37 Free Writing Contests, Grants, and Fellowships for Writers

Here are prizes and grants/fellowships for writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, for playwrights and journalists, of up to $100,000. They’re loosely divided by geography. Deadlines are approaching quickly. – S. Kalekar


Baltimore Science Fiction Society Poetry Contest
For this contest, poets need to submit poetry on science fiction/fantasy/horror/science themes. Up to 3 entries are allowed per person, of up to 60 lines each. Winners will receive a cash prize, convention membership and be invited to read their winning entries at Balticon. Attendance at Balticon is not required to win. Their submission form also says, entries received after 1 March will be automatically entered in next year’s contest.
Value: $100, $75, $50
Deadline: 1 March 2023
Open for: All poets
Details here.

Alpine Fellowship Prizes
They have a Poetry Prize, a Writing Prize (for creative writing – fiction and nonfiction) a Theatre Prize, as well as Academic Writing Prize (for UK-based writers) and a Visual Arts Prize. Please read the guidelines for each genre carefully. The theme for this year is ‘Flourishing’ and the work must address that theme. One winner receives a cash prize in each category, and two runners-up receive a stipend that must be used to attend the symposium in Switzerland. Applicants can only enter one of their prizes.
Value: Varies; cash awards of £3,000 for winners in creative writing categories (poetry, writing, theatre), £1,000 travel stipend to attend the symposium for runners-up
Deadline: 1 March 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here (click on individual tabs for various genres).

Scripps Fellowships for Environmental Journalism
Five fellowships are awarded each year at the University of Boulder, Colorado. This is for journalists interested in deepening and broadening their knowledge of environmental issues. Applicants must have a minimum of five years full-time professional journalism experience and have completed an undergraduate degree. Applicants may include reporters, editors, producers, photojournalists, documentarians, and feature writers. Both salaried staff and full-time freelancers are welcome to apply. Prior experience in covering the environment is not required. They welcome applications from international applicants; however, the applicants must be authorized to work in the US to be eligible for this position.
Value: $80,000
Deadline: 1 March 2023
Open for: All journalists (see above)
Details here (general information), here (FAQ), and here (application portal).

NYU Journalism: Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award

This award is for promising early-career non-fiction writers to research and write an article that tells the truth about a human condition.
Deadline: 2 March 2023 for proposals
Value: Up to $12,500
Open for: All journalists, early career non-fiction writers
Details herehere and here.

On the Premises Short Story Contest: Where is…?
This is a short fiction contest. They want a story on the ‘Where is..?’ theme, of 1,000-5,000 words, “in which one or more characters have a problem because something (someone?) important is missing. Whether whatever is missing is ever found is up to you.”
Value: $250, $200, $150, $75
Deadline: 3 March 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here and here.

descant Awards
descant is a literary journal published annually by Texas Christian University. They offer four awards: the $500 Frank O’Connor Award for fiction (for the best short story in an issue); the $250 Gary Wilson Award (for an outstanding story in an issue); the $500 Betsy Colquitt Award for poetry (for the best poem or series of poems by a single author in an issue); and the $250 Baskerville Publishers Award (for an outstanding poem or poems by a single author in an issue. There is no separate application process; all works submitted to the journal are eligible for the prizes.
Value: $500 and $250 each for fiction and non-fiction
Deadline: 16 March 2023 (for submission to the journal)
Open for: All writers
Details here, here, and here.

Intrepid Times: Romance on the Road Travel Writing Competition
Their website says, “Travel is full of romance and romantic ideals, whether that’s a new relationship with a fellow traveler, a deep connection with a sublime landscape, or even the discovery of self and the self-love that follows. Romance leads us into unexplored territory, both internal and external. … Write an original, factual, first-person travel story about a time you experienced romance while traveling. Feel free to explore romance in all of its manifestations, but ensure that your travel story builds itself around the context of a place or experience. Editors will be looking for originality, voice, and a satisfying story arc that captures attention and makes use of imagery to pull the reader along at every step.” Send work of 1,200-2,000 words. They have both fee-based and fee-free entries. The runners-up published on the website will receive their standard fee.
Value: $200
Deadline: 19 March 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

