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Welcome to Our August Newsletter

Penny-Anne Beadoin

We found over two dozen quality free poetry and prose contests with deadlines between August 15-September 30.
In this issue: "In a Station of the Metro" by Ezra Pound, illustrated by Julian Peters.

View Free Contests

Congratulations to Penny-Anne Beaudoin, winner of our 2017 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. Her rebellious "The Magician's Assistant" earned $1,000. We awarded runner-up Mary Somerville $250 for "A Friend to All Is a Friend to None". Jennifer Teunon won a special Third Prize of $150 for "Mind Over Mindfulness". Honorable mentions and $100 went to Daniel Ari, Dawn Daniels, Tim Eberle, Claudia Matos, Abby McCambridge, Jane Mitchell, Taryn Parrish, Lee Patton, Karen Schubert, and Beth Spencer. 4,275 contestants entered. Read all the winning entries with comments from judges Jendi Reiter and Lauren Singer. Read the press release. Our 2018 contest is now open for entries. As always, this contest has no fee.

Deadline Next Month
15th year. We will award the Tom Howard Prize of $1,500 for a poem in any style or genre, and the Margaret Reid Prize of $1,500 for a poem that rhymes or has a traditional style. Ten Honorable Mentions will receive $100 each (any style). The top 12 entries will be published online. Length limit: 250 lines per poem. Entry fee: $12 per poem. Final judge: S. Mei Sheng Frazier, assisted by Jim DuBois. Deadline: September 30. Submit online here.

Want to view past newsletters? Go to Need assistance? Let us help. Join our 94,000 followers on Twitter at @WinningWriters.

Featured Sponsor: The 2017 New Writer Awards at Sequestrum

Deadline: October 15

The 2017 New Writer Awards at Sequestrum award over $500 in prizes and publication to writers of short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry who have yet to publish a book-length manuscript. Two first-prize winners (one fiction/nonfiction, one poetry) will receive $200 each. A minimum of one runner-up per genre will receive publication and a cash prize.

Finalists last year included many new, emerging, and even first-time writers. All finalists are listed on the website. Enter online. No length (short story/essay) or theme restrictions. Complete guidelines here:

Need a summer read? Save 90% on new subscriptions and make free submissions with the coupon code SummerLit here:

Sequestrum has an international readership of 2,500+ per month and publishes poetry and prose on a rolling basis. All publications are paired with a stunning visual component. Past contributors include Guggenheim and NEA Fellows, Pulitzer Prize finalists, as well as many new and emerging voices.

Recent Honors and Publication Credits for Our Subscribers

Congratulations to L.S. Johnson, Mark Stevick, Berwyn Moore (featured poem: "Ambisinistrous"), Joan Gelfand (featured poem: "Peonies: For Jill"), Joan Leotta, Ruth Hill, Gail Thomas, Sofia Kioroglou, Evelyn Krieger, Janet Garber, James Garrison, Carolyn Howard-Johnson (featured poem: "Here and There, Now and Then"), and Ellaraine Lockie

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

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Red Blood, Yellow Skin by Linda L.T. Baer

Winner of the 2016 North Street Book Prize for creative nonfiction & memoir

Red Blood, Yellow Skin is the story of a young girl's survival in war-torn Vietnam during the First Indochina War between France and Vietnam, the civil war between North and South Vietnam, and the later American involvement in the Vietnam War. Linda Baer was born Nguyen Thi Loan, in the village of Tao Xa, Thai Binh Province, in North Vietnam in 1947. When she was four years old, the Viet Minh attacked her village and killed her father, leaving Loan and her mother to fend for themselves. Seeking escape from impoverishment, her mother married a rich and dominating widower who was cruel to his free-spirited and mischievous stepdaughter. Loan found solace in the company of animals and insects and escaped into the branches of trees.

In 1954, her family chose to relocate to South Vietnam, rather than live under the yoke of communist North Vietnam. When Loan was thirteen, she ran away to Saigon to flee the cruelty of her stepfather and worked at menial jobs to help her family. At seventeen, she was introduced to bars, nightclubs, and Saigon Tea. At eighteen, she dated and lived with a young American airman. Two months after their baby was born, the airman returned to America, and Loan never heard from him again. She raised their son by herself. However, time healed her heart, and she eventually found true love in a young Air Force Officer, whom she married and accompanied to America.

Red Blood, Yellow Skin is a story of romance, culture, traditions, and family. It describes the pain, struggle, despair, and violence as Loan lived it. The story is hers, but it is also an account of Vietnam—of those who were uprooted, displaced, brutalized, and left homeless. It is about this struggle to survive and her extraordinary triumph over adversity that Baer writes.

A 5-star bestseller on Amazon - buy it here. Read the Winning Writers critique and a free excerpt.

Watch for the sequel coming this November...

