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Winning Writers Newsletter - July 2022

View Free Contests

We found over three dozen excellent free poetry and prose contests with deadlines between July 15-August 31. In this issue, please enjoy the final installment of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot, illustrated by Julian Peters.

Open Now
20th year. We will award $3,000 for a poem in any style or genre and $3,000 for a poem that rhymes or has a traditional style. Ten Honorable Mentions will receive $200 each (any style). The top 12 entries will be published online. The top two winners will also receive two-year gift certificates from our co-sponsor, Duotrope (a $100 value). Length limit: 250 lines per poem. Entry fee: $20 for 1-3 poems. Multiple entries welcome. Final judge: S. Mei Sheng Frazier, assisted by Michal ‘MJ’ Jones. Deadline: September 30. Submit online here.

Coming Next Month
We'll announce the winners of our 21st Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest.

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

Featured Sponsor
Oxbow Poetry Contest for Emerging Poets

Oxbow Poetry Contest

Deadline: August 31

The OXBOW CONTEST from Oprelle Publications aims to bring attention to emerging poets featured in fewer than three national publications (books or journals).

The Top Three Poems will be published in our 2022 Poetry Masters Anthology in the "Emerging Poets" section.

  • The first-place poet will receive $500
  • A shortlist of finalists will also be listed on the Oprelle website
  • Submit 1-3 poems with each entry fee of $15
  • This contest accepts both published and unpublished poems
  • Length limit per poem: 20 lines (excluding the title and any blank lines)

Enter the Oxbow Poetry Contest via Submittable.

Learn more about OPRELLE.

Recent Honors and Publication Credits for Our Subscribers

Congratulations to Tawanda Mulalu, Matthew E. Henry, Omer Friedlander, Philip Nikolayev, Diane Elayne Dees, Judy Juanita, David Dragone (featured poem: "Whose Voice Is This?"), Tara Campbell, Chris Stark, Robin Reardon, R.T. Castleberry, David Kherdian (featured poem: "His Grave"), and Carolyn Howard-Johnson (featured poem: "Reincarnation").

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

Have news? Please email it to

Ad: Rattle Poetry Prize—Last Call!

Rattle Poetry Prize

Deadline: July 15 (11:59pm Pacific Time for online entries)

The annual Rattle Poetry Prize celebrates its 17th year with a 1st prize of $15,000 for a single poem. Ten finalists will also receive $500 each and publication, and be eligible for the $5,000 Readers' Choice Award, to be selected by subscriber and entrant vote. All of these poems will be published in the winter issue of the magazine.

With the winners judged in a masked review by the editors to ensure a fair and consistent selection, an entry fee that is simply a one-year subscription to the magazine—and a runner-up Readers' Choice Award to be chosen by the writers themselves—the Rattle Poetry Prize aims to be one of the most writer-friendly and popular poetry contests around.

We accept entries online and by mail. See Rattle's website for the complete guidelines and to read all of the past winners.

Please enjoy this poem by Alison Townsend, winner of the 2020 Rattle Poetry Prize:


At sunset the russet oak turns into a lamp.
Each polished leaf glows amber, lit by sun.
As a child, I raked leaves with my mother each fall.
We burned small pyres, their flames the color of loss.

Each polished leaf glows amber, lit by sun.
I could not know my mother would die young.
We burned small pyres, their flames the color of loss.
I stand here watching, older now than she ever was.

I could not know my mother would die young.
The tree is a galleon, its sails coppered by light.
I stand here watching, older now than she ever was.
I raked leaves into rooms and houses as a girl.

The tree is a galleon, its sails coppered by light.
I'll always be a daughter, part of her body's bright map.
I raked leaves into rooms and houses as a girl.
Death is a lit tree, its amber walls falling in pieces.

I'll always be a daughter, part of her body's bright map.
As a child, I raked leaves with my mother each fall.
Death is a lit tree, its amber walls falling in pieces.
At sunset the russet oak turns into a lamp.

Ad: Submit Your Book Manuscript at Atmosphere Press

Atmosphere Press

Providing expert editorial, cover design, layout, distribution, publicity, audiobook, and website services, Atmosphere Press titles have been acclaimed by reviewers with Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist. We are selectively offering publishing opportunities to talented writers, providing a dedicated team of editors, designers, publicists, and avid readers to bring your books to life.

Authors maintain 100% ownership rights over their work
Authors have final veto power over content
Authors get 100% of sales proceeds

As an author-first collaborative publisher we accept book-length submissions in all genres. Whether you are super-accomplished or just-starting-out, each of our authors receives a personal experience from raw manuscript to readers' hands. From insightful editorial meetings to elegant interior design to bespoke cover design to global distribution and strategic promotion...well, we've got you covered.

Every author who submits gets a free consultation call to discuss your work, and the pathway to potential book publication with Atmosphere Press.