International Thriller Writers Scholarships
They are awarding two separate scholarships for ThrillerFest 2023: one scholarship to a BIPOC author writing a thriller manuscript featuring a BIPOC protagonist, and one scholarship to an unpublished author who is writing a mystery/thriller novel (80-100k words). Each scholarship recipient will receive a cash stipend and a free pass to attend ThrillerFest XVIII, which takes place May 30 – June 3, 2023 in New York City. One of the application requirements is a writing sample. Application is via a form.
Value: $1,000 stipend, ThrillerFest pass
Deadline: 20 March 2023
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

A Public Space Writing Fellowship
This is an international six-month fellowship for emerging writers, and the aim is “to seek out and support writers who embrace risk in their work and their own singular vision.” Submissions of fiction, nonfiction, and—this year, for this first time—poetry are welcome. Three fellowships will be awarded. Writers get editorial support from A Public Space editors to prepare a piece for publication in the magazine; an honorarium; the opportunity to meet virtually with members of the publishing community, including agents, editors, and published writers; the opportunity to participate in a public reading and conversation with A Public Space editors and contributors. The submission includes, for prose, one fiction or nonfiction piece with a limit of 8,000 words; for poetry, a sequence of poems, a long poem, or hybrid work, with a limit of 15 pages; if selected, this submitted manuscript will be the piece published in the magazine.
Value: $1,000 each
Application period: 1-31 March 2023
Open for: Writers who have not yet published or been contracted to write a book-length work with a US publisher
Details here (announcement with Submittable link)

Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award
This international grant is for supporting the recipient in crime fiction writing and career development activities. She or he may choose activities that include workshops, seminars, conferences, and retreats, online courses, and research activities required for completion of the work. This is for an emerging writer (see guidelines). The application process includes a writing sample – an unpublished piece of crime fiction, written with an adult audience in mind. This may be a short story or first chapter(s) of a manuscript in-progress, 2,500 to 5,000 words.
Value: $2,000; the winner can choose from a range of activities
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Open for: Writers of color
Details here.

The Every Animal Project
This is an anthology about courageous animals, and they also will publish work on their website. “Stories must be true (non-fiction). They must relate to non-human animals (of any species) and can be about your personal experiences/growth because of an animal, an issue threatening animals today, or other aspects of the human/non-human animal relationship. For the upcoming anthology, please weave the theme of courage/bravery into your story. We are particularly interested in spotlighting species less familiar to people, like insects, marine animals, and reptiles.”
Value: One writer will get an award of $300, another will be awarded $200, and other writers whose work is chosen for the print anthology get $50; writers whose work features online get $20.
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Earth Journalism Network: Mediterranean Media Initiative Oceanic Crime and Ecoviolence Investigation Partnership Call
For this grant, applications are open to journalists (or groups of journalists) working in any medium, in countries bordering the Mediterranean. They want to  “support investigations, especially those that are transboundary, which seek to expose unauthorized fishing by industrial or semi-industrial vessels, as well as other harmful environmental practices impacting the marine environment. The types of investigations we are looking to support would place these issues within the wider context of anthropogenic stressors such as biodiversity loss, climate change and increased pollution and their impact on human security and environmental justice.
Furthermore, we would like to increase reporting which places fisheries-related offenses in relation to a broader set of criminal practices rather than as an isolated domain, as also pointed out by recent reports and initiatives by international bodies such as INTERPOL and the High Level Ocean Panel.” Applications can be in English or French. They expect the stories from the grants to be published by 30 September 2023.
Value: Up to EUR4,000 each
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Open for: Journalists in countries surrounding the Mediterranean
Details here.
(They have other opportunities listed too, which they update regularly. Their website has several resources for all environmental journalists, as well.)

