10 Free Writing Contests With Cash Prizes (No Entry Fee)

1.                  The 7th Annual Spirit First Poetry Contest is open for submissions of poems that relate to meditation or mindfulness. Poets may submit up to three unpublished poems. The first place winner will receive $200; second place will receive $150; and third place will receive $100.Deadline is February 29. To learn more, read the contest guidelines.

2.                  The Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Awardwelcomes African American poets to submit a book-length manuscript for consideration. Books should be approximately 60 to 90 pages. Broadside Lotus Press will declare a winner who will receive $500 and publication by the press in early 2017.Deadline: March 1. Submissions must be sent via postal mail. To learn more, read the award guidelines.

3.                  The Lindquist &Vennum Prize for Poetry is currently open for submissions. Poets can submit a book-length manuscript, but there is no page requirement. The winner will receive $10,000 and publication by Milkweed Editions.Deadline is March 1. To learn more, read the prize submission guidelines.

4.                  North Carolina State University is holding its Annual NC State Poetry Contest. North Carolina-based poets may submit three poems of any genre and any length. The grand prize winner will receive $500, and the best NCSU undergraduate entry will receive $100.Deadline is March 1. To learn more, read the contest guidelines.

5.                  Lake Forest College and &NOW Books are currently hosting the Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize. Fiction writers under forty may apply for the prize, which includes $10,000 and a three-week residency at the college.Deadline is March 1, and only the first 200 applicants will be considered! Apply for this one right now if you’re interested. To learn more, read the prize guidelines.

6.                  The Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award is currently accepting nominations. Indiana-born or Indiana-based Authors may nominate themselves or be nominated. There are several award categories, and the prizes include cash awards and grants for the winning authors’ hometown Indiana public libraries. The cash awards range from $6,000 to $10,000.Deadline for nominations is March 18. To learn more, read the award guidelines.

7.                  America Magazine, the National Catholic Review, is holding its 2016 Foley Poetry Contest. Poets may submit one unpublished poem for consideration. While the poem must be 30 lines or fewer, there is no restriction on genre. The grand prize winner will receive $1,000 and publication in America. Deadline is March 31. To learn more, read the contest guidelines.

8.                  Winning Writers is currently hosting it Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. Poets can submit one humorous poem for consideration. The first place winner will receive $1,000; second place will receive $250; and 10 honorable mentions will receive $100 each. All winners will be published online. Deadline (appropriately) is April 1. To learn more, read the contest guidelines

9.                  Blue Mountain Arts is hosting its 28th Biannual Poetry Card Contest. Writers can submit poems that focus on a special occasion or person. There is no limit to how many poems a writer can submit. The first place winner will receive $300; second place will receive $150; and third place will receive $50. The winning poems will also be published online.Deadline is June 30. To learn more, read the contest guidelines.

10.              The Griffin Poetry Prize welcomes poets and translators to submit their work. Two prizes will be awarded. The Canadian Prize will go to a Canadian poet or translator who has published or translated a work. The International Prize will go to a poet or translator from any part of the world. Each prize winner will receive $65,000 CAD. In addition, shortlisted poets will receive $10,000 each.Deadline is June 30 with a second deadline of December 31. To learn more, read the prize guidelines.

Magazines that pay $250 or more for articles

1. True West Magazine is a monthly print magazine that covers the “the history of the American frontier through authentic and provocative literary nonfiction and heritage travel narratives that keep the spirit of the West alive.” They pay $0.25 cents per word. Features are 1,500 words. Short features are 450 words. Snapshots are 200 words or less. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.

2.  Mountain Life Media publishes several magazines that cover outdoor sports related to mountains. Mountain Life Coast Mountains covers British Columbia’s coastal mountain rage.  Mountain Life Ontario covers the Georgian bay region of Ontario, particularly Blue Mountain. They pay 30 cents per word for published pieces. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.

3.  The Washington Monthly is a bimonthly magazine covering politics, government, culture and the media. They investigative and opinion based feature articles, short news items, humor, and book reviews. Features ranges from 2,000 to 5,000 words. Pay is 10 cents per word. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.

4. Alternatives Journal is “Canada’s Environmental Voice.” They cover environmental issues with “ecological, social and economic dimensions.” They pay 10 cents a word, up to 4,000 words. To learn more, red their submission guidelines.

