The best free literary contests with deadlines through November 30.

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Welcome to Our November Newsletter

Adam Cohen We found over FIVE DOZEN quality free poetry and prose contests with deadlines between November 15-December 31. View their profiles now! See below for contests we especially recommend for writers at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced stages of their careers, and a large selection of calls for submissions. In this issue: "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", Part 7, illustrated by Julian Peters.

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Open Now at Winning Writers
Deadline: April 1. 15th year. $2,250 in prizes, including a top award of $1,000. Final judge: Jendi Reiter. Previously published work accepted. See last year's winners and enter here.

Deadline: April 30. 24th year. $4,000 in prizes, including two top awards of $1,500 each. Fee: $18 per entry. Arthur Powers will judge. Previously published work accepted. See last year's winners and enter here.

Recent Honors and Publication Credits for Our Subscribers

Congratulations to V. Jane Schneeloch, Akua Lezli Hope, F.J. Bergmann, Mi West, Tricia McCallum, William Luvaas, Robin Coste Lewis, Judy Juanita, J. Paul Cooper, James Beach, Annie Dawid, Nancy Shiffrin, and Lesléa Newman.

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

Congratulations to Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest judge Ellaraine Lockie. Her chapbook Love Me Tender in Midlife was released in October 2015 as part of the anthology IDES from Silver Birch Press. IDES is a collection of 15-page poetry chapbooks by 15 different authors, illustrated with the paintings of Amedeo Modigliani. In other news, her poem "Censured at Seattle's Best" was featured on the Silver Birch Press website in September.

Winning Writers editor Jendi Reiter's flash essay "Why I Write" was posted October 28 at bestselling novelist Warren Adler's new website Writers of the World, an archive of personal stories about the creative process. Her poems "Don't Get Your P**** Stuck in the Bubble Wand" and "Lower East Side Playground, 1974, 2014" were published in the premiere issue of Cog, the online multimedia journal of Cogswell Polytechnical College.

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest judge Arthur Powers's poetry chapbook Edgewater (Finishing Line Press, 2015) was favorably reviewed in October in Indiana Voice Journal. Reviewer Janine Pickett wrote: "Culled from his travels across the Heartland and his memories about the life he knows and loves, he captures a spirit of people and place through the use of wit, imagery, observation, and compression. The poems are not long but they are dynamic. They remind me of little temples containing big revelations."

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Three Free Guides from BookBaby

Three Free Guides from BookBaby

FundsforWriters - Subscribe Free


FundsforWriters is a motivational and informational Friday newsletter devoured by over 30,000 readers. From markets to grants, crowdfunding to publishing, FFW leads writers to success. Chosen by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for 15 years.

Tupelo Press Writing Conferences: San Francisco Bay Area

Coming in January, our fourth annual Bay Area Poetry Conference, offered in two-day, intimate, private settings for small groups of poets who are dedicated to growing their work by leaps and bounds. Here's how Jeffrey Levine, award-winning poet and Publisher of nationally acclaimed Tupelo Press, describes his exciting and innovative plan for the upcoming workshops:

"I've had a revelation about how to help poets climb inside their poetry in the most helpful and liberating way I have discovered in 15 years of mentoring. For the past few years, I've been immersed in translating the poetry of Pablo Neruda. The process of successfully translating (any poet writing in any language) entails finding creative ways to make that poet's work sound as though they had actually written their poems in English. It hit me that the techniques for accomplishing that goal must be transferrable to writing and revising our own work: how to consider and master the 'foreign language' of our own poetry. Thinking as a 'translator' of your own work—working your way into drafts to discover the range of intentions and motives perhaps as yet unknown even to you—you will discover an entirely new way to approach revision—one that opens up worlds of possibility."

Find out more about our upcoming conferences:

San Francisco Bay Area - Midweek
January 27-28, 2016

Portola Valley - Weekend
January 30-31, 2016

Portola Valley - 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).

A few of our special features include:

  1. Sci-fi/fantasy markets that are soliciting stories
  2. Anthologists who are seeking submissions for special themed anthologies
  3. Magazine editors who are accepting fiction and nonfiction articles for upcoming issues
  4. Literary agents who are seeking new authors to represent
  5. New book imprints that are seeking new authors for debut titles
  6. Literary journals with time-sensitive reading periods that are accepting limited submissions of poetry and prose
  7. Announcements of new editors at high-paying magazines and what they are currently seeking from freelance writers

Visit now

Women's National Book Association: 4th Annual Writing Contest

Women's National Book Association

Deadline: January 15, 2016. The Women's National Book Association is now accepting submissions for our 4th Annual National Writing Contest. All adults over 18 may enter this international contest. We are seeking excellent work on any theme to showcase to our national membership. Emerging writers are especially encouraged to enter. We will announce the winners on May 1, 2016.

There will be four awards in each category: 1, 2, 3, and Honorable Mention. The first-place winners will receive $250 each, and all the award winners will be published in a special contest edition of The Bookwoman, our national newsletter. The top winners will also be published in an anthology in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the WNBA in 2017.


