35 Contests for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Journalism, and More. (Up to $75,000 in Prizes)

– S. Kalekar

These are contests for fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism, and more, with prizes up to $75,000. Some contests have themes. They are roughly divided geographically.


The Heron’s Nest: Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards
This poetry contest is run by The Heron’s Nest, a quarterly online journal of haiku. Submit up to five haiku for this contest.
Value: $200, $100, $50
Deadline: 1 June 2023
Open for: All poets
Details here

PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants
This international grant is to support the translation of book-length works of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or drama that have not previously appeared in English in print or have appeared only in an outdated or otherwise flawed translation. Works should be translations-in-progress, as the grant aims to provide support for completion. The works must be translated into English. Projects may have up to two translators. There are various submission requirements, including a translation sample of 8-10 pages.
Value: $2,000-4,000
Deadline: 1 June 2023
Open for: All writers
 Details here and here.
(There is also the PEN Grant for the English Translation of Italian Literature, and candidates will be chosen from the PEN/Heim Grant applicant pool; the grant is $5,000. Details here.)

PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship

This is for an author of children’s or young-adult fiction. The fellowship is for helping writers whose work is of high literary caliber and is designed to assist a writer at a crucial moment in his or her career to complete a book-length fiction work-in-progress. Applicants must have already published one work for children or young adults that was warmly received by literary critics, but whose work has not yet attracted a broad readership. 
Value: $5,000
Deadline: 1 June 2023
Open for: Published YA/children’s writers (by a US trade publisher)
Details here and here.

PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History
These grants are for literary works of nonfiction that use oral history to illuminate an event, individual, place, or movement. They are to help maintain or complete ongoing projects. Oral history must be a significant portion of the work and its research. Writers have to send in writing samples and transcripts as part of the application.   
Value: Two grants of $15,000 each
Deadline: 1 June 2023
Open for: Unspecified
Details here and here.

The Africa Institute: Global Africa Translation Fellowship
The fellowship welcomes applications from across the Global South for a grant to complete translations of works from the African continent and its diaspora, into English or Arabic. This is a non-residential fellowship. Projects may be retranslations of old, classic texts, previously untranslated works, poetry, prose, or critical theory collections. The project may be a work-in-progress, or a new project feasible for completion within the timeframe of the grant. Application includes a translation sample.
Deadline: 1 June 2023
Value: $1,000-5,000
Open for: Translators in the Global South
Details here.

The OFIC Press Prize
This prize will be awarded to up to 2 novels and up to 3-4 novellas. They will publish novels as standalone books in 2024, and novellas will be compiled into an anthology. “We’re looking for manuscripts that don’t really fit in a traditional publishing category, maybe because they’re too romance-y for general or literary fiction, and not romance-y enough for romance. Or maybe there’s just a truly tasteless amount of smut. What we value most is an earnest portrayal of character, interesting relationship dynamics, and well-crafted prose that prioritizes clarity and voice.” And, “Novellas can be 12,000 to 50,000 words; novels are over 50,000. While we have no upper limit, know that anything over 150k is going to be a really hard sell.” Please read the note about physical print distribution and contributor copies.
Value: $1,000 each for novels, $250 each for novellas
Deadline: 1 June 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here (scroll down) and here.

The Forum Essay Prize: Courageous Arts

This is an essay prize from Oxford Academic / Oxford University Press and is open to all researchers, whether early-career or established, on the Courageous Arts theme. “We are looking for bold, visionary and persuasive essays that use academic research to pursue innovative questions. … The topic may be addressed from the perspective of any of the literatures (including literary linguistics, translation and comparative literature approaches) normally covered by the journal: Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Please note that material of a predominantly social science or sociological nature falls outside our scope. 
We are seeking submissions that focus on literature, film, art, or other cultural outputs that manifest courage in their content or form and/or which provoke us to be courageous in how we read, write, research and teach in our discipline(s).” The winning essay will also get published in an issue of Forum for Modern Language Studies.
Value: £500
Deadline: 1 June 2023
Open for: All researchers
Details here.

