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Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time in Fall 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 last contest roundup, I’m at 99 rejections for this year! Read my latest responses in the latest edition of The Rejection Quarterly [2].

This submissions season covers deadlines from September 1, 2018 through November 30, 2018. Fall is a great time to be submitting. As another academic year begins, many university-affiliated literary journals reopen their reading periods. Thanks to Literistic [3], Poets & Writers [4], Submittable Discover [5], and New Pages [6] for many of these contests. This time, I focused a bit more on contests without fees and flash fiction, because my heart has been wrapped up in shorter forms lately.

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.


September 2018

Black Warrior Review – 2018 Contest – $8-$20 fee [7]

Deadline: September 1, 2018

Annual contest by Pushcart-prize winning journal. $1000 & publication for fiction up to 7,000 words or $500 & publication for flash fiction of up to 3 pieces, especially experimental, hybrid, and lyrical submissions. Runners up receive $100. Winners announced in October. Fiction judged by Laura van den Berg. Flash judged by Jennifer S. Cheng

Reasons to submit:

 

Free State Review – Heavenly Creatures Contest – $0 fee [9]

Deadline: September 1, 2018

Free State Review’s “Heavenly Creatures Contest” commemorates the luminous kite photography of celebrated darkroom artist Sally Gall [10], a photographer who has visited kite festivals around the world. In this spirit, submit one flash fiction written as a love letter to the sky. The winner will be featured in our Spring 2019 issue and will receive an artist proof signed by Sally Gall valued at $250. All participants will be considered for publication.

Reasons to submit:

 

Terrain.org – 9th Annual Contest – $15 fee [11]

Deadline: September 3, 2018

Daniel Orozco is judging fiction submissions up to 5,000 words. A prize of $500 plus publication for the first-place winner. Finalist(s) will also receive publication and a small monetary prize. All submissions are considered for publication. Winners will be announced no later than the end of November 2018.

Reasons to submit:

 

Vestal Review – Tombstone Contest – $0 fee [12]

Deadline: September 9, 2018

In 12 words or less, what would you like to see written on your tombstone? This is a fun, free to enter contest ran by the oldest magazine of flash fiction. Two entries per author max. The winner will be paid $10 and get a digital copy of Condensed to Flash: World Classics, an anthology that features variations on themes of world classics, condensed to 500 words or fewer. The past winners are pretty funny [12].

Reasons to submit:

 

Asian American Writers Workshop – Margins Fellowship – $0 fee [13]

Deadline: September 12, 2018

Four emerging Asian American writers of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction based in New York City aged 30 and under will receive $5,000, residency time at the Millay Colony for the Arts, mentorship, access to the AAWW writing space, and publication opportunities in our online magazine, The Margins. We see this as a chance to support writers from Asian diasporic, West Asian, Arab, and North and East African communities as well as Muslim writers of color more broadly. If you are a writer of color who identifies with these communities, please discuss this in your application. 2019 Fellows announced on January 2, 2019. Submit up to 20 pages of fiction. Novel excerpts eligible.

Reasons to submit:

 

The Ghost Story – Supernatural Fiction Award – $20 fee [14]

Deadline: September 30, 2018

Twice each year TGS awards $1,000 and both online and print publication to the winner of our short story competition. Two other writers receive Honorable Mention awards that include publication and cash prizes of $250. Winners and Honorable Mentions will be included in a paperbound anthology. Online publication for each story includes a custom illustration. Ghost stories are welcome, of course—but your submission may involve any paranormal or supernatural theme, as well as magic realism. Submit 1,500 – 10,000 words. A hearty congrats to the Fall 2017 winner, A.J. Rutgers, a Writer Unboxed reader [15]!

Reasons to submit:

 

The Caterpillar Story Prize 2018 – €12 fee [17]

Deadline: September 30, 2018

Single prize of €1,000 for a story written by an adult for children (aged 7–11). We are looking for stories up to 1,500 words that will inspire, delight and move our young readers. The winning story will appear in the winter issue of The Caterpillar. The stories can be on any subject and in any style, as long as they are age appropriate. The Prize is open to anyone over 16, as long as the work is original and previously unpublished.

