Winning Writers - best resources for poets and writers

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Welcome to Our April Newsletter

Adam Cohen

We found over two dozen free poetry and prose contests with deadlines between April 15-May 31. LOGIN HERE and check them out! For your convenience, a password is no longer needed to login.

S.E. Ingraham and Lois Elaine Heckman won top awards in our 11th Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest
Thanks to the 1,600 poets who participated. Read the press release. Read the 12 winning entries and comments by judge Ellaraine Lockie. Enter the new Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest.

Over 4,400 poets entered our 13th Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest, smashing last year's record by more than 1,000. Our dauntless judges Lauren Singer and Jendi Reiter are reading the entries now. We'll announce the winners on August 15.

Last Call for Our Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest
Deadline: April 30
In its 22nd year, now sponsored by Winning Writers. Accepts all styles and genres, published and unpublished. Arthur Powers will judge. $16 fee for each entry of up to 6,000 words. $3,000 in prizes. Submit online.

Also open now, our Sports Fiction & Essay Contest, with $3,000 in prizes. Deadline: May 31.

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: ABAB Poetry Contest (deadline April 18), Love Poem Contest, Use This Sentence in Your Story, What Poetry Means to Me. Learn more...

Writing Contests at

Recent honors and publication credits for our subscribers

Congratulations to Charlie Bondhus, Elizabeth Marchitti, Sid Miller (featured poem, "The Oklahoma"), Christine Benedict, Gray Hayduke, Alex Deppert (featured poem, "Transoceanic Twitter"), and Sarah Ashton.

Winning Writers Editor Jendi Reiter's poems "Mis Numeros" and "Polish Joke" (video reading) will be published in the anthology Tic Toc from Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Get more details on their achievements.

Read a Free Award-Winning Story from 'A Hero For The People'

If you want to write short stories, the best thing you can do is read short stories. A Hero For The People by Arthur Powers, judge of the 2014 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest, is a collection of highly crafted, highly readable award-winning stories. Read "The Bridge" now for free.

"Arthur Powers is more than a totally captivating, adventurous storyteller, he is a wonderfully accomplished writer who enriches the reader's experience of life. In short, Powers is in that rare company of authors who are impossible to put down."  ~John Reid, founder of the Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

Arthur Powers - 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...

Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets

Spark creativity, banish writer's block, and inspire new ideas with Vibrant Words, on sale now at Amazon. Writers will find out why they need core strength to write well, that poetry waits in parking lots, and what you can do with just one word.

"These warm, prodding pages quiver with enough prompts, suggestions, exercises, examples, and borderline ecstasy to keep any fledgling or practiced writer of poetry meaningfully focused and sharp for a lifetime." ~ Al Young, California's Poet Laureate Emeritus

Author Erica Goss is the Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA and the host of Word to Word, a show about poetry. She is the author of Wild Place (Finishing Line Press 2012) and won the 2011 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Contest.

Learn more and read a free sample from Vibrant Words...

Vibrant Words

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.

Register Now for The Visionary: A Writing Workshop with Joy Harjo and Pam Uschuk

Come to Tucson, Arizona during September 26-28 for a three-day intensive workshop to explore visionary writing. Award-winning writers Joy Harjo and Pam Uschuk will guide participants in on-site writing explorations in a desert garden setting. Special techniques will nurture insight and vision, including astrology, cards, and energy work.

The workshop price is $600. We will help find local hotel arrangements. Daily lunch and transportation to and from the workshop site will be provided. Space is limited to 15 people. Register by August 1 by calling 970-903-7914.

See the full-size workshop poster.

Writing Workshop with Joy Harjo and Pam Uschuk

Hope Clark Announces Release of Book Three: Palmetto Poison

Palmetto Poison

Politics turns poisonous in Palmetto Poison, the latest release in The Carolina Slade Mystery Series from award-winning author and editor C. Hope Clark and Bell Bridge Books. Set in rural South Carolina, the series follows the adventures of Carolina Slade, a smart, focused, sometimes over-thinking woman who's learned she's more than a Federal bureaucrat. She likes justice, just her own way.
"Carolina Slade is the real deal—Southern charm, a steely determination, and a vulnerability she'll never admit to. Slade is at her absolute best in C. Hope Clark's Palmetto Poison!"
~Lynn Chandler-Willis, best selling author and winner of the 2013 Minotaur Books/PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Competition

2014 Berkshire Prize for a First or Second Book of Poetry

Deadline: April 30. The Berkshire Prize for a First or Second Book of Poetry includes a cash award of $3,000 in addition to publication by Tupelo Press, 20 copies of the winning title, a book launch, and national distribution with energetic publicity and promotion. We suggest submitting a manuscript of 48 to 88 pages of poems, but all manuscripts will be read and considered with full respect, regardless of length.

