Wednesday, November 24, 2021

77 Writing Contests in December 2021 - No entry fees

This December there are more than five dozen writing contests for short fiction, novels, poetry, CNF, nonfiction, and short plays. Prizes range from a gold medal to $25,000. 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: Pixabay)

Short Short Writing Contest 2022Genre: Fiction, non fiction, memoir or poetry but it must contain the name of a continent, a horse's gait, the title or a lyric of a song from the 90's, a food you would want to eat for your last meal, the name of a gemstone, and a zodiac sign. Word Limit: 250 words.  Prize: Winners will choose either free tuition to the Get The Lead Out generative workshop online January 21 - 23, 2022, or discounted tuition to the Boulder Generative Workshop in-person, March 18-20, 2022 (does not include travel to/from the event or lodging). Deadline: December 1, 2021.

Tony Quagliano Poetry Fund, International Poetry AwardRestrictions: Open to poets who have a published body of work over a period of years. Poems must be in English. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: December 1, 2021. (Biennial award)

Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian WritingRestrictions: Open to published writers who are writing from the region. Genres: All. Prize: $1000. Deadline: December 1, 2021. 

The Association of Jewish Libraries Jewish Fiction Award. Genre: All works of fiction with significant Jewish thematic content written in English–novels, short story and flash fiction collections–by a single author published and available for purchase in the United States during 2021 are eligible for the 2022 award. Jewish thematic content means an extended grappling with Jewish themes throughout the book, including Judaism, Jewish history and culture, Jewish identity, etc. Prize: The award will include a $1,000 cash prize as well as support to attend the AJL conference to receive the award. Deadline: December 1, 2021. 

The David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction is offered annually to the best book in American historical fiction that is both excellent fiction and excellent history. Prize: $1,000.      Deadline: December 1, 2021.

The Bird in Your Hands Prize: a Contest that Centers and Celebrates BIPOC VoicesRestrictions: Open to BIPOC writers. Genre: poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in any form under 500 words. Prize: $1,000.  Deadline: December 1, 2021.

Poetry Center at Smith College PrizeRestrictions: Open to sophomore or junior high school girls in New England. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $500. Deadline: December 1, 2021.

The Pushcart Prize honors the best "poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot" published in small presses and literary magazines. Magazine and small press editors may nominate up to six works. Pushcart Press publishes yearly anthologies of the winning submissions. Prize: Publication. Deadline: December 1, 2021.

Royal Institute of Philosophy Essay PrizeTopic: Essay on Self and Society. Prize: £2,500 top prize. Deadline: December 1, 2021.

The Sillerman First Book Prize for African PoetryRestrictions: Open to African poets who have not yet published a collection of poetry. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $1,000 and book publication through the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal. Deadline: December 1, 2021.

The W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction honors the best fiction set in a period when the United States was at war. It recognizes the service of American veterans and military personnel and encourages the writing and publishing of outstanding war-related fiction. Genre: Military fiction. Prize: $5000. Deadline: December 1, 2021.

Polar Expressions Publications CompetitionRestrictions: Open to Canadian students in kindergarten through grade twelve. Genre: Short Story. Prize: $300, $200, $100. Deadline: December 3, 2021.

Spectator Competition No. 3229: Born Again. You are invited to provide the story of the Nativity retold in the style of a well-known author. Please submit up to 150 words/16 lines. Please email entries to Prize: £30. Deadline: December 3, 2021.

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

Invisible City Nonfiction Flash Contest 2021Genre: Flash nonfiction, 750 words max. Prize: $500. Deadline: December 5, 2021. 

The Ogham Stone. Genre: poetry, verse, stories, prose, monologue, dialogue or any literary form you want as long as it is 50 words. Prize: Gift voucher to the value of €50. Deadline: December 5, 2021.

Bocas Emerging Writers FellowshipsRestrictions: Open to Caribbean-based writers in English. Genre: Poetry and prose. Prize: A cash award of TT$10,000; Six months’ mentorship from an established author; Publication of a chapbook with an excerpt from the writer’s work in progress; Participation in a one-week intensive online writing workshop hosted by Arvon (UK). Deadline: December 6, 2021.

