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Real Simple Essay Contest Results

Real Simple asked, What was the most important day of your life? And more than 5,000 of you answered. Deputy Editor Noelle Howey spoke to winner Aldra Robinson of Long Beach, California, about her moving and unforgettable essay, which can be found at the end of the interview.

RS: How did you get the idea for this essay? Did you know you always wanted to write about this experience? That is, working in a hospital and witnessing tragedy as well as everyday acts of courage.
Aldra Robinson: I was watching a medical drama on TV, and the storyline reminded me of my time working in an intensive care unit. There are so many stories I could tell, but my memory always returns to one family. I turned off the TV and grabbed Real Simple. The first page it opened to noted the essay contest. It was a coincidence that, in hindsight, doesn’t seem like much of a coincidence.

It’s been almost 10 years [since the events that take place in the essay], and I’m still in awe of how that family was able to handle something so horrific with such grace. Whenever I start to feel stressed by some self-created drama or work deadline, I think of that family and remind myself that nothing going on in my world is anything close to tragic, and even in the face of truly difficult circumstances, I can choose how I will respond. I thought it was a lesson worth sharing, and even if it wasn’t chosen, it might do some good to write it.

RS: This essay can be tough to read, given its somber subject matter. Was it equally challenging to write?
AR: I hesitate to say that it was. Obviously, writing about it is nothing compared to living it. Most of my writing is humorous―or it tries to be, anyway―so writing about something that couldn’t be turned into a big joke was intimidating. When I worked in the hospital, at the end of my shift I would sometimes take the stairs instead of the elevator because I didn’t want anyone to see me crying. Writing the essay and sending it to strangers to read was akin to letting the world witness the tears. Oddly enough, it was rather freeing.

More than anything, I wanted to be respectful of the family. It’s easy to become overly sentimental when writing about something so tragic, and I didn’t want to turn their story into some cheesy after-school special or a sermon about the importance of organ donation. I just wanted to lift the family up and show the world how unbelievably powerful love is.

RS: What is your writing process like?
AR: If being neurotic and unrelentingly critical could be considered a process, that would be the one I’d claim. I write grants for a living, so in my nine-to-five universe, I use an outline. But when writing creatively (my internal censor says, “You write creatively?”), I work best when I get out of my way, ignore the incessant inner critic, and just let the words fly. I’m prone to working in spurts because I’m a procrastinator, but when it’s a topic I love, I can lose myself. I edit best after a piece is written, because I would never get anything done if I edited as I wrote. I consider a piece finished when I’ve edited it to the point where I think it is horribly written and should never see the light of day. Then I send it on its way. At some point, surrender is the only option. (I did say neurotic, didn’t I?)

RS: What book are you reading right now?
AR: It’s never just one! I’m currently reading The Green Collar Economy, by Van Jones, and Sleepyhead Assassins, by Mindy Nettifee, and I’m rereading The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver, and Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes. I think this is the fourth time I’ve read Under the Tuscan Sun. I want to be Frances Mayes when I grow up!

RS: Do you have any future writing plans you’d like to share?
AR: I’m working on turning my blog, Consciously Frugal (consciouslyfrugal.blogspot.com), into a book proposal about green, frugal living (wish me luck). I am also building a website called the Martyr’s Manual (martyrsmanual.com). The website is basically a tongue-in-cheek guide on how to be a do-gooder. I’ve worked in the nonprofit industry all my life, have been a green consumer long before it was trendy, and was essentially programmed to save the world by my strange and fabulous parents. Obviously I haven’t succeeded yet. But I have gained some really handy tips on how to live well on less and shop in a way that supports communities, and I carry some strong opinions about the importance of letting our little lights shine. Like a gazillion other crazy souls out there, I hope to find an agent and a publisher who share my passion for all things do-gooder and let me ramble on for pages and pages. Who knows? I’d like to hope that anything is possible.

The Essay

It wasn’t the jolt of panic that shot through my spine, exploding into my chest when they wheeled her through the front door. It wasn’t the crushing fear etched on her parents’ faces as they waited, helpless. It wasn’t any moment during her week in the intensive care unit. It happened more than a year later, as I reached for a cup of coffee in the break room and saw a small newspaper clipping tacked inside a brief, handwritten note. It was then that I first understood the true nature of grace.