Ad: A Supportive and Inspiring 4-Week Online Poetry Retreat Created by Poets for Poets

Two Sylvias Press Online Poetry Retreat

This Year's GUEST POETS:

  • Diane Seuss (winner of this year's Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for frank: sonnets)
  • Traci Brimhall (NEA fellow & author of four poetry collections)
  • January Gill O'Neil (award-winning poet and professor)
  • Jennifer K. Sweeney (winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets)

Note: Space is limited, so sign up early to make sure you receive your first choice of guest poet to respond to your poem.

WHAT YOU NEED: Access to email and a desire to write new poems.

WHAT WE PROVIDE: Poem prompts, sample poems, a Two Sylvias Press book, ideas where to send your poems after the retreat ends as well as reflection questions/activities to guide and inspire. All prompts, writing exercises, and inspiration sent daily or weekly to your email (your choice!)

AND—at the end of the retreat, an award-winning poet will critique one of your poems and offer ideas on where to submit them! (Summer participants choose critiques from Diane Seuss, Traci Brimhall, January Gill O'Neil, or Jennifer K. Sweeney! Or if you choose the October retreat, receive critiques from the editors of Two Sylvias Press!)

Praise for Two Sylvias Press Online Poetry Retreat
"I decided to take the Two Sylvias Press Online Poetry Retreat as a way to reignite my passion for writing poetry and reconnect with my 'poet's mind' after not writing poetry for several years. The format was perfect for me—it enabled me to work alone and at my own pace while still feeling connected through daily prompts and encouragement. The result: I wrote more poems in that four-week period than I had written in as many years and new poems are still coming. The feedback I received was insightful and improved the poems while still showing respect for the essence of the work."
     —Cathy Jacob (read other testimonials here)

Click here to learn more and register.

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

On The Premises

Deadline: Friday, September 2, 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 our 40th contest is "Objects in Motion". For this contest, write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which the story's main character(s) spend most (even better, all) of the story's time in constant motion. For instance, they could spend the whole story in a moving vehicle. There are plenty of other ways to do it, too. (Just being on the Earth, which is spinning and moving around the sun, doesn't count.)

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). 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: The 2022 Vivian Shipley Poetry Award Opens August 1

The 2022 Vivian Shipley Poetry Award

Ad: To Hull and Back Humorous Short Story Competition

To Hull and Back

Deadline: June 30, 2023

To Hull And Back is a biennial short story competition that celebrates humorous writing and offers 40 prizes. The top prize is £1,200. The winner's face will appear on the front cover of the To Hull And Back Anthology. They will be depicted riding a flaming motorcycle and holding a quill of wrath. The winner will also receive a printed copy of the anthology. Before being sent to them, their book will be strapped to the handlebars of a Harley-Davidson and filmed being ridden to Hull and back.

The 8th To Hull And Back competition is now open for entries. There's an early-bird entry fee in place until March 31, 2023. Submit via email. Cash prizes for all shortlisted submissions.

Learn about the competition and submit here.

Ad: The reality of nuclear war, suppressed by the US military for decades—Choosing Life: My father's journey in film from Hollywood to Hiroshima

Choosing Life

2021 North Street Book Prize, First Prize for Creative Nonfiction & Memoir

Author Leslie Sussan followed her father's footsteps to Hiroshima to try to understand his last wish that his ashes be scattered there. His crew shot the only color film of the aftermath of the atomic bombings. The book brings to life the horrors he saw, drawing on his first-hand journals and from the voices of the survivors who, decades later, shared with the author what they experienced and what the filming meant to them.

From the North Street Book Prize critique by Jendi Reiter:

Leslie A. Sussan probes questions of historical memory and propaganda in her illuminating memoir...Her intellectual clarity and balance are coupled in this memoir with a passion to right intergenerational wrongs. This braided narrative moves back and forth between Herbert Sussan's life-altering experience as a Defense Department cinematographer filming the aftermath of the atomic bomb and his daughter's pilgrimage to Hiroshima in 1987-88 to complete the exposé he was never allowed to share...
[The] films of the atrocities suffered by Hiroshima's civilians were so devastating that they were instantly covered up. Sussan no longer had security clearance to view the materials he himself had created...Choosing Life is fact-filled but always livened with deep feeling...Whereas many memoirists have to use their imagination to re-create ancestors' thoughts and experiences, here we have excerpts in his own words, as well as some of the photos he took.

Read an excerpt from Choosing Life (PDF)
Buy this book at BookBaby.

Ad: Jendi Reiter's Made Man: "Beautiful and Inventive Poems That Explore Gender"

Made Man by Jendi Reiter

Poet Michael McKeown Bondhus favorably reviewed Winning Writers Editor Jendi Reiter's latest poetry collection, Made Man (Little Red Tree, 2022), in the literary journal Full Stop:

"[P]art of what makes the collection unique is the fact that the theme of transitioning is at the center, yet so many other eclectic subjects spin around that center—a reminder that our lives are always about more than any one thing, no matter how urgent it is...

"As much as people claim to loathe change, it is also understood to be an elemental part of existence. The need to change one's body, then, can be read as another manifestation of this universal impulse. Therefore, Made Man becomes an examination and celebration of change writ broadly along with all its magickal implications."

