There are more than three dozen free contests in April, covering the full range of topics, styles and genres, from essays, to poetry, to full-length works. In addition to the prestige of winning a contest, some of the monetary prizes this month are substantial. Be sure to check the submission requirements carefully, as some have age and geographical restrictions.
Many contests are offered annually, so if you miss a contest you may be able to catch it next year. For a full month-by-month listing of contests see: Free Contests.
Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. Now in its 16th year, this contest seeks today’s best humor poems, published and unpublished.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, 2017. Submission form HERE.
Bill Hallberg Award in Creative Writing. Restrictions: Open to undergraduate students at colleges and universities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. Genre: Single poem. Prize: $150. Deadline: April 1, 2017. Submit poem to Christy Hallberg as email@example.com
The Penny Fiction Flash Fiction Competition. Genre: Flash fiction stories told in exactly 15 words. Prize: $25 and publication. Deadline: April 1, 2017. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE (scroll down).
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, 2017.
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, 2017.
The Great American Think-Off. Genre: Essay on the theme: “Has the 2016 election changed our perception of truth?” 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, 2017.
Washington State Book Awards. Restrictions: Open to Washington State writers. Genre: Published book, all genres. Prize: $500. Deadline: April 1, 2017.
The Waterston Desert Writing Prize. Genre: Literary nonfiction, desert theme. Prize: $1,500. Deadline: April 1, 2017.
William Saroyan Writing Contest. Restrictions: Open to students in 1st grade through college. Genre: Short story, 2 pages. Prize: $50 — $100. Deadline: April 1, 2017.
Graphix Publication Contest. Restrictions: US residents only. Genre: Graphic novel for children and teens. Prize: Up to five (5) winners will receive an offer to publish their work with Scholastic and a $15,000 advance, with $5,000. Deadline: April 1, 2017.
B4ME Short Story Competition. Restrictions: Open to UK & IRELAND residents of black, Asian minority ethnic background, and will need to provide this information in the sign up form. Genre: Short story, unpublished. Prize: £1,000, and the story will be published on the Guardian website. Deadline: April 2, 2017.
Radiating You. Genre: Letter. “Tune out the noise of the world for a few minutes and write the letter that could really inspire others, but more importantly, inspire yourself.” Prize: 1st place $100, 2nd place $75, 3rd place $50. Publication on blog and in a compilation book in 2018. Deadline: April 7, 2017.
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 7, 2017.
American Literary Translators Association Italian Prose in Translation Award. Genre: 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: April 7, 2017.
A Voice for Animals Teen Essay Contest. Restrictions: Open to students between the ages of 14–18. Genre: Essays on an animal rights topic. In the 16–18 year olds category, essays must be 800–1,000 words long and be accompanied by a photograph; in the 14–15 year olds category, essays should be between 1,400–1,500 words. One climate change prize (both age categories compete) will be awarded for an essay on how climate change affects a particular animal species. Prize: $500. Deadline: April 10, 2017.
Monash Undergraduate Prize for Creative Writing. “Now in its sixth 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 12, 2017.
Wikipedia: Leading Edge and Harold B. Lee Library Contest. Restrictions: Wikipedia content creators and article writers. Genre: Improve upon an article within the guidelines to enter. Prizes range from $25–50 for the first four placers, plus various copies of Leading Edge Magazine. Articles improved must involve Utah and the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre in some way (the website gives a few suggested articles). Pages must be improved to at least double their current character count. Prize: $25 — $50. Deadline: April 12, 2017.
Scotiabank Giller Prize. Restrictions: Open to books published in Canada in English. Books must be published in Canada in English between March 1, 2017 and April 30, 2017 to be eligible for the 2017 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, 2017.
Great Plains Emerging Tribal Writer Award. Restrictions: Open to writers enrolled in a Native American tribe from the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Nebraska who have not published a book of creative writing. Genres: Short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, or drama/screenplays. Prize: $500. Deadline: April 15, 2017.
Wick Poetry Center High School Poetry Competition. Restrictions: Open to Ohio high school seniors. Genre: Poetry. Prize: One-time $1,500 scholarship to Kent State University. Second and third prize winners receive $1,000 and $500 one-time scholarships. Deadline: April 15, 2017.
