Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Weather: What Agents Say They Want And What They Really Want

When my daughter recommended that I read Weather, a novel by Jenny Offill, I dutifully got it from my local library. (While I always read books that my children recommend, I know better than to buy them.) As promised, it was engaging. And because it was composed entirely of short, one-paragraph, diary-like snippets thrown somewhat randomly together, it was perfect for doctors' waiting rooms, airports, and all the other venues of modern life that require casual time-killing.
 
In short, I liked it. But I would never consider putting this book on my shelf. Why? Because I could easily have written it. Stream-of-consciousness is the simplest, and laziest, form of writing. It requires no training, no "crafting," and certainly no thesaurus.

I frown upon that.

Predictably, the critics loved Weather.

"Offill takes subjects that could easily become pedantic — the tensions between self-involvement and social engagement — and makes them thrilling and hilarious and terrifying and alive," gushed New York Times reviewer Leslie Jamison. "Offill’s fragmentary structure evokes an unbearable emotional intensity: something at the core of the story that cannot be narrated directly, by straight chronology, because to do so would be like looking at the sun."

Thrilling, terrifying, hilarious, unbearably intense and like looking into the face of a gigantic ball of inconceivable energy produced by an endless stream of nuclear fusion, no less. All of these descriptions would lead you to believe that this novel has the potential to take you on a wild, unforgettable emotional ride, the likes of which you have never experienced before.

Absolutely not.

The reason I liked Weather was because it required no effort on my part to read it. I didn't have to recall who the characters were, because Offill didn't actually give us enough description to be able to identify them. (It was sort of like my meandering, elderly neighbor who constantly gossiped about Chet and Naomi, whoever they might be.) (I never did find out.) There was no descriptive prose, so I didn't have to tax my mind by imagining where these people were, or when events happened. Oh, now that I think of it, nothing actually did happen, so remembering the order of events was rendered moot. There was no plot. It was like being lost in space, enjoyable in a way that brings to mind an anesthetic haze. Or the pleasures of an opium den.

Apparently, this kind of fiction is appealing to readers. (2,222 ratings on Amazon 35,757 ratings on Goodreads - we'll get to some of those later).  

As a reader, I'm okay with Weather. But, from the point of view of someone who regularly deals with the publishing world, this book is an anomaly. It is precisely the type of a novel that agents say they don't want.

WHAT AGENTS SAY THEY WANT

This is how agents describe their perfect novel:
  • strong storytelling, unputdownable stories with characters that transcend the page
  • plot-driven work with strong world-building, character development,
  • compelling emotional stakes
  • beautiful writing, unforgettable characters, family stories, socially engaged writing,
  • compelling plots
  • unputdownable stories with bold, courageous characters who take you down an emotional journey of perseverance
  • character-driven literary explorations with efficient, stunning prose and commercially appealing plots
(In case you are wondering, all of those descriptions were lifted verbatim from agents' wish lists.)

Agents say they are looking for plot-driven, immersive, page-turners. Yet, Weather is none of those things. It is, however, a novelty. Readers like novelty. Publishers, and hence agents, don't - which is why they avoid taking a chance on new ideas.

WHAT AGENTS REALLY WANT

Agents want to make money. (Sometimes, they also want to champion writers. But that's actually quite rare.) Agents are engaged in a career that involves acting as middlemen between people who produce ideas (writers) and people who sell them (publishers). The agent is simply a go-between. It's nice when they love your work, but their purpose is to make dollar signs happen. 

Weather made dollar signs for its author, and for Alfred A. Knopf, and presumably for Offill's agent. All of that is nice. But it flies in the face of what writers want, which is to be loved and admired.



HOW WEATHER WORKS

Note: If you are anticipating a discussion of pressure fronts and how they interact with moisture, you will be disappointed.

One of the things people who study the mechanics of language - phonemics, syntax, semantics - soon realize is that the relationship between sounds and parts of speech, etc., is what confers meaning, not the sounds and words, in and of themselves. This also holds true at the macro level. If you take two unconnected sentences and place them one after the other, your mind will automatically work to link them together in order to force them to make sense. (You can try that with any two sentences that I have ever written.)

To demonstrate my point, here is a page from Weather, chosen at random:
After the election, Ben makes many small wooden things. One to organize our utensils, one to keep the trash can from wobbling. He spends hours on them. "There, I fixed it," he says.

A turtle was mugged by a gang of snails. The police came to take a report, but he couldn't help them. "It all happened so fast," he said.

And in the ether, people asking the same question again and again. To the yours-to-losers, to the both-the-samers, to the wreck-it-allers.

Happy now?

The path is getting ...  narrower. That is how Ben told me. He was doing the math in his head. 

But it could still...?
It's not possible.

And so we stayed up and watched to the end.
See what I mean? I guarantee you will find a way to make this page make sense. In fact, you will read many more pages, attempting to find a context to place this page into. You will do that because that is the function of language.

SOME ENTERTAINING THOUGHTS BY REVIEWERS

I enjoyed reading this book, mostly because it only took a couple of hours of my time. (I am compelled to read every word of books I take out of the library. It's a diagnosable condition, I'm told.)

Other people were not so generously inclined. Here are a few one-star reviews I found on Amazon.

"Boring and pointless" -  Anything that resembles a plot could be written in 10 pages- good marriage, normal child, sick brother.

Why, oh why...this book did I buy! - I am REALLY struggling to finish this book. Rarely do I buy a hardcover book when it just comes out, but I did with this one and I am disappointed. It consists mainly of random, nonsensical paragraphs page by page.

Weather: NOT a novel - "Weather " is yet another fragmented, MFA-chic, tedious narration of boring events in the life of a contemporary jaded writer.

Noun verb noun - No plot after 25%. Maybe there'll be a point later, but I don't feel much need to slog through poorly crafted prose, with no plot, a boring heroine, no deep understanding of human nature. Of course I haven't finished it and I probably won't. This may appeal to some, but it seems to be the worst thing I've read in a decade.

Impressionistic, not a novel - Impressionistic observations, thoughts, anecdotes over a period of probably a few years — a writer’s notes strung together and called a novel. Many were interesting and many were not; I finished the book, relieved to get away from the chaos.

Terribly written - I had no idea who was who and what was happening. I get stream of consciousness but this was just terrible. Check Alice Walker for ways to do that well.


IN SUM

This post had a point when I started writing it. But I find it hard to maintain a coherent train of thought after reading Weather. (When you read, you unconsciously adopt the author's writing style to your thought patterns.)

Oh yes, now I remember. 

Just write whatever you damn well want to write. Despite all protestations to the contrary, agents (and publishers, as well) want something that will make them money. That is why they almost invariably include on their wish lists a number of successful books that they want your book to emulate. They want another... (just fill in the blank with a book that has sold millions of copies). Rarely do agents (or publishers) go for novelty.

