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Winning Writers Newsletter - April 2022

View Free Contests

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

Edythe Rodriguez and Qin Qin

EDYTHE RODRIGUEZ and QIN QIN won the top awards of $3,000 each in our 19th annual Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest. Contest co-sponsor Duotrope awarded our winners two-year gift certificates (value $100) to access Duotrope's extensive literary information services. Visit the winners' pages to see the original artwork we commissioned for their poems.

4,593 entries were received from around the world. We awarded 10 Honorable Mentions to Taylor Byas, Maurya Kerr, Athena Kildegaard, Fiona Lu, Tawanda Mulalu, Scudder Parker, Remi Recchia, Laura Theis, Peaco Todd, and Laura Villareal.

Read today's press release, and read the winning entries selected by S. Mei Sheng Frazier with assistance from Vernon Keeve III and Lauren Singer. Our 20th contest opens today. Ms. Frazier returns to judge, and will now be assisted by Michal 'MJ' Jones. We will again award $3,000 to each of the top winners, and the entry fee is now $20 for 1-3 poems. Enter here.

Last Call!
Deadline: April 30. 30th year. $8,000 in prizes, including two top awards of $3,000 each. Fee: $20 per entry. Judge: Mina Manchester. Both unpublished and previously published work accepted. See last year's winners and enter here.

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
The 2022 Poetry Masters Contest, Sponsored by Oprelle

Oprelle Masters Contest

Deadline: May 18

This exclusive contest is open only to previously published authors with at least one writing/poetry award. We will invite five poets to showcase up to 20 poems each in our 2022 Poetry Masters Anthology. Submit 5-20 of your best poems in one MS Word document. Fee: $40.


1st: $1,000

2nd: $500

3rd: $250

4th: $125

5th: $125

Visit OPRELLE for details.

Oprelle is a publishing company committed to providing a platform to otherwise unknown or unheard-from creatives. Our mission is to share the works of those who are growing and rising in the poetry, art, and written word realms. Through ongoing contests, we provide resources and exposure for poets, artists, and authors. We hope to inspire new talents to press forward with their extraordinary gifts.

Recent Honors and Publication Credits for Our Subscribers

Congratulations to Desmond Kon Zhicheng-MingdéBarbara Regenspan (featured poem: "Tinnitus"), Harris Gardner (featured poem: "Comma"), Lisa DordalNdaba SibandaGemma Cooper-Novack, Annie Dawid, Gail ThomasAngela PaolantonioR.T. CastleberryVictoria Leigh Bennett, E Baker, Shobana Gomes, and Andrew Mercado (featured poem: "Ode to the Forty Year Patient").

Winning Writers Editor Jendi Reiter's book launch reading for their poetry collection Bullies in Love can now be viewed on Little Red Tree Publishing's new YouTube channel. Subscribe to be notified of video readings from Jendi's new collection, Made Man, and other forthcoming titles from this international literary publisher.

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

Have news? Please email it to

Ad: Submit Your Book Manuscript at Atmosphere Press

Atmosphere authors have sold thousands of books across five continents, received starred or featured reviews with Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist, and have even appeared on a giant billboard in Times Square. Atmosphere has had books with 1,000+ first-month sales in four different genres, and their Author Connect program unites their authors with each other like no other press. And they're just getting started.

Atmosphere Press currently seeks great manuscripts, and they'll be the publisher you've always wanted: attentive, organized, on schedule, and professional. They use a model in which the author funds the initial publication of the book, but retains 100% rights, royalties, and artistic autonomy. From an exceptional editorial team through book design and into promotion, partnering with Atmosphere is the way to do your book right.

So, send your manuscript their way. Submissions are free and open to everyone and in all genres.

