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War Poetry Contest Winners Announced

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The Best Free Poetry Contests, November-December

Notable Free Prose Contests, November-December

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Featured Poem:
"Star Route" by George Longenecker

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November 2010

One of the "101 Best Websites for Writers"
Writer's Digest, 2005-2010

Welcome to our November newsletter. This is the companion to our online database, The Best Free Poetry Contests. It alerts you to upcoming contests and important contest changes, highlights quality resources for writers, and announces achievements and great poems by our readers.

Lost one of our newsletters? Was part of it lost in transmission? Formatting doesn't look right? Not to worry. All our recent newsletters are posted online at

Coming December 1: Award-Winning Poems
Each quarter we publish a special edition of this newsletter featuring winning poems from contests we admire. The next edition is December 1. Please watch for it in your mailbox!

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Share your writing, get feedback, and have fun on At you get:
  • Helpful Feedback. Get detailed feedback for every poem, short story and book chapter that you write.

  • Contests. Over 50 new contests every month. Always free to paid members. Participate for cash prizes.

  • Rankings. See how you compare to other writers. Online statistics will show you how you are doing.

  • Motivation. Participate in an active online writing community. Improve your writing and get motivated.

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Upcoming Contest Deadlines

Free Verse Poetry Contest
Write a free verse poem. This is a method of writing poetry that does not follow any structure or style. See an example and details in the announcement. $100 cash prize to the winner.
Deadline: Tomorrow! - November 16

New Arrival Poetry
Write an acrostic poem for this contest for new members to the site. An acrostic poem is a poem where the first letter of each line spells out a word. View an example in the announcement. Cash prize to the winner.
Deadline: In Four Days! - November 20

This Sentence Starts The Story
Write a story that starts with this sentence: The bed was empty. Cash prize to the winner.
Deadline: November 25

Write a Senryu poem. It is a form of poetry that only uses three lines. Senryu poems often refer to emotions or some other aspect of the human condition. See an example in the announcement. This poetry contest awards a $100 prize to the winner.
Deadline: November 30

Short Love Poem
Write a short love poem with fifteen words or less. $100 cash prize for the winner of this contest for poets.
Deadline: December 3

Enter all contests for free with your upgraded membership. Upgraded membership is only $6.95 per month. These are only a few of our contests. View our full listing here.

Finding this site three years ago was a blessing to me. I am becoming the writer I wanted to be because of what I've learned at FanStory. I have had stories published (the publishers came to me), won the state contest last year in the short story category, and have been asked to speak at writers groups. Three years ago I couldn't write a grocery list.
- Marti Hurst - More Testimonials


Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Postmark Deadline: March 31, 2011
Now in its 19th year. Prizes of $3,000, $1,000, $400 and $250 will be awarded, plus six Most Highly Commended Awards of $150 each. Submit any type of short story, essay or other work of prose, up to 5,000 words. You may submit work that has been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the online publication rights. $15 entry fee. Submit online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. This contest is sponsored by Tom Howard Books and assisted by Winning Writers. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. See the complete guidelines and past winners. Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest (no fee)

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest - No Fee
Online Submission Deadline: April 1, 2011
Winning Writers invites you to enter the tenth annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. We'll award $3,600, including a top prize of $1,500. Submit one humor poem online. No length limit. Both published and unpublished poems are welcome. No fee to enter. Final judge: Jendi Reiter. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Now Open
War Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: May 31, 2011
We seek 1-3 original, unpublished poems on the theme of war for our tenth annual contest, up to 500 lines in total. We will award $5,000, including a top prize of $2,000. Submit online or by mail. The entry fee is $15. Final judge: Jendi Reiter. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Now Open
Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse
Postmark Deadline: June 30, 2011
Now in its eighth year, this contest seeks poetry in traditional verse forms such as sonnets and free verse. Both published and unpublished poems are welcome. Prizes of $3,000, $1,000, $400 and $250 will be awarded, plus six Most Highly Commended Awards of $150 each. The entry fee is $7 for every 25 lines you submit. Submit online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. This contest is sponsored by Tom Howard Books and assisted by Winning Writers. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. See the complete guidelines and past winners. The winners of the seventh contest will be announced in this newsletter on December 15, 2010.


Gerardo Mena

Winning Writers is pleased to announce the results from its ninth annual War Poetry Contest. 656 entries were received from around the world. Gerardo Mena of Columbia, Missouri won first prize and $2,000 for his poem "So I Was a Coffin". Mena is a decorated Iraqi Freedom Veteran who served in Special Operations with the Reconnaissance Marines for six years. His poem, a tribute to a fallen comrade from the war in Iraq, personifies objects from the battlefield—flags, weapons, bandages—as metaphors for dutiful and doomed men. View this poem and a video presentation by Mr. Mena.

Second prize of $1,200 went to Bruce Lack of Kalamazoo, Michigan for his poems "FNG", "Get Some", and "Hadji". These poems offer a raw, uncensored look at how combat breaks down and reshapes one's identity. From the first day of training, the new recruits are bluntly ordered to accept the abnormal as normal. Back home, the reverse occurs, as the veteran struggles to navigate ordinary life with a personality transformed by rage, guilt, adrenalin surges, and boredom with peacetime's banal chores.

Anna Scotti of Santa Monica, California won third prize and $600 for "This Is How I'll Tell It When I Tell It to Our Children", which takes a novel and effective approach to depicting atrocities against civilians. The poem rewrites each violent gesture as something beautiful and innocent, a trauma-erasing strategy that is heartbreaking because the truth of the scene always bleeds through the lovely fable.

Judge Jendi Reiter and Assistant Judge Ellen LaFleche remarked: "We were especially impressed by the range of topics this year, from poetry about the Native Alaskan experience, to the art of folding paper cranes, to women's domestic isolation on the homefront. We thank each and every entrant for their courage, their commitment to writing, and their willingness to tackle a painful subject. Whether or not a particular poem won a prize in this year's contest, the act of writing the poem was itself an act of courage and resistance against the destructive force of war."

Twelve Honorable Mentions and ten finalists were also chosen, bringing the total awards to $5,000. Read the winning poems and the judges' complete comments here. Read the press release.


Congratulations to Becky Dennison Sakellariou. Her poetry collection Earth Listening was recently released by Hobblebush Books. The book comes with a CD of the author reading selected poems. The poems in Earth Listening reflect the complex tapestries of the two very different worlds that Sakellariou inhabits: New Hampshire and Euboia, Greece. She says, "These poems also explore what I call the beginning of dying; the way our pores open to the world even more intensely as we age and as death appears more visceral around us. There is both the contradiction and balance, the push and pull of that continual 'making sense of the world.'" Read some of her poetry here and here.

Congratulations to Caroline Zarlengo Sposto. She won first prize in the Ophelia Dunn Moore Memorial Contest at the 53rd Annual Mid-South Poetry Festival. A poem of hers was also accepted for publication in Bloodroot Literary Magazine.

Barclay Franklin's novel The Shepherd's Moon is now available from iUniverse. A sequel to her novel Up the Hill, Through the Long Grass, this book continues the saga of a sheepherding family in Montana whose marriage is threatened by financial pressures and the reappearance of an old flame.

George Longenecker's poem "Edsel", which was an honorable mention winner in the 2009 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, is forthcoming in the Paterson Literary Review. His poem "Star Route" was published in the Atlanta Review. He kindly shares the latter poem below.


If you enjoy using The Best Free Poetry Contests, consider upgrading to Poetry Contest Insider. The Best Free Poetry Contests profiles the 150 or so poetry contests that are free to enter. With your Poetry Contest Insider subscription, you'll get access to all of our 750+ poetry contest profiles, plus over 300 of the best prose contests. Contest rules, addresses and deadlines change constantly. We update Poetry Contest Insider nearly every day to stay on top of them. Search and sort contests by deadline, prize, fee, recommendation level and more. Access to Poetry Contest Insider is just $9.95 per quarter, with a free 10-day trial at the start. Cancel at any time.