The Waterman Fund Essay Contest. Genre: Essay. “Emerging writers are asked to offer and explore stories of what humans build in wild places, considering the ecological and emotional integrity of wilderness and wildness. From trails and bridges to communities and visitor service facilities, humans have an undeniable impact on the wild places we love, even as we seek to steward these most meaningful landscapes for their own sakes, ourselves and future generations. How do we strike a balance — personally and culturally — between discovering and sustaining the spirit and substance of wilderness and wildness?” Prizes: The winning essayist will be awarded $1500 and publication in Appalachia Journal. The Honorable Mention essay will receive $500. Deadline: April 15, 2017.
Common Good Books Poetry Contest is sponsored by Common Good Books, proprietor Garrison Keillor. Genre: Poetry. The poem must be a Poem of Experience. Prize: Grand prizes of $1000 each, and four poets will receive $500 for poems of particular merit. Deadline: April 15, 2017.
Galtelli Literary Prize. Genre: Short fiction up to 5000 words that reflects the themes of Canne al Vento, a book by Grazia Deledda (such as identity, class, and religion). Prize: 1st — 5th place, travel and accommodations to Sardinia. grand prize winner, €1000. Deadline: April 15, 2017.
Enterprise Through Literature Contest for High School Students. Restrictions: Open to high school students teams (up to four people). Genre: Video and essay. “The theme of this year’s ETL contest is Individual Identity in Utopia and Dystopia. In a utopia/dystopian society, how does the restriction of an individual’s rights impact their role in society and therefore entrepreneurial spirit? Cite examples from both your chosen piece of literature and real world examples. The essay should be between 250 and 500 words and should concisely explain the link between the video and the work of literature.” Prize: $2,000. Deadline: April 17, 2017.
The Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest is open to 12th grade, undergraduate and graduate students. To be eligible for this contest, you must write an essay of no fewer than 800 and no more than 1,600 words in length, double-spaced, on one of three topics related to Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged. Essays are judged on both style and content. The winning essay must demonstrate an outstanding knowledge of the book Atlas Shrugged. Prizes: 1st — $10,000, 2nd — $2,000, 3rd — $1,000. Also prizes for finalists, and semi-finalists. Deadline: April 28, 2017. Entry form and details here.
McLaughlin-Esstman-Stearns First Novel Prize is awarded to the author of the best first novel published in the previous calendar year. Restrictions: Only American authors publishing in English are eligible. Non-eligible books include short story collections, flash fiction, memoirs, biographies and books published solely in electronic format. Prize: $500. Deadline: April 28, 2017.
Luminarts Creative Writing Program. The Creative Writing Competition awards five $5,000 grant awards and Luminarts Fellowships across categories of creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Open to writers between the ages of 18 and 30 years old at the time of application; be enrolled in, or have graduated from, a degree program; and live within 150 miles of the Union League Club of Chicago. Genre: Poetry or prose, fiction and nonfiction. Prize: $5,000 and publication in Luminarts Review, a literary journal. Deadline: April 28, 2017.
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, 2017.
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, 2017.
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: Short realistic fiction. Prize: $500 and publication. Deadline: April 30, 2017.
Wax Poetry and Art Poetry Contest. Genre: Poem. (Enter 1 poem for free. There is a charge for additional poems.) Prize: $120. Deadline: April 30, 2017.
Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation Writing Competition. Genre: Play. Only full-length works (dramas, comedies, musicals, screenplays) will be considered. One entry per author. Scripts must be original. Must be in English. All must concern LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender) life and be based on, or directly inspired by, a historical person, culture, work of art, or event. Prize: First Prize, $3,000. Second Prize, $1,500. Honorable Mentions, $500. Deadline: April 30, 2017.
Friends of Falun Gong, Poetry Contest. Genre: Poem Submit one or two poems of no more than 50 lines each. Poems must encompass at least one of the following themes: Advocate for Falun Gong practitioner’s fundamental human rights. Expose the crimes against Falun Gong perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party. Share in the beauty, peacefulness and good nature of Falun Gong. Prizes: $500, $250, $100. Deadline: April 30, 2017.
SA Writer’s College Short Story Award. Restrictions: Open to unpublished writers in South Africa. Genre: Short stories. Prizes: 1st — R 10 000; 2nd — R 5 000; 3rd — R 2 000. Deadline: April 30, 2017.
Originally published at publishedtodeath.blogspot.com on March 30, 2017.
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