For a change of pace from client work, why don’t you consider entering writing contests in 2020? It will give you a chance to flex your creative writing muscle in a way you don’t normally get to when you are doing work for other people.
Along with the chance to win some money, you get to have your work seen and evaluated by judges who often bring some impressive credentials to the table.
If you ever get the opportunity to see their scorecards or get some feedback, do take it. You may find something valuable in what they have to say about your writing.Enter these writing contests in 2020 to flex your writing muscles and make some earnings while you're at it. Click To Tweet
As always, when entering writing contests, follow the instructions precisely. If there is something that isn’t clear, reach out to the organizers by email before the submission deadline to make sure you are submitting your entry correctly. You don’t want to have your submission rejected because of one small detail.
2020 Writing Contests
Inkitt Novel Competition: Monthly
Inkitt’s Writing Contests regularly give authors the opportunity to share their books with readers around the world and showcase their talents.
Monthly cash prizes:
Each month one grand prize winner, and two runners up will be selected.
1st prize: $300 and an exclusive badge for your book cover
2nd prize: $100
3rd prize: $50
Your short story should have a maximum of 2,500 words. There is no minimum and the title is not included in the word count. Open to any writer.
Deadline: 13 January 2020 (12 noon, GMT)
Award-winning literary travel magazine Nowhere is accepting submissions for our Fall 2019 Travel Writing Contest.
We are looking for young, old, novice and veteran writers to send us stories that possess a powerful sense of place. Stories can be fiction, nonfiction, poetry or essay, but please indicate which genre at the top of your manuscript. Entries should be between eight hundred and five thousand words (poetry may be any length and several poems, themed together, may be submitted as one entry), written in English and must not have been previously chosen as a winner in another contest. Previously published work and simultaneous submissions are accepted, but again, please indicate this. Multiple entries from a single author, submitted individually, are welcome. Every submission will be read blind, so anyone can win…
The winner will receive $1,000, with publication in Nowhere granted under First North American Serial Rights (FNASR).
Deadline: January 14, 2020
Manuscripts will be accepted between October 1, 2019, and the postmark deadline of January 14, 2020. The winner will be announced by May 2020.
The winning book-length collection of poems will be published by the Center for Literary Publishing and distributed by the University Press of Colorado in the fall of 2019. The author receives a $2,000 honorarium.
There is a $28 online entry fee, which includes a one-year subscription to Colorado Review (the extra $3 goes to the good people at Submittable).
Poets with US addresses may opt for either a print or digital subscription. Poets living outside the US will receive digital subscriptions (as long as a valid e-mail address is provided). Please select the appropriate submission portal.
The Danuta Gleed Literary Award was created as a celebration of the life of Danuta Gleed, a writer whose short fiction won several awards before her death in December 1996. Danuta Gleed’s first collection of short fiction, One of the Chosen, was posthumously published by BuschekBooks. The award is made possible through a generous donation from John Gleed, in memory of his late wife, and is administered by The Writers’ Union of Canada.
Each year, a $10,000 prize is awarded to a Canadian writer for the best first collection of published short fiction in the English language. Two finalists are also awarded $500 each.
The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2020.
The Caine Prize for African Writing is a registered charity whose aim is to bring African writing to a wider audience using our annual literary award.
- Unpublished work is not eligible for the Caine Prize.
- Submissions should be made by publishers only.
- Only fictional work is eligible.
- Only one story per author will be considered in any one year.
- Submissions should specify which African country the author comes from and the word count.
- Indicative length is between 3000 and 10,000 words and only short stories are eligible.
Cash prize of £10,000 for the winning author and a travel award for each of the short-listed candidates (up to five in all). The shortlisted candidates will also receive a Prize of £500. The winner is also invited to go to three literature festivals in Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria.
Deadline: 31st January 2020
1. The competition is open to anyone aged 16 and over.
2. Poems should be in English, unpublished, not accepted for publication, and must be your original work.
3. Poems may be on any subject and in any form or style. They must be typed and not longer than 40 lines.
4. Each poem must be typed on a separate sheet of A4 paper. All poems are judged anonymously and should not bear your name, nor any other form of identification. On a separate sheet of A4 paper you should give a: your name and address, b: a list of poems submitted, and c: where you heard about the competition.
