Winning Writers - best resources for poets and writers

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Welcome to Our August Newsletter

Adam Cohen

We found over two dozen free poetry and prose contests with deadlines between August 15-September 30. View their profiles now!

Simon Hendrie and Nancy Pagh won top honors in our 13th annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. An incredible 4,484 poets participated. Read the 13 winning entries with remarks from judges Jendi Reiter and Lauren Singer. Read the press release. Enter the new contest (no fee).

Coming next month: We'll announce the winners of our 22nd annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest.

New with This Issue—Comics by Ali Shapiro. Ali is a recent graduate of the MFA program in poetry at the University of Michigan. Her poems, reviews, and comics can be found in RATTLE, Redivider, Linebreak, PANK, Cutbank, and The Rumpus, and her posts are regularly featured on the Ploughshares blog. We are honored to have Ali join us. See below for this month's comic, "Craigslist for Poets".

Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest
Deadline: September 30
Our 12th annual open-theme poetry contest will award $3,000 in prizes. The Tom Howard Prize of $1,000 will go to the best poem in any style or genre. The Margaret Reid Prize of $1,000 will go to the best poem that rhymes or has a traditional style. Ellaraine Lockie will judge. You may submit 1-2 poems of any length for a flat $16 fee. Published and unpublished work welcome. Submit online.

Want to view past newsletters? Go to Need assistance? Let us help. Follow us on Twitter at @WinningWriters.

Featured Sponsor: Enter Writing Contests at

Over 50 writing contests are available at That includes the Haiku Poetry Contest (deadline today!) For this contest you are challenged to write a poem with a specific format. Haiku is a form of poetry that only uses three lines. Can you paint a mental image using only three lines?

Participate in FanStory's 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: Haiku Poetry Contest, Sonnet Poetry Contest, This Sentence Starts the Story, Write About This, Acrostic Poetry Contest. Learn more...


Recent Honors and Publication Credits for Our Subscribers

Congratulations to Martina Reisz Newberry (featured poem, "Celebration"), Thelma T. Reyna, Lesléa Newman, Ute Carson, R. Bremner, Mi West, Charlie Bondhus, Mary Lou Taylor, Charlotte Mandel, Chris Behrens, Ann Thompson, and Robert F. Gross.

"Sizing Down in the Driveway" by Ellaraine Lockie, our Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest judge, was the July 27 featured poem at Your Daily Poem.

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...

The Shy Writer Reborn

The Shy Writer Reborn, by award-winning author C. Hope Clark, brings hope and guidance to the introverted writer struggling in a noisy publishing world. An introverted writer's wake-up call from a seasoned lady who collected tricks and put them to practice in order to sell her words, not her soul.

From Amazon reviews:
"What stands out about this book for me is that Hope has a true and abiding empathy for other writers and helping other writers is a profound mission for her."
"The Shy Writer Reborn is full of optimistic, friendly, and eminently practical advice on how to balance the introvert's need for seclusion with the need to market and promote oneself and one's work."
"C. Hope Clark is the first person in my experience to not only address this personality trait as a writer, but to tell me that I am okay just as I am."

The Shy Writer Reborn

$5,000 GrubStreet Book Prize in Fiction


Postmark Deadline: October 1. The $5,000 GrubStreet Book Prize in Fiction is now accepting submissions.

The GrubStreet National Book Prize is awarded once annually to an American writer publishing his or her second, third, fourth (or beyond...) book. First books are not eligible. Each winner receives a cash award of $5,000. The award committee especially encourages writers publishing with small presses, writers of short story collections, and writers of color to apply. We also want the award to benefit writers for whom a trip to Boston will likely expand their readership in a meaningful way.

Eligible books include novels, short story and novella collections, and novels in stories published between January 1, 2014 and May 1, 2015. The author must reside in the United States. The fiction winner will be invited to Boston in May 2015 for the Muse and the Marketplace conference, where s/he will give a public reading and lead a craft class. GrubStreet will also hold a reception in the winner’s honor. Inability to attend this reading/reception and/or lead the craft class may result in forfeiture of the prize. GrubStreet pays all travel and accommodation expenses.

Publishers may submit books on behalf of authors, but applications must include all required materials in order to be eligible. More details at

2014 Barthelme Prize for Short Prose

Deadline: August 31. Gulf Coast is accepting entries for the 2014 Barthelme Prize for Short Prose, judged by Amy Hempel. The contest is open to pieces of prose poetry, flash fiction, and micro-essays of 500 words or fewer. Established in 2008, the contest awards its winner $1,000 and publication in the journal. Two honorable mentions receive $250 and will also appear in issue 27.2, due out in April 2015. All entries will be considered for paid publication on our website as Online Exclusives.

We accept submissions both via our online submissions manager and via postal mail, and all entrants receive a one-year subscription to Gulf Coast with their reading fee. Entrants may submit up to three pieces with each entry fee. Multiple submissions are allowed, but each new entry of three pieces must be accompanied by a separate entry fee. Visit for more information and read last year's winning entry, "Bats".

Please also enjoy this excerpt from Josie Sigler Sibara's winning entry in our 2012 contest, "The Compartment"...

