Thursday, March 24, 2022

64 Writing Contests in April 2022 - No entry fees

This April there are more than five dozen free writing contests for short fiction, novels, poetry, CNF, nonfiction, and plays. Prizes range from $100,000 to a free writing class. 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)


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: Performance, Technology, and Literature. Grant: Up to $50,000. Deadline: April 1, 2022.

The Orwell Society Dystopian Fiction Prize 2022Restrictions: Open to current students (both BA and MA) at British universities. Genre: Dystopian narratives of 3,000 words. Prize: £500. Deadline: April 1, 2022.

Natan Notable Books AwardGenre: Nonfic­­tion book on Jew­ish themes pub­lished for the first time between October 1, 2021 and September 30, 2022. Prize: $5,000. Deadline: April 1, 2022.

Fountain Magazine Essay ContestGenre: Essay on theme: Revival. 1,500 - 2,500 words. "After a long dormancy in this Covid era, our lives seem to be taking off for a fresh start. Vaccination is speeding up, people are mostly cautious in their interactions with less handshakes and kisses, and despite ups and downs in new cases and deaths, signs for “revival” are getting more visible every passing day." Prize: 1st Place - $1,500, 2nd Place - $750, 3rd Place - $300, Two Honorable Mentions - $200 each. Deadline: April 1, 2022.

Strange Worlds Contest. Genre: Short fiction which presents a compelling and unusual world. Prize: $20 and publication in Euphony. Deadline: April 1, 2022.

The Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship for Writers. Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians awards fellowships for writers to spend time in McCullers' childhood home in Columbus, Georgia. The fellowships are intended to afford the writers in residence uninterrupted time to dedicate to their work, free from the distractions of daily life and other professional responsibilities. Award: Stipend of $5000 to cover costs of transportation, food and other incidentals. Fellowship recipients will be required to introduce or advance their work through reading or workshop/forum presentations. The Fellow will work with the McCullers Center Director to plan a presentation near the end of the residency. Deadline: April 1, 2022.

The Great American Think-OffGenre: Essay on the theme: “Which should be more important: personal choice or social responsibility?” Entrants should take a strong stand agreeing or disagreeing with this topic, basing their arguments on personal experience and observations rather than philosophical abstraction. Essay should be no more than 750 words. Prize: One of four $500 cash prizes. Deadline: April 1, 2022.

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: April 1, 2022.

Alpine Fellowship Writing PrizeGenre: Pieces of any genre up to 2500 words on the theme of “Freedom.” Prize: The winner receives a £10,000 cash prize and is presented with the award by the poet John Burnside. A £3,000 cash prize will go to the second place, and £2,000 to the third place runner up. The winner and two runners up are invited to attend the Fjällnäs symposium.  Deadline: April 1, 2022.

Alpine Fellowship Poetry PrizeGenre: Poem on the theme of “Freedom.” Prize£3,000 cash prize and an invitation to their symposium. Deadline: April 1, 2022.

If There's Anyone LeftRestrictions: Open to those who identify as a person of color, LGBTQ+, disabled, or of a marginalized gender. Genre: Speculative micro-fiction. Length: Up to 500 words. Prize: $250 US. Second prize: $100. 3rd Prize: $50. Deadline: April 1, 2022.

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. Now in its 21st year, this contest seeks today's best humor poems, published and unpublished. Please enter one poem only, 250 lines max. Prize: $3,500 in prizes, including a top prize of $2,000, and publication on Winning Writers. Deadline: April 1, 2022.

Robert Louis Stevenson Fable CompetitionGenre: Fable in up to 350 words, in the style of Robert Louis Stevenson. Prize: £500, £100. Deadline: April 2, 2022.

Cymera-Scotland’s Futures Forum-Shoreline of Infinity Prize for Speculative Short Fiction.  Restrictions: Open to unpublished writers living in Scotland. Genre: Speculative short stories. "What could life in a world, any world, after a global life-changing event be like? How will we be living, young, adult, mature – what are the possibilities?" Prize: Awards are in 2 categories: 14 to 17 year old and 18+. The winning writers in each age-range category will be awarded £75. Deadline: April 3, 2022.

Gwenn A. Nusbaum / WWBA “Poets To Come” AwardRestrictions: Open to poets at the beginning of their careers, ages 25-35 years. Prize: $1500 scholarship. Deadline: April 4, 2022.