Manuscripts are judged anonymously and all finalists will be considered for publication. Final Judge: Jeffrey Harrison. Results will be announced in late July 2014.

Learn more and read "Preface: bird decembering" by Mary Molinary, winner of our 2010 contest...

Berkshire Prize for a First or Second Book of Poetry Sponsored by Tupelo Press

E.M. Koeppel $1,100 Short Fiction Award

Writecorner Press

Deadline: April 30. Sponsored by Writecorner Press. Submit unpublished fiction on any theme, up to 3,000 words per entry. Winner receives $1,100. Editors' Choices will receive $100 each. 10 stories will be named Stories of Distinction.

The winning short story and editors' choices are eligible to be published online. Learn more and read "First Full Night of Winter" by David Brendan Hopes, winner of our 2012 contest...

Nimrod International Journal's Literary Awards for Fiction and Poetry

Nimrod International Journal - Awards 34

Deadline: April 30. It's time to enter the 36th annual Nimrod Literary Awards: The Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction. The Awards offer first prizes of $2,000 and publication, and second prizes of $1,000 and publication. One of the oldest "little magazines" in the country, Nimrod has continually published new and extraordinary writers since 1956. 

  • Poetry: 3-10 pages of poetry (one long poem or several short poems)
  • Fiction: 7,500 words maximum
  • Fee Per Entry: $20 payable to Nimrod, includes a one-year subscription (two issues)

Winners will also be brought to Tulsa for the Awards Ceremony in October. All finalists will be considered for publication. For complete rules, visit Nimrod's website:

Learn more and read "Fukushima, March 11, 2011" by Lynn Shoemaker, the 2nd-prize poem in our 2013 contest...

Dancing Poetry Festival Contest

Deadline: May 15. Three Grand Prizes will receive $100 each plus their poems will be danced and filmed. Many smaller prizes. All winners will be invited to read at our 21st Festival at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, September 20, 2014. Each Grand Prize winner will be invited onstage for photo ops with the dancers and a bow in the limelight.

Recent topics of winning poems have touched on the travels of Matisse, a Picasso painting, falling leaves, love, Iraq, China, history, dance, current events, reverie, socially significant situations, and even some humor sprinkled here and there. Please don't feel constrained to write a poem about dancing.

Learn more and enjoy "Xenophilia" by Allison Joseph, a 2008 Grand Prize winner...

Dancing Poetry Festival

$4,500 in Prizes: The New Letters Literary Awards

New Letters

Deadline: May 18. New Letters magazine invites you to submit fiction, essays, or poetry to the 2014 New Letters Literary Awards. Winners receive $1,500 for best essay, $1,500 for best poetry, and $1,500 for best fiction, and publication in a special awards issue of New Letters. All entries are considered for publication and must be unpublished. First runners-up will receive a copy of a recent book of poetry or fiction from our affiliate BkMk Press. Winners will be announced mid-September 2014. All entrants receive a one-year subscription to New Letters.

Click for the complete guidelines or send a SASE to Ashley Kaine, Contest Coordinator, New Letters, 5101 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110.

Learn more about the contest and read Jendi Reiter's interview with Robert Stewart, editor of New Letters, for insights to guide contestants...

On The Premises Short Story Contest (no fee)

On The Premises

Deadline: May 30. The premise of our 23rd contest is "Decisions, Decisions". Submit a 1,000-5,000 word story where one or more characters face an especially difficult decision. Winners receive $40-$180 and publication. There's no fee to enter.

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.

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 "The Old Stairs of Beirut" 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 "The Children's Section" by Janet Smith, our 2013 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 Lameris, 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.


PSA: Urge Your US Representatives to Defend Funding for Literacy and Basic Education


Congressional committees are working on the 2015 Federal budget now. Urge your senators and congressional representatives to defend funding levels for literacy and basic education. Few government initiatives have as great a return on investment. Use our Legislative Action Center to make yourself heard. It's quick and easy.

Calls for Submissions

To ensure consideration, assume that the editors must receive your submission by the date specified.

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New at Reiter's Block

Survivors in Church: Our Spiritual Gifts

"Survivors are your theological product testers. We know better than to assume that everyone who hears a teaching will apply it with good intentions. We're naturally hypervigilant to imagine scenarios where the teaching could be manipulated to oppress someone, or could unintentionally reinforce a listener's self-harming false beliefs. Don't dismiss us as paranoid. We can help make your church's worldview nuanced and sturdy enough to withstand spiritual abusers." [more]

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

Jendi Reiter