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Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time in Spring 2019

This submissions season covers deadlines from March 1, 2019 through May 31, 2019. How was the start of your writing year? Deep into drafts and submissions or still working up to your first? Here’s another invigorating round of opportunities. Thanks to Literistic [1], Poets & Writers [2], Submittable Discover [3], and New Pages [4] 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.

March 2019

2019 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize – $25 fee [5]

Deadline: March 1, 2019

“The Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize is a writing competition sponsored by the stage and radio series Selected Shorts. This long-running series at Symphony Space in New York City celebrates the art of the short story by having stars of stage and screen read aloud the works of established and emerging writers. Selected Shorts is recorded for Public Radio and heard nationally. The 2019 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize will be judged by Kelly Link. The winning work will be performed and recorded live at a Selected Shorts performance at Symphony Space on June 12, 2019, and published on Electric Literature. The winning writer will receive $1000 and a free 10-week course with Gotham Writers.”

Reasons to submit:

Exposition Review – Flash 405 contest – $5 fee [7]

Deadline: March 5, 2019

Flash 405 is Exposition Review’s multi-genre short form writing competition, awarding cash prizes and online publication to the winners. This year’s February Flash 405 will celebrate Valentine’s with a “Happily Ever After” theme from guest judge Maureen Lee Lenker.

We’re all looking for our own version of happily-ever-after, whether it’s the perfect partner, the dream job, the white picket fence, the urban loft, or something entirely off the beaten path. What would give our lives meaning if not the search for happiness? … The only requirement is a happy ending. Much like life, it’s up to you how that’s defined and how you get there. So, go ahead, sweep me off my feet with your romantic entry–I can’t wait.”

Submit a complete story, up to 405 words. No simultaneous submissions or previously published work. Winners receive online publication and a cash prize.

Reasons to submit:

The Kerouac Project – Residency – $35 fee [9]

Deadline: March 10, 2019

“The Kerouac Project provides four residencies a year to writers of any stripe or age, living anywhere in the world. In the past we have accepted writers with no formal writing education alongside those with MFA’s and impressive résumés. … Each residency consists of approximately a three month stay in the cottage where Jack Kerouac wrote his novel Dharma Bums. Utilities and a food stipend of $1,000 are included. As writer-in-residence, all you are required to do is live in the Kerouac House during your residency, work on your writing project, and participate in two events—a Welcome Potluck dinner for you, and a Final Reading of your work at the Kerouac House at the end of your residency. Should you desire them, the Kerouac Project can also offer opportunities for you to participate in other readings, lead workshops, and interact in other ways with the vibrant Central Florida literary community.” Residencies open from Fall 2019 to Summer 2020. Submit up to 10 pages of fiction.

Reasons to submit:

BBC – National Short Story Award 2019 – $0 fee [10]

Deadline: March 11, 2019

British nationals and UK residents may submit up to 8,000 words. The winner will be awarded £15,000. £600 will go to each of four shortlisted stories. The stories are broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in an anthology.

Reasons to submit:

The Missouri Review – Miller Audio Prize – $10+ fee [11]

Deadline: March 15, 2019

Submit up to 15 minutes of audio of a short story—serious or humorous. Entries may be solely author-read or contain other voices, sounds, or music. Previously published or aired pieces are acceptable as long as you, the entrant, hold the rights. Your entry fee includes a one-year digital subscription to the Missouri Review.

Reasons to submit:

Alice Munro Festival of the Short Story – Short Story competition – $25 fee [13]

Deadline: March 18, 2019

“The Alice Munro Festival of the Short Story is an annual three-day festival that features workshops, readings, onstage presentations, and community events that celebrate emerging writers and short fiction. The Festival takes place where Alice Munro grew up, in Huron County, Ontario, Canada from May 24 – May 26, 2019. … $1,500 FIRST PRIZE – 2 additional prizes of $250 each … The winning entry will be the Canadian work of up to 2,500 words in the English language, fiction, written by an author not yet published in book format. … [Submitters should be] writers who have NOT been published professionally in book format, including online publications, in any genre and who do not have a contract with a book publisher.”

Reasons to submit:

Enizagram – Fiction Contest – $20 fee [14]

Deadline: March 23, 2019

Fiction submissions should consist of one short story up to 4,000 words long. Entries may be in any literary style, and address any subject, as long as they hook the reader by the eyes and do not let go. We do not publish novel excerpts. Submissions should include a brief cover letter including the author’s name. Please expect a response within 4 weeks of the deadline. Winner will receive $1000 and will be nominated for the annual Pushcart Prize.

Reasons to submit:

Arts & Letters – Fiction Prize – $20 fee [15]

Deadline: March 31, 2019

“We accept one winning story up to 25 pages (other submissions will be considered for publication at our normal rates). We offer the winner a $1,000 prize and publication in next year’s Fall or Spring issue. … All submitters receive a digital subscription of Arts & Letters, which will include the issue prize winners are published in. … We prefer, for the prizes, that your work not be simultaneously submitted. This helps us preserve the integrity of the contest(s). Our judges’ decisions are usually made by the end of May.”