Gordon Burn PrizeRestrictions: Open to permanent US or UK residents. Genre: Fiction or nonfiction book first published in the US or UK between July 1 of the preceding year and July 1 of the deadline year. Prize: 5,000 pounds and 3-month writing retreat at Gordon Burn's cottage in Berwickshire.    Deadline: April 5, 2022.

SpectatorGenre: Poem. ‘Bono’s Ukraine-themed poem for St Patrick’s Day has been dubbed ‘the worst poem ever written’. You are invited to submit a poem to mark St George’s Day (not necessarily with a topical theme) that rivals it in awfulness. Email entries (16 lines max.) to by midday on 6 April.’ Prize: £30. Deadline: April 6, 2022.

SpectatorGenre:  French connection. "You are invited to take a passage from a classic of French literature (please specify)and recast it in Franglais. Please email entries of up to 16 lines/150 words to by midday on 13 April." Prize: £30. Deadline: April 13, 2022.

Scotiabank Giller PrizeRestrictions: Open to books published in Canada in English. Books must be published in Canada in English between March 1, 2022, and April 30, 2022 to be eligible for the 2022 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: April 14, 2022.

Mike Resnick Memorial Award: Best Unpublished Science Fiction Short Story by a New AuthorRestrictions: Open to an author who has not had any work published (including short stories, novelettes, novellas, and novels in paper, digital or audio form) that has been paid a per-word rate of 6 cents a word or more or received a payment for any single work of fiction totaling more than $50. Genre: Science fiction short story, up to 7,499 words. Prize: $250.00 and publication. Deadline: April 15, 2022.

53 Word Story ContestGenre: Flash fiction of exactly 53 words about a date. Prize: Publication and a free book. Deadline: April 15, 2022.

Quagmire. Genre: Absurd situations, surreal settings, experimental plots, characters, and ideas. "We want whacky, weird, and everything in between." Prize: Up to $500. Deadline: April 15, 2022.

Descant. Each year, descant offers four awards:
  • the $500 Frank O’Connor Award for fiction (for the best short story in a issue)
  • the $250 Gary Wilson Award (for an outstanding story in an issue)
  • the $500 Betsy Colquitt Award for poetry (for the best poem or series of poems by a single author in an issue)
  • the $250 Baskerville Publishers Award (for an outstanding poem or poems by a single author in an issue
There is no application process or reading fee. All published submissions are eligible for prize consideration. Simply submit your work. Deadline: April 15, 2022.

Brilliant Flash FictionGenre: Flash fiction. Word limit: 500 words, excluding title. Prize: $100 first prize, $30 second prize, $20 third prize. Deadline: April 15, 2022.

MasksGenre: Prose and poetry. Prize: One poet and one prose writer will be awarded a prize of $100 each and publication in their Summer 2022 issue. Deadline: April 15, 2022.

Wick Poetry Center Undergraduate Poetry CompetitionRestrictions: The competition is open to any undergraduate currently enrolled at Kent State University. Genre: Poem, maximum 100 lines long. Prize: One-time $1,500 scholarship to Kent State University. Second and third prize: $1,000 and $500 one-time scholarships. Deadline: April 15, 2022. 

Broadway Arts Festival: Julia & Martin Wilson Short Story PrizeGenre: Short Story, 2,000 words max. Prize: Ages 14-18yrs: £100, Age 13 and under: £50. Deadline: April 17, 2022. Note: No fee for writers under 18 years of age. Writers over 18 may enter for a fee.

Kingdoms in the Wild Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Open to those who have yet to publish a collection of poetry. Genre: Poetry Chapbook, 15 - 30 pages. Prize: $250 & Publication. Deadline: April 17, 2022.

The Lucien Stryk Asian Translation PrizeGenre: Book-length translation of Asian poetry into English. Both translators and publishers are invited to submit titles. Book must have been published in previous year. Prize: $5,000. Deadline: April 18, 2022.

American Literary Translators Association Italian Prose in Translation AwardGenre: Translation of a recent work of Italian prose (fiction or literary non-fiction). Both translators and publishers are invited to submit titles. Book must have been published in previous year. Prize: $5,000. Deadline: April 18, 2022. 

Solarpunk Microfiction ContestGenre; Microfiction, 250 words max. Prize: $25 and publication on the Solarpunk Magazine website. Deadline: April 21, 2022. See themeOpens April 15.

Author of TomorrowRestrictions: Open to children and youth up to age 21. Genre: Adventure writing. Prize: 11 and Under | 500 words | Prize: £100 plus £150 book tokens for your school; 12-15 years | 1,500 - 5,000 words | Prize: £100 plus £150 book tokens for your school; 16-21 years | 1,500 - 5,000 words. Prize: £1,000. Deadline: April 22, 2022.

