Cold weather writing contests

Contests with deadlines from October to January

A number of writing contest organisers have reached out to us over the past few weeks for help getting the word out to our community and we added a few more we thought would be of interest. Read on for fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction contests to keep you motivated through the cold winter months. All contests listed accept work only in English and have deadlines spanning from October 2021 to January 2022.

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 contest queries or submissions :). Instead, click on the green links to go to the contest websites. For more great places to submit as well as our best tips on getting published, check out our other lists and resources.


Dillydoun International Fiction Prize

The Dillydoun Review’s International Fiction Prize is open for submissions until 31 October, 2021, and is open to all types of fiction (short story, flash, excerpts from longer works) across all genres with a maximum length of 8,000 words.

Cash prizes will be given to the top three winners and honorable mentions, including $2,000 (~€1,725) to the first place winner. There is an entry fee of $25.00 (~€22.00) per submission.


Open Season Awards

The Malahat Review’s Open Season Awards is open for poetry, short story, and essay submissions until 1 November. Line limit for poetry is 100 lines; word limit for prose pieces is 2,500 words.

This year’s contest will be judged by Conor Kerr (poetry), Zilla Jones (short fiction), and Erin Soros (creative nonfiction), and the winner in each category will receive $6,000 CAD (~€4,085). There is an entry fee of $40 CAD (~€27.00), which includes a subscription to the magazine.


Briar Cliff Review Contest

The Briar Cliff Review is open for submissions until 1 November, and is giving away a $1000 (~€860) cash prize to one winner from each category: fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. There are no specific themes, but submitters are encouraged to read the work of previous winners on their website.

Maximum length is 5,000 words for fiction and nofiction prose, with no line limits for poetry. There is an entry fee of $20.00 (~17.50) per prose piece or per three poems.


Edwin Markham Prize for Poetry and Gabriele Rico Challenge for Nonfiction

These two annual prizes given be Reed Magazine are both open for submissions until 1 November. Poems can be of any genre or style, and entrants can submit up to five poems per entry. Nonfiction should be personal essays or narratives (not scholarly works or book reviews), with a maximum word count of 5,000 words.

The winner of the prose competition will receive a $1,000 (~€865) cash prize, while the winner of the poetry competition will receive a $1,333 (~€1,150) cash prize. There is an entry fee of $20.00 (~€17.50) per prose piece or per five poems.


TripFiction ‘Sense of Place’ Creative Writing Competition

The 2021 competition is open for submissions from now until 6 November. TripFiction is looking for ‘stories that take us to places it may be hard to reach right now’, where the setting is as important as the protagonists.

Submissions can be either fiction or travel memoir, and should be between 750 and 2,500 words. The competition will be judged by best-selling novelists Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley, with cash prizes offered to the top three stories, including a first-place prize of £1,000 (~€1,160). There is an entry fee of £10 (~€11.00).


Fish Short Story Prize

Fish publishing is once again accepting submissions for its annual short story prize. Submissions are open until 30 November. The word limit is 5,000; there are no restrictions on genre.

The competition will be judged by novelist Sarah Hall, and the winner will receive a cash prize of €3,000 and a five day short-story workshop at the West Cork Literary Festival. Runners-up will also receive cash prizes. There is an entry fee of €20.00, plus €10.00 for subsequent entries.


Moth Poetry Prize

Our friends over at The Moth are accepting submissions for their annual poetry prize until 31 December. Any poem is eligible, with no line limit.

The competition this year will be judged by Warsan Shire, and prizes will be awarded to the top three finalists, including a first-place prize of €6,000. There is an entry fee of €15.00 per poem.


Mogford Prize

The Mogford Prize, also featured in our list 7 Writing Contests with Huge Cash Prizes, is open for submissions from 9 November 2021 through 12 January 2022, and is looking for a short fiction piece (max 2,500 words) that centers around food and/or drink.

Winners will receive £10,000 (~€11,000), an engraved award, publication online and in a linen-bound mini book plus a professional audio recording through The Story Player (shortlisted entrants will also be invited to Oxford for a prize-giving party). There is an entry fee of £15 (~€17.50).

1 October 2021

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