In addition, there are contests for essays, poetry, short stories, emerging writers, established writers, young, and mature writers.
The most prestigious contests offer substantial prizes, but even a modest prize comes with the distinction of having won an award.
CSO One City, One Symphony Freedom Poetry Contest is sponsored by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Restrictions: Open to legal residents of the states of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana enrolled in grades 9-12 or adults age 18 or older at time of entry. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $2,500 Grand Prize in each of two categories (Grades 9-12 and Adults 18+). Deadline: October 1, 2015. Read details here.
The Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, sponsored by the African Poetry Book Fund and in partnership with the literary journal, Prairie Schooner, is the only one of its kind in the world and was established to promote African poetry written in English or in translation and to recognize a significant book published each year by an African poet. A standard edition is 48 pages or more in length. Genre: Open to any book of original poetry, in English, published during 2014 in a standard edition by a full-length collection of poetry. Restrictions: African nationals, African residents, or poet of African parentage with roots from any country, living anywhere in the world. Prize: USD $5,000. Deadline: October 1, 2015. Read details here.
In Cahoots Contest. Genre: Fiction. New collaborative work only. This means all submissions must be created by 2+ people. Prize: $50. Deadline: October 1, 2015. Read details here.
EssayMama Essay Writing Contest. Genre: Essay of 800 - 1300 words (topics on website). Prize: First prize $500, second prize $350, third prize $200. Winning essays will also be featured online on the EssayMama Blog. Deadline: October 1, 2015. Read details here.
The Man Booker International Prize for Fiction translated into English is awarded annually by the Booker Prize Foundation. Genres: Translated novel or collection of short stories published between January 1, 2015 and April 30, 2016. Prize: £50,000 divided equally between the author and the translator. There will be a prize of £2,000 for each of the shortlisted titles divided equally between the author and the translator. Deadline: October 2, 2015. Read details here.
Split This Rock: World & Me Youth Poetry Contest. Restrictions: Open to all youth in elementary, middle, and high school. Genre: Poetry. Deadline: October 3, 2015. Read details here.'
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Program. Restrictions: Authors making literary debut. 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: October 8, 2015. Read details here.
American Antiquarian Society Fellowships for Creative Writers is calling for applications for visiting fellowships for historical research by creative and performing artists, writers, film makers, journalists, and other persons whose goals are to produce imaginative, non-formulaic works dealing with pre-twentieth-century American history. Successful applicants are those whose work is for the general public rather than for academic or educational audiences. The Society's goal in sponsoring this program is to multiply and improve the ways in which an understanding of history is communicated to the American people. Prize: A stipend of $1,150 to $1,350 and on-campus housing is provided; fellows residing off-campus receive $1,850. Deadline: October 5, 2015. Read details here.
Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowships. Restrictions: Poet must be resident of Massachusetts. Genre: Poetry. Prize: Pending approval by the MCC Board in early September, the fellowship award amount will be increased this year to $12,000 (from $10,000). The finalist award will remain at $1,000. Deadline: October 5, 2015. Read details here.
The NC State Short Story Contests. Restrictions: Open to all North Carolina residents except 1) tenured/tenure-track professors in the University of North Carolina system or 2) writers with a published book, 3) previous winners. Genres: An unpublished SHORT STORY of no more than 20 double-spaced pages; limit 5000 words OR an unpublished SHORT-SHORT FICTION story of no more than 5 double-spaced typed pages; limit 1200 words. Prizes: James Hurst Fiction Prize for the winning story is $500. There will also be some Honorable Mention awards. Prize for short-short is $250. Deadline: October 12, 2015. Read details here.
RRofihe Trophy. Genre: Unpublished short story. Minimum word count: 3,500; maximum to 5,000 words. Prize: $500, trophy, announcement & publication on anderbo.com. Deadline: October 15, 2015. Read details here.
Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship. Restrictions: Poet must be born in the United States. Genre: Poetry. The sample must not exceed either (1) 40 typed pages or (2) one printed volume plus no more than 20 typed pages of your most recent work. There is no minimum page requirement. Prize: $54,000 for a year of travel and study abroad. Deadline: October 15, 2015. Read details here.