Lord knows it wasn’t the first time a heartbreakingly tragic tale had taken root in one of the rooms of the intensive care unit in which I spent most of my college years as a unit secretary, chasing after nurses, trying to be of some use. I thought I wouldn’t survive the first few weeks, as families sobbed next to beds filled with silent loved ones breathing with the help of machines. Even several years later, as I look back at my life in Columbia, Missouri, through my window in California, realizing that I gained enough weight while working in the ICU to equal another human being, I wonder how I managed to get through one day. I still feel a sense of awe remembering the nurses who walked those halls for years. It takes a hell of a lot of heart to handle death and disease as a routine part of the job.

She was 15 years old when a vessel ruptured in her head. There were no warning signs. No one could have predicted it or stopped it from happening. She was on a school field trip when it hit, learning about the brilliant blanket of wildflowers the Ozarks shower across the landscape each spring. One minute she was standing, laughing with her friends. The next she was on the ground, unresponsive.

We didn’t get many kids in the unit. Older patients with strokes and middle-aged folks with back surgeries were far more commonplace. Occasionally a traumatic case would come through, but rarely a child. So when a young person did roll through the front doors, everyone’s chest would tighten and a wave of sadness would flow through the corridor before we put aside our fears and went to work. Treatments for bleeding in the brain are fairly standard. But some of them shocked me, despite the fact that I had been raised by two nurses and our dinner-table conversations had often centered on stuff so grotesque, you would have thought we were discussing a Halloween haunted-house display.

By the time the girl reached us, the swelling in her head was severe. To lessen the pressure and therefore the potential damage to her brain, a portion of her skull was removed. When her parents were asked to leave so that one of the nurses could perform a task, I stood at her door and wondered about the white bandage on her head. How was it possible to survive when a portion of the very thing that is supposed to protect you has been removed?

Throughout the course of a week, everyone did what they could. Countless doctors fluttered in and out of her room. Her family clung to one another, fear turning to grief in their furrowed brows. After a barrage of treatments, it became apparent she would not make it. Staff whispered in hushed tones about how sad it was to see someone so young die like this. I asked one of the nurses why the doctors were continuing with treatments when it was obvious that she was gone. She told me that cynics will tell you physicians are simply worried about being sued, so they administer treatments and tests they know will have no effect to give the impression they have done absolutely everything possible. But most often there are circumstances where the family needs more time to come to terms with what is happening. The added activity and its explanations help them to understand the reality of the situation. When I looked into her mom’s and dad’s faces, their crushed hearts breaking through, I knew they understood.  They didn’t require a lengthy explanation from the organ-donor coordinator. After tests demonstrated that their little girl was brain-dead, they asked what the procedure was to make her an organ donor, because it was what she would have wanted. She had played in the school band, fed families at a homeless shelter during Christmas, and wanted to save every stray pet that crossed her path. I stayed overnight after her parents had kissed her good-bye and helped the organ-donation team coordinate the surgery, stopping occasionally to touch her arm and thank her.

She was from a small town in the Ozarks where community is family. On the day of her funeral, the high school was closed and virtually every student attended her service. Her friends and fellow members of the marching band played a song as all the other people present held hands. Then the service ended, and everyone went home.

A little more than a year later, I wandered into the break room to pour myself a cup of cheap, wretched coffee, the kind only hospitals dare serve, and looked to see what new, absurd jokes were on the bulletin board. (My all-time favorite: If assholes could fly, this place would be an airport.) Next to memos and a recipe for monster cookies contributed by a happy wife whose husband had survived a stroke was a handwritten note that read, “Thank you for all you did.” Tacked inside it was a softly crumpled newspaper clipping containing a poem that opened with a message from her parents: “We miss you so much. Our hearts ache for you every single day.” They had placed a tribute to her in their local paper and sent a copy of it to us.

I don’t remember much about the poem or the message it tried to convey. What I remember was the date on the newspaper clipping. Instead of honoring her on the day of her birth or death, they chose to remember her on the day her organs were transplanted. They chose to honor the day she gave others life. Four people received life-saving organs from that 15-year-old girl. Two others received essential tissues. In all, six people were transformed because those devastated parents decided to honor the giving spirit of their precious child. I do not know if I could have such courage in the face of such unimaginable pain. I could not fathom how they maintained the ability to breathe. To walk. To get out of bed. And then I remembered my grandmother, who had borne her two sons one year apart and buried them some 20 years later, one year apart. How did she endure it not once but twice?

Working in that intensive care unit gave me countless sad tales, and some unfortunate memories are burned into my brain. But it wasn’t some catastrophic moment that taught me one of the most powerful lessons of my life. I learned that unbelievably awful things can and do happen. In truth, they are not such rare, isolated events. Each of us has a story that would break someone’s heart. Despite the grief and the unfairness of it all, we keep going. There are chores to be done. There are people who still need our care. There is a life to be led.

