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Winning Writers Newsletter - June 2022

View Free Contests

We found three dozen excellent free poetry and prose contests with deadlines between June 15-July 31. In this issue, please enjoy the seventh installment of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot, illustrated by Julian Peters.

Last Call!
Deadline: June 30. 8th year. Prizes increased to $16,750, including a top award of $8,000. This year's categories: Mainstream/Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction, Creative Nonfiction & Memoir, Poetry, Children's Picture Book, Graphic Novel & Memoir, and Art Book. Fee: $70 per entry. Jendi Reiter and Ellen LaFleche will judge, assisted by Annie Mydla, Sarah Halper, and Lauren Singer. See the previous winners and enter here.

Also open now, our Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest will award $8,000 in prizes, including two top awards of $3,000 each. Submit 1-3 poems for $20. Deadline: September 30.

View past newsletters in our archives. Need assistance? Let us help. Join our 135,000 followers on Twitter and find us on Facebook. Advertise with us, starting at $40.

Recent Honors and Publication Credits for Our Subscribers

Congratulations to Robbie Gamble (featured poem: "Figures"), Joseph Stanton (featured poem: "Isamu Noguchi's 'Red'"), Diana Goetsch, Jeffry GloverLesléa Newman, Ruth ThompsonJohn Sibley Williams, Cal MasseyMahnaz BadihianNatalie GrandBobby "Z" ZielinskiJesse James DotyThelma T. ReynaPamela L. Sumners, The Poet Spiel, and Sharon A. Harmon.

Learn about our subscribers' achievements and see links to samples of their work.

Have news? Please email it to

Ad: Submit Your Book Manuscript at Atmosphere Press

Atmosphere Press

Providing expert editorial, cover design, layout, distribution, publicity, audiobook, and website services, Atmosphere Press titles have been acclaimed by reviewers with Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist. We are selectively offering publishing opportunities to talented writers, providing a dedicated team of editors, designers, publicists, and avid readers to bring your books to life.

Authors maintain 100% ownership rights over their work
Authors have final veto power over content
Authors get 100% of sales proceeds

As an author-first collaborative publisher we accept book-length submissions in all genres. Whether you are super-accomplished or just-starting-out, each of our authors receives a personal experience from raw manuscript to readers' hands. From insightful editorial meetings to elegant interior design to bespoke cover design to global distribution and strategic promotion...well, we've got you covered.

Every author who submits gets a free consultation call to discuss your work, and the pathway to potential book publication with Atmosphere Press.

Ad: A Supportive and Inspiring 4-Week Online Poetry Retreat Created by Poets for Poets

Two Sylvias Press Online Poetry Retreat

This Year's GUEST POETS:

  • Diane Seuss (winner of this year's Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for frank: sonnets)
  • Traci Brimhall (NEA fellow & author of four poetry collections)
  • January Gill O'Neil (award-winning poet and professor)
  • Jennifer K. Sweeney (winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets)

Note: Space is limited, so sign up early to make sure you receive your first choice of guest poet to respond to your poem.

WHAT YOU NEED: Access to email and a desire to write new poems.

WHAT WE PROVIDE: Poem prompts, sample poems, a Two Sylvias Press book, ideas where to send your poems after the retreat ends as well as reflection questions/activities to guide and inspire. All prompts, writing exercises, and inspiration sent daily or weekly to your email (your choice!)

AND—at the end of the retreat, an award-winning poet will critique one of your poems and offer ideas on where to submit them! (Summer participants choose critiques from Diane Seuss, Traci Brimhall, January Gill O'Neil, or Jennifer K. Sweeney! Or if you choose the October retreat, receive critiques from the editors of Two Sylvias Press!)

Praise for Two Sylvias Press Online Poetry Retreat
"I decided to take the Two Sylvias Press Online Poetry Retreat as a way to reignite my passion for writing poetry and reconnect with my 'poet's mind' after not writing poetry for several years. The format was perfect for me—it enabled me to work alone and at my own pace while still feeling connected through daily prompts and encouragement. The result: I wrote more poems in that four-week period than I had written in as many years and new poems are still coming. The feedback I received was insightful and improved the poems while still showing respect for the essence of the work."
     —Cathy Jacob (read other testimonials here)

Click here to learn more and register.

