Nonfiction Essay Contest 2015 Elementary

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Discover the finest writing contests of 2018 for fiction and non-fiction authors of short stories, poetry, essays and more. Updated weekly, these contests are vetted by Reedsy to weed out the scammers and time-wasters. Manage a contest? Submit it here

We found 218 contests that match your search 🔦

Quarterly Flash Fiction Contest


Can’t get enough science fiction, fantasy, and feminism? F-BOM is hosting a quarterly flash fiction contest! Topics will be released every February, May, August, and November, and submissions will be judged by the featured F-BOM author. Entries must be under 100 words.

Deadline: December 31st, 2018 • Entry fee 💰: FREE

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Story,


Publication on F-BOM blog

Additional prizes

3 months of F-BOM e-book membership

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The Exeter Factor

Exeter Writers

Launched in 2009, the competition is for original, unpublished short stories on any theme. The maximum word length is 3,000 words. Any genre, except children’s is welcome. First prize is £500, second prize is £250 and third prize is £100.

Deadline: February 28th, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: £6

Genre: Fiction, Short Story,

Inkitt Novel Competition


Do you have the next great novel? Submit it to Inkitt's Novel Competition for the chance to win their hefty prize basket including: a marketing campaign to get your novel in to Amazon's top 100, an investment of $6,000 into your book launch from Inkitt, professional cover design and editing, and 25% royalties. Each month a winner is selected for publication — so submit your story by the end of this month!

Deadline: December 31st, 2018 • Entry fee 💰: FREE

Genre: Fiction,



Additional prizes

Publication and 25% royalties

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Hippocrates Prize for Poetry


With a prize fund of £5500, the Hippocrates Prize is one of the highest value poetry awards in the world for a single poem. The prize comprises a 1st, 2nd and 3rd Prize and 20 commendations. In its first 7 years, the Hippocrates Prize has attracted over 7000 entries from 61 countries, from the Americas to Fiji and Finland to Australasia.

Deadline: February 14th, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: £7

Genre: Poetry,

Nelson Algren Short Story Award

Chicago Tribune

The 2018 Nelson Algren Literary Awards is sponsored by Chicago Tribune. Stories must be written in English, double-spaced, and no longer than 8,000 words. A total of 10 prizes will be made available during Contest: One Grand Prize: $3,500, Four Finalist Prizes: $1,000, Five Runner-up Prizes: $500.

Deadline: February 7th, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: FREE

Genre: Fiction, Short Story,



Additional prizes

Publication in Printers Row

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The John Gardner Fiction Award

Binghamton University

$1,000 Award for the book of fiction written in English selected by our judges as the strongest novel or collection of fiction published in 2017.

Deadline: February 1st, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: FREE

Genre: Fiction, Novel,

The Milt Kessler Poetry Award

Binghamton University

$1,000 Award for a book of poems written in English, 48 pages or more in length, selected by our judges as the strongest collection of poems published in 2017.

Deadline: February 1st, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: FREE

Genre: Poetry,

Michael Waters Poetry Prize

University of Southern Indiana

A prize of $3,000 and publication by SIR Press is awarded annually for a collection of poetry written in English. Michael Waters will judge. Submit up to 80 pages (no more than one poem per page) with a $25 entry fee ($5 for each additional entry) by February 1, 2018.

Deadline: February 1st, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: $25

Genre: Poetry,



Additional prizes

Publication by SIR Press

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Spring Competition: Play Scripts


This unique competition enables authors to create a lasting keepsake of their treasured work. All genres of plays are accepted and it doesn’t matter if your work has been previously published. Up to 5 plays will be accepted and produced in our studio and broadcast across the world to an existing listener base.

Deadline: March 31st, 2018 • Entry fee 💰: £2.99

Genre: Script Writing,


Recording Package

Additional prizes


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Young Writers' Short Story contest

Lune Spark Books

This is a contest for children in the age range of 10 years to 16 years, with the aim of helping parents identify writing talent early.

Deadline: April 22nd, 2018 • Entry fee 💰: $15

Genre: Short Story,



Additional prizes

Publication by Lune Spark Books

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Self-Publishing Literary Awards

The Black Caucus of ALA

The Black Caucus of ALA (BCALA) honors the best self-published ebooks by an African American author in the U.S. in the following genres: Fiction and Poetry.

Deadline: February 17th, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: FREE

Genre: Fiction, Novel, Poetry,

The Paz Prize for Poetry

The National Poetry Series

The Center @ Miami Dade College will award one $2,000 prize every other year (in even years) for the publication of a previously unpublished book of poetry originally written in Spanish by an American resident.  The prize will recognize book-length manuscripts of poetry written in Spanish. Translations, works of literary criticism and scholarly texts do not qualify. Contest opens in May.

