There are more than two dozen writing contests in September. As always, they span the gamut from poems to short stories, from essays to published books.
Some of these contests have age and geographical restrictions, so read the full guidelines before submitting.
Note: Many contests are offered annually. You can find a monthly list of contests here: Free Contests
PEN Prison Writing Contest. Restrictions: Anyone incarcerated in a federal, state, or county prison in the year before the September 1 deadline is eligible to enter. Genres: Poetry, fiction, drama, creative nonfiction. Prize: $200 top prize per category. Deadline: September 1, 2016.
Cheshire Prize for Literature. Restrictions: The writer must have been born, live or have lived, study or have studied, work or have worked, in Cheshire, UK. Genre: Original and previously unpublished poem or collection of poems. Prize: £2,000. Deadline: September 1, 2016.
Helen Schaible Shakespearean/Petrarchan Sonnet Contest. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $50, 2nd Prize $35, 3rd Prize $15, three Honorable Mentions, three Special Recognitions.Deadline: September 1, 2016.
Young Lions Fiction Award. Restrictions: Open to US citizens 35 years of age or younger. Genre: Novel or a collection of short stories published between January 2016 and December 2016. Prize: $10,000.00. Deadline: September 2, 2016.
On The Premises Short Story Contest. “For this contest, write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which the concept of “darkness” plays an important role. You may interpret “darkness” any way you want–literally, metaphorically, or any other way. Darkness doesn’t have to have a value judgment attached to it, and it doesn’t have to be symbolic in any way, although it can.” Prize: Winners receive between US$60 and US$220, and publication. Deadline: September 2, 2016.
Jerwood Awards for Nonfiction. Restrictions: Those who have been resident in the UK or the Republic of Ireland for the past three years are all eligible. Genre: First commissioned works of non-fiction. Prize: £10,000. Deadline: September 5, 2016.
So You Think You Can Write held by Wattpad. Write your Canadian romance story on Wattpad. Send a 3–7 page synopsis and first chapter to the Ooooh. . . Canada! blitz. Prize: Grand Prize is a 2-book contract with Harlequin. Deadline: September 12, 2016. Read details here.
Key West Literary Seminar Emerging Writer Awards. Restrictions: Poets and writers living in the United States who have not yet published a book with a major publisher are eligible to apply. Genre: Poetry, fiction. Prize: $500.Deadline: September 12, 2016.
Princemere Poetry Prize. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $500.Deadline: September 12, 2016.
Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing. Genre: Book of literary nonfiction that captures a political subject of relevance to Canadian readers and has the potential to shape or influence thinking on contemporary Canadian political life. Book must be published in Canada. Prize: CAN$25,000.00. Deadline: Books published between June 15 and September 13 must be received by September 14, 2016.
Concis Pith of Prose and Poem Contest. Genre: Poems, prose poems, visual poems, flash fiction, micro-essays or what-have-you. Prize: $150 and 75 postcards featuring the winning work.Deadline: September 15, 2016.
Kathy Fish Fellowship for Emerging Writers. Restrictions: All writers previously unpublished in SmokeLong Quarterly and who do not have a published chapbook or book-length work in any genre (or are not under contract for such) are eligible to apply. Genre: Flash fiction. Prize: $500. Deadline: September 15, 2016.
Student Travel Writing Contest. Restrictions: Currently enrolled high school, undergraduate, graduate students, student interns, and volunteers (including Peace Corps). Genre: Essay. Prize: $500. Deadline: September 15, 2016.
Past Loves Day Story Contest. Genre: Short personal essay. “Nearly everyone has memories of a former sweetheart. Write your true story of an earlier love, in no more than 700 words. Tell us about someone whose memory brings a smile or a tear.” Prize: $100 top prize. Deadline: September 17, 2016.
Life Lessons Essay Contest. Restrictions: Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, age 19 or older at time of entry. Genre: Personal essay. Would your world now be completely different — even unthinkable — if, at some point in the past, you hadn’t made a seemingly random choice? Tell us about it. Prize: $3,000. Deadline: September 19, 2016.
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Program. Restrictions: Publishers recommend writers making a strong literary debut. Authors cannot submit their own work to the program; self-published writers and titles published via print-on-demand or available only as NOOK books are also ineligible for submission. Genres: Literary fiction, short story collections and literary non-fiction, such as travel essays, memoirs, or other non-fiction with a strong narrative will be considered. Books should be intended for an adult or a young adult audience. Prize: $35,000 to six writers.Deadline: September 22, 2016.
Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. Restrictions: The award is open to any novelist or short story writer from around the world who is published in the UK. Genre: Short story. Prize: £30,000.Deadline: September 29, 2016.
Best New Writing’s Gover Story Prize. Genre: Unpublished fiction and creative nonfiction under 10,000 words. Prize: $250 top prize. Deadline: September 30, 2016.
Off the Beaten Track Travel Writing Competition. Genre: Articles about a fascinating, relatively unknown place near to where you live or that you came across by chance when travelling around, or it may be a totally fictional place. Prize: £100 top prize. Deadline: September 30, 2016.
Intergeneration Short Story Contest. Genre: Short story (400 words.) Stories must include characters from more than one generation. Prize: $500. Deadline: September 30, 2016.
Iowa Short Fiction and John Simmons Short Fiction Awards. Genre: Short story collection. The manuscript must be a collection of short stories in English of at least 150 word-processed, double-spaced pages. Prize: Publication by the University of Iowa Press, royalties. Deadline: September 30, 2016.
Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction Contest. Genre: Short fiction. Prize: $100. Deadline: September 30, 2016.
L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest is held four times a year. Restrictions: The Contest is open only to those who have not professionally published a novel or short novel, or more than one novelette, or more than three short stories, in any medium. Professional publication is deemed to be payment of at least six cents per word, and at least 5,000 copies, or 5,000 hits. Genre: Short stories or novelettes of science fiction or fantasy. Prizes: $1,000, $750, $500, Annual Grand Prize: $5,000. Deadline: September 30, 2016.
Lee & Low Books New Voices Award is sponsored by Lee &Low Publishers. Restrictions: The contest is open to writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a children’s picture book published. Genre: Children’s books — fiction, nonfiction or poetry. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: September 30, 2016.
WOLFoundation Writing Competition. Genre: Essay on theme: Connecting Politics With People. Prize: $1,500. Deadline: September 30, 2016.
Originally published at publishedtodeath.blogspot.com on August 25, 2016.
About the author: Erica Verrillo has published five books, four with major publishers and one on her own. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on how to get an agent, lists agents who are looking for clients as well as publishers accepting manuscripts directly from writers, explains how to market and promote your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews, how to self-publish, and where to find markets for your work on Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity.