For such a short month, February hosts an inordinate number of free literary contests. Every genre is represented, from speculative fiction, to poetry, to creative nonfiction. Some of the prizes are substantial. Be sure to check the submission requirements carefully, as some contests 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.
Thirdspace Short Fiction Contest. Genre: Short fiction stories that center on experience(s) of medical education. Prize: First prize: $350 and publication in Thirdspace. Deadline: February 1, 2017.
United States/Japan Creative Artists Residencies. This is a 3–5 month residency in Japan. Grant: $24,000. Deadline: February 1, 2017.
The John Gardner Fiction Award is sponsored by the Binghamton Center for Writers-State University of New York with support from the Office of the Dean of Binghamton University’s Harpur College of the Arts & Sciences. Genre: Novel or collection of fiction published in 2016. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 1, 2017. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.
Wednesday Club Junior Poetry Contest. Restrictions: High School Students in grades 10 through 12 in High Schools in St. Louis and the St. Louis area. Genre: Poetry. Two individual poems. Prizes: $100, $80, $60, $40, $20, $10 for all honorable mentions. Deadline: February 1, 2017.
Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award is sponsored by the Binghamton Center for Writers-State University of New York with support from the Office of the Dean of Binghamton University’s Harpur College of the Arts & Sciences. Genre: Poetry book in English published in 2016. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 1, 2017. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.
Wednesday Club Poetry Prize. Restrictions: Adults over 18; living within a 50-mile radius of St. Louis. Genre: Poetry. Two individual poems. Prizes: $500, $300, $150. Deadline: February 1, 2017.
Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards. Genre: Poetry, up to five poems per person. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 1, 2017.
Paterson Prize for Books for Young People. Genre: Most outstanding book for young people published in 2016. There is a $500 award in each category: Pre-K — Grade 3; Grades 4–6; Grades 7–12. Prize: $500. Deadline: February 1, 2017.
Gannon University Poetry Contest. Restrictions: Entrants must be a US high school student or a home-schooled student in grades nine through twelve.Genre: Poetry. Each student may enter 1 or 2 poems; each poem may be no longer than 50 lines. Prize: First Place: $100.00 Second Place: $75.00 Third Place: $50.00. Deadline: February 1, 2017.
Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Restrictions: Open to women, US citizens only. Genre: Novel. All entries must be submitted by publishers who wish to have the work of their authors that were published in the year 2015 considered. No self-published works or works from vanity presses will be accepted. Prize: $7,500. Deadline: February 1, 2017.
The Levis Reading Prize is sponsored by the Department of English and its MFA in Creative Writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Restrictions: The prize is given annually for the best first or second book of poetry published in the previous calendar year. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $5000. Deadline: February 1, 2017.
The Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award. Genre: Short story of no more than 8,000 words that shows the near future (no more than about 50–60 years out) of manned space exploration. Prize: Publication as the featured story on the Baen Books main website paid at the normal paying rates for professional story submissions. Deadline: February 1, 2017.
$1000 for 1000 Words Creative Writing Contest is sponsored by the Leyla Beban Young Authors Foundation. Restrictions: Students enrolled in grades 6–12. Genre: Short fiction of exactly 1000 words. Prize: Two $1,000 scholarship prizes will be awarded, one for grades 6–8 and one for grades 9–12. Seven $100 cash prizes will also be awarded for winning entries, one per grade level. Deadline: February 1, 2017. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.
Paterson Poetry Prize. Genre: Poetry. Book of poems, 48 pages or more in length, published in 2016. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 1, 2017.
‘Philosophy Through Fiction’ Short Story Competition. Genre: Speculative fiction short story. The aim of this competition is to encourage philosophers to use fiction to explore philosophical ideas, thereby broadening our scope and toolkit. Prize: $500 top prize and publication. Deadline: February 1, 2017. Questions/submissions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Central PA Writing Contest. Restrictions: Open to legal residents of Pennsylvania who are at least 18 years old. Genre: Short fiction, 1500 words max. Original, unpublished, work of fiction only; no poetry or nonfiction. Prize: $500, runner-up $200. Deadline: February 3, 2017.