America Media: The Foley Poetry Contest
For the contest, they want an unpublished poem of 45 lines or fewer. Apart from the contest, this Catholic magazine is also open for general submissions.
Value: $1,000
Deadline: 31 March 2022
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.
(They also have a postgraduate media fellowship, deadline 1 March 2023, for recent graduates of colleges or universities in the United States or Canada.)

The Restless Book Prize for New Immigrant Writing
This is a prize for a debut literary work by a first-generation immigrant. The prize alternates between fiction and non-fiction. For this cycle, they are reading non-fiction manuscripts. Non-fiction submissions can take the form of a memoir, a collection of essays, or a book-length work of narrative non-fiction. The submission should address some combination of identity, the meeting of cultures and communities, immigration and migration, and today’s globalized society. Non-fiction submissions must consist of either a complete manuscript, or a sample of at least 25,000 words and a detailed proposal that includes a synopsis and an annotated table of contents. All submissions must be in English (translations welcome). Candidates must not have previously published a book of non-fiction in English. Apart from the cash prize, the winner also gets publication.
Value: $10,000
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Open for: First-generation residents of their country
Details here.

Deborah Rogers Foundation: The DRF Writers Award
This is an award for writers of British Commonwealth countries, and Eire (see guidelines for the list of eligible countries). It is for a first-time prose writer whose submission demonstrates literary talent and who would benefit from financial support to complete their work. One of the submission requirements is 15,000 – 20,000 words of a work in progress, fiction or non-fiction, which is not under option or contract.
Value: £10,000, £1,000
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Open for: Writers in the British Commonwealth and Eire
Details here.

Robert B. Silvers Foundation: Silvers grants
English-language writers of any nationality may apply for their grants to support long-form essays (essay-length or book-length) in the fields of literary criticism, arts writing, political analysis, and/or social reportage. Applicants should have an editorial agreement with a publication or publishing house for the work under consideration. Some of the submission requirements are a writing sample, project description, and a budgetary statement.
Value: Up to $10,000
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

The Joan Shorenstein Fellowship
This is a residency/fellowship from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy. “The mission of the Joan Shorenstein Fellowship is to advance research in the field of media, politics and public policy; facilitate a dialogue among journalists, scholars, policymakers and students; provide an opportunity for reflection; … The primary focus for a Fellow is to research, write and publish a paper on a media/politics topic.” Also, “Past fellows include journalists from local, national and international TV, radio, print, and digital media; media and civic technology innovators; nonfiction authors; political advisors and policymakers; leading academic scholars in fields such as media research and political science; and policy analysts. Successful former fellows have come from a variety of backgrounds and career stages.” Applicants must be a working journalist, politician, scholar or policymaker currently or recently active in the field. For the Fall semester, the deadline is in March; for the Spring semester, the deadline is in September.
Value: $40,000; residency
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Open for: Non-fiction authors and journalists
Details here.


Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest
This prize is for humor poetry. Submit a poem of up to 250 lines.
Value: $2,000 and a subscription to Duotrope; second prize of $500; 10 prizes of $100 each
Deadline: 1 April 2023
Open for: All poets
Details here.

The Mike Resnick Memorial Award
This award is sponsored by Galaxy’s Edge magazine and Dragon Con. They want a science fiction story by a new writer (who has not been paid a per-word rate of 6 cents a word or more or received a payment for any single work of fiction totaling more than $50). Send stories up to 7,499 words. Apart from the cash prize, the first-prize winner will have their story bought by Galaxy’s Edge magazine at their current prevailing rates. Writers do not need to be members of Dragon Con.
Value: $250, $100, $50
Deadline: 1 April 2023
Open for: New writers
Details here (scroll down), here, and here.

The Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship for Writers
These three-month fellowships are to afford writers uninterrupted time to focus on their work at an apartment in Carson McCuller’s childhood home in Columbus, Georgia. A spouse or companion is welcome. The application includes a writing sample of up to 20 pages.
Value: $5,000, residency
Deadline: 1 April 2023
Details here (scroll down to Academic Opportunities and click on Fellowships).