Most contests charge entry fees. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars and many hours entering these contests each year. Don't waste your time or money. Out of hundreds of contests, there might only be two or three dozen that are especially appropriate for your work. We help you find them fast. Interviews and links to award-winning entries help you refine your craft. Learn more about Poetry Contest Insider.
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Deadlines: November 16-December 31

Here is a summary of upcoming free poetry contests. Click the contest names to be taken directly to their profiles (you may be asked to login on your first click of the day). You may also view the profiles by logging in to The Best Free Poetry Contests here and clicking the Find Free Contests link to search for contests by name.

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Winning Writers gathers contest information from a wide variety of sources including publishers' press releases, online link directories, Poets & Writers Magazine, and e-newsletters such as TOTAL FundsforWriters, The Practicing Writer, and CRWROPPS. We encourage readers to explore these useful resources, and let us know about worthwhile contests we may have missed.

11/30: Alexander Popoff Youth Award Poetry Contest +
Formerly November 15
Neutral free contest offers $50 apiece for published or unpublished poems by youth (ages 17-24) and children (16 and younger) relating to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Enter by email only.

11/30: Daily News Prize +
Neutral free contest offers $300 for the best poem accepted by The Caribbean Writer during this year. All eligible submissions to the magazine are also considered for the David Hough Literary Prize for an author residing in the Caribbean ($500), the Marguerite Cobb McKay Prize for a Virgin Islands author ($200), the Charlotte & Isidor Paiewonsky Prize for first-time publication ($200), and the Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for best short fiction ($400). Send 1-5 unpublished poems, double-spaced. The Caribbean should be central to the work, or the work should reflect a Caribbean heritage, experience or perspective. Email entries accepted.

11/30: Graybeal-Gowan Prize for Virginia Writers +++
Formerly November 29
Highly recommended free contest offers $500 and publication in Shenandoah, the literary journal of Washington & Lee University, for unpublished poems by authors born or currently living in Virginia. Submit 1-3 poems.

11/30: Odes to the Olympians Poetry Contest +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral twice-yearly free contest offers $50 apiece in adult and youth categories for unpublished poems up to 30 lines about Greek and Roman mythology. Enter by email only. Themes change with each contest; the Fall 2010 contest is for poems about Athena (Minerva). This contest is sponsored by Victoria Grossack and Alice Underwood, authors of The Tapestry of Bronze, a series of historical novels set in the ancient world.

11/30: Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest is open to high school sophomores and juniors throughout the world. Prize is tuition to The Kenyon Review's two-week summer seminar for writers aged 16-18; winner and runners-up also published in the highly prestigious journal. Submit one poem via their online form.

11/30: Somerset Maugham Awards +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest for published books of poetry and prose offers 1,000 pounds' stipend for foreign travel. Entrants must be UK residents and British subjects by birth, and under age 35 as of December 31. The work submitted may be poetry, fiction, criticism, biography, history, philosophy, belles-lettres or a travel book. Dramatic works are not eligible. Entries in all genres compete for one prize.

12/1: Atlantic Monthly Student Writing Contest +++
Highly recommended free contest for full-time college or graduate students at a US institution of higher education offers prizes up to $1,000 each for poetry, fiction, and essays (personal or journalistic). Sponsored by The Atlantic Monthly, a venerable journal of politics and culture. Entries should be 1-3 poems or one prose piece up to 7,500 words. One entry per person per genre.

12/1: Literary Laundry Competition +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest from online journal Literary Laundry offers prizes of $500 for best poem and story, $250 for one-act play, plus $250 awards for poetry and fiction by undergraduates. Send 1-3 single-spaced pages of poetry, one short story or novel chapter up to 10 single-spaced pages, or a one-act play, maximum 15 single-spaced pages. Entries should include a 1-2 paragraph "abstract" explaining why their writing is intellectually evocative or of interest to a contemporary audience.

12/1: Poetry Center at Smith College High School Prize ++
Entries must be received by this date
Recommended free contest offers $500 for the best poem by a high school sophomore or junior girl in New England. One poem per person, 25 lines maximum. Winner and three finalists will read their poems at Smith College in Northampton, MA with the contest judge, a well-known poet. Enter by email only. See website for rules and required entry form.

12/1: The Lyric College Poetry Contest ++
Recommended free contest offers prizes up to $500 for poems in traditional forms by US or Canadian undergraduates. Poems should be 39 lines maximum. Founded in 1921, The Lyric is the oldest magazine in North America in continuous publication devoted to traditional poetry. Note that the contest address differs from magazine's regular address.

12/1: Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing +
Neutral free contest offers $1,000 for a published book of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction (all genres compete together) by an Appalachian author. Author or publisher may nominate a book by sending 5 copies plus supporting materials. Contest sponsor Morehead State University is a college based in Eastern Kentucky.

12/15: Charlotte Newberger Prize for Poetry +
Formerly December 21
Neutral free contest offers $150 for unpublished poems touching on the experience of Jewish women. Send 1-3 poems, maximum 100 lines each. Sponsored by LILITH, a Jewish feminist magazine. Contest is open to both men and women.

12/17: California Book Awards +
Formerly December 18
Neutral free contest for published books whose authors lived in California when the work was written. Gold medals are awarded in the genres of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, first fiction, Californiana, outstanding book production by a California publisher, Young Adult (ages 0-10) and Juvenile Literature (ages 11-16). Poetry winners have been established writers. Entries must have been published during the current calendar year. Author or publisher should send 6 copies of book plus a completed entry form.

12/17: Rider University's High School Writing Contest +
Formerly December 18
Neutral free contest offers prizes up to $100 in each genre for poetry, fiction and essays by high school students. Prose entries should be 5 double-spaced pages maximum, poems 50 lines maximum. One entry per person per genre. Sponsor is a liberal arts college in New Jersey.

12/22: Poetry Society of America Awards +++
These highly recommended contests on various themes, with prizes up to $1,000, are free to Poetry Society of America members. We highly recommend joining ($45 per year, $25 for students). For nonmembers, a $15 fee covers all contests for which you are eligible. One entry per person per contest.
Contests restricted to members of the Poetry Society of America
Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award ($1,000 for a manuscript sample of poetry or verse-drama)
Cecil Hemley Memorial Award ($500 for a lyric poem that addresses a philosophical or epistemological concern)
Lucille Medwick Memorial Award ($500 for a poem on a humanitarian theme)
Lyric Poetry Award ($500 for a lyric poem)
Writer Magazine/Emily Dickinson Award ($250 for a brief poem inspired by Dickinson, though not necessarily in her style)

Contests open to the general public
George Bogin Memorial Award ($500 for 4-5 poems that use language in an original way to reflect the encounter of the ordinary and the extraordinary and to take a stand against oppression in any of its forms)
Louise Louis/Emily F. Bourne Student Poetry Award ($250 for a poem by a US high school student)
Robert H. Winner Memorial Award ($1,000 for poems by authors over age 40 who have published no more than one book)
Louis Hammer Memorial Award ($250 for a distinguished poem in the surrealist manner)
12/31: Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest for published books offers two awards of $10,000 each: one for a book of fiction or poetry, the other for a book of nonfiction. The nonfiction category covers both creative nonfiction and scholarly works (biography, history, etc.) This award honors books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism or our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures. Books must have been published in the current calendar year. Plays, screenplays, e-books, unpublished, print-on-demand, and self-published works not eligible. Author or publisher should submit 5 copies plus entry form from website.

12/31: Ann Arlys Bowler Student Poetry Contest ++
Recommended free contest for students in grades 5-12 offers 6 prizes of $100 plus publication in an electronic issue of Read Magazine. Send 1-2 unpublished poems, one-page maximum per poem, plus entry form.