Ad: Register Now for the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop

Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop

It's Erma time—time to register for the nationally renowned Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.

The October 20-22 gathering will feature celebrated comedians and authors, including "Cathy" cartoonist Cathy Guisewite, "Saturday Night Live" legend Laraine Newman, New York Times bestselling authors W. Bruce Cameron and Adriana Trigiani, screenwriter Cathryn Michon, improviser and comedian Dion Flynn, and award-winning author Katrina Kittle.

The $499 fee includes all meals, keynote talks, choice of dozens of workshops, and a complimentary virtual package of the keynotes and Pitchapalooza. Discover more and register here.

For the virtual option only, the registration fee is $79. From the comfort of your home (think: pajamas!) you can enjoy the keynote talks and Pitchapalooza, participate in a live chat with other writers joining virtually or tap back in later at your convenience. Register here.

For both options, expect to laugh (a lot!), learn and network with a supportive writing community.

Ad: Become an Award-Winning Author

Book Award Pro

You've committed to sharing your message with the world. Whether published or in the works, it's time to turn the page and submit to become an award-winning author.

Book Award Pro matches your book to its best-fitting book awards. Our service targets your strongest opportunities and helps you connect with more readers.

You're just three steps away from winning:

  1. Match with relevant awards
  2. Target and submit your strongest matches
  3. Become award-winning

With 6,000+ award matching opportunities available, you can become the next award-winning author. Read how Book Award Pro helped authors just like you become award-winning authors.

Ad: Jendi Reiter's Made Man: "Beautiful and Inventive Poems That Explore Gender"

Made Man by Jendi Reiter

Goodreads reviewer Transgender Bookworm rates Jendi Reiter's newest collection 5 stars: "Tackling subjects both serious and lighthearted Reiter explores the way our absurdly gendered world informs our understanding of each other and the world at large. I found myself chuckling on one page and then gripping my seat in anger the next." Read the full review.

Purchase Made Man at Little Red Tree Publishing and enjoy this sample poem:

Prettyboy in Pink

This generation of lavender-haired pronouns only knows Molly Ringwald as hot Archie's small-town mom on "Riverdale". They play the torso drinking game as russet-top KJ Apa square-jaws his way from high school wrestling showers to prison cagefight to skinny-dip in the lake of girls beside the maple sugar factory. Who knew there was so much wealth in syrup? Like his nipples stretched immobile over muscle, mother Mary/Molly is contractually slated to appear in every episode, offering pants-suit credibility to his scheme to rescue the malt shop from mafiosi.

But we assigned-X'ers will forever stan Molly's bricolage of girlhood, pretty in pink slicing and stitching the bridesmaid shells of teen tulle into a skin she could survive in. Lovestruck Duckie was too much a sister to her, with his manic pompadour and emotional hands. She required the prep-school prince's genes for her supreme tailoring experiment. When Archie's done running through his day's foolish script, those maple-golden eyes go blank. It's her body now, her finest dress.

Last Call! North Street Book Prize for Self-Published Books

North Street Book Prize

Deadline: June 30

Winning Writers appreciates that the $70 entry fee is a significant investment for your self-published book, so we have arranged for our six contest co-sponsors to give free gifts to every contestant on entering:

  • How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically by Carolyn Howard-Johnson (PDF)
  • Free guides to successful publishing from BookBaby
  • Three months' free subscription to Book Award Pro (Essentials tier), so you can find more great contests for your book
  • The 7 Steps to Plan and Write Your Book, courtesy of Book Launchers (PDF)
  • 8 Simple Secrets for Big Book Sales on Amazon, courtesy of C.S. Lakin at The Self Publisher (PDF)
  • One month free membership in The Self-Publishing Mastermind at Self-Publishing Made Simple, a community for growing your knowledge of all aspects of self-publishing

That's what you get just for entering. Here's what you receive if you win:

  • One grand prize winner will receive $8,000, a marketing analysis and one-hour phone consultation with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, a $300 credit at BookBaby, and 3 free ads in the Winning Writers newsletter (a $525 value)
  • The top winner in each category will receive $1,000, a marketing analysis and one-hour phone consultation with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, a $300 credit at BookBaby, and one free ad in the Winning Writers newsletter (a $175 value)
  • One honorable mention in each category will receive $250
  • We will publish online excerpts from all entries that win a prize, along with critiques from the judges

Learn more and submit online via Submittable or by mail.