Where does that leave you, the writer? My advice is to ignore the market. Ignore what agents say they want, and sell your idea to them as if you are the best thing since sliced bread.

Because you are.

--------------------

Here are some eye-opening stats that  will boost your self-confidence:







Tuesday, February 27, 2024

115 Calls for Submissions in March 2024 - Paying markets

This March there are more than nine dozen calls for submissions. All of these are paying markets, and none charge submission fees. As always, every genre, style, and form is wanted, from short stories to poetry to essays.

I post upcoming calls for submissions shortly before the first day of every month. But as I am collecting them, I post them on my page, Calls for Submissions. You can get a jump on next month's calls for submissions by checking that page periodically throughout the month. (I only post paying markets.)

Also see Paying Markets for hundreds of paying markets arranged by form and genre.

Happy submitting!

(Image: Flickr)

___________

A Touch of AetherGenre: Urban fantasy. Length: 5,000 - 10,000 words. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Orion's BeltGenre: Speculative fiction, poetry, art. Length: 1200 words max. Payment: 8 cents per word. Deadline: Opens March 1, 2024.

ShadowtouchedGenre: Speculative short fiction on theme: Thieves, assassins, vigilantes, agents of darkness, etc. Word count: 3,500 - 10,000 words. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Inside the CastleGenre: Poetry collections. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 1, 2024.
 
SundogGenre: Fiction, poetry, nonfiction, art. Payment: $50. Deadline: Opens March 1, 2024, and closes when they reach capacity.

My Galvanized FriendRestrictions: Submissions must be LGBTQIA+ content created by LGBTQIA+ identified submitters. Genre: Fiction, nonfiction, and essays between 500 and 3,500 words as well as works of poetry and original works of art. Payment: $25 per fiction/nonfiction/essay and $10 per page of poetry. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Solstitia: Pets in SpaceGenre: All genres and all submission types (fiction, non fiction, poetry, art). Word count up to 20,000. Payment: $50. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Copper NickelGenre: Poetry, fiction, essays, and translation folios. Payment: $30 per printed page + two copies of the issue in which the author’s work appears + a one-year subscription. Deadline: March 1, 2024. 

GullyGenre: Fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and visual art. Payment: US$15 for poems and Gullets (flash fiction and non-fiction of less than 1,000 words) and US$30 for features and longer fiction (1,000 words and over). Deadline: March 1, 2024.

MukoliGenre: Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and multimedia art creations that engage with peacebuilding. Payment: $75. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Teach. WriteGenre: Fiction, nonfiction, flash fiction, poetry, CNF. "I prefer writing that is either written by composition teachers and writing students OR about teaching and learning." Payment: $15. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

ParabolaGenre: Original essays and translations, poetry, reviews. Payment: $400. Deadline: March 1, 2024. See themes.

Midstory MagazineGenre: Personal essays written by women about life, love, loss, and friendship at midlife. Payment: $50. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Eerie RiverGenre: Horror and dark fantasy novels. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Block Party PressGenre: Poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction chapbooks. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

HavokGenre: Flash fiction. See themes. Payment: $50 via PayPal for each story selected for an Anthology. No payment for online publication. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

The Woodward ReviewGenre: Poetry, prose, art, and digital media from anyone, anywhere. Payment: $50. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Iron HorseGenre: Poems, stories, and essays. Payment: $100 per essay or story, and $50 per poem or flash piece. Deadline: March 1, 2024. Note: Open one day only for free submissions.

Bad Day BookGenre: Poetry and prose. See site for themesPayment: $40 - $75, depending on length. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Thema: BookmarksGenre: Fiction, poetry, and art on theme: Bookmarks. Payment:  $10-$25 for short fiction and artwork, $10 for poetry. Deadline: March 1, 2024. Accepts reprints.

Cosmic Roots and Eldritch ShoresGenre: Speculative stories. Payment: 8 cents/word for original work. 2 cents/word for reprints. Deadline: March 2, 2024. Opens March 1.

Intrepidus InkGenre: Fiction. See themePayment: $.02/word for flash fiction 300 – 1,000 words. $30 flat rate for short stories 1,500 – 2,500 words. Deadline: March 3, 2024.

Middle West Press LLCGenre: Poetry manuscripts comprising 50 to 100 poems. "We are particularly seeking manuscripts that intersect in some way with military experience or service, especially those stemming from the lived experiences of women veterans, poets of color, poets who identify as LGBTQ+, and other marginalized voices. Past and present military service members, family members, and others are invited to submit work." Payment: $100 advance and royalties. Deadline: March 4, 2024.

Middle West Press LLCGenre: Poetry manuscripts comprising 50 to 100 poems. "We are particularly seeking manuscripts that intersect in some way with the people, places, nature, and history of the American Middle West, especially those stemming from the lived experiences of women, poets of color, poets who identify as LGBTQ+, military veterans, and other marginalized voices." Payment: $100 advance and royalties. Deadline: March 4, 2024.

The Victorian Writer. Genre: Fiction, poetry, as well as pitches or completed articles about the craft of writing or the writing life. Payment: AUD70 for poems, AUD100-200 for prose. Deadline: March 4, 2024.

HexagonGenre: Speculative fiction short stories, flash fiction, poetry, graphic stories, and visual art, in English or French. Payment: $5 for accepted poetry and cartoons, 0.01$ per word for all short stories up to 7,500 words, $40/page for comics and $150 for cover art pieces. (Payment in CAD). Deadline: March 7, 2024. 

Stone's Throw. Genre: Noir, dark fiction, crime short stories that involve water. Lakes. Rivers. Oceans. Boats, commercial or personal. Length: between 1,000 and 2,000 words. Payment: $25. Deadline: March 7, 2024. 

Only PoemsGenre: Poetry. "We love prose poems, traditional forms (ghazals, villanelles, sestinas), love poems, sex poems, and experimental questionnaires, but we are not married to a style or genre. We are welcoming of anything you think is your most exciting work. Ultimately, we want poems that move us or make us go: “God, I wish I had written this!” Payment: $55. Deadline: March 7, 2024. This is a monthly call.

A Coup of OwlsRestrictions: Only submit if you are aged 18 or over and belong to an underrepresented or marginalised community. These include, but are not limited to: LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and disabled people. Genre: Fiction, all genres. Payment: £5 - 15. Deadline: March 7, 2024. Closes when they reach their cap.

Cosmic Horror Monthly. Genre: Ligottian fiction under 5,000 words. Payment: 3 cents/word. Deadline: March 7, 2024. 

Bennington ReviewGenre: Fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, film writing, and cross-genre work. Payment: $120 for prose of six typeset pages and under, $250 for prose of over six typeset pages, and $25 per poem. Deadline: March 8, 2024.

Book XIGenre: Personal essays, memoir, fiction, science fiction, humor, and poetry with philosophical themes. Payment: $200 for prose; $50 for poetry. Deadline: March 8, 2024. Closes when cap is reached.