12/31: Franklin-Christoph Poetry Contest +
Entries must be received by this date; formerly November 30
Neutral free contest offers top prize of $1,000 for unpublished poems, 100 lines maximum. Sponsor Franklin-Christoph is a manufacturer of fine pens and luxury items. Ten runners-up receive fountain pens worth $150. Maximum 2 poems per entrant. Enter by email.

12/31: Griffin Prize For Excellence In Poetry +++
Highly recommended free contest offers two prizes of C$65,000 for poetry books published in the current calendar year. One prize will go to a living Canadian poet or translator, the other to a living poet or translator from any country (including Canada). See website for detailed eligibility rules. Publisher should send 4 copies of book plus a press packet. This is one of the most lucrative poetry prizes around, as well as one of the most prestigious.

12/31: Merton Prize for Poetry of the Sacred ++
Entries must be received by this date
Recommended free contest offers top prize of $500 and publication for an unpublished poem of 100 lines maximum that "expresses, directly or indirectly, a sense of the holy or that, by its mode of expression, evokes the sacred. The tone may be religious, prophetic, or contemplative." Send by mail or email.

12/31: Neil Postman Award for Metaphor +++
Rolling Deadline
Highly recommended free contest offers $500 for the best use of metaphor in a poem published in RATTLE, a prestigious journal. Submissions are accepted year-round. Send 5-6 unpublished poems, any length. Wait for a decision on your first entry before submitting more. All poems published in RATTLE are automatically considered for this award. No separate application process.

12/31: Ohioana Poetry Award: Helen & Laura Krout Memorial ++
Recommended contest offers $1,000 to an Ohio poet for a body of published work that has made, and continues to make, a significant contribution to poetry, and through whose work as a writer, teacher, administrator, or in community service, interest in poetry has been developed. Award is by nomination only. Nominees must have been born in Ohio or lived there for at least 5 years.

12/31: ORBIS Readers Award +
Rolling Deadline
Neutral free rolling-deadline contest offers 50 pounds per issue for the best poem published in each issue of Britain's ORBIS Quarterly Literary International Journal, as determined by reader vote. Online submissions accepted from non-UK entrants only. Translations eligible.

12/31: Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Award +++
Highly recommended free contest from the Academy of American Poets alternates between a $25,000 fellowship for translators of modern Italian poetry to complete a work-in-progress (even-numbered years), and a $5,000 prize for published books of English translations of modern Italian poetry (odd-numbered years). US citizens only.

12/31: William Carlos Williams Poetry Competition +
Neutral free contest for students of medicine or osteopathy in the US and Canada offers prizes of $300, $200, $100 for a poem on any subject. Winners invited to read at Northeast Ohio Universities College of Medicine in April, possibly published in scholarly journal. Submit 1-3 poems, maximum 750 words each.

Login to The Best Free Poetry Contests now to view these and all our profiles of free contests. You can browse contests by deadline date, name, recommendation level, and more.

Key to Ratings
Highly Recommended: +++
Recommended: ++
Neutral: +

All deadlines are postmark deadlines unless otherwise specified.



FUNDSFORWRITERS — Grants, contests, markets and publishing calls for submissions. Over 35,000 readers. Chosen by Writer's Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers commendation for 2001-2010. Ten years of recognized excellence.

Dearest Hope, It feels as though you are a fairy Godmother sent to help guide me in the right direction. FundsforWriters really is an incredible publication. I can't thank you enough for your amazing website and commitment to help others. I just had to say thanks!
~ Warm Regards, Charlotte Poth

Carpe Articulum Literary Review

Carpe Articulum Literary Review Welcome to Carpe Articulum Literary Review, a full-colour, international, quarterly journal of resplendent literature! This perfect-bound, archival quality journal is the perfect fit for the most discerning reader's home, office, or private window seat. Once again we bring you a wonderful selection of cross-genre literature as well as spectacular interviews from famous industry greats. Genres include: Poetry, Short Fiction, Novellas, Screenwriting & Non-Fiction. We also include full-colour photography, informative articles and insightful interviews. Welcome to

GET A FREE ELECTRONIC ISSUE! This is a gift from us all at CALR with our compliments. Click to download a free electronic copy of last quarter's issue.

$10,000 per year in cash awards provided to exceptional writers and photographers! See this quarter's announcements below for details.

THIS ISSUE’S FEATURED GUESTS: We welcome Barbara Ehrenreich, author of seventeen books including bestsellers such as Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch and her newest book, Bright-Sided, which explores her amazing take on the "positive minded" philosophies being perpetuated in society, especially in the shadow of her own struggle with breast cancer.

We welcome Stan Jones and his wildly successful series of novels on Alaskan natives and stunning landscape as seen through the eyes of the half Inuit, Nathan Active!

We welcome Bruce Piasecki, whose non-fiction books including The Surprising Solution have been translated into over five languages worldwide! These remarkable and seasoned writers have graced Carpe Articulum's pages with their wit, wisdom, unusual experiences and advice. These interviews are rare and exclusive to Carpe Articulum—you won't see them anywhere else!

SPECIAL THANKS TO FORMER HEAD OF MGM STUDIOS, PARAMOUNT AND DESILU PRODUCTIONS, MR. HERBERT F. SOLOW, FOR THE LOVELY INTERVIEWS THIS ROTATION and HARRISON SOLOW FOR HER ENLIGHTENING INTERVIEW ON LIMINALITY, LUMINESCENCE AND LITERATURE. Last quarter, Mr. Solow spoke about what screenwriters should know about the industry, the true stories behind his mega-hits Star Trek and Mission: Impossible, and how things really work in Hollywood. Stay in touch to see the exciting new interviews in upcoming issues!

Carpe Articulum is available in print in Barnes & Noble, Borders and other fine bookstores worldwide. Online editions available as well.


Current call for submissions: Short Fiction, Screenwriting (Best opening scene only) and Non-Fiction & Poetry. NO PAGE LIMITS! Multiple submissions permitted; submit online via the website! Previously published work is permitted only if the print run did not exceed 2,000 copies.

     SHORT FICTION: Mar 30, Sep 30
     POETRY: Mar 30, Sep 30
     NOVELLA: Jan 7
     ESSAY/NON-FICTION: Jan 7, Aug 30
     PHOTOGRAPHY: Aug 30

Submit your work online now. Go to
Fish Publishing

Simon Mawer Short Story Prize — 3,000 Euros
Entries must be received by November 30, 2010 - last call!
Second prize: a week at Anam Cara Writer's and Artist's Retreat in West Cork and 300 Euros
Third prize: 300 Euros
5,000-word limit
Entry fee: 20 Euros
Judge: Simon Mawer

One-Page Prize — 1,000 Euros
Chris Stewart Entries must be received by March 20, 2011
300-word limit
Entry fee: 14 Euros
Judge: Chris Stewart

Poetry Prize — 1,000 Euros
Entries must be received by March 30, 2011
200-word limit
Entry fee: 14 Euros
Judge: Brian Turner
Brian Turner
The ten winners from each of the three Fish Prizes will be published in the 2011 Fish Anthology. The 2010 Fish Anthology is available for 12 Euros (click for excerpts and ordering).

Full details, rules & online entry for all contests at

Major credit cards accepted with online entry. The translation of your entry fee into your local currency will be done automatically by your credit card company according to the current exchange rate.

Mail postal entries to: Fish Publishing, Durrus, Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland
Questions? Please email
Established 1994. Honorary Patrons: Roddy Doyle, Colum McCann, Dermot Healy
General Guidelines
Do not put your name and address on the story, but on a separate sheet.
Checks should be made out to Fish Publishing.
Stories and poems must not have been published previously.
Entry will be taken as acceptance of the rules and conditions.
Copyright reverts to the winning authors one year after publication of the Anthology.
The 2011 Fish Anthology of winning stories and poems will be published in July 2011, and launched at the West Cork Literary Festival.

