Tuesday, January 26, 2021

65 Writing Contests in February 2021 - No entry fees

This February there are more than five dozen writing contests calling for every genre and form, from poetry, to creative nonfiction, to completed novels. Prizes range from $100,000 to publication. None charge entry fees.

Some of these contests have age and geographical restrictions, so read the instructions carefully.

If you want to get a jump on next month's contests go to Free Contests. Most of these contests are offered annually, so even if the deadline is past, you can prepare for next year.

Good luck! 

Photo credit: Geograph (UK)

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The Tomorrow PrizeRestrictions: Open to high school students in Los Angeles. Genre: Science fiction, 1500 words max. Prize: $250. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

Myong Cha Son Haiku AwardRestrictions: Open to undergraduate poets who are enrolled in a United States college or university. Genre: Haiku. Prize: First prize $1,500, and a runner-up prize $500.  Deadline: February 1, 2021.

The Jim Baen Memorial Short Story AwardGenre: Short story of no more than 8,000 words that shows the near future (no more than about 50-60 years out) of manned space exploration. Prize: Publication as the featured story on the Baen Books main website paid at the normal paying rates for professional story submissions. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

Rhina P. Espaillat Poetry AwardRestrictions: Open to undergraduate poets who are enrolled in a United States college or university. Genre: Original poems written in Spanish and translations of English poems to Spanish. Prize: $500. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

Iris N. Spencer Undergraduate Poetry AwardRestrictions: Open to undergraduate poets who are enrolled in a United States college or university. Genre: Poetry composed in the traditional modes of meter, rhyme and received forms. Prize: First prize $1,500, and a runner-up prize $500. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

Wil Mills AwardRestrictions: Open to poets who have published chap books but have no full-linked collections. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $200 Deadline: February 1, 2021.

Sonnet AwardRestrictions: Open to undergraduate poets who are enrolled in a United States college or university. Genre: Sonnet. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

Villanelle AwardRestrictions: Open to undergraduate poets who are enrolled in a United States college or university. Genre: Villanelle. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

Paterson Prize for Books for Young PeopleGenre: Most outstanding book for young people published in 2016. There is a $500 award in each category: Pre-K - Grade 3;  Grades 4 - 6;  Grades 7 - 12. Prize: $500. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

Paterson Poetry PrizeGenre: Poetry book published in 2018. Prize: $1000. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

The Levis Reading Prize is sponsored by the Department of English and its MFA in Creative Writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Restrictions: The prize is given annually for the best first or second book of poetry published in the previous calendar year. Genre: Poetry.  Prize: $5000.  Deadline: February 1, 2021.

Gannon University Poetry ContestRestrictions: Entrants must be a US high school student or a home-schooled student in grades nine through twelve. Genre: Poetry. Each student may enter 1 or 2 poems; each poem may be no longer than 50 lines. Prize: First Place: $100.00 Second Place: $75.00 Third Place: $50.00. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

$1000 for 1000 Words Creative Writing Contest is sponsored by the Leyla Beban Young Authors Foundation. Restrictions: Students enrolled in grades 6-12. Genre: Short fiction of exactly 1000 words. Prize: Two $1,000 scholarship prizes will be awarded, one for grades 6-8 and one for grades 9-12. Seven $100 cash prizes will also be awarded for winning entries, one per grade level.  Deadline: February 1, 2021. 

North Carolina Student Poetry ContestRestrictions: Open to student poets from 3rd grade to university undergraduates attending schools in North Carolina. Genres: Unpublished poems (submit one poem). Prizes: 1st Place winners will receive a $60 check, an NCPS award certificate, and a free copy of Pinesong. 2nd Place winners receive $40, an NCPS award certificate, and a free copy of Pinesong. 3rd Place winners receive $25, an NCPS award certificate, and a free copy of Pinesong. Deadline: February 1, 2021. Snail mail entries only.

Wednesday Club Junior Poetry PrizeRestrictionsHigh School Students in Grades 9 through 12 in the St. Louis Area. Genre: Poetry. Two individual poems. Prizes: $200,  $150,  $100, $80, $50, and up to five $25 honorable mentions TEACHER AWARDS: $200, $150, $100. (Applies to teachers of first three student winners.) Deadline: February 1, 2021.

Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political WritingRestrictions: Titles must be published in Canada. Self-published books are not eligible. Genre: A book of literary nonfiction that captures a political subject of relevance to Canadian readers and has the potential to shape or influence thinking on contemporary Canadian political life. Prize: Winner: $25,000; Finalists: $2,500. DeadlineFebruary 2, 2021 for books published between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. They have an unreadable website.

