32 Writing Contests in April 2016 — No Entry Fees

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There are loads of free literary contests in April, some with substantial prizes. All genres and forms are included, from humorous poetry, to short fiction, to full length-works, both published and unpublished.

Some of these contests have age and regional restrictions, so be sure to read the full guidelines before submitting.

Good luck!

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Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. Now in its 15th year, this contest seeks today’s best humor poems, published and unpublished. Please enter one poem only, 250 lines max. Prize: $2,250 in prizes, including a top prize of $1,000, and publication on Winning Writers. Deadline: April 1, 2016. Submission form HERE.

Harold U. Ribalow Prize. Genre: Fiction on a Jewish theme, published books only. Prize: $3,000. Deadline: April 1, 2016. More details are HERE.

Bop Dead City. Genres: Prose, poetry. Prize: $20. Deadline: April 1, 2016. More details are HERE.

Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. Restrictions: The writer must be Canadian, and an entry must be the writer’s first or second published book of any type or genre and must have a Canadian locale and/or significance. Genre: Print books and ebooks of creative non-fiction published in the previous calendar year. Prize: C$10,000.00. Deadline: April 1, 2016. More details are HERE.

The Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship for Writers. Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians awards fellowships for writers to spend time in McCullers’ childhood home in Columbus, Georgia. The fellowships are intended to afford the writers in residence uninterrupted time to dedicate to their work, free from the distractions of daily life and other professional responsibilities. Award: Stipend of $5000 to cover costs of transportation, food and other incidentals. Fellowship recipients will be required to introduce or advance their work through reading or workshop/forum presentations. The Fellow will work with the McCullers Center Director to plan a presentation near the end of the residency. Deadline: April 1, 2016. More details are HERE.

The Great American Think-Off. Genre: Essay on the theme: “Income Inequality Threatens Democracy.” Entrants should take a strong stand agreeing or disagreeing with this topic, basing their arguments on personal experience and observations rather than philosophical abstraction. Essay should be no more than 750 words. Prize: One of four $500 cash prizes. Deadline: April 1, 2016. Submission details are HERE.

Paterson Fiction Prize. Genre: Published novel or collection of short fiction. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: April 1, 2016. More details are HERE.

Washington State Book Awards. Restrictions: Open to Washington State writers. Genre: Published book, all genres. Prize: $500. Deadline: April 1, 2016. More details are HERE.

The Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize. Genre: Book-length translation of Asian poetry into English. Both translators and publishers are invited to submit titles. Book must have been published in previous year. Prize: $5,000. Deadline: April 8, 2016. See details HERE.

William Saroyan Writing Contest. Restrictions: Open to students in 1st grade through college. Genre: Short story, 2 pages. Prize: $50 — $100. Deadline: April 11, 2016. More details are HERE.

Stony Brook Short Fiction Prize. Restrictions: Only undergraduates enrolled full time in United States and Canadian universities and colleges for the academic year 2015–16 are eligible. Genre: Fiction of no more than 7,500 words. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: April 15, 2016. See submission details HERE.

Common Good Books Poetry Contest is sponsored by Common Good Books, proprietor Garrison Keillor. Genre: Poetry. The poem must be a declaration of gratitude. Prize: Grand prizes of $1000 each, and four poets will receive $500 for poems of particular merit. Deadline: April 15, 2016. See submission details HERE.

Scotiabank Giller Prize. Restrictions: Open to books published in Canada in English. Books must be published in Canada in English between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016 to be eligible for the 2016 Prize. Must be nominated by publisher. Genre: Fiction. Full-length novel or collection of short stories published in English, either originally, or in translation. Prize: $100,000 to the winner and $10,000 to each of the finalists. Deadline: April 15, 2016. See details HERE.

Rhyme On! Genre: Poetry, one poem only. Prize: 1st prize — $200, 2nd prize — $100, 3rd prize — $50. Deadline: April 15, 2016. See submission details HERE.