Ad: Rigel 2022: $250 for Fiction, NF, Poetry, or Art

Rigel Contest sponsored by Sunspot

Deadline: June 30

Authors & Artists Eligible

Inspired by Rigel, the brightest star in Orion, Sunspot Lit is looking for a short story, novel, novella, artwork, graphic novel, or poem that outshines all the rest. The Rigel contest awards $250 plus publication to the winner, and offers publication to select finalists.

No restrictions on theme or category. The length is a maximum of 5,000 words for short stories and excerpts from longer works, or ten pages for poetry and graphic novels. Artwork should consist of a single piece. (Any novels, novellas, or graphic novels selected as the winner or as finalists will be offered publication only for the submitted sample.)

Entry fee: $6

Sunspot asks for first rights only. Works, along with the creators' bylines, are published in the next quarterly digital edition as well as the annual print edition. Enter as many times as you like through Submittable or Duotrope.

Ad: LAST CALL for BLR Prizes: Submit Writing on Illness, Health, and Healing

Bellevue Literary Prizes

Deadline: July 1

Bellevue Literary Review's annual prizes recognize exceptional writing about health, healing, illness, the body, and the mind.

Goldenberg Prize for Fiction
Judged by Toni Jensen

Felice Buckvar Prize for Nonfiction
Judged by Rana Awdish

John and Eileen Allman Prize for Poetry
Judged by Phillip B. Williams

Each category offers a $1,000 First Prize and $250 Honorable Mention. Winners and honorable mentions will be published in the Spring 2023 issue of BLR.

Poetry: 3 poems per submission
Fiction and Nonfiction: 5,000 words maximum
Only previously unpublished work will be considered.
Entry fee $20.

Visit BLR's website for complete guidelines.

Ad: Nimrod International Journal's Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers: $500 Prizes

Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers

Deadline: July 15

Submit now for the Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers, which honor the work of writers at the beginning of their careers. The Francine Ringold Awards are open only to writers whose work has not appeared or is not scheduled to appear in more than two publications in the genre in which they are submitting. $500 prizes will be awarded in both the fiction and poetry categories, and the winning work will appear in the spring issue of Nimrod. Work by all honorable mentions will also be published, and honorable mentions will be paid at a rate of $10/page up to $200.

Established in 1956, Nimrod is dedicated to the discovery of new voices in literature, and the Francine Ringold Awards are a special way to recognize talented new poets and fiction writers.

  • Poetry: Up to 5 pages of poetry (one long poem or several short poems)
  • Fiction: 5,000 words maximum (one short story or a self-contained excerpt from a novel)
  • Fee: $12 per entry (plus $1.70 processing fee if submitted online); includes a copy of the spring issue
  • No previously published works or works accepted for publication elsewhere.

Author's name must not appear on the manuscript. Include a cover sheet containing major title(s), author's name, full address, phone, and email. Entries may be mailed to Nimrod or submitted online. Open internationally.

For complete rules, visit Nimrod's website.

Ad: Two Poetry Contests from Poets & Patrons with Cash Prizes!

Poets & Patrons Poets & Patrons of Chicago is sponsoring two contests offering cash prizes this year:

Helen Schaible International Sonnet Contest (no fee, open to all)
Open now. Deadline: July 15
Two categories (Traditional and Modern). Prizes for both categories: First Prize: $50. Second Prize: $30. Third Prize: $20. Three Honorable Mentions and three Special Merits per category, ranked.

The 66th Chicagoland Poetry Contest
Submission period: July 15-August 31
12 categories (includes free verse, formal verse, humorous, nature, and many more). Categories are open to all except category 12, which is exclusively for poets in the Chicago area. $50, $30, $20, plus three Honorable Mentions in each category. Entry fee is $12 for members, $15 for non-members, and covers one poem per category. If you wish to enter more than one poem in any one category, the fee for those additional poems is $1 per poem for members, and $2 each for non-members.