The Cemetery Gates SocietyGenre: Horro flash fiction on theme "Creepypasta." Cemetery Gates Media is a publisher of horror, paranormal and fantasy fiction. Prize: $100. Deadline: December 8, 2021. 

Greater & Grander Collective Folk Fiction Writing CompetitionGenre: Fiction on theme of science education. Prize: $250. Deadline: December 8, 2021. 

J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress AwardGenre: Nonfiction book. Applicants for the award must already have a contract with a U.S.-based publisher to write a nonfiction book. Award: $25,000.  Deadline: December 9, 2021.

Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize is sponsored by the Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival. Genre: Non-fiction essay between 4 to 10 pages, set in Brooklyn about Brooklyn and/or Brooklyn people/characters. (Up to 2500 words). Prize: $500. Deadline: December 10, 2021.

Friends of American Writers. Restrictions: The author must be a resident (or previously have been a resident for approximately five years) of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota or Wisconsin; or the locale of the book must be in a region identified above. The author must not have published more than three books under his/her own pen name. Genres: Books can be fiction or creative non-fiction and published in 2021. Self-published and e-Books are not eligible. Prize: $500 - $2000. Deadline: December 10, 2021.

Flo Gault Student Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Full-time undergraduate college students in Kentucky. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $1000. Deadline: December 11, 2021. 

Apparition Lit. Genre: Flash fiction up to 1000 words on theme. Prize: $30. Deadline: December 14, 2021. See themes.

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: December 14, 2021.
Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award in Poetry (Kansas Book Award)Restrictions: Author must establish a connection to Kansas by birth, education, employment, residence or other significant claim. Genre: Poetry book. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: December 15, 2021.

sweettooth//HONEY ContestGenre: Flash fiction, mini poetry. Prize: $40. Deadline: December 15, 2021.

elements&flour//LOAFOFBREAD ContestGenre: Translations in Poetry. Prize: $200. Deadline: December 15, 2021.

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

Quantum Shorts CompetitionGenre: Fiction stories, under 1,000 words, that are "clearly inspired by some aspect of quantum physics." For 2020, entries also must contain the phrase "It's a lot to think about." Prize: $1,500 and online publication. Deadline: December 16, 2021.

Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America Best First Crime Novel CompetitionRestrictions: The Competition is open to any writer, regardless of nationality, aged 18 or older, who has never been the author of any published novel (except that authors of self-published works only may enter, as long as the manuscript submitted is not the self-published work) and is not under contract with a publisher for publication of a novel. Genre: Murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the story. Prize: $10,000. DeadlineDecember 17, 2021.

Spark Award: Held by SCBWI , open to members of SCBWI who are self-published. Genres: Fiction and nonfiction. Prize: Envy. The SCBWI is our most prestigious national organization (US) for children's book and YA writers. Deadline: December 19, 2021.

International Young Theatre Playwriting ContestGenre: Plays for young audiences (no plays for children or adult audiences, or musicals), written in any official European language Prize: €2,400 for Category A, €1,000 for Category B and other prizes. Deadline: December 20, 2021.

Beatrice Medicine Award for Scholarship in American Indian StudiesGenre: Essay and/or book about Native American studies published in 2021. Prize: $250. Deadline: December 20, 2021.

Secret AtticGenre: Short story up to 1500 words. Prize: £20.00 Amazon Voucher. Deadline: December 20, 2021. 

Rider University Annual High School Writing ContestRestrictions: Open to high school students.  Genres: Essays, poetry, fiction. Prizes: 1st-$100, 2nd-$50, 3rd-$25. Deadline: December 20, 2021.

Roswell Award for Short Science FictionGenre: Science fiction, 1500 words max. The Feminist Futures Award will be awarded to a distinct winner for an outstanding feminist sci-fi story. Prize: $500. Finalists have their stories read by celebrities in Hollywood. Deadline: December 21, 2021.

