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Winning Writers Newsletter - October 2022

View Free Contests

We found four dozen excellent free poetry and prose contests with deadlines between October 15-November 30. In this issue, Julian Peters presents "Vigil" by Giuseppe Ungaretti, Italy's foremost poet of World War I.
CB Anderson and Elizabeth Becker CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of our 30th annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest! CB Anderson submitted the winning story, "Blood Ties". Elizabeth Becker submitted the winning essay, "Manny". They each received $3,000 and a gift certificate from Duotrope. We also awarded ten Honorable Mentions. This contest received 2,441 entries from around the world, with judging by Mina Manchester. See our press release about the winners and read the winning entries with the judge's remarks.

Our new Fiction & Essay contest is open now. Duotrope rejoins us as a co-sponsor, Mina Manchester returns as judge, and we will now award $9,000 in prizes. The contest deadline is April 30, 2023.

View past newsletters in our archives. Need assistance? Let us help. Join our 140,000 followers on Twitter and find us on Facebook. Advertise with us, starting at $40.

Featured Sponsor: Atmosphere Press
A True Partner in the Book-Writing Process

From their flagship (and selective) publication contract, to editorial coaching and manuscript reviews, to custom cover design, illustration, and merchandise, to query letters and marketing copy assistance, to author websites and book promotion, Atmosphere Press is the premier resource for authors who want a true partner in the writing and publishing process.

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Recent Honors and Publication Credits for Our Subscribers

Congratulations to Gail Thomas, Cheryl J. Fish, Gary Beck (featured poem: "Immigrant"), Thelma T. Reyna, Charles Sartorius, Atar Hadari, David Kherdian, Samantha Terrell, Dick Waters, Eva Tortora, The Poet Spiel, and Duane L. Herrmann

Winning Writers editor Jendi Reiter will read at the Brattleboro Literary Festival with poet Quintin Collins on Saturday, October 15, at 2:30pm at Epsilon Spires, 190 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT.

Winning Writers contest judge Lauren Singer's poetry chapbook Dead Baby is available from the author. Email her at to provide your mailing address and receive Venmo information. A poet and psychotherapist, Lauren wrote this work to honor her son Ziggy, who was born sleeping in June 2021.

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

Have news? Please email it to

Ad: Extended Deadline is Midnight Tonight!
Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize Will Award $5,000 Per Genre

32nd Annual Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize

Deadline extended to October 15, 2022

The Missouri Review invites entries for the 32nd Annual Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize. Winners receive $5,000, publication in the Spring 2023 issue of TMR, as well as promotion on our website, in our newsletter, and across our social media platforms. Submit one piece of fiction or nonfiction up to 8,500 words or up to 10 pages of poems. Enter online or by mail, following the guidelines here. All entries are considered for publication, whether for the print and digital issues or our online exclusive features, BLAST and Poem of the Week. Regular entry fee: $25. All-Access entry fee: $30. Winners will be announced in early 2023. 

Each entrant receives a one-year digital subscription to the Missouri Review (normal price $24) and a digital copy of the sixth title from our imprint, Missouri Review Books: Hello, I Love You: Stories of Romance, a new anthology of stories that first appeared in TMR (normal price $7.95). All-Access entrants receive access to the last decade of digital issues of TMR, which also offers audio recordings of the stories, poems, and essays featured in each issue.

Past winners have included Alix Christie, Thomas Dodson, Seth Fried, and Amanda Baldenaux in fiction; Jennifer Perrine, Chelsea B. DesAutels, Heather Treseler, and Diane Seuss in poetry; and Matthew Wamser, Robert Stothart, Jennifer Anderson, and Jo Anne Bennet in nonfiction. Check out all the past winners, runners-up, and finalists back to 2006 here. Read a prizewinning story by Melissa Yancy, an essay by Peter Selgin, and a selection from poetry winners Katie Bickham, Kai Carlson-Wee, and Alexandra Teague. Hear from past entrants what it's like to win here, here, and here.

Ad: Join Writing Battle Today!

Writing Battle

Start date: November 1, 2022

Prize: $5,000 cash, split amongst the winners from each of the four genres; publication offered to the winners; loads of feedback for all participants

Join Writing Battle today! 5 Days to write a 2,000-word short story using prompts. Writing Battle is a supportive and growing community that holds a quarterly competition for writers, by writers. Write your story and submit it within 5 days. After the submission deadline, the stories are separated by genre and battle in parallel tournaments.

The outcomes of each face-off in the tournament are judged by fellow participating writers, providing peer feedback, and judging stories in different genres than their own. After a few weeks of peer judging, industry professionals step in to decide the four winners, one from each of the four genres. Industry judges include the likes of Nebula and Hugo winner, Ken Liu (THE GRACE OF KINGS). Check out our past winners or read more about the rules. Join the Battle!

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Roundtable with 92Y

Ad: Eyelands Book Awards 2022—Last Call!

Eyelands Book Awards

Deadline extended to October 30, 2022

Grand Prize for Published Books
A five-day holiday in Athens plus a special handmade ceramic designed especially for Eyelands Book Awards and publication (excerpts) online on our website. Eyelands will cover all accommodation costs for the prizewinner (but not airfare).

Alternative prize (in case of travel restrictions): online ceremony & translation of the prizewinner's book into Greek

Grand Prize for Unpublished Books
Translation into Greek and publication by Strange Days Books

Ten more prizes, one for each category of every section, also win a special handmade ceramic designed especially for EBA. Certification document for every prize.

Submit books and manuscripts of poetry, novellas, short story collections, novels, children's books, historical fiction/memoirs, and graphic novels.

  • Entry fee: $30 (27 euros)
  • Free submission for every winner of previous Eyelands Book Awards.
  • Discounted submission (20 euros) for the finalists of previous contests.
  • Discounted submission (20 euros) for every entry after the first.
  • Discounted submission (20 euros) for every submission made through a publishing house or a university/college/authors club.

Finalists for every category will be announced on November 20 with the winners announced on December 30.

Judges: P.H.C. Marchesi (children's books/graphic novels), Alicia Hokanson (poetry), Andriana Minou (short stories), Djanco Wylie (novels), and Gregory Papadoyiannis (historical fiction/memoir).

Learn more and submit at the Eyelands Book Awards website.

Ad: Last Call for Vestal Review's Food-Writing Flash Fiction Contest with Cash Prizes—and Cookies!

Vestal Review's Food-Writing Contest

The contest judge will be Mark Rotella, author of Stolen Figs: And Other Adventures in Calabria and Amore: The Story of Italian American Song, both from Farrar, Straus & Giroux. A former senior editor at Publishers Weekly, he is now a creative writing professor and director of the Coccia Institute at Montclair State University.

  • First prize: $250
  • Second prize: $150
  • Third prize: $75
  • Five runners-up: a cookie assortment from Insomnia Cookies

Entry fee: $7
Writers may submit as many stories as they like, but only one story per entry fee, please. All winning entries will be published in a special issue of Vestal Review and advertised ceaselessly on social media.

Learn more and submit via Submittable.

Ad: $7,000 in Prizes! Submit Your Work to the 2nd Annual Lit/South Awards

Charlottelit Annual Lit/South Awards

Deadline: November 1, 2022

Open to current and past residents of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia. Three categories: poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. All winners and honorable mentions will be published in the Spring 2023 issue of Litmosphere: Journal of Charlotte Lit, and receive prizes starting at $1,500 for first place. Guidelines & final judges:

Nonfiction (up to 4,000 words): Melissa Febos, author of Body Work, Girlhood, and Whip Smart

Fiction (up to 4,000 words): Bryn Chancellor, author of Sycamore and When Are You Coming Home?

Poetry (1-3 poems, up to 5 total pages): A. Van Jordan, author of The Cineaste and M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A.

Click here for full guidelines and our submission portal.

Ad: Last Call for Contests Sponsored by Cutthroat, a Journal of the Arts

Cutthroat 27


$1,300 First Prize, $300 Second Prize, Honorable Mention


GUIDELINES: Go to and submit poems, stories, and essays through our online submission manager on the Submissions page. Submit up to 3 poems (one poem per page, up to 100 lines per poem) or one short story or one creative nonfiction piece (5,000-word limit, double spaced) in 12-point font. NO AUTHOR NAME ALLOWED ON ANY MANUSCRIPT. There is a $25 nonrefundable entry fee per submission.

Deadline: November 1, 2022. UNPUBLISHED WORK ONLY! No work that has already won a prize is eligible. No former CUTTHROAT prizewinning author may enter the contest they have previously won. Enter as often as you wish. Simultaneous submissions okay, but we must be informed immediately of acceptances elsewhere. Finalists considered for publication. Winners are published in CUTTHROAT and announced on our website, in POETS & WRITERS, and No relatives of staff members of CUTTHROAT nor close friends, relatives, or students of our judges are eligible to enter our contests. See for more information. WE RECOMMEND YOU READ A COPY OF CUTTHROAT BEFORE ENTERING OUR CONTESTS.


