of a mentor who will help shape story ideas, provide reporting and writing guidance, edit final copy, and offer career-development mentoring. Each fellow will receive a stipend. The fellowship is open to early-career science writers with less than three years of regular professional science writing experience. (Internships and student work do not count toward this requirement). Graduate students in the sciences who are interested in science writing are eligible. 
Value: $6,000
Deadline: 31 October 2023
Open for: Early-career science journalists
Details here.

The Society of Authors: The McKitterick Prize
This prize is for an author over the age of 40 for a debut fiction novel, published or self-published in the UK, or unpublished. The author must not have had a novel published before, barring works for children. For unpublished manuscripts, submit the first 30 pages.    
Value: £4,000, £2,000
Deadline: 31 October 2023
Open for: Debut novelists over 40
Details here.

The Society of Authors: The ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Awards
This award is for a short story of up to 5,000 words, published or unpublished. Applicants must have had at least one short story published or accepted for publication.    
Value: £2,000, £1,000, £500
Deadline: 31 October 2023
Open for: UK, Ireland, or Commonwealth based authors
Details here.

The African Poetry Book Fund: Evaristo Prize for African Poetry
The African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) runs writing contests, and the deadline for the Evaristo Prize is in November. The Evaristo Prize for African Poetry was formerly called the Brunel International African Poetry Prize. It is for poets born in Africa, or who are nationals of an African country, or whose parents are African, and who have not yet had a full-length poetry book published (self-published poetry books, chapbooks, and pamphlets are exempt). These poems, though, may have already been published. Writers need to submit 10 poems exactly, of up to 40 lines each. Only poems written in English can be considered, but they accept poems in translation too. In the case that the winning work is translated, a percentage of the prize money would be awarded to the translator. The submission category for this contest will open on Submittable during the submission period.  
Value: £1,500
Submission period: 1 October to 1 November 2023
Open for: African poets
Details here (guidelines) and here (Submittable – this has other opportunities also, please be sure to submit to the correct one).
(See all the African Poetry Book Fund contests here, including one for poetry manuscripts that has an early December deadline.)

Black Mountain Institute: Shearing Fellowship
This is a residential fellowship for emerging and distinguished writers who have published at least one book with a trade or literary press. Apart from the cash stipend, this fellowship includes: a semester-long letter of appointment; eligibility for health coverage; office space in the BMI offices on the campus of UNLV; free housing (fellows cover some utilities) in a unique and vibrant arts complex in the bustling district of downtown Las Vegas. While there are no formal teaching requirements, this is a “working fellowship” (see guidelines).
(The page also has details of City of Asylum fellowships, now closed, which provides safe haven for writers whose voices are muffled by censorship, or who are living with the threat of imprisonment or assassination; these are associated with the International Cities of Refuge network, which serves as an umbrella organization and information clearinghouse for local asylum programs worldwide – also see their Residencies, Scholarships, and Grants list; the information is dated, but it is a great resource for artists at risk.)
Value: $40,000 over 9 months, residency
Deadline: 1 November 2023
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize
This a contest for writers from the Commonwealth of Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, Caribbean, and Pacific (see the list of eligible countries here) – send a piece of short fiction, in any genre, of 2,000-5,000 words. They take entries in several languages apart from English. Translated stories are also eligible.
Value: £5,000; regional prizes of £2,500 each
Deadline: 1 November 2023
Open for: Writers in Commonwealth countries
Details here.

(A couple of contests with later deadlines are:

One Teen Story Contest, a fiction contest for teenaged writers by One Story Magazine, is open for entries; there are three categories divided age-wise for this contest. The deadline is 27 November and the prize is $500. See this page and Submittable for details.

— The Writers College: My Writing Journey Competition
– They want a 600-word piece on ‘The best writing tip I’ve ever received’. The contest is open to writers all over the world. The prize is AUD200/£100, the deadline is 31 December 2022, and it is open for all writers, details here.)


(Canadian writers should also see the awards for Commonwealth writers: the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Awards and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in the international section.)

American Academy in Berlin Fellowship
This is for US-based people (including collaborators) who wish to engage in independent study, for a semester (occasionally, for a full academic year). Academy fellows are established and emerging scholars, writers, and professionals who wish to engage in independent study. Applicants working in most other fields—such as journalism, filmmaking, or public policy—must have a significant record of publication or production. Writers of fiction and nonfiction must have published at least one book with a reputable press at the time of application (composers, artists, and poets are by invitation only). Candidates should explain how their projects will benefit from a residency in Berlin, but they need not be working on German topics. Past recipients have included historians, economists, filmmakers, art historians, journalists, legal scholars, musicologists, public-policy experts, former government officials, NGO leaders, and writers. Most accommodations are also suitable for couples; they also offer accommodations for a limited number of families with children.
Value: Round-trip airfare, $5,000 per month, residency near Berlin
Deadline: 29th September for application, 8th October 2023 to submit letters of reference
Open for: People permanently based in the US
Details here, here, and here.

