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Winning Writers Newsletter - January 2024

View Free Contests

We found over four dozen excellent free poetry and prose contests with deadlines between January 15-February 29. In this issue, please enjoy "God's Grandeur" by Gerard Manley Hopkins, illustrated by Julian Peters.

Open at Winning Writers, co-sponsored by Duotrope
Free to enter, $3,750 in prizes, including a top award of $2,000. Deadline: April 1.

$10,000 in prizes, including two top awards of $3,500 each. $22 entry fee. Deadline: May 1.

In our next newsletter, we'll announce the winners of our 2023 North Street Book Prize.

View past newsletters in our archives. Need assistance? Let us help. Join our 135,000 followers on Twitter and 49,000 followers on Facebook. Advertise with us, starting at $40.

Recent Honors and Publication Credits for Our Subscribers

Congratulations to Christopher Bernard, Chelsea Dingman, Robert Walton, James Dorr, Luci Shaw (featured poem: "Ode"), Dan Klefstad, Michaela Brady, Terri Kirby Erickson, Yvonne, Tamara Kaye Sellman, and R. Bremner.

Winning Writers assistant contest judge Dare Williams's poem "What We Thought Was the Sound of Heaven Was Only Just the Coinstar" was published in Split Lip.

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

Have news? Please email it to

Do you use TikTok or Instagram? Send your news to the @winningwriters account so we can share it!

Ad: Free Presentation on the Past, Present, and Future of Publishing

Atmosphere Press Webinar

Don't miss this limited-attendance <30-minute talk and Q&A! In it, Dr. Kyle McCord will be discussing the recent history of the publishing experience, what it looks like now, and most importantly, how you can prepare to take advantage of it in the future.

This brief talk takes place at noon US Central time on Wednesday, January 24th, and attendance will be limited to 500.

Snag Your Exclusive Spot on the List!

Ad: Geminga 24: $500 for Tiny Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Graphic Novel, or Art

Sunspot Literary Journal

Deadline: January 31 - Authors & Artists Eligible

Geminga is a neutron star so small it was difficult to detect. With Geminga: $500 for Tiny Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, or Art, Sunspot Lit honors the power of the small. No restrictions on theme or category. Word limit is 100 for fiction and nonfiction. Micropoetry is limited to 140 characters. Graphic novels should be 4 pages or less. Submissions may be excerpts from longer works.

Titles are not included in the word count. Epigraphs are included in the word count. Compound words separated by hyphens, numbers, and letters of the alphabet are counted as a single word. In the micropoetry category, characters include spaces, punctuation, numbers, and letters of the alphabet.

Visual art entries should be paintings, drawings, or sketches no larger than 25 inches square. Sculptural forms should be no larger than 25 inches in any dimension (length, height, or width).

Entry fee: $12.50

Prize: $500 cash, publication for the winner, publication offered to runners-up and finalists.

Sunspot asks for first rights only; all rights revert to the contributor after publication. Works, along with the creators' bylines, are published in the next quarterly digital edition an average of two months after contest completion, as well as in the annual fall print edition.

Works should be unpublished except on a personal blog or website. Artists offered publication may display their pieces in galleries, festivals or shows throughout the publication contract period.

Enter as many times as you like through Submittable or Duosuma, but only one piece per submission. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw your piece if it is published elsewhere before the winner is selected.

Ad: Last Call! 2024 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 11th William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Two prizes of $5,000 each are given for works of fiction and nonfiction. All entries must be predominately in English, and available for individual purchase by the general public. Self-published books are eligible. Poetry will not be considered in this cycle.

The awards, co-sponsored by Stanford Libraries and the William Saroyan Foundation, commemorate the life, legacy and intentions of William Saroyan—author, artist, dramatist, composer—and are intended to encourage new or emerging writers, rather than to recognize established literary figures.

The award honors the Saroyan literary legacy. What is the Saroyan legacy or style?
Saroyan's literary style is characterized by originality, stylistic innovation and what is often described as an "exuberant humanism". It is this exuberance and desire to move art in new directions, rather than relevance to the particulars of Saroyan's common settings or themes, that Saroyan Prize judges will be seeking.

Submit five copies of your work published between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2023, with a $50 entry fee by January 31, 2024. An electronic file of your book will be accepted only if the book is not available in hard copy form. Writers who have published four or more books are ineligible. Visit the Saroyan Prize website for complete eligibility and submission details.