"Why the Migrant's Journey is So Hard" by Jeanne Wagner of Kensington, California
Joy Harjo Poetry Prize

"The Same Dream" by Joel Streiker of San Francisco, California
Rick DeMarinis Short Story Prize

"The Book of Bones" by Hannah Hindley of Glen Ellen, California
Barry Lopez Nonfiction Prize

Ad: Carve Magazine's 2022 Prose & Poetry Contest

Carve Prose & Poetry Contest

Carve Magazine's Prose & Poetry Contest is open October 1-November 15. Prizes: $1,000 each for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Winners are announced on February 1, 2023 and published online in Spring 2023. All work submitted will be considered for non-contest publication; we will notify author if selected.

We accept unpublished submissions from all over the world, but work must be in English. No genre works (romance, horror, sci-fi, etc.); literary prose and poetry only. 10,000 maximum word count for fiction and nonfiction; 2,000 maximum for poetry. Entry fee: $17. Submit online.

Guest judges are Maurice Ruffin for fiction, Thirii My Kyaw Myint for nonfiction, and David J. Daniels for poetry.

Learn more and submit via Submittable.

Ad: Lilith Annual Fiction Contest (no fee)

Frankly Feminist

Deadline: December 31, 2022

Gifted fiction writers! Lilith magazine—independent, Jewish & frankly feminist—seeks quality short stories with heart, soul and chutzpah, 3,000 words or under, for our Annual Fiction Contest. First prize: $300 and publication. No entry fee! We especially like fresh fiction with feminist and Jewish nuance, and are eager to read submissions from writers of color and emerging writers of any age. Submit to with the subject line "Fiction Contest" and your last name. Include full contact information on manuscript.

And check out FRANKLY FEMINIST: Short Stories by Jewish Women from Lilith Magazine, on sale now wherever you buy books or directly from Brandeis University Press.

Ad: Rattle Chapbook Prize

Deadline: January 15, 2023

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 three winning chapbooks, even if one of them 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 2022 contest:

Please enjoy the title poem from Michael Mark's winning chapbook:

Visiting Her In Queens Is More Enlightening Than A Month In A Monastery In Tibet

For the fourth time my mother
asks, "How many children
do you have?" I’m beginning

to believe my answer,
"Two, Mom," is wrong. Maybe
the lesson is they are not mine,

not owned by me, and
she is teaching me about
my relationship with her.

I wash my dish and hers.
She washes them again. I ask why.
She asks why I care.

Before bed she unlocks and opens
the front door. While she sleeps,
I close and lock it. She gets up. Unlocks it.

"What I have, no one wants," she says.
I nod. She nods.
Are we agreeing?

My shrunken guru says she was up all night
preparing a salad for my breakfast.
She serves me an onion.

I want her to make French toast
for me like she used to.
I want to tell her about my pain,

and I want her to make it go away.
I want the present to be as good as
the past she does not remember.

I toast white bread for her, butter it,
cut it in half. I eat a piece of onion.
She asks me why I'm crying.

Ad: Next Generation Indie Book Awards

Deadline: February 10, 2023

Entries are now being accepted for the 2023 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 2021, 2022, or 2023 or with a 2021, 2022, or 2023 copyright date. The Next Generation Indie Book Awards are presented by Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group.

There are 80+ categories to choose from, so 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: Kansas Book Award (no fee)

Kansas Book Award

Ad: Made Man—"Jump in, crank down your safety bar, and head out for the ride."

Made Man by Jendi Reiter

From Robbie Gamble's review in Solstice:

Reiter shows their aptitude for given forms, dropping in odes ("Butternut squash, you are the War and Peace of vegetables") and ghazals ("My body is the Tomb of the Unknown Penis") to great effect. The penultimate poem in the book, "Transfag Semiotics", is a mini-crown of sonnets, an extraordinarily crafted sequence where the speaker drills deep into their quest for identity:

Sometimes you vanish like a father,
or a breast. Drop the handkerchief,
the theory, drop to your knees. Whether
you can explain it or not, do you want to live?
Faggot is becoming. What is a man?
I experienced what I had wanted to understand.

It's an absolute tour-de-force, and the comedic gestures fall away as Reiter grows deadly serious about the cost of becoming, of being made, and ultimately, what it means to authentically be.