Endless Journey by Linda Baer

The Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry and the Serena McDonald Kennedy Fiction Award

Sponsored by Snake Nation Press. Deadline: August 31. Submit electronically or by mail.

Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry

  • $1,000 award and publication
  • Entry fee: $25
  • Submit a manuscript of up to 75-100 pages
  • Previously published works may be entered

Serena McDonald Kennedy Fiction Award

  • $1,000 award and publication
  • Entry fee: $25
  • Submit a novella of up to 50,000 words or a manuscript of short stories of up to 200 pages
  • Any well-written manuscript on any topic will be considered
  • Previously published works may be entered

We are proud to announce that Rupert Fike of Georgia has won the 2016 Violet Reed Haas Prize for his poetry collection, Hello the House, and Tom Benz of Chicago has won the Serena McDonald Kennedy Award for his collection of short stories, Home & Castle. See selections from their work.

The Inaugural Toni Beauchamp Prize in Critical Art Writing (no fee)

Deadline: September 1

Gulf Coast is now accepting entries for the inaugural Toni Beauchamp Prize in Critical Art Writing. The contest awards $3,000 and publication in Gulf Coast to the winner. The Prize will consider submissions of work that has been written (or published) within the last year. A variety of creative approaches and formats to writing on the visual arts are encouraged, and can include thematic essays, exhibition reviews and scholarly essays. Two runners up will be awarded $1,000 each. Prize winners will be featured in Gulf Coast's printed journal as well as online. There is no entry fee. Darby English will judge. Click here for full guidelines and to submit.

The Toni Beauchamp Prize in Critical Art Writing

The Barthelme Prize for Short Prose

Deadline: September 8

The Barthelme Prize for Short Prose 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 will receive $250, and all entries will be considered for paid publication on our website as Online Exclusives. Roxane Gay is this year's judge.

All entrants to the Barthelme Prize receive a one-year subscription to Gulf Coast, beginning with the year in which the corresponding prize winner is published. We will accept submissions both via our online submissions manager and via postal mail. Click here for full guidelines and to submit.

The Barthelme Prize for Short Prose

The 2017 Gulf Coast Prize in Translation

Deadline: September 8

Gulf Coast is now accepting entries for the Gulf Coast Prize in Translation. In 2017, the contest is open to prose (fiction or nonfiction) in translation. The winner receives $1,000 and publication in the journal. Two honorable mentions will each receive $250. All entries will be considered for paid publication on our website as Online Exclusives. John Keene is this year’s judge.

Entry to the contest also includes a one-year subscription to Gulf Coast, beginning with the issue in which the corresponding prize winners are published. We will accept submissions both via our online submissions manager and via postal mail. Click here for full guidelines and to submit.

The 2017 Gulf Coast Prize in Translation

Creative Nonfiction Seeks Experimental Essays

Deadline: September 11

Creative Nonfiction is currently seeking experimental nonfiction for the "Exploring the Boundaries" section ("experimental," "boundaries" ... yes, we know these can be loaded terms). We're looking for writing that is ambitious, pushes against the conventional boundaries of the genre, plays with style and form, and makes its own rules. As always, we have only one absolute rule: nonfiction must be based in fact.

Please note that this is NOT a call for an entire "Exploring the Boundaries" issue of the magazine; accepted pieces will be published one per issue, and the earliest possible publication will be in Issue #67 (Spring 2018).

All essays submitted will be considered for publication; this is a paying market.

Essays must be previously unpublished and no longer than 4,500 words. All essays must tell true stories and be factually accurate. Everything we publish goes through a rigorous fact-checking process, and editors may ask for sources and citations.

Guidelines at

Creative Nonfiction

Vacui Magia by L.S. Johnson

Winner of the 2016 North Street Book Prize for genre fiction
World Fantasy Award Finalist

Dwarves and golems, Fates and minotaurs, metamorphoses, murder, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. L.S. Johnson delivers a provocative and original short story collection that ingeniously blends myth and nightmare. Whether it concerns the efforts of an infertile witch to construct a golem-baby, or a daughter's quest to understand a father's guilt and a mother's supernatural infidelities, or a woman's violent association with a group of possibly imaginary but nonetheless dangerous little men, each story in this remarkable collection demonstrates the limitless capacity of intelligent speculative fiction to enthrall, inspire, and amaze. Available now at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks. Read a free excerpt.