Reasons to submit:

 

The Puritan – Thomas Morton Memorial Prize in Literary Excellence for Fiction – $20 fee [18]

Deadline: September 30, 2018

First prize of $1,000 and a runner-up of $200 for short stories from 1,000 to 7,500 words. In addition to the cash prizes, winners will be sent a prize pack of awesome books generously donated by their publishers, as well as annual subscriptions to a number of great print magazines. We will announce our shortlist in early November and announce the winners at our annual Black Friday celebrations. Winning pieces will be published in the magazine the following day.

Reasons to submit:

 

Dzanc Book – Prizes for Novels and Short Story Collections – $25 fee [19]

Deadline: September 30, 2018

The Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction recognizes daring, original, and innovative novels. A $5,000 advance and publication in Fall 2019 by Dzanc Books will be awarded to the winner. The Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Prize celebrates imaginative and inventive writing in book-length collections. The winning submission will be awarded a $2,500 advance and publication in Fall 2019 by Dzanc Books.

Both contests are open to new, upcoming, and established writers alike. Agented submissions are also eligible, and we ask that you include all agency contact information with the application. All submitted works must be previously unpublished novel-length manuscripts. Winners announced on the Dzanc web page on November 15th.

Reasons to submit:

 

The Master’s Review – Flash Fiction Contest – $20 fee [20]

Deadline: September 30, 2018

This biannual contest is exclusively for stories under 1,000 words and emerging writers. Prizes range from $200, $300, or $3000 for first place. Judging by past winners, even honorable mentions will be published. All entries are considered for publication.

Reasons to submit:

 


October 2018

The Missouri Review – Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize – $25 fee [21]

Deadline: October 1, 2018

Submit one piece of previously unpublished fiction, up to 8,500 words. Winners receive publication, invitation to a reception and reading in their honor, and $5,000. Winners will be announced in early 2019.

Reasons to submit:

 

Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival – $25 fee [22]

Deadline: October 1, 2018

Submit up to 7,000 words. All entries are considered for publication in a future Festival anthology. Winner will receive $1,500, domestic airfare (up to $500) and French Quarter accommodations to attend the Festival in New Orleans, VIP All-Access Festival pass for the next Festival ($600 value), a public reading at a literary panel at the next Festival, and publication in Louisiana Literature. This contest is open only to writers who have not yet published a book of fiction. Published books include self-published books with ISBN numbers. Those who have published books in other genres besides fiction remain eligible.

There’s also a cheaper Very Short Fiction contest for work up to 1,000 words.

Reasons to submit:

 

American Academy in Berlin – Berlin Prize Fellowships – $0 fee [23]

Deadline: October 5, 2018

For 2019-2020, the Academy will be awarding an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities for work that demonstrates an interest in such topics as migration and social integration, questions of race in comparative perspective, and the interplay of exile and return. For all projects, the Academy asks that candidates explain the relevance of a stay in Berlin to the development of their work. Fellowship benefits include round-trip airfare, housing at the Hans Arnhold Center, partial board, and a stipend of $5,000 per month. Fellows are expected to be in residence at the Academy during the entire term of the award, generally one academic semester. Submit up to 60 pages of recent and representative chapters or articles from published or forthcoming work and a 15-20 page sample from the proposed project. Recipients will be notified in early March 2019.

Reasons to submit:

 

A Public Space – Fellowships – $0 fee [24]

Deadline: October 15, 2018

From last year’s description:

The aim of these fellowships is to seek out and support writers who embrace risk in their work and their own singular vision. Writers who have not yet contracted to publish a book are invited to apply. Three fellowships will be awarded, which will include: six months of editorial support from A Public Space editors to prepare a piece for publication in the magazine; a $1,000 honorarium; the opportunity to meet with members of the publishing community, including agents, editors, and published writers; the opportunity to participate in a public reading and conversation in New York City with A Public Space editors and contributors.

Reasons to submit:

 

University of Louisville – Calvino Prize – $25 fee [25]

Deadline: October 15, 2018

Awarded to outstanding pieces of fiction in the fabulist experimentalist style of Italo Calvino. The first place entry will be published in the Salt Hill Journal of Syracuse University and receive $2,000. Further, the winner will be invited to read the winning entry, all expenses paid (within the continental US), at the University of Louisville every February. The 10 finalists will be posted on the website. Submit up to 25 manuscript pages of a novel, novella, short story, or short collection. Work previously published is eligible and simultaneous submissions are accepted. An excerpt from a larger work is allowed; however, remember that the selection will be  judged on its own merit and so should be able to stand on its own. Judged by Kelly Link. The judges reserve the right to withhold the award if  no entry is deemed worthy.