Wednesday Club Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Adults over 18; living within a 50-mile radius of St. LouisGenre: Poetry. Two individual poems. Prizes: $500, $300, $150. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

Life Writing PrizeRestrictions: Open to UK residents. Genre: Life writing. The Prize defines life writing as ‘intended to be true’, reflects someone’s own life journey or experiences and is not fiction. Prize: Winner will receive £1,500, publication on Spread the Word’s website, an Arvon course, two years’ membership to the Royal Society of Literature and a development meeting with an editor and an agent. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

Spectator Competition: The state we're inGenre: Sonnet. "Shelley wrote a sonnet entitled ‘England in 1819’. You are invited to compose one called ‘England in 2021’.)" Please email entries of up to 150 words to lucy@spectator.co.uk  Prize: £30. Deadline: February, 3, 2021.

Narrative Magazine "Tell Me a Story" High School ContestRestrictions: Open to high school students aged 15-18. Genre: Poetry. Prize: Up to $500. Deadline: February 4, 2021.

The University of Chester Flash (Youth)Restrictions: Open to Scottish students aged 16-19 who are studying in the UK. Genre: flash fiction of up to 360 words. Prize: Up to £100. Deadline: February 5, 2021.

Luminarts Creative Writing Fellowship. The Creative Writing Fellowship awards two $7,500 grant Fellowships for excellence in creative writing in the categories of prose and poetry, in fiction and nonfiction. Applicants submit a two-page written piece (either a stand-alone piece or an excerpt of a larger piece such as a novel or short story). Open to writers between the ages of 18 and 30 years old at the time of application; be enrolled in, or have graduated from, a degree program; and live within 150 miles of the Union League Club of Chicago. Genre: Poetry or prose, fiction and nonfiction. Prize: $7,500. Deadline: February 5, 2021.

Bethesda Poetry ContestGenres: Poetry. Adult and high school student categories. Restrictions: Residents of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are eligible. Prizes: First place: $350, published on The Writer's Center's blog and magazine, and a free class and membership to The Writer's Center. Second Place: $250. Third Place: $150. Honorable Mention: $75. All winners will be published on the Bethesda Urban Partnership website and honored at a special event during the Local Writer's Showcase. Deadline: February 5, 2021 for adults, February 12, 2021 for high school students.

Bath Flash Fiction AwardGenre: Flash fiction (300 words max). Prize: £1000 prize for the winner, £300 second and £100 third. Two commendations £30 each. Deadline: February 7, 2021.

Papatango New Writing PrizeRestrictions: Open to anyone resident in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Genre: Script of roughly 25 – 50 pages. Prize: £2000. Their scripts will be produced as audio plays and tour the UK in free listening stations. The scripts will also be published digitally by Nick Hern Books. Deadline: February 7, 2021.

Charles Crupi Memorial Poetry ContestRestrictions: Open to high school students in Michigan. Genre: Poetry. Prize: 1st place - $250 and publication in The Albion Review, 2nd place - $150 and publication in The Albion Review; 3rd place - $100 and publication in The Albion Review. Deadline: February 7, 2021.

Western Australian Premier's Book AwardsRestrictions: Open to authors who either are citizens or permanent residents of Western Australia. Genre: Book published during the preceding calendar year in a variety of genres. Prize: Up to A$60,000. Deadline: February 8, 2021.

NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowships are awarded in fifteen different disciplines over a three-year period. Prize: $7,000 cash awards are made to individual originating artists living and working in the state of New York for unrestricted use. These fellowships are not project grants but are intended to fund an artist’s vision or voice, regardless of the level of his or her artistic development. Deadline: February 10, 2021.

Spectator Competition No. 3186: mixed messagesGenre: Acrostic poem. "You are invited to supply an acrostic poem praising or dispraising a public figure, in which the word/s spelt out by the first letter of each line directly contradicts what the poem is saying." Email entries of up to 16 lines to lucy at spectator.co.uk. Prize: £30. Deadline: February 10, 2021.

Library of Virginia Literary AwardsRestrictions: Open to writers who were born in or are residents of Virginia or, in the case of nonfiction, books with a Virginia theme, are eligible. Genre: Books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction published in the previous year. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: February 10, 2021.

Writers' & Artists' Yearbook Short Story CompetitionGenre: Short story. All entries must be original unpublished prose of 2,000 words or fewer. Prize: £500 and publication. Deadline: February 12, 2021.

