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Winning Writers Newsletter - January 2022

View Free Contests

We found almost four dozen excellent free poetry and prose contests with deadlines between January 15-February 28. In this issue, please enjoy the second installment of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot, illustrated by Julian Peters.

Open at Winning Writers, co-sponsored by Duotrope
Free to enter, $3,500 in prizes, including a top award of $2,000. Judged by Jendi Reiter, assisted by Lauren Singer. Deadline: April 1.

$8,000 in prizes, including two top awards of $3,000 each. $20 entry fee. Judged by Mina Manchester. Deadline: April 30.

Get a critique! $90 for poems, stories, and essays; $180 for books and manuscripts. We guarantee your satisfaction.

Coming next month: The winners of our seventh North Street Book Prize competition.

View past newsletters in our archives. Need assistance? Let us help. Join our 135,000 followers on Twitter. Advertise with us.

Featured Sponsor

Oprelle Into Pieces Poetry Contest

Deadline: March 1

There are untold stories within each of us…of the things that shatter us into pieces.

Is there something heavy that you carry? Have you been broken, changed, and re-shaped into the person you are now?

Enter your 1-20 line poem today at

  • First Prize $200
  • Second Prize $100
  • Third Prize $50

All Winners and Finalists will receive a Certificate.

Best of Luck!
Team Oprelle

Recent Honors and Publication Credits for Our Subscribers

Congratulations to Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, Shobana Gomes, Diane De PisaDana Brantley-Sieders, Paula Brancato, Gail Thomas, Jessica PegisKip MeyerhoffTamara Kaye Sellman, Judy Juanita, Annie Dawid, Scott PinerR.T. Castleberry, and Eleanor Gamarsh.

Winning Writers Editor Jendi Reiter will interview poet Ruth Thompson at a free online event on Sunday, January 23, at 3:30pm EST. Register in advance here to receive the Zoom link. They will discuss Ruth's new book of spiritual channelings, Quickwater Oracles (Two Fine Crows Books), Jendi's studies in Tarot and witchcraft, and the collage art cards that the book inspired Jendi to create.

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

Have news? Please email it to

Ad: Spalding Low-Residency MFA

Spalding Low-Residency MFA

Pursue your passion for creative writing or hone skills for the professional writing workplace at Spalding University's Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing. Study writing in one, two, or four semesters with our certificate, Masters of Arts in Writing (MAW), or nationally distinguished MFA. The certificate and MAW also offer a professional writing and editing track. Each semester, students and faculty gather for a week-long residency, followed by an independent study in which students work from home, studying one-on-one with a faculty mentor. Flexible, affordable, supportive, committed to excellence. Financial aid available. Apply by February 1 for spring (with residency in Louisville, May 21-28) or summer (with residency in Paris, July 18-26).

Ad: Jendi Reiter's NEW Poetry Collection Made Man Now Available for Pre-Order

Made Man
Full of fun and full of anguish, superbly conscious of every rule they break, Jendi Reiter's latest poetry collection from Little Red Tree Publishing explores female-to-male transition and gay masculine identity through the voices of unusual objects and fictional characters with some aspect that is constructed, technological, or hybrid. From a surrealist's eggbeater discovering feminist consciousness, or a pastry box enforcing omertà, to the Nicene Creed as interpreted by Frankenstein, these startling life studies open up onto a broader consideration of humanity's relationship with technology and the shadow side of male dominance of nature. Illustrated with original paintings by graphic designer and multimedia artist Tom Taylor.

Release date: March 1. Pre-order now from Amazon.

Ad: HowToDoItFrugally with Carolyn Howard-Johnson

The frugal ticket for writing, editing, and marketing your books
“Nothing demonstrates professionalism like a well-edited submission. Follow Carolyn Howard-Johnson's clear, step-by-step editing approach for putting your best book forward and you'll submit like a pro." —Gregory A. Kompes, conference coordinator, Las Vegas Writer's Conference

"The Frugal Book Promoter. I love it. Most authors don't have deep pockets for publicity, promotion, and marketing; this is the kind of information we need! The chapter on the perks available on Amazon is a perfect example of the kind of practical advice offered—the kind that took me months to discover." —Rolf Gompertz, author, veteran publicist for NBC and 30-year UCLA Extension instructor in marketing

See how Carolyn's books can help you with your critical publishing needs. You'll learn how to get your book noticed and stop wasting money.