Ad: Tim Stickel’s Special District: Harbin…Drawing the Tiger's Bones

First Place Winner of the 2021 North Street Book Prize for Genre Fiction
Russian troops pour across the border
Russian infiltrators sow sabotage and terror
Cities are bombed and shelled
… only it's 1929 Manchuria
and a dismembered body is found in the Japanese zone

Borya is at the bottom ranks of Harbin's Special District police force. Fate takes him from chasing pickpockets to pairing him with one of the force's premier detectives, changing his life forever. Together they investigate the dismembered body of one of Harbin's foreign businessmen.

The trail takes them from the upscale boulevards of Harbin's New Town, to the seediest neighborhoods of the lower city, and beyond to the frontiers of Manchuria. Slowly they are drawn into a war with the Soviet Union that could tear apart the whole balance of life as they know it…

Can Borya and Inspector Chinn stay alive long enough to solve the crime?

Read an excerpt and the Winning Writers critique

Buy the book at Amazon

Ad: C. Vargas McPherson's Inheriting Our Names

Winner of the Grand Prize in the 2021 North Street Book Prize competition

Three years of war.
Forty years of silence.
Thirty years of forgetting.
One day of remembering.

Inheriting Our Names portrays a family trauma inherited from the Spanish Civil War, suppressed from memory, and passed through successive generations and across continents until one woman returns to Seville to reconstruct—and reclaim—her family's history. A richly layered and lush exploration of transgenerational trauma, grief, and release.

"I love that this book is described as 'an imagined true memoir' and, indeed, it is both searingly honest and richly imagined. I was utterly engrossed by this lyrical, profound story of secrets and revelations, trauma and transformation, and am so glad to have discovered this writer."
     —Abigail DeWitt, author of three novels: Lili (WW Norton), Dogs (Lorimer Press), and News of our Loved Ones

"An intensely rich and beautiful book written with the poetic touch of a writer whose heart unmistakably beats with Andalusian blood. This is a story of grief and pain, but also of healing and identity, of three women separated by time and war who weave together in a stunningly passionate examination of hidden history and its effects on the past, present, and future."
     —SPR Publishing Review

Read an excerpt from Inheriting Our Names (PDF)

Read the Winning Writers critique

Buy now from Amazon and other fine booksellers worldwide.

Last Call for Our Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest: Deadline April 30

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

Ad: Last Call for the Curt Johnson Prose Awards

Curt Johnson Prose Awards

Deadline: May 1

DECEMBER MAGAZINE seeks submissions for our 2022 Curt Johnson Prose Awards in fiction and creative nonfiction. Prizes each genre—$1,500 & publication (winner); $500 & publication (honorable mention). All finalists will be listed in the 2022 Fall/Winter awards issue. $20 entry fee includes a copy of the awards issue. Submit one story or essay up to 8,000 words.

For complete guidelines and judge information visit our website.

december magazine was founded in Iowa City in 1958 by a group of poets, writers, and artists who declared, "We are humanists…far more concerned with people than dogmatic critical or aesthetic attitudes." december was a pioneer in the "little" magazine and small press movement, publishing cutting-edge fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art. By 1962, the founding editors had left Iowa City; one of them, Jeff Marks, took december to Chicago and turned it over to Curt Johnson, an award-winning short story writer and novelist. Johnson edited and published december for the next 46 years until his death in 2008.

december's writers who published their first or very early work in the journal include:
• 5 U.S. Poets Laureate
• 6 Pulitzer Prize winners
• 8 National Book Award winners
• 3 National Book Critics Circle Award winners
• 6 state poets laureate
• 9 Guggenheim fellows
• 10 NEA fellows
• 3 Poet's Prize winners
• 5 O. Henry Award winners (totaling 10 awards)
• 2 Pen/Faulkner Award winners
• 3 Pushcart Prize winners
• 5 selections in Best American Short Stories

Ad: The Montreal International Poetry Prize (last call for early-bird fee)

The Montreal International Poetry Prize

Submit by the early-bird deadline of May 1 for a reduced entry fee.

Ad: Two Sylvias' WEEKLY MUSE—Stimulate Your Poetry and Find Great Places for It

Begins May 1—sign up now!