Defenestration.net Short Story Contest
They want a short story which should include an incident of defenestration – the art or –ism of throwing people out of windows. This need not be literal. Their team defines such an incident as follows – “a sudden, immediate, even violent shift, change, or seismical event between the beginning and the end.” There will voting by four judges for this contest, with fan voting counting as an additional judge vote.
Value: $75, two runner-up prizes of $30 each
Deadline: 7 June 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.  

Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Contest
This is for junior and senior division (11-14 and 15-18) students worldwide. The theme for this ocean awareness contest is Climate Heroes in Action (see guidelines). There are various categories: Visual Art; Poetry & Spoken Word; Creative Writing; Film; Performing Arts: Music & Dance; and Interactive & Multimedia.
Value: Senior division – $1,500, $1,000, $500, $300, $250 in each category; Junior division – $1,000, $750, $250, $150, $100 for each category
Deadline: 12 June 2023
Open for: Students ages 11-18
Details here.

Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors
This is a climate fiction contest from Fix, Grit’s solutions lab. “We’re looking for stories of 3,000 to 5,000 words that envision the next 180 years of climate progress — roughly seven generations – imagining intersectional worlds of abundance, adaptation, reform, and hope.” They have detailed guidelines, please read them carefully.
Value: $3,000, $2,000, $1,000; and $300 each for nine winners
Deadline: 13 June 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here and here.

Sapiens Plurum Short Fiction Contest
Sapiens Plurum conducts an annual short fiction contest, opening on Earth Day of each year. The theme is Building Communities in the Face of Climate Change. They have detailed guidelines, including, “We invite stories that explore how we can use science and technology to build resilient communities in a rapidly changing world. We are most interested in the ways that science and technology can help us to ride out the coming storms, especially in communities already under stress.” Submissions should be 1,500-3,000 words.
Value: $1,000, $500, $300
Deadline: 15 June 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here and here.

The Orchards Poetry Journal: Grantchester Award

In each issue, two poems will be eligible for The Grantchester Award. Regarding submissions they say, “While we encourage rhymed verse in traditional forms, we also accept finely wrought free verse.” Send up to 3 poems, preferably unpublished.
Value: $50, $30
Deadline: 15 June 2023
Open for: All poets
Details here.

Kelsey Street Press: QTBIPOC 2023 Poetry Manuscript Contest
This is an international poetry manuscript prize for QTBIPOC-identified, feminist, innovative writers/poets. The prize winner will receive publication along with a cash award to help aid in book promotion, travel, event attendance, and a general contribution to the hopes of thriving as an artist. The editors seek work that challenges and engages alternative conventions, a poetics of allowance that encourages writers to write directly from their own creative imperatives. For the scope of this contest, QTBIPOC is inclusive of Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans, Nonbinary, Queer, Two Spirit, Indigiqueer and/or Intersex Writers.
Value: $1,000
Deadline: 15 June 2023
Open for: QTBIPOC writers
Details here.

The Norton Writer’s Prize
This is a non-fiction prize for undergraduates who are enrolled in an accredited 2- or 4-year college or university, enrolled during the 2022-23 year, and aged 17 or above. They will accept literacy narratives, literary and other textual analyses, reports, profiles, evaluations, arguments, memoirs, proposals, multimodal pieces, and other forms of original nonfiction pieces of 1,000-3,000 words. Entries require nomination by an instructor.
Value: Three prizes of $1,000 each
Deadline: 15 June 2023
Open for: Undergraduates
Details here.

Goi Peace Foundation: International Essay Contest for Young People
This is an international essay contest for people aged up to 25 years, in two categories – children and youth. The theme is, Youth Creating a Peaceful Future. See guidelines for theme details. Entries can be in English, French, (up to 700 words), or Japanese (up to 1,600 characters).
Value: For each category, there is one first prize is JPY100,000 (about $740); three second prizes of JPY50,000 (about $370) each; five third prizes, and 25 honorable mentions
Deadline: 15 June 2023
Open for: Children ages 14 and under; youth ages 15-25 years
Details here.

