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Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time (Summer 2018)

What are your submission or rejection goals for 2018? Inspired by Lit Hub’s 100 rejections per year [1] post, I got 93 rejections 2017 and aim to cross 100 this year. Since my Spring 2018 contest roundup, I’ve earned plenty of rejections and published the last season’s responses in a fun format I dubbed The Rejection Quarterly [2].

Summer tends to be a slower time for submissions. A lot of literary journals close their reading periods and are slower to respond. I love using this time of fewer deadlines for more in-depth writing—especially novel revisions. This submissions season covers fiction contests with deadlines between June 1, 2018 and August 31, 2018. Thanks to Literistic [3], Poets & Writers [4], and Submittable Discover [5] for many of these contests.

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 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 your exceptional work.

June 2018

American Short Fiction – The Halifax Ranch Prize – $20 fee [6]

Deadline: June 15, 2018

American Short Fiction’s first ever Halifax Ranch Prize for Fiction opened on March 8th. We are honored to have ZZ Packer as our inaugural guest judge. The winner will receive a $2,500 prize and publication in an upcoming issue of American Short Fiction. International submissions in English are eligible. All entries must be single, self-contained works of fiction, between 2,000-6,500 words. Please DO NOT include any identifying information on the manuscript itself. You may submit multiple entries.  We accept only previously unpublished work. We do allow simultaneous submissions, but we ask that you notify us promptly of publication elsewhere. Winners will be announced in September.

Reasons to submit:


Narrative – Narrative Prize – $26 fee [8]

Deadline: June 15, 2018

The $4,000 Narrative Prize is awarded annually for the best short story, novel excerpt, poem, one-act play, graphic story, or work of literary nonfiction published by a new or emerging writer in Narrative.

The winner is announced each September, and the prize is awarded in October. The award, citing the winner’s name and the title and genre of the winning piece, is widely publicized, and each winner is cited in an ongoing listing in Narrative. The prize will be given to the best work published each year in Narrative by a new or emerging writer, as judged by the magazine’s editors. In some years, the prize may be divided between winners, when more than one work merits the award.

Reasons to submit:


New American Press – 2018 New American Fiction Prize – $25 fee [9]

Deadline: June 15, 2018

All full-length fiction manuscripts are welcome, including novels, novellas, collections of stories and/or novellas, novels in verse, linked collections, as well as full-length collections of flash fiction and short-shorts. Full-length fiction manuscripts tend to be at least 100 pages. There is no maximum length. The author of the winning manuscript is offered a publication contract that includes $1,000 in prize monies and 25 complimentary author’s copies. We also work hard to get our books reviewed.

We read manuscripts blind, so please exclude identifying information from the manuscript itself. Simultaneous submissions are accepted and encouraged. Please contact us immediately if your manuscript is accepted for publication elsewhere. Judged by John McNally.

Reasons to submit:


Willow Springs Books – Spokane Prize for Short Fiction – $28 fee [10]

Deadline: June 15, 2018

Submit a book-length manuscript. Manuscripts should be no less than 98 pages (with no maximum page count) and include at least 3 short stories. Stories may have been previously published in journals, anthologies, or limited edition volumes. However, selected story collections (stories previously published in books) will not be considered. Please do not send novels. The winner receives $2,000 plus publication. Open to all United States authors, regardless of publication history.

Reasons to submit:


ELQ – Carter V. Cooper Short Fiction Competition – $30 fee [11]

Deadline: June 29, 2018

$10,000 awarded for Best Story by an Emerging Writer
$5,000 for Best Story by a Writer at Any Career Point.

Literary and Speculative fiction / all styles considered. (Speculative fiction includes all forms of literature of the fantastic, such as fantasy, magic realism, science fiction, science fantasy, horror, climate fiction, alternative history, etc.). Stories must not have been previously published, and must not have been submitted elsewhere for journal/magazine publication considlinration. Each story submitted will receive a one year/4-issue subscription to our ELQ/Exile Quarterly. Up to 10,000 words.

Reasons to submit:


Autumn House Press – Full-Length Fiction Contest – $30 fee [12]

Deadline: June 30, 2018

The annual contest from Autumn House Press. The winners will receive book publication, $1,000 advance against royalties, and a $1,500 travel/publicity grant to promote his or her book. Fiction submissions should be approximately 200-300 pages. All fiction sub-genres (short stories, short-shorts, novellas, or novels) or any combination of sub-genres are eligible. No genre fiction. All finalists will be considered for publication. The final judge for the Fiction Prize is Dana Johnson.

Reasons to submit:


July 2018

Oregon Literary Fellowships – $0 fee [13]

Deadline: July 9, 2018

Oregon Literary Fellowships are intended to help Oregon writers initiate, develop, or complete literary projects. Fellowships are also awarded to support Oregon’s independent publishers, small presses, and literary magazines. Fellowships of $3,500 are given annually to Oregon writers to initiate, develop, or complete literary projects. One Women Writers Fellowship and one Writer of Color Fellowship of $3,500 each are also given annually. Submit three copies of up to 25 pages of prose with the required entry form by July 9. There is no entry fee.

