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Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time in Summer 2019

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This contest submissions season covers deadlines from June 1, 2019 through September 1, 2019. Summer is a slower time for any literary journal or contest associated with a university, but there are still opportunities between beach waves and new drafts. Thanks to Literistic, Poets & Writers, Submittable Discover, and New Pages for many of these contests.
Much like editors are looking for reasons to reject work, I want to focus on opportunities worth my time. Thus, my list of writing contests below includes reasons to submit to that particular writing contest. May you find a promising opportunity among this list and spend less time searching for where to send your exceptional work.

June 2019
American Short Fiction – Halifax Ranch Prize – $20 fee
Deadline: June 1, 2019
“The winner will receive a $2,500 prize and publication in an upcoming issue of American Short Fiction. Please submit your $20 entry fee and your work through Submittable. International submissions in English are eligible. … All submitters will receive a complimentary copy of the prize issue. All entries must be single, self-contained works of fiction, between 2,000-6,500 words. Please DO NOT include any identifying information on the manuscript itself. … Winners will be announced in September.”
Reasons to submit:

  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Flag-bearer—open to international submissions
  • Oh, wordy!—generous word count limit
  • Prestige—#19 in Pushcart ranking

HeartWood – Broadside Series Contest – $15 fee
Deadline: June 1, 2019
“A writing practice requires us to slow down, reflect, attend. HeartWood Literary Magazine & West Virginia Wesleyan’s MFA Program seek to honor this practice with an annual broadside series and contest. Partnering with West Virginia letterpress company Base Camp Printing, we print the winning entry … on a limited-edition letterpress broadside featuring an original image inspired by the text. The annual broadside serves as artifact companion to the fall issue of the digital magazine. Both the handmade and the electronic HeartWood venues aim to showcase work that gets to the heart of the matter.” Submit up to 200 words. “$500 cash prize + 25 copies of limited-edition letterpress broadside will be awarded to the winner. All entries will also be considered for publication in HeartWood. All submissions must be anonymous.”
Reasons to submit:

  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • No hunting for work—can read past work online
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes

The Royal Society of Literature – V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize – £8 fee
Deadline: June 28, 2019
“We are delighted to announce that the Prize is open for its twentieth anniversary year. The RSL will be announcing special celebrations in autumn 2019 to mark two decades of the Prize. There is a prize of £1,000 and the winning entry will be published in Prospect online and in the RSL Review. Stories must be written in English and be between 2,000 and 4,000 words. Entrants must be resident in the UK, Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth. Entries are £7.50 per story.”
Reasons to submit:

  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Flag-bearer—open to international submissions
  • No hunting for winners—can read past winners online
  • Regional restriction—less competition

Autumn House Press – 2019 Full-Length Fiction Contest – $30 fee
Deadline: June 30, 2019
“For the 2019 contest, the Autumn House staff serves as the preliminary readers, and the final judge is Aimee Bender. The winner receives publication of a full-length manuscript and $2,500. … The winners will receive book publication, $1,000 advance against royalties, and a $1,500 travel/publicity grant to promote their book. All finalists will be considered for publication. Fiction submissions should be approximately 200-300 pages. All fiction sub-genres (short stories, short-shorts, novellas, or novels) or any combination of sub-genres are eligible.”
Reasons to submit:

  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Flag-bearer—open to international submissions
  • Friendly to novelists
  • Oh, wordy!—generous word count limit
  • Prestigious judge
  • Rebirth—accepts published work
  • Wanderluster—prize includes lodging or travel

Berlin Writing Prize 2019 – €12 fee
Deadline: June 30, 2019
“we invite entries on the theme “The Circus” from both published and unpublished writers resident anywhere in the world. Up for grabs is a one-month residency in a luxury apartment in one of the world’s most creative destinations for travellers, Berlin’s Circus Hotel. From January 4th to February 3rd 2020, the winning author will have a month to write, a free four-day pass to The British Council Germany’s Literary Seminar, and access to the famously inspiring Berliner Luft! Alongside a host of runner up prizes, a shortlist of ten writers will be published in an anthology by the independent Berlin press KLAK Verlag.”
Reasons to submit:

  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Flag-bearer—open to international submissions
  • Friendly to emerging writers
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes
  • Wanderluster—prize includes lodging or travel