Last Stanza Poetry Journal
They want poetry on The Things We Carry theme. “As with every issue, poems submitted do not need to follow the prompt/theme. A single $100 award will be given for an outstanding poem.” Poems can be any style; they prefer non-rhyming. Send up to 5 poems.
Value: $100
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here

University of Pittsburgh Press: Drue Heinz Literature Prize
This international award is open to authors who have published a novel, a book-length collection of fiction or at least three short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or literary journals. It is for an unpublished manuscript of short fiction, or two or more novellas, or a combination of one or more novellas and short stories. Manuscripts must be 150-300 pages (see guidelines).
Value: $15,000
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Open for: Published writers
Details here and here.

Preservation Foundation Contest: General non-fiction
This is an international contest for unpublished writers (see guidelines). Their upcoming deadline is for the general non-fictioncategory: “Any appropriate nonfiction topic is eligible. Stories must be true, not semi-fictional accounts. So-called “creative nonfiction” will not be considered.” Entries should be 1,000-5,000 words. Please note, they want all entries, regardless of whether or not they win, to be on their website as long as the Foundation exists (see guidelines). Also see contests in other genres, which have deadlines later in the year. 
Value: $200, $100
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Open for: Unpublished writers
Details here.

Briefly Write Poetry Prize
This prize “celebrates and rewards bold, succinct writing. We want well-crafted poems up to 10 lines. We want innovative language, strong imagery and a subtle, focused composition.” Participants can send one poem.
Value: £40, £20, £10
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

The Writers College: My Writing Journey Competition
This is an international contest, open to all writers. They want a 600-word essay on the theme, The best writing tip I’ve ever received.
Value: NZ$200 (R2 000 or £100)
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.
(They also have a contest with non-cash prizes and a later deadline, The Global Novel Writing Competition.)

The Writers College: Short Story Competition for Emerging Writers This is an international fiction contest, open to writers ages 16 and over; send stories of up to 2,000 words. Regarding eligibility they say, “We aim to support beginner writers only. We accept stories from writers who have never been published, or who have been published fewer than four times in any genre.” (See guidelines). The contest theme is, Words Have Consequences. Also, “We accept stories in any genre (literary/horror/sci-fi/fantasy/spec fic). However, literary fiction tends to fare best with our judges.”
Value: NZ$1,000, NZ$500, NZ$250
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Open for: Beginning/emerging writers (see guidelines)
Details here.

The BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest for Caribbean Writers
This is a short story contest for Caribbean-descended writers, by Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival (BCLF). There are two categories, with different eligibility requirements:
— The BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writer’s Prize is open to unpublished writers of Caribbean heritage. Self-published writers may apply. This prize seeks to unearth hidden storytellers in the United States and Canada; and
— BCLF Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean is open exclusively to Caribbean writers of all levels who reside and work in the Caribbean or are on temporary assignment overseas.
Writers should send short stories of up to 3,000 words.
Prizes: $1,750 each
Deadline: 1 July 2023
Open for: See above
Details here and here

Richard J. Margolis Award
The award is for non-fiction writers of social justice journalism. It is for a promising new journalist or essayist whose work combines warmth, humour, wisdom and concern with social justice. Applications should include 2-3 non-fiction writing samples, up to 30 pages. At least one sample should be non-memoir material.
Value: $5,000, residency at Blue Mountain Centre artists’ colony; $1,000 for runners-up
Deadline: 1 July 2023
Open for: Unspecified
Details here and here.

Fiyah Grants
Fiyah publishes speculative fiction by Black writers. These grants are for Black people of the African Diaspora, anywhere in the world. Their website says, “The FIYAH Literary Magazine Grant Series is intended to assist Black writers of speculative fiction in defraying costs associated with honing their craft.
The series includes three $1,000 grants to be distributed annually based on a set of submission requirements. All grants with the exception of the Emergency Grant will be issued and awarded as part of Juneteenth every year. The emergency grant will be awarded twice a year in $500 amounts.” The grants are: The Rest Grant (for activists and organizers with a record of working on behalf of the SFF community, but who are in need of respite or time to recommit to their personal projects); Emergency Grant; Study Grant; Craft Grant; and Editorial Grant.
Value: up to $1,000 (see guidelines)
Deadline: Open now
Open for: Black writers of speculative fiction
Details here.

