There are so many free writing contests in June! All genres and forms are included, from poetry to short fiction, to essays and full length-works. A few come with substantial prizes and international recognition.
Some of these contests have age and regional restrictions, so be sure to read the full guidelines before submitting.
Note: I post a list of free upcoming contests the last week of every month. But if you want to get a jump on these contests, “Free Contests” is regularly updated. Be sure to check there for future as well as past contests — many are held annually.
Amy Awards. Poets & Writers presents the Amy Award each year to recognize promising women poets, age 30 and under, living in the New York City metropolitan area or on Long Island. Winners receive a modest honorarium and give a reading in New York City. The award was established in 1995 by Paula Trachtman and Edward Butscher of East Hampton, New York, in memory of Ms. Trachtman’s daughter, Amy Rothholz, an actor and poet. Genre: Poetry. Deadline: June 1, 2016.
Singapore Poetry Contest. Genre: Poetry. The poem may be about any aspect of Singapore.Prize: 1st Prize $100. 2nd Prize $50, 3rd Prize $20; all winners will be published online. Deadline: June 1, 2016.
Governor General’s Literary Awards. Restrictions: Books must have been written 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 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). Prize: $25,000. Deadline: June 1, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.
Fraser Student Essay Contest. Restrictions: Open to high school, undergraduate and graduate students. International. Genre: Essay. Topic: Topic: Small change — Big impact: Improving quality of life one policy change at a time. Prizes: $500 — $1500. Deadline: June 1, 2016.
Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors. Created by the Missouri Humanities Council, the Warrior Arts Alliance, and Southeast Missouri State University Press, this series of anthologies preserves and shares military service perspectives of our soldiers and veterans of all conflicts and of their families. It is not only an outlet for artistic expression but also a document of the unique aspects of wartime in our nation’s history. Genres: Poetry, Short Fiction, Essay, Photography, Interview with a Warrior. Prize: $250 and publication. Deadline: June 1, 2016 (postmarked)
The Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans. This creative writing contest for U.S. military veterans and active duty personnel is hosted by The Iowa Review and made possible by a gift from the family of Jeff Sharlet (1942–69), a Vietnam veteran and antiwar writer and activist. The contest is open to veterans and active duty personnel writing in any genre and about any subject matter. Prizes: First place: $1,000 plus publication in the Spring 2017 issue of The Iowa Review. Second place: $750. Three runners-up: $500 each. Deadline: June 1, 2016.
RBC Taylor Prize. Restrictions: Open to citizens or residents of Canada. Must be published author. Genre: Literary nonfiction. Prize: $25,000 (CAN). Deadline: June 5, 2016 for books published between April 2 and May 29, 2016.
Hiett Prize in the Humanities. The Hiett Prize in the Humanities is an annual award aimed at identifying candidates who are in the early stages of careers devoted to the humanities and whose work shows extraordinary promise and has a significant public component related to contemporary culture. Restrictions: All applicants must reside in the United States. Prize: $50,000. Deadline: June 10, 2016.
IUPUI Poetry Contest. Restrictions: High school age students. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $300. 2nd Prize $200, 3rd Prize $100. Deadline: June 15, 2016.
Bard Fiction Prize. Genre: Published fiction book. Prize: $30,000 and a one-semester appointment as writer-in-residence at Bard College. Deadline: June 15, 2016.
Scotiabank Giller Prize. Restrictions: Open to books published in Canada in English. 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: Books published between May 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016 must be received on or before June 15, 2016.
Norton Writer’s Prize. Sponsored by W.W. Norton & Company. “The Norton Writer’s Prize will be awarded annually for an outstanding essay written by an undergraduate. Literacy narratives, literary and other textual analyses, reports, profiles, evaluations, arguments, memoirs, proposals, mixed-genre pieces, and more: any excellent writing done for an undergraduate writing class will be considered.” Genres: Creative Nonfiction, Scholarly Essay. Prize: $1,500. Two runner-up prizes of $1,000. Deadline: June 15, 2016.
Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing. Restrictions: Titles must be published in Canada between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016. Self-published books are not eligible. Genre: A 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. Prize: Winner: $25,000; Finalists: $2,500. Deadline: June 15: For books published between January 1, 2016 and June 14, 2016.
Words and Brushes. Genre: Fiction inspired by artwork. Prize: $300 top prize. Deadline: June 15, 2016.
American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Prizes. Genre: English translations of poetry, fiction, drama, or literary prose originally written in Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, or Swedish by a Scandinavian author born after 1800. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: June 15, 2016.
Fred Otto Prize for Oz Fiction/Warren Hollister Prize for Oz Nonfiction. Genre: Short Fiction, Art & Creative Nonfiction. All work must be related to the world of Oz. Prize: $100 in each genre. 2nd Prize $50 in each genre. Deadline: June 15, 2016 (electronic submissions only).
Goi Peace Foundation International Essay Contest for Young People. Restrictions: Open to people 25 years of age or less. Genre: Essay (max 700 words). Theme: “Education to Build a Better Future for All.” Prize: 1st US$840, 2nd US$420. Deadline: June 15, 2016.