The Tomorrow Prize & The Green Feather Award. Restrictions: Open to Los Angeles County high school students. Genre: Science Fiction, and environmentally focused sci-fi story. Prize: Tomorrow Prize: $250, $150, and $100 USD. Green Feather Award: $250.00 & online publication by the Nature Nexus Institute.  Deadline: December 21, 2021.

Solarpunk Holidays. Genre: Micro-fiction (250 words or less) on theme: Solarpunk Holidays. Prize: $25. Deadline: December 23, 2021.

Eerie River. Genre: Horror short story on theme Were-Beasts. Prize: .5 cents 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: December 25, 2021.

The Wallace Stegner Prize in Environmental HumanitiesGenre: Monograph. "Manuscripts must emphasize interdisciplinary investigations of the natural and human environments and their fundamental interconnectedness, research in primary and secondary sources, and high quality writing in the tradition of Wallace Stegner. Preference will be given to projects that discuss issues related to the American West. We welcome book-length manuscripts that emphasize narrative form and draw on the humanities, as well as the particular methods and perspectives of history, geography, natural history, environmental science, creative nonfiction, or related disciplines to consider environmental subjects, broadly defined." Prize: $5,000. Deadline: December 30, 2021.

VCU Cabell First Novelist AwardGenre: First novel published in 2021. No self-published books.  Prize: $5,000. Deadline: December 30, 2021.

Green Stories Writing PrizeGenre: Novel about building a sustainable society. Prize: £1000 for the winner and £500 for runner up, plus the following: Half price manuscript appraisal (worth £300-400) for top three entries by established literary consultancy Daniel Goldsmith. Deadline: December 30, 2021.

Story Unlikely Short Story ContestGenre: Short story. Length: 2,250 words max. Prize: $500. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Hiraeth Publishing: Marcia's Murder MysteriesGenre: Drabble (100 words) on Marcia's Murder Mysteries. Prize: $5. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Tartts Fiction AwardRestrictions: Open to Americans. Genre: Short story collection. Prize: Winning short story collection will be published by Livingston Press at the University of West Alabama, in simultaneous library binding and trade paper editions. Winning entry will receive $1000, plus their standard royalty contract, which includes 60 copies of the book. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Elizabeth Alexander Creative Writing AwardGenre: Poetry, fiction, nonfiction. Prize: $500 and publication in Meridians Journal: feminism, race, transnationalism. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

The Drabble Harvest ContestGenre: Drabble on theme of "Marcia's Murder Myteries." 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: December 31, 2021.

Ezra Jack Keats Children's Book AwardGenre: Published or self-published picture books that portray the universal qualities of childhood, a strong and supportive family, and the multicultural nature of our world. Prize: $3,000. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Hooks Institute National Book AwardGenre: Nonfiction book that best furthers understanding of the American Civil Rights Movement and its legacy. Prize: $1000. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards recognizes outstanding works that contribute to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures. Awards are given for both fiction and nonfiction. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry, Griffin Poetry PrizeRestrictions: One prize goes to a living Canadian poet or translator, the other to a living poet or translator from any country, which may include Canada. Genre: Poetry. Books must have been published in English during the calendar year preceding the year of the award. Prize: C$200,000, is awarded annually in two categories – International and Canadian. Each prize is worth C$65,000. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future ContestGenre: Speculative fiction prose, up to 17,000 words. Prize: $1,000 with $5,000 grand prize. Deadline: December 31, 2021. Read details HERE.