Online Flash Fiction Writing Course
Ten weeks of reckless writing fun with Mary-Jane Holmes. Designed to be useful, entertaining, constructive, all for just 195 Euros including free entry to the Fish One-Page Prize.

The Smith College Poetry Prize for High School Girls in New England

11th Annual Writer's Digest Short Short Story Competition
Last Call!
11th Annual Writer's Digest Short Short Story Competition
Postmark Deadline: December 1

To make a long story short, the 11th Annual Writer's Digest Short Short Story Competition is now accepting entries! We're looking for fiction that is bold, brilliant...but brief. Send us your best in 1,500 words or fewer. But don't wait too long—the deadline is December 1, 2010.

Grand-Prize winner will receive $3,000 (that's $2—or more—per word).

Click for the guidelines, prizes and to enter online.

Plus, the 1st- through 25th-place manuscripts will be printed in the 11th Annual Writer's Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection. Click to learn more about this special collection and to reserve your copy today.

Anderbo Poetry Prize
Closing Next Month
2010 Anderbo Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: December 15
  • Submit up to six unpublished poems
  • Winner receives $500 cash and publication on
  • Judged by Linda Bierds, assisted by Anderbo Poetry Editor Charity Burns
  • Poems should be typed on 8 1/2" x 11" paper with the poet's name and contact information on the upper right corner of each poem
  • Limit six poems per poet
  • Poet must not have been previously published on
  • Mail submissions to:
         Anderbo Poetry Prize
         270 Lafayette Street, Suite 1412
         New York, NY 10012
  • Enclose self-addressed stamped business envelope (SASE) to receive names of winner and honorable mentions
  • All entries are non-returnable and will be recycled
  • Reading fee is $10. Check or money order payable to RRofihe
Linda Bierds' eighth book of poetry, Flight: New and Selected Poems, was published in 2008 by Putnam's. Her awards include four Pushcart Prizes, the Virginia Quarterly Review's Emily Clark Balch Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Ingram Merrill, the Guggenheim, and the MacArthur foundations, and twice from the NEA. She is a professor of English at the University of Washington.

Please enjoy "George Jones; Tom T. Hall; Elvis" by Vera Long, winner of the 2006 Anderbo Poetry Prize:
George Jones; Tom T. Hall; Elvis
by Vera Long

I forget appointments, dates, and time of day but I remember old love-songs: She's My Lady; Lady Love; Come Back, Lady; This One's for You; I Don't Know What You're Doing But Keep It Up!

I pull up onions, dig down deep in the hard-packed soil to find a bucket of red and white potatoes. I cut the okra pods from the tall leafy stalks. I'm itching to my elbows; should have worn long sleeves and gloves. I pick a basket of fat, juicy tomatoes, eat a couple of tiny sweet tom-a-toes. I carefully pull from the vines crisp greenbeans and pickle-size cucumbers, leaving the big ones for seed. I pull a few red-globe radishes and some tender leaves of iceberg lettuce.

It's getting hot as blazes. I turn on the garden hose, let the cool water flush through my fingers, over my arms, splash some on my face, and quench my thirst before I sit down in the shade of the house to cool off.

At the sink, I wash the gritty off the vegetables, break beans and put some on to cook. I slice a platter of red tomatoes, cucumbers, white onions, and place the radishes and lettuce on one end of the platter, with a few chips of ice. I cut the okra, put some on to fry and put a few bags in the freezer. I check the roast and make a pan of brown gravy.

It's time for my favorite DJ's show, so I turn on the radio, lean back in a cane-bottom chair and listen to Country Music. Looking Back I Should Have Married You; If I Have to Steal Your Love, I Will; Middle Age Crazy; You Light Up My Life; Chains of Love. Tom T. sings May The Force Be With You Always. Eddie Arnold sings For the Good Times. George Jones closes with If My Heart Had Windows. I heave a sigh.

I forget phone numbers, street addresses, area codes, zip codes, but I remember songs by John Denver, Glen Campbell, Lou Rawls, Charlie Rich, Charley Pride, and, most of all, Elvis. Maybe my heart, mind, and soul have been brainwashed and re-programmed with songs on the radio, in the long lonesome years.

I scrape the new red potatoes, slice some to fry, turn the burner down under the skillet of okra, make tea, chip ice, listen to the news (all bad today).

But then I hear the chug-chug of my dearly beloved's John Deere tractor coming down the road. I rush out, letting the screen-door slam behind me, then I run across the barnyard, take off the chain and hold the gate wide open.

Writer's Digest Poetry Awards Competition Closing Next Month
6th Annual Writer's Digest Poetry Awards Competition
Postmark Deadline: December 15

We're pleased to announce the only Writer's Digest competition exclusively for poets! Regardless of style—rhyming, free verse, haiku and more—if your poems are 32 lines or fewer, we want them all.

First Place: $500 and a trip to the Writer's Digest Conference in New York City
Second Place: $250
Third Place: $100
Fourth Through Tenth Place: $25
Eleventh Through Twenty-Fifth Place: $50 gift certificate for Writer's Digest Books.

The names and poem titles of the First through Tenth-Place winners will be printed in the August 2011 Writer's Digest, and afterwards their names will appear on All winners will receive the 2011 Poet's Market.

Click for more information and to enter online or by mail

Dream Quest One Closing Next Month
Dream Quest One Poetry and Writing Contest
Postmark Deadline: December 31
This writing contest is open to anyone who loves to express their innermost thoughts and feelings in poetry or to write a short story that's worth telling everyone! We're accepting poems, 30 lines or fewer on any subject, and short stories, 5 pages maximum on any theme (single- or double-line spacing). Multiple entries welcome.

Short Story First Prize: $500, 2nd: $250, 3rd: $100
Poetry First Prize: $250, 2nd: $125, 3rd: $50

Entry fees
$10 per story
$5 per poem

How to Enter
Send your work with a completed entry form and a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) for entry confirmation. Make your entry fee payable to "DREAMQUESTONE.COM" and mail to Dream Quest One, Poetry & Writing Contest, P.O. Box 3141, Chicago, IL 60654. Electronic entries accepted via PayPal. Visit for details and to enter.

Please enjoy this excerpt from "Emma Parks" by Paulette Stewart of South Canterbury, New Zealand, the winning story entry in our Summer 2010 contest:
"The day finished, his labour done, Henry Blackie sat alone in the dark in his flat. He was in a reflective mood, which was unusual for him. His mind was reflecting on women. He was used to the attraction to women. Henry was like bees to flowers to them. It was normal having women desiring, flirting with him except a strange, surprising occurrence happened when he met Ms. Emma Parks. The name rolled on his thick tongue like he was licking the tissue paper of a savored cigarette being rolled. No other woman impacted as much until now. It perplexed Henry. In his life beautiful women were plentiful, though this woman was not, neither was she pretty. You could not even use the word attractive or the word plain. The only correct word that was apt to describe her was ugly. Over the years, with all the dates, the relationships he had, none affected Henry as this woman today. There was a power she carried within, a power she was oblivious to; she fascinated him. He was pulled to her and he couldn’t pull himself away. The allure of this woman drove him to know her like no other..."

[click for the complete story]

Ellen LaForge Poetry Prize Closing Next Month
2011 Ellen LaForge Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: December 31, 2010
Submissions are now being accepted for the 2011 Ellen LaForge Poetry Prize. Established in 1983 as the Grolier Poetry Prize, the Ellen LaForge Poetry Prize is open to all poets who have not yet published a book of poetry, including small press, chapbook or trade book. The winner will be awarded $1,000 and a reading at the William Joiner Center's Writers' Workshop in June 2011. Up to six poems by the winner and four by each runner-up are chosen for publication in the award anthology. All applicants will receive a copy of the award anthology. We will announce the winners on March 31, 2011.