Because we've had so many requests to create a way for poets to get weekly poetry prompts along with information to help them publish poems and manuscripts, Two Sylvias Press is thrilled to offer the Two Sylvias' Weekly Muse to help with all your goals from inspiration to publication!

Subscribe to Two Sylvias' Weekly Muse for $18.99/month (less with an annual subscription) and each week you will receive:

  • Poetry Exercises / Prompts: You will receive one longer writing exercise and one shorter prompt each week to help you write two poems a week (or more!)
  • Ask the Editors: Our weekly feature where our editors answer YOUR questions on poetry, writing, publishing, submitting, or whatever is on your mind.
  • A Creativity Reflection Question: You can use these questions when journaling or simply reflect on them as you go about your day.
  • Exclusive Interviews with Well-Known Poets: We ask our favorite poets questions focused on writing, time management, titles, manuscripts, poetic forms, inspiration, submitting, rejections, and advice to help you on your poetic journey.
  • Where to Submit Your Work: Each week we share with you places to submit your work—literary journals, anthologies, and other opportunities.
  • Occasional Surprises: From time to time, we will be giving away FREE Two Sylvias Press publications, discounts on reading fees, and giveaways including FREE Online Poetry Retreats.
  • An Optional Facebook Group: A space for you to create community, share poems, and meet new poets on similar paths.


We look forward to answering your questions, sending you inspiration, and helping you get your poems out into the world.

Ad: Submit Your Story Today. Grist’s Climate-Fiction Contest Submission Portal Closes in 20 Days.

Imagine 2200

Deadline: May 5 | No entry fee

Submissions are now being accepted for Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors, the annual climate fiction contest from Fix, Grist's solutions lab.

Imagine 2200 seeks original short stories of 3,000 to 5,000 words that envision the next 180 years of clean, green, and just futures. Judges include Grace L. Dillon, Arkady Martine, and Sheree Renée Thomas.

The top three winners will be awarded $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000 respectively, and nine finalists will receive a $300 honorarium. Those 12 authors will be published in an immersive digital collection this fall. Conjure your wildest dreams for society—all the justice, resilience, and abundance you can imagine—and put those dreams on paper.

There's no fee to enter, so if you're ready to get writing, you can find our submissions portal here. If you'd like to get in touch, you can reach us at

Ad: Ploughshares Emerging Writer's Contest

Ploughshares Emerging Writer's Contest

Ad: Apply now for The de Groot Foundation COURAGE to WRITE Grants

Courage to Write Grants

Deadline: May 31

In 2022 The de Groot Foundation will award a minimum of seven unrestricted grants of $7,000 each to writers.

Applications are now open for the COURAGE to WRITE grants sponsored by The de Groot Foundation. This new grant program encourages and supports emerging voices of all ages (18 and older) and backgrounds. Writing takes focus, courage, and time. The goal of these grants of $7,000 each is to provide a monetary respite that offers writers the freedom to focus on their creative process, enhance their craft, or complete a project.

Applications are open to English-language adult writers regardless of race, ethnicity, gender orientation, education, economic situation, geographic origin, or location.

Application fee: $22. Grant awardees will be notified in July 2022. To review application guidelines and apply, click here. We look forward to learning about you and your project.

The de Groot Foundation is a 501(c)(3) foundation located in the United States. The foundation was created in 2010 by the de Groot family to support high-impact, sustainable innovation, education, and cultural projects. The foundation's current cultural focus is to encourage and discover emerging voices in the literary arts.

Ad: The Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry

The Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry 2022

North Street Book Prize for Self-Published Books

North Street Book Prize

Delores Lowe Friedman"The receipt of the North Street Book Prize for Literary Fiction has been an uplifting and mind-altering experience for me. The call from contest administrator Adam Cohen came at a low point, as it was one year after losing my husband of forty-eight years, a writer himself, my muse and chief cheerleader. Poor Adam had to talk me through the receipt of the award, reminding me of my submission, which was a blur coming so soon after my husband's passing. Then I received the award a couple of weeks later, and it was so beautifully presented. Then I had a conference with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, who was wonderful in the information she gave me on marketing, and refocusing me on my prior writing accomplishments.