Samjoko Magazine is devoted to publishing "exemplary work from content creators around the world. Focusing mainly upon the written word, we hope to create an immersive digital and print platform that stands out for its honesty and desire to take risks for the sake of artistic expression. We have no set aesthetic, though different themes will be focused upon periodically." Payment: $20. Deadline: March 10, 2024.

Sick MagazineGenre: Personal Essays, Poetry, Interviews, Reviews, Op-Eds, Art. Payment: $100 - $345. Deadline: March 10, 2024.

FacesGenre: Nonfiction, activities for children 9 - 14. Payment: Not specified. Deadline: March 11, 2024. Queries only. See themes.

MslexiaRestrictions: Open to women. Genre: Fiction poetry, nonfiction. Payment: £25. Deadline: March 11, 2024. See themes.

Poetry WalesGenre: Poetry, reviews, articles. See theme. Payment: Poems £20/page. Reviews £67.50/1500-word review. Articles £200/3000 word, or in that proportion, depending on number of published words. Deadline: March 12, 2024.

Empyrean Tree MagazineGenre: Speculative Fiction. Payment $25. Deadline: March 12, 2024. See themes.

StrangerGenre: Short stories. "Stranger is an anthology for stories that look into unexpected places. We want real or magical, lyrical or experimental, as long as it finds that truth wasn't as simple as once thought." Payment: €175. Deadline: March 12, 2024. Closes when cap is reached

Grimdark MagazineGenre: Grimdark fantasy and sci-fi short stories. Payment: AUD$0.07 per word. Reprints: AUD$0.01 per word. Deadline: March 14, 2024. Accepts reprints.

Archive of the OddGenre: Speculative fiction, horror preferred. “Archive of the Odd is a zine of uncanny occurrences, told in even stranger ways.” They’d like a variety of time periods. Stories can be in any format, except traditional prose. Some of the suggested formats are: academic papers; technical writing; medication warning sheets; sales papers; newspaper articles; recipes; knitting/crochet/weaving/what-have-you guides; care guides (plant, animal, rock garden, etc); or any other unusual format. Submissions do not have to be entirely in text. Payment: $15-$25 for fiction of 500-5,000+ words. Deadline: Opens March 15, 2024.

Hub City PressGenre: Books of literary fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, regional nonfiction, nature, and art. "We are seeking new and extraordinary voices from the American South." Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 15, 2024. Fiction only.

Monstrous MagazineGenre: Horror story dealing with time travel. No Morlock stories. Length: 1000 to 1500 words. Payment: 6 cents a word. Deadline: March 15, 2024.

Weird Horror MagazineGenre: Horror. Payment: 2 cents a word. Deadline: March 15, 2024.

PenumbricGenre: Speculative fiction, poetry, art, animation, and music. Payment: $10. Deadline: March 15, 2024.

Eye to the TelescopeGenre: Speculative poetry. Payment: $0.04/word, up to $25. Deadline: March 15, 2024. See theme.

The RumpusGenre: Fiction. Payment: $400 divided among all contributors. Deadline: March 15, 2024.

Philly Poetry Chapbook ReviewGenre: Reviews of chapbooks coming soon or published in the past three years, essays on the crafts of poetry and chapbook making or publishing, and features about authors or publishers of chapbooks. Payment: $10. Deadline: March 15, 2024. 

Bad Day BookGenre: Poetry and prose. See site for themesPayment: $40 - $75, depending on length. Deadline: March 15, 2024.

Muse MagazineGenre: Nonfiction articles for children. Payment: Not specified. Deadline: March 15, 2023. See themesQueries only.

GutterGenre: Poetry and prose in Scotland and beyond. Length: Poetry submissions can consist of up to five poems, totaling no more than 120 lines. Prose, up to 3000 words. Payment: £25. Deadline: March 16, 2024.

Luna PressGenre: Novellas only, standalone, original and not previously published. Speculative fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy and their sub-genres. Word Count between 20,000 and 40,000. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 16, 2024.

WesterlyGenre: Short stories, poetry, memoir and creative non-fiction, essays and literary criticism. Payment: Poems: $120 for one poem or $150 for two or more poems; Stories: $180; Articles: $180; Visual art/Intro essay: $120; Reviews: $100; Online Publication: $100. "We expect our contributors to be subscribers of the Magazine. While we will accept submissions from non-subscribers, should your work be accepted for publication in this instance, you will be asked to accept a subscription to the Magazine as part payment for your work." Deadline: March 17, 2024.

Carcanet PressGenre: Classics. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 21, 2024.

WordworksRestrictions: Open to BC and Yukon writers. Genre: Poetry, flash fiction, short story, and creative non-fiction. See themePayment: $125 for articles of 400–600 words and $250 for articles of 800–1,100 words, $100 for cover art and $25 for other interior illustrations, $50 for reprints. Deadline: March 22, 2024.

Worlds of Possibility. Genre: Science fiction and fantasy. Prose and poetry. "For this project, I am especially excited for works that leave the reader feeling hopeful, peaceful, or happy." Payment: $50 for poems, $0.10 per word for fiction. Deadline: March 23, 2024.

Claret Press. Genre: Commercial fiction, particularly thrillers and historical fiction of any sort. As always, there should be a political element. "However, if you do have a non-fiction title manuscript which you feel would be the right fit for Claret Press, then we would love to read it as well." Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 24, 2024.

Off Topic Publishing: Poetry BoxGenre: Poetry. Payment $30 CAD. Deadline: March 25, 2024. This is a monthly call.

Rough Cut Press: Dream. Genre: Short prose from the LGBTQIA community on theme: Dream. Payment: $25. Deadline: March 27, 2024.

Ghoulish TalesGenre: Horror. Word count: 5,000 max (short stories); 3,000 max (non-fiction). Payment: 10 cents/word. Deadline: March 29, 2024.

Roads Less TraveledGenre: Short stories that have a mix of two or more of these genres:  horror, dark fantasy, sci-fi and slipstream, that explore original themes or traditional themes from an original perspective. Also accepts nonfiction, interviews and art. Payment: £40 per story regardless of length; £60 per interview regardless of length and including accompanying illustrations or photographs; £60 per nonfiction article. Art is negotiated. Deadline: March 29, 2024.

Cunning FolkRestrictions: "Due to limited capacity, we are not open to fiction submissions from North America at this time." Genre: Non-fiction pitches and short fiction and poetry on theme. See themePayment: £100 per article, interview or short story and £50 for poetry and rituals. Deadline: March 30, 2024.

Little Press PublishingRestrictions: Open to writers in the U.S. and Canada only. Genre: Middle grade fiction for ages 10-13 word count 30,000- 65,000 and early middle grade manuscripts with illustration potential for readers ages 9-12, word count 16,000-30,000. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 30, 2024.

