Upcoming Writing Contests

Many of us are polishing up our revisions for final portfolios, and many more are looking forward to a long winter break with lots of extra time to write. But where are you planning to send all of your fantastic poetry and prose? Check out these upcoming writing contests, and start getting your writing ready to send in!


The quarterly literary journal American Short Fiction invites all prose writers to enter their sixth annual Short Story Contest. All entries must be unpublished and 6,000 words or less, typed and double-spaced. The contest entry fee is $20, which includes electronic access to the contest issue.

The contest judge this year is Justin Cronin, author of the critically acclaimed best-seller The Passage and Mary and O’Neil, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Stephen Crane Prize. First prize in the contest receives $1,000 and publication; second prize receives $500.

All entries are considered for publication. Contest deadline: December 8th 2011. Complete guidelines can be found at: americanshortfiction.org/contest


The Annual Poetry of the Sacred Contest is now accepting submissions. First Prize will win $500 and three Honorable Mention Prizes, $100 each. Winning Poems will be published in The Merton Seasonal, a publication of scholarly articles about noted spiritual leader Thomas Merton and will be posted on www.mertoninstitute.org.

Submit only one unpublished poem, in English, 100 lines or less. Type your name, address, phone number, email address, and the title of your poem on a cover page. Attach one copy of your titled poem to the cover page. Submit your poem on a separate page with no identifying information.

Poems will not be accepted via email. The poem must be sent through the postal service  to: Merton Institute, 415 West Muhammad Ali Blvd., Louisville, KY 40202. Include the $15 submission fee payable to The Merton Institute.

Poems will be judged on literary excellence, spiritual tenor, and human authenticity.

Deadline  is January 31, 2012. Winners will be announced by email by April 1, 2012. Please visit the Institute website for more information, and contact vhurst@mertoninstitute.ccsend.com with any questions.


The 2012 Bristol Short Story Prize is open to all writers over 16 years of age. Stories can be on any theme or subject and entry can be made online . Entries must be previously unpublished with a maximum length of 3,000 words. The entry fee is £7 (about $11) per story. The deadline for entries is March 31st 2012.

1st £1000 (about $1570) plus £150 Waterstone’s gift card
2nd £700 ( about $1100) plus £100 Waterstone’s gift card
3rd £400 (about $630) plus £100 Waterstone’s gift card
17 further prizes of £100 (about $150) will be presented to the writers whose stories appear on the shortlist. All 20 shortlisted writers will have their stories published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 5. The winning story will also be published in Bristol Review of Books and Venue magazine.

The 20 shortlisted writers will be invited to an awards ceremony in Bristol in July 2012 when the winners will be announced and the anthology launched. Any shortlisted writers unable to attend the awards ceremony will be sent their anthologies and prize money.

Judging panel : Ali Reynolds (literary consultant, former Random House editor), Bidisha (writer, broadcaster, critic), Anna Britten (writer, journalist at Venue Magazine), and Chris Wakling (novelist, Creative Writing tutor)


And of course, don’t forget the Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival we posted about earlier. The deadline for their Fiction Contest is fast approaching…

Best of luck to all DePaul writers!


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