In the current season of culture wars, where state legislatures are enacting "Don't Say Gay" bills, and trying to reframe gender-affirming treatments as parental abuse, Made Man stands as a testament to the humanity of trans people everywhere. It's also chock-full of intelligent, often hilarious and sometimes biting poems that will leave you spinning and exhilarated. Jump in, crank down your safety bar, and head out for the ride.

Made Man is published by Little Red Tree and is also available on Amazon.

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
Bergman Prize. Changes Press will award $10,000 and publication for a poetry manuscript, 48-80 pages, by a US resident with no more than one previous published poetry collection. Winner also receives 50 free copies of their book, a summer residency at Castello San Basilio in Southern Italy, and a book launch in New York City. 2022 final judge is Nobel Prize in Literature winner Louise Glück. Submit online by October 31.

Intermediate Writers
ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award. The Society of Authors will award 2,000 pounds for a short story (5,000 words maximum) by a resident of the United Kingdom, Commonwealth, or the Republic of Ireland who has had at least one short story published or accepted for publication. Previously published work accepted. Submit online by October 31.

Advanced Writers
Gotham Book Prize. Howard Wolfson and Bradley Tusk will award $50,000 for a full-length book of fiction or nonfiction published during the calendar year that is about or set in New York City. Submit nominations online by November 1.

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

Search for Contests

We'll Critique Your Entire Book or Manuscript for Just $180—Satisfaction Guaranteed!

Winning Writers Critique Service

Compare to services charging $600 and up. We'll provide a critique that's 1,500-3,000 words long. It will include the following sections as relevant:

  • Critique summary
  • Technical execution (layout, spelling and grammar, technical consistency, technical quality of any illustrations, font, accessibility)
  • Structure and content (character, plot, theme, setting, internal consistency, structure, pacing)
  • Use of language (register, tone, tonal consistency, literary devices, artistic style, imagery, sense of mastery, relation to themes)
  • Recommendations and conclusion
  • Exercises to unlock creativity

You may also submit up to 3 specific questions to be answered within your critique. We guarantee your satisfaction. Learn more and order your critique for $180.

We also offer critiques of poems, stories, and essays and children's picture books for just $90.

Calls for Submissions

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

World Weaver Press: Solarpunk Creatures Anthology
(solarpunk fiction about nonhuman characters - October 31)

Under a Warm Green Linden: Indigenous Ecopoetry
(nature-themed and ecological poetry by Native Americans - November 15)

Parabola: "Transformation" Issue
(poetry and essays on this theme with a spiritual slant - December 1)

Sequestrum: "Reprints" and "Humor" Issues
(previously published or humorous creative writing - December 15)

7.13 Books
(debut literary novel and short story collection manuscripts - December 31)

BLF Press: Black Joy Unbound Anthology
(poetry, fiction, essays celebrating Black life - December 31)

Dyskami Publishing: Superhero Fiction Anthology
(stories set in the "Absolute Power" RPG universe - December 31)

Swagger: A Celebration of the Butch Experience
(creative writing from butches and the partners who love them - January 1)

Rooted Two: Best New Arboreal Nonfiction
(tree-themed essays - January 31)

Favorite New Resources

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

Compare prices from 100,000 booksellers worldwide. Great pricing on used books.

IBPA's Best Practices for Hybrid Publishers
Independent Book Publishers Association proposes ethical criteria for hybrid publishers.

Letter Review
Online literary magazine with contests, publishing opportunities, and articles about the craft and business of writing.

Writers' resource site offers free critiques and publishes the process-oriented journal Zero Readers.

Public Domain Poetry
Online archive of classic and lesser-known poets, searchable by author and title.

Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP)
Digital archive of LGBTQ zines is free to browse.


"Vigil" by Giuseppe Ungaretti, illustrated by Julian Peters

Julian Peters presents "Vigil" by Giuseppe Ungaretti, Italy's foremost poet of World War I. This translation is by Marco Sonzogni and Ross Woods in collaboration with the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation at Victoria University of Wellington. You can find more such adaptations in Poems to See By by Mr. Peters, on sale at Plough Publishing and Amazon.

Vigil by Giuseppe Ungaretti

The Last Word

Jendi ReiterMy Sims Are Bisexual Communists
Sims do not WooHoo on the first date, nor for some time thereafter. This fits the game's structure of hierarchical goals, where putting in time on smaller interactions unlocks higher-stakes ones. To me as a fiction writer, however, it feels constraining and judgmental. A demisexual/slutty axis for character creation would be a lot of fun.

[Read more]

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