Thursday, August 26, 2021

48 Writing Contests in September 2021 - No entry fees

This September there are four dozen writing contests calling for every genre and form, from poetry, to creative nonfiction, to completed novels. Prizes range from $70,000 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! 

(Image: Max Pixel)


American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation PrizesGenre: English translations of poetry, fiction, drama, or literary prose originally written in Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, or Swedish by a Scandinavian author born after 1800. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: Sept 1, 2021.

Neal Peirce Foundation Journalism Travel GrantsGenre: Journalism. "Grants are intended to support journalists in covering undertold stories about ways to make cities and their metro regions work better for all their people. Grants will cover travel expenses necessary for on-the-ground reporting. Full-time freelancers as well as journalists currently employed by a news organization are eligible to apply. The grants are for journalists to travel to cities within the U.S. to produce one or more stories for publication." Prize: Up to $1500. Deadline: Sept 1, 2021.

AILACT Essay PrizeGenre: Papers related to the teaching or theory of informal logic or critical thinking, and papers on argumentation theory. Prize: $700 top prize. Deadline: September 1, 2021.

Lee Smith Novel PrizeGenre: Novel (no genre fiction). Prize: $1,000 and publication. Deadline: September 1, 2021.

PEN Prison Writing ContestRestrictions: Anyone incarcerated in a federal, state, or county prison in the year before the September 1 deadline is eligible to enter. Genres: Poetry, fiction, drama, creative nonfiction. Prize: $200 top prize per category. Deadline: September 1, 2021.

IWSGGenre: Science Fiction. Theme: Dark Matter. Word count: 4500-6000. Prize: The winning stories will be edited and published by Dancing Lemur Press' imprint Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title. Deadline: September 1, 2021.

Stories Out of SchoolGenre: Flash fiction. The story’s protagonist, or its narrator, must be a K-12 teacher. Stories must be between 6 and 749 words and previously unpublished. Prize: First-prize winners receive $1000; second-prize winners, $500. Deadline: September 1, 2021.

Gasher First-Book Scholarship. Restrictions: Open to US residents. Genre: First book, prose or poetry. Prize: $250. Deadline: September 1, 2021.

Green Bean Books and Jewish Book Week AwardsRestrictions: Open to children’s authors and illustrators living in Europe, the UK and Israel. Genre: Stories for young children based on Jewish history, values and traditions. Prize: One author and one illustrator will each receive a £1000 prize and the work will be considered for publication by specialist Jewish children’s book publisher Green Bean Books. Deadline: September 1, 2021.

#PitMad Pitch Party. #PitMad is a pitch party on Twitter where writers tweet a 280-character pitch for their completed, polished, unpublished manuscripts. Agents and editors make requests by liking/favoriting the tweeted pitch. Every unagented writer is welcome to pitch. All genres/categories are welcomed. Deadline: September 2, 2021.

On The Premises Short Story Contest. "For this contest, write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which someone or something is considered to be a monster… and maybe that’s accurate! Maybe you’re writing a straightforward horror story. Or maybe the “monster” label is terrible and undeserved. Or is the truth somewhere in between? That’s entirely up to you." Prize: Winners receive between US$60 and US$220, and publication. Deadline: September 3, 2021.

Hubert Butler Essay PrizeRestrictions: Open to European Union citizens aged 18+. Genre: Essay on theme "Communal solidarity and individual freedom: antagonists or allies?" 3,000 words max. Prize: Up to 1,000 pounds. Deadline: September 3, 2021.

Shoreline of Infinity Flash Fiction ContestGenre: Science fiction ghost story. 1000 words max.  Prize: £50. Deadline: September 3, 2021.

Furious FictionGenre: Flash fiction, 500 words max. Prize: $500. Deadline: September 5, 2021. Opens September 3.

Spectator: Rock GodGenre: Flash fiction up to 150 words "You are invited to retell a well-known biblical story in a secular style that might enhance its appeal to a contemporary audience." Please email up to 150 words to by midday on 8 September. Prize: £30. Deadline: September 8, 2021.

Young Lions Fiction AwardRestrictions: Open to US citizens 35 years of age or younger. Genre: Novel or a collection of short stories. Each year, five young fiction writers are selected as finalists by a reading committee of Young Lions members, writers, editors, and librarians. Submissions by publisher only. Authors may not submit their own work. Prize: $10,000.00. Deadline: September 10, 2021.