Little Press PublishingGenre: Young Adult fiction for ages 14 – 18 with a word count of 50,000-75,000 words. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: Coming of Age, BIPOC, Fantasy/Supernatural, and LGBTQ+ Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 30, 2024.

How2ConquerGenre: Nonfiction books. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Riddle Fence is a Labrador and Newfoundland based quarterly magazine of arts and culture. Genre: Poetry, fiction, nonfiction, visual art, reviews and features. Payment: $30/page. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Misti Media: Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? Genre: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of Boy George and Culture Club. Payment: $25. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Hub City PressGenre: Books of literary fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, regional nonfiction, nature, and art. "We are seeking new and extraordinary voices from the American South." Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 31, 2024. Nonfiction only.

The Fables Next DoorGenre: Stories that involve characters from recognized fairy tales placed in a modern setting where normal people meet and interact. All genres welcome as long as the theme is met. Word Count: 2000 - 10000. Payment: $25. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Alien Dimensions: Mars Colonization 2033Genre: Speculative fiction set on Mars. Length: 5,000-7,000 words. Payment: $20. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

PropelRestrictions; Open to poets based in the UK or Ireland who have yet to publish their first full-length poetry collection. Genre: Poetry. Payment: £20. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Tiger Bark PressGenre: Poetry. "As part of Tiger Bark Press’s ongoing commitment to printing quality poetry by a diversity of voices, the press holds an open reading period throughout the month of March each year, for full-length book manuscripts by American poets who identify as Black, as indigenous, or as people of color. There is no entry fee for submission". Payment: Selected poets will be offered a standard publishing contract, with books scheduled for publication within one year of acceptance. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

The Hudson ReviewGenre: Fiction, poetry, essays, book reviews; criticism of literature, art, theatre, dance, film, and music; and articles on contemporary cultural developments. Payment: Not specified. Deadline: March 31, 2024. (Nonfiction only)
 
Dragon Soul Press: Pirate Legends. Genre: "All stories featuring pirates are welcome. From Pirates of the Caribbean to Treasure Planet and everything in between." Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Palimpsest Press publishes full-length poetry, literary fiction, and non-fiction titles that deal with poetics, cultural criticism, and literary biography. "We look for poetry that displays technical mastery, precise language, and an authentic voice, and fiction that is rich in imagery, well crafted, and focused on character development. Our non-fiction titles are essays or memoirs written by poets, and books that examine Canadian poetry and the Canadian cultural landscape. In an effort to remove barriers for BIPOC, Deaf, and Disabled authors, Palimpsest Press is officially opening submissions year-round for authors who identify as BIPOC, Deaf, or Disabled. These guidelines take effect immediately. Please include “Year-round Submission” in the email subject line if you submit outside of our designated January1st-March 31st submission period." Read their submission guidelines herePayment: Royalties. Deadline: March 31, 2024. 

Midnight & IndigoRestrictions: Open to black women. Genre: Fiction, personal essays. Payment: $50 for essays, and $50-$75 for fiction. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Hearth StoriesGenre: Speculative fiction. "We publish fiction and poetry that explore connection, family, relationships, comfort, and the natural world. The stories often fall into a fantasy, science-fiction, or magical realism sort of “slice of life.” Payment: 1¢ per word for accepted stories (with a minimum of $20 regardless of length. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Small Harbor PublishingRestrictions: Open to marginalized writers only. Genre: Chapbooks. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

BansheeGenre: Poetry, essays, flash fiction, short stories. Payment: "Small" Deadline: March 31, 2024.

parABnormalGenre: Nonfiction, poetry on the paranormal. "For us, this includes ghosts, spectres, haunts, various whisperers, and so forth. It also includes shapeshifters and creatures from various folklores." Payment: $25.00 for original stories, $7.00 for reprints.$6.00 for each poem. $20.00 for original articles, $6.00 for reprints. $7.00 for reviews and interviews. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Chestnut ReviewGenre: Poetry, flash fiction, short fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, visual media (art/photography). Payment: $120. Deadline: March 31, 2024. Submit early in the month to avoid submission fee.

MetaStellarGenre: Science fiction, fantasy or horror. 1000 words max. Payment: 8 cents per word. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

PodcastleGenre: Fantasy podcast. Length: Up to 6,000 words. Payment: $0.06/word for original; $100 for reprints, $20 for flash fiction reprints. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Haven SpeculativeRestrictions: Open to submissions by authors of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and other underrepresented groups. Genre: Speculative fiction and poetry. Payment: 8¢ per word for fiction and $20 for poetry. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Adroit JournalGenre: Fiction, poetry, art. Payment: $50. Deadline: March 31, 2024. 

Zehlreg Augustus Grindstone’s Spectacular Western Oddity EmporiumGenre: Short stories, flash fiction, and poetry on theme: Where the Wild West meets the vast worlds of Fantasy. Payment: Crowdfunded. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Ninth LetterGenre: Poems, nonfiction, and short fiction. Payment: $25 for poetry, $100 for prose. Deadline: March 31, 2024. No fee for web edition.

The FiddleheadRestrictions: Canadians only. Genre: Fiction, including excerpts from novels, creative nonfiction, art, poetry. Payment: $60 CAD per published page. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

WolfSinger Publications: The Dragon’s Hoard 2Genre: Speculative fiction about dragons, with a twist. Length: 2,500-7,500 words. Payment: $15 + royalties. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Denver Horror Collective: Frontiers of Fright – A Southwestern Horror AnthologyGenre: Horror set in the Southwest. Length: 1,000-6,000 words. Payment: $10 for the first 1,000 words, then a half cent per word up to 6,000 words. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

The Lost Poetry Club: The Four Humours (Audio). Genre: Sci-fi, Slipstream, Weird Fiction, Near-Future, Retellings, Folk-Tales, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Surrealism, Cosmic Horror, Dark Fantasy, Speculative… Formats: Mainly Short Stories, Poetry, Flash Fiction, Short Plays/Extracts, (but open to) Personal Stories, Dreams/Nightmares, Songs, Soundscapes, Fictional or Real Mini-Docs, Interviews, and whatever else you can dream up. Length: Short Stories/Plays/Extracts: Up to 15 mins or 1,800-3,000 words; Poetry/Flash Fiction: Up to 5 mins or 500 words; Songs/Music/Other: Up to 5 mins. See themePayment: £0.015 per word or £10 flat rate for other. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Sentinel Creatives: Nordic HorrorGenre: Weird tales set in the Nordic Region that explore the human (and inhuman) experience through the lens of the weird and the horrific. Length: 3,000-6,000 words. Payment: $125 - $200. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Book Slayer Press: Under the PinkRestrictions: OPEN to any and everyone that identifies (now or in the past) as femme in the most inclusive of definitions. Genre: Adult horror, including genre-chimeras inspired by the music of Tori Amos. Submissions must be between 3,000 and 5,000 words. Payment: $100. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Behind the ShadowsGenre: Horror. There is no restriction as to how you incorporate the theme into your story as long as the genre falls within Speculative Fiction, including Sci-Fi or Fantasy. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Dark Moments Monthly ChallengeGenre: Drabble. Theme: Cannibalism. Payment: 4 cents/word. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

New Orleans ReviewGenre: Fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Payment: $300 for prose, $100 for poetry. Deadline: March 31, 2024. In celebration of Disability Awareness Month, there are no submission fees for writers living with both visible and invisible disabilities for the month of March.

Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? AnthologyGenre: Crime fiction. "Culture Club secured a spot in music history and produced a music legacy still loved today. And, what better way to celebrate them than with outstanding crime fiction inspired by their music?" Payment: $25. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

SouthwordGenre: Fiction. Payment: €300 per short story. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

The RumpusGenre: Comics. Payment: $400 divided among all contributors. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Winter in the City: A Collection of Dark Urban StoriesGenre: Speculative fiction that takes place in cities during winter. Payment: 10 cents/word. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Terrain.orgGenre: Poetry, nonfiction, fiction, artwork, videos, and other contributions on place, climate, and justice. Payment: $50. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Air and Nothingness Press: Moving Across the Landscape in Search of an IdeaGenre: We are looking for stories with long titles (minimum 250 words, maximum 600 words), concise narratives (minimum 250 words, maximum 600 words) and copious footnotes, endnotes, marginalia, indices and glossaries (minimum 250 words, maximum 600 words). Authors are welcome to shift word counts between these three parts of their submission, but they must stay within a range of 1500 words for the total submission (ex. a 500 word title, a 600 word narrative, and 400 words of footnotes.). Payment: $0.08/word. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

LanternfishGenre: Fiction and memoir, full-length (60 to 100,000 words) and novella-length (20 to 40,000 words). Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

AurealisGenre: Science fiction, fantasy or horror short stories between 2000 and 8000 words. Payment: A$20 and A$60 per 1000 words. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

TypehouseRestrictions: In honor of Disability Awareness Month, no-fee submissions are open for all creators living with both visible and invisible disabilities, not limited to those from the US. Genre: Prose, poetry, art. Payment: $25. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

JMS BooksGenre: LGBTQ romance stories, 12,000 words minimum. See theme. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Bethlehem Writers RoundtableGenre: Short stories and poetry. See themes. Payment: 20.00 USD for featured authors, or $10.00 USD for stories published on their &More page and $5.00 USD for poems. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Death’s Head PressGenre: Horror short stories on theme: Cold. Payment: 4 cents/word. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Short Story, LongGenre: Short stories, 2k-8k words long (3,000-5,500 range preferred). Payment: $100. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Ashland Creek Press. Genre: Vegan-themed literature, from animal protection to climate change. All submissions must be fiction. Novels must be completed and between 60,000 and 90,000 words in length. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Short Story Substack accepts one short story every month. Genre: All genres. Word count 6,000 - 10,000 words. Payment: Base Pay of $100 for the chosen story + 50% of subscription revenue to be sent by Paypal, Zelle, or check. Deadline: March 31, 2024. Reprints accepted.

Poetry Substack accepts one poem every month. Genre: Poem. Must have a rhyme scheme or a rhythm scheme. No blank verse or free verse. Payment: Base Pay of $10 for the chosen poem + 50% of subscription revenue to be sent by Paypal, Zelle, or check. Deadline: March 31, 2024. Reprints accepted.

Split Lip MagazineGenre: Fiction (flash and short stories), memoirs, and poetry. with a pop-culture twist. Payment: $75 for poems, memoirs, flash, fiction, and art, $50 for interviews/reviews, and $25 for mini-reviews web issues. Deadline: March 31, 2024. Closes when they reach capacity, so submit early. 

McClelland & Stewart is a division of Penguin Random House. Restrictions: Open to Black, Indigenous, and racialized writers, as well as those of other traditionally underrepresented communities. Genre: Full-length literary fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Payment: Advance and royalties. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Tiger Bark Press March Reading Period for BIPOC Poets 2024Restrictions: Open to BIPOC poets. Genre: Full-length poetry collection. Payment: Standard publication contract. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

And a few more...

Totally Entwined: Family BusinessGenre: Novellas, 30,000 - 50,000 words. Theme: Mafia romance. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: April 1, 2024.

Write or DieGenre: Short fiction. Length: Up to 4000 words. Payment: $200. Deadline: April 1, 2024.

The Ex-PuritanGenre: Poetry, fiction, reviews, interviews, essays, and experimental work. "The Ex-Puritan now seeks to publish the best in all forms of writing." Payment: $100 - $200 (CAD). Deadline: April 1, 2024.

Gordon Square ReviewGenre: Poetry, short stories, personal essays, and hybrid prose works.  Payment: $25 per prose piece and $10 per poem. Deadline: April 1, 2024.

Toronto JournalGenre: Short stories from anywhere in the world. "We will also consider non-fiction pieces about local history (Toronto, GTA, and surrounding)." No word limit. Payment: $50 CAD per piece. All published writers will also receive two printed copies of the issue in which they appear. Deadline: April 1, 2024. 

Kangas KahnGenre: Horror short stories on theme: Clowns Payment: 8 cents/word. Deadline: April 1, 2024..

SalamanderGenre: Poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Payment: Not specified. Deadline: April 1, 2024.

West BranchGenre: Poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and translation. Payment: $50 per submission of poetry, and $.05/word for prose with a maximum payment of $100. Deadline: April 1, 2024.

ShenandoahGenre: Poetry. Payment: $100. Deadline: Opens April 1, 2024, and closes when they reach capacity. 

Zero Street Restrictions: Open to LGBTQ+ writers. Genre: Full-length literary fiction. "Zero Street will be committed to LGBTQ+ literary fiction with commercial potential, providing marginalized authors opportunities for a wide readership in the trade fiction market. The series editors are Timothy Schaffert, bestselling author of The Perfume Thief, and SJ Sindu, author of Blue-Skinned Gods. The series seeks LGBTQ+ literary fiction of all kinds, from stories of modern life to innovations on traditions of genre and are particularly interested in BIPOC authors, trans authors, and queer authors over 50." Payment: Royalties. Deadline: April 1, 2024.

The Best HuntGenre: Speculative Fiction. Theme: Monsters have feelings too, even if it’s used to rage against the machine. Payment: "a percentage of sales divided equally between the contributing authors." Deadline: April 1, 2024.

Monday, February 26, 2024

88 Writing Contests in March 2024 - No entry fees

This March there are more than seven dozen free writing contests for short fiction, novels, poetry, CNF, nonfiction, and plays. Prizes this month 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. Many of these contests are offered annually, so even if the deadline has passed, you can prepare for next year.

Good luck! 

(Image: PxHere)

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The Miracle Monocle Award for Young Black WritersRestrictions: Writers must be 25 years old or younger and identify as Black. Genre: All. Prize: $200.  Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Tales to TerrifyGenre: Horror. Length: 1000 words max. Prize: $50. DeadlineMarch 1, 2024.

