In the urgency of finishing all things spring, I’ve neglected checking the writing contest information that overflows my inboxes. Yes, I’m partial to genre writing, but there are also plenty of offers for literary writers. I’m separating the literary from the genre contests, with upcoming deadlines listed in order of urgency.
In a literary vein:
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April 19: Thank the writing gods that Gulf Coast magazine has extended the deadline for its 2017 prizes in fiction, nonfiction and poetry until – tomorrow! Founded by Donald Barthelme and Philip Lopate, Gulf Coast is a product of the University of Houston’s highly-ranked creative writing program. Its contest awards $1,500 and publication to the winner in each category, $250 to each of two honorable mentions in each category. Fee: $23 per entry. See the site for details.
April 30: Glimmer Train magazine’s Fiction Open and Very Short Fiction contests. Fiction Open is for entries 3,000-20,000 words (although editors note that most entries are 3,000-6,000 words). $21 reading fee per entry; multiple prizes range from $600-$3000 and include publication in this prestigious journal.
Very Short Fiction is for stories 300-3000 words in length. $16 reading fee. Cash prizes plus publication for the winners. For both categories, as well as writing guidelines, see the site .
May 15: Carve Magazine’s Raymond Carver Short Story Contest. I mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth repeating, and I’m thrilled that Writer Unboxed blogger Art Klepchukov listed the contest of this Dallas-based publication as his choice of the best to enter if you only have time for one. Winning stories will be read by three literary agents. Prizes: $125 to $1500. Reading fee: $15-17. See the site for details.
And check out Klepchukov’s handpicked list of other spring writing contests at the Writer Unboxed site. He writes both literary and speculative fiction, so genre writers, check out his listing for The Ghost Story -- Supernatural Fiction Award there also.
April 24-May 14: Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword & Sorceress. OK, this is an anthology, not a contest, which means there’s no contest fee. However, fantasy writers have only a single short opening each year to be considered for this publication begun by the late famed fantasy author. Stories must be of the type considered “sword and sorcery,” with a strong female protagonist readers can care about. Payment: 6 cents/word as advance against royalties. See the site for guidelines.
May 1-May 15: Cast of Wonders Banned Books Week submissions. Again, not technically a contest (no fees!) but an annual event by this YA fantasy podcast. Selected episodes will air during the week of September 24-30, 2017. Banned Books Week submissions should be new stories only, suitable for a teen audience, and not more than 6,000 words in length. Cast of Wonders happily accepts flash fiction, but has a preference for stand-alone stories of 3000-4500 words. Payment: 6 cents/word, and a chance to hear your story beautifully read. See the site for details.
Now -May 25 (early deadline): 2017 Book Pipeline Competition. Not necessarily genre-related, except in the sense the submissions must have applicability to adaptation for movies or TV. Acceptable entries include novels, short stories, plays, graphic novels and comics, and plays. Potential for cash prizes and industry recognition, as well as feedback on all entries. Fee: $40 for entries received by May 25, increasing to $55 for entries by August 15, and $65 for entries by November 1. See the site for details.
Now – June 1: Moonlight Mesa magazine’s Cowboy Up Contest returns for 2017. If you love Westerns, this is the one for you. Maximum length: 3000 words, fiction or nonfiction, from any era but with a Western theme. Fee: $25 per story, and possible inclusion in a later anthology. Previous contests have included cash prizes, but I didn’t find any mention of prizes this time around. See the site for details and entry form.
Now – June 30: The British Fantasy Society’s BFS Short Story Competition 2017. You don’t have to be British to enter, but you do have to write in English! Any kind of “fantastical story” is welcome, including science fiction and horror. Cash prizes and publication in the society’s BFS Horizons magazine. Fee: £5 (PayPal will be happy to convert your non-UK currency). See the site for details. And check out prolific British fantasy writer Deborah Walker’s guest post with contest judge Allen Ashley for insight into what he’s looking for.