The deadline for the 2019 competition is 31st January 2020. The Judge is poet Carrie Etter, author of Imagined Sons, Divining for Starters, and The Tethers, and she will read all the submissions.
First prize: £1,000
Second prize: £300
Third prize: £100
Plus 4 x £50
Wanted: submissions for pieces that breathe freshness to the form; previously unpublished prose ranging from 1,000 – 5,000 words, each with a $10 entry fee. Simultaneous submissions accepted, but please notify Breakwater if submission is accepted elsewhere.
Prize: $1000 and publication in the Winter issue
Deadline: February 1, 2020
Submit a short story up to 2000 words. Open theme.
$7800 in prizes
Deadline: February 3, 2020
This contest is for previously unpublished works of fiction up to 750 words in length. Total entries limited to 300.
The award is open to all poets writing in English around the world. Simultaneous submissions accepted.
The Ginosko Flash Fiction Award is for an unpublished work of flash fiction. Awarded piece is selected through a submission process open to all writers with the following exception:
Relatives or individuals having a personal or professional relationship with any of the final judges where they have taken any part whatsoever in shaping the submitted manuscript.
Author’s name not to be on or in submission.
$500 Award, $5 entry fee, deadline March 1st, 2020. Awarded work posted on website and published in forthcoming issue.
Submit up to 2 pieces, 800 words maximum each piece.
$2,000 will be awarded for the best short story, which will be published in the fall/winter 2020 issue of Colorado Review.
Entry fee to submit online is $17 per story; there is no limit on the number of entries you may submit, though each story must be a separate entry.
Stories must be previously unpublished.
There are no theme restrictions, but stories should be at least 10 pages and under 50 pages.
All manuscripts must be double-spaced.
The story title and your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address should be entered in the cover letter field, separate from your story. Be sure your name is NOT anywhere in the story itself.
Deadline is March 14, 2020. There is a grace period of five days for both postal and online submissions.
The award is intended to honor the spirit of unblinking honesty, determination, and insight into cultural and social issues exemplified by the late James Jones, author of From Here to Eternity and other prose narratives of distinction. Jones himself was the recipient of aid from many supporters as a young writer and his family, friends, and admirers have established this award of $10,000 to continue the tradition in his name. Two runners-up awards of $1000 each may be given by the Jones Literary Society.
- Have never published a novel
- Are U.S. citizens
- May have published any other type of work including non-fiction articles and short stories
- Unpublished novels
- Novels in which one or more chapters have been published
Entry fee: $30
ONLINE SUBMISSION FORM entries should be sent to jamesjones.submittable.com/submit ELECTRONIC ENTRIES should be sent no later than midnight, March 15, 2020, Eastern Standard time.
The Word Works awards a living American or Canadian poet $1,500, a generous supply of author copies, and book publication for a volume of original poetry in English. To enter, submit a manuscript of 48 to 80 pages between January 15 and March 15, and pay the $25 entry fee.
The winner is selected by August each year. Book publication is planned for January of the following year.
Poems may be previously published or unpublished, and simultaneous submissions are accepted. Winner receives $1,000, a bronze medallion, and publication online in The Lascaux Review. The winner and all finalists will be published in the annual print journal Lascaux 8.
Deadline: March 19, 2020
- For an outstanding debut literary work by a first-generation immigrant
- Winner receives $10,000 and publication by Restless Books
- To be awarded for fiction and nonfiction in alternating years
- Submissions for the 2020 Prize in Fiction are open from October 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020
Fiction submissions can take the form of a novel or a book-length collection of short stories. Nonfiction submissions can take the form of a memoir, a collection of essays, or a book-length work of narrative nonfiction.
Fiction manuscripts must be complete. Nonfiction 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 be first-generation residents of their country. “First-generation” can refer either to people born in another country who relocated or to residents of a country whose parents were born elsewhere.
The prize is $1,000 and publication in The Tusculum Review.
The deadline is April 1, 2020.
The entry fee is $15 per manuscript. Entry fees include a one-year subscription to The Tusculum Review (an annual publication) and consideration for publication.
Each manuscript should consist of a single essay between 2000 and 6500 words in a standard 12-point font. Co-authored essays are permitted. Essays may not have been previously published nor be forthcoming.
Entry fee: $25 1st poem, $10 each subsequent poem
Earlybird fee (before 15 Mar): $20 1st poem, $10 each subsequent poem
Entry fees include a 1-year digital subscription to Pulp Literature.
