25 Free Writing Competitions To Enter In 2017

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.


1. Howard/Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

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.

2. Writers Resist

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.


Source: Rawstory

3. Words And Brushes

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 Open to unpublished as well as published authors, Words and Brushes asks you to write a short story based on one of the images from their gallery.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.

4. Real Simple’s Life Lessons Essay Contest

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.


Source: Dreams Time

5. Drue Heinz Literature Prize

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.

6. Earthshine Poetry

Earthshine is looking for high quality poetry that will help amplify their themes of illumination, compassion, humanity, and reason. No deadline.

Source: wallpaperup

Source: Wallpaper Up

7. Kelpies Prize Contest

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.

8. Write Your 2017

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.

9. Luke Bitmead Bursary

The U.K.’s biggest prize for unpublished authors, the Luke Bitmead Bursary Award is open to any author with an adult fiction manuscript (no children’s or YA books) of over 60,000 words.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.

10. Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

These guys are looking for the best humor poems out there–published and unpublished authors alike are welcome to submit! Deadline: April 1st.

Source: moddb

Source: Moddb

11. North Street Book Prize

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.

Source: ggsilverman

Source: GG Silverman

12. St. Martin’s Minotaur Competition

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.

Source: notesfromgail

Source: Notes From Gail

13. The Sillerman First Book Prize For African Poets

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.

Source: golberz

Source: Golberz

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.

15. Funny In Five Hundred

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.

Source: dumpaday

Source: Dump A Day

16. Publishizer Queerly Lit Contest

Publishizer wants to find and amplify LGBTQ voices–if you identify as an LGBTQ author or write along LGBTQ themes, then submit your book proposal now! Deadline: January 31st.

Source: lgbtquhd

Source: LGBTQ HD

17. Emerging Playwright Award

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.

Source: chronicle

Source: Chronicle

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.

19. The Poetry Of Capital Competition

This anthology is looking for poetry submissions that “assess the 21st-century American relationship with money.” Deadline: February 1st.

20. The First Line Contest

“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.

22. NonBinary Review: Urban Legends

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!

23. The Writer Contest

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.

Source: allume

Source: Allume

24. Fantasy, Fairytales, And Fiction

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.

Source: dmodaenvzla

Source: Dmodaenvzla

Best of luck to you, writers!

YouTube Channel: poetsandwriters


Featured image via Transition Of Thoughts