PEN America: US Writers Aid Initiative
This is intended to assist fiction and non-fiction authors, poets, playwrights, screenwriters, translators, and journalists. To be eligible, applicants must be based in the United States, be professional writers, and be able to demonstrate that this one-time grant will be meaningful in helping them to address an emergency situation. Writers do not have to be PEN members to apply.
Value: Unspecified
Deadline: 1 October 2023
Open for: US writers
Details here.

Canada Council for the Arts’ Explore and Create Grants: Research and Creation Grants
These are for Canadian artists, curators and writers (literature includes fiction, poetry, drama, graphic novel, young people’s literature, literary non-fiction, exploratory literary works using new technologies, spoken word creation, storytelling and literary performance). There are various types of grants and sub-categories. Research and Creation Grants (within Explore and Create) provide support for creative research, creation and project development. Individuals who self-identify as Deaf or disabled, including those living with mental illness, or a First Nations, Inuit or Métis artist facing language, geographic and/or cultural barriers, and require to pay someone to help them with the application process, may be eligible for application assistance.
Value: Up to CAD25,000 per year (up to CAD50,000 for 2 years) for Research and Creation grants
Deadline: 4 October 2023 for Research and Creation grants
Open for: Canadian writers
Details here and here.
(They also have Professional Development for Artists, Concept to Realization Project Grants, and more within Explore and Create Grants, some with October deadlines for Canadian artists – see here.
And see all Canada Council for the Arts’ grants for individuals, groups, and organizations here. One of the categories is the Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples.)

Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship
This is for a poet of American birth, who is willing to spend a year outside the continent of North America. While many recent winners have been published poets, there is no requirement that applicants have previously published their work. Applications have to be mailed. One of the requirements is a poetry sample.
Value: Approximately $71,000 adjusted for inflation
Deadline: 15 October 2023 (must be received by this date)
Open for: Poets of American birth (see guidelines)
Details here (application instructions), here (FAQ – includes link to application form), and here (home page).

Neal Peirce Foundation Journalism Travel Grants
These grants are for freelance and fully employed journalists to cover under-told stories about ways to make cities and their metro regions work better for all their people. The grants enable journalists to travel to cities within the U.S. to produce one or more stories for publication. And, “Reporters, writers, editors, and photographers working in print, online, radio, television and multimedia are eligible for travel grant awards if they have had stories published or aired in the previous 3 years. We especially welcome applicants early in their journalism careers or from backgrounds underrepresented in today’s news media.”
Value: Up to $1,500; will issue up to 7 grants
Deadline: 16 October 2023
Open for: Freelance and fully employed journalists
Details here and here.

The Haven Foundation Grants
These grants were instituted by Stephen King after he suffered a debilitating accident. They give financial assistance to help freelance artists and writers who have suffered disabilities or a career-threatening illness, accident, natural disaster or personal catastrophe. Applications have to be mailed. Also see their FAQ.
Value: Varying
Deadline: 20 October 2023 (must be received by this date)
Open for: Legal US residents
Details here.

PEN America: Screenwriters Emergency Financial Assistance Fund
This is for US-based emerging/early-career screenwriters who are able to demonstrate a financial need (see guidelines). Their website says, “PEN America recognizes the financial hardship that many screenwriters are experiencing due to the work stoppage in the industry. To demonstrate our support for film and television writers and their families, we have launched the Screenwriters Emergency Financial Assistance Fund, a new, short-term program of PEN America’s  U.S. Writers Aid Initiative. This emergency fund will serve early career screenwriters with one-time, rapid-response grants to help meet essential financial needs, such as housing, food, utilities, and health care. Grants in amounts of $500 or $1000 will be distributed on a first-come-first serve basis to eligible screenwriters.”
Value: $500-1,000Deadline: 30 October 2023
Open for: US-based screenwriters
Details here.

Diann Blakely National Poetry Competition
This contest is affiliated with the University of Georgia. Submissions will open on 1st October. Send a single poem, of 50 lines or fewer. Apart from a cash prize, the winner also receives 25 broadsides of their poem.
Value: $500
Submission period: 1-31 October 2023
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

U.S. Naval Institute General Prize Essay Contest
This prize is for an essay of up to 3,000 words on rethinking how Sea Services will have to address national, strategic, and operational challenges in an era of intense global competition, and how they will have to fight – see guidelines for the theme details/suggestions. The contest is open to “all contributors – active-duty military, reservists, veterans, and civilians”, according to their guidelines.  
Value: $6,000, $3,000, $2,000
Deadline: 31 October 2023
Open for: “All contributors – active-duty military, reservists, veterans, and civilians”
Details here.
(See all of U.S. Naval Institute’s contests here, including those with November deadlines.)

Changes Book Prize
The Changes Book Prize gives a cash award and publication for a poet’s first or second poetry manuscript of 48-80 pages – it is open to US residents who have not published (or committed to publishing) more than one book-length collection of poetry with a registered ISBN. 
Value: $10,000
Deadline: 1 November 2023
Open for: US residents, for a first or second poetry book
Details here and here.