Reasons to submit:


April 2019

The Pinch – 2019 Pinch Literary Awards – $20 fee [16]

Deadline: April 1, 2019

Fiction First Prize: $1,000.00. Judged by Amy Bonnaffons. All entries are considered for publication. First, second, and third place winners will be selected from each category. The first place winners will be published in the Spring issue following announcement. Second and third place winners will be given high-priority consideration for publication, but because of space, cannot be guaranteed. Due to the high volume of submissions, any prize winners will be ineligible for contest participation for three years.

Reasons to submit:

The Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award – $20 fee [18]

Deadline: April 30, 2019

“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, from which all proceeds will be donated to projects of Britain’s Wildlife Trusts. “Ghost stories are welcome, of course—but your submission may involve any paranormal or supernatural theme, as well as magic realism. What we’re looking for is fine writing, fresh perspectives, and maybe a few surprises in the field of supernatural fiction. Story length should run between 1,500 and 10,000 words.”

Reasons to submit:

American Literary Translators Association – Italian Prose in Translation Award – $0 fee [20]

Deadline: April 15, 2019

“The Italian Prose in Translation Award (IPTA) … recognizes the importance of contemporary Italian prose and promotes the translation of Italian works into English. This $5,000 prize will be awarded annually to a translator of a recent work of Italian prose. The winning translators and books are featured at the annual ALTA conference. Books of fiction or literary non-fiction translated from Italian into English and published in English in the previous calendar year are eligible. … Submissions will be judged according to the literary significance of the original and the success of the translation in recreating the literary artistry of the original. While the IPTA is primarily intended to recognize the translation of contemporary works, re-translations or first-time translations of important older works will also be seriously considered.”

Reasons to submit:

CRAFT – 2019 CRAFT Short Fiction Prize – $20 fee [21]

Deadline: April 30, 2019

Submit up to 5,000 words. Open to international submissions, but only in English. “We review literary fiction, but are open to a variety of genres and styles—our only requirement is that you show excellence in your craft: bend genres, experiment with structure, write your heart out.” Winner and two runner ups will be awarded $2,000, $500, and $300, respectively, and online publication.

Reasons to submit:

Glimmer Train – Family Matters contest – $18 fee [22]

Deadline: April 30, 2019

As 2019 is Glimmer Train’s last year, this is the final Family Matters contest. “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. Most entries run from 500 to 5,000 words but any lengths up to 12,000 are welcome.” Prizes range from $300-$2,500 and can include publication in one of the final issues of Glimmer Train.

Reasons to submit:

Glimmer Train – Short Story Award for New Writers – $18 fee [23]

Deadline: April 30, 2019

As 2019 is Glimmer Train’s last year, this is the final Short Story Award for New Writers. “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.” Prizes range from $300-$2,500 and can include publication in one of the final issues of Glimmer Train.

Reasons to submit:


May 2019

Southwest Review – David Nathan Meyerson Fiction Prize – $25 fee [24]

Deadline: May 1, 2019

“The David Nathan Meyerson Prize for Fiction … consists of $1,000 and publication in SwR. Open to any writer who has not published a book of fiction (either a novel or collection of stories). …  Each entry should be one unpublished piece of fiction (8,000 words maximum). … No simultaneous submissions.”

Reasons to submit:

The Malahat Review – Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction – $30+ fee [25]

Deadline: May 1, 2019

“The Malahat Review invites emerging short-story writers to enter the Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction, for which one prize of $CAN 1,000 is awarded. Eligible authors have yet to publish their fiction in book form (a book is defined to have a length of 48 pages or more). Publication in literary magazines is acceptable. The contest is open to Canadian and international writers anywhere in the world, with a final deadline of midnight (PST) on 1 May 2019. All entries are judged anonymously, and the winning story will be published in the magazine’s fall 2019 issue.” Submit stories up to 3,500 words.

Reasons to submit:

Carve – The Raymond Carver Short Story Contest – TBD fee [26]

Deadline: May 15, 2019

“Now in its 18th year, the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest is one of the most renowned fiction contests in the world. Featuring prominent guest judges and offering $2500 across five prizes, the contest delivers exciting new fiction from writers all over the world. The contest opens each year April 1 – May 15 and prizewinners are published in our annual fall issue in October.”

Reasons to submit:

Ploughshares – Emerging Writer’s Contest – $24 fee [28]

Deadline: May 15, 2019

“The Emerging Writer’s Contest is open to writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry who have yet to publish or self-publish a book. … We award publication, $2000, review from Aevitas Creative Management, and a 1-year subscription.” Up to 6,000 words.

Reasons to submit:

New Letters – Robert Day Award for Fiction – $24 fee [30]

Deadline: May 20, 2019

“$24 entry fee for each manuscript submitted. A one-year subscription or subscription renewal to New Letters, shipped to any address within the United States, is included in the price of the first entry. … Your personal information should not appear anywhere on the entry. … All entries will be considered for publication in New Letters. … entries should not exceed 8,000 words.”

Reasons to submit:

Baltimore Review – Winter Contest – $10 fee [31]

Deadline: May 31, 2019

The theme for the winter contest is On the Road. Interstate, beltway, city street, suburban street, dead end, one way, four lane, dirt road, icy road, dark road. We spend a lot of time on the road. We have a lot of road trip stories. … Find out what happens on the road. See where it takes you. … All entries considered for publication. … Prizes are $500, $200, and $100. Entry fee is $10.” Up to 5,000 words.

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 [33]

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 [34]