Why do art and imagination continue to be taxed? Way too many writing competitions require applicants to submit entry fees–admittedly, some contests are legitimate, but many others turn out to be complete hoaxes and you never see your money again.
No more of that! The following is a diverse list of free writing competitions that you can enter all throughout this year: submit anything from essays and flash fiction, to novels and poetry, and you could win cash prizes as well as publishing contracts.
All themes accepted! Win up to $1,500 for your story or essay, and you can submit as many pieces as you’d like! Deadline: April 30th.
A literary collective born of the recent presidential election, Writers Resist is looking for submissions that “can be reasonably described as expressions of resistance, whether poetry, fiction, narrative nonfiction or images.” No deadline.
Use your imagination to write a story inspired by a work of art! Open to unpublished as well as published authors, Words and Brushes asks you to write a short story based on one of the images from their gallery. The winner gets published and a cash prize! Deadline: January 31st.
Have you ever had a “eureka” moment? Have you figured out the one life hack that will make the rest of your life a breeze? Then this contest is for you! The 2017 deadline is yet to be announced.
Open to all published authors (traditional publishers or magazines will do), the Drue Heinz Literature Prize is for a collection of short fiction and carries a cash prize of $15,000! Deadline: June 30th.
Earthshine is looking for high quality poetry that will help amplify their themes of illumination, compassion, humanity, and reason. No deadline.
Do you have a brilliant idea for a children’s book set in Scotland? Then submit your story now–the winner gets a cash prize AND their book gets published! Deadline: February 28th.
This is your chance to reflect upon your life and write about your plans for the upcoming year. No required themes, no word limit. Give your life a fictional layer! Deadline: January 31st.
The U.K.’s biggest prize for unpublished authors, the Luke Bitmead Bursary Award is open to any author with an adult fiction manuscript (no children’s or YA books) of over 60,000 words. The 2017 deadline is yet to be announced.
These guys are looking for the best humor poems out there–published and unpublished authors alike are welcome to submit! Deadline: April 1st.
Heads up, self-published authors! This competition is open to anyone whose work fits one of these categories: General Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction & Memoir. Winner gets a cash prize! Deadline: June 30th.
Crime writers, this competition is for you: it’s open to any unpublished author 18 and older who has a crime or mystery novel in the works. Murder and/or another serious crime must be at the heart of the story! And you have plenty of time to work on this one–the submission deadline will likely be sometime in December.
This prize is awarded annually to an unpublished African poet. The winner receives both a cash prize and publication through the University of Nebraska Press. Submit between September 15th and December 1st.
14. New Voices Award
Presented by Lee & Low Books, this contest is open to any author of color with a previously unpublished children’s book. Winner gets a cash prize! The 2017 deadline is yet to be announced.
Can you write a funny story or dialogue in 500 words or less? If so, submit your work now for a chance to be published! No deadline.
Submit full-length plays that have never been produced in New York City for the chance to win a cash prize and playwright contract! No deadline.
18. SciFan Magazine
SciFan is looking for science fiction and fantasy short stories! If your piece is selected, they’ll publish it and and pay on a per word basis. No deadline.
This anthology is looking for poetry submissions that “assess the 21st-century American relationship with money.” Deadline: February 1st.
“The plan suddenly made sense.” Can you write a story or poem with that line as the first sentence? Perfect! Submit your piece now for the chance to win a cash prize. Deadline: May 1st.
21. Skirt! Magazine
“Women at Work: Stories about the creative spark, finding your calling, the work you love.” Write an essay on that theme and you might win both a cash prize and publication! Deadline: March 1st.
NonBinary is a quarterly digital literary journal that accepts poetry, fiction, art, and essays. Write something that relates to the urban legends, rumors, and suspicious stories reported on Snopes and submit by May 1st!
Write an essay about any aspect of the writing life and you could win $1,00 AND see your work in print! Deadline: February 25th.
Create a world that you see and believe in, and then show that to others. Deadline: February 5th.
A magazine dedicated to Chicano and Latino literary art, PALABRA accepts everything from short stories and poetry, to short plays and novel excerpts. Deadline: April 30th.
Best of luck to you, writers!
YouTube Channel: poetsandwriters
Featured image via Transition Of Thoughts