Winning Writers - best resources for poets and writers

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Welcome to Our May Newsletter

Adam Cohen

We found over three dozen free poetry and prose contests with deadlines between May 15-June 30. LOGIN HERE and check them out! For your convenience, a password is no longer needed to login.

About 1,000 writers entered our 22nd Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest that closed on April 30. Arthur Powers is judging the entries. We'll announce the results on September 15.

Last Call for Our Sports Fiction & Essay Contest
Deadline: May 31
Now in its third year, this contest seeks published and unpublished work on themes related to sports. Jendi Reiter will judge, assisted by Ellen LaFleche. $16 fee for each entry of up to 6,000 words. $3,000 in prizes. Submit online.

Also open now, our Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest, with $3,000 in prizes. New this year, the fee is a flat $16 for 1-2 poems of any length. Deadline: September 30.

Need assistance? Let us help. Follow us on Twitter at @WinningWriters.

Enter Writing Contests at

Participate in an active online writing community. Improve your writing and get motivated. Get detailed feedback for every poem, short story, and book chapter that you write. See how your rank compares to other writers. Over 50 new contests every month. Always free to paid members. Participate for cash prizes. Click here for more information.

Contests open now: Tanka Poetry Contest (deadline May 17), 5-7-5 Poetry Contest, Horror Story Writing Contest, What If?, Quatrain Poetry Contest. Learn more...

Writing Contests at

Recent honors and publication credits for our subscribers

Winning Writers Editor Jendi Reiter won first honorable mention in the 2014 Utmost Christian Writers Poetry Contest for her poem "Lord of the Storm". Ellen LaFleche, assistant judge of our Sports Fiction & Essay Contest, won the 2014 DASH Journal Annual Poetry Contest for "Prayer for Weeping" (view her poem online in DASH 7).

Congratulations to Charlie Bondhus (featured poem, "What He Left"), Sally Bellerose, Rolli, Thelma T. Reyna, Robert Paul Blumenstein, R. Bremner, Elizabeth Hufford, Judy Juanita, Robert Meadows III, R.T. Castleberry, and Ruth Thompson (see her station on the "My Writing Process" blog tour).

Learn more about their achievements. - Calls for Submissions

We are a free online resource to help you find paying markets for your poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Updated daily, we report on editors and publishers who are actively seeking submissions, pay standard or competitive rates, and do not charge reading fees. Founded in 2001, is edited by freelance writer Brian Scott (@busyguru). Learn more...

BookBaby's Publish, Promote & Sell Sweepstakes

Every Friday in May, we'll choose a new winner to receive over $5,000 in prizes, including:

  • BookBaby – Premium ePublishing package, including design, worldwide distribution, and 200 printed books (worth $2,747)
  • Readers' Favorite – Promotion, reviews, and advertising (worth $758)
  • Smith Publicity – NetGalley promotion with access to 100,000 industry contacts (worth $295)
  • Circle of Seven Productions – Book review, radio and magazine interview, social media campaign (worth $350)
  • PR Newswire – Press release distribution (worth $129)
  • Riffle – Promotion and sales to Riffle Select’s emailing list (worth $100)
  • – Professional editing services (worth $1,000)
  • Write Brothers – Dramatica Pro and Story Expert writing software (worth $349)

Enter now. It's free!

The sweepstakes is open for entries from April 23rd-May 28th. There's no cost to enter. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. Five winners will be chosen at random, one each Friday in May, 2014. View complete sweepstakes rules here.

BookBaby's Publish, Promote & Sell Sweepstakes

The Spalding MFA: "A Top 10 Low-Residency MFA Program" (Poets & Writers)

Spalding University

Apply for our fall semester by July 1. Spalding University's four-semester, low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program combines superb instruction with unparalleled flexibility. During each semester, students and faculty work together at a ten-day residency (in Louisville, KY or abroad), after which they return home to study independently through an exchange of five packets of writing with a faculty mentor. The Summer 2014 residency will take place in Prague and Berlin. The fall semester is November 14-23 in Louisville.

  • Ideally suited to the writing life: study with a great community of writers and write in your own home
  • Ten-day residencies feature intensive, supportive workshops, lectures, and panel discussions with award-winning faculty
  • Specialized tracks in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, writing for children and young adults, screenwriting, and playwriting
  • One-on-one correspondence with faculty mentor, post-residency
  • Mix and match options for fall and spring residencies in Louisville and summer residencies in international destinations

Learn more about how a low-residency program can work for you.


C. Hope Clark and award-winning author/editor C. Hope Clark bring writing opportunity and motivation to your email every Friday, and have done so for 15 years. Grants, contests, markets, publishers galore, so that you have more time to write.
"C. Hope Clark is a lot of help. You follow her advice, and writing becomes, like, the most organic thing ever. It’s refreshing to get this newsletter every week and learn a little bit more about staying true to my craft."

The Writer's Hotel

Registration deadline extended to May 23! Master class in fiction and nonfiction in midtown Manhattan, June 12-17. Enjoy workshops and lectures on craft at The Library Hotel and The Bryant Park Hotel. Meet with agents and editors. Attendees will read original work at NYC venues. Historical literary tours and events, including a game of "Wink, Murder" at The Algonquin Hotel in cooperation with Literary Manhattan.

