6 Spring Writing Contests

Fiction and poetry contests open for submissions April 2023

Do you have a piece of writing you’re especially proud of? Try submitting it to a contest! All of the contests on this month’s list are currently open to submissions, welcome international writers, and offer cash prizes. Many feature other perks for winners as well, such as publication, writing services, and retreats.

Contests do almost always have entry fees, which the organisers typically use to fund the prize and support their operations. The ones on our list have entry fees ranging from $5 to $22. A few offer subsidised entries for writers in need.


Note: We are a creative writing school and compile these lists for the benefit of our students. We’re happy to answer questions about our courses but please don’t send us your publishing queries or submissions :). Instead, click on the green links to go to the publication’s website and look for their submissions page. For more great places to submit as well as our best tips on getting published, check out our other lists and resources.


Desperate Literature reached out to us for help spreading the word about their short fiction contest. Submit one short story of up to 2,000 words for consideration for multiple cash prizes, publication in Desperate Literature as well as one of their partner magazines, and the chance to attend a writer’s retreat at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy (for the winner) and in Tbilisi, Georgia (for a runner-up). The panel of judges this year includes Ottessa Moshfegh, Mariana Enríquez, and Tiffany Tsao. The fee is €20 for the first story and €10 for each additional entry, and they do offer some full and partially-funded applications for writers in need. They’ve extended the deadline to 30 April 2023. If that’s still too soon for you, go ahead and put it on your calendar for next year.


Sixfold offers a $1000 prize and publication to one poetry collection and one short story, four times per year. The next deadline is 23 April 2023. The process is a little different; the entrants become the judges as they read and give feedback to each other, with the top winners selected from the group vote. Entry fee is $5 for up to 5 poems (no more than 10 pages total) or up to 20 pages of prose.


Tadpole Press is open until 30 April for their twice-yearly 100-Word Writing Contest. The theme for this contest is using humor as healing, open to all genres. The first prize winner will receive $1000, while second and third place winners will receive writing services valued at $450 and $250, respectively. The entry fee is $10 per 100-word story, and winners will be announced a few weeks after the deadline.


Winning Writers hosts writing contests throughout the year; two with upcoming deadlines are the Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest and the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest. Both of these awards come with a $3000 prize for the top two winners as well as 10 honorable mentions each with a $300 cash prize. All winners and honorable mentions will be published on the Winning Writers website.

  • The Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest is open until 30 April for essays and works of fiction up to 6,000 words, of any style or genre. One winner will be chosen from each category for the top two prizes, and 10 honorable mentions will be chosen from the remaining entries. This year’s judges are Mina Manchester and Sarah Halper. Entry fee is $22, and winners will be announced on 15 October 2023.
  • The Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest will open for submissions on 15 April and remain open until 30 September 2023. Poems can be in any style. One winner will be chosen for a poem that rhymes or is in a traditional style, and the second winner will be chosen for a poem in any style or genre, with 10 honorable mentions from the remaining entries. Entry fee is $22 for up to 3 poems, with a limit of 250 lines per poem. Winners of the 2023 contest will be announced on 15 April 2024.


The Atlanta Review is accepting submissions until 1 May for their International Poetry Contest, which began in 1996 (when Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics) in the spirit of the ancient Greek Olympics, which included literary contests (who knew?). The editors are especially interested in international entries, and will publish the winners in the Fall/Winter issue of the magazine. The grand prize winner will receive $1000. Entry is $15 per five poems.


The Heroines Anthology, a project of the Heroines Festival, is currently accepting submissions for its fifth volume: the Global Poetry Edition! The editors reached out to us for help spreading the word to our community. They are collecting 50 poems for this anthology, and say: “Women poets are invited to submit poetry that reimagines women in myth, fairy tale, folklore or legend, or poems that tell women’s lost histories, or untold stories from across the globe.” Submission fee is $15 for one poem of up to 3 pages. Please contact the editors if you are unable to pay the fee. Submissions are open through 28 October 2023.


Author: Beka Bevans

6 April 2023

2 responses on "6 Spring Writing Contests"

  1. does anyone know about Burnside Review Press?
    They were suppose to have results for a poetry book contest in April of this year but nothing has happened and they don’t have anything on their website about it. ????

  2. We tried to email them too but got no reply.
    Probably best to remove them from any consideration…

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