To enter, applicants must submit, in duplicate, a typed manuscript of up to six previously unpublished poems (publication includes self-publication, website or online publishing, podcast and broadcast). The manuscript can be no more than 12 double-spaced pages. Your name must not appear on the manuscript. Include two copies of a cover sheet with your name, mailing address, and contact information, including email address and poem titles. Secure separate packets with paper clips. Do not use staples! The entry fee is $10, payable to the Ellen LaForge Memorial Poetry Foundation. Mail your entry to:

     William Joiner Center
     Attn: Ellen LaForge Poetry Prize
     UMass Boston
     100 Morrissey Boulevard
     Boston, MA 02125-3393

For more information, please email or visit

Ellen LaForge, a long-term resident of New York City, wrote poetry throughout her life. She died without seeing any of it published. Her sister, Jeanne Henle of Ann Arbor, Michigan, established the non-profit foundation as a memorial to her and as a means to support the discovery, encouragement, and education of aspiring poets.

Past Winners and Runners-Up Include: Pam Bernard, Sophie Cabot Black, Lucie Brock-Broido, Mark Conway, Debora Greger, H.L. Hix, Lynda Hull, Rudy Kikel, P.H. Liotta, Timothy Liu, Robert Louthan, Fred Marchant, Linda McCarriston, Jean Monahan, Jennifer Rose, Kate Rushin, Janet Sylvester, and Natasha Trethewey.

Biogeography by Sandra Meek Closing Next Month
Tupelo Press Dorset Prize
Submission Period: September 1-December 31, 2010 (postmark dates)

The annual Dorset Prize, one of the most coveted poetry prizes in America, is an open competition for a poetry manuscript. It's open to poets with or without previous book publications. Submissions are accepted from anyone writing in the English language, whether living in the United States or abroad (translations are not eligible for this prize). The final judge for this year's contest is Lynn Emanuel.

The winner receives a prize of $3,000 and publication. All entries must be postmarked or submitted electronically between September 1 and December 31, 2010. To submit your manuscript electronically and to review the complete guidelines, please visit our website:

You may also send your manuscript via postal mail. Please include a $25 reading fee, payable to Tupelo Press, a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) for notification, as well as a self-addressed stamped postcard (SASP) if you would like acknowledgment that we received your manuscript. Manuscripts will not be returned. You may include an acknowledgments page listing previously published poems. Make sure that you include two cover pages. One with manuscript title, your name, address, phone number and email address. One with only manuscript title. Send your manuscript to:

     Tupelo Press
     Attn: Dorset Prize
     P.O. Box 1767
     North Adams, MA 01247

Here is a poem from Amaud Jamaul Johnson, who came to Tupelo through the Dorset Prize contest. This is from his book Red Summer (Tupelo Press, 2005).
Big City
by Amaud Jamaul Johnson

He promises a canary dress, white gloves,
says they'll eat chops, thick as her thighs,
that they'll order doubles of the "finest,"
see all the Big Names when they arrive.
But it's the thought of them dead:
half of what they own draped around them,
her head against his chest, his back slack
against the headboard, all their letters unopened,
bills not paid, long knocks, the notices tacked
outside their door. It's not knowing
whether some smell would introduce them
to their neighbors or a landlord wheeling
them out into the hallway; the highboy
he chipped on the drive up, the silver
she inherited from her mother, her hatboxes,
stacked high next to them like a wedding cake
waiting to be buried. He heard that "up there"
the wind had talons sharp enough to hook
a grown man beneath his collarbone and carry
him a full city block. He heard that you learned
the months by measuring the length of their shadows
and even summer was like a quality of night.

Ralph Nading Hill, Jr. Literary Prize

Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest sponsored by Oregon Quarterly
12th Annual Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest (no fee)
Postmark Deadline: January 15, 2011

Oregon Quarterly invites entries to the 2011 Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest in both student and open categories. Entries should address ideas that affect the Northwest. The Oregon Quarterly staff will select finalists and this year's contest judge, Debra Gwartney, will choose the top three winners in each category. Past judges have been Kim Stafford, Barry Lopez, John Daniel, Karen Karbo, Brian Doyle, Lauren Kessler, Craig Lesley, Molly Gloss, Kathleen Dean Moore, Kenny Moore, and Thomas Hager.
  • Prizes in the Open Category: $750, $300, $100
  • Prizes in the Student Category: $500, $200, $75
  • No entry fee required
  • First-place essay in the open category will appear in Oregon Quarterly
  • A selection of top essays will be featured in a public reading on the UO campus
  • Fifteen finalists (ten in the Open Category and five students) will be announced in the Summer 2011 issue of Oregon Quarterly
  • All finalists will be invited to participate in a writing workshop with the contest judge on the day of the reading
Entries should be nonfiction, should not have been previously published, and should be no more than 1,500 words in the Student Category and 2,000 words in the Open Category. The student contest is open to any student currently enrolled and pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree at a college or university. One entry per person. Find complete guidelines at (click on Essay Contest).

Please enjoy this excerpt from "Disappearing Act" by Jennifer Meyer. This essay won first place in the Open Category of the 2010 contest.
...With the diminishing of her brain function, however, her heart has come forward at last. One by one, the crustier layers have peeled away, and I've found the mother I'd always missed. She can't play Scrabble with me, or talk politics, or even ask about my family. But when she sees me, she opens her arms, and her eyes are full of love.

If Old Mom were here, watching over us, she'd be appalled. And maybe she'd rail for mercy. But New Mom is just fine for now, and I'm grateful for this second chance we have.

From that brilliant, brittle woman, a softer flower has bloomed. She strokes my arm with a speckled hand and murmurs, "I always meant to fly upside down."

"I know, Mom," I whisper back. "I love you, too."

When I touch her shoulder, instead of flinching, she leans in for a hug.

Click to view this and all the winning essays from our eleventh contest

On The Premises

On The Premises Short Story Contest (no fee)
Email Submission Deadline: January 29, 2011
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.

Every four months, On The Premises sponsors a short story contest. Entrants pay no fees, and winners receive cash prizes in addition to exposure through publication. Every contest challenges authors to write creative, compelling, and well-crafted stories based on a broad premise that the magazine's editors supply.

Prize money: $180 for 1st, $140 for 2nd, $100 for 3rd, and $40 for honorable mentions, all in US dollars. Usually, two or three honorable mentions are published.

The newest contest launched on November 7. In your story, one or more characters should try to answer an unusually difficult question of great importance to them. You can find details at To be informed when new contests are launched, subscribe to our free, short, monthly newsletter.

"On The Premises" is recognized in Duotrope, Writer's Market,, and other short story marketing resources.

The WB Yeats Society of New York Poetry Competition

The W.B. Yeats Society of New York Poetry Competition — Samuel Menashe, Judge
Postmark Deadline: February 1, 2011

Increased awards: First prize $500, second prize $250. Winners and honorable mentions receive 2-year memberships in the Yeats Society and are honored at an event in New York at Barnes & Noble Union Square about April 1. Competition is open to members and non-members of any age, from any locality. Entry fee $8 for first poem, $7 each additional.

Submit poems in English up to 60 lines, not previously published, on any subject. Each poem (judged separately) typed on an 8.5 x 11-inch sheet without author's name; attach 3x5 card with name, address, phone, email. Mail to:

     Poetry Competition WW
     WB Yeats Society of NY
     National Arts Club
     15 Gramercy Park South
     New York, NY 10003

Include a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to receive the judge's report (example). List of winners is posted on around March 31, along with information on the Yeats Summer School in Ireland, last week in July, first in August.

Authors retain all rights, but grant us the non-exclusive right to publish winning entries. These are the complete guidelines; 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, please visit or write to us at the address above.