Linda Purdy Memorial PrizeRestrictions: Open to Orange County residents. Genre: Poetry, fiction. Prize: $200 and publication. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Texas Review Press Southern Poetry Breakthrough Series: KentuckyRestrictions: Open to any poet born in Kentucky, or currently residing in Kentucky, 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: March 1, 2024.

ChismosaGenre: All genres. "We want work that explores the idea that to be a writer is to gossip; it is to people-watch and eavesdrop and turn the things we observe into protagonists and plot-devices. Give us a story brimming with gossip, or write a poem to tell us about the art of eavesdropping." Prize: $100. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

The Waterman Fund Essay ContestRestrictions: Writers who have not published a book-length work of fiction or narrative nonfiction on topics of wilderness, wildness, or the ethics and ecology of environmental issues are eligible. Genre: Personal essays between 2000 and 3000 words. "The  Waterman Fund seeks new voices on the role and place of wilderness in today’s world." Prizes: The winning essayist will be awarded $3000 and publication in Appalachia Journal. The Honorable Mention essay will receive $1000. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

On The Premises. "For this contest, write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which some kind of vehicle plays an important role. Merely using the vehicle as a simple plot device or to help characters get somewhere is not enough. For instance, “While flying home I made a bunch of new friends on the flight” isn’t good enough, because the same story–making new friends–could easily be told without the plane." Prize: $250 for first place, $200 for second, $150 for third. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

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 Indigenous Writers. 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: March 1, 2024.

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: March 1, 2024.

Alabama Arts Council FellowshipsRestrictions: Open to any author who has lived in Alabama for at least 2 years. Genre: Fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction of 10-20 pages. Prize: $5,000. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Mississippi Artists FellowshipsRestrictions: Open to permanent residents of Mississippi. Genre: Fiction and poetry. (Plus many art forms) Prize: $5,000. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Deep Wild Graduate Student PrizeRestrictions: Open to students currently enrolled in graduate programs. Genre: Fiction and nonfiction. "We seek work that conjures the experiences, observations, and insights of backcountry journeys." Prize:1st Place prize is $200, 2nd Place $100, and 3rd Place $50. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Alpine Fellowship Writing PrizeGenre: Pieces of any genre up to 2500 words on the theme (See website). Prize: £3,000 cash prize. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

North Carolina State Poetry ContestRestrictions: Open to North Carolina residents (including out-of-state and international students who are enrolled in North Carolina universities)with no published books. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $500. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Grant MacEwan Creative Writing Scholarship is sponsored by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Genres: Poetry, Short Fiction & Creative Nonfiction, Drama, or Graphic Novel. Restrictions: Authors must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate creative writing program of study or mentorship. (Max age 25) Alberta residents only. Prize: $7000 (CAN). Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Balticon Poetry Contest. Sponsored by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. Genre: Speculative poetry. Prize: 1st prize: $100; 2nd prize: $75; 3rd prize: $50. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

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: Children's books published in the previous year. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: March 1, 2024.

Iron Horse 2024 Chapbook CompetitionGenre: Prose chapbook, between 40 and 56 pages (10,000 - 20,000 words) Prize: $1,000 honorarium and 15 copies. Deadline: March 1, 2024. Note: They will accept 25 free submissions on March 1, 2024.

The Solitary Daisy Haiku ContestGenre: Haiku. Prize: First place $25, second place $15, third place $10. Deadline: March 2, 2024.

"It's All Write!" Teen Short Story ContestRestrictions: Open to Grades 6-12. Michigan residents only. Genre: Short story, and flash fiction, unpublished. Prize: 1st Place $250, 2nd Place $150, 3rd Place $100. Deadline: March 3, 2024.

Furious FictionGenre: Flash fiction. "On the first Friday of every month, a new set of story prompts will be revealed. You will have 55 hours to submit your best 500-word (or fewer) story." Prize: $500AUD. Deadline: March 3, 2024. Opens March 1.

The Lakefly Writers ConferenceRestrictions: Open to residents of Wisconsin. Genres: Short story fiction: 3000 words or less. Any genre. Poetry: All poems, free verse to formal and everything in between—75 lines max. Personal Essay: 2500 words max. Prize: First place winners will receive a cash prize of $100; second place winners will receive $75; and third place winners will receive $50. Winners must be able to attend an awards ceremony. Deadline: March 4, 2024.

Forward PrizesGenre: Collections and single poems published in the UK and Ireland are eligible for the Prizes. Must be submitted by publisher. Prize: £1,000 to £10,000. Deadline: March 4, 2024.

Free Expression Essay CompetitionRestrictions: Open to US-based students, including homeschooled students; high school-level submissions are open to students ages 15-17; and college-level submissions are open to students ages 18-23. Genre: Essay. “From school board meetings to statehouses, and foreign newsrooms to digital spaces — there are threats to free expression in societies around the world. PEN America wants to know: what do you think about free expression? Why is it important? How can it change the world?” Length: 1000 words. Prize: $2,000, $1,500, and $1,000 for college-level essays; and high school-level essayists will receive $1,500, $1,000, and $500. Deadline: March 8, 2024.

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: £7500. 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: March 11, 2024.

The American Prospect Writing Fellows Program. The American Prospect’s Writing Fellows Program offers journalists the opportunity to spend two years developing their skills with the magazine at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. (or working remotely, in pandemic times). Each fellow benefits from an intensive mentoring program with the experts on our editorial team, and is expected to contribute regularly. Deadline: March 11, 2024.

NEA Literature Fellowships are sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. Genre: Poetry.  Prize: $25,000 grants to published creative writers that enable recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. Deadline: March 13, 2024.

Apparition LitGenre: Speculative flash fiction inspired by the monthly photograph prompt. (See site for photo.) Length: 1000 words max. Prize: $30. Deadline: March 14, 2024.

Lynn DeCaro Poetry ContestRestrictions: Open to Connecticut Student Poets in Grades 9-12. Genre: Poetry. Prize: 1st $100, 2nd $50, 3rd $25. Deadline: March 15, 2024.

The Hub City Press BIPOC Poetry SeriesRestrictions: Open to BIPOC poets of all stages of their careers in thirteen Southern states. Submitters must currently reside or be from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia or West Virginia. Genre: Poetry by Southern writers of color. Prize: Two finalists will receive a prize of $3000 and publication. Deadline: March 15, 2024.

Boston in 100 Words” is an annual flash fiction writing contest in the greater Boston metropolitan area. The contest invites anyone living, working, or going to school in Boston and some surrounding towns to write stories of 100 words or fewer that depict everyday life in their communities. A team of local, renowned writers select winning stories, which are made available to the public for free in the form of large, illustrated posters installed throughout the city. “Boston in 100 Words” seeks to impact the largest number of Bostonians possible, as authors and readers of 100-word stories. Participation in the contest is free to everyone. Prize: $300. DeadlineMarch 15, 2024.