This contest is for previously unpublished poems of up to 100 lines in length. Poetry that relies heavily on visual structure is eligible for prize money, but may be excluded from publication if the formatting is difficult to reproduce in print or eBook.
Total entries limited to 500.
Winners published in: Issue 28, Autumn 2020
First Prize: $500
Runners up (2): $50 each
All entrants receive a 1 year digital subscription to Pulp Literature.
Deadline: April 15, 2020
The BOAAT BOOK PRIZE is awarded annually to an emerging poet who has not previously published a book of poems.
WHEN: Submissions open April 1, 2020 – April 30, 2020 (ends at 11:59 PST)
GUEST JUDGE: TBD
- poets writing in the English language are eligible
- poets are not eligible to submit a manuscript if they have studied with the guest judge in full-time accredited courses or know the guest judge on a personal level
- manuscripts should be 48 to 75 pages of poetry, submitted in .docx or PDF formats only, but we’re flexible
- do not include your name anywhere on the manuscript
- do not include an acknowledgments or dedication page
- the author’s biography is collected separately in the Submittable cover letter
- simultaneous submissions are permissible, but submitters are asked to notify BOAAT Press immediately if a manuscript is picked up for publication elsewhere
- manuscript revisions are not permitted during the submission period
- submitting multiple manuscripts is fine with entry fees for each
READING FEE: $25.00 paid through Submittable
READING PROCESS: Each year we bring on three new readers to screen submissions. All of our preliminary readers are poets who have graduated from an MFA program or beyond, and also have a collection of poems. They’ll select fifteen of the best manuscripts to send our judge.
PUBLICATION FOR THE WINNING BOOK:
- a foreword by the Judge
- a $1,000 honorarium
- 25 free copies
- the book will be slated for publication around December of 2020
The Marsh Hawk Press Robert Creeley Memorial Award
Named for the late Poet and Member of the Marsh Hawk Press Advisory Board
The Rochelle Ratner Memorial Award
Named for the late Poet and Marsh Hawk Press Editor
2020 Contest Judge: Susan Howe
Deadline for Submissions: April 30, 2020
Trio House Press gives two awards annually: the Trio Award for First or Second Book for emerging poets, and the Louise Bogan Award for Artistic Merit and Excellence for a book of poems contributing in an innovative and distinct way to American poetry.
The Trio Award for First or Second Book includes $1,000, publication, and twenty books. The Trio Award for First or Second Book is only open to poets with less than two books published.
The Louise Bogan Award for Artistic Merit and Excellence includes $1,000, publication, and twenty books. The Louise Bogan Award for Artistic Merit and Excellence is open to ALL poets, regardless of publication history.
Reading period for both awards is November 1 through April 30. Manuscripts received outside of this reading period will not be considered. Our submissions fee is $25 per manuscript for all award reading periods.
The award is open to any poet writing in English who has not had a full-length book of poetry published previously. The definition of “full-length book” is a volume of 48 or more pages published in an edition of 500 or more copies. Books whose publication costs have been borne by their authors are excluded from this definition.
Submit your Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize manuscript online! During the submission period (March 1 – April 30) simply go to their Submittable page.
For this contest, a story is any short work of fiction, and an essay is any short work of nonfiction. Judge: Dennis Norris II, assisted by Lauren Singer Ledoux. Please submit as many entries as you like. All themes accepted. Entries may be published or unpublished. Length limit: 6,000 words maximum. No restriction on age of author. All countries eligible except Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Crimea (due to US government restrictions).
- STORY: First Prize, $3,000
- ESSAY: First Prize, $3,000
- The top two winners will also receive two-year gift certificates from Duotrope (a $100 value)
- 10 Honorable Mentions will receive $200 each (any category)
- Top 12 entries published online
Deadline: April 30, 2020
- Publication history. Only first or second full-length books of poetry may be submitted. Chapbooks are not considered as a previous publication in this regard.
- Length. Manuscripts must be between forty-eight and ninety pages.
- Previous publication. Individual poems may have been published in chapbooks, journals, and anthologies.
- Translations. Work in translation is not accepted.
- Multiple submissions. No more than one manuscript per author.
- Authorship. No more than one author per manuscript.