5. Verge Magazine is for “people who travel with purpose.” They are a travel magazine for people interested in volunteering, working, and studying overseas.  They pay 10 cents (CAD) per word. Department articles are typically 800 words. Features are 2,000 to 2,500 words. To learn more, read their submission guidelines.

San Francisco Writers Conference

When: February 15-18, 2018

Where: San Francisco, CA

This four day event encompasses 100+ sessions, varying from the business side of writing to the creative side. The conference also focuses heavily on networking, including Speed Dating for Agents, and includes a gala, as well as Open Mic readings. According to their website, San Francisco Writers Conference focuses heavily on professionalism.

Find more information on the San Francisco Writers Conference here.

Literary Awards and Grants

Academy Fellowship
The Academy of American Poets awards these fellowships to American poets for distinguished poetic achievement. Fellows are elected by majority vote of the Academy's Board of Chancellors. The Fellowship is now awarded to one poet each year, and carries with it a stipend of $25,000.

Bakeless Fiction Prize
Annual book series competition for new authors of literary works in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. Prize is publication by Graywolf Press and a fellowship to attend the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

Best American Fantasy Stories
Literary journals, magazines, anthologies, and other venues based in North America are encouraged to submit their publications to Best American Fantasy so that the content can be considered in this anthology.

Best American Short Stories
Annual anthology of short stories collected from literary magazines from the current year.

Carter Prize for the Essay
A $1,000 prize for essays published in Shenandoah, sponsored by Shenandoah and Washington and Lee University.

Clifton Fadiman Medal
This award, with a cash prize of $5,000, was established in 2000 to recognize a work of fiction by a living American author that deserves rediscovery and a wider readership. A recognized writer chooses a worthy book published at least ten years ago.

Derringer Prize
The Short Mystery Fiction Society’s annual award honoring excellence in Short Mystery Fiction.

Edgar Allen Poe Award
Prize given by the Mystery Writers of America.

Ezra Jack Keats Award
Established in 1985 to recognize and encourage authors and illustrators new to the field of children's books. Given annually to an outstanding new writer of picture books for children. Prize is $1,000.

Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction
Sponsored by the University of Georgia Press. Authors of winning manuscripts receive a cash award of $1,000, and their collections are published by The Press.

Fred Bonnie Award
River City Publishing's award for first novels. The winning manuscript is published, and the author receives a certificate of award and a $1,500 advance against royalties.

Georgia Author of the Year Award
Affiliated with Kennesaw State University, recognition by the Georgia Writer's Association, since 1964.

Griffin International Poetry Prize
This prize is for the best collection of poetry in English published during the preceding year. One prize goes to a living Canadian poet or translator, the other to a living poet or translator from any country, which may include Canada. Prize is $50,000.

Guggenheim Fellowship
Grants for a minimum of six months and a maximum of twelve months. The average amount of a Fellowship grant in 2007 was approximately $40,211. The purpose is to help provide Fellows with blocks of time in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible. No special conditions attach to them, and Fellows may spend their grant funds in any manner they deem necessary to their work.

Hackney Literary Award
Open to writers nationwide; awards are presented each year as part of the Birmingham-Southern College Writing Today Conference. Awards $5,000 in annual prizes for novels, poetry and short fiction.

Hugo Award
Given annually since 1955; science fiction’s most prestigious award.

James Laughlin Award
Given to recognize and support a poet's second book. It is the only second-book award for poetry in the United States. The winning poet receives a cash prize of $5,000.

Jefferson Press Prize
Recognizes a novel or collection of short stories of outstanding merit. Prize is $5,000 and a contract from Jefferson Press to publish the winning manuscript.

Jeffrey E. Smith Editor's Choice Prize
Awards $3,000 in the categories of fiction, poetry and essay. Sponsored by the Missouri Review.

John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize
"Created by the Mercantile Center for Fiction, in recognition of John Sargent Sr., President and CEO of Doubleday and Company for many years."

Journey Prize
The $10,000 Journey Prize, now known as The Writers' Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize, is awarded annually to a new and developing writer for a short story published in a Canadian literary publication. The winner of the Journey Prize is selected from among the stories that appear in the current volume of The Journey Prize Stories.

Kingsley Tufts Award
"Presented annually for a work by an emerging poet, one who is past the very beginning but has not yet reached the acknowledged pinnacle of his or her career. In 2007, the purse was $100,000."

