Wednesday, April 28, 2021

44 Writing Contests in May 2021 - No entry fees

This May there are nearly three dozen writing contests calling for every genre and form, from poetry, to creative nonfiction, to completed novels. Prizes range from $60,000 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: Flickr)


Spider’s Web Flash Fiction PrizeRestrictions: Open to female-identified writers. Genre: Microfiction on the theme of Metamorphosis. Word Count: 20 to 100 words. Prize: $150. Deadline: May 1, 2021.

The CookOutRestrictions: Open to black writers. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $1000. Deadline: May 1, 2021.

Message to the World Poetry ContestRestrictions: Open to persons up to the age of 25. Genre: Poem about Freedom. Prize: £350. Deadline: May 1, 2021.

West Virginia Fiction CompetitionRestrictions: Open to West Virginia residents or students. Genre: Short fiction, 5,000 words max. Prize: $500. Deadline: May 1, 2021.

The Waterston Desert Writing PrizeGenre: Literary nonfiction, desert theme. Prize: $1,500.   Deadline: May 1, 2021.

Questions Writing PrizeRestrictions: Open to authors aged 18-30. Genre: Short stories of any genre or nonfiction between 1500 and 2000 words. Prize: First place winners (or prize pool for a tie) is $2000. The work will also be published in a book. Deadline: May 1, 2021. 

CINTAS Creative Writing FellowshipRestrictions: Open to any Cuban author (including those of direct Cuban lineage; need not reside in Cuba). Genre: Novel excerpts, short stories, plays, or poems of up to 25 pages. Prize: $20,000 fellowship. Deadline: May 1, 2021.

Remastered Words Short Story CompetitionGenre: Fantasy short story up to 5,000 words. Prize: £75, £50, £25. The winning stories will be produced as audio shorts by voiceover artists. Deadline: May 1, 2021. Accepts reprints.

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors. Created by the Missouri Humanities Council, the Warrior Arts Alliance, and Southeast Missouri State University Press, this series of anthologies preserves and shares military service perspectives of our soldiers and veterans of all conflicts and of their families. It is not only an outlet for artistic expression but also a document of the unique aspects of wartime in our nation's history. Genres: Poetry, Short Fiction, Essay, Photography, Interview with a Warrior. Prize: $250 and publication. Deadline: May 2, 2021 (postmarked).

Mavis Batey Essay PrizeRestrictions: Open to any student, worldwide, registered in a bona-fide university or institute of higher education, or who has recently graduated from such an institution. Genre: Nonfiction. Scholarly essay on gardening history. Prize:  £250, free membership of the Gardens Trust for a year and consideration for publication. Deadline: May 2, 2021.

The Maya Angelou Book Award was founded in 2020 to honor the legacy of Missouri-born author Maya Angelou by celebrating contemporary authors whose work has demonstrated a commitment to social justice in America and/or the world. Restrictions: Entrants must be U.S. Citizens and reside within the United States. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: May 3, 2021.

Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political WritingGenre: 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. Book must be published in Canada. Prize: CAN $25,000.  Deadline: May 4, 2021.

Harper-Wood Creative Writing & Travel Award for English Poetry and LiteratureRestrictions:   Open to any student who has graduated from any university in the UK, Ireland, the Commonwealth or the USA. Genre: The Award Holder is expected to engage in a course of study or research, and produce a piece of original fiction, drama or poetry. Prize: £15,000 is provided to cover accommodation and living expenses during the course of the year. Deadline: May 5, 2021.

Spectator Contest: No. 3198: Now We Are RichYou are invited to supply an extract from a children’s book that is designed to explain economics to youngsters. Please email entries of up to 150 words/16 lines to Prize£30. Deadline: May 5, 2021.

On The Premises Mini Contest. "QUESTION EVERYTHING. For this mini-contest, show, tell, or evoke a complete story between 25 and 50 words long in which every sentence is a question (and ends with a question mark). It’s okay if technically, the sentence ends in quotation marks, because dialogue that asks a question is fine. For the purposes of this contest, “Hello?” ends in a question mark." Prize: $40. Deadline: May 7, 2021.

Reedsy. Genre: Short story on theme of Chiaroscuro. Prize: $50. Deadline: May 7, 2021.

RTÉ Radio Short Story CompetitionRestrictions: Open to Irish writers and residents of Ireland.  Genre: Short story. Prize: Up to 3,000 euros. Deadline: May 7, 2021.

All Our Various Voices. Montpelier Arts Center is seeking original and unpublished submissions for All Our Various Voices, an anthology celebrating the rich diversity of personal or family stories of immigration from writers who are 18 years of age and older and reside in Maryland, Virginia, or the District of Columbia. Prize: First Place ($200), Second Place ($150), Third Place ($100) and two Honorable Mentions ($50 each). First Place ($200), Second Place ($150), Third Place ($100) and two Honorable Mentions ($50 each). Deadline: May 7, 2021.

Spectator Contest: No. 3199: I spy. Are we facing a future in which we are spied on not only by Alexa, Siri and Cortana but also by our mattress, our vacuum cleaner, even our children’s toys? You are invited to supply a poem in which an inanimate object comments on its owner’s behaviour. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to Prize£30. Deadline: May 12, 2021.

Governor General's Literary Awards. Restrictions: Books must have been written by Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. They do not need to be residing in Canada. Genre: The Governor General’s Literary Awards are given annually to the best English-language and French-Language book in each of the seven categories of Fiction, Literary Non-fiction, Poetry, Drama, Young People’s Literature (Text), Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Books). Prize: $25,000. Deadline: May 15, 2021.

MindPath Poetry ContestGenre: Poems on the theme of mental health struggles and recovery. Prize: $100. Deadline: May 15, 2021.