Kathy Fish Fellowship. Genre: Flash fiction. Restrictions: All writers previously unpublished in SmokeLong Quarterly and who do not have a published chapbook or book length work (or are not under contract for such) are eligible to apply. Prize: $500 and participation as a virtual "writer in residence" at SmokeLong for one year. Deadline: October 15, 2015. Read details here.
The Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest is open to 12th grade, undergraduate and graduate students. To be eligible for this contest, you must write an essay of no fewer than 800 and no more than 1,600 words in length, double-spaced, on one of three topics related to Ayn Rand's novel, Atlas Shrugged. Essays are judged on both style and content. The winning essay must demonstrate an outstanding knowledge of the book Atlas Shrugged. Prizes: 1st - $10,000, 2nd - $2,000, 3rd - $1,000. Also prizes for finalists, and semi-finalists. Deadline: October 23, 2015. Entry form and details here.
Arrowhead Regional Arts Council: Career Development Grants. Regional artists looking for support to take advantage of an impending opportunity should consider applying to this program. This grant program is designed to encourage artists to pursue enriching opportunities that address their artistic and career needs. Restrictions: Writers who are U.S. citizens and have lived in Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, or St. Louis counties in northeastern Minnesota for at least six months are eligible. Genres: Poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Prize: $3,000. Deadline: October 30, 2015. Read details here.
The Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest is sponsored by Hollins University. Restrictions: Open to young women who are sophomores or juniors in high school or preparatory school. Genre: Poetry. Prize: Up to $5,000 renewable annual Creative Talent Scholarship in creative writing if winner enrolls at Hollins. Free tuition and housing for the university’s Hollins summer creative writing program. $200 cash prize. Publication in Cargoes, Hollins’ award-winning student literary magazine. Ten copies of Cargoes. Deadline: October 30, 2015. Read details here.
The Marfield Prize, also known as the National Award for Arts Writing, is given annually by the Arts Club of Washington to nonfiction books about the arts written for a broad audience. Genre: Non-fiction book. Self-published books not accepted. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: October 31, 2015. Read details here.
PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is the most prestigious literary award in the US. Restrictions: Authors must be living American citizens. Self-published works not accepted. Genres: Novels, novellas, and collections of short stories. Prize: $15,000. Deadline: October 31, 2015. Read details here.
The Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize. Restrictions: Entrants must be aged 18-25 years and living in the UK. Genre: Fiction and nonfiction. Each year a question or quote exploring Franklin’s relevance in our time is open for interpretation in 1000-1500 words. Prize: First prize of £750, second prize of £500. Winning entries will be posted on the website and also published online by The Telegraph. Deadline: October 31, 2015. Read details here.
Burt Award for Caribbean Literature. Restrictions: Caribbean authors age 12 through 18. Genres: Published books, previously self-published books, and unpublished manuscripts are eligible for the Award. Prize: First Prize of $10,000 CAD, a Second Prize of $7,000 CAD and a Third Prize of $5,000 CAD. Deadline: October 31, 2015. Read details here.
The Eric Gregory Awards. Restrictions: Applicants must be under 30 and a British subject by birth and must ordinarily be resident in the United Kingdom or Northern Ireland. Genre: Poetry collection. Previously published work accepted. Prize: £4,000.00. Deadline: October 31, 2015. Read details here.
McKitterick Prize. Restrictions: Open to authors over age 40 on December 31, 2015. Genre: First novel. The work must have been first published in the UK in the year in which the deadline falls (and not first published abroad), or be unpublished. Prize: £4,000.00. Deadline: October 31, 2015. Read details here.
Tom-Gallon Trust Award. Restrictions: Open to citizens of the United Kingdom, Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland with at least one short story published or accepted for publication. Genre: Short story, maximum 5,000 words. May be unpublished. Prize: £1,000.00. Deadline: October 31, 2015. Read details here.
Lee & Low Books New Visions Award. Restrictions: Open to writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a middle grade or young adult novel published. Genre: Middle grade or young adult novel. Prize: $1,000 and their standard publication contract, including their basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash prize of $500. Deadline: October 31, 2015. Read details here.