Thursday, April 27, 2017

36 Writing Contests in May 2017 - No Entry Fees

May hosts three dozen free contests. They cover the full range of topics, styles and genres, from essays, to poetry, to full-length works.

In addition to the prestige of winning a contest, some of the monetary prizes this month are substantial.

Be sure to check the submission requirements carefully, as some 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.
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Crucible: Poetry and Fiction Competition is sponsored by the Barton College Department of English. Genres: Fiction (limited to 8,000 words or less) and poetry (limited to five poems). Restrictions: All work must be original and unpublished. Prizes: $150.00 First Prize. $100.00 Second Prize. Publication in the CrucibleDeadline: May 1, 2017. 

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay ContestRestrictions: Children aged 18 and under. Entrants must reside within a Commonwealth country or territory, or the Gambia, the Maldives, and Zimbabwe. Max word count is 1500 for entrants aged 14-18, and 750 for entrants younger than 14. Prizes are not stated explicitly but “have included certificates, resources for winner’s school, visits to Cambridge University, a trip to London and a week of activities, work experience at international organisations, and having your entry featured in worldwide media.” Genre: Essay. The theme of the contest is “A Commonwealth For Peace.” Deadline: May 1, 2017.

“My Mother, My Hero.” Genre: Essay. "In the world of addiction, it is often the families who help pull a loved one out of the clutches of substance abuse. It’s through their support that many people find healing, and quite often it is a mom (or a mother figure) who is always there in a time of need. Of course, it’s also likely that a mom has been hurt most in watching her child suffer the pain of addiction, which doesn’t just affect the addict, it touches everyone in their life. In 250 words or less, tell us why your mother is your hero." Prize: $200. Deadline: May 1, 2017. 

Alpine FellowshipGenre: Pieces of any genre up to 2500 words on the theme of “landscape.” Prize: The first place winner receives £3000 and an invitation to enter the symposium in Venice (two runners-up also receive the invitation). Deadline: May 1, 2017. 

Questions Writing PrizeRestrictions: Open to authors aged 18-30. Genre: Short stories of any genre or nonfiction between 1500 and 2000 words. Prize: First place winners (or prize pool for a tie) is $2000. The work will also be published in a book. Deadline: May 1, 2017. 

Grant MacEwan Creative Writing Scholarship is sponsored by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Genres: Poetry, Short Fiction & Creative Nonfiction, Drama, or Graphic Novel. Restrictions: Authors must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate creative writing program of study or mentorship. (Max age 25) Alberta residents only. Prize: $5000 (CAN). Deadline: May 1, 2017. 

Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction GrantGenre: Creative nonfiction. Whiting welcomes submissions for works of history, cultural or political reportage, biography, memoir, the sciences, philosophy, criticism, food or travel writing, and personal essays, among other categories. Writers must be completing a book of creative nonfiction that is currently under contract with a publisher. Writers who signed a contract before May 1, 2015, are eligible. Prize: $40,000. Deadline: May 1, 2017. 

Polari First Book PrizeGenres: The prize is for a first book which explores the LGBT experience and is open to any work of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction published in English. Self-published works in both print and digital formats are eligible for submission. Restrictions: Writer must be born in UK or resident in the UK. Prize: £1,000.00. Deadline: May 1, 2017. 


West Virginia Fiction CompetitionRestrictions: Open to West Virginia residents or students. Genre: Short fiction, 5,000 words max. Prize: $500. Deadline: May 1, 2017. 

Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers ProgramRestrictions: Debuting authors and writers with fewer than three previously published books who have yet to receive a major literary award are eligible for consideration. Exceptions are sometimes made for authors who have published more titles, but have yet to break out to a larger audience. Submissions must be original publications, penned by one author. Self-published works not allowed. Genres: Published or scheduled to be published fiction and literary nonfiction. Prize: $10,000 in each genre and in-store marketing/merchandising from Barnes & Noble. 2nd Place $5,000 in each genre, 3rd Place $2,500 in each genre. Deadline: May 4, 2017.

Maine Arts Commission Individual Artist FellowshipsRestrictions: Open to writers who have lived in the state of Maine for at least one year. Genre: Fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction. Prize: $5,000. Deadline: May 4, 2017.

Daily Mail/Penguin Random House New Crime Novelist CompetitionRestrictions: Open to residents of the UK or Republic of Ireland. Unpublished authors only. Genre: Crime book. Prize: £20,000.00 advance on a publishing contract. Deadline: May 5, 2017.

Creative Comedy ProjectGenre: Comedy. ‘We want you to write a piece of comedy that’s no longer than 500 words. It could be experimental, satire, spoof, wit or wordplay. The choice our friends is up to you! We’re looking for all formats of written comedy. It could be the opening to a sitcom, a scene of a play or just a silly story. All that we ask is that it deals with one or more of the themes from Anita and Me, including family, coming-of-age, migration, racism, love and friendship, cultural and social change. Prize: The winning piece will be crowned Comedy Gold and awarded a prize of £300. Runner-up positions include Silver and Bronze and will receive prizes of £150 and £50 respectively. Deadline: May 7, 2017.

The James Laughlin Award is sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. Genre: A second book of poetry forthcoming in the next calendar year. Must be under contract with US publisher. Restrictions: Open to US citizens and residents only. Prize: $5,000, an all-expenses-paid week long residency in Florida, and the Academy will purchase approximately 1,000 copies of the book for distribution to its members. Deadline: May 15, 2017.

Artist Trust. Restrictions: Open to poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers who are residents of Washington State. Students enrolled in a degree-granting program are ineligible. Submit a writing sample of up to 12 pages with a project description, synopsis, budget, and résumé. Grant: $1,500. Deadline: May 15, 2017. 