Scotiabank Giller PrizeRestrictions: Open to books published in Canada in English. Books must be published in Canada in English between October 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021 to be eligible for the 2020 Prize. Must  be nominated by publisher. Genre: Fiction. Full-length novel or collection of short stories published in English, either originally, or in translation. Prize: $100,000 to the winner and $10,000 to each of the finalists. Deadline: February 12, 2021.

Duotrope Valentine's Day Contest. Genre: Creative nonfiction about love. Prize: $50. Deadline: February 14, 2021.

Commonwealth Club of California Book AwardsRestrictions: Open to residents of California. Genre: Book of poetry, fiction or nonfiction. Prize: Gold medal. Deadline: February 15, 2021.

Apparition LitGenre: Speculative flash fiction that reflect the artwork they’ve chose for each month.(See site for images.) Prize: $10 USD. Deadline: February 15, 2021. Note: This is a monthly contest.

Randall Kenan Prize for Black LGBTQ FictionRestrictions: Open to a Black LGBTQ writer whose fiction explores themes of Black LGBTQ life, culture, and/or history. To be eligible, the winner of the prize must have published at least one book and show promise in continuing to produce groundbreaking work. Prize: $3,000. Deadline: February 15, 2021.

Jeanne C√≥rdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer NonfictionRestrictions: Open to a writer committed to nonfiction work that captures the depth and complexity of lesbian/queer life, culture, and/or history. The winner of the prize will have published at least one book and show promise in continuing to produce groundbreaking and challenging work. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: February 15, 2021.

Raiziss/de Palchi Translation AwardGenre: Poetry - translation into English of a significant work of modern Italian poetry. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: February 15, 2021.

Ballard Spahr Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Open to residents of MN, IA, ND, SD, WI, or MI. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $10,000 & book publication with Milkweed Editions. Deadline: February 15, 2021.

CAAPP Book PrizeRestrictions: Open to writers of African descent. Genre: First or second book by a writer of African descent and is open to the full range of writers embodying African and African diasporic experience. The book can be of any genre that is, or intersects with, poetry, including poetry, hybrid work, speculative prose, and/or translation. Prize: $3000 and publication. Deadline: February 15, 2021.

Syracuse University's Veterans Writing AwardRestrictions: Open to U.S. veterans and active duty personnel in any branch of the U.S. military and their immediate family members. This includes spouses, domestic partners, and children. Women veteran writers and veterans of color are encouraged to submit. Genre: Unpublished, full-length novels or short story collections. Prize: $1000. Deadline: February 15, 2021.

Ambroggio PrizeRestrictions: Poet must be a U.S. Citizen; Resident of the United States for the ten-year period prior to the submission deadline, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Legal Permanent Status (LPS), or any subsequent categories designated by the U.S. authorities as conferring similar enhanced status upon non-citizens living in the United States. Genre: Book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish and with an English translation. Prize: $1000 and publication. Deadline: February 15, 2021.

Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ WritersRestrictions: The nominee must self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. The nominee must have written and published at least one but no more than two books of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Genre: Fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Prize: $1000. Deadline: February 15, 2021.

Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards for Excellence in Published Haiku, Translation, and CriticismGenre: Published book. Books must have been published in 2019 and must clearly contain a printed 2019 copyright. A member, author, or publisher may submit or nominate more than one title. At least 50 percent of the book must be haiku, senryu, or haibun, or prose about these subjects (books mostly of tanka, for example, are not eligible). Prize: $500. Deadline: February 15, 2021.

Dr. Jim Duggins Outstanding LGBTQ Mid-Career Novelist PrizeRestrictions: Open to LGBTQ mid-career novelists who have published at least three novels. or two novels and substantial additional literary work (including poems, stories, or essays). Genre: Published book. Prize: $5000. Deadline: February 15, 2021.

Harold Morton Landon Translation AwardGenre: Poetry collection translated from any language into English and published in the previous calendar year. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 15, 2021.

Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative NonfictionGenre: Essay, maximum 5,000 words. Prize: $250 top prize. Deadline: February 15, 2021.

The Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award supports the work of a promising early-career nonfiction writer on a story that uncovers truths about the human condition. Genres: Nonfiction journalism works in progress with “strong, character-driven narratives with detailed scene writing and lyrical description.” Restrictions: The award will not fund proposals to report on armed conflicts where journalists are already imperiled, nor projects that are mainly investigatory. Prize: $12,500 grant and use of the NYU library. Deadline: February 16, 2021.

Bethesda Essay ContestGenre: Essays. Adult and high school student categories. Restrictions: Residents of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are eligible. Prizes: First place: $350, published on The Writer's Center's blog and magazine, and a free class and membership to The Writer's Center. Second Place: $250. Third Place: $150. Honorable Mention: $75. All winners will be published on the Bethesda Urban Partnership website and honored at a special event during the Local Writer's Showcase. Deadline: February 18, 2021.

