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Welcome to Our October Newsletter

Adam Cohen

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

See below for contests we especially recommend for writers at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced stages of their careers.

Coming on November 15: We'll announce the winners of our Sports Fiction & Essay Contest.

In this issue:
"Poetic Analytics"


Opening on January 15:
The North Street Book Prize for Self-Published Books
It's easier than ever to self-publish your book, but how can you stand out? Which services are worthwhile? Who can you trust? We've developed the North Street Book Prize to help. Three winners will each receive $1,500, a credit towards the high-quality publishing services at BookBaby, free advertising in this newsletter, and expert marketing advice from Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of The Frugal Book Promoter. We'll award cash prizes of $6,000 in all, with gifts for everyone who enters. Learn more at

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 Minute Poetry Contest (deadline tomorrow!)

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: Minute Poem, Non-Fiction Writing Contest, Flash Fiction Writing Contest, Tanka Poetry Contest, 5-7-5 Poetry Contest. See all our upcoming contests...


Recent Honors and Publication Credits for Our Subscribers

Congratulations to Robin Coste Lewis (featured poem: "On the Road to Sri Bhuvaneshwari"), Amy Pacini (featured poem: "Writing Always Finds Me"), Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé (featured poem: "A Friend in Need"), Tricia McCallum, R.T. Castleberry, Charlie Bondhus, and R. Bremner.

We also congratulate Ellaraine Lockie, who is busy judging our 1,600+ Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest entries. Her poetry chapbook Where the Meadowlark Sings won the 2014 Encircle Chapbook Contest. Read a sample poem, "Godot Goes to Montana".

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... – a new, free way to grow and connect with your audience is a platform, a hub, and a community dedicated to helping authors maximize their audience.

We will help your writing career blossom.

The concept is simple: On Scriggler, everything revolves around shared stories, poetry, ideas. The audience can interact with these stories by liking, disliking, and commenting. These interactions are recorded to create a statistical portrait of every audience member. Scriggler can then match these profiles and come up with reading suggestions uniquely relevant to every reader. We also actively promote your publications across social networks.

We run live events and monthly writing contests to further showcase our talent pool and provide additional promotional opportunities to our members.

The best part is—as an early adopter you get all the perks of premium membership free, for life.

All our contributors keep the rights to their work, always. Join our friendly and supportive community today.


A Hero for the People—less than $1 in October

A Hero for the People

Arthur Powers is judging the Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest for 2015. His award-winning collection of short stories, A Hero for the People, is available now on Amazon Kindle for only $0.99 during the month of October. Click to buy!

"Set in the vast and sometimes violent landscape of contemporary Brazil, this is a gorgeous collection of stories—wise, hopeful, and forgiving, but clear-eyed in its exploration of the toll taken on the human heart by greed, malice, and the lust for land." —Debra Murphy, Publisher, Idylls Press
​"Arthur Powers is more than a totally captivating, adventurous storyteller. He is a wonderfully accomplished writer who enriches the reader's experience of life, and is a mighty skillful reporter who knows the ins and outs of people and places. While his locations are often fascinatingly exotic, more importantly his people are always engagingly real! 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



FundsforWriters touches 45,000 readers with its calls for submissions from contests, grants, markets, publishers, and agents. Writer's Digest Magazine chose the website for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 14 years. Award-winning editor and author C. Hope Clark brings opportunity to you, so you have more time to write.

"You inspire me to have more courage, to reach higher, and you offer me threads of hope that I, too, can continue to grow and contribute something of worth to the world. Do you have ANY idea how much you mean to all of us who sit at our computers on Friday afternoon, waiting for your email to come in? Thank you for your dedication to sharing the roller-coaster ride of writing. You are a gifted teacher and mentor."


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". Please enjoy Ms. Nutter's poem here.

Cutthroat Journal

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 "Fidelity" by Ted Lardner, winner of last year's Sunken Garden Poetry Prize...

Brick Road Poetry Book Contest

Deadline: November 1. The first place winner receives a publication contract with Brick Road Poetry Press and a $1,000 prize, publication in both print and ebook formats, and 25 copies of the printed book. We may also offer publication contracts to the top finalists.

Adhere to all the "general submission" manuscript guidelines. Entry fee $25, payable through the online submission manager. If sending hard copy, please include a check or money order payable to "Brick Road Poetry Press, Inc." See the complete guidelines for details.

The poetry we publish is best characterized as entertaining, amusing, edifying, and/or surprising. Some of our favorite poets are Kim Addonizio, Billy Collins, Jane Hirshfield, Jane Kenyon, Ted Kooser, Thomas Lux, and Mark Strand.