Donald Barthelme

Two Contests from Snake Nation Press

Snake Nation Press

Deadline: August 31. Submit your manuscript of 75-100 poems to the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry. Winner receives $1,000 and publication. Entry fee: $25. Both published and unpublished work welcome.

Submit your novella (up to 50,000 words) or short story collection (up to 200 pages) to the Serena McDonald Kennedy Award. All topics accepted. Both published and unpublished work welcome. Winner receives $1,000 and publication. Entry fee: $25.

Submit online or mail your entry and fee to:

Snake Nation Press
110 West Force Street
Valdosta, GA 31601

Please enjoy "First Winter in Illinois" by Cathy Bobb and an excerpt from "Natural Selection" by Jacob Appel, winners of our most recent contests...

Creative Nonfiction Seeks Essays on "Waiting"

Deadline: September 22. Creative Nonfiction magazine is seeking new essays for an upcoming issue dedicated to WAITING. 

We want your well-crafted true stories of delays, postponements, and pauses that explore and examine our relationship with time. Whether you're waiting patiently or not, on tables or for Godot, however you approach the subject, we can't wait to read your work. 

Submissions must be 4,000 words or fewer.

$1,000 for best essay; $500 for runner-up. 

Guidelines at

Creative Nonfiction

On The Premises Short Story Contest (no fee)

On The Premises

Deadline: October 3. The premise of our 24th contest is "Property". Submit a 1,000 to 5,000 word story that uses the contest premise. Winners receive between US$40 and US$180 and publication. There is no fee to enter our contest.

Any genre except children's fiction, exploitative sex, or over-the-top gross-out horror is fine. We will also never accept parodies of another author's specific fictional character(s) or world(s). No exceptions!

Click for details and instructions on submitting your story. 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,, and other short story marketing resources.

Cutthroat's Joy Harjo Poetry Award & Rick DeMarinis Short Story Award

Deadline: October 20. First Prize in each genre: $1,250 and publication. Second Prize in each genre: $250 and publication. Honorable Mention: Publication.

Martín Espada will judge this year's Joy Harjo Poetry Award. Bobbie Ann Mason will judge the Rick DeMarinis Short Fiction Award. All prizewinning pieces will appear in CUTTHROAT 18, a special tribute issue for the writers Joy Harjo and Linda Hogan.

Submit up to three unpublished poems (100-line limit each) or one unpublished short story (5,000-word limit), any subject, any style. See the complete guidelines.

We congratulate last year's winners: Jamie Carr of Portland, Oregon for her story, "Chicken", and Jude Nutter of St. Paul, Minnesota for her poem, "Venus Showing Mars Her Doves Making A Nest In His Helmet".

Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts

Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry Prize

Tupelo Press

Deadline: October 31. The Sunken Garden Poetry Prize is a prestigious national poetry prize for adult writers. Established in 2002, the Prize has drawn submissions from around the country that have been judged by renowned poets such as Martha Collins, Patricia Smith, and Tony Hoagland. The winner receives a cash prize, an introductory reading at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, and publication of a chapbook. Hill-Stead began partnering with Tupelo Press for the publication of the chapbook in 2013.

The Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Poetry Prize includes a cash award of $1,000, publication by Tupelo Press, a book launch, and national distribution with energetic publicity and promotion. The final judge for this year's contest is to be Peter Stitt. Results announced in winter 2015.

Learn more about the contest and read "A Door in Your Shape" by Ted Lardner, winner of last year's Sunken Garden Poetry Prize...

The Vermont Writers' Prize (no fee)

The Vermont Writers' Prize

Spotlight Contests

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
L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest (short science fiction, fantasy, and horror, due September 30)

Intermediate Writers
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Program (published prose book, due September 25)

Advanced Writers
Stowe Prize (for a US author with an impact on a social justice issue, due September 8)

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

Spotlight Contests

Calls for Submissions

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

PSA: Romance Writers of America Supports Literacy through Annual Conference


Romance Writers of America held their annual RWA Conference July 23-26 in San Antonio, Texas. This 10,200-member nonprofit trade association seeks to assist the professional advancement of romance writers through networking and advocacy, in addition to supporting worldwide literacy.

At each annual conference, hundreds of romance authors meet with and sign books for fans as part of the "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing. All the proceeds from this autographing event go to literacy organizations. This year, with the help of more than 500 authors, RWA was able to raise more than $53,000. ProLiteracy is proud to be a recipient of a portion of these proceeds, along with Literacy Texas, Restore Education, and Each One Teach One San Antonio.

“RWA has been a remarkable supporter of ProLiteracy for the past two decades,” says Kevin Morgan, president and CEO of ProLiteracy. Since 1990, RWA has donated more than $716,000 to literacy.

Learn more about ProLiteracy.

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Tom Laverty, Business Development Manager, BookBaby

New Feature! Comics by Ali Shapiro

Ali Shapiro: Craigslist for Poets

The Last Word

Religious Rights and the Common Good

We’ve reached a peculiar juncture in Free Exercise Clause law, where the right to do something religious has morphed into the right to make someone else do something, for religious reasons. That is to say, at what point are you offloading so much of the burden of your religiously motivated behavior that it is no longer "your" free exercise? [continue at Reiter's Block]

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

Jendi Reiter