Claire Oshetsky and Wayétu Moore, winners of the 2022 Saroyan PrizeCongratulations to Claire Oshetsky and Wayétu Moore, winners of the 2022 Saroyan Prize. Oshetsky and Moore were selected as winners for their ability to write imaginatively about harsh realities and challenge myths about motherhood and immigration, respectively. Learn more about their achievement.

Ad: Next Generation Indie Book Awards - Closing Next Month!

Deadline: February 14

Entries are now being accepted for the 2024 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 2022, 2023, or 2024 or with a 2022, 2023, or 2024 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: Next Generation Short Story Awards - Closing Next Month!

Next Generation Short Story Awards

Deadline: February 28

Entries are now being accepted for the 2024 Next Generation Short Story Awards, a new and exciting awards program celebrating authors worldwide who have written a short story in English. The Next Generation Short Story Awards is a not-for-profit awards program brought to you by the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the largest international book awards program in the world for independent and self-published authors.

There are 25+ categories to choose from, so take advantage of this exciting opportunity to have your story considered for cash prizes, awards, exposure, and recognition as one of the top stories of the year! Winners will have their story published in the annual Anthology. Enter today at

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

On The Premises Short Story Contest

Deadline: Friday, March 1, 2024, 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 the contest is "VEHICLE".

For this contest, write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story of 1,000 to 5,000 words in which some kind of vehicle plays an important role. Merely using the vehicle as a simple plot device or to help characters get somewhere is not enough. For instance, "While flying home I made a bunch of new friends on the flight" isn't good enough, because the same story—making new friends—could easily be told without the plane.

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), and we do not accept fan fiction for the same reason. 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: Tennessee Williams Museum Short Story & Poetry Contests

Tennessee Williams Museum in Key West sponsors a short story and poetry contest

Deadline: March 10

In commemorating Tennessee Williams’s 113th Birthday, the Tennessee Williams Museum in Key West is convening short story and poetry contests.

Williams traveled across the United States and Europe, but was most successful in his career and happy personally while living and writing in Key West. During his time on the island, he wrote many of his notable works including A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

There is no specific theme for the 2024 writing contests, however, submissions must in some way reference Tennessee Williams. Poets and authors may choose to reference Williams, his family, one of his characters, or one of the actors/actresses who played a role in his plays or films. The cost is $10 per submission and is limited to one poem and/or one short story per person. The first-place winner in each contest will be awarded $300 while the second-place winners will receive $150.

The winners will be announced on March 26, 2024 at a special Birthday Party at the Tennessee Williams Museum and published online on the Tennessee Williams Key West Festival website.

Learn more and submit.

Ad: Backbone Press Annual Chapbook Competition

Backbone Press is now accepting submissions to our annual chapbook competition. It's open to new, emerging, and established poets. Chapbook-length manuscripts are 20-40 pages. Poems previously published in journals are encouraged. Click here for a list of our previous winners.

Submissions open in January and close in March. The winner is awarded a $250 prize and (20) author copies for personal use and distribution. In addition, each winner receives a $250 travel stipend for a reading and a 45-minute free book publicity consultation with Gold Leaf Literary. Final judge Allison Joseph will select the winner.

All entries are read blind by our editorial staff. We do accept simultaneous submissions. Please notify us immediately if accepted elsewhere. The entry fee is $20. All manuscripts must be submitted via our Submittable account with no identifiable information. See the complete guidelines on our website.

Ad: Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

Ad: 31st Annual Poetry Contest for the Dancing Poetry Festival

Dancing Poetry Festival 2023

Postmark deadline: April 15

In honor of Richard Angilly, 1941-2022, co-founder of Dancing Poetry Festival and the Poetic Dance Theater Company, Artists Embassy International celebrates the ambassadorship of excellent artists and their work that furthers intercultural understanding and peace through the universal language of the arts.

Now in its 31st year, all Dancing Poetry Festival prize winners will receive cash prizes, a certificate suitable for framing, and an invitation to read their poem at the Dancing Poetry Festival online.

Three Grand Prizes will receive $100 each plus their poems will be costumed, danced, and filmed. Many smaller prizes.

See videos from past 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. Limit of 38 lines per poem. We look forward to reading your submissions.

See the complete contest rules and enjoy "A Shimmering" by Claire J. Baker, winner of a Grand Prize in 2023.

