Home / Writing / Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time (Summer 2017 Edition)

Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time (Summer 2017 Edition)

Inspired by Lit Hub’s 100 rejections per year post, my goal was to make at least 50 submissions in 2017. Since my last contest roundup, I’m at 64 submissions and 34 rejections.

Summer tends to be a slower time for submissions. A lot of literary journals close their reading periods and are slower to respond, but there are still opportunities out there! I’ve curated another list of promising contests for your submitting convenience.

Much like editors are looking for reasons to reject work, I want to focus on opportunities worth my time. Thus, my list of writing contests below once again includes reasons to submit to that particular writing contest. May you find a promising opportunity among this list and spend less time searching for where to send that exciting draft.

If you only submit to one…

If you only have time to submit to one contest this season, my recommendation is PEN Center USA – Emerging Voices Fellowships. The details are in the August list below.


July 2017

Santa Fe Writers Project – 2040 Book Award

Deadline: July 7, 2017

The grand prize is $1,000. One runner-up will receive $500. Winners will be offered a competitive book contract for full-market, frontlist release by by 2040 Books, an imprint of the Santa Fe Writers Project. There’s no obligation to sign this contract. Mat Johnson will judge. Submit a prose manuscript of any length with a $25 entry fee by July 7.

Reasons to submit:

  • “Open to ethnic authors or those from an ethnic background”
  • Flag-bearer—open to international submissions
  • Oh, wordy!—generous word count limit
  • Some previously published and self-published material is eligible

Cincinnati Review – Robert and Adele Schiff Awards in Poetry and Prose

Deadline: July 15, 2017

The Cincinnati Review invites submissions for the annual Robert and Adele Schiff Awards in Poetry and Prose. One poem and one prose piece (fiction or creative nonfiction) will be chosen for publication in our 2018 prize issue, and winning authors will receive $1,000 each. All entries will be considered for publication in The Cincinnati Review. The entry fee is $20, and includes a one-year subscription to The Cincinnati Review. Up to 40 pages of a single prose piece.

Reasons to submit:

  • Prestige—#60 in Pushcart ranking
  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Oh, wordy!—generous word count limit
  • Read on—entry fee includes one-year subscription

Nimrod International Journal – The Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers

Deadline: July 15, 2017

$500 prizes will be awarded and the winning manuscript will appear in the spring issue of Nimrod. Winners will have the chance to work with the Nimrod board of editors to refine and edit their manuscripts before publication. Open only to writers whose work has not appeared or is not scheduled to appear in more than 2 publications. (Self-published works or works with a distribution of less than 100 copies are not considered toward the count of 2 publications.) Each entry must be accompanied by a $12 fee, which includes both the reading fee and a copy of the spring issue of Nimrod. Up to 5,000 words.

Reasons to submit:

  • Prestige—#174 in Pushcart ranking
  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Flag-bearer—open to international submissions

The Story Prize

Deadline: July 15, 2017

The Story Prize is an annual book award honoring the author of an outstanding collection of short fiction with a $20,000 cash award. Each of two runners-up will receive $5,000. Eligible books must be written in English and first published in the United States during a calendar year. Entry fee of $75.

Reasons to submit:

  • Huge prize (thus the huge entry fee)
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes
  • Wanderluster—prize includes travel

Sixfold – Short Story and Poetry Awards

Deadline: July 24, 2017

$1,000 and publication in Sixfold given quarterly for a short story. All-writer-voted and open to all, Sixfold three-round manuscript voting is the most rigorous, thorough, fair, and transparent editorial selection process available. To create each issue, hundreds of writers vote to select the best fiction and poetry manuscripts with much more discernment than any other editorial. Using the online submission system, submit a story of up to 20 pages with a $5 entry fee by July 24. The top 15 short stories are published.

Reasons to submit:

Great Lakes Colleges Association – New Writers Awards

Deadline: July 25, 2017

Three prizes are given annually to a poet, a fiction writer, and a creative nonfiction writer to honor their first published books. The winners are also invited to visit several of the 13 GLCA colleges, where they will give readings, meet with students, and occasionally lead discussions and classes. Travel expenses and an honorarium of at least $500 are provided for each visit. Faculty members of the GLCA colleges will judge. Publishers may submit four copies of a book published between Spring 2016 and Spring 2017 by July 25; each submission is limited to one title per category. There is no entry fee.

Reasons to submit:

  • No entry fee
  • Novelist friendly
  • Wanderluster—prize includes travel

Crazyhorse – Short-Short Fiction Contest

Deadline: July 31, 2017

All entries will be considered for publication. Before you submit, please remove your name and any other identifying information from your manuscript. Simultaneous submissions are okay, as long as you contact us should the work be accepted elsewhere. The $15 entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Crazyhorse.Editors will read entries blind and select a 1st place winner and 3 runners-up.