Qualities we admire: coherent human voice, sense of humor, narrative mode, playful use of words, surprise twists, personas, spiritual or philosophical ideas illustrated concretely (in imagery or narrative), and intense depictions of a dramatic scene, setting, or experience.

Dislikes: overemphasis on rhyme, obscurity or riddling, highfalutin vocabulary, didactic expressions of religion, hazy themes or topics, and excessive abstractions.

Please enjoy "My Wife's Brassieres" by Gary Leising, winner of our 2013 contest.

Brick Road Poetry Book Contest

New Millennium Writings 39th Competition

Deadline: November 17. Our 39th competition will award $4,000. Submit online at

$1,000 each for the Best Poem, Best Fiction, Best Nonfiction, and Best Short-Short Fiction.

Newcomers are published alongside famous writers, in our anthology and online. Previously published pieces welcome if under 5,000 in circulation or online only.

"I found this to be one of the most powerful literary experiences I've ever had. For anyone who gives a whit about writing or the human condition, New Millennium Writings should be required reading."
                                                      —Kane S. LaTranz, Alibi

John Mauk, of Oxford, OH, won our most recent New Millennium Fiction Prize for "Sounding for Mercy", his story of a diminutive sound engineer whose super heroic act to help a vocal artist may hide deeper, and darker, motivations. Mauk will receive $1,000, a certificate to document the success, and publication both online and in the 2015 issue, which all contestants will receive next spring. Please enjoy this excerpt.

New Millennium Writings

Little Red Tree: International Poetry Prize

Little Red Tree Anthology

Deadline: December 31. Little Red Tree Publishing is proud to announce its 5th International Poetry Prize, with a first prize of $1,000, runner-up $250, and $50 to five finalists.

The prizewinner, runner-up, and third-place poet will feature prominently, with full biography, in a special collection called The Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize 2015 Anthology. The book will also include a wide selection of poetry from those submitted that did not make the final selection but were considered worthy of publication. The book will be published in the summer of 2015.

A book launch will be scheduled at a suitable venue in New London, CT. All winners and published poets will be invited to read their poems. See the complete contest guidelines at Little Red Tree.

We congratulate our most recent winner, Leland James, who submitted "Spirit Road".

Little Red Tree: Vernice Quebodeaux “Pathways” Poetry Prize for Women

Deadline: December 31. Little Red Tree Publishing is proud to announce the 5th Vernice Quebodeaux "Pathways" Poetry Prize for Women, which includes a $1,000 cash award and offer to publish a full-length collection of poetry with a generous royalty contract. The book will be published in 2015. See the complete contest guidelines at Little Red Tree.

Vernice Quebodeaux, born in Egan, LA (on the banks of the Bayou Plaquemine Brûlé), was a poet who spent a lifetime struggling with the demands of raising children, family feuds, bigotry, apathy, and indifference to her writing aspirations. On her death the beginnings of a book of poetry called Pathways was found by her daughter Tamara Martin and incorporated into a book, Sundays in the South. We are honoring her life and cherished goals by creating this competition to recognize the specific unique voices of women poets.

We congratulate our most recent winner, Cathleen Calbert, who submitted The Afflicted Girls.

Vernice Quebodeaux

Tupelo Quarterly Prose Open Contest

Deadline: January 1, 2015. Tupelo Quarterly is now in its second year of production! Check out our first few issues, then throw your hat into the ring with our TQ6 Prose Open Contest! The winner will receive $1,000 and publication in the next issue of Tupelo Quarterly.

Please send us one, single, solitary piece of prose: any style or sensibility, 15 pages or less. Truly, we mean it: one piece of flash/micro/sudden fiction, one creative nonfiction piece or essay, one short story, one peculiar hybrid. We are not comparing genres, we are asking of each entry: 'What is this piece trying to achieve, and how well does it do it?'

Submit your entry with the $20 reading fee via Submittable. Simultaneous submissions are welcome; translations are not eligible. Judge to be announced. The winner and three runners-up will be announced with the release of the issue on February 15.

Read the complete guidelines before submitting:

Read the latest issue of Tupelo Quarterly:

Tupelo Quarterly

Women's National Book Association: 3rd Annual Writing Contest

Deadline: January 15, 2015. The Women's National Book Association is now accepting submissions for our 3rd Annual National Writing Contest. All adults over 18 may enter. We are seeking excellent work on any theme to showcase to our national membership. We'll announce the winners in March 2015.

First prize in each category will earn a $250 cash prize. Winners plus Honorable Mentions will be posted on our website and published in a special contest edition of The Bookwoman, our national newsletter. All winners will also be published in an anthology in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the WNBA in 2017.


  • Poetry (judged by Ellen Bass): Submit 3-5 pages.
  • Fiction (judged by Michelle Hoover): 3,000-word maximum. Stories only, please. No novel excerpts.
  • Memoir/Creative Non-Fiction (judged by Deirdre Bair): 2,500-word maximum.