Reasons to submit:

 

Glimmer Train – Short Story Award for New Writers – $18 fee [26]

Deadline: October 31, 2018

Fall 2019 will bring #106—the very last issue of Glimmer Train. So if this prestigious market has been on your radar, chances to submit to its contests and open submissions periods are waning. This contest is open only to emerging writers who haven’t had fiction appear in any print publication with a circulation over 5,000. (Previous online publication is fine.) Most entries run from 500 to 4,000 words, but any lengths up to 12,000 are welcome. Cash prizes of $300, $500, $700, or $2,500 along with publication.

Reasons to submit:

 

PEN/Faulkner Foundation – 2019 Award for Fiction – $0 fee [27]

Deadline: October 31, 2018

The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is a national prize which honors the best published works of fiction by American citizens in a calendar year. This year’s judges, Percival Everett, Ernesto Quiñonez, and Joy Williams are getting ready to read the novels, novellas, and collections of short stories and to choose next year’s winner and finalists. Poets & Writers states: “A prize of $15,000 is given … Four finalists will each receive $5,000.” I was able to confirm this with the Programs & Logistics Director of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, despite not finding it on the website.

Reasons to submit:

 


November 2018

The Malahat Review – Open Season Awards – $40 fee [28]

Deadline: November 1, 2018

Submit fiction up to 2,500 words. The contest is open to Canadian and international writers anywhere in the world. All entries are judged anonymously. The winner will receive a prize of $CAN 2000 (approximately $1,500) and be published in the magazine’s spring 2019 issue.

Reasons to submit:

 

Reed Magazine – John Steinbeck Fiction Award – $20 fee [29]

Deadline: November 1, 2018

Awarding one of the richest purses among literary magazines, the John Steinbeck Award for Fiction recognizes exceptional works with a prize of $1,000! To be eligible, submissions must be 5,000 words or fewer and include a reading fee of $20, which includes a free copy of the latest edition of Reed. Contest submissions not selected may still be considered for publication in the magazine.

Reasons to submit:

 

Washington College – Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship – $0 fee [31]

Deadline: November 1, 2018

The Center’s Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship includes a $45,000 stipend, health benefits, faculty privileges, a book allowance, and a nine-month residency (during the academic year 2018-2019) in historic Chestertown, Md. Applicants should have a significant book-length project currently in progress. The project should address the history and/or legacy – broadly defined – of the American Revolution and the nation’s founding ideas. It might focus on the founding era itself, or on the myriad ways the questions that preoccupied the nation’s founders have shaped America’s later history. Work that contributes to ongoing national conversations about America’s past and present, with the potential to reach a wide public, is particularly sought.  We encourage a broad reading of such terms as “founders” and “founding ideas.”

Reasons to submit:

 

The Golden Key – 2018 Flash Fiction Open – $4-$8 fee [33]

Deadline: November 1, 2018

The Golden Key is pleased to announce our third flash fiction contest, judged by Amber Sparks. We want fiction and poetry that is both literary and speculative. Realist work sensitive to the magical and strange. The winner will receive $200, inclusion in our limited edition postcard series, and publication in Issue 9. Submit one, two, or three pieces up to 500 words each. The winner will be announced in December.

Reasons to submit:

 

The Gateway Review – Fabulist and Fantastic Flash Fiction Contest – $5 fee [35]

Deadline: November 15, 2018

The Fabulist and Fantastic Flash Fiction Contest is open to any writer, and is the only time during the year that we accept flash fiction submissions. Each entry is $5, and can contain one or two pieces of flash fiction, each no longer than 1000 words. All work should fit within the traditions of fabulism, surrealism, or magic realism.  We are not interested in science fiction or high fantasy, and these are unlikely to be selected as winners. No set prizes. First Place Winner receives 50% of net entry fees. Runner-Up receives 20% of net entry fees.

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 [36]

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 The Common, Necessary Fiction, KYSO Flash, Fiction Southeast, and more at ArsenalOfWords.com [37]