A couple of contests with later deadlines are:
— Green Stories Project: Superhero Competition:
They want a short story (2,000 words) on superheroes saving the planet; this contest is open to writers ages 14+. They want writers to “create an uplifting short story of superheroes that respond to climate change. Imagine your target audience to be teens and young adults that enjoy watching superhero films.
Drawing on your own experiences of climate change, entries from adults that live /have lived in the following countries are especially welcome (but not essential): India, Pakistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, South Sudan, Mali, Niger, Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, or Brazil.” They have detailed guidelines/suggestions on the theme. You can add your own illustrations, but this is not necessary; apart from a cash prize of £500, one of the scenes from the winning story will be turned into a 1-page comic strip, made by a professional artist. The submission link will open on their website on 1st April, and the deadline is 15 April 2023. Details here.

— The Black Orchid Novella Award: This is an international contest for novellas (15,000-20,000 words) that confirm to the tradition of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series. They should focus on the deductive skills of the sleuth. They are not looking for derivatives of the Nero Wolfe series, or the milieu. They accept mailed submissions only. The prize is $1,000 and publication in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and the deadline is 31 May 2023 (postmarked). Details here.

— Red Hen Press Ann Petry Award: This is for a work of previously unpublished prose, either a novel or a collection of short stories or novellas, with a minimum of 150 pages, by a Black writer. The award is $3,000 and publication. The deadline is 31 July 2023. Details here.

(Keep an eye out for this year’s application announcement dates for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships for young US-based poets, which usually open in March. And Poetry Magazine’s Submittable is here.)


Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship
Applicants must have covered international news as a working journalist for print, broadcast, or online media widely available in the United States, and must be US citizens. They must have distinguished credentials in journalism; two of the selection criteria are, professional experience as a foreign correspondent or editor, and firm grounding in foreign policy. The Fellow spends 10 months full-time in residence at the Council for Foreign Relations’ headquarters in New York. The program enables the Fellow to engage in sustained analysis and writing, expand his or her intellectual and professional horizons, and extensively participate in CFR’s active program of meetings and events.
Value: $100,000 and a modest travel grant
Deadline: 1 March 2023
Open for: US citizens
Details here.

Academy of American Poets: Raiziss/de Pachi Translation Fellowship
The fellowship will be given for the translation of modern Italian poetry. It is given to enable an American translator to travel, study, or otherwise advance a significant work-in-progress. It invites applications from those currently engaged in the translation of twentieth-century Italian poetry. There is a cash award and a five- week residency at the American Academy in Rome.
Value: $25,000
Deadline: 1 March 2023
Open for: US poets (see guidelines)
Details here and here.
(They have other awards also, both fee-free and fee-based, which you can see in their Submittable here.)

National Endowment for the Arts’
Creative Writing Fellowships
This is for US-based writers, and they are accepting applications for prose (fiction and nonfiction) this year. While the deadline is 8th March, they recommend submitting applications early. Several fellowships are awarded.
Value: Up to $25,000
Deadline: 8 March 2023
Open for: US writers
Details here.

The Waterman Fund Essay Contest
The contest is for emerging writers – those who have not published a book-length work of fiction or narrative nonfiction on topics of wilderness, wildness, or the ethics and ecology of environmental issues are eligible. Essays should be 2,000 to 3,000 words, on the theme of climate change – they have detailed guidelines on the theme. They welcome personal, scientific, adventure, or memoir essays. The contest is run by the Waterman Fund – their tagline is, “Fostering the Spirit of Wildness and Conserving the Alpine Areas of Northeastern North America”.
Value: $1,500; $500
Deadline: 15 March 2023
Open for: Emerging writers (see guidelines) in the US or Canada (see eligibility here)
Details here and here.