"I can say without hesitation, reservation or exception that this is a collection full of brilliantly written and powerfully affecting stories, each of which profoundly impressed me in different ways ... Johnson's Vacui Magia is a book that never goes quietly, and it is wonderful for it." – The Future Fire Reviews

Submit your fiction to…


Deadline: September 30

Lilith Magazine invites submissions of quality short fiction, 3,000 words or under, for our Annual Fiction Contest. When selecting what you'll submit, please remember our tagline—independent, Jewish and frankly feminist. The magazine proudly spotlights both emerging and established writers. Winner receives $250 + publication. Put "Fiction Contest Submission" as subject line and send to

Since 1976, Lilith charts Jewish women's lives with exuberance, rigor, affection, subversion and style. Lilith's mission is to be the feminist change-agent in and for the Jewish community, amplifying Jewish women's voices, creating a woman-positive Judaism, spurring gender consciousness in the Jewish world and empowering Jewish women and girls to envision and enact change in their own lives and their communities.

Announcing the Writing Pittsburgh Book Prize

Deadline: October 23

The Writing Pittsburgh Book Prize will recognize one book focusing on a subject of regional and national significance, by a writer with a meaningful Pittsburgh connection. The author of the winning manuscript will receive a $10,000 honorarium; publication of their book by the Creative Nonfiction Foundation's independent book imprint, In Fact Books (IFB); national distribution; and a marketing and publicity campaign.

Manuscripts will be judged on originality; the subject's broad appeal and resonance with a national readership; interpretation of the "Writing Pittsburgh" theme; and literary quality and strength of prose. The selected book might be an in-depth reporting project focusing on one organization, individual, or event; alternatively, it might be a more personal writing project—for example, a memoir. All submissions will be judged by CNF's editorial staff.

The winning author will work with CNF/IFB's editorial staff to refine and polish the manuscript.

Guidelines at

Creative Nonfiction

Wayfarers by Winfred Cook

From the author of Uncle Otto, winner of the 2016 North Street Book Prize for literary fiction, comes a story of perilous love during the conflagration of the Civil War. Kirkus Reviews writes:

"Jerry Hawthorne and Daniel Cook are an unlikely pair of lovers. They are both men, and in 19th-century America, theirs is a dangerous union. They share intense memories of growing up together on the Hawthorne plantation, with Daniel a slave and Jerry the scion of the family that owned him. When they are still boys, Jerry’s father dies, throwing the future of the plantation in doubt...

"...the leads are compelling, and the investigation of interracial and homosexual relationships in the Civil War period should keep audiences invested in their struggles. The book is well-crafted and will likely please readers beyond those who are fans of gay fiction."

An affecting story of two souls separated by slavery and war.

Read a sample and buy it now on Amazon.

Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry Prize

Deadline: October 31 (postmark or online submission date)
Final Judge: To be announced

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. Results announced in winter 2018.

Submit a previously unpublished, chapbook-length poetry manuscript with a table of contents and an acknowledgements page (if applicable). There is no mandatory page count, but we suggest in the area of 20 to 36 pages. All manuscripts will be read and considered with full respect, regardless of length, and no manuscript will be rejected simply because it's shorter or longer. We encourage online submission via our Submittable system. You may also submit via postal mail:

Tupelo Press
Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry Prize
P.O. Box 1767
North Adams, MA 01247

For mailed manuscripts, request notification of receipt by including a SASP. For notification of the winner, enclose a SASE. Manuscripts will not be returned.

A reading fee of $25 payable by check to Tupelo Press or via Submittable must accompany each submission. Multiple submissions are accepted, each accompanied by a $25 reading fee.

Read the complete guidelines before submitting your manuscript:

Read about past winners here:

Read about the Sunken Garden Festival here:

Read about all Tupelo Press contests and open reading opportunities at:

Please enjoy this selection by Emily Jungmin Yoon, author of Ordinary Misfortunes (Tupelo Press, 2017), winner of the 2017 Sunken Garden Poetry Prize:

An Ordinary Misfortune
by Emily Jungmin Yoon

Mine is the jam-packed train. The too-weak cocktail. This
statement by an American man at the bar: Your life in
Korea would have been a whole lot different without the
Meaning: be thankful. This question by a Canadian
girl, a friend: Why don’t you guys just get along? The guys:
Japan and Korea. Meaning: move on. How do I answer
that? Move on, move on, girls on the train. Destination:
comfort stations. Things a soldier can do: mount you before
another soldier is done. Say, Drink this soup made of human
Say, The Korean race should be erased from this earth.
Tops down. Bottoms up. Things erased: your name, your
child, your history. Your new name: Fumiko, Hanako, Yoshi-
ko. Name of the condom: Charge Number One. Name of the
needle: Compound 606. Salvarsan means, an arsenic to save.
Ratio 291: 29 soldiers per girl. Actual count: lost. Lost: all.
Shot, shot, shot, everybody. Give thanks.

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Creative Nonfiction Seeks Essays on "Risk"

Deadline: November 6

Every decision we make, whether as individuals or as a society, involves some risk—whether physical or emotional, economic or legal, social or spiritual. Our comfort level with uncertainty defines not only our choices in any given situation, but how we live.

