Wednesday, January 25, 2023

73 Writing Contests in February 2023 - No entry fees

This February there are more than six dozen free writing contests for short fiction, novels, poetry, CNF, nonfiction, and plays. Prizes range from $25,000 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 has passed, you can prepare for next year.

Good luck! 

(Image: Rawpixel)


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, 2023.

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, 2023.

Deep Wild Graduate Student Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Open to students currently enrolled in graduate programs. Genre: Poetry. "We seek work that conjures the experiences, observations, and insights of backcountry journeys." Prize:1st Place prize is $300, 2nd Place $200, and 3rd Place $100. Deadline: February 1, 2023.

St. Gallen Symposium Global Essay CompetitionRestrictions: Writers must be enrolled in a graduate or postgraduate programme (master level or higher) in any field of study at a regular university, and be born in 1993 or later. Genre: Essay on on the best or worst legacy from previous generations. Length: 2,100 words. Prize: CHF20,000, split between three winners; they’ll also cover travel, accommodation, and admission to the symposium in Switzerland. Deadline: February 1, 2023.

Paterson Prize for Books for Young PeopleGenre: Most outstanding book for young people published in 2021. There is a $500 award in each category: Pre-K - Grade 3;  Grades 4 - 6;  Grades 7 - 12. Prize: $500. Deadline: February 1, 2023.

Paterson Poetry PrizeGenre: Poetry book published in 2021. Prize: $1000. Deadline: February 1, 2023.

Narrative Magazine High School ContestRestrictions: Open to high school students aged 15-18. Genre: Poetry on theme: True or False. Prize: Up to $500. Deadline: February 1, 2023.

Hodson Trust–John Carter Brown Library FellowshipGenre: Nonfiction (includes creative nonfiction). A book-in-process relating to the literature, history, culture, or art of the Americas before 1830. Award: $20,000. Deadline: February 1, 2023.

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, 2023.

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, 2023.

David Oluwale CompetitionGenre: Previously unpublished poetry or prose which creatively responds to David Oluwale’s story and its relevance today. (See site for story.) Prize: First Prize: £500 · Second Prize: £350 · Runner up: £150. Deadline: February 1, 2023.

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 3, 2023. 

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 3, 2023.

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: £7000. 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 5, 2023.

The Golden Triangle Golden Haiku poetry contestGenre: Haiku on theme “Notes to Nature.” Prize: Up to $500. Deadline: February 5, 2023.

Future Worlds PrizeRestrictions: Open to unpublished SFF writers of color. Genre: Speculative fiction. Submit a 5,000-10,000 word extract of either a short story or the opening chapters of a novel. Prize: £4,000 top prize. Deadline: February 6, 2023.

Spectator Contest No. 3286: That’s amoreGenre: ‘Harry’s memoir tells of a love poem that Meghan wrote him (described by Rachel Cooke in the Guardian as ‘pure vomit emoji’). You are invited to submit a suitably toe-curling Valentine poem to Harry, or to the love object of your choice. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to lucyATspectatorDOTcoDOTuk Prize: £30. Deadline: February 8, 2023.

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, 2023.

Walter Rumsey Marvin GrantRestrictions: Open to authors under 30 years of age who have not had a book published. Applicant must have been born in Ohio or have lived in Ohio for a minimum of five years. Genre: Short fiction and creative non-fiction. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 10, 2023.

The Bechtel PrizeGenre: Essays essays describing a creative writing teaching experience, project, or activity that demonstrates innovation in creative writing instruction. "We are looking for essays that describe a project or activity that got students excited about writing and fostered a vibrant and dynamic culture of literacy in the classroom." Prize: $1000 and publication. Deadline: February 10, 2023.

Highlights Foundation ScholarshipsPrize: 25 full tuition scholarships and 20 partial tuition scholarships for workshops that take place at the Highlights Foundation Retreat Center. 30 full tuition scholarships for online courses through the Highlights Foundation. 15 scholarships for personal retreats at the Highlights Foundation Retreat Center. Deadline: February 10, 2023.

The Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award introduces emerging writers to the New York City literary community. The prestigious award aims to provide promising writers a network for professional advancement. Since Poets & Writers began the Writers Exchange in 1984, 85 writers from 33 states and the District of Columbia have been selected to participate. Restrictions: Open to Iowa residents.  Genre: Poetry and Fiction. Prize: A $500 honorarium; A trip to New York City to meet with editors, agents, publishers, and other writers. All related travel/lodgings expenses and a per diem stipend are covered by Poets & Writers. Deadline: February 10, 2023.

