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Welcome to Our September Newsletter

Adam Cohen We found almost three dozen quality free poetry and prose contests with deadlines between September 15-October 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.

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Last Call!
Deadline: September 30. We will award $4,000 in prizes. The entry fee is $10 per poem. Ellaraine Lockie will judge. Submit poems in modern and traditional styles, up to 250 lines each. Previously published work accepted. See last year's winners and enter here.

Recent Honors and Publication Credits for Our Subscribers

Congratulations to Anne Kaylor (featured poem: "Bright Sky, Cole Night"), Mary Lou Taylor (featured poem: "Water on Rocks"), C. Hope Clark, Cathy Bryant, Robert Joe Stout (featured poem: "Gourmet at Seventy Nine"), Fathima E.V. (featured poem: "Ringed"), Leland James, Bracha Nechama Bomze, Joan Gelfand, and R.T. Castleberry.

We give special recognition to Victor Colantonio, whose essay "Journal Entry September 11, 2001" won the 2013 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest at Winning Writers. This essay was recently featured in an exhibit at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero in New York City. An excerpt was installed on the memorial wall at the entry to the room with the pictures and biographies of those lost that day.

Winning Writers contest judge Ellaraine Lockie's latest poetry chapbook, Where the Meadowlark Sings (Encircle Publications, 2014), was favorably reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson in Blotterature. "Beauty, struggle, duty, admiration, and strength in [her] work embody all that I want and all that I don't want," the reviewer concludes.

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

Have news? Please email it to

Reedsy: Where authors meet the best editors, designers and marketers for their books

Reedsy - Find Editors and Book Designers

From BookBaby: Your Free Copy of The Frugal Book Promoter

BookBaby offers free copy of The Frugal Book Promoter - 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

Lori by Charlene Wexler - Just $2.99 at Amazon

Lori by Charlene Wexler

FundsforWriters - Subscribe Free


Under the hand of C. Hope Clark, 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.

"A local bookstore in Paris, Tennessee is carrying my poetry books! You told me that poetry was a slow and hard sell but to keep at it since that was where my heart was. You were so right!"

Chosen by Writer's Digest for its "101 Best Websites for Writers" for 15 years.

Missouri Review's 25th Annual Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize

Deadline: October 1. $5,000 for the winner of each category! Send us your best fiction, poetry, or essay for a chance to win. Winners and select runners up published in The Missouri Review. Enter by mail or online. Your entry fee includes a one-year subscription to The Missouri Review. For more information:

Interested in reading a past Jeffrey E. Smith Editor's Prize winner? Check out the essays "Big Jim", "Letters to David", and "My Thai Girlfriends" on textBOX, The Missouri Review's free online anthology:

See the new series on our blog, "What It's Like to Win", with reports from our recent prizewinners.

Missouri Review's 25th Annual Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize

2015 Joy Harjo Poetry Prize, Barry Lopez Creative Nonfiction Prize, and Rick DeMarinis Short Story Prize

2015 Joy Harjo Poetry Prize, Barry Lopez Creative Nonfiction Prize, and Rick DeMarinis Short Story Prize

Coal Hill Review 2015 Annual Poetry Chapbook Contest

Michael Simms

Deadline: November 1. Coal Hill Review will be accepting submissions for its annual poetry chapbook contest. The winner will receive publication and $1,000. All submitted manuscripts should be between 12 and 20 pages in length and include a cover letter, table of contents, acknowledgments page for previous publications, and SASE. Electronic submissions can be sent through Submittable and hard copy submissions can be sent to:

Autumn House Press
Coal Hill Review Chapbook Contest
P.O. Box 60100
Pittsburgh, PA 15211

Full submission guidelines can be found at

The final judge of the competition is Michael Simms, Founder of Autumn House Press. Those who submit will be considered for publication in the online winter issue. All finalists will be notified by November 2015, and the winner will be posted on the Coal Hill Review website by December 1.