Press 53 / Prime Number Magazine – Flash Fiction Contest – $7 fee
Deadline: June 30, 2019
“Submit one unpublished story that is no more than 751 words… Open to any writer anywhere in the world whose entry is unpublished and written in English and who is at least 18 years old.
First Prize: $353 (a prime number) and publication
Second Prize: $151 (a prime number) and publication
Third Prize: $53 (a prime number dear to us) and publication”
Reasons to submit:

  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Flag-bearer—open to international submissions
  • No hunting for winners—can read past winners online
  • Prestige—#126 in Pushcart ranking (Press 53)
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes

Willow Springs Books – Spokane Prize for Short Fiction – $28 fee
Deadline: June 30, 2019
“The winner receives $2,000 plus publication. … Open To: All United States authors, regardless of publication history. … Submit A book-length manuscript. Manuscripts should be no less than 98 pages (with no maximum page count) and include at least 3 short stories. Manuscripts should be organized with page numbers and a table of contents. Stories may have been previously published in journals, anthologies, or limited edition volumes. However, selected story collections (stories previously published in books) will not be considered. Please do not send novels.”
Reasons to submit:

  • Eligibility restriction—less competition
  • Friendly to emerging writers
  • Friendly to short story writers exclusively
  • Oh, wordy!—generous word count limit
  • Rebirth—accepts published work

 

July 2019
Bellevue Literary Review – Goldenberg Prize for Fiction – $20 fee
Deadline: July 1, 2019
“The annual BLR Prizes award outstanding writing related to themes of health, healing, illness, the mind, and the body.” Judged by Bryan Washington. “The Bellevue Literary Review seeks character-driven fiction with  original voices and strong settings. We do not publish genre fiction (romance, sci-fi, horror). Our word max is 5,000, though most of our published stories tend to be in the range of 2,000-4,000 words. We have only occasionally published flash  fiction. While we are always interested in creative explorations in style, we do lean toward classic short stories.” First prize is $1,000 and publication in the Spring 2020 issue of BLR. Honorable mention winners will receive $250 and publication in the Spring 2020 issue.  
Reasons to submit:

Nowhere Magazine – Spring 2019 Travel Writing Contest – $20 fee
Deadline: July 1, 2019
“We are looking for young, old, novice and veteran writers to send us stories that possess a powerful sense of place. … Our annual Spring Travel Writing Contest is accepting submissions through midnight EST July 1. Our entry fee is $20, and the grand-prize winner receives publication in Nowhere as well as $1,000. Up to ten finalists also will be published, if they desire. … Unpublished and published pieces that have not previously been chosen as a contest winner are eligible. Submit your 800- to 5,000-word piece with a $20 entry fee … All entries are considered for publication. … Brush off your manuscripts or write something new and send it to the only literary travel magazine going.”
Reasons to submit:

  • Eligibility restriction—less competition
  • Flag-bearer—open to international submissions
  • Friendly to emerging writers
  • No hunting for winners—can read past winners online
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes

Nimrod International Journal – 2019 Francine Ringold Award for New Writers: Fiction – $12-14 fee
Deadline: July 15, 2019
“The Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers honor the work of writers at the beginning of their careers.” $500 prize and “winning manuscripts will appear in the spring issue of Nimrod. Winners will have the chance to work with the Nimrod board of editors to refine and edit their manuscripts before publication. … Open only to writers whose work has not appeared or is not scheduled to appear in more than 2 publications in the genre in which they are submitting. … 5,000 words maximum (one short story or a self-contained excerpt from a novel). … Work submitted may be on any theme, any subject.”
Reasons to submit:

  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Eligibility restriction—less competition
  • Flag-bearer—open to international submissions
  • Friendly to emerging writers
  • Friendly to novelists
  • No hunting for winners—can read past winners online
  • Prestige—#184 in Pushcart ranking (2018)
  • Read on—entry fee includes winning issue
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes

Crazyhorse – Crazyshorts! Short-Short Fiction Contest – $15 fee
Deadline: July 31, 2019 (based on 2018 and 2017)
“Submit 1-3 stories of up to 500 words each. … All entries will be considered for publication. Before you submit, please remove your name and any other identifying information from your manuscript. Simultaneous submissions are okay, as long as you contact us should the work be accepted elsewhere. The $15 entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Crazyhorse.” First prize is $1,000 and publication. Three runner ups announced.
Reasons to submit:

  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Prestige—#33 in Pushcart ranking
  • Read on—entry fee includes one-year subscription

 

