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Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time (Fall 2017 Edition)

Inspired by Lit Hub’s 100 rejections per year [1] post, my goal was to make at least 50 submissions in 2017. Since my last contest roundup [2], I’m at 78 submissions and 51 rejections. That rejection count has been a bittersweet goal to reach, but the year’s far from over.

Fall is submission season! Many literary journals reopen their reading periods as another academic year begins so there should be no shortage of places to send your work. I’ve curated another list of promising contests for your submitting convenience through Thanksgiving.

Much like editors are looking for reasons to reject work, I want to focus on opportunities worth my time. Thus, my list of writing contests below once again includes reasons to submit to that particular writing contest. May you find a promising opportunity among this list and spend less time searching for where to send that exciting draft.

If you only submit to one…

I’m personally going for SmokeLong Quarterly’s Kathy Fish Fellowship [3]. Repeat publications and experience working with a literary journal sound like a promising outlet for anyone fascinated with flash fiction. Also, no fee.


September 2017

Coalition of Texans with Disabilities – Pen 2 Paper Contest – $0 fee [4]

Deadline: September 5, 2017

The Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD)’s annual Pen 2 Paper Creative Writing Competition seeks pieces of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and comics that treat the topic of disability. Whether or not you have experience as a creative writer; whether or not you have a disability, we want to hear your voice! And while P2P is based in Texas, we welcome entries from other states and countries. ALL entries must incorporate disability as a theme OR include a major character with a disability. Up to 5,000 words. Winners and finalists will be posted on P2P’s website. The Grand Prize winner will receive a cash prize of $500 (USD). Division winners each receive a cash prize of $100 (USD). Selected entrants will have the opportunity to present their work at the Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival in Austin in the fall.

Reasons to submit:


Still: The Journal – 2017 Annual Writing Contest – $12 fee [5]

Deadline: September 9, 2017

Contest entries should be in keeping with our publishing mission which states: “Our emphasis is on the literature of the Southern Appalachian region, and we are committed to publishing excellent writing that does not rely on clichés and stereotypes. We want to feature writing that exemplifies the many layers and complexities of the region or that is written by an author with a connection to the region.” $200 prize and publication in Still: The Journal, 25: Fall 2017. Winners will be notified after October 1, 2017. Winning entries and finalists will be announced publicly in Still: The Journal, Issue 25: Fall 2017 (published in late October 2017). Up to 6,500 words.

Reasons to submit:


Harvard University – Radcliffe Institute Fellowships – $0 fee [6]

Deadline: September 14, 2017

Fellowships of $77,500, office space at the Radcliffe Institute, and access to the libraries at Harvard University are given annually to fiction writers to allow them to pursue creative projects. Fellows are expected to reside in Boston during the fellowship period, which lasts from September through May. Fiction writers who have a book-length manuscript under contract for publication or at least three shorter works published are eligible. Writers who are graduate students at the time of application are not eligible. For 2018-2019 fellowships, submit up to two short stories or a recent book chapter totaling no more than 30 pages; contact information for three references; a curriculum vitae; and a project proposal by September 14. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

Reasons to submit:


Consequence Magazine – Women Writing War Fiction Award – $10 fee [7]

Deadline: September 15, 2017

$250 Honorarium and Publication. The fiction contest is open to women and those identifying as women. Contest entries from all others will not be read. Entries must capture the nuances of the cultures and consequences of war; the topic is not limited to military matters, but includes social, political and cultural subjects. All entries will be considered for publication. All entries will be considered anonymously. Each story must not exceed 15 double-spaced pages in 12-point font.

Reasons to submit:


Dzanc Books – Contests for Novels and Short Story Collections – $25 fees [8]

Deadline: September 15, 2017

  1. The Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction recognizes daring, original, and innovative writing. A $10,000 advance and publication in Fall 2018 by Dzanc Books will be awarded to the winner. The contest is open to new, upcoming, and established writers alike. $25 fee.

  2. The Dzanc Books/Disquiet Open Borders Book Prize seeks book-length manuscripts in fiction or nonfiction exhibiting a marked commitment to mutual understanding and cultural exchange across the globe. The winning submission will be awarded a $5,000 advance and publication in Fall 2018 by the Disquiet imprint of Dzanc Books. Novels, short story collections, memoir, essay collections, and cross-genre works are all welcome. This contest is open to new, upcoming, and established writers alike. $25 fee.

  3. The Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Prize celebrates imaginative and inventive writing in the short form. The winning submission will be awarded a $2,500 advance and publication in Fall 2018 by Dzanc Books. $25 fee.

Reasons to submit:


Cutbank – Big Sky, Small Prose Flash Contest – $7 fee [9]

Deadline: September 16, 2017

CutBank Literary Magazine is seeking interesting, compelling fiction in 750 words or fewer. Please do not include identifying information in the body of your submission. Submission fee of $7 includes consideration for CutBank’s $500 flash prose prize and publication in CutBank 88. Two runners-up will be awarded $50 and publication in CutBank 88. All other submissions will be considered with submissions for the print edition of CutBank Literary Magazine.

Reasons to submit:


SmokeLong Quarterly – 2018 Kathy Fish Fellowship – $0 fee [3]

Deadline: September 20, 2017

The winner of the 2018 Kathy Fish Fellowship will be considered a “writer in residence” at SmokeLong (note: position is virtual) for four quarterly issues (March, June, September, and December 2018). Each issue will include one flash by the Fellowship winner. The winner of the Fellowship will also receive $500.00. Fellows will have the opportunity to work with SmokeLong staff and participate in online writing workshops.

Writers who have not been published in SmokeLong Quarterly and who do not have a published chapbook or book-length work in any genre (or are not under contract for such) are eligible to apply. We particularly encourage marginalized and diverse voices, such as writers of color, writers from the LBGTQ community and writers with disabilities.