The International Radio Playwriting Competition 2023 is sponsored by the BBC World Service and British Council in partnership with Commonwealth Writers. Restrictions: Open to non-UK residents. Genre: A script for a 53 minute radio play with up to six central characters. Prize: £2500 sterling and a trip to London. Deadline: February 12, 2023.

Writers' & Artists' Short Story CompetitionGenre: Short story. All entries must be original unpublished prose of 2,000 words or fewer. Prize: A place on one of Arvon's residential writing courses and publication. Deadline: February 14, 2023.

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 14, 2023.

Tree2mydoor Valentines Day Poetry competitionRestrictions: Open to UK citizens. Genre: Witty or soppy, romantic or silly Valentines Day poems. Prize: £100 worth of Tree2mydoor gift vouchers.  Deadline: February 14, 2023.

There Is No Planet B STAFFORD GREEN ARTS FESTIVAL. Genre: Poetry, art, flash fiction, nonfiction, recipes on theme  'environmental engagement'. Prize: Publication. Deadline: February 14, 2023. Open to ages 8 and up.

Watson, Little x Indie Novella PrizeRestrictions: Open to all unpublished (self-published are accepted) UK-based authors aged 16 and over. Genre: Fiction of all lengths (novels, novellas, stories). See themes. Prize: Winning entries will receive a one page report and one hour session from an agent at Watson, Little. If, after this process, the finished novel is suitable, Watson, Little Literary Agents will have first option to represent the winner and to offer it to a recommended publisher. Deadline: February 14, 2023.

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, 2023.

53-Word Story ContestGenre: 53-word story. Prize: Publication in Prime Number Magazine and  a free book from Press 53. Deadline: February 15, 2023.

Moving Words Poetry Competition for AdultsGenre: Poems of 10 lines or less that will be displayed inside Arlington Transit buses. Prize: $250. Deadline: February 15, 2023.

The 2022 Momentum Grant for Early-Career Translators. "The grant is intended to facilitate the completion of a substantial sample of a book-length work of prose translation suitable for submission to English-language publishers, and will be awarded to an individual translator who has not yet received a book-length contract for translation work. We particularly welcome submissions from translators from historically underrepresented cultures and backgrounds." Grant: $3,000. Deadline: February 15, 2023.

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, 2023.

Paul-Victor Winters Memorial Creative Writing ContestRestrictions: Open to NJ high school students in private or public schools, grades 9-12. Genre: Flash Fiction and Poetry. Prize: $500 top prize. Deadline: February 15, 2023.

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, 2023.

Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards for Excellence in Published Haiku, Translation, and CriticismGenre: Published book. Books must have been published in 2022 and must clearly contain a printed 2022 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, 2023.

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, 2023.

Governor General's Literary Awards. Restrictions: Books must have been written or translated 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 the best 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) and Translation (from French to English). Prize: $25,000. Deadline: February 15, 2023.

Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out Essay Contest Grades 6 - 12. Stop the Hate® is designed to create an appreciation and understanding among people of differing religions, races, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. Genre: Essay, 500 words. Restrictions: Northeast Ohio 6-12th Graders. Prize: $20,000 scholarship. Deadline: Grade 6-10: February 16, 2023. Grade 11-12: February 23, 2023.

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 17, 2023.

Scotiabank Giller PrizeRestrictions: Open to books published in Canada in English. Books must be published in Canada in English between October 1, 2022, and February 28, 2023 to be eligible for the 2023 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 17, 2023.

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 17, 2023.

Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing PrizeGenre: Adventure writing novel. Prize: £10,000. Deadline: February 17, 2023.

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 17, 2023.

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 17, 2023.

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 17, 2023.

J. Michael Samuel Prize for Emerging Writers Over 50Restrictions: Open to unpublished LGBTQ writers over 50 working in any genre. Genre: All genres. Prize: $5000. Deadline: February 17, 2023.

Young Authors Sacred Essay ContestRestrictions: Open to US students aged 13-18. Genre: Essay on "One human family." Prize: $100 and publication. Deadline: February 17, 2023.

Ink Bowl's Winter Writing & Art CompetitionRestrictions: Open to high school upperclassmen, college, and graduate school students across the globe. Genre: Short story, poetry, CNF. See prompt. Prize: $120 gift card. Deadline: February 20, 2023.

The Reporting AwardGenre: Journalism, in any medium, on an under-reported subject in the public interest. Prize: Up to $12,500. Deadline: February 21, 2023.

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 23, 2023.

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 24, 2023.

Lex Allen Literary Festival PrizesRestrictions: Open to undergraduate college students. Genres: Poetry and fiction. Prize: $100. Deadline: February 24, 2023.