Reasons to submit:

The Masters Review – Summer Short Story Award For New Writers

Deadline: July 31, 2017

It’s back! Our Short Story Award For New Writers, our biggest submission period of the year. The winning story will be awarded $3000 and publication online. Second and third place stories will be awarded publication and $200 and $100 respectively. All winners and honorable mentions will receive agency review by: Nat Sobel from Sobel Weber, Victoria Cappello from The Bent Agency, and Mark Gottlieb from Trident Media. Emerging writers only (We are interested in offering a larger platform to new writers. Self-published writers and writers with story collections and novels with a small circulation are welcome to submit. Writers with works published with a circulation of less than 5000 copies can also submit). Up to 7000 words.

Reasons to submit:

  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Oh, wordy!—generous word count limit
  • No hunting for winners—can read past winners online
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes
  • Flag-bearer—open to international submissions

Profane – 2017 Profane Fiction Prize

Deadline: July 31, 2017

Give us stories that are bold, that are daring, that mock and ridicule, that sneer, that disgust and appall and shock. Give us the riotous ones, the mad ones, the defiant ones. Give us the stories you’re too scared to share with your peers, the ones so ugly you’re sure no one would publish them. We do consider stories of all kinds, so we encourage you to interpret this as broadly as you like. The 2017 Profane Fiction Prize will be judged by Devin Murphy. We’re accepting submissions through July 31st. The prize is $1,000, publication in our Winter 2017 issue, and a blurb from the contest judge. Finalists will be announced and considered for publication. We hope to name a winner in early October. You may submit up to 2 stories, so long as they don’t exceed 7500 words cumulatively.

Reasons to submit:

  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • No hunting for winners—can read past winners online
  • Newer journal tends to help your chances

August 2017

Indiana Review – 2017 1/2 K Prize

Deadline: August 1, 2017

A prize of $1,000 and publication in Indiana Review is given annually for a poem or fiction or a work of short creative nonfiction. Donika Kelly will judge. Submit up to three stories of up to 500 words each with a $20 entry fee, which includes a subscription to Indiana Review, by August 1. All entries are considered for publication.

Reasons to submit:

  • Prestige—#83 in Pushcart ranking
  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Read on—entry fee includes one-year subscription
  • Flag-bearer—open to international submissions

Leeway Foundation – Art and Change Grants

Deadline: August 1, 2017

The Art and Change Grant provides project-based grants of up to $2,500 to women and trans* artists in the Delaware Valley region to fund art for social change projects. There is no entry fee. We encourage you to apply if you are a woman or trans* artist who:

  • Has an art for social change project or opportunity that impacts a larger group, audience, or community.
  • Has financial need and limited or no access to other financial resources.
  • Has a project supported by or in collaboration with a Change Partner (a person, organization, or business that is a part of the project in some way).
  • Lives in the Delaware Valley area: Bucks, Camden, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, or Philadelphia County

*We use the term “trans” in its most inclusive sense, as an umbrella term encompassing transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, Two-Spirit people, and more generally, anyone whose gender identity or gender expression is nonconforming and/or different from their gender assigned at birth.

Reasons to submit:

  • No entry fee
  • Inclusive of underrepresented voices
  • Regional focus—lower competition
  • Transform your community with your art!

PEN Center USA – Emerging Voices Fellowships

Deadline: August 1, 2017

Seven-month fellowships, which include a stipend of $1,000 each, are given annually to emerging poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers who lack access to financial and creative support. Each fellow receives professional mentorship with an established writer in Los Angeles, attends courses at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, and takes part in public readings and other programming throughout the fellowship period. Travel and lodging are not provided. Writers who do not have significant publication credits, are not enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate writing program, and do not hold an undergraduate or graduate writing degree are eligible. Submit up to 10 pages of poetry or 20 pages of prose, a curriculum vitae, and two letters of recommendation with a $10 entry fee by August 1.

Reasons to submit:

  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes
  • Emerging writer friendly
  • Mentorship opportunities
  • Lifetime membership in PEN Center USA

Delaware Division of the Arts – Individual Artist Fellowships

Deadline: August 1, 2017

Established Professional Fellowships of $6,000 each and Emerging Artist Fellowships of $3,000 each are given annually to Delaware poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers who have lived in Delaware for at least one year prior to application and who are not enrolled in a degree-granting program. Submit 15 to 20 pages of poetry or prose by August 1. There is no entry fee.

