Written by Grace Mappes
Writing competitions are a great way for emerging writers to get used to deadlines, challenge themselves with new prompts, and gain exposure and prestige. Any prize money is especially beneficial for those of you who need help buying textbooks or fueling a Kerbey Lane addiction. Here are some competitions ranging in deadlines and topics for nearly any type of writer to keep their eye on. Even if you’re not eligible right now, many of these are recurring, so put them on your calendar!
If You’re Ready to Submit Something Now
James F. Parker Writing Contests: If you’re an English or Creative Writing student, this contest, sponsored by the UT’s own English department, is for you. You can enter one piece in the fiction and literary criticism categories, and three poems in the poetry category. The caveat: the submission deadline is today, November 27, at 5pm. But don’t worry if you missed the deadline, the competition is biannual and will open for submissions again in the spring, leaving you plenty of time to prepare.
Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics: Even after his death, the famous Holocaust survivor and autobiographer is still a fighting force in promoting ethics on an international scale in the wake of the genocide of his people. This competition welcomes any essay dealing with ethics and the author’s experience with them from college juniors and seniors who are studying abroad. Submissions are due on December 11, 2017.
Horror Scribe’s Christmas Folklore Fiction Competition: Whether you’re an expert in flash fiction or just want to dabble, Horror Scribes provides an outlet for horror writers everywhere to write something short and fun even outside of Halloween. They welcome pieces up to 300 words based on a seasonal prompt. The deadline for the current prompt, Christmas Folklore, is December 15, 2017, but they run seasonally, so if finals are too intense they should have another competition in the new year.
Winter Break Projects
Boulevard Short Fiction Contest: This contest is geared towards emerging writers who have not published a book by a nationally distributed press. The promise of publication and a $1,500 reward is especially enticing. Enter a piece of fiction, poetry, or nonfiction up to 8,000 words by December 31, 2017 with a small entry fee.
Society of Classical Poets Competition: This competition calls for a small (3-5) collection of poems based on the society’s four themes, one of which is the Issues of Our Age: Human Rights in China, Terrorism and Communism, and the Environment. For those of you who enjoy tackling larger issues in this elegant format, have your submissions ready by December 31, 2017.
Mogford Short Story Competition: Because this contest is hosted by a hotels and restaurants group, it makes sense that the prompt is food and drink. This is an interesting challenge for anyone who isn’t a prolific foodie, especially given the 2,500-word limit. Submit your stories and a £10 entry fee by January 15, 2018 for a chance at the £10,000 prize.
Norman Mailer Writing Awards: The National Council of Teachers of English hosts annual competitions for college students in nonfiction and poetry, and while they’re refining their 2017 competition, their 2018 competition opens on March 1, 2018, leaving plenty of time to plan ahead in order to best go for the promised $2,500 award.
Raymond Carver Short Story Competition: Carve Magazine claims this long-running competition is one of the most prestigious in fiction, and after reading through the winners, you can see why. Submit your best short story during their submission period, April 1-May 15, 2018, in hopes of receiving one of the cash awards.
The Norton Writer’s Prize: If you write amazing literary essays and can get a faculty member to sponsor it, why not enter one for hopes of a cash prize up to $1,500? Submit your best written work for an undergraduate writing class that ranges between 1,000-3,000 words by June 15, 2018.