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Welcome to Our January Newsletter

Happy New Year! This month we found over 50 free poetry and prose contests with deadlines between January 15-February 28. View their profiles now!

North Street Book Prize

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

Open Now!
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 top 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. Deadline: June 30. See our launch press release and learn more at

In this issue:
"Paper Trials"


Want to view past newsletters? Go to Need assistance? Let us help. Follow us on Twitter at @WinningWriters.

Recent Honors and Publication Credits for Our Subscribers

Congratulations to Lesléa Newman, Roger Higgins, Ed Coletti, W.R. Rodriguez, Erika Dreifus, Patricia Blanco (featured poem: "a moment"), Daniel von der Embse, Trish Hopkinson, Diana Anhalt (featured poem: "Memorial"), Peter Boadry, Judy Juanita, Mi West, and Ruth Thompson.

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

Have news? Please email it to

The How-To Guide for Writers, Free from BookBaby

The How-To Guide for Writers - 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

FundsforWriters - Subscribe Free


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."

10th Annual Accenti Writing Contest

Grand Prize: $1,000 and publication in Accenti Magazine
Second Prize: $250 and publication in Accenti Magazine
Third Prize: $100 and publication in Accenti Magazine

Deadline extended to January 31

Winners celebrated at the Annual Accenti Awards during the Montreal International Blue Metropolis Literary Festival, April 2015.

The contest is open to prose works on any topic, maximum 2,000 words. Writers worldwide may enter. Blind judging. Entry fee: $20. (Prizes and fee in Canadian funds; submit online.)

See our complete contest rules and read past winning stories by Terri Favro and Andrew Foster.

Accenti Writing Contest

Grayson Books 2015 Chapbook Contest

Grayson Books

Prize: $500, publication of a gorgeous chapbook and 50 copies
Deadline: January 31 postmark
Reading fee: $18
Submit: 16-24 pages of poetry

Electronic submissions preferred. Submit through

Please do not put any contact information on the manuscript; that goes on the separate submission form.

Those preferring to mail their submissions can send them to:

Grayson Books
P.O. Box 270549
West Hartford, CT 06127

Include two cover sheets (one with contact information and one anonymous). SASE for results only and a check made out to Grayson Books. Simultaneous submissions are permissible if we are notified immediately upon acceptance elsewhere.

This year's judge is John L. Stanizzi, the author of Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, and After the Bell. He is the coordinator for Hill-Stead Museum's Fresh Voices Poetry Competition for high school poets.

Please enjoy these sample poems from Composing the Rain by Marion Starling Boyer, our most recent winner.

The 39th New Millennium Awards

Final deadline: January 31. $4,000 in Prizes, plus publication in NMW and on the web at $1,000 each for Best Fiction; Best Short-Short Fiction (1,000-word limit), Best Poem, and Best Nonfiction.

We are pleased to announce the winners of the New Millennium Awards for Nonfiction, Fiction, and Short-Short Fiction in our 38th competition. Michael Caligaris, of Oakland, CA, has won the New Millennium Nonfiction Award for "An Unabridged Study of a Woman: A Love Story," his recounting of growing up as the son of an OB/GYN, and how his father's work shaped his own experiences with women and the world at large. George Choundas of Pleasantville, NY has won the New Millennium Fiction Award for "Troth," his imagining of an alternate world where three little differences change everything for the better...or do they? Marcia Peck of Minnetonka, MN has won the New Millennium Short-Short Fiction Award for "Sounding Memento Mori" (read it here), her story of a romantic chance encounter, one long remembered and treasured, though it barely made ripples in the surface of the character's life.

Learn more and enter our competition on our website, and let us know how you like our new site design. Catch up with us on Facebook, Twitter, or email us at

New Millennium Writings

Robert Frost Foundation Poetry Award

Robert Frost Foundation

Deadline: February 1. 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 "Contention" by Edward Nobles, an Honorable Mention recipient in our 2014 contest.

Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival Poetry & Short Story Contest

Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival Poetry & Short Story Contest

Deadline: February 16. The Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival is currently accepting previously unpublished poetry and short story manuscripts for its 2015 Poetry & Short Story Contest. The contest is open to any living writer writing in English anywhere in the world. See the juror bios.

The 41st Annual Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival takes place July 2-5, 2015 at Twin Lakes Park near Greensburg, PA. Winning entries will be on display at the Festival where up to 150,000 patrons will have the opportunity to read the works.

Each author may enter one story (up to 4,000 words) for $10. Each poet may enter two poems (any length) for $10. Enter both contests for $20. All genres are accepted. Awards for both contests total $1,000.

Questions? Please email Adam J. Shaffer or call 724-834-7474. For more information, visit the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival website,, and click here for an official entry form. Follow us on Twitter at @WAHFPA.

42 Miles Press Poetry Award

Deadline: March 1. Indiana University South Bend's 42 Miles Press Poetry Award will be given to an emerging or established poet for a book-length manuscript of at least 48 pages. Winner receives $1,000, 50 copies, and will be invited to give a reading in South Bend. David Dodd Lee, Series Editor, will judge. Entry fee: $25 made payable to Indiana University.

For complete guidelines, go to

Please enjoy these two excerpts from our most recent releases, The Bottom by Betsy Andrews and Precarious by Allan Peterson.

David Dodd Lee

Call for Submissions: upstreet (no fee)


Deadline: March 1. 
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 "Compline" by Nathaniel Perry, published in upstreet number ten.

On The Premises Short Story Contest (no fee)

We've raised our prize money! Here are the details on our current contest.