Please enjoy "Hospice", which won first prize in our 1999 contest (Eamon Grennan, judge):
by Rhoda Janzen

A late breeze rustles the tarp;
the workers have gone home.
I am surprised every day
by how fast they work
walls up, windows in,
a shrubbery flourishing.

Inside, the rooms repeat
like nascent cells that cluster
and divide. The familiar tang
of sawdust screws into my nose,
pale odor of a construction
that levels as it builds.

Mornings when I leave
I'm sufficiently robust
to excite attention. Or
maybe it's boredom that clamps
the construction crew to me,
though I can hardly reconcile that

these same guys, whooping over
the usual curves, assembled
the stairway that races its fragile
beat of steps like hearts
time running out, completion nearing, project almost done.

As a kid I loved construction,
the happy promise of corrugated
tin stacked sociably along
the dry wall, the hortatory
bolts. But I no longer pass
the site without blocks

of panic, the first to dread
the courtesy of change. Rentfree,
soon the rooms will welcome
forfeiture, loss, our modern plagues,
guests on one elbow in narrow cots,
staring out the window, wondering

whose cat and is it loved?
Into the body's delicate closet
they shrink, stacking against
the door their souvenirs
of sadness, their piles
of mismatched vinyl suitcases.

Accenti Accenti Writing Contest 2010 – $1,000 Top Prize
Postmark Deadline: February 18, 2011

Accenti Magazine is pleased to announce the launch of the 6th Annual Accenti Writing Contest. First Prize is $1,000 and publication in Accenti. Second and third place winners receive $250 and $100 respectively. (All prizes stated in Canadian dollars.) Submissions welcome online and by mail. The Accenti Writing Contest is open to all writers, established and emerging, worldwide. For contest rules, please go to

Winning entries will be presented at the 6th Annual Accenti Awards during the 13th Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival, April 27 to May 1, 2011. Follow us on Facebook: Annual Accenti Magazine Writing Contest.

New this year, the contest is open to fiction and nonfiction on any topic. See past awards presentations on YouTube.

Founded in Montreal in 2003, Accenti Magazine celebrates Italian influences on North America's cultural and literary heritage and acts as a bridge between communities. For more information, please visit

Please enjoy this excerpt from "Just Visiting" by Loretta Di Vita, the winning entry in our 5th Writing Contest.
Young, ambitious, and armed with a respectable résumé—notwithstanding the smug confidence that comes from all of the aforementioned—I was about to embark on a defining leg of my career as a consultant for an aerospace company, which just happened to be located in the Eternal City. Whenever travelling before, I saw airports as nothing more than bland transit points. But now that opportunity had curled its beckoning finger and invited me to live in Rome, the airport became a holding place where my cultural identity see-sawed between two worlds.

My parents accompanied me for a proper arrivederci. They took turns patting me on the shoulder in dutiful support, but their body language seemed tempered by an undercurrent of melancholy. Having once succumbed to a wave of immigration that carried them from their motherland to the shores of another country, they surely thought of how home roots can be deceptively weak and easily yield to tugging influences....

Click for the complete essay

upstreet upstreet
Submission period: September 1-March 1
upstreet, an award-winning literary annual, seeks quality submissions—with an edge—of short fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, for its seventh issue. The first six issues featured interviews with Jim Shepard, Lydia Davis, Wally Lamb, Michael Martone, Robin Hemley, and Sue William Silverman. Payment: author copy. Distribution: Ingram, Source Interlink, Ubiquity, and Disticor (Canada). For sample content and to submit, see For news about upstreet and its authors, visit

From upstreet number six:
First Reader
by Judy Katz

I used to read to you from the stepstool
in your dressing room. You sat in ivory bra
and half-slip, your back to me,
putting on make-up. You wanted to hear
everything—book reports, essays, poems—
and while I read, I checked your small mirror
for clues. I could tell you were interested
if your eyes widened or you raised your brows
out of range. Once—I think it was a paper
on the Ancient Mariner—you sat back
in your chair, mascara wand in hand,
and just listened.

Years later, your vision gone,
neither of us could count on your eyes.
I'd walk into a room and find you
listening with your whole body. Now,
that too is gone. I still see the dressing room,
your face in the mirror. I still think of you
as my first reader. Only now you're part
of the silent, unseen audience. No eyes, no body...
now I have your full attention.

Anderbo Poetry Prize
2011 Anderbo Creative Nonfiction Prize
Postmark Deadline: June 15, 2011
  • Submit one entry, up to 1500 words
  • Winner receives $500 cash and publication on
  • Judged by Elizabeth Wurtzel, assisted by Emma Stockman
  • The creative nonfiction piece should be typed on 8 1/2" x 11" paper with the writer's name and contact information on the upper right corner of the first page, and the writer's name on every page
  • Writer must not have been previously published on
  • Mail submissions to:
         Anderbo Creative Nonfiction Prize
         270 Lafayette Street, Suite 1412
         New York, NY 10012
  • Enclose self-addressed stamped business envelope (SASE) to receive names of winner and honorable mentions
  • All entries are non-returnable and will be recycled
  • Reading fee is $10. Check or money order payable to RRofihe
  • See the complete guidelines at
Elizabeth Lee Wurtzel, an American writer and journalist, is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School. She published her groundbreaking memoir of depression, the cultural phenomenon Prozac Nation, at the tender age of 26. Already a cultural critic and literary light for The New Yorker and New York magazines, Elizabeth Wurtzel had only dared to dream when growing up of the rarefied world and success Prozac Nation opened to her. Yet, no success could staunch her continuous battle with depression. Following the success of Prozac Nation, Elizabeth Wurtzel published Bitch, and after a stint in rehab, released More, Now, Again about her battle with drugs and how she overcame her addictions. She has since published two other books, The Bitch Rules, and The Secret of Life: Commonsense Advice for the Uncommon Woman. Currently she practices law and writes regularly on pop culture for The Wall Street Journal.



These free prose contests with deadlines between November 16 and December 31 are included as a bonus in The Best Free Poetry Contests.

Click the contest names below to go straight to their profiles, or login to The Best Free Poetry Contests here. After you login, please click the Find Free Contests link, then search by Prose Contest Type to find prose contests.

11/19: Creative Loafing Fiction Contest +
Entries must be received by this date; formerly November 20
Neutral contest offers prizes up to $1,000 for short fiction by Georgia residents, 3,000 words maximum. Enter online or by mail. Entries must be received by 5 pm local time on the deadline date. No simultaneous submissions. For the 2010 deadline contest, stories must reference the theme, "X", in some fashion, even tangentially. Originality counts.

11/19: J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest sponsored by the Journalism School at Columbia University offers a $30,000 fellowship to aid in the completion of a significant work of nonfiction on a topic of American political or social concern. Applicants for the award must already have a contract with a publisher to write a nonfiction book. Applicants should send a copy of their original book proposal, a sample chapter from the book, a photocopy of a contract with a publisher, and an explanation of how the award will advance the progress of the book.

11/29: Orange Prize for Fiction +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest offers 30,000 pounds for full-length novels by women, first published or slated for publication in the UK between April 1 of the current year and March 31 of the following year. Both printed books and e-books are eligible if they have an ISBN. No fee, but publishers must contribute significantly toward the publicity budget for shortlisted books.

11/30: Betty Trask Prize +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest offers awards totaling 25,000 pounds for a published first novel of "a romantic or traditional nature", i.e. not experimental. Author must be a Commonwealth citizen. If published, the work must have been published in the UK in the deadline year or be due for publication in the subsequent year. Entrants must be under 35 as of December 3 of the deadline year. Winner must agree to use the prize money for foreign travel.

11/30: Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for Short Fiction +
Neutral free contest offers $400 for the best story accepted by The Caribbean Writer during this year. All eligible submissions to the magazine are also considered for the David Hough Literary Prize for an author residing in the Caribbean ($500), the Marguerite Cobb McKay Prize for a Virgin Islands author ($200), and the Charlotte & Isidor Paiewonsky Prize for first-time publication ($200). Send 1-2 stories, maximum 15 double-spaced pages each. The Caribbean should be central to the work, or the work should reflect a Caribbean heritage, experience or perspective. Email entries accepted.