Please enjoy this poem from Made Man:

Studying Magick on Zoom

     "And, little town, thy streets for evermore
          Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
               Why thou art desolate"  —John Keats

Now is the year of swords.
All friendship mediated through the eye,
each face a fractured element
as moist skin and sanguine heat
are pulverized and re-formed
by dots of light.

Reality's a virtue,
as in: Platonic, as in:
soul made square, like the cardstock scenario
daily we pull, unmoving dance.

If muffled song indeed
is sweeter, cover our esoteric mouths
with hospital-grade sigils
that we not let slip
a particle of despair
in our salt circle, yield in weariness
to the dead crowd.
The candle whose warmth we cannot feel
still burns. Therefore, cold pastoral,
stream on.

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
Diverse Writers/Diverse Worlds Grants. The Speculative Literature Foundation will award two diversity-centered grants (Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds) of $500 apiece for book-length speculative fiction rich in diversity. Diverse Writers is for "underrepresented and underprivileged groups...whose marginalized identities may present additional obstacles in the writing/publishing process"; Diverse Worlds is for "work that best presents a diverse world, regardless of the writer's background". Submit an excerpt of 5,000 words or fewer from an in-progress manuscript. Due July 31.

Intermediate Writers
Granum Foundation Prizes. The Granum Foundation will award $5,000 to a US resident age 18+ for a writing sample of a work-in-progress (all genres compete together). The prizes are meant to assist writers in "completing substantive literary works (poetry books, essay or short story collections, novels, and memoirs) or to help launch these works". A special Translation Prize of at least $500 is also awarded to a U.S.-based writer age 18+ to support the completion of a translation. Due August 2.

Advanced Writers
Debra E. Bernhardt Labor Journalism Prize. The New York Labor History Association and LaborArts will award $1,000 for a published article that furthers the understanding of the history of working people in the US or Canada. Entries should have been published in print or online between August 31 of the preceding year and August 30 of the deadline year. Articles focused on historical events, and articles about current issues (work, housing, organizing, health, education) that include historical context, are both welcome. Due August 30.

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

Letter Review
(poetry, fiction, essays - rolling deadline)

Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest
(poems on selected themes by youth and adult authors - July 21)

Arc Poetry Magazine
(poems and poetry-related articles - July 31)

Humana Obscura
(nature-focused creative writing - July 31)

Sarabande Books: Nonfiction and Translations Open Reading Period
(full-length literary nonfiction manuscripts, poetry and prose translation proposals - July 31)

Grimoire: "Goth Narcissus" Issue
(transgressive writing about self-image - August 1)

Typehouse: No-Fee Submission Period
(poetry, fiction, essays, art - August 31)

Under a Warm Green Linden: Indigenous Ecopoetry
(ecological poems by Native authors - November 15)

BLF Press: Black Joy Unbound Anthology
(poetry, fiction, essays embodying the vivacity of Black life - December 31)

Favorite New Resources

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

Association of University Presses Subject Area Grid
Annual list of university presses with special interests in creative writing

Both/And: Trans & GNC Writers Tell Their Own Stories
Special feature at Electric Literature highlights essays by queer POC

Chill Subs
Searchable database of lit mags and other writing opportunities

Diverse BookFinder
Searchable collection of children's picture books with BIPOC characters published since 2002

Feminist Book Club
Online book club promotes women and nonbinary authors and feminist businesses

Getting Book Endorsements (Blurbs)
Novelist Barbara Linn Probst on etiquette and strategies for successful blurb requests

Milkweed Editions: Multiverse Literary Series
Imprint for neurodivergent poets is devoted to different ways of languaging

Fantasy and sci-fi storytelling advice blog

Neon Door
Immersive multimedia lit mag

Publications That Pay Freelancers for Book Reviews and Interviews
Writer and editor Adam Morgan compiled this list of paying markets in 2022

Quartet Journal
Online poetry journal for women writers aged 50+

Weird Old Book Finder
Quirky search engine pulls up the full text of public-domain books from the 18th century to the 1920s

Writers' HQ List of Writing Competitions and Submission Opportunities
UK writers' group curates this list of free and low-cost publication opportunities

"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", illustrated by Julian Peters (conclusion)

Here is the final installment of Julian Peters' 24-page comic-book adaptation of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot. See the previous installment.

You can find more such adaptations in Poems to See By by Mr. Peters, on sale at Plough Publishing and Amazon.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot
 - Page 22
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot - Page 23
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot - Page 24

The Last Word

Jendi ReiterWhat Does Gender Feel Like?
We all adapt to life's constraints and inequalities in imperfect ways. Our choices shouldn't be compared to some ideal of perfect autonomy and objectivity. If anyone does transition for relief from trauma or sexism, that person is just as trans as I am, and their reasons are just as valid. Transition is an incredibly powerful assertion of self-determination over one's body and sexuality, which can be healing for survivors of intimate abuse. There's no reason other than transphobia to deny survivors that tool for self-repair.

[Read more]

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