- Simultaneous submissions. Manuscripts under publication consideration or prize competition elsewhere are allowed provided we are notified immediately of their acceptance.
Deadline: April 16, 2020
The Peseroff Prize honors Joyce Peseroff’s work as a poet, teacher, editor, innovator, and mentor. She helped found the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts Boston, served as its first director, and retired from teaching in 2014.
Submit up to three poems and a $10 entry fee. There are no restrictions on content or form: “it’s all poetry.” Poems should be previously unpublished. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify Breakwater if submission is accepted elsewhere.
Submit from February 1 to May 1, 2020
The Book Pipeline: Adaptation competition seeks published books, graphic novels, short stories, and plays for film and television adaptation. There are no genre restrictions, and judging criteria is weighed evenly between concept originality, marketability in the current landscape, and overall writing talent.
Since 2014, Book Pipeline has reviewed new properties to connect with producers for development at all levels–from big-budget studio films and series, to smaller indies.
Every entrant receives general feedback on their submission, specifically on its adaptation potential. Comments are emailed after final judging is completed.
Submitted books, graphic novels, and short stories must already be published in some form (traditional publishing or self-publishing). Stage plays must have been published and/or produced.
Entries are judged on the basis of concept originality, writing ability, and the property’s viability as a scripted film or television series. Judging is done internally by Pipeline Development Executives.
Winner and finalists receive one-on-one assistance from Book Pipeline execs prior to industry exposure, in addition to the following:
$10,000 to winner, $2,000 to 2 runners-up ($1,000 each)
Long-term circulation and promotion to producers and other execs
Project development with Book Pipeline to prepare a film or TV series pitch
Consideration of other material and circulation of other stories to industry
Invitations to annual writer and industry events hosted by Pipeline Media Group
One (1) grand prize winner and two (2) runners-up are selected.
Deadline Dates/Entry Fees:
Early: May 20th, 2020 – $55
Regular: July 31st, 2020 – $60
Late: August 31st, 2020 – $70
Finalists announced by October 15th, 2020. Winner/Runners-Up selected by November 1st, 2020.
This is an open writing competition that is dedicated to finding and encouraging the most promising new writers from across the world. Each year the judges award over £18,000 in prize money for your best submissions in poetry, short stories, flash fiction and first novels. Details for entry and requirements can be found under each category on the website.
Deadline: May 31, 2020
You can submit an original, unpublished poem or collection of poems, up to 600 words in length. There is no minimum word requirement.
WHEN: The competition is open for submissions from April 1 to May 31, 2020.
WHO: All Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.
A fee of $25.00 (taxes included) for administration purposes is required for each entry.
The winner will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and will have the opportunity to attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Their winning submission will be published on CBC Books. Four finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their poetry published on CBC Books.
The 2020 Book Pipeline: Unpublished competition is exclusively for unpublished manuscripts across 6 categories of fiction and nonfiction:
—Sci-Fi / Fantasy
—Mystery / Thriller
—Outsider / Experimental
Select publishers and agents get first look at the top selections for each category, including LGR Literary Agency, Katherine Tegen Books, and Verve Publishing.
Winners and finalists receive:
$15,000 to winners ($2,500 for each category winner)
Immediate circulation to publishers, agents, editors, and other execs
Consideration from producers seeking projects for film and TV adaptation
Additional long-term reviews of other books for potential circulation
Invitations to annual writer and industry events hosted by Pipeline Media Group
One (1) grand prize winner and two (2) runners-up are selected for each category.
Deadline Dates/Entry Fees:
Early: June 1st, 2020 – $45
Regular: September 5th, 2020 – $55
Late: October 5th, 2020 – $60
Finalists announced by October 20th, 2020. Winners selected by November 5th, 2020.
Contest opens May 1, 2020 The winner of this contest will receive a cash award of $1,000.00 plus have their poetry published. Manuscripts must be 48-80 pages in length. Submit your work electronically or by regular mail. Instructions are available on the website.
Deadline: June 15, 2020
The Akron Series in Poetry was founded to bring to the public writers who speak in original and compelling voices. Each year, The University of Akron Press offers the Akron Poetry Prize, a competition open to all poets writing in English. The winning poet receives $1,500 and publication of his, her, or their book. The final selection will be made by a nationally prominent poet. The final judge for 2020 is Philip Metres. Other manuscripts may also be considered for publication in the series.