11/30: Encore Award +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest from the UK-based Society of Authors offers 10,000 pounds for a second novel published during the current or preceding calendar year. Either the author must be a British or Commonwealth citizen, or the submitted book must have been first published in the UK. Submit 5 copies plus entry form. Offered in even-numbered years only.

11/30: Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition +++
Highly recommended free contest sponsored by St. Martin's Press, a major publishing house, offers $10,000 advance for a crime novel written by an author with no previously published books. Entries should be at least 220 double-spaced pages (60,000 words). Entrants must request an entry form by November 13 by sending a SASE to the publisher's regular address. Entries must be postmarked by November 30 and received by December 15.

12/1: Langum Project for Historical Literature Fiction Prize +
Neutral free contest offers $1,000 for the best historical novel published by a commercial trade publisher, small press, or university press during the current calendar year. Publishers or authors should submit 3 copies of book. See website or email David J. Langum, Sr. for details.

12/1: Schneider Family Book Award +++
Highly recommended free contest for published books of children's literature offers $5,000 in each of three categories: books for ages 0-10, 11-13, and 13-18. These awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. Book must have been published during the past three years. Administered by the American Library Association, sponsored by Katherine Schneider.

12/1: W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction +++
Highly recommended free contest offers $5,000 for the best published book of fiction set in a period when the United States was at war. Both young adult and adult fiction are eligible. Book must have been published in the calendar year prior to the award. For example, books published in 2010 are eligible for the 2011 award, which has a December 1, 2010 deadline. Either publisher or author should submit 7 copies of the published book and application form. Administered by the American Library Association; sponsored by William Young Boyd II.

12/6: Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics +++
Formerly January 8
Highly recommended free contest for US college students offers top prize of $5,000, other large prizes, for essays about ethical issues and the place of ethics in human life. Entries should be 3,000-4,000 words. See website for specific themes. Entrants must be registered undergraduate full-time juniors or seniors at accredited four-year colleges in the US during the fall semester in which the deadline occurs.

12/15: Bastiat Essay Award +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest from libertarian think tank The Foundation for Economic Education offers top prize of $650 for essays by high school students (including homeschooled), 2,000-3,000 words, on the theme of French free-market economist Frederic Bastiat's The Law.

12/15: LILITH Magazine Fiction Competition +
Formerly November 1
Neutral free contest offers $250 for unpublished stories touching on the experience of Jewish women. Send one story, maximum 3,000 words (shorter stories preferred). Sponsored by LILITH, a Jewish feminist magazine. Contest is open to both men and women.

12/17: Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Awards ++
Entries must be received by this date; formerly December 18
Recommended free contest offers three prizes of $500 for books of fiction and nonfiction (creative or scholarly) written by an African-American and published in the US during the current year. There is one award for adult fiction, one for nonfiction and one for a first novel. The awards honor books that depict the "cultural, historical, or sociopolitical aspects of the African Diaspora". Must be nominated by publisher.

12/31: Culture of Enterprise Student Essay Contest ++
Recommended free contest for undergraduates offers prizes up to $10,000 and web publication for essays, 2,500-3,000 words, on the topic: "Can Character and Communities Survive in an Age of Globalization?" Sponsor is a libertarian think tank funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

12/31: Desert Writers Award +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest offers annual fellowship of $2,000 for writers of literary or creative nonfiction to spend time writing in and about the desert landscape. Send 10-page writing sample, project description and biographical statement. Enter by email only. Finalists may be interviewed.

12/31: Eric Hoffer Award for Short Prose +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest from Hopewell Publications offers $500 and anthology publication for unpublished short fiction or essays (both genres compete together) up to 10,000 words. Enter online only. No simultaneous submissions. Deadlines are quarterly, but there is only one annual prize. You can enter one story per quarter.

12/31: French-American Foundation Translation Prizes +++
Entries must be received by this date
Highly recommended free contest offers prizes of $10,000 apiece for the best published book-length translations of French fiction and creative nonfiction into English. Entries must have been published in the US during the current calendar year. (Bound galleys are accepted for books scheduled for publication by December 31.) Publishers should submit the translated book along with the French original and a cover letter with information about the book and its author.

12/31: Girls Gone Great Scholarship Essay Contest ++
Entries must be received by this date
Recommended free contest offers $2,000 college scholarship for Maryland high school junior and senior girls for essays, 800 words maximum, on how they are making a difference in their community. Entries should include a reference from an adult who is not a family member. Sponsor is a women's radio show in Baltimore. Enter by email.

12/31: Japan Center-Canon Essay Competition +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest for high school and college students in the New York Metropolitan area offers scholarships up to $2,000 for essays, maximum 750 words, on the spirit of Japan. Enter online only. Entrants must be 13 years old or older and enrolled in high schools or undergraduate programs in the New York Metropolitan area during the current school year. Entrants must be US citizens or legal permanent residents of the US except void in Maine and wherever prohibited by law.

12/31: L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest +++
Highly recommended free contest for emerging writers of short science fiction, fantasy and horror offers quarterly prizes of $1,000 plus an annual $5,000 grand prize for one of the four winners. Send only one story per quarter, maximum 17,000 words. See website for eligibility rules. Entrants may not have professionally published a novel or short novel, or more than one novelette, or more than three short stories, in any medium.

12/31: Living Under Fire Short Story Competition +
Entries must be received by this date
Neutral free contest offers 100 pounds and online publication for a short story, up to 1,000 words, about life in a war zone. Contest sponsor London-based Holland Park Press Ltd. publishes literary fiction and poetry and places special emphasis on bringing the work of Dutch authors to the English-language market. Enter by email only. Launched in conjunction with the release of Arnold Jansen op de Haar's King of Tuzla, a novel of the Bosnian war, this will be a one-time contest for 2010.

12/31: Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction +++
Highly recommended free contest offers $5,000 for the best novel about the Civil War published during the current calendar year. Publishers, critics or authors should send 4 copies of the book to the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College.

12/31: Micro Award +
Neutral free contest offers $500 for the best short story up to 1,000 words that was published or self-published, in print or online, during the current calendar year. Enter by mail or email. Mailed submissions must be postmarked from October 1 to December 31, and received by January 15. Emailed submissions must be sent between October 1-December 31.

12/31: RTE Radio 1 Short Story Competition ++
Entries must be received by this date; formerly October 26
Recommended free contest for authors born or normally resident in Ireland offers top prize of 3,000 euros for unpublished short fiction of 1,800-2,000 words that is suitable for radio performance. One entry per person.

12/31: Seventeen Magazine Fiction Contest ++
Recommended free contest for short fiction by US and Canadian teenage girls (ages 13-21) offers top prize of $5,000 and publication in Seventeen Magazine for a short story up to 500 words. Enter by mail or online. Entries must be postmarked by December 31 and received by January 7. 2011 judges (2010 deadline) are Seventeen editors and novelist Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games.

12/31: Take Five Writing Contest ++
Recommended free contest for students in grades 5-12 offers 4 prizes of $100 plus publication in an electronic issue of Read Magazine. Send one unpublished story or essay of 500 words maximum, inspired by 5 of the photos on their website, plus entry form.

12/31: TCU Texas Book Award ++
Recommended free contest offers $5,000 for the best book of fiction, nonfiction, art or photography about Texas, which was published in the past two years. All genres compete together. Offered in even-numbered years only. Author, publisher or agent should send 3 copies of the book. Winner must give speech at awards banquet in Fort Worth in the spring.

Login to The Best Free Poetry Contests now to view these and all our profiles of free contests.

