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Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time in Fall 2019

Since my last contest roundup, I’m ecstatic to share that I was awarded 2nd place in Glimmer Train’s final Family Matters contest [1]. I’ve featured their contests here many times before. How about you, fellow submitter? What victories do you have to share? Who are you excited to hear back from or to send your work to again?

After teaching my first workshop on submitting for publication, I’ve made submission resources available at my new Learn to Submit [2] page.

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.

This contest submissions season covers deadlines from September 1, 2019 through November 30, 2019. Thanks to Literistic [3], Poets & Writers [4], Submittable Discover [5], and New Pages [6] for many of these contests.


September 2019

American Academy in Berlin – Berlin Prize Fellowships – $0 fee [7]

Deadline: September 23, 2019

“The American Academy in Berlin seeks to enrich transatlantic dialogue in the arts, humanities, and public policy through the development and communication of projects of the highest scholarly merit. … For 2020/21, the Academy will also award three specially designated fellowships: two Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships in the Humanities, for work that demonstrates an interest in the topics of migration and social integration, race in comparative perspective, or 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.” 

Reasons to submit:

 

Retreat West – Themed Flash Fiction Contest – £8 fee [8]

Deadline: September 29, 2019

Submit up to 500 words on the theme of “Water.” “All entries are judged by Amanda Saint, novelist, short story writer and founder of Retreat West. The winner and two runners-up receive cash prizes and have their stories published on the website. … Stories can be in any genre apart from children’s fiction.”

Reasons to submit:

 

The Caterpillar Story For Children Prize – €12 fee [10]

Deadline: September 30, 2019

“This annual award is given to the best story (of no more than 1,500 words) written by an adult for children aged 7–11. Anyone can enter, as long as you are over 16 and your story is previously unpublished. The author of the winning story will receive €1,000. And this year, we’re very happy to announce a *second prize* of a week’s retreat at the marvellous Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Co. Monaghan, Ireland. … The two winning stories will feature in the winter 2019 issue of The Caterpillar.” 

 

Reasons to submit:

 

The Iowa Short Fiction Award – $0 fee [12]

Deadline: September 30, 2019

“Award-winning manuscripts will be published by the University of Iowa Press under the Press’s standard contract. … The manuscript must be a collection of short stories in English of at least 150 word-processed, double-spaced pages. … Stories previously published in periodicals are eligible for inclusion. There is no reading fee; please do not send cash, checks, or money orders. … Any writer who has not previously published a volume of prose fiction is eligible to enter the competition. Writers are still eligible if they are living abroad or are non-US citizens writing in English.”

Reasons to submit:

 

Ghost Story – Supernatural Fiction Award – $20 fee [13]

Deadline: September 30, 2019

Fun fact: A previous winner of this contest is a Writer Unboxed reader! 

“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. … Our competition typically draws around 200 submissions from all around the world. … 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. “

Reasons to submit:

 

Hidden River Press – Sandy Run Novella Award – $22 fee [15]

Deadline: September 30, 2019

“The Sandy Run Novella Award is offered for an unpublished novella. The winning manuscript will be published by Hidden River Press, an imprint of Hidden River Publishing, and will receive $1000.  Entry fee: $22 US. This competition is open to international submissions for all writers in English. All submissions must be between 17,500 and 40,000 words…”

Reasons to submit:

 


October 2019

The Missouri Review – Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize – $25 fee [16]

Deadline: October 1, 2019

$5000 prize. “Winners receive publication, invitation to a reception and reading in their honor, and a cash prize. … up to 8,500 words … Each entrant receives a one-year subscription to the Missouri Review in digital format (normal price $24) and a paperback copy of the third title in our new imprint, TMR Books, A Faithful but Melancholy Account of Several Barbarities Lately Committed, a linked short story collection by former Editors’ Prize-winner Jason Brown.” 

Reasons to submit:

Zoetrope: All-Story – Short Fiction Competition – $30 fee [18]

Deadline: October 1, 2019

“The three prizewinners and seven honorable mentions will be considered for representation by William Morris Endeavor; ICM; the Wylie Agency; Aragi, Inc.; Regal Literary; Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency; Markson Thoma Literary Agency; Inkwell Management; Sterling Lord Literistic; Aitken Alexander Associates; Barer Literary; the Gernert Company; Janklow & Nesbit Associates; and the Georges Borchardt Literary Agency. … winning story will be published as a special online supplement to that Winter 2019/2020 issue. We accept all genres of literary fiction. Entries must be: unpublished; strictly 5,000 words or fewer … Please omit all personal information from the manuscript itself (i.e., name, address, email address, phone number), as all stories are read blindly.”