Fees: $15 for WNBA members, $20 for non-members. Published work accepted, but please do not submit work that has received a national award. Please reference publication date and venue. Notify us if your entry is accepted elsewhere after you submit it to us.

See our complete guidelines and submit at:

Questions? Please email

Please enjoy "Uncertainty", the winning fiction entry Gayle Towell submitted to our 2014 contest.

Women's National Book Association

Robert Frost Foundation Poetry Award

Robert Frost Foundation

Deadline: February 1, 2015. The Robert Frost Foundation welcomes poems in the spirit of Robert Frost for its Annual Award. The winner will receive $1,000 and the opportunity to read at a Frost Foundation event. Up to ten runners-up will be shortlisted at the discretion of the judge.

Online submissions are now welcome via Submittable. Otherwise, please submit two copies of each poem, one copy with contact information (name, address, phone number, email address) and one copy free of all identifying information. Reading fees are $12 per poem. Make your check payable to The Robert Frost Foundation. Mail your entry to: Lawrence Library, Attn: Robert Frost Award, 51 Lawrence Street, Lawrence, MA 01841. Email submissions are accepted at if you send your entry fee by regular mail.

You may submit up to three poems of no more than three pages each. Both published and unpublished works are accepted. See the complete contest guidelines and enjoy A.M. Thompson's Honorable Mention entry from our 2014 contest, "Burning Fallow Fields".

Announcing the 2014-2015 RhymeZone Poetry Prize (no fee)

Deadline: February 1, 2015. This year's theme: "Understanding".

RhymeZone will award a total of $5,000 to 10 authors of thought-provoking poetry in the United States or Canada. To enter, compose an original poem related to theme of "Understanding" and share it with the RhymeZone community by posting it to the RhymeZone 2014-2015 Poetry Prize Entries section of the RhymeZone Forum. There is no entry fee.

Poems will be judged on the basis of how thought-provoking, well-crafted, and original they are. All entries must be original poems that have not won any award previously. Winners will be announced on March 1, 2015.

Why a poetry prize? It's our way of saying thank you to the poetry community which has been so supportive of RhymeZone over the years—and also a way to encourage the writing of more great verse.

See detailed rules and guidelines at:

RhymeZone Poetry Prize

Call for Submissions: upstreet (no fee)


Deadline: March 1, 2015. 
Award-winning literary annual upstreet seeks quality submissions of short fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry for its eleventh issue. Past issues feature interviews with Jim Shepard, Lydia Davis, Wally Lamb, Michael Martone, Robin Hemley, Sue William Silverman, Dani Shapiro, Douglas Glover, Emily Fragos, and Robert Olen Butler. Distributors: Ingram, Media Solutions, Disticor (Canada). Chains: Barnes & Noble, Hastings, Books-A-Million.

For new guidelines, including payment, and to submit, see

Please enjoy "Mrs. God" by Connie Wanek, published in upstreet number ten.

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
Stories of Resilience Contest (poems, short fiction, and personal essays about the impact of domestic violence, due October 20)

Intermediate Writers
Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize (novel or short story collection; sponsor Black Balloon Press "champions the weird, the unwieldy, and the unclassifiable"; due October 31)

Advanced Writers
J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award (fellowship to aid in the completion of a significant work of nonfiction on a topic of American political or social concern; apply by December 7)

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: Literacy and Health


Lack of education is one of our most pressing global health challenges. Countries with the lowest rates of literacy also report the highest rates of infant mortality, low life expectancy and poor nutrition. Diseases like AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis threaten the lives of more than a billion people each year.

In the Dominican Republic, one-fourth of the population has no source of clean water. But without health education, many of them don't know how to reduce water contamination.

Although prevention and treatments are available, these interventions don't always reach the outlying rural villages, small towns, and slum neighborhoods where millions of families lack information, awareness, resources, and the literacy skills needed to prevent and treat devastating local diseases.

Learn more at ProLiteracy

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Comics by Ali Shapiro: Poetic Analytics

Ali Shapiro: Poetic Analytics

The Last Word

The Priesthood of All Survivors

Codependence taints the American church's strategies for retaining members. A quote popped up in my Twitter feed..."The church is a lot like Noah's ark. If it weren't for the storm outside, you couldn't stand the stink inside." ...Actual children, to survive, have to convince themselves that the "stink" of their dysfunctional families is better on balance than the "storm" of an outside world where they're not yet capable of living independently. But we're adults now. "The world" is us. A church held together by fear and shame can never help its members recognize toxic interpersonal patterns in their own lives.
...continue at Reiter's Block

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

Jendi Reiter