FSG FellowshipRestrictions: Open to emerging writers from an underrepresented community. US resident or citizen. Genre: Debut work  of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. Submit work samples as part of the application: 8-12 pages for poetry, and 40-50 pages for prose. Work samples can include previously published work and need not be from a single selection of the work. Prize: Stipend of $15,000 and mentorship. The opportunity is remote, and runs from September 2022 to August 2023. Note: Farrar, Straus & Giroux is part of Macmillan. Deadline: April 22, 2022. 

Voice.clubGenre: Flash fiction, 100 words max. Also 350 words max. (2 contests) Prize: $25 Amazon gift card. Deadline: April 23, 2022. Note: You have to join in order to enterSee themes.

The Young Romantics PrizesRestrictions: Open to anyone aged 16-18 years old. Genre: Essay or poem on theme. (See website for themes). Essays must be no shorter than 750 words and no longer than 1000, including quotations. Poems should be: no more than 30 lines in length and must fit onto a single A4 page. Prize:  £5,000. Deadline: April 24, 2022. 

Science Me A StoryGenre: Scientific stories of poems for children (ages 6-12) of up to four pages by authors over age 18. Stories can be in English or Spanish. Prize: £150, £100 or £50. Deadline: April 24, 2022.

Keats-Shelley Essay PrizeGenre: Essay on any aspect of the writing and/or lives of the Romantics and their circles. Length: 3,000 words including quotations. Prize: Total Prizes over £5000. Deadline: April 24, 2022. 

Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction GrantRestrictions: Open to US citizens and residents only. Genre: Creative nonfiction. Whiting welcomes submissions for works of history, cultural or political reportage, biography, memoir, the sciences, philosophy, criticism, food or travel writing, and personal essays, among other categories. Writers must be completing a book of creative nonfiction that is currently under contract with a publisher. Prize: $40,000. Deadline: April 25, 2022. 

Rabbi Sacks Book PrizeGenre: Published nonfiction book that contributes significantly to the arena of modern Jewish thought. Prize: $50,000. Deadline: April 29, 2022. 

Sunken Garden Poetry Festival's Fresh Voices CompetitionRestrictions: New England high school students. Prize: Reading at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival and publication. Deadline: April 29, 2022.

Toronto Book AwardsGenres: All genres accepted. Restrictions: Submission "must evoke the city itself, that is, contain some clear Toronto content (this may be reflected in the themes, settings, subjects, etc.). Authors do not necessarily have to reside in Toronto. Ebooks, textbooks and self-published works are not eligible. Prize: A total of $15,000 CD will be awarded. Each shortlisted author (usually 4-6) receives C$1,000 and the winning author is awarded the remainder. Deadline: April 29, 2022. (For books published between March 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022.)

The John Byrne AwardRestrictions: Open to residents of Scotland. Genre: A piece of creative work on a chosen theme or value (written work must be no more than 15,000 words in length). Prize: £7500. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

Coastal Shelf Ceiling 200 ContestGenre: Very short fiction or prose poetry under 200 words. Prize: 1st Place: $250, 2nd Place $100, 3rd Place $50. All submissions are considered for publication in Coastal Shelf (which has a payment of $30 currently). Deadline: April 30, 2022.

The FuPo Poetry ContestGenre: “FUnny and POignant” poems under 60 lines. "We want witty, we want dark humor, we want to look at things in a new way or learn a fact that fits perfectly into a well-told-tale. We aren’t looking for linguistic puzzles, but we’re also not looking for Ogden Nash—apologies to Nashites." Prize: 1st Place: $250, 2nd Place $100, 3rd Place $50. All submissions are considered for publication in Coastal Shelf (which has a payment of $30 currently). Deadline: April 30, 2022.