Leeway Foundation: Transformation AwardRestrictions: Women and transgender poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers in the Philadelphia area who have been creating art for social change for five or more years. Writers who have lived for at least two years in Bucks, Camden, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, or Philadelphia counties, who are at least 18 years of age, and who are not full-time students in a degree-granting arts program are eligible. Award: $15,000. Deadline: May 15, 2021.

The Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award. Sponsored by Sisters in Crime. Restrictions: Open to emerging writers of color. An unpublished writer is preferred, although publication of one work of short fiction or academic work will not disqualify an applicant. Prize: $1,500. Deadline: May 15, 2021.

The James Laughlin Award is sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. Genre: A second book of poetry forthcoming in the next calendar year. Must be under contract with US publisher. Restrictions: Open to US citizens and residents only. Prize: $5,000, an all-expenses-paid week long residency in Florida, and the Academy will purchase approximately 1,000 copies of the book for distribution to its members. Deadline: May 15, 2021.

Sunlight PressGenre: Flash fiction. Prize: $500. Deadline: May 15, 2021.

The Roadrunner Review: High School Writing CompetitionRestrictions: Open to high school students. Genre: Poetry, prose. Prize: $100. Deadline: May 16, 2021.

Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Non-FictionGenre: Literary non-fiction. Restrictions: Titles must be published in Canada and written by Canadians. Prize: $60,000 will be awarded to a literary nonfiction book published between March 10, 2021 and May 18, 2021. Deadline: May 19, 2021.

Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction PrizeGenre: Fiction. Restrictions: Titles must be published in Canada and written by Canadians. No self-published works. Prize: $25,000 will be awarded to a novel or short-story collection published between March 11, 2021 and May 18, 2021. Prizes of $2,500 will be awarded to each of the finalists. Deadline: May 19, 2021.

Writers' Trust Fiction PrizeGenre: Literary fiction, novel or short story collection. Restrictions: Titles must be published in Canada and written by Canadians. Prize: $60,000 will be awarded to a literary fiction book or short story collection published between March 10, 2021 and May 18, 2021. Deadline: May 19, 2021.

Erewash: A Holiday Romance. Genre: Flash fiction and poetry. "We're inviting you to write about a holiday romance. You may want to write about a holiday romance that has yet to happen, or possibly one currently happening.  It could be your writing is a memory  of a holiday romance from the past." Prize: £10. Deadline: May 27, 2021.

New Beginnings Poetry CompetitionGenre: Poetry. "Open to: anyone who feels their voice was silenced in 2020. Anywhere in the world, any age." Prize: 1st prize: £200; 2nd prize: £100.  DeadlineMay 21, 2021.

Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction ContestGenre: Unpublished fiction approximately 1,000 - 5,000 words. Story should pertain to music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theater, particularly that of the counter-culture of mid-twentieth century America. Prize: $100 and publication in Jerry Jazz MusicianDeadline: May 31, 2021.

The Zachary Doss Friends in Letters Memorial Fellowship. Genre: Collaborations between two people in any genre or form. Length: 10 pages. Prize: $50. Deadline: May 31, 2021.

Storytwigs micro-writing competitionRestrictions: Open to citizens/residents of United States or Canada. You must be 18 years or older to enter. Genre: Short prose 100 words or fewer on prompt of String. Prize: From $10 to $100. Deadline: May 31, 2021.

Speculative Literature Foundation Older Writers GrantRestrictions: Open to writers who are fifty years of age or older at the time of grant application. Genre: Speculative fiction. Prize: $500.  Deadline: May 31, 2021.

Apparition LitGenre: Poetry and short fiction between 1k – 5k words based on the theme CONTAMINATION. Prize: $30. Deadline: May 31, 2021.

The Wolfe Pack Black Orchid AwardGenre: Mystery novellas in the style of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novellas. Manuscript length: 15K-20K words. Prize: $1,000, plus recognition and publication in a forthcoming issue of AAMM. Deadline: May 31, 2021.

The Drabble Harvest ContestGenre: Drabble on theme of "Interplanetary Vacation Rentals." A "drabble" is defined as a short story containing exactly precisely no more and no fewer than 100 words. It has a title, which can be from 1 to 15 words-- but no more than 15. Prize: $5. Deadline: May 31, 2021.

bpNichol Poetry Chapbook AwardGenre: Published poetry chapbook. Restrictions: Canadian publishers only. Prize: The author receives $4,000 and the publisher receives $500. Deadline: May 31, 2021.

James Bartleman Aboriginal Youth Creative Writing AwardsRestrictions: Open to aboriginal youth, 18 years or younger, residing in Ontario, Canada. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: May 31, 2021.

CNO Naval History Essay ContestGenre: Essay: Naval history.  Prize: First Prize: $5,000. Second Prize:$2,500. Third Prize: $1,500. DeadlineMay 31, 2021.

Sapiens PlurumGenre: Short stories that personalize the consequences of climate change. "This year’s short-fiction contest challenges authors to ask: How can technology increase empathy and connection? The news today is full of examples of technology creating dissension and amplifying differences. We ask authors to imagine ways that technology can improve how we relate to each other and bring us closer, even across species. We welcome stories that view life from another species’ point of view and/or explore empathy between different forms of life."  Prize: 1ST PRIZE: $1000; 2ND PRIZE: $500; 3RD PRIZE: $300. Deadline: May 31, 2021.

Bacopa Literary ReviewGenres: Fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry. Prizes: First ($200) and Runner-Up ($160) prizes in each genre. All published will receive $20 and a copy of the print journal. After publication, Bacopa will be promoted online. Deadline: May 31, 2021.

A Very Short Story Contest. Genre: Short story in ten words or fewer. Prize: Free Gotham 10-week workshop. Deadline: May 31, 2021.

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