The Lyric College Poetry ContestRestrictions: Open to undergraduates enrolled full time in an American or Canadian college or university. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $500. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

William Carlos Williams Poetry CompetitionRestrictions: Open to students enrolled in programs leading to the Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy degree. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $300.  Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Neil Postman Award for Metaphor. Sponsored by Rattle. Genre: Poetry. All published submissions during the year are considered for the prize. Follow their regular submission guidelines. Prize: $2,000.  Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge. Genre: Poem inspired by artwork. (See site for image.) Prize: $100. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

The Four Quartets PrizeGenre: unified and complete sequence of poems published in America in a print or online journal, chapbook. Poems in the sequence may have been published in different journals provided that they were brought together and they form a complete sequence. Prize: Three finalists will receive $1,000 each. The winner will receive an additional $20,000. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award.  Restrictions: Only Poetry Society of America members may enter free of charge. Others must pay a $10 - $15 entry fee. Genre: Poetry, unpublished and published. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Cecil Hemley Memorial AwardRestrictions: Only Poetry Society of America members may enter free of charge. Others must pay a $10 - $15 entry fee. Genre: Poetry, unpublished and published. Lyric poem that addresses a philosophical or epistemological concern. Prize: $500. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Lucille Medwick Memorial AwardRestrictions: Only Poetry Society of America members may enter free of charge. Others must pay a $10 - $15 entry fee. Genre: Poetry, unpublished and published. Original poem in any form on a humanitarian theme. Prize: $500. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Lyric Poetry AwardRestrictions: Only Poetry Society of America members may enter free of charge. Others must pay a $10 - $15 entry fee. Genre: A lyric poem on any subject. Prize: $500. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

The Writer Magazine/Emily Dickinson AwardRestrictions: Only Poetry Society of America members may enter for free. Others must pay a $10 - $15 entry fee. Genre: A poem inspired by Dickinson though not necessarily in her style. Prize: $250. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

George Bogin Memorial AwardRestrictions: Only Poetry Society of America members may enter for free. Others must pay a $10 - $15 entry fee. Genre: Poetry that takes a stand against oppression. Prize: $500. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Robert H. Winner Memorial AwardRestrictions: Only Poetry Society of America members may enter for free. There is a charge of $10 - $15 for non-members. Open to mid-career poets who have not had substantial recognition, and is over forty, and who have published no more than one book. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Blue Mountain Arts Poetry Card ContestGenre: Poem. Prize: $300. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Natan Notable Books AwardGenre: Recen­t­­ly pub­­lished or soon to be pub­lished nonfic­­tion book on Jew­ish themes. Prize: $5,000. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Society of Classical Poets, Poetry Translation CompetitionGenre: Metered translation of a poem from the Romantic period or earlier. Prize: $100. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

USNI General Prize Essay ContestRestrictions: Authors must be USNI members or those eligible for membership. Genre: Essay "to advance the professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to national defense.” Prize: $6,000. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

The Caribbean Writer PrizeGenre: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays or one act plays which explore the ideas resonating within the region and its diaspora, written by a US or UK Virgin Islands resident accepted for publication by The Caribbean Writer during the deadline year. 2021 theme: "Disruption, Disguise and Illuminations.” Prize: $300. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Black Caucus of the American Library Association. BCALA presents four awards to an African American writer published in the United States during the previous year: one for adult fiction, one for nonfiction, one for a first novelist and one for poetry. These awards acknowledge outstanding achievement in the presentation of the cultural, historical and sociopolitical aspects of the Black Diaspora. Prize: Four $500.00 awards. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Lilith Magazine Fiction CompetitionGenre: Story of interest to Jewish women. Prize: $250.  Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Center Field of Gravity AwardGenre: Science-fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories or long-form poems up to but not exceeding 17,000 words. Prize: $200. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Shady Grove Literary Competition. Genre: Flash fiction, 300 words max. Prize: $100. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

Substack runs a monthly short story competition. Their mission is to "revive the art of the short story, support artists, and produce something wonderful." Genre: Short story. Length: 6000- 10,000 words. Prize: $100 plus 50% of subscription revenue to be sent by Paypal, Zelle, or check. Deadline: December 31, 2021. Reprints are ok so long as you still have the rights to distribute.

Aniko Press Summer Flash Fiction Competition. Genre: Flash fiction (100 words max) on theme: Delight. Prize: Publication on their website and social media, a copy of Killernova by Omar Musa, plus a copy of Aniko Magazine Issue 2. Deadline: December 31, 2021.

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