Ad: Submit Your Book Manuscript at Atmosphere Press

Atmosphere authors have sold thousands of books across five continents, received starred or featured reviews with Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist, and have even appeared on a giant billboard in Times Square. Atmosphere has had books with 1,000+ first-month sales in four different genres, and their Author Connect program unites their authors with each other like no other press. And they're just getting started.

Atmosphere Press currently seeks great manuscripts, and they'll be the publisher you've always wanted: attentive, organized, on schedule, and professional. They use a model in which the author funds the initial publication of the book, but retains 100% rights, royalties, and artistic autonomy. From an exceptional editorial team through book design and into promotion, partnering with Atmosphere is the way to do your book right.

So, send your manuscript their way. Submissions are free and open to everyone and in all genres.

Ad: Rattle Chapbook Prize - Deadline TONIGHT at 11:59pm PST!

Deadline: January 15, 11:59pm PST

The annual Rattle Chapbook Prize gives poets something truly special. Every year, three winners will each receive: $5,000 cash, 500 contributor copies, and distribution to Rattle's ~8,000 subscribers. In a world where a successful full-length poetry book might sell 1,000 copies, the winning book will reach an audience eight times as large on its release day alone—an audience that includes many other literary magazines, presses, and well-known poets. This will be a chapbook to launch a career.

And maybe the best part is this: The $25 entry fee is just a standard subscription to Rattle, which includes four issues of the magazine and the winning chapbook, even if it isn't yours. Rattle is one of the most-read literary journals in the world—find out why just by entering! For more information, visit our website.

We congratulate our three winners from our 2021 contest:

Please enjoy this poem from A Plumber's Guide to Light by Jessie Bertron, winner of our 2020 Rattle Chapbook Prize:

My dad worked the trades for fifteen years.
He learned four names for sheetrock mud,
that nails measure in pennies by their length,
and if he went to bars he could say Rusty Nail
until the words corroded in his mouth
and still they'd bring him scotch.
And through those fifteen years he had three wives
and my two sisters, and then me.
And we all asked him to be better than he was.
It doesn't work like that. You shouldn't ask a hammer
to act like a baseball bat. And if you're on a jobsite
and you call out sheep's-foot, cat's-paw,
cat's-claw, crow's-foot, deck-wrecker,
then you're saying you know what it does.
My father's favorite story is the motel room in Billings
we stayed at on a renovation job. It was
just me and him. When we turned off the TV
we could hear the infield chatter
from the low-A minor league ballpark next door.
We were so close, we'd sit out on the ashtray
of our balcony, and holler at the peanut man,
Toss me a bag! Of course it didn't work,
but we both liked to ask for things we knew
we would not get. And then it did.

Ad: Last Call for Grayson Books Chapbook Competition

Grace Notes

Deadline: January 31

  • Prize: $500, publication of chapbook, and 50 gorgeous copies
  • Reading fee: $20
  • Submit: 16-34 pages of poetry
  • Submit online via Submittable

This year's judge, Steve Straight, directed the Connecticut Poetry Circuit and the Seminar Series for the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival. He also led the Poetry Program at Manchester Community College. His most recent poetry collection is The Almanac. He has been named a Distinguished Advocate for the Arts by the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.

Simultaneous submissions are permissible if we are notified immediately upon acceptance elsewhere. Multiple submissions are also permitted; a fee must accompany each entry. Including acknowledgments of previously published poems is acceptable but not required. When a manuscript is chosen for publication, we will request acknowledgments.

Visit the Grayson Books website to find out more about our press and submit here. We congratulate Lisa López Smith, winner of our 2021 Chapbook Competition for Grace Notes. Please enjoy this sample poem:

Moving the Sheep

There's sometimes a fear-filled lamb
taking off in the opposite direction of sense,
braying madly, as if the earth

had suddenly started spinning in reverse,
and he concludes the gate must be at the other end
of the mountain. I hike up behind him

to where the flocks scorch-earthed the grass
under the trees clustered like witches,
the clouds soft and undefined

as if a misguided watercolorist had spilled
the yellow butterflies, white ones, brown ones
flickering about the fields of October's

wildflowers, each bud waiting to burst forth,
each one in its place. Observation,
the best tool of the shepherd,

otherwise only guesses into sheep psychology.
My lamb has skittered to the back fence, and I know
his fears are as imaginary as my own.

I flush him out down below to the flock,
he gallops and hollers, angry at my interference.
No one ever said the lost sheep was grateful,

but such is the burden of the sought. The solitary
hawk above us. This tilting fence edged with barbed wire.
Quiet, and oblivious to lostness, the sheep graze on.