Charles Crupi Memorial Poetry Contest. Restrictions: Open to high school students in Michigan. Genre: Poetry. Prize: 1st place — $250 and publication in The Albion Review, 2nd place — $150 and publication in The Albion Review; 3rd place — $100 and publication in The Albion Review. Deadline: February 4, 2017.
White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails Prize in Southern Poetry. Restrictions: Open to all poets who currently reside in and have had residency in one of the following states for a minimum of 12 consecutive months: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia. Genre: Poetry. “WOKC invites poets from across the South to explore the depths of nature this Valentine’s Day.” Prize: $1,500. Deadline: February 5, 2017.
Bethesda Literary Festival Essay and Short Story Contest. The Bethesda Urban Partnership & Bethesda Magazine have partnered to honor local writers at the Bethesda Literary Festival. Genres: Essays and poetry. Adult and high school student categories. Restrictions: Residents of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are eligible. Prizes: First Place: $500 and published in Bethesda Magazine. Second Place: $250. Third Place: $150. Honorable Mention: $75. Deadline: February 10, 2017. For more details click HERE.
Library of Virginia Literary Awards. Restrictions: Open to writers who were born in or are residents of Virginia or, in the case of nonfiction, books with a Virginia theme, are eligible. Genre: Books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction published in the previous year. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: February 10, 2017.
AP 2017 New Year Writing Contest. Genres: Fiction/Poetry/Art: Max 5000 words for Anthology “Rules of Life.” No non-fiction. Prize: FIRST PRIZE: $200 CASH plus 2017 WRITER’S MARKET (print) plus publication and 2 copies of published anthology. SECOND PRIZE: $100 CASH plus publication and 2 copies of published anthology. THIRD PRIZE: $50 CASH plus publication and 2 copies of published anthology. OTHER PRIZES: $10 CASH plus 2 copies of published anthology for other submissions that have been chosen for publication. Deadline: February 10, 2017.
Federation of BC Writers Literary Writes Awards. Genres: Short fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and writing for children. Prize: $100 top prize per category. Deadline: February 12, 2017.
Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition. Genre: Short story. All entries must be original unpublished prose of 2,000 words or fewer. Prize: £500 and publication. Deadline: February 13, 2017.
Harold Morton Landon Translation Award. Genre: Poetry collection translated from any language into English and published in the previous calendar year. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 15, 2017.
The Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry is an annual regional prize, presented in partnership by Milkweed Editions and the Lindquist & Vennum Foundation. Restrictions: Open to residents of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $10,000 as well as a contract for publication to the author of the winning manuscript. Deadline: February 15, 2017.
New York City Emerging Writers Fellowship. Restrictions: “Applicants must be current residents of one of the five boroughs, and must remain in New York City for the entire year of the fellowship. Students in degree-granting programs are not eligible to apply, even if the focus of study is not directly related to writing. This program supports emerging writers whose work shows promise of excellence. Applicants can be of any age, but must be in the early stages of their careers as fiction writers and will not have had the support needed to achieve major recognition for their work. We define “emerging writer” as someone who has not yet had a novel or short story collection published by either a major or independent publisher and who is also not currently under contract to a publisher for a work of fiction. Eligible applicants may have had stories or novel excerpts published in magazines, literary journals or online, but this is not a requirement.” Genre: Fiction. Grant: $5,000. Deadline: February 15, 2017.
New England Youth Outdoor Writing Contest. Restrictions: The contest is open to students in New England. Submissions from students in grades 6–8 will be entered in the Junior Division; grades 9–12 will be entered in the Senior Division. Genre: Prose or poem, The topic must be outdoor-oriented (fishing, hunting, boating, canoeing, hiking, camping, nature, ecology, etc.). 500 words max. Prize: $125, $150. Deadline: February 15, 2017.
Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Award. Genre: Poetry — translation into English of a significant work of modern Italian poetry. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: February 15, 2017.
Scotiabank Giller Prize. Restrictions: Open to books published in Canada in English. Books must be published in Canada in English between October 1, 2016 and February 28, 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: February 15, 2017.
Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowships. Restrictions: Open to Kentucky poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. Genre: Literary arts. Prize: $7,500. Deadline: February 15, 2017.
Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards for Excellence in Published Haiku, Translation, and Criticism. Genre: Published book. Books must have been published in 2016 and must clearly contain a printed 2016 copyright. A member, author, or publisher may submit or nominate more than one title. At least 50 percent of the book must be haiku, senryu, or haibun, or prose about these subjects (books mostly of tanka, for example, are not eligible). Prize: $500. Deadline: February 15, 2017.
Black Caucus of the American Library Association Self-Published E-Book Literary Award. Restrictions: Open to African-Americans. Genre: Self-Published E-Book in fiction and poetry. Prize: $500. Deadline: February 17, 2017.
Wiley-Silver Prize in Civil War History. Genre: First book or monograph in Civil War history published in the previous year. Books or monographs published by scholarly or popular presses are eligible. Prize: $2,000. Deadline: February 17, 2017.
Christopher Tower Poetry Competition. Restrictions: Open to UK students between 16–18 years of age. Genre: Poetry, one poem, maximum 48 lines. Theme is “wonder.” Prize: £3,000. Deadline: February 17, 2017.
Lex Allen Literary Festival Prizes. Restrictions: Open to undergraduate college students. Genres: Poetry and fiction. Prize: $100. Deadline: February 21, 2017.
The Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award supports the work of a promising early-career nonfiction writer on a story that uncovers truths about the human condition. Genres: Nonfiction journalism works in progress with “strong, character-driven narratives with detailed scene writing and lyrical description.” Restrictions: The award will not fund proposals to report on armed conflicts where journalists are already imperiled, nor projects that are mainly investigatory. Prize: $12,500 grant and use of the NYU library. Deadline: February 21, 2017.
“It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest. Restrictions: Open to Grades 6–12. Genre: Short story, and flash fiction, unpublished. Prize: 1st Place $250, 2nd Place $150, 3rd Place $100. Deadline: February 24, 2017.
The Lakefly Writers Conference. Restrictions: Open to residents of Wisconsin. Genres: Short story fiction: 1500 words or less. Any genre. Theme: Wisconsin Choices. Flash fiction: 500 words or less. Any genre. No theme. Poetry: All poems, free verse to formal and everything in between — 75 lines max. Theme: Wisconsin Choices. The Jean Nelson Essay for Young Adults: For young adult writers (ages 12 through 17). 2500 words or less. Theme: Notable Wisconsin figure (living or dead) who most inspires me. Prize: First place winners will receive a cash prize of $100; second place winners will receive $75; and third place winners will receive $50. Winners must be able to attend an awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday, May 13, 2016 at the Oshkosh Public Library. Deadline: February 27, 2017.
Emily Dickinson First Book Award. Restrictions: Open to any American citizen forty years of age or over who has not previously published a book-length volume of poetry. Genre: Poetry collection. Prize: In addition to publication and promotion of the manuscript by Graywolf Press, the winner will receive a prize of $10,000. Deadline: February 27, 2017.
Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing. Restrictions: Open to first-generation residents of the United States. “First-generation” can refer either to people born in another country who relocated to the U.S., or to American-born residents whose parents were born elsewhere. Genre: Unpublished fiction and nonfiction books. Prize: $10,000 and publication. Deadline: February 28, 2017. Read details HERE.
Outlet Publishing Young Writers’ Short Story Competition. Restrictions: Open to ages 16–25, UK residents only. Genre: Short story. Prize: £150 top prize. Deadline: February 28, 2017.
The Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multi-Lingual Texts. Genre: Literary translations and multi-lingual texts. Prize: $200. Deadline: February 28, 2017. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.
Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Nonfiction. Genre: Essay, maximum 5,000 words. Prize: $250 top prize. Deadline: February 28, 2017.
Poetry Matters Literary Prizes. Restrictions: Several categories, from middle-school to senior citizens. Genre: Poetry. Prize: 1st prize- $75; 2nd prize- $50; 3rd prize-$35; Honorable Mention- $25. Deadline: February 28, 2017.
SLF Working Class Writers Grant is sponsored by the Speculative Literature Foundation. Genres: Speculative fiction, magical realism. Restrictions: Applicants must be working class (see guidelines page for definition) and demonstrate financial hardship. Available to international writers. Prize: $750. Deadline: February 28, 2017.
Originally published at publishedtodeath.blogspot.com on January 26, 2017.
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