For a special issue of Creative Nonfiction magazine, we're seeking true stories illustrating the ways we balance the threat of loss against the promise of gain.

Possible subjects could be big or small, personal or public. We're interested in intersections between deeply personal decisions and those that affect larger communities.

  • How is risk intertwined with life decisions like entering relationships, starting or ending a pregnancy, or revealing a sexual or gender preference?
  • How do the risks associated with social interactions, whether online or in person, affect people's behavior or speech?
  • How does risk relate to deeply held religious and/or political beliefs, especially within a pluralistic society?
  • Why do some people actively seek risk, and how does this affect their quality of life?
  • How are emerging technologies such as gene editing and artificial intelligence changing the nature of the risks we face?
  • How do we think about and approach potentially catastrophic risks such as a large asteroid colliding with the earth, nuclear war, or the possibility of artificial intelligence superseding human intelligence?

Above all, we are looking for vivid narratives—true stories, rich with scene, character, detail, and a distinctive voice—with unique insights into these questions.

Creative Nonfiction editors will award $1,000 for best essay and $500 for runner-up, and all essays submitted will be considered for publication.

Guidelines at

Creative Nonfiction

Bullies in Love by Jendi Reiter

Winning Writers editor Jendi Reiter's fourth poetry book and second full-length collection, Bullies in Love, is available from Little Red Tree Publishing, with illustrations by fine art photographer and Massachusetts Cultural Council award winner Toni Pepe. Poems in this collection have won prizes from Atlanta Review, Anderbo, Alligator Juniper, Descant, New Millennium Writings, Solstice Literary Magazine, Wag's Revue, and others.

Based in North Platte, NE, Little Red Tree publishes books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and art that "delight, entertain, and educate", as well as the print and online literary magazine Peacock Journal.

"This book is an immensely enjoyable, sometimes beautiful, and often moving romp—tamed and targeted rage—through the hazardous territory of inter-personal and political relationships. Reiter's way with contemporary American English is acutely sensitive, and I cannot think of a better way to address the apparent oxymoron of the collection's title. It is a full, rich book—you will get your money's worth. It is also often laugh out loud funny—an impressive rarity in poetry that is also serious."
—E. Taylor, 5-star Amazon review

Please enjoy this sample poem, "What Does It Mean When You Dream of the Ocean?", and buy Bullies in Love.

Bullies in Love

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
Submerging Writer Fellowship. Fear No Lit will award a top prize of $1,000 ($500 prize and $500 to be used toward expenses associated with attending AWP 2018 in Tampa, FL) for writers who have never published a book or won any major writing awards, and who are not currently studying in an MFA or PhD program. Both poetry and prose considered. Due August 31.

Intermediate Writers
Young Lions Fiction Award. The New York Public Library will award $10,000 for the best published book of fiction (novel or short story collection) by a US author age 35 or under. Books must have been published or scheduled for publication during the current calendar year. Must be submitted by publisher. Due September 8.

Advanced Writers
Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing. The Writers' Trust of Canada will award C$25,000 for literary nonfiction books about Canadian politics by Canadian citizens or permanent residents and first published in Canada during the calendar year. The September 13 deadline welcomes books published between July 15 and September 12. Must be submitted by publisher.

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

Search for Contests

Calls for Submissions

PSA: Mirrors into windows...

ProLiteracy -
 The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows

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"In a Station of the Metro" by Ezra Pound, illustrated by Julian Peters

Mr. Peters writes, "Here are two illustrations inspired by the American poet Ezra Pound's famous and famously short poem, 'In a Station of the Metro', first published in 1913.

"I have no experience with Chinese and Japanese brush painting, and it is known as a technique that takes at least a whole lifetime to perfect, but it's the idea that counts. Perhaps I will return to this theme once I've had a little more practice with this painting style."

These illustrations are reprinted here by kind permission of Mr. Peters. Visit his website.

The Last Word

After Charlottesville: Readings for Racial Justice
We white liberals are belatedly waking up to the reality of the other America that black people have lived in for centuries. It's a privilege to be surprised that this kind of violent hatred has never gone away. As Columbia Journalism professor Jelani Cobb said on Twitter, "The biggest indictment of the way we teach American history is that people can look at Charlottesville and say 'This is not who we are.'" The best remedial education is to immerse one's self in stories by and about African-Americans. For me personally, one year as a judicial clerk, reading real-life cases of minority New Yorkers' encounters with the police and public housing authorities, was worth seven years of critical theory in college and grad school.

With that in mind, let me offer a few literary works from the Winning Writers contest archives that will move you and teach you something about race relations (if you're white) or hopefully validate your experience (if you're not).

[read more]

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

Jendi Reiter
One of the 101 Best Websites for Writers (Writer's Digest)