Visit the Poets & Patrons website for all the details and guidelines for both contests. Electronic entries only.

Ad: Rattle Poetry Prize

Rattle Poetry Prize

Deadline: July 15 (11:59pm Pacific Time for online entries)

The annual Rattle Poetry Prize celebrates its 17th year with a 1st prize of $15,000 for a single poem. Ten finalists will also receive $500 each and publication, and be eligible for the $5,000 Readers' Choice Award, to be selected by subscriber and entrant vote. All of these poems will be published in the winter issue of the magazine.

With the winners judged in a masked review by the editors to ensure a fair and consistent selection, an entry fee that is simply a one-year subscription to the magazine—and a runner-up Readers' Choice Award to be chosen by the writers themselves—the Rattle Poetry Prize aims to be one of the most writer-friendly and popular poetry contests around.

We accept entries online and by mail. See Rattle's website for the complete guidelines and to read all of the past winners.

Please enjoy this poem by Rhina P. Espaillat, one of the 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize finalists, published in Rattle #50:


He showed me some, and asked for my advice.
I pointed out a line that wouldn't scan,
a pair of rhymes that cried for a divorce,
and commented—but briefly—on the quotes
in foreign alphabets, unglossed. "Of course,"
he said, and nodded, and took notes,
as if OK with all of it.
                                          And then
I added, "Put back every the and an
and a. It's almost nothing, what they do,
but articles make what they say ring true."
You never know what buttons not to touch,
which almost nothing's going to prove too much.
This morning he submitted work again,
but brusque, defensive, with a hint of spice.
Only fool goes for walk in minefield twice:
next time I'll tell him poem is very nice.

Ad: Experimental Poetry Contest

Experimental Poetry Contest

Ad: On The Premises Short Story Contest (no fee)

On The Premises

Deadline: Friday, September 2, 11:59pm Eastern US Time

Last time we checked, 77% of web-based fiction magazines pay their fiction writers nothing.

So did 60% of print-only fiction magazines!

If you'd like to try getting paid for your fiction, why not consider us? Since 2006, On The Premises magazine has aimed to promote newer and/or relatively unknown writers who can write creative, compelling stories told in effective, uncluttered, and evocative prose. We've never charged a reading fee or publication fee, and we pay between $75 and $250 for short stories that fit each issue's broad story premise. We publish stories in nearly every genre (literary/realist, mystery, light/dark fantasy, light/hard sci-fi, slipstream) aimed at readers older than 12 (no children's fiction).

The premise of our 40th contest is "Objects in Motion". For this contest, write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which the story's main character(s) spend most (even better, all) of the story's time in constant motion. For instance, they could spend the whole story in a moving vehicle. There are plenty of other ways to do it, too. (Just being on the Earth, which is spinning and moving around the sun, doesn't count.)

Any genre except children's fiction, exploitative sex, or over-the-top gross-out horror is fine. We will not accept parodies of another author's specific fictional characters or world(s). We will accept serious literary drama, crazy farces, and any variation of science fiction and fantasy you can imagine. Read our past issues and see!

You can find details and instructions for submitting your story here. To be informed when new contests are launched, subscribe to our free, short, monthly newsletter.

"On The Premises" magazine is recognized in Duotrope, Writer's Market,, the Short Story and Novel Writers guidebooks, and other short story marketing resources.

Spotlight Contests (no fee)

Some contests are best suited to writers at the early stages of their careers. Others are better for writers with numerous prizes and publications to their credit. Here is this month's selection of Spotlight Contests for your consideration:

Emerging Writers
Preservation Foundation Essay Contest for Unpublished Writers. Win $200 and web publication for essays, 1,000-10,000 words, by unpublished writers, defined as those whose creative writing has never produced revenues of over $500 in any single year. Over the course of a year, nonfiction categories are General, Biographical, Travel, and Animal. The June 30 deadline is for General Nonfiction entries.