Chautauqua Editors Prize. Awards will recognize the writing that best captures both the issue’s theme and the spirit of Chautauqua Institution. Prizes: $500, $250, and $100 for each issue. Deadline: April 15, 2016. Submission form is HERE.

The Waterman Fund Essay Contest. Genre: Essay. “The dual mission of the NPS is to conserve the resources and provide visitor enjoyment of uniquely wild and beautiful places around the country. However, with these high and growing levels of use, how can the NPS achieve these ideals? Is the spirit of wilderness alive and well in our National Parks? What do we gain or lose by protecting these areas over others? What relationships between stewardship and National Parks stand out as significant in preserving both our landscapes and our ideals of wilderness? Emerging writers are encouraged to address these questions and their own in well-crafted essays, drawing on personal wilderness experiences — in or out of Parks — as concrete examples for their arguments.” Prizes: The winning essayist will be awarded $1500 and publication in Appalachia Journal. The Honorable Mention essay will receive $500. Deadline: April 15, 2016. Submission details are HERE.

Monash Undergraduate Prize for Creative Writing. “Now in its fifth year, the Prize is a significant literary award for new and emerging writers. The prize is open to both Australian and New Zealand university students, enrolled in either an undergraduate or honours degree. All types of creative writing will be accepted, including short stories, non-fiction narrative and narrative verse.” Prize: $4000. Deadline: April 18, 2016. Submission details are HERE.

Sapiens Plurum. Genre: Stories that personalize the consequences of climate change so readers feel as well as know them. But stories must offer hope, at least a possibility, for without hope people rarely act. Your job, as author, is to inspire scientists and states-persons around the world to live up to the promise of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Prize: 1ST PRIZE: $1000; 2ND PRIZE: $500; 3RD PRIZE: $300. Deadline: April 22, 2016. Submission details are HERE.

Toronto Book Awards. Genres: All genres accepted. Restrictions: Submission “must evoke the city itself, that is, contain some clear Toronto content (this may be reflected in the themes, settings, subjects, etc.). Authors do not necessarily have to reside in Toronto. Ebooks, textbooks and self-published works are not eligible. Prize: A total of $15,000 CD will be awarded. Each shortlisted author (usually 4–6) receives C$1,000 and the winning author is awarded the remainder.Deadline: April 30, 2016. Submission guidelines are HERE.

Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships. Restrictions: Applicants must reside in the U.S. or be U.S. citizens. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and no older than 31 years of age as of April 30, 2016. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $25,800.Deadline: April 30, 2016. Submission guidelines are HERE.

Lake Superior State University High School Short Story Prize. Restrictions: Open to high school students students residing in the Midwestern United States (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) or Ontario, Canada. Genre: Alternate history short stories. Prize: $500 and publication. Deadline: April 30, 2016. Submission guidelines are HERE.

Artemis vs Apollo. Genre: Mythology, 5000 words max. Prize: $100 Visa e-card. Deadline: April 30, 2016. Submission guidelines are HERE.

The Jan Garton Prairie Heritage Book Award will be given to the best book of the year that illuminates the heritage of America’s mid-continental prairies, whether of the tall-grass, mid-grass, or short-grass regions. Authors’ first books receive extra consideration. Books published in 2014 may be nominated by publishers, authors, or readers. Genre: Books may be in any genre, and topics may include but are not limited to social or natural history; prairie culture of the past or in-the-making; and interactions between society and ecology. Prize: $1000 and a sponsored book-signing. Deadline: April 30, 2016. Submission guidelines are HERE.

The Scythe Prize. Restrictions: Open to college students. Genre: Short stories, creative nonfiction. Prize: $250. Deadline: April 30, 2016. Submission guidelines are HERE.

Originally published at publishedtodeath.blogspot.com on March 31, 2016.

Erica Verrillo has published five books. 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.

Helping writers get published and bolstering their flagging spirits at http://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/

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