Landon Translation Award
This $1,000 award recognizes a published translation of poetry from any language into English.

Lenore Marshall Prize
Established in 1975, this $25,000 award recognizes the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States in the previous year.

Lidano Fiction Award
Given out annually to the writer of the New York Tyrant's choosing. The recipient will be invited for a weeklong stay at the Tyrant's villa an hour south of Rome.

Motherwell Prize
For a first or second full-length collection of poems by a woman writing in English. Prize is $5,000 and publication by Fence Books.

National Book Award
Presented by the National Book Foundation, awards are granted in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature. The winner in each category receives $10,000.

National Book Critics Circle Award
Awards books in six categories: Fiction, General Nonfiction, Biography, Autobiography, Poetry and Criticism.

National Endowment for the Arts Grant
Creative Writing Fellowships enable recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement: $25,000. Translation Projects enable recipients to translate work from other languages into English: $12,500.

Nebula Award
Administered, voted and presented by the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) to acknowledge excellence in science fiction writing.

New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award
The New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award is a $10,000 prize awarded each spring to a writer age 35 or younger for a novel or a collection of short stories.

PEN American Center Awards for Fiction
Seven separate awards for different categories in fiction, from first-time fiction to children's fiction. PEN also has awards for nonfiction, poetry, drama and publishing/editing.

A national prize that honors the best published works of fiction by American citizens in a calendar year. There are no
entry fees or application forms.

Plimpton Prize
Prizes are awarded annually by the editors of The Paris Review; $10,000 is awarded to the best work of fiction published in The Paris Review in a given year by an emerging or previously unpublished writer.

Poetry Society of America
Four renowned poets will each choose a winning chapbook manuscript for publication and distribution by the Poetry Society of America. Winners will receive $1,000.

Priz Aurora
Given out annually for the best Canadian science fiction and fantasy literary works.

Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Award
"This award recognizes outstanding translations into English of modern Italian poetry through a $5,000 book prize and a $25,000 fellowship, given in alternating years. The fellowship is given to enable an American translator to travel, study, or otherwise advance a significant work-in-progress. The winner of the fellowship also receives a residency at the American Academy in Rome."

Red Hen Press Poetry Award
The press hosts the Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award with a prize of $3,000 and publication.

Shenandoah/Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers
"Contest alternates between poetry collections and short fiction. Prize of $2,500 awarded annually by Shenandoah and Washington and Lee University. The prize includes publication of new work in Shenandoah."

Slope Editions Book Prize
"Prize of $1,000 plus book publication by Slopes Editions, a publisher of fine small press books since 2002."

Society of Midland Authors
The Society presents awards of cash and recognition plaques to winners in the categories of adult fiction and nonfiction, biography, poetry, and children's fiction and nonfiction published in the previous year. The juried competition is open to authors and poets who reside in, were born in, or have strong ties to the twelve-state Midwestern Heartland.

The Story Prize
An annual book award for short story collections written in English and published in the U.S. during a calendar year. Awards $20,000 cash prize.

Million Writers Award
The purpose is to honor and promote the best fiction published in online literary journals and magazines during the year. The prize is $300.

T.S. Elliot Prize
An annual award for the best unpublished book-length collection of poetry in English. Truman State University Press offers $2,000 and publication of the winning collection.

The American Poetry Review Honickman First Book Award
Offers publication of a book of poems, a $3,000 award, and distribution by Copper Canyon Press.

The Annual Charles Angoff Awards
"A cash award, named in honor of The Literary Review's editor from 1957-1976. Awarded twice a year for poetry, essay and fiction."

University of Arkansas Press Poetry Series
Publication and receipt of the $5,000 Miller Williams Poetry Prize. Winner also gives a featured reading at the Arkansas Festival of Writers.

Wallace Stevens Award
Given annually by the American Poetry Society to recognize outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry. Established in 1994, the award now carries a stipend of $100,000 for the recipient.

Walt Whitman Award - First Book Prize
The Walt Whitman Award brings first-book publication, a cash prize of $5,000, and a one-month residency at the Vermont Studio Center to an American who has never before published a book of poetry.

William Arrowsmith Translation Award
This $1,000 award recognizes a published translation of poetry from any language into English. Books must be published in a standard edition (40 pages or more and 500 or more copies), and must consist primarily of poetry.