  • Poetry (judged by Mary Mackey): Submit 3-5 pages, double-spaced.
  • Fiction (judged by Ann Harleman): 3,000-word maximum. Submit a story or a novel excerpt that can stand alone.
  • Creative Nonfiction/Memoir (judged by Rosemary Daniell): 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 an award or been published in a publication with over 3,000 circulation.

See our complete guidelines and submit at:

Questions? Please email

Please enjoy "Curiosity", the winning poem Diana Whitney submitted to our 2015 contest. See all the 2015 winning entries in this special edition of our newsletter, The Bookwoman.

2016 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

Entries must be received by January 29, 2016

Submissions are now being accepted for the seventh William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. This award, given by Stanford University Libraries in partnership with the William Saroyan Foundation, recognizes newly published works of fiction and nonfiction with a $5,000 award for the winner in each category.

The prize is designed to encourage new or emerging writers and honor the Saroyan literary legacy of originality, vitality, and stylistic innovation. For entry forms and more information on the prize, visit the Saroyan Prize website:
Congratulations to our 2014 Fiction Winner Kiese Laymon, author of Long Division, and our 2014 Nonfiction Winner Margalit Fox, author of The Riddle of the Labyrinth. See our complete list of 2014 winners and finalists.

William Saroyan

The W.B. Yeats Poetry Prize 2016

W.B. Yeats Society of New York

Deadline: February 1, 2016. The W.B. Yeats Society of New York poetry competition is open to members and nonmembers of any age, from any locality. Alfred Corn will judge. Submit unpublished poems in English on any subject. Length limit: 60 lines. First prize $500, second prize $250. Winners and honorable mentions receive two-year memberships in the Society and are honored at an event in New York on April 4.

Submit each poem (judged separately) typed on an 8.5 x 11-inch sheet without author's name. Attach a 3x5 card with name, address, phone, and email. Entry fee is $10 for first poem, $8 each additional. Mail to 2016 Poetry Competition, W.B. Yeats Society of N.Y., National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY 10003. Include SASE to receive the report. List of winners is posted on around March 31.

Authors retain copyright, but grant us the right to publish winning entries. These are the complete rules. No entry form necessary. We reserve the right to hold late submissions to the following year. For information on our other programs, or on membership, visit or write to us.

Please enjoy the winning entries from our 2015 competition with the judge's comments.


Submission period: September 1, 2015-March 1, 2016. Award-winning literary annual upstreet seeks quality submissions of short fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry for its twelfth issue. Past issues include interviews with Jim Shepard, Lydia Davis, Wally Lamb, Michael Martone, Robin Hemley, Sue William Silverman, Dani Shapiro, Douglas Glover, Emily Fragos, Robert Olen Butler, and Joan Wickersham.

This issue will feature an interview with poet Tony Hoagland, winner of the Poetry Foundation's Mark Twain Award and many other honors and prizes. Distributors: Ingram, Media Solutions, Disticor (Canada). Chains: Barnes & Noble, Hastings, Books-A-Million.

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

From upstreet number eleven:

Light Show
by Andrea Cohen

It's not the birds
that are flying
away    no         it is
the trees            not
me saying hang
around  but the river
that brought you
here                   it is
the golden light
on the tray of late
summer             it is late
autumn we are in
the thicket of it             early
yet in the lives
of minerals     of glaciers
the hours are
calving              the clocks
listening in                    we  
should hurry & show
the light what
we mean to make of it


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
The Smith College Poetry Prize for High School Girls in New England. For sophomore and junior students. 25 lines maximum. Top prize of $500. Due December 1.

Intermediate Writers
Betty Trask Prize. For a published first novel of a romantic or traditional nature (not experimental) by a Commonwealth citizen. Winner receives 10,000 British pounds for travel abroad. Due November 30.

Advanced Writers
Tony Quagliano International Poetry Award. Winner receives $1,000 for poetry that consistently strives for "cutting-edge" and "avant-garde" innovation. Entrants must have a qualifying publication history. Due December 1.

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

Search for Contests

Calls for Submissions

Black Lawrence Press (November 30)
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture (December 15)
Terrapin Books "Dolls" Anthology (December 15)
Barking Sycamores "Reconstruction" Issue (December 19)
Poetry and Business (December 31)
Pirene's Fountain "Collateral Damage" Anthology (January 2)
World Enough Writers "Bang!" Anthology (February 15)

PSA: Millions of children have never been read a bedtime story

The single greatest indicator of a child's future success is the literacy level of the parents. Please watch and share this video from ProLiteracy on how literacy changes lives:

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Julian Peters: "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot (part seven)

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

See the final installment in our December 1 newsletter. See the previous installment in our October 15 newsletter. See the text of the poem at Poetry magazine. See more comics by Julian Peters.

The Last Word

For Your Own Good: Leah Horlick's Tarot-Inspired Poetry of Survival
In the Collective Tarot, an LGBT-themed deck that Horlick used for inspiration, the suit of Swords is called "Suit of Feathers". Swords correspond to intellect, the element of air, and the cards in this suit have more scenes of pain and conflict than the other three. When Sword cards come up for me in a reading, it often symbolizes working with trauma memories or intellectual defenses. The multi-part poem "Suit of Feathers" in For Your Own Good depicts moments of piercing insight that motivate the narrator to leave her abuser.

[continue at Reiter's Block]

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

Jendi Reiter