Neltje Blanchan/Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial AwardsRestrictions: Wyoming writers. Genres: The Frank Nelson Doubleday Award is given for the best poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or script written by a woman writer. The Neltje Blanchan Memorial Writing Award is given annually for the best poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or script which is informed by a relationship with the natural world. Prize: $1,000.00. Deadline: March 15, 2024.

Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing and Journalism FellowshipRestrictions: Established and recognized authors are being sought, but emerging and mid-career writers are also encouraged to apply. Genre: Seeking creative writers (poetry, fiction, nonfiction), or those in the field of journalism (writer, photojournalist, videographer, documentary filmmaker, online or print media) who demonstrate serious inquiry and dedication to the Greater Yellowstone region through their work. Fellowship: $3,500. Deadline: March 15, 2024.

Beverly Hopkins Memorial Poetry Contest for High School StudentsRestrictions: High school students living within 100 miles of St. Louis. Genre: Poetry. Prize: First prize $225, Second prize $125, Third prize $75. Deadline: March 15, 2024.

Jane Martin Poetry Prize (UK)Restrictions: Open to UK residents between 18 and 30 years of age. Genre: Poetry. Prize: £700, second prize, £300. Deadline: March 15, 2024.

NFSPS Annual Poetry ContestsGenre: Poetry. The National Federation of State Poetry Societies sponsors 50 contests for adults, 34 of which are free and open to the public. There are also 3 free poetry contests for children. Prize: Monetary awards vary. Deadline: March 15, 2024.

Jacklyn Potter Young Poets CompetitionRestrictions: Open to high school students. Genre: Poetry. Prize: Two high school students will be selected and scheduled to read their original work for CafĂ© Muse with established poet, Sarah Ghazal Ali, on Monday, June 3, 2024, at 7:00 p.m. They will receive an honorarium. Deadline: March 15, 2024.

David Nobbs Memorial Trust New Comedy Writing CompetitionRestrictions: Entrants must have at least one credited broadcast comedy writing credit and live in the UK. Genre: Comedy scripts for radio or TV. Prize: £1,000 top prize. Deadline: March 15, 2024. 

The Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay PrizeRestrictions: Open to writers resident in the UK and Ireland who have yet to secure a publishing deal. Genre: Proposal for a book-length essay (minimum 25,000 words). Prize: £3,000 advance against publication with Fitzcarraldo Editions. Deadline: March 17, 2024.

2023 POPP Award: Poetry of the Plains and PrairiesGenre: Poetry of any style for their annual Poetry of the Plains and Prairies chapbook publication. "While the author(s) may call any place home, their submissions must deftly capture the feeling of, as well as the reality of, living on the plains and prairies. Authors may submit any number of poems equaling thirty to thirty-five pages in length, with no more than one poem per page. (Single poems may extend more than one page.) The selected poetry collection will be published as a limited edition chapbook, hand-printed with antique letterpress equipment." Prize: $200 and publication. Deadline: March 17, 2024.

The Lucien Stryk Asian Translation PrizeGenre: Book-length translations into English of either a) poetry or b) source texts from Zen Buddhism (which must not consist solely of commentaries). Both translators and publishers are invited to submit titles. Book must have been published in previous year. Prize: $6,000. Deadline: March 18, 2024.

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: March 18, 2024. 

ALTA First Translation PrizeGenre: Debut literary translation from any other language into English published in the previous calendar year. Prize: 3,000, with $2,000 bestowed to the translator and $1,000 to the editor. Deadline: March 18, 2024. 

BBC National Short Story AwardRestrictions: Open to UK residents or nationals, aged 18 or over, who have a history of publication in creative writing. Genre: Short fiction. Prize: £15,000 to the winner, £3,000 for the runner-up and £500 for three further shortlisted writers. Deadline: March 18, 2024.

Fabula Press Short Story ContestGenre: Short Story. Word Count: Not less than 2500 words, and not more than 7000 words. Prize: First Prize: US$500 Second Prize: US$250 Third Prize: US$100. In addition, all authors selected for publication will be paid an honorarium of US$75. Deadline: March 20, 2024. Opens February 21

Nancy Ludmerer Fellowship for Flash Fiction and NonfictionGenre: One or more flash narratives up to 1,000 words. Award: A 5-night residency at Porches. Deadline: March 20, 2024. No entry fee for the first 20 submissions received on March 20.

Muestras Konsejas ‘Our Tales’. Genre: Previously unpublished work of prose (fictional or memoiristic) that gives voice to the experiences of the Ladino-speaking Sephardic Jewish communities (whether from family lore, lived experience, community heritage, life stories, etc.). Work submitted must not exceed the maximum of 2,000 words and must be written in English prose. Genre may be memoir, (auto)biography or fiction. The competition will feature two categories: ‘Student’ (18+) and ‘Adult’.  Prize: One Winner in each category will receive $1,000. One Runner Up in each category will receive $500. Deadline: March 22, 2024.

Savage Mystery Writing ContestGenre: Mystery 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: March 24, 2024. Opens March 22.

Daisy Utemorrah Award for Indigenous AuthorsRestrictions: Open to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander writer currently residing in Australia. Genre: Junior/YA full-length fiction manuscript intended for readers aged 8-18. Length: 40,000 and 100,000 words. Prize: A$15,000 and possible publication.  Deadline: March 25, 2024.

BBC Young Writers AwardRestrictions: Open to UK residents, including residents of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, aged 14 to 18 years old, Genre: Short fiction, 1000 words max. Prize: Publication and free workshop. Deadline: March 25, 2024.

Write the World: Fairytales & Myths CompetitionRestrictions: Young writers ages 13-19.5. Genre: Myth or fairytale that uses fantasy as a lens to understand the reality of everyday life. Prize: Best Entry: $100; Runner up: $50. Deadline: March 25, 2024.

Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition for High School StudentsRestrictions: Open to students in Grades 7-12. Genre: Haiku. Prize: $50. Deadline: March 27, 2024.

BlackInk Writing CompetitionRestrictions: Open to writers from the African and African Caribbean Diaspora. Genre: Short story, maximum of 2,000 words. Prize: £500 top prize. Deadline: March 28, 2024.

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: March 28, 2024. Note: No fee for writers under 16 years of age. 

Tempest PrizeRestrictions: Open to  LGBTQ+ writers based in the North of England. Genre: Poetry, fiction and narrative non-fiction. Prize: £1000, access to the Northern Writers’ Awards Network and mentoring from Andrew McMillan. Deadline: March 28, 2024.

The Finchale Award for Short Fiction.  Restrictions: Open to writers based in the North of England. Genre: Short story of up to 1500 words. Prize: £1000 and access to the Northern Writers’ Awards Network. Deadline: March 28, 2024.