Four samples of your flash fiction (stories of 1000 words or less).

Reasons to submit:


The Ghost Story – Supernatural Fiction Award – $20 fee [11]

Deadline: September 30, 2017

Twice each year TGS awards $1,000 and publication in The Ghost Story to the winner of our short story competition. Two other writers will receive Honorable Mention and Second Honorable Mention awards that include publication and cash prizes of $250 and $100 respectively. The winning stories will be published on Midsummer’s Eve and October 31. The upcoming deadline is September 30, 2017. Publication for each story will now include a custom illustration by British folk-horror artist Andy Paciorek! Our competition typically draws around 150 submissions from all around the world. Winners have included writers with a long history of publishing their work and/or winning awards, as well as writers who have never before published a story. Ghost stories are welcome, of course—but your submission may involve any paranormal or supernatural theme, as well as magic realism. 1,500 to 10,000 words.

Reasons to submit:


University of Iowa Press – Iowa Short Fiction Award – $0 fee [13]

Deadline: September 30, 2017

Award-winning manuscripts will be published by the University of Iowa Press under the Press’s standard contract. Any writer who has not previously published a volume of prose fiction is eligible to enter the competition. The manuscript must be a collection of short stories in English of at least 150 word-processed, double-spaced pages.

Reasons to submit:


October 2017


The American Literary Review Awards – $15 fee [14]

Deadline: October 1, 2017

$1,000 prize and publication in the Spring online issue of the American Literary Review will be given for a short story of up to 8,000 words.

Reasons to submit:


The Southampton Review – Short Short Fiction Prize – $5 fee [16]

Deadline: October 1, 2017

$5 per submissions. Submit as many times as you like. Winners will be published in the Winter/Spring 2018 issue. Prizes: 1st – $350, 2nd – $250, 3rd – $150

Reasons to submit:


The Missouri Review – Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize – $22 fee [17]

Deadline: October 2, 2017

Winners receive publication, invitation to a reception and reading in their honor, and a cash prize ($5,000). Submit one piece of fiction up to 8,500 words. Each entrant receives a one-year subscription to the Missouri Review in digital format.

Reasons to submit:


Zoetrope: All-Story – Short Fiction Competition – $20 fee [19]

Deadline: October 2, 2017

The three prizewinners and seven honorable mentions will be considered for representation by William Morris Endeavor; ICM; the Wylie Agency; Regal Literary; Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency; Markson Thoma Literary Agency; Inkwell Management; Sterling Lord Literistic; Aitken Alexander Associates; Barer Literary; the Gernert Company; and the Georges Borchardt Literary Agency. Results will be announced at the website December 15 and in the Winter 2017/2018 issue of Zoetrope: All-Story; and the winning story will be published as a special online supplement to that Winter 2017/2018 issue.

We welcome multiple entries ($20/story), simultaneous submissions, and entrants from outside the United States. All genres of literary fiction accepted. Strictly 5,000 words or fewer.

Reasons to submit:


Glimmer Train Press – Short Story Award for New Writers – $18 fee [21]

Deadline: October 31, 2017

Open only to writers who haven’t had any fiction appear (nor scheduled to appear) in a print publication with a circulation over 5,000. (Entries must not have appeared in print, but previous online publication is fine.) Most entries run from 1,000 to 5,000 words, but any lengths up to 12,000 are welcome.

1st place: $2,500 | publication in Glimmer Train Stories | 10 copies

2nd place: $500*

3rd place: $300*

*Or, if accepted for publication, $700 and 10 copies of that issue

Reasons to submit:


Indiana Review – Fiction Prize – $20 fee [22]

Deadline: October 31, 2017

The winner of our contest will receive $1,000 and publication in Indiana Review. All entries are considered anonymously. Send a single story of up to 8,000 words in a single word document. Each fee entitles entrant to a subscription of the journal.

Reasons to submit:


November 2017


Briar Cliff Review – Writing Contest – $20 fee [23]

Deadline: November 1, 2017

Annual contest judged by the editors. First-place winners will receive $1,000. Up to 5,000 words. All entrants will receive a copy of the next edition of The Briar Cliff Review.

Reasons to submit:


Mid-American Review – Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award – $10 fee [24]

Deadline: November 15, 2017

First Prize: $1,000 and publication. Finalists: Notation, possible publication. One story of up to 6000 words. All participants receive the issue in which our winners are printed!

Reasons to submit:


The Museum of Words – International Flash Fiction Competition – $0 fee [25]

Deadline: November 23, 2017

The 5th Edition of the International Prize for Micro-Stories is organized by the César Egido Serrano Foundation. Writers from anywhere in the world may participate. Accepts originals in any of the following languages: Spanish, English, Arabic or Hebrew. An overall first prize of $20,000 is awarded for the best story in any of the languages authorized in the contest. Three prizes of $1,000 each will be awarded for the best stories in each of the other remaining languages admitted in the contest. The stories cannot exceed 100 words. The César Egido Serrano Foundation reserves the right to publish the finalist stories.

Keeping in mind the Foundation’s ethos, which is that the word is the tool of coexistence between different cultures, religions and ideologies, the V Edition of competition is open, under the motto: The Word, bridging the gap between different cultures and religions”.

Reasons to submit:



Have I missed a great writing contest? Please leave a comment and let me know where you found them.

Happy submitting!


About Arthur Klepchukov [29]

Arthur Klepchukov was born between Black Seas, Virginian Beaches, and San Franciscan waves. He adores trains, swing sets, and music that tears him outta time. Read Art’s words in Glimmer Train, The Best American Mystery Stories 2019, The Common, Necessary Fiction, and more at ArsenalOfWords.com [30]