"This past week, I took the time to read the credentials of the judges, and was so honored to be chosen as First Prize winner by such an illustrious panel, who took time from their own writing and academic pursuits to judge all of the submissions. I want to thank you all for the time and energy you put into this endeavor. The entire process reminded me of my husband's encouragement to finish Wildflowers and to continue writing—and gave me a much-needed shift in my thinking to my joy in writing."
Delores Lowe Friedman, 2021 North Street winner for Mainstream/Literary Fiction

Ad: BLR Prizes: Submit Writing on Illness, Health, and Healing

Bellevue Literary Prizes

Deadline: July 1

Bellevue Literary Review's annual prizes recognize exceptional writing about health, healing, illness, the body, and the mind.

Goldenberg Prize for Fiction
Judged by Toni Jensen

Felice Buckvar Prize for Nonfiction
Judged by Rana Awdish

John and Eileen Allman Prize for Poetry
Judged by Phillip B. Williams

Each category offers a $1,000 First Prize and $250 Honorable Mention. Winners and honorable mentions will be published in the Spring 2023 issue of BLR.

Poetry: 3 poems per submission
Fiction and Nonfiction: 5,000 words maximum
Only previously unpublished work will be considered.
Entry fee $20.

Visit BLR's website for complete guidelines.

Ad: Rattle Poetry Prize

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 last year's Readers' Choice Award winner by Erin Murphy, published in Rattle #74, Winter 2021:


         (n.): the networking capability that allows information
         to be sent and received by objects and devices

The low tide riverbed silt
       of things. The cloud-swept

distant hill of things.
       The open bedroom window

in spring of things.
       The moonlit cricket

symphony of things.
       The pitter-patter

tin roof rain of things.
       The fifty-year marriage

loose skin of things.
       The clipped winter light

of things. The stippled lymph
       node of things. The grief.

Oh—the grief. The brief
       ecstatic flight of things.

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
Parsec SF/Fantasy/Horror Short Story Contest. Parsec gives prizes up to $200 for fantasy, sci-fi, and horror stories, with the winners published in the program book for Confluence, Parsec's annual convention. Send 1-2 stories, maximum 3,500 words each, on this year's theme ("Hearth, Song, and Table"). The contest is open to non-professional writers. Due May 1.

Intermediate Writers
James Laughlin Award. The Academy of American Poets will award $5,000 and a weeklong residency in Miami Beach, FL for a US poet's second book of 48-100 pages in length, under contract to a US publisher and forthcoming in 2023. The Academy will also buy 1,000 copies of the winning book for distribution to its members. Publisher should submit entry form online and upload PDF of manuscript with author's name removed. Due May 15.

Advanced Writers
Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. The Writers' Trust of Canada awards C$60,000 for novels or short story collections published in Canada. Books published between March 1 and May 2 of this year must be received by May 3. Publisher should send 5 hard copies of the book (or 3 bound galleys, to be followed by at least 2 copies of the book) and submit entry form, PDF of the book, press kit, and list of titles published by that publisher, to establish eligibility.

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.

Dashboard Horus
(poetry, prose, artwork about travel that may be real or imaginary - rolling deadline)

20.35 Africa Anthology V
(unpublished poems by African and diaspora poets aged 20-35 - April 24)

Rough Cut Press: "Dust" Issue
(poetry, flash prose, artwork by LGBTQ creators on this theme - April 27)

Qwyre African Speculative Fiction Contest
(web monetization site for literary content seeks stories in this genre - April 30)

Re-side Zine: "Hunger" Issue
(poetry, prose, artwork on this theme - April 30)

Renaissance Review
(youth-led lit mag seeks poetry, prose, artwork "that spins together passion in multiple fields" - April 30)