She Does the City: New Voices Fund
This fund is open to women, non-binary, and transgender writers, who have less than 20 bylines to their name and are Canadian residents, by She Does the City. “The New Voices Fund has been established to offer opportunities to talented writers who’ve not yet been discovered. If you love to write about the arts and entertainment, or have a compelling personal story to share, you’ve come to the right place. Chosen writers will receive a $200 honorarium.” Some of the topics they are interested in are: Your personal experiences as an artist; Unique perspectives within Canada’s arts & entertainment industry; and Creative projects that inspire positive change; Strong opinions, or emotional responses, to contemporary art and pop culture (recent films, TV series, plays, books, art exhibits).
They also have monthly themes, but writers can send submissions outside of these themes, as well.
Value: CAD200
Deadline: Unspecified
Open for: Emerging Canadian women, non-binary, and transgender writers (see guidelines)
Details here
(Also see She Does the City’s general pitch guide for freelancers here.)


(Writers should also seethe McKitterick Prize, the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Awards, and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in the international section.)

Hachette UK: Love at First Line Writing Competition
This is an opportunity for underrepresented writers in the UK who are also unagented. “We are inviting all writers from a Black, Asian or Mixed Heritage background to submit the first 5,000 words of a commercial novel with a romantic theme, as well as a synopsis of up to 500 words describing the rest of the story. The winner of the Love at First Line competition will receive a cash prize, a virtual conversation with (author) Mike Gayle, four mentoring sessions with an editor from Hodder & Stoughton and entry onto the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers Scheme.” The prize is via Hachette UK’s The Future Bookshelf.
Value: £2,500, mentoring, other non-cash prizes
Deadline: 1 October 2023
Open for: Unagented minority writers in the UK (see above)
Details here.

Footnote x Counterpoints Writing Prize
This is an opportunity for writers of refugee or migrant backgrounds in the UK/Ireland. “Submissions must be for narrative non-fiction, centred around themes of displacement, identity and/or resistance. Footnote and Counterpoints welcome eclectic and expansive interpretations of displacement, identity and/or resistance and are especially interested in work that sits at intersections, or across cultures, communities and borders, moving beyond the personal to touch upon some of the key social and political themes of our times.” Please also read about the entry requirements, which also includes a sample of 8,000 to 10,000 words, a detailed proposal of c. 3,000 words, and a 30-60 second video introduction (click on the ‘How to enter’ tab). And, “There is no age restriction on who can submit an entry for the Prize but if you are aged 18 or under then those with responsibility for you must also confirm their agreement to your entry.” They accept both agented and unagented submissions.
Value: £15,000 (includes an advance of £5,000 and a publication agreement with Footnote Press); winners also get access to workshops and a week-long writing residency (see guidelines)
Deadline: 1 October 2023
Open for: Writers of refugee or migrant backgrounds in the UK/Ireland
Details here.

Writers & Artists: Working-Class Writers Prize
This prize is for writers with a working class background, in the UK and Ireland. Submission requirements include the beginning of a work-in-progress in any genre of prose, of up to 2,000 words. They have other prizes also apart from the cash prize, including mentorship, and a year’s free subscription to The Society of Authors. Value: £200, mentorship, other prizes
Deadline: 2 October 2023
Open for: UK writers
Details here.

The Society of Authors: The Eric Gregory Awards
These are for young UK poets. The work submitted may be a published or unpublished volume of poetry (up to 30 poems), drama-poems or belles-lettres. The prize purse for these awards is unspecified. “Winners may also be given the opportunity to take part in a free residency at Thomas Cottage, part of a historic farmhouse in the Lake District hamlet of Hartsop.” 
Value: Unspecified
Deadline: 31 October 2023
Open for: Poets who are British nationals or living in the UK/North Ireland aged 30 or under
Details here.

The Young Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction
This is a prize for young UK writers for two categories, ages 11-15 and 16-19. They want historical fiction of 800-2,000 words. The fiction can be in any form – a story or an extract from a longer work, a poem or drama script, a fictional diary, letters, or reportage. The story can be set at any time in history, as long as it is an identifiable period before the author was born, in a world recognisably different from the present. They want mailed entries only.
Value: £500 travel and research grant for two category winners
Deadline: 31 October 2023
Open for: UK residents aged 11-19
Details here and here (download the entry form)

Bio: S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine. She can be reached he.


We send you writing jobs.

Sign up and we'll send you 3 companies hiring writers now. Plus, we'll send more companies as we find and review them. All in our free email magazine.

We're the magazine for freelance writers.

We send you companies hiring writers.

Subscribe and we'll send you 3 companies hiring right now.

We'll also send you a guide that gets you started.

We're completely free.

Subscribe now. (It's free.)


About Us

We're dedicated to helping freelance writers succeed. We send you reviews of freelance writing companies, assignments, and articles to help build your writing career. You can view our privacy policy here, and our disclaimer. To get started, simply enter your email address in the form on this page.