West Chester University: Five contests
They run seven contests, five of which are free to enter.
Iris N. Spencer Poetry Award: This contest is for undergraduate poets enrolled in a US college or university for poems composed in the traditional modes of meter, rhyme and received forms. Prizes are $1,500, and $500.
— Sonnet Award: This is a contest for undergraduate poets in the US, for sonnets. Limit of three poems per contest. The prize is $1,000.
— The Villanelle Award: This contest is for undergraduate poets enrolled in a US college or university, for villanelles. Limit of three poems per contest. The prize is $1,000.
— Myong Cha Son Haiku Award: This contest is for undergraduate poets enrolled in a US college or university for unpublished, original haiku. The prizes are $1,500, and $500.
— Rhina P. Espaillat Award: This contest is for undergraduate poets enrolled in a US college or university for original poems written in Spanish, and translations of English poems to Spanish. The prize is $500.
Deadline: 15 March 2023 for all West Chester University contests
Open for: Undergraduate poets in the US
Details here (scroll down) for all the West Chester University poetry awards; click on each contest name for details.

Nervous Ghost Press Book Prize
This is a book contest for US-based writers (see guidelines). There are two categories, prose (50,000-100,000 word manuscript) and poetry (manuscript of 48-128 pages).
Value: An advance of $1,000, and a publishing contract
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Open for: US-based writers
Details 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. Various deadlines are listed for 2023, and the next one is 1st April. Other deadlines are in July and October. Writers do not have to be PEN members to apply.
Value: Unspecified
Deadline: 1 April 2023
Open for: US writers
Details here.


The Curae Prize
This is a prize for people who are carers (the NHS definition – see guidelines), and UK- and Ireland-based. There are two categories, fiction and non-fiction; send work of up to 4,000 words. Writers can choose to not publicize their names if they so wish. There are several non-cash prizes too for the winners, including mentorship, and shortlisted authors also get a Zoom workshop with an agent.
Value: £500 each for fiction and non-fiction, non-cash prizes
Deadline: 1 March 2023
Open for: UK- and Ireland-based carers
Details here.

2023 Fitzcarraldo Editions/Mahler & Lewitt Studios Essay Prize
This is a prize for unpublished writers in the UK. Their website says, “the prize awards £3,000 to the best proposal for a book-length essay (minimum 25,000 words) by a writer resident in the UK & Ireland who has yet to secure a publishing deal. In addition to the £3,000 prize the winner has the opportunity to go on residency at the Mahler & LeWitt Studios in Spoleto, Italy, to work on their book. The book will then be published by Fitzcarraldo Editions.”
Value: £3,000, residency
Deadline: 13 March 2023
Open for: Unpublished UK/Ireland writers (see guidelines)
Details here.

BBC Radio 4: BBC National Short Story Award
This prestigious award, by BBC and the Cambridge University, is for UK writers, for a short story of up to 8,000 words. Writers must have a prior record of publication in the UK.
Value: £15,000, four awards of £600 each
Deadline: 13 March 2023
Open for: Published UK writers (see terms and conditions)
Details here and here.
(They also have the Young Writers Award, a short fiction contest for UK-based writers ages 14-18.)

Jane Martin Poetry Prize
This is for writers in the UK between ages 18 and 30 years. Send up to two poems, a total of two sides of A4.
Value: £700, £300
Deadline: 17 March 2023
Open for: UK writers ages 18-30
Details here (you can download the flyer here).

Cymera-Shoreline of Infinity Prize for Speculative Short Fiction
This is a speculative fiction contest for writers who are Scottish by birth or inclination (see guidelines), ages 14+ years. Send a story of up to 2,500 words. The stories that are selected for the shortlist will be published on the Cymera (Scotland’s festival of science fiction, fantasy, and horror writing) website after the festival.
Value: £150
Deadline: 26 March 2023
Open for: Scottish writers (see guidelines)
Details here.

Women’s Prize for Playwriting
This is for a play by UK/Ireland based writers who identify as women and nonbinary, and are aged 16 or older. Plays have to be written for the stage (not for radio or screen), can be co-written, and can be in any genre except musicals (though plays with music are accepted).
Value: £12,500
Deadline: 17 April 2023
Open for: UK/Ireland based women and nonbinary playwrights
Details here, here, and here.

Bio: S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine.







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