Ad: Last Call for 2022 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

William Saroyan Prize for Writing

Entries must be received by January 31

Submissions are now being accepted for the 10th William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Two prizes of $5,000 each are given for works of fiction and nonfiction. The awards, co-sponsored by Stanford Libraries and the William Saroyan Foundation, are intended to encourage new or emerging writers and honor the Saroyan legacy of originality, vitality, and stylistic innovation.

Submit five copies of your work published between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021, with a $50 entry fee by January 31, 2022. Writers who have published four or more books are ineligible. Visit the Saroyan Prize website for complete eligibility and submission details.

Congratulations to our 2020 Fiction Winner Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah for Friday Black, and our 2020 Nonfiction Winner Jennifer Croft for Homesick. View our complete list of 2020 winners and finalists.

Ad: Last Call for Indie Book Entries - 80+ Categories

Entries are now being accepted for the 2022 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the most exciting and rewarding book awards program open to independent publishers and authors worldwide who have a book written in English and released in 2020, 2021 or 2022 or with a 2020, 2021 or 2022 copyright date. The Next Generation Indie Book Awards are presented by Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group.

With 80+ categories to choose from, enter by February 11, 2022 to take advantage of this exciting opportunity to have your book considered for cash prizes, awards, exposure, possible representation by a leading literary agent, and recognition as one of the top independently published books of the year!

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

On The Premises

Deadline: Friday, March 4, 11:59pm Eastern US Standard 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 39th contest is "Arrival". For this contest, write a well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which... IN THE FIRST SENTENCE... one or more characters arrive at a location and find something unexpected. Remember, this action has to happen in the story's first sentence!

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.

Ad: Fourth Genre Steinberg Memorial Essay Prize Now Accepting Submissions

Fourth Genre

Deadline: March 15

The Fourth Genre Steinberg Memorial Essay Prize welcomes your unpublished essays up to 6,000 words long. The winning author will receive $1,000 and publication in the issue that's featured at AWP. Fee: $20 per entry. Learn more on our website and submit via Duosuma.

Our 2022 contest judge is essayist Mary Cappello. A Guggenheim and Berlin Prize Fellow, a recipient of the Dorothea Lange/Paul Taylor Prize from Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies, and the Bechtel Prize for Educating the Imagination from Teachers and Writers Collaborative, Cappello is a former Fulbright lecturer at the Gorky Literary Institute (Moscow, Russia) and currently Professor of English and creative writing at the University of Rhode Island.

Cappello's six books include a memoir; a detour; an anti-chronicle (or "ritual in transfigured time"); a lyric biography; a speculative manifesto; and, a meditative fantasia on "mood."

Ad: Eaton Literary Awards (no fee)

Deadline for short stories and articles: March 31
Deadline for book-length submissions: August 31

Eaton Literary Agency has been helping authors since 1984. Our Annual Awards Program attracts quality manuscripts that we can present to publishers on behalf of our authors. We award an annual prize of $2,500 for book-length work (10,000+ words) and $500 for short stories and articles (fewer than 10,000 words).

Entries may be fiction or nonfiction, and must be unpublished. To enter, please email your submission as an attachment in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format to Alternately, you may mail a printed copy of your work to Eaton Literary Agency, P.O. Box 49795, Sarasota, FL 34230.

Winners will be notifed in the month after the contest deadline. For more information, please visit our website.

Testimonials from our clients:

"I have been trying for a long time to put my ideas on paper. Using Eaton Literary was the best move I have made. Richard Lawrence and his staff have been instrumental in getting me a publisher for one of my books. Mr. Lawrence has used his considerable talent and contacts in the industry to find me an excellent and generous contract with a highly respected publisher.

"He and his staff have shown a great amount of patience in dealing with my struggles. His method of having the books edited is praiseworthy. I have learned a lot from his letters and comments. A pleasure to deal with an honest man who delivers what he advertises. No false promises, no rush jobs.

"Eaton Literary spells out all requirements in their contracts and letters. Nothing is left to doubt, unlike some I have heard of. This is refreshing. I honestly believe, if given the chance, this company could represent you very well if you are able to meet their requirements."


Eaton Literary Awards

Sponsored by Winning Writers and Duotrope
Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest (no fee)

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

21st year—free to enter!