Key to Ratings
Highly Recommended: +++
Recommended: ++
Neutral: +

All deadlines are postmark deadlines unless otherwise specified.



Animal Companions Anthology
Postmark Deadline: November 30 (extended from October 15)
To mark its 150th anniversary in 2012, the Ontario Veterinary College is producing Animal Companions, Animal Doctors, Animal People, a collection of poems, stories, essays and personal remembrances about the myriad ways companion animals enrich our lives and our imaginations, as well as about the veterinary professionals who sustain and are part of our life-long relationships with our animals, to be published in 2012 by Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Canada. The book will be distributed annually to graduating veterinary students in Ontario and be available to veterinarians, animal lovers, universities, and the general public across North America at cost. Entries in all genres should be a maximum of 3 double-spaced pages or 750 words. Fee is C$20 per entry for Canadian entries, US$25 for American entries, and US$30 for entries from Mexico and outside North America. All submitters will receive one copy of the book; people whose work is selected will receive 3 copies.

Off the Coast
Postmark Deadline: December 15
Off the Coast, a literary journal based in Maine, seeks submissions of poetry and artwork on any theme for their winter issue. Send 1-3 unpublished poems, or 3-6 images in JPG format, by mail or email. See website for formatting guidelines.

Women Writing on Family
Entries must be received by December 15
The Key Publishing House Inc., a Toronto-based publisher of academic and non-academic books, seeks submissions for an anthology about writing and publishing by women with experience in writing and publishing about family. Possible subjects: using life experience; networking; unique issues women must overcome; formal education; queries and proposals; conference participation; self-publishing; teaching tips. Tips on writing about family: creative nonfiction, poetry, short stories, nonfiction, novels. Practical, concise, how-to articles with bullets/headings have proven the most helpful to readers. Please avoid writing too much about "me" and concentrate on what will help the reader. No previously published, co-written, or simultaneously submitted material. Please send 2-3 possible topics you would like to contribute, each described in a few sentences, and a 65-75 word bio written in the third person. Please send in a .doc Word file by December 15, 2010 using FAMILY/Your Name on the subject line to Co-Editor Carol Smallwood. You'll receive a Go-Ahead and guidelines if your topics haven't been taken. Contributors will be asked to contribute a total of 1,900-2,100 words. Those included in the anthology will receive a complimentary copy as compensation.

10 Minute Play Competition and Festival
Entries must be received by May 20, 2011
Weathervane Playhouse in Akron, OH seeks submissions of short plays for their 10 Minute Play Festival in July. Plays must be no more than a 10 minute/page maximum and must utilize no more than 2 men and 2 women. All genres, except musicals and children's plays, will be accepted. Technical/staging requirements must be simple. A prop from the Weathervane storehouse (see website) will provide the inspiration for the play and must be featured within it, although how it is used is at the discretion of the playwright. Winners will be awarded prizes: First Prize $150; Runner Up $100; Audience Favorite $75. There is an administrative fee of $15 per playwright. Playwrights may submit a maximum of 2 entries. Playwrights must be US citizens and at least 18 years old. Enter by email only. Visit their website for complete instructions.



Star Route
by George Longenecker

She lived on the Star Route by Bliss Pond in Adamant,
Let me kiss you, she said.
I missed my turn and drove all the way down to Sodom Pond
(there is no Gomorrah; Adamant is only half bad).
Somewhere between Bliss Pond and Orion,
I turned around and followed the right star home.
Star Route, Rural Delivery—
November stars flamed between black branches
and kissed me
Oh, I would let her kiss me,
the woman living on Bliss Pond Road,
the woman with the mailbox on the Star Route.

She would leave the Star Route and come home with me—
some nights we still spread our wings
and fly west past Orion
wings tip to tip, Libra to Pisces,
along the Star Route, up over Bliss Pond.
Blue star dust sparks in her eyes,
Let me kiss you, she says,
and we swoop so low over Bliss Pond
that our feathers touch stars in the water.

Copyright 2010 by George Longenecker

This poem was first published in the Atlanta Review.


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Link Between Parents' Literacy and Children's Success No Surprise to ProLiteracy
Says Increased Investment in Adult Literacy Will Increase Children's School Readiness

ProLiteracy, the world's largest organization of adult literacy and basic education programs, welcomed new research findings announced this week by the National Institutes of Health about the relationship between a mother's reading skills and the academic success of her children.

According to David C. Harvey, ProLiteracy's president and CEO, these findings provide new evidence in support of ProLiteracy's longstanding position that an increased investment in adult literacy will improve school readiness and academic achievement of children in the early grades.

"ProLiteracy has said for years that parents and caregivers are their children's first teachers. If mom or dad has poor reading skills, it's less likely they will have books in the home or read to their children, which are important steps in getting a child ready to learn to read," Harvey said. "It's great to have some new academic research that supports this position."

Based on data collected for the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey, an ongoing examination of families in 65 Los Angeles County communities, researchers found that a mother's literacy skill has the greatest impact on her child's future academic success, more so than even the type of neighborhood in which the child is raised or the family's income. It concludes that programs designed to help low income children be successful in school may be more effective if they also offer adult literacy services to the parents. The study appears in the latest issue of the science journal, Demography.

"Federal, state, and local governments spend billions every year trying to help children become better readers, but they spend only enough to provide adult literacy instruction for roughly three million people," said Jeff Carter, ProLiteracy's director of policy and government affairs. "This study shows that ProLiteracy is right on target when we tell legislators and policy-makers that spending more money on adult literacy is a sound investment in both the present and the future, because it helps adults right now while laying the foundation for the future success of their children."

ProLiteracy WorldwideProLiteracy supports adults and young people in the U.S. and internationally who are learning to read, write, and do basic math by training instructors, publishing instructional materials, and advocating for resources and public policies that support them.

Support ProLiteracy's vital mission. Click here to learn more. Click to contribute.

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This month, Critique Corner is pleased to present "Lost" by Maggi Roark.

If you would like a chance to be critiqued, please email your poem to Send the poem in the body of your email message (no attachments) and put "poetry critique" in the subject line. One submission per poet per month. Thanks!

by Maggi Roark

I take your hand
which has at times enfolded mine,
with fingers certain of their strength and power

I search your face
so familiar as you turn to me,
each line etched upon my heart
by our countless years as one

Your eyes seek mine
yet gone from them is the heat,
the blazing force of passion
now cooled by drifting clouds of fear

Your mind, once compelled to dwell in
fierce logic and complexity,
has lost its way in the fog of disease
leaving you forgetful of even simple tasks

I loved you then; I love you now
yet my heart aches with the memory of the man I knew
as I live with the man who remains

Copyright 2010 by Maggi Roark

Critique by Tracy Koretsky

The difficulty in writing about illness, whether our own or that of someone we love, is that the emotions are so very strong. We long to express their full magnitude but have only feeble words to work with. Poetry presents itself as a way to empower, even venerate, these words, yet poetry requires form—some sort of containment. While this may seem oppressively restrictive in the heat of our urge to communicate, it can—in fact, must—become an asset if we are to write a successful poem. Containing our feelings pressurizes them, and it is this threat of explosion that moves the reader.

In last month's Critique Corner, we compared two poems that wrapped their narrator's experiences in metaphors, much as bitter medicines are wrapped in pill casings. By doing so, they enable the reader to swallow them, and so, feel their effects. This month, for contrast, we will look at another, very different, poem: "Lost" by Maggi Roark of San Diego, California, who told me in her letter that she originally turned to poetry while deep in grief. With "Lost" Roark has been less gentle than last month's poets, forcing the reader to look directly at what she herself is seeing...

Click to continue reading this critique

These poems and our critique appear in full at:

See all of our poetry critiques.


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Our Winter 2010 selection of winning poems from contests we admire

Winners Announced for the Seventh Annual Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse
Ninth Annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest Opens
The Best Free Poetry Contests for December 16-January 31