August 2019
PEN America – 2020 Emerging Voices Fellowship – $10 fee
Deadline: August 1, 2019
“The PEN America Emerging Voices Fellowship (EV) is a literary mentorship that aims to provide new writers who are isolated from the literary establishment with the tools, skills, and knowledge they need to launch a professional writing career. While Emerging Voices encourages applications from writers living all over the country, this rigorous fellowship is based in Los Angeles. Weekly meetings combine with an intense reading and writing schedule. If you are not a resident of Los Angeles, and you are awarded the fellowship you will need to relocate for the seven month period, from January to July of 2020. Housing is not provided.”
Reasons to submit:

  • Eligibility restriction—less competition
  • Friendly to emerging writers
  • No hunting for winners—can read past winners online
  • Rebirth—accepts published work
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes

2020 Oregon Literary Fellowships – TBD fee
Deadline: August 9, 2019
“Oregon Literary Fellowships are intended to help Oregon writers initiate, develop or complete literary projects in poetry, fiction, literary nonfiction, drama and young readers literature. Writers in the early stages of their career are encouraged to apply. The awards are merit-based. Fellowships are also awarded to support Oregon’s independent publishers and small presses. They are awarded to presses or magazines that demonstrate a commitment to literary publishing. Literary Arts is not currently accepting applications for Oregon Literary Fellowships. The guidelines for 2020 Oregon Literary Fellowships will go online by May 28, 2019.” Note: I’m including this contest based on my Summer 2018 inclusion.
Reasons to submit:

  • Friendly to emerging writers
  • Rebirth—accepts published work
  • Regional restriction—less competition
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes

Third Wednesday – George Dila Memorial Flash Fiction Contest – $5 fee
Deadline: August 15, 2019
“From May 1st  to August 15th,  2019 we will accept entries of previously unpublished fiction under 1000 words in length (including title). Three winning stories will receive cash prizes of $100 each and a print copy of the contest issue. … Do not include any identifying information within files or file names. Our judge will read all submissions blindly.” Judged by Jeremy Griffin.
Full disclosure: Third Wednesday was my first publication.
Reasons to submit:

  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Friendly to emerging writers
  • No hunting for winners—can read past winners online
  • Read on—entry fee includes an issue
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes

Black Warrior Review – 2019 Contest in Flash Fiction – $8 fee
Deadline: September 1, 2019
Annual flash contest. Judged by Vi Khi Nao. “Submit a packet of up to 3 flash pieces. This can be in any genre, as long as the author considers it “flash.” We encourage experimental, hybrid, and lyrical submissions in this category. Image + text work is also welcomed. Surprise us. Do not include your contact information in your document. … We accept only previously unpublished work for publication. … The winner in Flash receives $800 and publication in BWR 46.2, our Winter/Spring 2019 issue. Two runner-ups receive monetary compensation and online publication. We may consider any submission for general publication. The contest is open April 1 – September 1st. Winners will be announced in October.”
Reasons to submit:

  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Flag-bearer—open to international submissions
  • Prestige—#85 in Pushcart ranking
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes

 
Black Warrior Review – 2019 Contest in Fiction – $20 fee
Deadline: September 1, 2019
Annual flash contest. Judged by Rivers Solomon. “Submit up to 7,000 words. … Do not include your contact information in your document. … We accept only previously unpublished work for publication. … Winners receive $1500 and publication in BWR 46.2, our Winter/Spring 2019 issue. Two runner-ups in each genre receive monetary compensation and acknowledgment in that issue. We may consider any submission for general publication. … The contest is open April 1 – September 1st. Winners will be announced in October. … All domestic entrants receive a one-year subscription to BWR as a thank-you for your interest and support.”
Reasons to submit:

  • Blind submissions are fine submissions!
  • Flag-bearer—open to international submissions
  • Oh, wordy!—generous word count limit
  • Prestige—#85 in Pushcart ranking
  • Read on—entry fee includes one-year subscription
  • Share the wealth—multiple prizes

 

Have I missed a great writing contest? Please leave a comment and let me know where you found it.
Happy submitting!

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About Arthur KlepchukovArthur Klepchukov was born between Black Seas, Virginian Beaches, and San Franciscan waves. He adores trains, swing sets, and music that tears him outta time. Read Art’s words in The Common, Necessary Fiction, KYSO Flash, Fiction Southeast, and more at ArsenalOfWords.comWeb | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | More Posts

"I'm astounded by people who take 18 years to write something. That's how long it took that guy to write 'Madame Bovary,' and was that ever on the best-seller list?"
Sylvester Stallone

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Fast fact about writing

By definition, the modern practice of history begins with written records; evidence of human culture without writing is the realm of prehistory.