Deadline: June 15, 2020
THE $4,000 NARRATIVE PRIZE is awarded annually for the best short story, novel excerpt, poem, one-act play, graphic story, or work of literary nonfiction published by a new or emerging writer in Narrative.
The William Faulkner Literary Competition offers five categories for participants to enter: Novel, One Act Play, Poetry, Adult Short Story, Student Short Story.
Most submissions require an entry fee: $50 entry fee for Novel submissions and $20 entry fee for Playwriting, Short Story, and Poem. There is no entry fee for the Student Short Story entries.
Prizes range from $100 – $2,000.
Deadline: July 2020
No entry fee is required and entrants retain all publication rights.
Entries in the Writers of the Future Contest are adjudicated only by professional writers. Prizes of $1000, $750 and $500 are awarded every three months. From the four quarterly 1st Place winners each year, a panel of judges select one story as the grand prize winner. The writer of the grand-prize-winning story receives the L. Ron Hubbard Golden Pen Award and an additional $5000 cash prize.
Deadlines (Quarterly): January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1
The Travel Writing Competition is open to anyone writing a book about their experience of an unfamiliar culture (or cultures) during a single journey.
The book may be at a very early stage, with perhaps just the first few chapters in first draft, or it could be an edited and proofed final manuscript.
To be eligible for the competition, the work must be:
- Written primarily in English
- Unpublished (and not self-published) as a whole, or in part, in any format
The author must be willing and able to attend the Vicarious Festival 2020 in person.
The award winner will receive the following prize package:
- £500 cash
- Invitation to speak at the next Vicarious Festival
- Two tickets to the next Vicarious Festival
- Additional prize elements to be announced
Deadline: July 31, 2020
Winner $500AU Hawkeye Publishing Gift Voucher + anthology cover based on the winner’s story
Short-Listed and Long-Listed announced
TOP 40 published in an anthology – free copy to all published entrants.
The theme of If only…is expansive, allowing for imaginations to run wild. If you’re unsure where to start, here are some prompts to get you started. You may write of, for example, about life choices made by an individual, a group, or a government. Your character might reflect on how choices made by others affected their own life, or how they are gripped with indecision as they face a life altering situation and how they will reflect on their decision in the future. Think Sliding Doors. The possibilities are endless. These are just a few suggestions and we look forward to reading your stories and seeing where your mind takes you.
Deadline: August 1, 2020
Fee: $15.00 per poem
Length limit: 250 lines maximum per poem. No restriction on age of author. Authors from all countries eligible except Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Crimea (due to US government restrictions).
- TOM HOWARD PRIZE: $3,000 for a poem in any style or genre
- MARGARET REID PRIZE: $3,000 for a poem that rhymes or has a traditional style
- The top two winners will also receive two-year gift certificates from Duotrope (a $100 value)
- Honorable Mentions: 10 awards of $200 each (any style)
- Top 12 entries published online
Deadline: September 30, 2020
Deadline: October 15, 2018
Fee: $20.00 (includes a one-year subscription to Pulp Literature)
Submit a short story of up to 2,500 words for consideration in this contest. Would you like to find out what a professional editor thinks of your work? For $25.00, one of the Pulp Literature editors will critique your work. First prize for the contest is $300.00.
Deadline: October 31, 2018
Submission guidelines are as follows:
- Books must be published in 2018.
- Authors must be living American citizens.
- Books must be published on a commercial, academic, or small press. No self-published books are accepted.
- There are no submission fees or application forms.
- Bound proofs are eligible for submission for books which will be published in November or December of 2018.
- All submissions must be post-marked by October 31, 2018.
The winner gets $15,000 plus an invitation to read at the award ceremony in Washington, DC. Four finalists get $5,000 each.
Deadline: November 6, 2018
A 5-7-5 follows the structure of a Haiku but without any limitation to the topic. While a Senryu, is primarily concerned with human nature. A Haiku, primarily concerned with physical nature. A 5-7-5 poem is a free form with the only limitation being the syllable count.
So have fun with the 5-7-5 poetry type. But it must follow the proper syllable count. A 5-7-5 poem has three lines. The first line has 5 syllables. The second line has 7 syllables. The third line has 5 syllables again.
The winner takes away a $100 cash prize. All writers will receive feedback for their submission.