Christopher Tower Poetry CompetitionRestrictions: Open to UK students between 16-18 years of age. Genre: Poetry, one poem, maximum 48 lines. Theme is 'The Planets.' Prize: £5,000. Deadline: February 24, 2023.

Harper’s Bazaar short-story competitionRestrictions: Open to UK residents or nationals, aged 18 or over. Genre: Original, unpublished short story, written in English on the subject of ‘Notes’ up to 2,200 words. Prize: Two-night stay for two at Callow Hall (UK). Deadline: February 26, 2023.

Black Caucus of the American Library Association Self-Published E-Book Literary AwardRestrictions: Open to African-Americans. Genre: Self-Published E-Book in fiction and poetry written by African-Americans that depict the "cultural, historical, or sociopolitical aspects of the Black Diaspora." Prize: $2,500. Deadline: February 28, 2023.

The Improve the News Foundation (ITN) Political Satire Writing Contest. Genre: "All candidates will need to write three distinct texts that flag attempts at curtailing democracy, civil liberties and/or scientific debate. These may include attempts at censorship, invasion of privacy, authoritarianism and/or disregard for facts, etc. Each flag should be about 1–2 paragraphs (750 - 1500 characters) long and target these initiatives within the context of democratic countries during the past five years. The first flag should be a critique of a product, corporation or government; the second a critique of left-wing political establishment; and the third a critique of right-wing political establishment." Prize: $1,000 top prize. Cash Prize Winners may be offered jobs on Editorial Team. Deadline: February 28, 2023.

The Canterbury Tales Writing CompetitionRestrictions: Open to all students of school age including not only those in schools and college communities, but also students who are home educated and in any other young people’s community organisations. Genre: Poetry and fiction: See promptsPrize: £300 top prize. Deadline: February 28, 2023.

The Welkin Writing PrizeGenre: Narrative prose (fiction and nonfiction) up to 400 words. Prize: £150+ top prize. Deadline: February 28, 2023.

The Prism Prize for Climate LiteratureRestrictions: Open to USA and UK writers. Genre: Full-length book: fiction, poetry, and literary non-fiction writing in the emerging genre of climate literature. Prize: $1000 and publication. Deadline: February 28, 2023.

Poems of Kindness Postcard. Genre: Poem on theme: Kindness. Prize: £75 plus 20 copies of the pamphlet in which your poem is published. Deadline: February 28, 2023.

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, 2023.

Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative NonfictionGenre: Essay, maximum 5,000 words. Prize: $250 top prize. Deadline: February 28, 2023.

The Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multi-Lingual TextsGenre: Literary translations and multi-lingual texts. Prize: $200. Deadline: February 28, 2023.

Texas Review Press Southern Poetry Breakthrough Series: South CarolinaRestrictions: Open to any poet born in South Carolina, or currently residing in South Carolina, 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, 2023.

The Kelpies Prize (Scotland)Restrictions: Open to Scottish authors. Genre: Children’s fiction and illustration. Prize: £1,000, a publishing contract, a writing retreat, and a year of mentoring by an editorial team. Deadline: February 28, 2023.

Great Gift ContestGenre: Write about a gift. Either a great gift you’ve gotten or that you’ve given. 25 words max. Prize: Free Gotham class. Deadline: February 28, 2023.

The Buffalo Books Fiction PrizeGenre: Novels — from 40,000 to 80,000 words — that are set in or explore the Midwest, the Great Plains, and/or the alleged flyover portions of the West. Prize: $500 and publication. Deadline: February 28, 2023 or until they reach 100 submissions. Opens February 1.

Graywolf Press Nonfiction PrizeRestrictions: Open to US writers only. Genre: Full-length manuscript of creative nonfiction by a writer not yet established in the genre. Prize: $12,000 and publication. Deadline: February 28, 2023. Opens February 1.

The Drabble Harvest ContestGenre: Drabble on theme of "Haunted Spaceports." 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: February 28, 2023.

Graywolf Press African Fiction PrizeGenre: Novel. The prize will be awarded for a first novel by an African author primarily residing in Africa. Prize: $12,000 advance and publication by Graywolf Press. Deadline: February 28, 2023.

#GWstorieseverywhere. Genre: Micro fiction. Your story must be no longer than 25 words, with a max of 280 characters, including spaces and the hashtag. See themesPrize: Free Gotham class. Deadline: February 28, 2023.

Rattle Ekphrastic ChallengeGenre: Poem inspired by artwork. (See site for image.) Prize: $100. Deadline: February 28, 2023. This is a monthly contest.

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