Lincoln Book Festival Flash Fiction Competition. Genre: Flash fiction. "Lincoln Book Festival’s Flash Fiction Competition challenges authors of all ages to produce their own ultra short stories of exactly 50 words – no more, no less – on a given theme or genre." Prize: £30 in book vouchers for winners in three age categories. Deadline: September 10, 2021.

Forge Flash Prose CompetitionGenre: Flash fiction and CNF, 1000 words max. Prize: $500 and publication. Deadline: September 14, 2021. Submit early in the month!

Hektoen International Grand Prix Essay CompetitionGenre: Original essay that relates medicine to the humanities. Topics might include art, history, literature, education, etc. as they relate to medicine.1,500 words max. Prize: $5,000 for the winner and $2,500 for the runner-up. Deadline: Sept 15, 2021.

Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook PrizeRestrictions: Open to Black poets. Genre: Chapbook-length poetry manuscript. Prize: $500 and publication. Deadline: September 15, 2021.

The First Line 2022 First (and Last) Line Contest. Genre: Three original, unpublished first lines and one original, unpublished last line. Prize: $100. Deadline: September 15, 2021.

Apparition LitGenre: Speculative fiction; under 1,000 words based on prompt. Prize: $30. Deadline: Septmber15, 2021. 

RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for Non-FictionRestrictions: The writer must be a resident of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or have been a resident in the UK or ROI for the past three years. Genre: Nonfiction book. Prize: Two awards – one of £10,000, one of £5,000 – are offered to support writers to complete their first commissioned works of non-fiction. Deadline: September 17, 2021.

Oregon Literary Fellowships. Fellowships of $3,000 each are given annually to Oregon writers to initiate, develop, or complete literary projects in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. One Women Writers Fellowship and one Writer of Color Fellowship of $3,000 each are also given annually. Submit three copies of up to 15 pages of poetry or 25 pages of prose with the required entry from. Deadline: September 17, 2021.

Michael Marks Awards for Poetry PamphletsRestrictions: Only pamphlets published in the United Kingdom are eligible. Genre: Poetry pamphlet. Prize: £5,000. Deadline: September 17, 2021.

The Mollie Savage Memorial Writing ContestGenre: Science fiction/fantasy short story. Prize: Winning stories are published in Toasted Cheese. If 50 or fewer eligible entries are received, first place receives a $35 Amazon gift card & second a $10 Amazon gift card. If 51 or more eligible entries are received, first place receives a $50 Amazon gift card, second a $15 Amazon gift card & third a $10 Amazon gift card. Deadline: September 19, 2021. 

Love to WriteRestrictions: Open to writers from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds, including, but not limited to, Black, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Mixed-Race. Entrants should be previously unagented and haven’t had a fiction book published before based in the UK or Ireland. Genre: Romance novel. Prize: £1,500. Deadline: September 19, 2021.

Black Voices in Children's Literature Writing ContestRestrictions: The contest is open to authors of African American heritage who are residents of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, or Wisconsin and at the time of entry are at least 18 years of ag. Genre: Fiction or nonfiction manuscripts for ages 0–4 (50–125 words) or ages 4–8 (300–800 words) featuring contemporary African American characters and culture and focusing on one or more of the following topics: character development, self-esteem, diversity, getting along with others, engaging with family and community, or other topics related to positive childhood development. Prize: $1000. Deadline: September 21, 2021.

Cullman Center FellowshipsFellowship. The Cullman Center’s Selection Committee awards up to 15 fellowships a year to outstanding scholars and writers—academics, independent scholars, journalists, and creative writers. Foreign nationals conversant in English are welcome to apply. Award: A stipend of up to $70,000, an office, a computer, and full access to the Library's physical and electronic resources. Deadline: September 24, 2021.

Women's Prize for Fiction. Genre: Full-length novels (no short story collections or novellas) by women, first published in the UK. Prize: 30,000 pounds. Deadline: September 24, 2021.

Eerie River PublishingGenre: Horror on theme of Mummies. Prize: ¢.5 per word CAD (half a cent), with a max of $15 plus a one-time royalty bonus payment based on six months of sales. Deadline: September 25, 2021.

BEECHMORE WRITING COMPETITIONGenre: Fiction, non-fiction or poetry on theme: Perspective. “Everyone's perspectives have all been altered this year. Priorities have been re-orientated, the importance of connection and community has been highlighted like never before and many people’s world views have shifted, choosing to slow down, and re-evaluate what’s important in life.” Prize: First prize £200, second prize £100. Open to writers worldwide. DeadlineSeptember 25, 2021.