St. Francis College Literary PrizeGenre: Novel. Third, fourth, or fifth published book of fiction. Self-published books and English translations are eligible. Prize: $50,000 is given biennially. Deadline: May 15, 2017.

Leeway Foundation: Transformation AwardRestrictions: Women and transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, or otherwise gender-nonconforming poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers in the Philadelphia area who have been creating art for social change for five or more years. Writers who have lived for at least two years in Bucks, Camden, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, or Philadelphia counties, who are at least 18 years of age, and who are not full-time students in a degree-granting arts program are eligible. Award: $15,000. Deadline: May 15, 2017.

Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing ContestGenre: Essay. "Professionals, freelancers, and aspiring writers are encouraged to write articles that describe their experience living, moving, and working abroad. Often your experience living abroad may be extended by working or studying in the host country, so living/working/studying/and traveling abroad are often inextricable—and we are interested in exploring these interconnections." Prize: The first-place winner’s entry will receive $500, the second-place winning entry $150, and the third-place winner $100. Deadline: May 15, 2017.

Kindle Storyteller Award (UK)Restrictions: The prize is open to all authors who publish their book through Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon.co.uk between 20th February and 19th May 2017. Genre: Book. Prize: £20,000. Deadline: May 15, 2017.

Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction PrizeGenre: Fiction. Restrictions: Titles must be published in Canada and written by Canadians. No self-published works. Prize: $25,000 will be awarded to a novel or short-story collection published between March 22, 2016 and May 23, 2017. Prizes of $2,500 will be awarded to each of the finalists. Deadline: May 24, 2017.

Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Non-FictionGenre: Literary non-fiction. Restrictions: Titles must be published in Canada and written by Canadians. Prize: $60,000 will be awarded to a literary nonfiction book published between March 23, 2016 and May 24, 2016. Deadline: May 24, 2016.  Read guidelines HERE.

Stony Brook Short Fiction PrizeRestrictions: Only undergraduates enrolled full time in United States and Canadian universities and colleges for the academic year 2016-17 are eligible. Genre: Fiction of no more than 7,500 words. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: May 25, 2017. 

Sapiens PlurumGenre: Stories that personalize the consequences of climate change so readers feel as well as know them. But stories must offer hope, at least a possibility, for without hope people rarely act. Your job, as author, is to inspire scientists and states-persons around the world to live up to the promise of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Prize: 1ST PRIZE: $1000; 2ND PRIZE: $500; 3RD PRIZE: $300. Deadline: May 27, 2017. Submission details available after registration.

Be a Hero ContestGenre: Flash fiction up to 50 words about a hero. Title is not included in the word count, and the hero can be from your life, from history, or fictional. Stories will be sent to all senators and members of the House of Representatives, urging them to be heroes in these times of United States political strife. "At this precarious time in the United States, we need people to be heroes. This isn’t a battle between Republicans and Democrats. This is a battle between right and wrong. And we need heroes who are willing to fight for what is right—across this country and around the world." Prize: The winner will receive a Gotham Writer’s Workshop class of their choosing. Limit one entry per person. Deadline: May 29, 2017.

Claudia Ann Seaman Awards For Young Writers. Restrictions: High school students. Genre: Stories and poems. Prize: $200.00. Deadline: May 30, 2016.

Nick Darke Writers' Award. Genre: Stage play. Prize: £6,000. Deadline: May 30, 2017.

Eden Mills Teen Poetry Contest. Restrictions: Open to Canadian teens. Genre: Poetry. This year’s theme: Time and all its gifts. Prize: Two $50 prizes, 2 $25 prizes. Deadline: May 30, 2016.

Bacopa Literary Review. Genres: Fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry. Prizes: First ($200) and Runner-Up ($160) prizes in each genre. All published will receive $20 and a copy of the print journal. After publication, Bacopa 2017 will be promoted online. Deadline: May 31, 2017.

bpNichol Poetry Chapbook AwardGenre: Published poetry chapbook. Restrictions: Canadian publishers only. Prize: The author receives $4,000 and the publisher receives $500. Deadline: May 31, 2017.

The Wolfe Pack Black Orchid AwardGenre: Mystery novellas in the style of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novellas. Manuscript length: 15K-20K words. Prize: $1,000, plus recognition and publication in a forthcoming issue of AAMM. Deadline: May 31, 2017.

Cromwell Article PrizeGenre: Articles published in 2015 in the field of American legal history. Restrictions: Open to early career scholars. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: May 31, 2017.

Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction ContestGenre: Unpublished fiction approximately 1,000 - 5,000 words. Story should pertain to music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theater, particularly that of the counter-culture of mid-twentieth century America. Prize: $100 and publication in Jerry Jazz MusicianDeadline: May 31, 2017.

Save the Earth Poetry PrizeGenre: Poem (1). Poems submitted should, in any way possible, evoke humankind’s awareness of the natural world and nature as such. Restrictions: Open to High school students, grades 11 & 12. Prize: $200 awarded to seven winners. Deadline: May 31, 2017.

ABA Journal/Ross Writing Contest for Legal Short Fiction. Sponsored by the American Bar Association. Restrictions: Entrants must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.  Genre: Original works of short fiction that illuminate the role of the law and/or lawyers in modern society. 5000 words max. Prize: $3,000 and publication in ABA Journal. Deadline: May 31, 2017.

James Bartleman Aboriginal Youth Creative Writing AwardsRestrictions: Open to aboriginal youth, 18 years or younger, residing in Ontario, Canada. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: May 31, 2017.

I Must Be Off! Travel Writing ContestGenre: Travel articles, travel anecdotes and travel reflectionsPrize: $200. Deadline: May 31, 2017.

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