Gaithersburg Book Festival Poetry ContestRestrictions: Open to high school students (grades 9-12) from across the Washington Metropolitan Area (Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC). Genre: Poetry. Prize: First, 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive $250, $100 and $50 gift certificates.  Deadline: February 18, 2021.

RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging WritersRestrictions: Candidates must be: A Canadian citizen or permanent resident; Under the age of 35; Unpublished in book form and without a book contract. Genre: Poetry and fiction. Prizes: Up to C$10,000. Deadline: February 22, 2021.

Wiley-Silver Prize in Civil War HistoryGenre: First book or monograph in Civil War history published in the previous year. Books or monographs published by scholarly or popular presses are eligible. Prize: $2,000. Deadline: February 26, 2021.

The Lakefly Writers ConferenceRestrictions: Open to residents of Wisconsin. GenresShort story fiction: 1500 words or less. Any genre. Flash fiction: 500 words or fewer. Any genre. No theme. Poetry:  All poems, free verse to formal and everything in between—75 lines max. Teen short story: Open to 18 years old and younger. Maximum 1,500 words. Any genre. See theme. Prize: First place winners will receive a cash prize of $100; second place winners will receive $75; and third place winners will receive $50. Winners must be able to attend an awards ceremony. Deadline: February 26, 2021.

Make A Way Book AwardRestrictions: “American Editions invites progressive American authors to apply. Authors must have a strong, regular social media presence that is free of trolling or bias against marginalized groups.” Genre: Nonfiction book-length essay about changing the United States for the better. Prize: $700. Deadline: February 26, 2021. (Extended deadline)

The Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multi-Lingual TextsGenre: Literary translations and multi-lingual texts. Prize: $200. Deadline: February 28, 2021.

Ice Lolly Campaign ContestRestrictions: Open to writers ages 12-18. Genre: Nonfiction (Memoir, Personal Essay), Fiction, and Poetry. There is no specific theme but your piece must touch upon social issues or issues that are important to you. Word Count: Up to 2,000 words or up to 100 lines for poetry. Prize: $100 to one winner in each category. $50 will be given to the winner and $50 will be donated to the charity of the winner's choice. Deadline: February 28, 2021.

Tales to TerrifyGenre: Horror based on image provided. Length: 1000 words max. Prize: $25. DeadlineFebruary 28, 2021.

Creative Capital AwardRestrictions: Entrants must be US citizens or permanent residents, aged 25+, with 5+ years' professional writing experience, and not be full-time students. Genre: Poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels. Grant: Up to $50,000. Deadline: February 28, 2021.

Victor Howes Prize in PoetryRestrictions: Undergraduate English majors currently enrolled at a New England college (2-year or 4-year). Genre: Poetry. Prize: $1000. Deadline: February 28, 2021.

Black Caucus of the American Library Association Self-Published E-Book Literary Award.   Restrictions: Open to African-Americans. Genre: Self-Published E-Book in fiction and poetry. Prize: $500. Deadline: February 28, 2021.

Imagine Little Tokyo. Little Tokyo Historical Society (LTHS) seeks fictional short stories in Japanese or English for its “Imagine Little Tokyo” writing contest. The setting of the story should be in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, CA– either past, present or future. Prize: $500. DeadlineFebruary 28, 2021.

Invent a Word. Genre: "We invite you to invent a word. Not just any word. A word you think will greatly enhance the English language. Give us your word, a one-sentence definition, and use the word in a sentence." Prize: Free Gotham class of your choosing. DeadlineFebruary 28, 2021.

The Lindisfarne Crime PrizeRestrictions: Residents of the North of England, or whose work celebrates the North of England. Genre: Crime short story of up to 10,000 words. Prize: £2500.  Deadline: February 28, 2021.

Texas Review Press Southern Poetry Breakthrough Series: ArkansasRestrictions: Open to any poet born in Arkansas, or currently residing in Arkansas, who has not yet published a full-length collection of poetry. The author may have published chapbooks or books in other genres. Genre: Poetry collection. Prize: Winner will receive a standard royalty contract, and 20 copies of the published book. Deadline: February 28, 2021.

Limp Wrist: Glitter Bomb AwardRestrictions: Open to LGBTQ/non-binary poets and their allies. Genre: Poem by a poet of any stage of her/his/their career. Prize: $50 and publication in the spring 2021 issue of Limp Wrist. Deadline: February 28, 2021.

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