Iowa Short Fiction and John Simmons Short Fiction AwardsGenre: Short story collection. The manuscript must be a collection of short stories in English of at least 150 word-processed, double-spaced pages. Prize: Publication by the University of Iowa Press, royalties. Deadline: September 30, 2021.

The C├ęsar Egido Serrano Foundation: VI International Flash Fiction CompetitionGenre: Flash fiction on theme: "Faced with COVID; Solidarity and Resilience" - 100 words max. Prize: 20,000 dollars is awarded for the best story in any of the languages authorized in the contest: Spanish, English, Arabic or Hebrew. Three prizes of $ 2,000 each will be awarded for the best stories in each of the other remaining languages admitted in the contest, that are not winners of the main prize. Deadline: September 30, 2021.

L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest is held four times a year. Restrictions: The Contest is open only to those who have not professionally published a novel or short novel, or more than one novelette, or more than three short stories, in any medium. Professional publication is deemed to be payment of at least six cents per word, and at least 5,000 copies, or 5,000 hits. Genre: Short stories or novelettes of science fiction or fantasy. Prizes: $1,000, $750, $500, Annual Grand Prize: $5,000.  Deadline: September 30, 2021.

The Writers College: My Writing Journey CompetitionGenre: Essay  on the theme: The best writing tip I’ve ever received. 600 words. Prize: $200 (R2 000 or £100).  Deadline: September 30, 2021.

Patricia Dobler Poetry AwardRestrictions: Open to women writers over the age of 40 who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, currently living in the U.S., who have not published a full-length book of poetry, fiction, or non-fiction. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $2,500 top prize and publication of the winning poem in Voices from the Attic. Deadline: September 30, 2021.

Perito PrizeGenre: Fiction about accessibility. Prize: £250 and the story will be uploaded to the Perito Prize section of the Perito Ltd website. Deadline: September 30, 2021.

Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction ContestGenre: Short fiction. Prize: $100. Deadline: September 30, 2021.

Somos En EscritoRestrictions: Writings must be by Americans of indigenous-Hispanic background (Native American, Chicanan, Latina/o/x) born in the USA or from Latin America residing in the USA. Genre: Science fiction, fantasy, horror, spec-lit, or just weird. Prize: $100. Deadline: September 30, 2021.

2021 Sejong International Sijo CompetitionGenre: Sijo.The sijo is a traditional three-line Korean poetic form organized technically and thematically by line and syllable count. Using the sijo form, write one poem in English on a topic of your choice. Prize: Winner: $500 USD. Runner-up: $250 US. Honorable Mentions: $100 USD. Deadline: September 30, 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.  Prize: From $10 to $100. Deadline: September 30, 2021.

The Drabble Harvest ContestGenre: Drabble on theme of "Time Travel Gone Wrong." 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: September 30, 2021.

Open Door Career Advancement Grants for BIPOC Women WritersRestrictions: To be eligible, writers must identify both as a woman and as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color (BIPOC); further, applicants must be unagented and not yet have published a book. Prize: $500 or $1,000 will be awarded to BIPOC women writers. Grantees may use funds to cover application fees for MFA programs, writing contests, conferences, workshops, and residencies. Related expenses, such as travel and childcare, will also be eligible. Deadline: September 30, 2021.

Art of Unity Creative AwardGenre: Literary (poetry; essays and short stories under 2500 words); video; music; dance; performance or visual work around the theme: “Never again: Remembering to heal and overcome.” All pieces must be previously unpublished. Prize: Up to $150. Deadline: September 30, 2021.

International Human Rights Art Festival: Creators of Justice Literary AwardGenre: poetry, short stories and essays which use the written word to celebrate justice. Prize: First Prize: $150; Second Prize: $100; Third Prize: $50. Deadline: September 30, 2021.

SLF Working Class Writers Grant. Genre: Speculative fiction. "These grants are awarded annually, since 2013, to assist writers of speculative literature to working class, blue-collar, poor, and homeless writers who have been historically underrepresented in speculative fiction, due to the financial barriers which have made it much harder for them to have access to the writing world. Such lack of access might include an inability to attend conventions, to purchase a computer, to buy books, to attend college or high school, to have the time to write (if, for example, you must work two jobs simply to pay rent and feed a family, or if you must spend all your waking hours job-hunting for months on end). " Prize: $1000. Deadline: September 30, 2021.

Bergen International Essay CompetitionRestrictions: Open to everybody under the age of 30. Genre: Essay on theme of My generation. Prize: The winner will receive EUR 2 500. Three runners up each receive EUR 500. Deadline: September 30, 2021.

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