Deadline: June 15th, 2018 • Entry fee 💰: $30

Genre: Poetry,

Open Prize

The National Poetry Series

The National Poetry Series seeks book-length manuscripts of poetry written by American residents or American citizens living abroad.

Deadline: February 28th, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: $30

Genre: Poetry,



Additional prizes

Publication of full-length manuscript

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Family Matters Contest

Glimmer Train Press

We are looking for stories about families of all configurations. It's fine to draw heavily on real-life experiences, but the work must read like fiction and all stories accepted for publication will be presented as fiction.

Deadline: January 12th, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: $18

Genre: Fiction, Short Story,



Additional prizes

Publication in Glimmer Train Stories

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William Van Wert Award for Fiction

Hidden River Arts

$1,000 and publication in Hidden River Review of Arts & Letters is offered to the best unpublished short story or novel excerpt.

Deadline: June 30th, 2018 • Entry fee 💰: $17

Genre: Fiction, Novel, Short Story,



Additional prizes

Publication in Hidden River Review of Arts & Letters

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2018 Tusculum Review Poetry Chapbook Prize

The Tusculum Review

Each chapbook manuscript entered should consist of 20-30 pages of poems in a standard 12-point font. No more than one poem may appear on a page. You may enter more than one chapbook manuscript (as long as you include a $20 reading fee with each manuscript). A manuscript need not be thematically coherent or connected through narrative.

Deadline: March 1st, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: $20

Genre: Poetry,



Additional prizes

Publication in The Tusculum Review

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Dartmouth Poet-In-Residence Award

Frost Place

The aim of this program is to select a poet who is at an artistic and personal crossroads, comparable to that faced by Robert Frost when he moved to Franconia in 1915, when he was not yet known to a broad public.

Deadline: January 5th, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: $28

Genre: Poetry,

2018 Ambroggio Prize

Academy of American Poets

The Ambroggio Prize is a $1,000 publication prize given for a book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish and with an English translation. The winning manuscript is published by Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, publisher of literary works, scholarship, and art books by or about U.S. Hispanics.

Deadline: February 15th, 2018 (Expired)• Entry fee 💰: FREE

Genre: Fiction, Novel,



Additional prizes

Publication by Bilingual Press

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Enter Our Short Story Competition

We send you 5 weekly prompts, you submit your short story, and earn $50 if we feature it on our Medium page! Sign up to receive this week's prompts.

Fourth Genre Steinberg Essay Prize

Just in: The 2018 Fourth Genre Steinberg Essay Prize judge will be Robin Hemley! He is an award winning writer, founder of NonfictioNOW, former director of the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa, and current director of the Writing Program and Writers’ Centre at Yale-NUS College, Singapore. His books include Do-Over! and Nola: A Memoir of Faith, Art, and Madness.

The Prize opens for submissions on January 1, 2018.

Submission Guidelines

  • Reading period: January 1–March 15
  • Submit entries during reading period at
  • Reading fee: $20 (U.S.) for each individual submission (multiple submissions accepted)
  • The author’s name or contact information should appear nowhere in the manuscript, including headers, footers, and title  pages. Any names that appear in the manuscript that could be used to identify the author or the author’s affiliations should be given a pseudonym for the purposes of the contest, but will be corrected for publication.
  • 6,000 word limit
  • Current Michigan State University students, faculty, and staff are not eligible to enter
  • Winner receives $1,000 prize
  • Winner and runner-up (if applicable) announced at the end of May on the Fourth Genre website and the Fourth Genre facebook page

2016 Winner Announced!

We are excited to announce that Molly Gallentines’s essay, “Powder House,” has been chosen as the winner of the 12th annual Fourth Genre Steinberg Essay Prize! Judge Ned Stuckey-French shares his thoughts on the winning essay:

“Powder House” is an important, moving, fascinating, and beautiful essay. It’s also wonderfully odd, weaving together as it does meditations about St. Mark’s Place, the War on Terror, cookbooks, nineteenth century glue baron Peter Cooper, LBJ’s “Daisy” ad from the 1964 election, W. H. Auden, and the origins of Jell-O, among other things. There is a weird and comic narrative in which the author and her friend Brandon film a movie of themselves trying to make an orange gelatin mold using a Revolutionary Era recipe that calls for hand-ground hartshorn and isinglass, a collagen derived from the dried swim bladders of fish. As it happens, they are grating their deer antlers in the kitchen of Brandon’s apartment at 77 St. Mark’s Place, the same apartment building where the exiled Leon Trotsky wrote for the Russian revolutionary paper Novy Mir and Auden lived for the last 20 years of his life. But “Powder House” is a narrative essay mainly in the Montaignean sense. We don’t care so much about whether the gelatin will set properly. What pulls us along is the story of a mind thinking. Where will the next digression take us? What new connection will this distinctly American essay make? What more will we learn about history, place, memory, beauty, and art? A lot more as it turns out. I admire “Powder House” and its author very much.