Rewired: An Anthology of Neurodiverse Horror
(short horror stories inspired by differences in perception and communication - April 30)

In the Tempered Dark: Contemporary Poets Transcending Elegy
(grief poetry anthology from Black Lawrence Press - May 31)

RHINO Poetry
(poetry, flash fiction, translations - June 30)

Lethe Press: "Brute" Anthology
(dark and speculative short stories that address gay sexuality, desire, masculinity, rough trade - August 1)

Green Linden Press: "Essential Queer Voices" Anthology
(published or unpublished poetry by "people who live outside mainstream sexual and gender norms" - October 1)

PSA: Ozark Literacy Council Little Free Library Project

Little Free Library

This month's ProLiteracy Member Spotlight is on the Ozark Literacy Council (OLC) and its effort to spread literacy across Northwest Arkansas while raising money for its program.

The OLC, in collaboration with the Northwest Arkansas American Institute of Architects and the Fay Jones School of Architects, recently launched its Little Free Library: Building Literacy. Building Community. project in an effort to bring Little Free Libraries to Northwest Arkansas. Proceeds from this project will support OLC's educational and outreach programs.

Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization and a worldwide movement aimed at promoting reading, building communities, and launching creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges in small containers where users can utilize the "take a book—return a book" approach. Since 2009, the nonprofit organization's grassroots movement has led to about 25,000 libraries around the world [including one in front of Winning Writers' headquarters in Northampton -eds.]

The OLC recently held a competition in which students had the opportunity to submit Little Free Library design plans to be available for future sites. Communities throughout Northwest Arkansas will benefit from the project, including homeless shelters, senior homes, hospitals and clinics, and neighborhoods. Sponsorships range from $3,000 to $6,000. A portion of the sponsorship goes toward the official design, supplies, and construction of the Little Free Library.

Learn more at ProLiteracy.

Selected Greats from our Fiction & Essay Contest Winners

This month, editor Jendi Reiter highlights selected entries from past Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contests. This year's deadline is April 30. Learn more about the contest.

Iris Litt

by Iris Litt

Honorable Mention
2016 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

by Cady Vishniac

Honorable Mention
2017 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

by Jacqueline Sheehan

Honorable Mention
2017 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

by Hapuya Ononime

Honorable Mention
2018 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

We'll Critique Your Entire Book or Manuscript for Just $180

Winning Writers Critique Service

You can expect your critique to be 1,500-3,000 words long. It will include the following sections as relevant:

  • Critique summary
  • Technical execution (layout, spelling and grammar, technical consistency, technical quality of any illustrations, font, accessibility)
  • Structure and content (character, plot, theme, setting, internal consistency, structure, pacing)
  • Use of language (register, tone, tonal consistency, literary devices, artistic style, imagery, sense of mastery, relation to themes)
  • Recommendations and conclusion
  • Exercises to unlock creativity

You may also submit up to 3 specific questions to be answered within your critique. We guarantee your satisfaction. Learn more and order your critique for $180.

We also offer critiques of poems, stories, and essays and children's picture books for just $90.

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

Here is the fifth installment of Julian Peters' 24-page comic-book adaptation of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot. We will reprint all 24 pages over the next several newsletters. 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 13

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot - Page 14
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot - Page 15

To be continued in our May 15 newsletter

The Last Word

Jendi ReiterAnd the Real (Estate) Monster Was...
I've just finished reading Robert Marasco's 1973 haunted house novel, Burnt Offerings, reissued by Valancourt Books. This book is like what would happen if a "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine became sentient and started eating your brain. Our protagonists flee the grime and noise pollution of low-income apartment life in New York (something I know well!) only to be seduced by the luxuries of an upstate mansion that consumes tenants' life force in order to repair itself. Unlike typical haunted houses, this one is delightful to live in. The horror arises from watching the lengths to which people will go to delude themselves because they want a room with a view.
Read more

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