Deadline: March 6. The premise of our 25th short story contest is "Learning". Submit a 1,000 to 5,000 word story in which one or more characters make a deliberate effort to learn something or figure something out. (The key words are "deliberate" and "effort.") The characters do not have to succeed in their effort to learn, but they have to try. Winners receive between US$60 and US$220 and publication. There is no fee to enter our contest.

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.

On The Premises Current Contest

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize Series

Prairie Schooner Book Prize Series

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize Series awards $3,000 and publication through the University of Nebraska Press for one book of short fiction and one book of poetry.

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize series welcomes manuscripts from all writers, including non-US citizens writing in English, and those who have previously published volumes of short fiction and poetry. No past or present paid employee of Prairie Schooner or the University of Nebraska Press or current faculty or students at the University of Nebraska will be eligible for the prizes.

Semi-finalists will be chosen by members of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize Series National Advisory Board. Final manuscripts will be chosen by the Editor-in-Chief, Kwame Dawes. We accept electronic submissions and hard copy submissions, between January 15 and March 15, 2015. For submission guidelines or to submit online, visit

Announcing the 2015 Gulf Coast Prizes in Poetry and Prose

Deadline: March 22. The Gulf Coast Prizes award $6,000 to poets, essayists, and fiction writers. The judges for this year’s Gulf Coast Prizes are Sarah Shun-lien Bynum (Fiction), Maggie Nelson (Nonfiction), and Carl Phillips (Poetry).

The contest awards publication and $1,500 each to the best poem, essay, and short story, as well as $250 to two honorable mentions in each genre. Entry fee: $23. The winners will appear in Gulf Coast 28.1 in Fall 2015, and all entries are considered for paid publication on our website as Online Exclusives. Visit for details.

Gulf Coast

The 2015 Editor's Reprint Award at Sequestrum


Deadline: April 30. The 2015 Editor's Reprint Award at Sequestrum offers $200 and publication in the Spring '15 issue for one previously-published selection of fiction or nonfiction, and one runner-up will receive publication and payment at our usual rates (plus a little extra). Enter online. Generally we prefer prose under 5,000 words, but there are no contest restrictions.

Sequestrum has an international readership of 1,000+ per month, is a pay-what-you-can journal with free subscription options, and we pair all publications with a stunning visual component. Past contributors include Guggenheim and NEA Fellows, Pulitzer Prize finalists, as well as many new and emerging voices. Learn more.

Dancing Poetry Festival Contest

Dancing Poetry Festival

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 22nd Festival at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, September 19, 2015. Each Grand Prize winner will be invited onstage for photo ops with the dancers and a bow in the limelight.

Winning poems have ranged from the travels of Matisse to 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 "Paint Your Life" by Cathy Dana, a 2014 Grand Prize winner...

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
New York City Emerging Writers Fellowship (nine fellowships of $4,000 each for NYC writers; due January 31)

Intermediate Writers
Nelson Algren Literary Awards (for US residents 18+, submit short fiction, $10,000 in prizes; due January 31)

Advanced Writers
Paterson Poetry Prize (awards $1,000 to best book of poetry from 2014; due February 1)

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: Urge Your Representatives to Unleash the Power of Literacy


Literacy education is one of the most effective investments a government can make, bringing gains in employment, public health, reduced crime, and more. Ask your elected representatives to make literacy a priority.

What Is the Current Budget Situation?
The largest source of federal investment in adult education and literacy is the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Title II. Funds in this title provide the foundation for our state and local public adult education systems, supporting teacher training, curriculum development, and accountability measurement. The current federal appropriation for adult education and family literacy under WIA Title II is $628,000,000. Historically, the state and local investment has been almost three times the federal investment: around $1,500,000,000 annually. However, state and local budget cuts over the last several years have reduced funding for adult education services across the country. Even before those reductions, combined federal, state, and local funding served only a fraction of the estimated 93 million who could benefit from adult education.

How Effective Are Adult Education Programs?
In 2006, the OMB rated adult education programs as "Effective", their highest rating, saying, "The program recruits, retains, and assists more people from its target population at a lower cost than other [federally funded] job training programs." In 2009-2010, the US Department of Education, Office of Adult and Vocational Education invested $628 million in the education of nearly 2.4 million students, a mere $261 per student.

Learn more and become an advocate for literacy

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"Winning Writers has been providing a valuable service to the writing community for over ten years. The listings for contests and publications are always inspiring and professional. To build community, they support writers' successes in a special section that highlights their subscribers' recent publications. As an advertiser, their support is top-notch. Responsive and creative, they service their advertisers with copy and design assistance. Overall, a great site, and a great service!"
Joan Gelfand, award-winning author of three poetry collections and the forthcoming novel, Fear to Shred (Incanto Press)

Comics by Ali Shapiro: Paper Trials

Ali Shapiro: Paper Trials (part one)

Ali Shapiro: Paper Trials (part two)

The Last Word

Pink Link Roundup: The Struggle to Affirm the Feminine
"[There's a] misogyny problem in fiction about gay male love...I've read some novels in this genre with no female characters at all, and some where the women are grotesque caricatures—pathetic fag-hags, smothering moms, ballbusting exes. Neither of these scenarios reflect the real world, where men of all orientations are embedded in a community of female friends, colleagues, and relatives...I think some gay male writers are projecting their shame onto their female characters. They are passing on the legacy of whoever bullied them for being a 'sissy'." [continue at Reiter's Block]

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

Jendi Reiter