These writing contests are free, so what have you got to lose?
In addition to the prestige of winning a contest, some of the monetary prizes this month are substantial.
Be sure to check the submission requirements carefully, as some have age and geographical restrictions.
Many contests are offered annually, so if you miss a contest you may be able to catch it next year. For a full month-by-month listing of contests see: Free Contests. http://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/p/free-contests.html
Crucible: Poetry and Fiction Competition is sponsored by the Barton College Department of English. Genres: Fiction (limited to 8,000 words or less) and poetry (limited to five poems). Restrictions: All work must be original and unpublished. Prizes: $150.00 First Prize. $100.00 Second Prize. Publication in the Crucible. Deadline: May 1, 2017. https://www.barton.edu/crucible/
The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Contest. Restrictions: Children aged 18 and under. Entrants must reside within a Commonwealth country or territory, or the Gambia, the Maldives, and Zimbabwe. Max word count is 1500 for entrants aged 14-18, and 750 for entrants younger than 14. Prizes are not stated explicitly but “have included certificates, resources for winner’s school, visits to Cambridge University, a trip to London and a week of activities, work experience at international organisations, and having your entry featured in worldwide media.” Genre: Essay. The theme of the contest is “A Commonwealth For Peace.” Deadline: May 1, 2017. https://thercs.org/youth-and-education/the-queens-commonwealth-essay-competition/
“My Mother, My Hero.” Genre: Essay. "In the world of addiction, it is often the families who help pull a loved one out of the clutches of substance abuse. It’s through their support that many people find healing, and quite often it is a mom (or a mother figure) who is always there in a time of need. Of course, it’s also likely that a mom has been hurt most in watching her child suffer the pain of addiction, which doesn’t just affect the addict, it touches everyone in their life. In 250 words or less, tell us why your mother is your hero." Prize: $200. Deadline: May 1, 2017. http://www.swiftriver.com/my-mother-my-hero/
Alpine Fellowship. Genre: Pieces of any genre up to 2500 words on the theme of “landscape.” Prize: The first place winner receives £3000 and an invitation to enter the symposium in Venice (two runners-up also receive the invitation). Deadline: May 1, 2017. http://alpinefellowship.com/submission/writing-visual-arts-prizes/
Questions Writing Prize. Restrictions: Open to authors aged 18-30. Genre: Short stories of any genre or nonfiction between 1500 and 2000 words. Prize: First place winners (or prize pool for a tie) is $2000. The work will also be published in a book. Deadline: May 1, 2017. http://www.questions.com.au/writing-prize/index.php?utm_source=AlmondPress&utm_medium=WritingCompetitionList&utm_campaign=WritingCompetitions
Grant MacEwan Creative Writing Scholarship is sponsored by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Genres: Poetry, Short Fiction & Creative Nonfiction, Drama, or Graphic Novel. Restrictions: Authors must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate creative writing program of study or mentorship. (Max age 25) Alberta residents only. Prize: $5000 (CAN). Deadline: May 1, 2017. https://www.affta.ab.ca/dr-macewan-literary-arts-scholarship-guidelines
Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction Grant. Genre: Creative nonfiction. Whiting welcomes submissions for works of history, cultural or political reportage, biography, memoir, the sciences, philosophy, criticism, food or travel writing, and personal essays, among other categories. Writers must be completing a book of creative nonfiction that is currently under contract with a publisher. Writers who signed a contract before May 1, 2015, are eligible. Prize: $40,000. Deadline: May 1, 2017. http://www.whiting.org/awards/content/whiting-creative-nonfiction-grant
Polari First Book Prize. Genres: The prize is for a first book which explores the LGBT experience and is open to any work of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction published in English. Self-published works in both print and digital formats are eligible for submission. Restrictions: Writer must be born in UK or resident in the UK. Prize: £1,000.00. Deadline: May 1, 2017. http://www.polariliterarysalon.co.uk/Polari/Polari_First_Book_Prize.html
West Virginia Fiction Competition. Restrictions: Open to West Virginia residents or students. Genre: Short fiction, 5,000 words max. Prize: $500. Deadline: May 1, 2017. http://www.shepherd.edu/ahwir/west-virginia-fiction-competition
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Program. Restrictions: Debuting authors and writers with fewer than three previously published books who have yet to receive a major literary award are eligible for consideration. Exceptions are sometimes made for authors who have published more titles, but have yet to break out to a larger audience. Submissions must be original publications, penned by one author. Self-published works not allowed. Genres: Published or scheduled to be published fiction and literary nonfiction. Prize: $10,000 in each genre and in-store marketing/merchandising from Barnes & Noble. 2nd Place $5,000 in each genre, 3rd Place $2,500 in each genre. Deadline: May 4, 2017. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/h/discover-great-new-writers-selection-process
Maine Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowships. Restrictions: Open to writers who have lived in the state of Maine for at least one year. Genre: Fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction. Prize: $5,000. Deadline: May 4, 2017. https://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Grants/Individual-Artist-Fellowships
Daily Mail/Penguin Random House New Crime Novelist Competition. Restrictions: Open to residents of the UK or Republic of Ireland. Unpublished authors only. Genre: Crime book. Prize: £20,000.00 advance on a publishing contract. Deadline: May 5, 2017.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/article-4410358/Daily-Mail-Novel-Competition-YOU.html
Creative Comedy Project. Genre: Comedy. ‘We want you to write a piece of comedy that’s no longer than 500 words. It could be experimental, satire, spoof, wit or wordplay. The choice our friends is up to you! We’re looking for all formats of written comedy. It could be the opening to a sitcom, a scene of a play or just a silly story. All that we ask is that it deals with one or more of the themes from Anita and Me, including family, coming-of-age, migration, racism, love and friendship, cultural and social change. Prize: The winning piece will be crowned Comedy Gold and awarded a prize of £300. Runner-up positions include Silver and Bronze and will receive prizes of £150 and £50 respectively. Deadline: May 7, 2017. http://www.theatrecloud.com/get-involved/creative-projects/creative-comedy-project
Artist Trust. Restrictions: Open to poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers who are residents of Washington State. Students enrolled in a degree-granting program are ineligible. Submit a writing sample of up to 12 pages with a project description, synopsis, budget, and résumé. Grant: $1,500. Deadline: May 15, 2017. http://artisttrust.org/index.php/for-artists/money
Sapiens Plurum. Genre: Stories that personalize the consequences of climate change so readers feel as well as know them. But stories must offer hope, at least a possibility, for without hope people rarely act. Your job, as author, is to inspire scientists and states-persons around the world to live up to the promise of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Prize: 1ST PRIZE: $1000; 2ND PRIZE: $500; 3RD PRIZE: $300. Deadline: May 27, 2017. Submission details available after registration. http://sapiensplurum.org/fiction-contests.html
The Wolfe Pack Black Orchid Award. Genre: Mystery novellas in the style of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novellas. Manuscript length: 15K-20K words. Prize: $1,000, plus recognition and publication in a forthcoming issue of AAMM. Deadline: May 31, 2017. http://www.nerowolfe.org/htm/literary_awards/black_orchid_award/Black_Orchid_award_proc.htm
I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Contest. Genre: Travel articles, travel anecdotes and travel reflections. Prize: $200. Deadline: May 31, 2017. http://www.imustbeoff.com/p/blog-page.html
Like this article? You can find more writing resources, including free contests, calls for submissions, useful tips on how to get an agent, agents who are looking for clients as well as publishers accepting manuscripts directly from writers, tips for how to market and promote your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews, how to self-publish, and where to find markets for your work on Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity. http://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com