Please enjoy "First Light" by Matthew Thorburn, winner of our 2014 contest.

The Tupelo Quarterly Prizes in Poetry & Prose

Submit online by December 1
Final Judge, Poetry: TRACY K. SMITH
Final Judge, Prose: To Be Announced

Tupelo Quarterly is pleased to announce its Prizes in Poetry & Prose for the publication of its ninth issue, which will launch on February 15, 2016.

To be considered for the Poetry Prize, send up to 5 unpublished poems of any style or sensibility. To be considered for the Prose Open Prize, submit one piece of short fiction or creative nonfiction, 15 pages or less. Both fiction and nonfiction are eligible; neither genre preferred. The author of the winning poem and the author of the winning prose piece will each receive $1,000 and publication in TQ9. Finalists in both poetry and prose will also be named and published.

Simultaneous submissions are welcome as long as you notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere. Translations are not eligible. The judge for the Poetry Prize is Pulitzer-prize winner Tracy K. Smith. The judge for the Prose Open Prize will be announced shortly.

A contest entry fee of $20 (U.S.) must accompany each submission to either prize. Multiple submissions are accepted, as long as each submission is accompanied by a separate $20 contest entry fee. All work must be submitted through Submittable.

Thank you for your participation and your support of Tupelo Quarterly. We look forward to reading your work!

Read the complete guidelines before submitting your entry:

Read the latest issue of Tupelo Quarterly:

Tupelo Quarterly

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 "Science Project", the winning essay Diane Kraynak submitted to our 2015 contest. See all the 2015 winning entries in this special edition of our newsletter, The Bookwoman.

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
Past Loves Day Story Contest. Top prize of $100 for true stories of past loves and their impact on the author's life. Due September 17.

Intermediate Writers
PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship. $5,000 fellowship for an author of children's or young adult fiction. Candidates will be asked to show financial need. Due September 28.

Advanced Writers
Dylan Thomas Prize. Authors aged 18-39 can win up to 30,000 pounds for published books of poetry, fiction, radio scripts, or screenplays. Due November 2.

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: ProLiteracy to Launch Adult Literacy Day of Giving

ProLiteracy Day of Giving

ProLiteracy is pleased to announce that it is launching an Adult Literacy Day of Giving on September 25 to raise awareness about adult literacy and encourage people to get involved by volunteering, supporting, and donating. More than 36 million adults in America cannot read, and overall funding for literacy programs has dropped. Meanwhile, nearly 70 percent of these programs have student waiting lists.

Improving basic literacy skills addresses many of the world's greatest needs at their core. When adults learn how to read and write, they are more likely to help lower healthcare costs, find and keep sustainable employment, and lift themselves out of poverty.

Kevin Morgan, president and CEO of ProLiteracy, says, "We are trying to raise awareness about adult literacy and encourage people to get involved by volunteering, supporting, and donating. It's important to understand the issues and confront the facts head on. If you have a passion for helping your community, and creating a world where every adult has a right to literacy, please learn more about the Adult Literacy Day of Giving by visiting our website at"

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

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

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

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

To be continued in our October 15 newsletter. See the previous installment in our September 1 newsletter. See the text of the poem at Poetry magazine. See more comics by Julian Peters.

The Last Word

Tarot Spreads for Novel Writers
The Tarot, in the school of thought that I'm currently studying, is a tool for asking questions and receiving insights from one's own intuition, from a higher consciousness, from the psychological emanations of other people, and/or from spiritual beings. This is also how I write fiction. So naturally, in working with Tarot, I haven't confined myself to asking questions about my own life. I'm even more interested in Tarot readings for my characters. More so than craft-based writing prompts, a randomly (?) drawn card has a Zen quality of surprise and mystery that confounds my intellect and jolts me out of the well-worn groove of my plans for the story. In addition, combining my writing exercise with a spiritual practice reminds me to stay open to the Holy Spirit's guidance. 

[continue at Reiter's Block]

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

Jendi Reiter