I usually have to force myself to submit to contests, but a few of the times I have, great things have happened. Part of the dread of course stems from needing something to submit. But the other part is all the legwork to figure out what contests apply to your genre, what the deadlines and submission guidelines are, etc. Here’s a list of eight nine upcoming contests for memoir/creative nonfiction. There, I did the work for you … all that’s left is to apply. Hurry! Some of these deadlines are, like, any day now. (You know you would have waited til the last minute anyway.)
Feb. 21: Pacific Northwest Writers Association. WRITERS WANTED: Submit to any of 12 categories for PNWA’s Literary Contest. Finalists are judged by an agent/editor to determine the top 2 in each category. $700 first place; $300 second place. Entries ($35/PNWA members, $50/nonmembers per category) must be received by February 21. Visit www.pnwa.org or call (425) 673-BOOK.
Feb. 28: Association of Writers and Writing Programs. Book-length submissions: https://www.awpwriter.org/contests/awp_award_series_overview
March 15: Bellingham Review announces its annual literary contests: Annie Dillard Nonfiction. $1,000 first-place prizes and publication for winners; runners-up considered for publication. Online submissions only. Complete guidelines at: www.bhreview.org. http://www.bhreview.org/2014-contest-submissions-guidelines/ https://bhreview.submittable.com/submit/661 Annie Dillard essay/creative nonfiction contest. 6000 words.
March 15: Cutbank’s Montana Prize in Creative NF: http://www.cutbankonline.org/submit/contests/ By March 15.
March 15: Gulf Coast Magazine. Prize in Nonfiction: https://gulfcoastmag.org/index.php?n=7 essay up to 25 pages.
March 31: Vela magazine. 6,500 words, nonfiction, for women writers. NO FEE! We’re looking for creative nonfiction, written by women, with a strong voice, a compelling narrative, and/or a powerful driving question. We’re interested in a wide range of essays and stories, including literary journalism, personal essays, memoir, and expository or experimental essays. We are not a “women’s magazine,” and are not looking for work that is written solely for a female audience.
April 30: TOM HOWARD/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest. 22nd year. Prize for best short story: $1,000. Prize for best essay: $1,000. Total prizes: $3,000. Winning entries published online. Fee: $16. Limit: 6,000 words. Both published and unpublished work accepted. Judge: Arthur Powers. Sponsored by Winning Writers, one of the “101 Best Websites for Writers” (Writer’s Digest, 2005–2013). Guidelines and online submission at www.winningwriters.com/tomstory.
June 17: New Millennium Awards’ contest. Best poetry $1,000; fiction $1,000; nonfiction $1,000; short-short fiction $1,000. All submitters receive our 2015 anthology. All winners are published in our anthology and online. We have launched careers! Visit www.newmillenniumwritings.com. “Fiction, poetry and nonfiction that will feed your soul.”