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Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time in Winter 2019

Since my last contest roundup, I’m thrilled to share that one of my short stories has been included in the Best American Mystery Stories 2019 [1]. You can learn how attending a local writing conference made that happen [2].

This contest submissions season covers deadlines from December 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020. Finish the year strong by sending out your best work and start the new year with an invigorating round of submissions. Thanks to Literistic [3], Poets & Writers [4], Submittable Discover [5], and New Pages [6] 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.


December 2019

Minola Review – 2019 Fiction Contest – $20 CAD fee [7]

Deadline: December 1, 2019

“The contests are open to Canadian and international women and non-binary writers from anywhere in the world, with a final deadline of midnight (EST) on Dec. 1, 2019. All entries are judged anonymously. The grand prize winner in each category will receive a prize of $750 and publication in Minola Review. The runner-up will receive $100 and publication in Minola Review. All entries will also be considered for standard publication. Note: Minola Review will only accept submissions from women and non-binary writers.” The 2019 Fiction Judge is Heather O’Neill. Submit 1 story up to 350 words or 1-3 flash fiction pieces up to 1,000 words each.

Reasons to submit:

Porter House Review – Editor’s Prize in Fiction – $10 fee [8]

Deadline: December 2, 2019

“Judged by Carmen Maria Machado. The winner of the second annual Porter House Review Editor’s Prize in Fiction will receive $1,000 and publication. All submitted works will be considered for publication. … Our review seeks to publish fiction that is emotionally affecting, haunting, bizarre, and in firm control of the machinations of storytelling (e.g. character, scene, plot, and momentum). We welcome both traditional short stories, flash fiction, and other hybrid forms.”

Reasons to submit:

Nobrow Press – Short Story Competition – $0 fee [10]

Deadline: December 9, 2019

“Up to twelve winning entries will be published in our short story anthology, and this beautifully illustrated book will celebrate the best short fiction and non-fiction writing. Our theme is ‘The Censor’. You can interpret this in any way you wish – it could represent censoring of the past, present and future; the self; the state; or the effects of censorship on everyday life. … We are looking for inclusive, surprising, ingenious and diverse responses that capture our minds and hold us until every word is devoured. It is completely free to enter … An overall winner will receive £2000. All selected contributors will receive £150 and two complimentary copies of the book, and will be invited to attend events including a launch and readings.” Submit up to 3,000 words. 

Reasons to submit:

Beloit Fiction Journal – Hamlin Garland Award for the Short Story – $20 fee [11]

Deadline: December 10, 2019

“$2,000 and publication will be awarded to the top unpublished story on any theme. The winning story will appear in print and on our website.” Submit up to 7,000 words. All entrants considered for publication. 2020 judge is Jesse Lee Kercheval. 

Reasons to submit:

Lumina – Multilingual Contest for Fiction – $10 fee [13]

Deadline: December 15, 2019

“Please send us fiction or creative nonfiction pieces influenced by languages other than English. The writing can mix English with other languages, or it can be haunted by them, perhaps written in English but imagined in another language. 1st place will receive $150 and publication in Lumina Online. Runner-up will receive $50 and publication in Lumina Online. Word count limit is 2,500. Judged by Ingrid Rojas Contreras, author of the novel Fruit of the Drunken Tree.”

Reasons to submit:

Mid American Review – Sherwood Anderson Fiction Prize – $10 fee [14]

Deadline: December 15, 2019

1 story of up to 6000 words will win $1,000 and publication. Finalists receive a notation and possible publication. “All participants receive the issue in which our winners are printed! The contests are for previously unpublished work only–if the work has appeared in print or online, or has been contracted for such, it is ineligible and will be disqualified. Manuscripts and intro material need not be left anonymous.”

Reasons to submit:

Boulevard – Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers – $16 fee [15]

Deadline: December 31, 2019

$1,500 and publication in Boulevard awarded to the winning story by a writer who has not yet published a book of fiction, poetry, or creative non-fiction with a nationally distributed press.

Reasons to submit:


January 2020

Ashland Creek Press – 2019 Siskiyou Prize – $25 fee [16]

Deadline: January 01, 2020

“The Siskiyou Prize accepts published or unpublished full-length prose manuscripts, including novels, memoirs, short story collections, and essay collections. The 2019 Siskiyou Prize winner will receive a cash award of $1,000 and a two-week residency at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology during the 2020-2021 residency season. All unpublished manuscripts submitted to the prize will be considered for publication by Ashland Creek Press. … Because our goal is to celebrate and promote all new environmental literature, both published and unpublished books are eligible for The Siskiyou Prize.”

Reasons to submit:

Bayou Magazine – James Knudsen Prize for Fiction – $20 fee [17]

Deadline: January 1, 2020

“Contest winners will receive $1,000 and a year’s subscription to Bayou Magazine. Finalists will be named on our website, and all entries will be considered for publication.” Up to 7,500 words. “We accept novel excerpts if the submission stands alone as a complete short story.”

Reasons to submit:

Mississippi Review – 2020 Fiction Prize – $16 fee [18]

Deadline: January 1, 2020

$1,000 prize. “Winners and finalists will make up next summer’s print issue of the national literary magazine Mississippi Review. Contest is open to all writers in English except current or former students or employees of The University of Southern Mississippi. Fiction and nonfiction entries should be 1000-8000 words; … Each entrant will receive a copy of the prize issue. All submissions will be read anonymously. Please remove or redact any contact information from your submission.”