Intermediate Writers
Drue Heinz Literature Prize. The University of Pittsburgh Press will award $15,000 and publication for an unpublished book-length collection of short fiction (150-300 double-spaced pages). Open to writers who have published a novel, a book-length collection of fiction, or at least three short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or journals; online and self-publication does not count. Due June 30.

Advanced Writers
Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Claremont Graduate University will award $100,000 for a published book of poetry by a US citizen or legal resident. The award honors a full-length work by a poet who is past the very beginning but has not yet reached the acknowledged pinnacle of their career. Books must have been published between July 1 of last year and June 30 of the deadline year. Winner must agree to spend a week in residence at Claremont Graduate University for lectures, workshops, and poetry readings in Claremont, CA and the greater Los Angeles area. Due July 1.

See more Spotlight Contests for emerging, intermediate, and advanced writers within The Best Free Literary Contests database.

Search for Contests

Calls for Submissions

Winning Writers finds open submission calls and free contests in a variety of sources, including Erika Dreifus' Practicing Writer newsletter, FundsforWriters, Trish Hopkinson's blog, Erica Verrillo's blog, Authors Publish, Lit Mag News Roundup, Poets & Writers, The Writer, Duotrope, Submittable, and literary journals' own newsletters and announcements.

Creative Nonfiction/In Fact Books: Nurses Anthology
(personal essays by or about nurses - June 27)

Fairy Tale Review: Rainbow Issue
(queer authors' fairy-tale retellings in poetry or prose - June 30)

Neon Books: Pamphlet Submission Period
(one-page microfiction, poetry, or hybrid/illustrated texts - June 30)

New Gothic Review
(modern short stories with Gothic horror flavor - June 30)

RHINO Poetry
(poetry, flash fiction, translations - June 30)

Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest
(poetry by youth and adults on theme "People Are...Everything" - July 21)

Grimoire: "Goth Narcissus" Issue
(creative writing that explores and critiques self-presentation - August 1)

Lethe Press: "Brute" Anthology
(speculative fiction about gay desire and rough trade - August 1)

Green Linden Press: "Essential Queer Voices" Anthology
(poetry by authors who live outside sex/gender norms - October 1)

Highlights from Our North Street Book Prize Archives

This month, editor Jendi Reiter presents some of the best self-published books that have come through our North Street Book Prize competition. There are many more in our Contest Archives.A Homicide in Hooker's Point

Gloria Taylor Weinberg

First Prize, Literary Fiction, 2015
This crime novel set in rural South Florida in the 1950s explores class and racial tensions through the eyes of a precocious eight-year-old girl.

April Kelly

Honorable Mention, Genre Fiction, 2016
In this magical-realist novel, a mother goes to extremes to empower and protect her daughter, who is born with miraculous wings.

Michael H. Ward

Honorable Mention, Creative Nonfiction, 2017
This lyrical short memoir is a window into the early years of the AIDS crisis, which took the life of the author's partner and many of their activist friends in Massachusetts.

Stephen Barnwell

Honorable Mention, Graphic Narrative, 2019
This fanciful guide to imaginary creatures is styled like a Victorian encyclopedia, with artwork assembled from vintage illustrations.

Zarle Williams

Honorable Mention, Children's Picture Book, 2020
With well-crafted rhyming verse and playful illustrations, this alphabet book will appeal to kids' love of animal stories and make-believe.

"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", illustrated by Julian Peters (part seven)

Here is the seventh installment of Julian Peters' 24-page comic-book adaptation of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot. We will reprint the last installment next month. See the previous installment.

You can find more such adaptations in Poems to See By by Mr. Peters, on sale at Plough Publishing and Amazon.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot
 - Page 19
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot - Page 20
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot - Page 21

See the final installment in our July 15 newsletter

The Last Word

Jendi ReiterTrans Genocide
Stop asking me whether all these minority gender identities are splitting "the movement". You don't think they're coming for you next? Bans on trans healthcare, or even abortion, aren't the endgame. All in all, it's just another brick in the wall of the evangelical-authoritarian state. One party in the United States has gone full fascist and you're still acting like we can appease our abuser with the perfect argument or self-effacing compromise.

[Read more]

Jendi Reiter is the editor of Winning Writers.
Follow Jendi on Twitter at @JendiReiter.