Reasons to submit:

 

LitMag – Anton Chekhov Award for Flash Fiction – $16 fee [19]

Deadline: October 1, 2019

“$1,250, publication in LitMag and agency review by Sobel Weber Associates. … Three finalists will receive $100 each. All finalists will be considered for possible agency review. All entries will be considered for publication.” 500 to 1,500 words.

Reasons to submit:

 

The Arkansas International – Emerging Writer’s Prize – $20 fee [20]

Deadline: October 13, 2019

$1000 prize. Judged by Sigrid Nunez. “Entries for the Emerging Writer’s Prize in Fiction should be a single prose work not exceeding 7,500 words. Open to writers who haven’t yet published a full-length book, and who have no book forthcoming before May 1, 2020. Writers with chapbooks are allowed. Writers with a self-published book with a print run under 500 copies are allowed. All work will be considered for inclusion in the print magazine. … $20 entry fee includes a one-year subscription to The Arkansas International (free to current subscribers).”

Reasons to submit:

 

New Letters – Publication Award in Fiction – $20 fee [21]

Deadline: October 14, 2019

“Stories may not exceed 8,000 words. Stories must be unpublished. Stories must concern this year’s topic of PLACE & LOCALITY and exhibit a grounding in a physical environment, region or locality in some way, whether implicitly or explicitly through title, setting, plot, theme, conflict, or the minds of the characters. … A one-year subscription to New Letters, shipped to any address within the United States, is included in the price of the first entry. … The winner will be published in New Letters and receive a $750 cash prize.”

Reasons to submit:

 

A Public Space – A Public Space Fellowships – $0 fee [22]

Deadline: October 15, 2019

“Three six-month fellowships of $1,000 each are given annually to emerging fiction writers and nonfiction writers who have not published a full-length book. The fellows will work with the editors to prepare a piece for publication in A Public Space and will also have the opportunity to meet with publishing professionals and participate in a public reading in New York City. For fellowships from March 2020 to September 2020, using only the online submission system, submit a short story or essay of any length with a cover letter and a brief written statement between September 15 and October 15. There is no application fee.” Full 2020 guidelines forthcoming in September.

Reasons to submit:

 

University of Louisville – Calvino Prize – $25 fee [23]

Deadline: October 14, 2019

“The Calvino Prize is an annual fiction competition sponsored by the Creative Writing Program in the English Department of the University of Louisville. They will be awarded to outstanding pieces of fiction in the fabulist experimentalist style of Italo Calvino. Please note that these prizes are meant to encourage experimental writing, in the mode of Calvino, and are not meant to encourage merely imitative work. The first place entry will be published in Miracle Monocle journal at the University of Louisville. Further, the winner will be invited to read the winning entry, all expenses paid (within the continental US), at the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900 held at the University of Louisville every February. The 10 finalists will be posted on the website.”

Reasons to submit:

 

Indiana Review – Blue Light Books Prize – $10-20 fee [24]

Deadline: October 31, 2019

“Manuscripts should be 30,000-45,000 words, not including table of contents and acknowledgements. … A publication contract with IU Press and a prize of $2,000 against future royalties will be awarded to the winner. … The winning Blue Light Books collection will be published in trade paperback format and displayed at the following Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference. The winner will also be flown out to read a selection of their work at the annual 2019 Blue Light Reading in beautiful Bloomington, IN.”

Reasons to submit:

 


November 2019

Malahat Review – Open Season Award (Fiction) – $40 fee [25]

Deadline: November 1, 2019

“The Malahat Review invites entries for its annual Open Season Awards in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction with prizes totalling $CAN 6000. The contest is open to Canadian and international writers anywhere in the world, with a final deadline of midnight (PDT) on 1 November 2019. All entries are judged anonymously. The winner in each category will receive a prize of $CAN 2000 and be published in the magazine’s spring 2020 issue. 1 story only per entry, no more than 2500 words in length. … Entrants receive, for themselves or a friend, a one-year print subscription to The Malahat Review.”

Reasons to submit:

 

PEN America – 2020 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers – $0 fee [26]

Deadline: November 15, 2019

“The PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers each year recognizes twelve emerging fiction writers for their debut short story published during a given calendar year in a literary magazine or cultural website and aims to support the launch of their careers as fiction writers. Each of the twelve winning writers will receive a cash purse of $2,000 and will be honored at the annual PEN Literary Awards Ceremony in New York City. The independent book publisher Catapult will publish the twelve winning stories in an annual anthology entitled The PEN America Best Debut Short Stories.”

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 [27]

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 [28]