“Powder House” will be published in Fourth Genre 19.1 (February 2017).

This year’s runner-up is Wilfredo Pascual with the essay “Terminus.”

2015 Winner (11th Annual Prize)

Winner: Kaitlyn Teer, “Ossification”

Judge: Kate Carroll de Gutes

Judge’s comments:

The narrative in “Ossification” really held me—skeletal and familial without being trite, it’s not just another grandparent narrative.  I was surprised, even though the title should have alerted me, when I realized the section headers were actually the spinal markers, and I immediately read the entire piece again, mapping each section’s content to the bony prominences of their headers.  I also liked—and I know Judith would have, too—the writer’s use of digression, from science catalogs to black ice to the continuity of standing at the sink doing dishes.  Judith believed strongly in digression. Here’s a bit of her take on it in a piece about lyric essay she wrote for Seneca Review:

“Too bad,” said my wonderful professor, “that you have so many good ideas, and no vehicle with which to express them.” Well, I had a vehicle, but it just wasn’t the one he recognized—the language of the scholarly article. It just didn’t dot the i’s or cross the t’s or proceed logically on its way to its point. It circled and spiraled; it doubled back; it digressed and prodded; it spoke in tongues. And yet I knew I knew what I knew—knew it in ways that, if I thought to remember, sounded a bit like my father’s way of knowing something that he then had to prove. But since there is no such thing as “proof” in literature, it seemed to me that all I had to do was find a way to show the direction of my thoughts. Demonstrate them. Point the reader toward my inconclusive conclusions.

“Ossification” does this beautifully.  It spirals like a spine with scoliosis, twisting ’round until the reader has a full picture, but no answers to the mystery of the body, the heart, and the families that hold both.

“Ossification” appears in Fourth Genre 18.1 (February 2016).

2014 Winners (10th Annual Prize)

Judge: Robert Root
Winner: David Zoby, “My Brother Arrives in Kansas”
Runner-up: Beth Richards, “Fight”

Both appear in issue 17.1, in print February 2015.

About Zoby’s essay, Root wrote:

This segmented narrative is well developed throughout. It has a thorough sense of place, a clear contrast between the narrator and his brother, and a complicated portrait of their relationship. The narrator’s persona is marked by reaction to the brother’s behavior, and by the end of the essay the reader has insight into the narrator in a way that exposes his shortcomings. This is all deftly handled and, though readers in Kansas may not agree with the narrator’s view of it, they will recognize how self-revealing he has been even as he wrestles with his sense of himself in light of his brother’s personality.

About Richards’ essay, Root wrote:

Working with a central metaphor tying each segment to a phrase or to jargon used in reference to boxing, the narrator gives us a complex sense of persona, balanced and insightful. There are flashes of wry humor, irony, and self-knowledge and other characters are distinct and well differentiated. There are considerable losses in this essay, considerable conflicts, but the essay eschews mournfulness and the prose makes each scene come alive. Narrative and reflective elements are well balanced and the progression of the scenes has a cumulative impact.

2013 Winners (9th Annual Prize)

Judge: Scott Russell Sanders
Winner: Patricia Park, “How to Run a Supermarket”

What begins as a wry how-to manual on running a supermarket opens into a study in immigrant-family dynamics, a sketch of social change in a Brooklyn neighborhood, a lament about the poor fit between formal education and retail work, and a coming-of-age story, all deftly braided together by a thoroughly engaging narrator….The second-person narrative voice, which can easily become stilted, is handled here with wit and skill, obliquely revealing a transformative personal history while telling us, with an insider’s precise knowledge, what it’s like to serve the picky, penny-pinching, by turns infuriating and mystifying public.

Patricia Park’s essay appeared in issue 16.1 in February 2014.

