Free Writing Contests in 2019

As a writer it can be hard to find the extra crash for entering competitions to get your name out there. Below is a list of free writing contests for 2019. Writing contests are a great way to get exposure.

Free Writing Contests

53-Word Story Contest

Description: Each month Prime Number Magazine invites writers to submit a 53-word story based on a prompt.

Prize: Publication, a free book from Press 53

Deadline: Frequent contests

SponsorPrime Number Magazine


The Crucible

DescriptionCrucible and the Barton College Department of English welcome all writers to submit original, unpublished poems and stories. Writers are limited to 5 poems and stories no longer than 8,000 words. Entries must not be entered in other competitions.

Prize: $150 1st, $100 2nd

Deadline: 5/1/19

Sponsor: Barton College


The Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans

Description: Due to a donation from the family of veteran and antiwar author, Jeff Sharlet, The Iowa Review is able to hold The Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for VeteransNote: Only U.S. military veterans and active duty personnel may submit writing in any genre about any topic.


1st: $1,000 and publication in The Iowa Review

2nd: $750

3rd (3 selected): $500

Deadline: 5/1/20 – 5/31/20

Sponsor: The Iowa Review


St. Francis College Literary Prize

Description: For mid-career authors who have just published their 3rd, 4th, or 5th fiction book. Self-published books and English translations are also considered.

Prize: $50,000

Deadline: 5/15/19

Sponsor: St. Francis College 


New Writers Awards

Description: Every year since 1970, the Association has honored newly published writers with an award for a first published volume of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. Note: Publishers (not the writers) are invited to submit works that “emphasize literary excellence.” All entries must be written in English and published in the United States or Canada.

Prize: $500

Deadline: TBD 2020

Sponsor: Great Lakes Colleges Association


Young Lions Fiction Award

Description: Each Spring, the Library gives a writer 35 years old or younger $10,000 for a novel or a collection of short stories. This award seeks to encourage young and emerging writers of contemporary fiction.

Prize: $10,000

Deadline: TBD 2019

Sponsor: New York Public Library


The Iowa Short Fiction Award

Description: Seeking 150-page (or longer) collections of fiction by writers who have not previously traditionally published a novel or fiction collection.

Prize: Publication in the University of Iowa Press

Deadline: TBD 2019

Sponsor: University of Iowa Press


Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Description: Mary Lee established the Award in 1980 to recognize excellent literary fiction. It accepts published books and is peer-juried. The winner is honored as “first among equals.”

Prize: $15,000

Deadline: TBD 2019

Sponsor: Pen/Faulkner


Friends of American Writers Literary Award

Description: Current or former residents of the American Midwest (or authors whose book takes place in the Midwest) are invited to submit to the FAW Literary Award. Published novels or non-fiction books are welcome.

Prize: $1,000 – $2,000

Deadline: TBD 2019

Sponsor: Friends of American Writers Chicago


Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

Description: The Award seeks fiction, poetry, and nonfiction books published the previous year “that contribute to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of cultural diversity.” Self-published work not accepted.

Prize: $10,000

Deadline: 12/31/19

Sponsor: Cleveland Foundation


Christopher Doheny Award

Description: Recognizes excellence in fiction or creative nonfiction on the topic of serious physical illness. The award is presented annually for a completed manuscript that has not yet been published. It was founded in honor of Audible employee Chris Doheny, a writer himself, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a baby and passed away on February 20, 2013. The winner of the award must demonstrate both high literary standards and a broad audience appeal while exploring the impact of illness on the patient, family and friends, and others.

Prize: $10,000

Deadline: TBD 2019

Sponsor: The Center for Fiction


Cabell First Novelist Award

Description: Seeks to honor first-time novelists “who have navigated their way through the maze of imagination and delivered a great read.” Novels published the previous year are accepted.

Prize: $5,000

Deadline: 12/31/19

Sponsor: Virginia Commonwealth University


The Gabo Prize

Description: Awards translators and authors of multilingual texts (poetry and prose) with $200 and publication in Lunch Ticket.

Prize: $200

Deadline: TBD

Sponsor: Lunch Ticket


Transitions Abroad Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest

Description: Seeking inspiring articles or practical mini-guides that also provide in-depth descriptions of your experience moving, living, and working abroad (including teaching, internships, volunteering, short-term jobs, etc.).” Work should be between 1,200-3,000 words. All writers welcome.

Prize: $500

Deadline: 9/1/19

Sponsor: Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc.


Short Fiction Prize

Description: Seeking short stories by undergraduates at American or Canadian colleges.

Prize: $1,000

Deadline: 6/1/19

Sponsor: Stoney Brook University


The Wallace Stegner Prize in Environmental Humanities

Description: Wallace Stegner was a student of the American West, an environmental spokesman, and a creative writing teacher. In his memory, the University of Utah Press seeks book-length monographs in the field of environmental humanities. Projects focusing on the American West preferred.

Prize: $5,000

Deadline: 12/30/19

Sponsor: The University of Utah Press


Drue Heinz Literature Prize

Description: Seeks short fiction collections. Writers who have published a novel or a book-length collection of fiction with a traditional book publisher, or a minimum of three short stories or novellas in magazines or journals of national distribution are accepted.

Prize: $15,000

Deadline: 6/30/19

Sponsor: University of Pittsburgh Press


Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

Description: Honors novels and story collections by African American writers. Entries that will be published in 2019 are accepted.

Prize: $10,000

Deadline: TBD 2019

Sponsor: Baton Rouge Area Foundation

Brooklyn Nonfiction Prize

Description: Showcases essays set in Brooklyn. Five authors will be asked to read their pieces at the Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival.

Prize: $500

Deadline: TBD

Sponsor: Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival


International Flash Fiction Competition

Description: With over 40,000 participants last year, this prize invites authors to submit flash fiction in Spanish, English, Arabic, and Hebrew.

Prize: $20,000

Deadline: TBD

Sponsor: The César Egido Serrano Foundation


Stowe Prize

Description: Named for the abolitionist and author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, recognizes a U.S. author whose work has made a tangible impact on a social justice issue critical to contemporary society. Can be for a single work or a body of work (fiction or nonfiction) within two years of submission.

Prize: $10,000

Deadline: 5/29/19

Sponsor: Harriet Beecher Stowe Center


ServiceScape Short Story Award

Description: Accepts original, unpublished work (5,000 words or fewer) in any genre.

Prize: $1,000

Deadline: 11/29/19

Sponsor: ServiceScape


The Marfield Prize

Description: This award celebrates nonfiction books about an artistic discipline published the previous year.

Prize: $10,000

Deadline: 10/15/19

Sponsor: The Arts Club of Washington


The Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry

Description: This annual prize honors published books by African poets.

Prize: $1,000

Deadline: TBD

Sponsor: African Poetry Book Fund



1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s