A few contests with later deadlines are:

— The H G Wells Short Story Competition: This is an international short story contest on the theme of Motion, of 1,500-5,000 words. There is no fee for those under 21 years; for the Junior Award, i.e. for those aged under 21, the prize is £1,000; deadline 10 July 2023. Details here.

— Kaidankai: 2023 Contest – Haunted Horror: For this contest, they want fiction submissions on the Haunted House theme, of 1,000-3,000 words. The prizes are $100, $50, and two prizes of $25 each. The deadline is 15 July 2023. Details here. Submission guidelines for non-contest entries (general submissions) are on the same page; there is no payment for those. Regarding the podcast, their website says, “Kaidankai is a weekly podcast and online outlet for tales of the supernatural. We are a celebration of the genre in all of its forms–from poetry to personal experience, from romance to horror. … If it is selected, your story will be read on the podcast and posted on the Kaidankai. The kaidankai is based on an activity from Edo period Japan, when 100 people would gather in a room with 100 candles to tell their creepy tales. After each tale, a candle would be blown out. As the room grew darker, the tales grew more ominous.” There is no payment for general submissions.

— Mason Jar Press: The 1729 Book Prize in Poetry:
This is an international contest, and for this cycle, they are reading poetry manuscripts. “Send us your book-length works of poetry … We tend to lean toward semi-experimental works with a strong literary bent. Hybrid works are welcome. 50–75 pages/poems is probably the sweet spot, but a little under or over is fine!
Again, we tend to prefer work that pushes the bounds of literary norms, but that isn’t to say we only like that. We welcome surprise. Try us (but only try us with book-length poetry).” They want collections of poetry, hybrid collections that are primarily poetry, translations of poetry (with permission from original author), poetry collections, and experimental book-length works of poetry. Please do not send other genres. The prize is $1,000, and more; deadline 31 July 2023. Please note, they have a submission cap, and may close earlier than the stated deadline. Details here and here.

The Mustapha Matura Award 2023 and Mentoring Programme:
This is an opportunity for UK-based playwrights of Caribbean or African descent, resident in the UK, who are 25 years or younger, for a play. The play must be a minimum of 40 pages, and does not need to have been produced. However, if it has, only plays produced since August 2022 will be considered. The prize is £3,000 and mentoring from a top Black British playwright. The deadline is 31 July 2023. Details here. Entrants to the Mustapha Matura Award are also eligible to enter the Alfred Fagon Award for Best New Play of the Year.


Sargeson Prize
This is New Zealand’s richest short story prize. Only New Zealand citizens or permanent residents can enter. There are two categories, Open (for those 16 and over, send a story up to 5,000 words), and High School (high school students ages 16-18, send a story up to 3,000 words); those in the latter category also win a one-week summer residency at the University of Waikato, and mentoring.
Value: $10,000, $1,000, $500 for the Open category; $2,000, $1,000, $500 for the High School category (NZ dollars)
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Open for: New Zealand citizens or permanent residents
Details here and here.


(Also see the PEN grants/fellowships above; and US- and Canada-based Caribbean writers should also see
The BCLF Short Fiction Story Contest for Caribbean Writers in the international section above.)

The Bard Fiction Prize
This is an annual fiction prize for young US-based writers. Their website says, “The Bard Fiction Prize is awarded to a promising emerging writer who is an American citizen aged 39 years or younger at the time of application. In addition to a $30,000 cash award, the winner receives an appointment as writer in residence at Bard College for one semester, without the expectation that he or she teach traditional courses. The recipient gives at least one public lecture and meets informally with students.” Also, “To apply, candidates should write a cover letter explaining the project they plan to work on while at Bard and submit a CV, along with three copies of the published book they feel best represents their work. No manuscripts will be accepted.”
Value: $30,000, residency
Deadline: 1 June 2023
Open for: Young US writers
Details here.

Fraser Institute Student Essay Contest

For this year’s essay contest, the main theme is, What would our Essential Scholars say about the world today? (See their guidelines for details). The contest is for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students studying in Canada and Canadian students studying abroad.
Value: CAD1,500, CAD1,000, CAD500 each in high school, undergraduate, and graduate categories
Deadline: 1 June 2023
Open for: Canadian students
Details here.

Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing

This award is for an outstanding mid-career editorial writer or columnist to help broaden his or her journalistic horizons and knowledge of the world. The annual award can be used to cover the cost of study, research and/or travel in any field. The fellowship results in editorials and other writings, including books. One of the eligibility requirements is, the candidate must hold a position as a part-time or full-time editorial writer or columnist at a news publication located in the US; freelance opinion writers who devote a majority of their time, or derive a majority of their income, from that pursuit can also apply. The application includes five samples of editorials or columns.
(There is also the Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award of $10,000, for a person or persons who have fought to protect and preserve one or more of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment; entrants need not be journalists.)
Value: $75,000
Deadline: 19 June 2023
Open for: Editorial writer/columnist at a news publication in the US
Details here.

Line of Advance Journal: Colonel Darron L. Wright Memorial Writing Awards
They only accept submissions by current and past service members of the U.S. Armed Forces (Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard), and their immediate family members (parents, siblings, children). Send prose (includes fiction, non-fiction, and hybrid forms) of up to 5,000 words, or up to 5 poems. Cash prizes are available in each “service member/veteran” for prose and poetry categories, and “family” group, also for prose and poetry categories.
Value: 250, $150, and $100 in each of the 4 categories
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Open for: See above
Details 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. The other deadline is in October. Writers do not have to be PEN members to apply.
Value: Unspecified
Deadline:1 July 2023
Open for: US writers
Details here.

(UK-based playwrights of Caribbean or African descent should also see The Mustapha Matura Award 2023 and Mentoring Programme in the ‘Contests with later deadlines’ section.)
Molly Keane Creative Writing Award
This is a short story prize for writers in Ireland. Send stories of up to 2,000 words. Apart from a cash prize, the winner also gets a course in the Molly Keane Writers Retreat, Ardmore in 2024 (see guidelines).
Value: €250
Deadline: 2 June 2023
Open for: Those resident in Ireland
Details here.

The Northern Writers’ Awards: Three awards
They have various awards through the year for writers in the north of England. They especially welcome submissions from people of colour and those from LGBTQ+, disabled and lower socio-economic backgrounds, who are particularly under-represented in this area of the TV industry. They have three awards with upcoming deadlines. See guidelines for details on eligibility and other submission requirements.
— For Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards – Lime Pictures, submit an outline of an original TV drama storyline (up to 400 words) and a sample script of up to 10 pages. The winner will be offered the chance to work closely with Lime Pictures through a placement on the serial drama Hollyoaks, mentoring support and a bursary worth £3,000. The deadline is 5th June 2023. Details here and here.
— For Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards – Rollem Productions, writers should submit a pitch of an idea for an original storyline (up to 400 words) and a sample script of up to 10 pages. The winner will get a chance to work closely with Rollem Productions through a long-term placement, a bursary worth £3,000 and mentoring support. The winner will also be given access to the C4/NWN Northern Talent Network. The deadline is 5th June 2023. Details here and here.
— For Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards – Bonafide Films, writers should submit a pitch of an idea for an original storyline (up to 400 words) and a sample script of up to 10 pages. The winner will be offered the unique chance to work closely with Bonafide Films, receive a bursary of £3,000 and mentoring support. The deadline is 5th June 2023. Details here and here.
Awards: £3,000, other opportunities
Deadline: 5 June 2023
Open for: Writers in the north of England
Details here (the page also has details of awards opening later, as well as closed awards).

Faber Children’s: Faber and Andlyn BAME (FAB) Prize
This is for undiscovered BAME writers and illustrators. Entrants must be of black, Asian or minority ethnic background and UK- or Ireland-based. For writers, they want a maximum of 5,000 words of text (no minimum word count). Also, “it does not have to be a short story (though those are welcome too!)
We do strongly advise you to complete your work insofar as you can, even if you do not enter the whole manuscript: after the ceremony agents will request the full manuscript, so in order to get the most out of the prize, it is best to have the whole manuscript ready to go.” Entries must be text or artwork for children.
Value: £1,500; second place £500 each for a writer and an illustrator, and mentorship
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Open for: UK BAME writers
Details here and here.

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


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