Vermont Studio Center — Full Fellowship Awards. The Vermont Studio Center offers 54 fellowships; open to anyone in the world. Deadline: June 15, 2016.
Towson University Prize for Literature. Restrictions: Open to Maryland writers. Genre: Book-length manuscript of fiction, poetry, drama or imaginative non-fiction. The work must have been published within the three years prior to the year of nomination or must be scheduled for publication
within the year in which nominated. Self-published works will not be considered. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: June 15, 2016.
Baltimore Science Fiction Society Amateur Writing Contest. Restrictions: Author must be a Maryland resident or a student at a Maryland 2- or 4-year college.Genre: Speculative fiction short story. Prize: 1st place is $250, 2nd place is $100, 3rd place is $50. Deadline: June 17, 2016.
Writer’s Center Emerging Writer Fellowship. “We welcome submissions from writers of all genres, backgrounds, and experiences in the following genres: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Emerging Writer Fellows will be featured at The Writer’s Center as part of a special celebration and reading. Fellows living within a 250-mile radius of the center in Bethesda, MD will receive a $250 honorarium, and all others will receive $500.” Deadline: June 17, 2016.
A Midsummer Tale Narrative Writing Contest. Theme: Summer Job. Length: 1,000 words minimum; 5,000 words maximum. Prize: $35 — $50 Amazon gift card. Deadline: June 21, 2016.
Utah Division of Arts and Museums Original Writing Competition. Restrictions: Utah writers. Genres: Poetry and prose. Prize: $1,000 top prizes for book-length manuscripts of novels, creative nonfiction & history, collection of poetry or short stories, and juvenile book; $300 top prizes for individual poems, short stories, and personal essays. 2nd Prize $500 for the book-length categories, $150 for poetry. Deadline: June 24, 2016.
Oregon Literary Fellowships. Fellowships of $3,000 each are given annually to Oregon writers to initiate, develop, or complete literary projects in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. One Women Writers Fellowship and one Writer of Color Fellowship of $3,000 each are also given annually. Submit three copies of up to 15 pages of poetry or 25 pages of prose with the required entry from. Deadline: June 25, 2016.
Costa Book Awards. Restrictions: Prize is for books first published in the UK or Ireland by authors who have lived in the UK or Ireland for at least six months of each of the preceding three years. Books must be published between November 1 of the previous year and October 31 of the current year. Self-published works not allowed. Genre: Five categories — First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book. Prize: £30,000.00 across all genres. 5,000 pounds in each category (poetry, novel, first novel, biography, children’s book).Deadline: June 29, 2016.
Blue Mountain Poetry Card Contest. “Poems can be rhyming or non-rhyming, although we find that non-rhyming poetry reads better. We suggest that you write about real emotions and feelings and that you have some special person or occasion in mind as you write.” Prize: First prize $300. Second prize $150. Third prize $30. Deadline: June 30, 2016.
Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize. Genre: One long poem or a collection of poems. Prize: $500, 25 printed copies of chapbook, and publishing contract with sponsor. Deadline: June 30, 2016.
L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest. Restrictions: 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 and at least 5,000 copies (or 5,000 hits for online publication). Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi or Horror. 17,000 words max. Prize: $1,000 1st Prize awarded each quarter; one of those winners also receives the $5,000 annual “Golden Pen Award” grand prize. 2nd Prize $750, 3rd Prize $500. Deadline: June 30, 2016.
Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Restrictions: The award is open to writers who have published a book-length collection of fiction or a minimum of three short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or literary journals of national distribution. Online and self-publication does not count toward this requirement. Genre: A manuscript of short stories; two or more novellas (a novella may comprise a maximum of 130 double-spaced typed pages); or a combination of one or more novellas and short stories. Novellas are only accepted as part of a larger collection. Prize: $15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press under its standard contract. Deadline: June 30, 2016.
Best New Writing (Gover Story Prize). Genre: Short Fiction & Creative Nonfiction. Works of short prose must be less than 10,000 words, previously unpublished. Prize: $250.00. Deadline: June 30, 2016.
Eden Mills Teen Poetry Contest. Restrictions: Open to Canadian teens. Genre: Poetry. This year’s theme: Roads and Journeys. Prize: 2 $50 prizes, 2 $25 prizes. Deadline: June 30, 2016.
Bacopa Literary Review. Genres: Fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry. Prizes: First ($200) and Runner-Up ($160) prizes in each genre. All published will receive $20 and a copy of the print journal. After publication, Bacopa 2016 will be promoted online. Deadline: June 30, 2016.
Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize. Genre: Poetry. Restrictions: The goal of the award is to support artists who either live in or originate from Pakistan. As long as you self-identify as a Pakistani artist, an artist originating from Pakistan, or with roots in Pakistan, you are eligible to participate. Prize: $250. Deadline: June 30, 2016.
Originally published at publishedtodeath.blogspot.com on May 26, 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.