Final judge: Jendi Reiter, assisted by Lauren Singer

Both published and unpublished work accepted

Top prize $2,000; $3,500 in total prizes

Deadline: April 1

Enter now

Ad: Dancing Poetry Contest

Dancing Poetry Contest 2020 Grand Prize Winner Garrett Murphy

Postmark deadline: April 15

Now in its 29th year, all Dancing Poetry Festival prize winners will receive a prize certificate suitable for framing, a ticket to the 2022 Dancing Poetry Festival at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, and an invitation to read their prizewinning poem at the festival. (The festival may be held online if circumstances require.)

Three Grand Prizes will receive $100 each plus their poems will be danced and filmed. Many smaller prizes. Each Grand Prize winner will be invited onstage for photo ops with the dancers and a bow in the limelight.

See video and pictures from our Dancing Poetry Festivals that show the vast diversity of poetry and dance we present each year. For poetry, we look for something new and different including new twists to old themes, different looks at common situations, and innovative concepts for dynamic, thought-provoking entertainment. Please do not feel constrained to submit a poem about dancing. The entry fee is just $5 for one poem and $10 for three. We look forward to reading your submissions. See the complete contest rules and enjoy "Dance of Atoms" by Mary K. Lindberg, winner of a Grand Prize in 2021.

Open Now: The Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry 2022

The Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry 2022

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
Victor Howes Prize in Poetry. The New England Poetry Club will award $1,000 for a poem by an undergraduate English major currently enrolled at a New England college (2-year or 4-year). Send 1-4 poems, maximum 10 pages total, with a brief statement (up to 300 words) about yourself and what draws you to poetry. Due January 31.

Intermediate Writers
Danuta Gleed Literary Award. The Writers' Union of Canada will award a top prize of CDN$10,000 for the best first collection of short fiction written by a Canadian author and published in Canada during the preceding calendar year. Publisher must send 4 copies to the Writers' Union of Canada and also complete a submission form online, which includes uploading publicity materials. Due January 31.

Advanced Writers
Paterson Poetry Prize. The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College will award $1,000 for the strongest collection of poems published during the previous calendar year. Book must have 48+ pages. To receive the prize, the winning poet must participate in a reading and teach a workshop at the Poetry Center in Paterson, NJ. Publisher or author should submit 2 copies plus entry form. Recent winners have been well-established poets. Due February 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, Lambda Literary, Lit Mag News Roundup, Poets & Writers, The Writer, Duotrope, Submittable, and literary journals' own newsletters and announcements.

Abandoned Mine
Accessible poetry with an emotional impact - January 15

Create the Future: Anthology Competition
Poetry, stories, essays envisioning a sustainable future - February 13

Flowers & Vortexes
Poetry and artwork - April 4

Rattle: "Tribute to Translation" Issue
Poems translated into English - April 15

PSA: Save on Literacy Materials at New Readers Press

Save at New Readers Press during January 2022

New Readers Press is the publishing division of ProLiteracy, the world's largest member organization of adult literacy programs. For over 50 years, we have been providing educators with instructional tools to help adult learners build the skills needed to succeed in the world today. Proceeds from our product sales support the mission of ProLiteracy, to change lives and communities through the power of adult literacy.

Now through January 31, use code JAN22 to save 5% off all print and digital materials!


Favorite New Resources

Here are some of our favorite newly added resources at Winning Writers. For a full list, see our Resource pages.

Bianca Stone Comics

Bianca Stone's Poetry Comics
Surreal graphic presentations of poetry

Simple website builder has both free and low-cost options

Contracts for Creatives: A Glossary
IP lawyer Kathryn Goldman explains common terms in a publishing contract

Ebook Launch
One-stop shop for proofreading, editing, interior and book cover design

A Given Grace: An Anthology of Christian Poems
Online anthology of contemporary Christian verse

The Hive Index
Directory of 900+ online communities, searchable by keyword

On Building a Poetry Manuscript for Publication
Structural advice from poet and editor Sean Cho A.

On Writing Fat Characters
Fiction writer Christopher Gonzalez on respectful and nuanced portrayals of body diversity

Significant Objects
Impressionistic short pieces inspired by thrift shop finds

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

Here is the second installment of Julian Peters' 24-page comic-book adaptation of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot. We will reprint all 24 pages over the next several newsletters. 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 4

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot - Page 5
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot - Page 6

To be continued in our February 15 newsletter

The Last Word

Jendi ReiterHell Is the Absence of Closure
Sometimes the redemption arc is that other people get away from the one guy who's been soaking up all the energy in the room because of his resistance to growth. The guy who thinks he's the main character in everyone's life, not just his own.

Read more

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