Friends of Falun Gong, Poetry ContestGenre: Poem. Submit one or two poems of no more than 50 lines each. Poems must encompass at least one of the following themes: Advocate for Falun Gong practitioner’s fundamental human rights. Expose the crimes against Falun Gong perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party. Share in the beauty, peacefulness and good nature of Falun Gong. Prizes: $500, $250, $100. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

#GWstorieseverywhereGenre: Micro fiction. Your story must be no longer than 25 words, with a max of 280 characters, including spaces and the hashtag. See themes. Prize: Free Gotham class. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

Baen Fantasy Adventure AwardGenre: Adventure fantasy, 8K words max. Prize: Winner will be published as the featured story on the Baen Books main website and paid at industry-standard rates for professional story submittals. The author will also receive a handsome engraved award and a prize package containing $500 of free Baen Books. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

Al Blanchard Crime AwardRestrictions: New England residents only. Genre: Crime short story.  Prize: $100. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

Claudia Ann Seaman Awards For Young WritersRestrictions: High school students. Genre: Stories and poems. Prize: $200. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

Erbacce-prize for Poetry (UK) Genre: Poetry collection. Prize: Winner will be given a publishing contract with erbacce press who will publish a perfect-bound collection of the winner's book. "We will pay all costs including the legal registering of the book and supplying copies to the major libraries. The book will be sold through our sales/shop pages and the poet will be paid 20% royalties." Deadline: April 30, 2022.

Jacklyn Potter Young Poets CompetitionRestrictions: Open to high school students in the Washington, DC region. Genre: Poetry. Prize: A reading with honorarium in the Miller Poetry Series, a summer program occurring in June and July. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Contest for Canadian YouthRestrictions: Open to Canadian citizens or residents attending junior high or high school. Genre: Poetry. Prize: C$400 in each of two age categories: Junior (grades 7-9) and Senior (grades 10-12). Deadline: April 30, 2022.

Preservation Foundation Essay Contest for Unpublished WritersRestrictions: The contest is open to writers whose creative writing has never produced revenues of over $750 in any single year. Genre: Animal Nonfiction. “Stories should be factual and true accounts of an encounter or encounters by the author with a wild animal or animals. These include, but are not limited to, birds, fish, butterflies, snails, lions, bears, turtles, wombats, etc., as long as it is not a pet.” Prize: First prize is $200. Runners-up will receive $100. Finalists will receive $50. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

Principia Perspectives Writing ContestRestrictions: Open to middle school and high school students. Genre: Essay on theme of Transformation. Prize: $200. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

Sunlight PressGenre: Essay. Prize: $500. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

Rune Bear QuarterlyGenre: Drabble: 100 words on the theme “Through the Looking Glass.” Prize: $10. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

Miami Book Fair’s Emerging Writer Fellowship. Genre: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry. "EWF supports developing writers who demonstrate exceptional talent and promise by providing them with time, space, and an intellectually and culturally rich artistic community. The program’s goal is to actively support these writers – who are working to complete a book-length project within a year – and help them launch their literary careers. Emerging Writer fellows are granted professional experience in arts administration, teaching creative writing, and other opportunities; a $41,000 stipend; and strong literary community support to allow for 12 glorious months of uninterrupted time to craft their works."  Deadline: April 30, 2022.

RBC PEN Canada 2022 New Voices Award. "PEN Canada is now accepting original English language submissions for the RBC PEN Canada 2022 New Voices Award. The annual award aims to encourage new writing and to provide a space where unpublished Canadian writers can submit short stories, creative non-fiction, journalism, and poetry. This year the shortlisted submissions will be judged by distinguished Canadian writers Chantal Gibson, Eva Crocker and Hasan Namir." Prize: The winning entry will receive a $3,000 CAD cash prize and mentorship from a distinguished Canadian author. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

E-waste ScholarshipRestrictions: You must be a high school freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior or a current or entering college or graduate school student of any level. Home schooled students are also eligible. There is no age limit. You must also be a U.S. citizen or legal resident. Genre: 500- to 1,000-word essay about e-waste. Prize: $1000 scholarship. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

SA Writer’s College Short Story AwardRestrictions: Open to unpublished writers in South Africa. Genre: Short stories. Theme: You Only Live Once. Prizes: 1st – R 10 000; 2nd – R 5 000; 3rd – R 2 000. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

The Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for FictionGenre: A book-length work of imaginative fiction written by a single author published in the U.S. in English or in translation to English. (In the case of a translated work winning the Prize, the cash prize will be equally divided between author and translator) Publication date between May 1, 2021, and April 30, 2022. Prize: $25,000. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

Travel Writing Competition: “Wrong Turns” Genre: Travel writing. "Every once in a while, we, as travelers, make decisions that take us in unintended directions. These wrong turns may be as simple as going left when we should go right, taking the local bus when we know we should fly, or deciding to head off in a random direction for a long weekend away." Prize: $150 Top Prize. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

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: April 30, 2022. Reprints are ok so long as you still have the rights to distribute.

Rattle's Ekphrastic ChallengeGenre: Poetry responding to visual art. (See site) Prize: $100 and publication. Deadline: April 30, 2022.

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