Ad: Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

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
$1,000 for 1,000 Words Middle and High School Creative Writing Contest. The Leyla Beban Young Authors Foundation will award two top prizes of $1,000 for previously unpublished flash fiction, exactly 1,000 words long, by students in grades 6-12 (one prize for grades 6-8 and the other for grades 9-12). Winners may be published online and in the sponsor's annual Bluefire journal. Must be received by February 1.

Intermediate Writers
NEA Literature Fellowships. The National Endowment for the Arts will award up to 48 $25,000 grants to published creative writers that enable recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. Program alternates annually between poetry and prose (fiction and creative nonfiction); 2024 applications are for poetry. Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents. Must be received by March 13.

Advanced Writers
Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. The University College London, Institute of Advanced Studies, will award 3,000 pounds for the best book of political fiction first published in the UK or Ireland between June 1, 2023 and May 31, 2024. In addition, a Special Prize may be awarded at the judges' discretion. Entries may be novels, collections of short stories, graphic novels, or YA. Must be received by January 24.

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, Erica Verrillo's blog, Authors Publish, Lit Mag News Roundup, Poets & Writers, The Writer, Duotrope, Submittable, and literary journals' own newsletters and announcements.

Brink: "Boundaries" Issue
(hybrid and multi-genre work on this theme - January 31)

EastOver Press: Taylor Swift Anthology
(poetry and short prose about personal emotional connections with Swift's music - January 31)

(cosmic horror and dark fantasy fiction - January 31)

Lowestoft Chronicle
(humorous and travel-related creative writing - February 15)

Comp: An Interdisciplinary Journal
(poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, comics - February 29)

Impossible Archetype
(poetry by LGBTQ+ authors - March 1)

Favorite New Resources

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

Active Voice Magazine Active Voice Magazine
Youth-led literary journal with a mission of social change

Authors Publish List of 35 Literary Journals Accepting Translations
Curated list of literary and genre magazines that accept translated poetry and prose

BookBaby's Guide to Book Pricing for Authors
How to set a competitive and profitable price for your self-published book

Bulb Culture Collective
Online journal of previously published poetry

Canadian online literary/arts journal accepts experimental book reviews

Online journal focuses on hybrid-genre short creative writing

Good River Review
Spalding University lit mag publishes book reviews and creative writing for all ages

Great Place Books
Literary small press publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and translations

Metaphor Generator for Fun
Free online tool randomizes word combinations to generate unusual metaphors

Months to Years
Online literary journal of writing and art about terminal illness and mortality

Peek Inside a Successful Book Proposal
Annotated case study at nonfiction writers' resource Nieman Storyboard

RHINO Poetry Archives
Free digital samples of this well-regarded poetry journal, going back to 2010

Scraps Journal
Journal showcases artists' abandoned work remixed with rejection letters

SlashGear's List of Best Websites to Find and Download eBooks for Free
Reputable sources for free and low-cost e-books and audiobooks

Tenebrous Press
Small press publishing New Weird Horror

The Innocent Loss of First Rights
AuthorsPublish article about what "unpublished" means for contests and magazine submissions

The Most Common Formatting Mistakes When Submitting to a Literary Journal
How to avoid errors that offend editors

The School Magazine
Australian lit mag for young readers

"God's Grandeur" by Gerard Manley Hopkins, illustrated by Julian Peters

Please enjoy Julian Peters' adaptation of "God's Grandeur", a sonnet by the English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889). Considered one of the most influential poets of the 19th century, Hopkins converted to Catholicism in 1866 and eventually became a Jesuit priest. This comic was originally commissioned by the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States to mark the poet's 179th birthday on July 28 of last year.

God's Grandeur
God's Grandeur
God's Grandeur
God's Grandeur

The Last Word

Jendi Reiter

Two Poems by Perry Brass
Prolific gay novelist Perry Brass’s books include Trial by Night, King of Angels, and the self-help volume The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love. This spring, he will be collaborating with my friend John Ollom on a poetry and dance performance entitled “Threads” at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance. (Stay tuned for ticketing info.) Perry has kindly allowed me to reprint two of his new poems:

I Will Ask Mike Pence to Kiss Me

I know it. I know it. That face
blank as the moon excites me,
makes me feel all hard
inside. He is such an Eagle Scout,
such a serious contender for
the face of crime control...

[read more]

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