This November there are nearly three dozen contests for short fiction, novels, poetry, CNF, nonfiction, and short plays. Prizes range from $50,000 to a scholarship. None charge entry fees.
Some of these contests have age and geographical restrictions, so read the instructions carefully.
If you want to get a jump on next month’s contests go to Free Contests. Most of these contests are offered annually, so even if the deadline is past, you can prepare for next year.
Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Restrictions: Open to citizens of the British Commonwealth. Genre: Unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words) in English. Short stories translated into English from other languages are also eligible. Prize: Regional winners receive £2,500 (US$3,835) and the overall winner will receive £5,000 (US$7,670). Deadline: November 1, 2021.
Emma Lazarus Poetry Contest is hosted by the American Jewish Historical Society. Genre: Poem. “Just as Emma responded to the issues of her time by writing a poem that addressed American identity, we invite you to write your own poem that speaks to your vision of America.” Prize: $1,000 in each category (including “Collegiate/Emerging Adult Poet”). Deadline: November 1, 2021.
Defenestrationism.net. Genre: Flash fiction Suite: at least three flash fiction works that correlate, and build to something greater. Prize: $75. Deadline: November 1, 2021.
William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grants Program for Unpublished Writers. Restrictions: Writers must not have published a book, short story, or dramatic work in the mystery field, either in print, electronic, or audio form. Genre: Mystery stories of the Agatha Christie type — i.e., “traditional mysteries.” These works usually feature no excessive gore, gratuitous violence, or explicit sex. Prize: Each grant may be used to offset registration, travel, or other expenses related to attendance at a writers’ conference or workshop within a year of the date of the award. In the case of nonfiction, the grant may be used to offset research expenses. Each grant currently includes a $1,500 award plus a comprehensive registration for the following year’s convention and two nights’ lodging at the convention hotel, but does not include travel to the convention or meals. Deadline: November 1, 2021.
Gotham Book Prize. Genre: Book. “The Gotham Book Prize is awarded once a year to the best book (works of fiction and nonfiction are eligible) published that calendar year that either is about New York City or takes place in New York City.” Prize: $50,000. Deadline: November 1, 2021.
Brunel International African Poetry Prize. Restrictions: The Prize is open to poets who were born in Africa, or who are nationals of an African country, or whose parents are African. It is for ten poems exactly in order to encourage serious poets. These poems may, however, have already been published. Only poets who have not yet had a full-length poetry book published are eligible. Poets who have self-published poetry books or had chapbooks and pamphlets published are allowed to submit for this prize. Genre: Poetry. Prize: £3000. Deadline: November 1, 2021.
Start a Riot! Chapbook Prize. Restrictions: Submitter is a QTBIPOC+ literary artist AND is a current resident of the larger San Francisco Bay Area AND does not have a previous full-length publication in their submission genre. Genre: Prose — Fiction, Nonfiction, Graphic Novel, Hybrid, Cross-Genre. Prize: $1000. Deadline: November 1, 2021.
Women’s Prize for Fiction. Genre: Full-length novels (no short story collections or novellas) by women, first published in the UK. Prize: 30,000 pounds. Deadline: November 8, 2021.
Dylan Thomas Prize. Restrictions: Authors must be aged 39 or under. Eligible books must have been commercially published for the first time in the English language between January 1 and December 31 of the year in which the deadline falls. Genre: Published books of poetry, fiction (novel, novella, or short story collection), radio scripts, or screenplays. Prize: 30,000 pounds, plus 1,000 pounds for shortlisted authors. Deadline: November 8, 2021.
So to Speak. Restrictions: No fee for Black and Indigenous Writers only. Genre: Visual art, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Prize: $500 and publication. Deadline: November 14, 2021.
Weird Christmas Flash Contest. Genre: Weird flash fiction. 350 words max. Prize: $50 first prize, $25 second prize. Deadline: November 15, 2021.
Quarterly West. Genre: Poetry and prose. Prize: $500. Deadline: November 15, 2021.
Treehouse Climate Action Poem Prize. Restrictions: Open to US poets for previously unpublished poems of any length that “help make real for readers the gravity of the vulnerable state of our environment at present.” Genre: Poetry. Prize: Up to $1,000. Deadline: November 15, 2021.
Bronx Council on the Arts Community Engagement Grants. Restrictions: Open to residents of Bronx County. Genre: All art forms, including writing. Grant: $1000 — $5000. Deadline: November 15, 2021.
The PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. Restrictions: PEN America will only accept submissions from editors of eligible publications. Authors may not submit their own short story for this award. Genre: First published short story. Prize: $2000 and publication in The PEN America Best Debut Short Stories. Deadline: November 15, 2021.
Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship. Genre: Nonfiction book in progress. The project should address the history and/or legacy — broadly defined — of the American Revolution and the nation’s founding ideas. It might focus on the founding era itself, or on the myriad ways the questions that preoccupied the nation’s founders have shaped America’s later history. Fellowship amount: $45,000 stipend, health benefits, faculty privileges, a book allowance, and a nine-month residency (during the academic year) in historic Chestertown, MD. Deadline: November 15, 2021.
New York Encounter Poetry Contest. Genre: Poetry on the theme “This Urge for the Truth.” Prize: Cash prizes of $300, $200 and $100 will be awarded to first, second and third place poems. Deadline: November 15, 2021.
Stowe Prize. Restrictions: US authors only. Genre: Fiction, nonfiction or body of work that “makes a tangible impact on a social justice issue critical to contemporary society.” Prize: $10,000. Deadline: November 15, 2021.
Donald Murray Prize for Creative Nonfiction. Genre: Original, unpublished works of creative nonfiction with a preference for essays on writing, teaching, and teaching writing, but will consider quality entries on any subject, including topics related to social justice, civic action, and inequality. Prize: $300 in the form of an AMEX gift card and publication in Writing on the Edge. All entries will be considered for publication in the journal. Length: 8,000 words maximum (2500–4500 preferred) Deadline: November 15, 2021.
Apex Magazine: Holiday Horrors. Genre: Horror. “Your story must feature the holiday horrors theme and be filled with frights.” 250 words max. Prize: $25 and publication. Deadline: November 15, 2021.
One Teen Story. Restrictions: Open to writers age 13 -19. Genre: Short story between 2,000 to 4,500 words. Prize: $500 upon publication and 25 copies of the magazine. Deadline: November 19, 2021.
Arts & Letters Awards. Restrictions: Open to residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Genres: poetry, short fiction, nonfiction, dramatic script, art, music, and French language. Entries must be unpublished and completed during the previous 12 months. Prizes: C$1,000 and C$250. Deadline: November 19, 2021.
Polar Expressions Publications Poetry Competition. Restrictions: Open to Canadian students in kindergarten through grade twelve. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $300, $200, $100. Deadline: November 26, 2021.
Better Than Starbucks. Genre: Metrical poetry. Your sonnet can be shakespearean, petrarchan, spenserian, rhymed, or slant-rhymed. Blank verse is fine, as long as the sonnet form is clearly identifiable. They’ll consider tetrameter, hexameter, etc. as well as pentameter. Prize: $100. Deadline: November 30, 2021. Previously published work accepted.
Paul Torday Memorial Prize. Restrictions: Authors must be over 60. Genre: First published novel. The novel must have been first published in the UK and Republic of Ireland between 1 September 2019 and 31 August 2020. Prize: £1,000. Deadline: November 30, 2021.
Servicescape. Genre: Short story or nonfiction up to 5,000 words. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: November 30, 2021.
Betty Trask Prize. Restrictions: Author must be a Commonwealth citizen. Genre: First novels, published or unpublished, written by authors under the age of 35 in a “traditional or romantic, but not experimental, style.” Prize: Awards totaling 20,000 pounds. Top prize 10,000 pounds. The prize money must be used for foreign travel. Deadline: November 30, 2021.
Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers. Restrictions: Open to writers aged 16–18. Genre: Poem. Prize: Full scholarship to The Kenyon Review Young Writers workshop, an intensive two-week summer seminar for writers aged 16–18. Deadline: November 30, 2021.
Somerset Maugham Awards. Restrictions: Open to UK writers under the age of 35. Genre: Published work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry. Prize: 2,500 pounds apiece to four winners. Prize money must be used for travel. Deadline: November 30, 2021.
UNT Rilke Prize. Restrictions: US citizens or residents. Open to authors with at least two prior published books of poetry. Genre: Book of poetry published between November 2020 and October 2021. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: November 30, 2021.
AVBOB Poetry Competition. Restrictions: Open to any citizen of South Africa. Genre: Poetry. Prize: R10,000. Deadline: November 30, 2021.
J. F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction. Genre: Short fiction. Prize: $500. Deadline: November 30, 2021.
Renee Duke Youth Poetry Award. Restrictions: Open to young poets age 17 and under. Genre: Poem relating to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Prize: $100. Deadline: November 30, 2021.
Anita McAndrews Poetry Award. Genre: Poetry on theme of human rights. Familiarity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is recommended. Prize: First prize $200, Second prize $50. Deadline: November 30, 2021.
Storytwigs micro-writing competition. Restrictions: Open to citizens/residents of United States or Canada. You must be 18 years or older to enter. Genre: Short prose 100 words or fewer on prompt of String. Prize: From $10 to $100. Deadline: November 30, 2021.
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