Core Faculty: Elyssa East, Richard Hoffmann, Shanna McNair, and Scott Wolven. Sponsored by The New Guard literary review. Limited to 44 writers total. To apply, inquire at Learn more...

The Writer's Hotel

The Backwaters Prize

Deadline: May 31. The Backwaters Prize is an annual award, open to all poets working in the English language, given to the author of the best submitted manuscript of original poems. The prize is $1,000 cash and publication of the winning manuscript. Our judge this year is Patricia Smith. We adhere to the CLMP code of ethics for administering a literary contest. Submit online.

We congratulate our 2013 winner, Zeina Hashem Beck, for To Live in Autumn. Final judge Lola Haskins chose her manuscript from nearly 200 submissions. Zeina's book will be published in September 2014. Learn more and enjoy "Souad" from Ms. Beck's manuscript, along with comments from Ms. Haskins...

The Backwaters Press

Tiferet Journal Writing Contest

Deadline: June 1. $1,200 will be awarded in prizes.

  • $400 for the best poetry submission
  • $400 for the best short story (fiction)
  • $400 for the best essay or interview (nonfiction)

Tiferet is a non-sectarian, non-dogmatic publication and community at the nexus of literature and spirituality.

We publish high-quality poetry, prose, and art that further meaningful dialogue about what it is to be humane and conscious in today's often divisive world.

Learn more and read about our contest judges...

Tiferet Journal

The MacGuffin's 19th Annual National Poet Hunt Contest

The MacGuffin

Deadline: June 3. The MacGuffin will award a first prize of $500 in its 19th annual National Poet Hunt Contest. Pulitzer Prize Winner Carl Dennis will judge. Please submit up to 3 poems, an index card with author and poem info, and a $15 check/cash entry fee (checks payable to Schoolcraft College). See our complete guidelines and our contest flyer.

Mail your entry to:

The MacGuffin
Attn: Poet Hunt Contest
Schoolcraft College
18600 Haggerty Road
Livonia, MI 48152-2696

2014 Guy Owen Prize

Postmark deadline: June 15. Winner receives $1,000 and publication for an unpublished poem. Submit 3-5 poems (10 pages maximum), $20 entry fee check or money order, payable to Southern Poetry Review (includes one-year subscription), and SASE for reply only. Include contact information on cover sheet only.

Southern Poetry Review
Guy Owen Prize
Dept. of Languages, Literature and Philosophy
Armstrong Atlantic State University
11935 Abercorn Street
Savannah, Georgia 31419-1997

See our previous winners and judges, and read "Ode to the Innards" by Marianna Busching, our 2007 winner...

Guy Owen Prize sponsored by Southern Poetry Review

The 2014 Autumn House Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction Contests

Autumn House Press

Postmark deadline: June 30. The winner in each genre will receive book publication, a $1,000 advance against royalties, and a $1,500 travel/publicity grant to promote his or her book.

For our 2014 poetry contest, the preliminary judge is Michael Simms, and the final judge is Alicia Ostriker. For fiction, the preliminary judge is Heather Cazad, and the final judge is Sharon Dilworth. For nonfiction, the preliminary judges are Michael Simms and Heather Cazad, and the final judge is Dinty W. Moore.

Congratulations to our 2013 winners:

  • Poetry: Danusha Laméris, The Moons of August
  • Fiction: Tom Noyes, Come by Here
  • Nonfiction: Adam Patric Miller, A Greater Monster

See our contest poster and our complete contest guidelines.


The 2014 Rattle Poetry Prize

Postmark deadline: July 15. The annual Rattle Poetry Prize offers $5,000 for a single poem to be published in the winter issue of the magazine. Ten finalists will also receive $100 each and publication, and be eligible for the $1,000 Readers' Choice Award, to be selected by subscriber and entrant vote.

With the winners judged in a blind 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 now a large Readers' Choice Award to be chosen by the writers themselves—we've designed the Rattle Poetry Prize to be one of the most writer-friendly contests around.

We accept entries online and by mail. See for the complete guidelines and past winners, and enjoy "We Speak of August" by Valentina Gnup, a 2010 finalist.

The 2014 Rattle Poetry Prize

PSA: Free Workplace Literacy Guide


ProLiteracy's Workplace Literacy Guide helps literacy and basic education organizations start workplace literacy programs in local businesses. Employees can earn more, customer satisfaction improves, and the workplace can be made safer. Many programs generate income for the provider. Download the free guide.

Calls for Submissions

To ensure consideration, assume that the editors must receive your submission by the date specified, unless a postmark date is indicated.

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New at Reiter's Block

Becoming Church: My Field Trip to an Intentional Christian Community

For Church of the Saviour communities, personal spiritual formation is the foundation on which the social gospel is built. Members help each other remain emotionally honest and open to God's presence. Like a writing workshop or a Weight Watchers group, they bolster each other's commitments to the spiritual disciplines (prayer, meditation, journaling, tithing) that might otherwise go the way of so many New Year's resolutions. This is because they understand that God does the work of transforming the world, not us. We're just the "donkeys" who devotedly carry our little piece of the great burden.  [more]

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

Jendi Reiter