Reasons to submit:


Tethered by Letters – F(r)iction Flash Fiction Contest – $8 fee [14]

Deadline: July 15, 2018

Any genre with a limit of 750 words. 1st prize receives $300.00 and publication as a feature in F(r)iction, our triannual print collection. Five finalists will be considered for subsequent F(r)iction publications as well as in our online literary journal, F(r)Online. Each finalist will also receive free professional edits on their submission. We prefer to read all our submissions blind. Judged by Len Kuntz.

Reasons to submit:


Key West Literary Seminar – Cecelia Joyce Johnson Award for a Short Story – $12 fee [16]

Deadline: July 30, 2018

Annual award for a short story. Winners receive full tuition support for our January Seminar and Writers’ Workshop Program, round-trip airfare, lodging, a $500 honorarium, and the opportunity to appear on stage during the Seminar. Writers of any age who live in the United States and have not yet published a book with a major publisher are eligible to apply. If you have published a book with a print run of 500 or fewer copies, you are still eligible. We reserve the right to make all final decisions regarding eligibility.

Reasons to submit:


Key West Literary Seminar – Marianne Russo Award for a Novel-in-Progress – $12 fee [17]

Deadline: July 30, 2018

Annual award for a novel-in-progress. Winners receive full tuition support for our January Seminar and Writers’ Workshop Program, round-trip airfare, lodging, a $500 honorarium, and the opportunity to appear on stage during the Seminar. Writers of any age who live in the United States and have not yet published a book with a major publisher are eligible to apply. If you have published a book with a print run of 500 or fewer copies, you are still eligible. We reserve the right to make all final decisions regarding eligibility.

Reasons to submit:


Crazyhorse – Crazyshorts! Short-Short Fiction Contest – $15 fee [18]

Deadline: July 31, 2018

Submit 1-3 shorts of 500 words each. All entries will be considered for publication. Before you submit, please remove your name and any other identifying information from your manuscript. Simultaneous submissions are okay, as long as you contact us should the work be accepted elsewhere. The $15 entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Crazyhorse.

Reasons to submit:


August 2018

PEN America – 2019 Emerging Voices Fellowship – TBD fee [19]

Deadline: August 1, 2018

The Emerging Voices Fellowship, run out of our Los Angeles office, is a literary mentorship that aims to provide new writers who are isolated from the literary establishment with the tools, skills, and knowledge they need to launch a professional writing career. This is a rigorous fellowship with weekly meetings and an intense reading and writing schedule. With this in mind, participants must be willing and able to make an enthusiastic commitment to the fellowship and to their involvement as members of a group. If you are not a resident of Los Angeles and you are awarded the fellowship you will need to relocate for the seven-month period. Housing is not provided. 20 page submission limit. Application opens June 1.

Reasons to submit:


Third Wednesday – George Dila Memorial Flash Fiction Contest – $5 fee [20]

Deadline: August 15, 2018

Second annual contest to honor the memory of George Dila, friend of Third Wednesday and the editor who guided fiction at T.W. from infancy to adulthood. Seeking previously unpublished fiction under 1000 words in length (including title). Three winning stories will receive cash prizes of $100 each and a print copy of the contest issue. Do not include any identifying information within files or file names. Our judge will read all submissions blindly. Our judge for this contest is Marilyn L. Taylor.

Fun personal aside: submitting to this very contest last year led to my first publication [21].

Reasons to submit:


Sustainable Arts Foundation – 2018 Writing Awards – $20 fee [22]

Deadline: August 31, 2018

We are inspired by anyone who is making creative work while raising a family. Writers with at least one child and a strong portfolio of polished work are welcome to apply. Categories include Fiction, Early and Middle Grade Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. 15 double-spaced pages, maximum (you may submit a single long sample or multiple shorter samples).

This year, we will make awards of $5,000 each to twenty artists and writers. Additionally, we will name ten award finalists. Our awards offer unrestricted cash, and recipients can use the funds as they see fit. Our program is an award program that rewards excellence in a creative field (note that this is different from a grant program, in which the application is focused on a proposal for new work). Our selection process is focused almost entirely on the strength of the submitted portfolio.

Reasons to submit:


Black Warrior Review – 2018 Contests – $8-$20 fee [23]

Deadline: September 1, 2018

$1000 & publication for fiction up to 7,000 words. Fiction Judge: Laura van den Berg

$500 & publication for flash, up to 3 pieces. Flash Judge: Jennifer S. Cheng. Flash can be in any genre, as long as the author considers it “flash.” We encourage experimental, hybrid, and lyrical submissions in this category. Image + text work is also welcomed. Surprise us.

Reasons to submit:



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


Happy submitting!

About Arthur Klepchukov [24]

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 [25]