Reasons to submit:

Nowhere Magazine – Fall 2019 Travel Writing Contest – $20 fee [19]

Deadline: January 1, 2020

“A prize of $1,000 and publication in Nowhere Magazine is given twice yearly for a travel-specific short story … that possesses a powerful sense of place, character or time. Unpublished and published pieces that have not previously been chosen as a contest winner are eligible. Submit your 800- to 5,000-word piece, in English. … Up to ten finalists also will be published.”

Reasons to submit:

North Carolina Writers’ Network – Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize – $10-$20 fee [21]

Deadline: January 2, 2020

“The competition is open to any African-American writer whose primary residence is in North Carolina. Entries … must be unpublished*, no more than 3,000 words, and concerned with the lives and experiences of North Carolina African-Americans. Entries may be excerpts from longer works, but must be self-contained. The winner receives $1,000 and possible publication of the winning entry in The Carolina Quarterly.”

Reasons to submit:

Granta (affiliated) – DISQUIET Literary Prize – $15 fee [22]

Deadline: January 3, 2020

“Submissions are now open for the DISQUIET Prize for writing in any genre, by a writer who has not yet published more than one book. … winners will be published in Granta.com (fiction) … One grand prize winner will receive a full scholarship, accommodations, and travel stipend to attend the tenth annual DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon taking place June 21 – July 3, 2020.” Submit a short story or novel excerpt, maximum 25 (double-spaced) pages per entry.

Reasons to submit:

Poets & Writers – Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award – $0 fee [23]

Deadline: January 6, 2020

“This year, writers from the state of Oklahoma are invited to apply for the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. One fiction writer … will be selected. Winners receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to meet with top literary professionals, including editors, agents, publishers, and prominent writers;” a $500 honorarium, and a “one-month residency at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Wyoming. … Fiction manuscripts should not exceed 25 pages and must be double-spaced. Fiction manuscripts may include stories and/or excerpts from novels.”

Reasons to submit:

Literal Latté – K. Margaret Grossman Fiction Awards – $10 fee [24]

Deadline: January 15, 2020

“Send unpublished stories, 10,000 words max. All subjects and styles welcome. All entries considered for publication.” First Prize: $1000, Second Prize: $300, Third Prize: $200

Reasons to submit:


February 2020

American Short Fiction – 2020 American Short(er) Fiction Prize – $17 fee [25]

Deadline: February 1, 2020

“The prize recognizes extraordinary short fiction under 1,000 words. The first-place winner will receive a $1,000 prize and publication. Previous winners of the Short(er) Fiction Prize have gone on to be anthologized in places such as The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. All entries will be considered for publication. … Stories must be 1,000 words or fewer. You are allowed to include up to three stories per entry.”

Reasons to submit:

The Malahat Review – Novella Prize – $40 fee [26]

Deadline: February 1, 2020

“The Malahat Review invites entries for its biennial Novella Prize, for which one award of $CAN 1,500 is given. The contest is open to Canadian and international writers anywhere in the world … All entries are judged anonymously, and the winning novella will be published in the magazine’s summer 2020 issue.” Submit 10,000 – 20,000 words. “There are no restrictions as to form, subject matter, or aesthetic approach.”

Reasons to submit:

Lunch Ticket – The Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multilingual Texts – $0 fee [27]

Deadline: February 28, 2020

“Without literary translation, we are all separate races and cultures, condemned to live out one hundred years of solitude. Our parchments would never be deciphered, and our stories would be unrepeatable forever more. But with translation, we do not have to spend that time alone. Through the voices and stories of those far removed from us, but human just the same as us—we earn our second opportunity on this earth. … The winner, selected by a guest judge, will receive $200, and the winning piece will be published alongside two semi-finalists in the upcoming issue of Lunch Ticket.”

Reasons to submit:

Sustainable Arts Foundation – 2020 Awards – $20 fee [28]

Deadline: February 28, 2020

“To be eligible, the applicant must have at least one child under the age of 18. … We are inspired by anyone who is making creative work while raising a family. Given the intense demand for these awards (we typically receive over 3,000 applications), and the fact that the awards are based on demonstrated excellence in your discipline, we don’t recommend that artists or writers who are beginning their creative careers apply to this program. … This year, we will make awards of $5,000 each to twenty artists and writers with children. Additionally, we will name twenty finalists. Our awards offer unrestricted cash, and recipients can use the funds as they see fit.”

Reasons to submit:

Red Hen Press – Women’s Prose Prize – $25 fee [30]

Deadline: February 29, 2020

“The Women’s Prose Prize is for a previously unpublished, original work of prose. Novels, short story collections, memoirs, essay collections, and all other forms of prose writing are eligible for consideration. Awarded manuscript is selected through an annual competition which is open to all writers who identify as women. … Award is $1000 and publication by Red Hen Press. … 45,000 word minimum, 80,000 word maximum.”

Reasons to submit:


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

Happy submitting!

 

 

If you enjoy mystery stories, please check out “A Damn Fine Town” in the Best American Mystery Stories 2019 [1].

About Arthur Klepchukov [31]

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 [32]

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