Sid Chaplin AwardRestrictions: Open to writers living in the North of England who identify as originating from a working-class background. Genre: Memoir, novel, young-adult novel, short-story collection or work of literary essays in progress. Prize: £2000; a manuscript appraisal from The Literary Consultancy; advisory sessions from the writer Michael Chaplin; an introduction to the North Agency; and access to the Northern Writers’ Awards Network. Deadline: March 28, 2024.

Ann Petry AwardRestrictions: Open to Black authors. Genre: Previously unpublished prose, either a novel or a collection of short stories or novellas, with a minimum of 150 pages. Prize: $3000 and publication. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

The Reporting AwardGenre: Journalism, in any medium, on an under-reported subject in the public interest. Prize: Up to $12,500. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Witcraft Monthly Humour CompetitionGenre: Humor with the emphasis on wit, word play, absurdity and inspired nonsense. Prize: First prize A$50, second prize A$20, third prize A$10, payable via Paypal only. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Claire Harris Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Open to Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada who are writers from Black, Indigenous, or other racialized communities and who have not previously published a book-length collection of poetry. Genre: Poetry collection. Prize: $1,000, a contract for the publication of the collection under the icehouse poetry imprint in the following year (2025), and public readings in at least three Canadian cities. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Caine Prize for African WritingRestrictions: Open to writers born in Africa, or nationals of an African country, or with a parent who is African by birth or nationality, Genre: Short fiction (published). Prize: £10,000. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Royal Institute of Philosophy Essay Prize: ThinkTopic: Essay on themes. Prize: Publication. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Orwell Prize for JournalismRestrictions: Open to a journalist for sustained reportage and/or commentary working in any medium. Genre: Published journalism. Prize: £3,000 for the best political writing first published in the UK or Ireland between April 1, 2023 and March 31, 2043. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Orwell Prize for Reporting HomelessnessRestrictions: Open to a journalist for sustained reportage and/or commentary working in any medium. Genre: Reportage and/or commentary on homelessness. Entries will be encouraged from people who are experiencing or have experienced all forms of homelessness as well as journalists and others writing about or reporting on homelessness. Prize: £3,000 for the best political writing first published in the UK or Ireland between April 1, 2023 and March 31, 2024. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future ContestRestrictions: 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. Genres: Science fiction, fantasy and dark fantasy up to 17,000 words. Prizes: Three cash prizes in each quarter: a First Prize of $1,000, a Second Prize of $750, and a Third Prize of $500, in US dollars. In addition, at the end of the year the winners will have their entries rejudged, and a Grand Prize winner shall be determined and receive an additional $5,000. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Archibald Lamp­man AwardRestrictions: Open to residents of Canada's National Capital region (Ottawa). Genre: Book of any genre published by a recognized publisher. Prize: $1500. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

A Public Space Emerging Writer FellowshipsRestrictions: Open to writers who have not yet contracted to publish a book. Prize: $1000 and six months of editorial support from A Public Space editors to prepare a piece of prose for publication in the magazine. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Anne Brown Essay PrizeRestrictions: Entrants must be aged over 16 and resident in Scotland, born in Scotland or have a longstanding association with Scotland. Genre: Literary essay, published or unpublished. Prize: £1,500. Deadline: March 31, 2024. 

Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize. The annual Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize is awarded each spring to honor an outstanding literary translation from German into English published in the USA the previous year. Genre: Published fiction or non-fiction, may include: novels, novellas, short stories, plays, poetry, biographies, essays and correspondence. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Natan Notable Books AwardGenre: Nonfic­­tion book on Jew­ish themes pub­lished for the first time between September 1, 2022 and August 31, 2023. Prize: $5,000. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

City of Literature Paul Engle PrizeGenre: This prize does not recognize one work, nor is it solely limited to reflecting literary achievement. Rather, the award seeks to recognize a writer, like Engle, who makes an impact on his or her community and the world at large through efforts beyond the page. It also seeks to raise awareness about Engle and his works. Prize: $20,000. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

#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: March 31, 2024.

Jack L. Chalker Young Writers' ContestsRestrictions: Open to writers between 14 and 18 years of age as of May 29 in the contest year who reside in, or attend school in Maryland. Genre: Science fiction or fantasy, 2,500 words max. Prizes: $150, $100 and $75. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Jack London Fiction Writing ContestRestrictions: Open to U.S. students in grades 6-8. Genre: Unpublished stories. Length: 2,000 words maximum. "Your writing prompt this year is to create a story where your main character(s) are animals with animal qualities (like Buck in Call of the Wild). Tell your story from the animal’s perspective.” Prize: $250, $150, and $100. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary TranslationGenre: Poetry or literary prose. Translation of modern Arabic literature into English. Books must have been published and be available for purchase in the UK via a distributor or online. The source text must have been published in the original Arabic in or after 1967. Must be submitted by publisher. Prize: £3,000. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Foley Poetry ContestGenre: One unpublished poem on any topic. The poem should be 45 lines or fewer and not under consideration elsewhere. Prize: $1000. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Silvers Grants for Work in ProgressRestrictions: Open to Anglophone writers of any nationality. Genre: Long-form essays in the fields of literary criticism, arts writing, political analysis, and/or social reportage. Prize: Up to $10,000. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Cymera-Scotland’s Futures Forum-Shoreline of Infinity Prize for Speculative Short FictionRestrictions: Anyone living in Scotland or who identifies as Scottish by birth or inclination, aged 14 years or over. Genre: Speculative short stories. Prize: £150. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Kyoto Writing CompetitionGenre: Short poems, character studies, essays, travel tips, whimsy, haiku sequence, haibun, wordplays, dialogue, experimental verse, etc. In short, anything that helps show the spirit of place in a fresh light. A clear connection to Kyoto is essential. Length: 300 words max. Prize: ~$360 top prize. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Sarah Mook Poetry Prize for StudentsRestrictions: Students in grades K-12. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $100. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Parsec InkGenre: Speculative short story up to 3,500 words. See themePrize: First-place receives $200 and publication in the Confluence program book. Second-place receives $100 Third-place receives $50. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

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: $2,000. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Lewis Galantiere AwardRestrictions: Open to US citizens or permanent residents. Genre: Translation of book-length literary work from any language, except German, into English. Entries must have been published in the US in the past two years. Prize: $1000. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Rattle's Ekphrastic ChallengeGenre: Poetry based on art. (See websitePrize: $100. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Sunken Garden Poetry Festival's Fresh Voices CompetitionRestrictions: Connecticut high school students. Prize: Reading at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival and publication. Deadline: March 31, 2024.

Michael E. DeBakey Medical Student Poetry AwardsRestrictions: Only undergraduates currently enrolled in accredited United States medical schools are eligible. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $1,000 top prize. DeadlineMarch 31, 2024. Note: Winner does not retain copyright.

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: March 31, 2024. Reprints are ok so long as you still have the rights to distribute. 
 
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