2013 Winners (8th Annual Prize)

Judge: Marcia Aldrich
Winner: Anne Penfield, “The Half-Life”
Runner-up: Elena Passarello, “Harpy”

Award-winning essayist and former Fourth Genre editor Marcia Aldrich, judge for the 2012 contest, wrote about “The Half-Life”:

This is a quiet essay, written with restraint and a steady focus, and its emotional impact accumulates and is devastating by the end. The essay is rooted in the narration of the day, the third day that her husband has gone missing, by taking us through all the tasks she alone must attend to in his absence—getting children fed and off to school, managing the range of animals on the small farm, negotiating the mess she finds herself in. Her husband has survived his military deployment and returned home. However, his battle with alcoholism has led him to go missing in his civilian life. The writer slips in the emotional anguish as cleanly and quietly as an expert diver splits the water on entry. Anguish ferments under the surface of the essay, doing its steady damage up to the end. Sometimes these quiet assassin essays get overlooked among the flashier writing. This one stayed with me for days and drew me back to it.

Honorable Mentions:
Marya Passarello, “Strip”
Robyn Richey Piz, “Altered State”
Kathryn Winograd, “Of Wind and Fire”
Elizabeth Mosier, “The Pit and the Page”
Neal Snidow, “Meter to the Black
Daisy Hernández, “Stories She Tells Us”
Emily Carr, “Membership (as the Commercial Says) Has its Privileges”
Lee Reilly, “The Relative Nature of Things”

The winning essay and the runner-up appear in Fourth Genre 15.1, spring 2013.

2012 Winners (7th Annual Prize)

Judge: Ryan Van Meter
Winner: Jennifer De Leon, “The White Space”
Runner-up: Damian Van Denburgh, “The Wish to Be a Red Indian”

Honorable Mentions:
Jacob Steele, “The Uniform”
Jacob Appel, “Livery”
Eileen Reynolds,  “My Pronoun Problem—And Ya’ll’s”
Kathryn Winograd, “Heresies of the Holy”
Nina Yun, “Kimchee”
Matthew Frank, “Silk, Allergies, Sisters, and Incompleteness”
Dan Roche, “The Expressionists: The Intimate Craft of Making Eyes”
Greta Schuler,  “Empty Boxes”

2011 Winners (6th Annual Prize)

Judge: Michael Steinberg
Winner: Sandell Morse,  “Circling My Father”
Finalist: Andrew Hood, “Genesis”

Special Mentions:
Lucas Mann, “The Cockroach and the Essayist”
Jessica Wilbanks, “The Father of Disorder”
Benjamin Busch, “Houses Without Cellars”
Marsha McGregor, “Human, Swimming”
Sarah Gorham,  “The Shape of Fear”

Honorable Mentions:
Felicia Rose Chavez, “Between Shock and Knife”
Priscilla Kinter, “Good Idea #3: peanut butter”
Annie Nilsson, “Ghost Story”
Anthony D’Aries, “The Language of Men”

2010 Winners (5th Annual Prize)

Judge: Jocelyn Bartkevicious
Winner: Megan Nix, “Swim, Memory”
Finalist: Josh MacIvor-Anderson, “How I Learned The Gospel By Heart And Stopped Saying Damn”

Honorable Mentions:
Paula Brancato, “Red Hot Broken Girl”
Judy Copeland,  “Louisville, 1953″
Emily Hipchen, “Solving for P”
Irene Keliher, “Putting Girls on the Map”
Daisy Levy, “Middle Ground”
Kim Liao, “Bodies in Motion”
Jeremy Lloyd, “End of the Road”
Daniel Roche, “Emptying Gary’s Garage”

2009 Winners (4th Annual Prize)

Winner: Kathryn Wilder, “The Last Cows”
Finalist: Sara Lippmann, “The Dying Tradition”

Honorable Mentions:
Charlotte E. Sullivan, “This is My Body”
Laura Newton, “Nothing Like We Planned”
Sonya Huber, “Homage to a Bridge”

2008 Winners (3rd Annual Prize)

Winner: Nedra Rogers, “Mammalian”
Runner-Up: Casey Flemin,”Take Me with You”

Jennifer Henderson, “The Furniture of Memory”
Kate Ellis, “Snakeblood”

Honorable Mentions:
Kristen Cosby, “Sulia”
Emily Lupita Plum, “Her Mexico Blurs”
Vina Kay, “River of Names”
Jane Satterfield, “Looking for Some Action”
Arthur Saltzman, “Afraid So”
Vanessa Griffin, “Black Raspberry Meditation”
Jo Scott-Coe, “The Recesses of High School”

2007 Winners (2nd Annual Prize)

Winner: Beth Richards, “The Fishing Story”
Runner-Up: Elizabeth Caroline Dodd, “The Scribe in the Woods”

2006 Winners (1st Annual Prize)

Winner:  Melani Martinez,”The Molino
Runner-Up: Mira Bartó, “Gula, Gula–Listen, Listen: Memory and the Map of Childhood”

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