Reasons to submit:

  • No entry fee
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes
  • Regional focus—lower competition
  • Emerging writer friendly

Baton Rouge Area Foundation – Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

Deadline: August 15, 2017

A prize of $10,000 is given annually to an emerging African American writer for a short story collection or novel published in the current year. The winner will also receive travel and lodging expenses to attend an awards ceremony in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in January 2018. Anthony Grooms, Elizabeth Nunez, Francine Prose, and Patricia Towers will judge. Submit eight copies of a short story collection or a novel (or bound galleys) published in 2017 by August 15. There is no entry fee.

Reasons to submit:

  • No entry fee
  • Inclusive of underrepresented voices
  • Wanderluster—prize includes travel
  • Emerging writer friendly

Blue Earth Review – Flash Fiction Contest 2017

Deadline: August 15, 2017

Our annual flash fiction contest is now taking submissions. Submit up to two flash fiction pieces of no more than 750 words each. If you include multiple pieces, please include them both in a single file (.doc or .docx). The deadline to submit is August 15, 2017. $5 fee.

Reasons to submit:

Glimmer Train – Very Short Fiction Award

Deadline: August 31, 2017

A prize of $2,000, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies of the prize issue is given twice yearly for a short short story. We invite any length stories from 300 to 3,000 words. $16 entry fee.

Reasons to submit:

Glimmer Train – Fiction Open

Deadline: August 31, 2017

The wordier counterpart of the other Glimmer Train contest above. A prize of $3,000, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies of the prize issue is given twice yearly for a short story. A second-place prize of $1,000 is also given. Open to all subjects, all themes, and all writers. Most entries run from 3,000 to 6,000 words, but any lengths from 3,000 to 20,000 words are welcome. $21 entry fee.

Reasons to submit:

  • Prestige—#16 in Pushcart ranking
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes
  • Oh, wordy!—generous word count limit

Sustainable Arts Foundation – 2017 Writing Awards

Deadline: August 31, 2017

Ten awards of $6,000 each and ten awards of $2,000 each are given twice yearly to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers with children. Writers with at least one child under the age of 18 are eligible. Using the online submission system, submit up to 10 poems totaling no more than 15 pages or up to 15 pages of prose with a biography, an artist statement, a project statement, a curriculum vitae, and an entry fee by August 31. Our application fee is $15. As always, 100% of this fee goes to our jurors, who are also fellow parent artists and writers themselves. By charging this fee, we can insure that at least two jurors will review each application. Up to 25 pages of writing.

Reasons to submit:

  • Parent friendly
  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes
  • Flag-bearer—open to international submissions

Black Warrior Review – 2017 Contest

Deadline: September 1, 2017

Fiction Judge: Nicola Griffith. Multiple submissions are welcome, as are simultaneous submissions. Please notify us immediately if your submission is accepted elsewhere. We accept only previously unpublished work for publication. Winners receive $1000 and publication in BWR 44.2, our Spring/Summer 2018 issue. One runner-up receives $100 and acknowledgment in that issue. We may consider any submission for general publication. There is a $20 entry fee for each submission ($30 for international submissions). All entrants receive a one-year subscription to BWR as a thank-you for your interest and support. Up to 7,000 words.

Reasons to submit:

  • Prestige—#174 in Pushcart ranking
  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Oh, wordy!—generous word count limit
  • Read on—entry fee includes one-year subscription
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes
  • Flag-bearer—open to international submissions

Gulf Coast – Barthelme Prize for Short Prose

Deadline: September 8th, 2017

The Barthelme Prize for Short Prose is open to pieces of prose poetry, flash fiction, and micro-essays of 500 words or fewer. Established in 2008, the contest awards its winner $1,000 and publication in the journal. Two honorable mentions will receive $250, and all entries will be considered for paid publication on our website as Online Exclusives. $18 entry fee.

Reasons to submit:

  • Prestige—#83 in Pushcart ranking
  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Read on—entry fee includes one-year subscription
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes

New York Public Library – Young Lions Fiction Award

Deadline: September 8, 2017

Five prizes of $10,000 are each given annually for a novel or short story collection published in the current year by a writer age 35 or younger. The book must be written for adults (no children’s or YA). The publisher must submit all books.  Authors may not submit their work on their own. There is no entry fee.

Reasons to submit:

  • No entry fee
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes
  • Novelist friendly

 

Have I missed a great writing contest? Please leave a comment and let me know where you found them.

 

Happy submitting!



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About Mary Ellen Bellusci

Mary Ellen Bellusci is a longtime resident of Baltimore, Maryland... A foodie, traveler, writer, and pursuer of happiness.