The real lesson was found in the date on that small newspaper clipping. I realized that, regardless of the heartache, we may choose the moments in which we live.

On that day, I learned that love creates a tremendous capacity for grace. And perhaps it is that grace that keeps us moving forward.

Click here to read Parenting a Child With a Disability, the powerful runner-up in the first Life Lessons essay contest.

When I was about 12, I saw an ad in a magazine for a poetry contest that sounded fancy and impressive, something like “International Library of Poetry.” I bled poetry at that age, so I crossed my fingers and sent in a poem I’d been slaving over for weeks.

And, lo and behold, the people behind the contest quickly wrote back to tell me my poem had been selected as a winner!

I was speechless with honor. Of the thousands of poets who must have submitted to the contest — no doubt many of them adults much wiser and more skilled than me — my poem had been chosen to be featured in an exclusive, hardcover anthology! And honored on a something-karat-gold plaque!

Of course, I had to pay $50 if I wanted to see my work in print in the anthology, and I had to pay another $100 if I wanted the plaque. Those were the only “prizes.”

Even as a pre-teen, I sensed a scam.

Sadly, not much has changed when it comes to companies trying to take advantage of writers who want a chance at recognition and maybe a little bit of money. Google the term “writing contests,” and you’ll come up with approximately 8 million results. It can be hard for a writer to know where to start looking for competitions, and how to tell if they’re legitimate or not.

So I’ve done the legwork for you.

Here are 31 reputable, well-reviewed, free writing contests for poets, fiction writers, essayists and more.Some legitimate contests do charge a small entry or “reading” fee, but often a fee can be a red flag for a scam, so you may want to stick to free contests — and there are certainly enough of them.

Fiction and nonfiction writing contests

Ready to share your novel or personal essay with the world? Whether you’re a newbie or more established writer, you’re likely eligible for a few of these contests.

1. L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest

Whatever your feelings about L. Ron Hubbard’s work and philosophy, the prizes for this regular contest are nothing to sneeze at. Every three months, winners earn $1,000, $750 and $500, or an additional annual grand prize worth $5,000.

Submissions must be short stories or novelettes (up to 17,000 words) in the genre of science fiction or fantasy, and new and amateur writers are welcome to apply.

Deadlines: Quarterly on January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1.

2. Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

Awarded to “the most promising and innovative literary nonfiction project by a writer not yet established in the genre,” this prize provides a $12,000 advance and publication by Graywolf Press.

If you live in the U.S. and have published at least one book (in any genre), you’re eligible to submit a current manuscript in progress for consideration. The judges look for winners who push the boundaries of traditional literary nonfiction.

Deadline: Contest is every other year, with the last one running in 2016. The 2018 deadline has not been announced.

3. Drue Heinz Literature Prize

You can win $15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press with this prize, awarded for a collection of short fiction.

You may submit an unpublished manuscript of short stories, two or more novellas or a combination of novellas and short stories. Your total word count should be between 150 and 300 typed pages.

Deadline: Annual submission window is May 1 through June 30.

4. Tony Hillerman Prize

Presented by St. Martin’s Press and WORDHARVEST, this prize awards the best first mystery novel set in the Southwest with $10,000 and publication by St. Martin’s Press.

It’s open to professional or non-professional writers who have not yet had a mystery published, and there are specific guidelines for the structure of your story: “Murder or another serious crime or crimes must be at the heart of the story, with emphasis on the solution rather than the details of the crime.”

Deadline: TBD

5. St. Francis College Literary Prize

This biannual prize honors mid-career writers who have recently published their third, fourth or fifth work of fiction. The winner receives $50,000 but must be able to appear at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY to deliver a talk on their work and teach a mini-workshop in fiction to St. Francis students.

Deadline: Biannually; the deadline for work published between June 2015 and May 2017 is May 15, 2017.

6. Young Lions Fiction Award

This $10,000 award recognizes “young authors,” which the rules define as any author aged 35 or younger. Submit any novel or short story published or scheduled to be published in the calendar year. Works must be written for adults; children’s or YA pieces are ineligible.

Deadline: Annually in the fall (most recently in August or September). 2017 deadline not yet announced.

7.Inkitt

This boutique publishing firm offers a full-fledged publishing deal to its contest winner. Submit a novel of 20,000 words or more in any fiction genre (no fanfic, short stories or poetry) and if it’s selected, Inkitt will provide you with professional editing, a cover design, and 25 percent royalties. They also have a strategy to get you into the Amazon Top 100. (Not too shabby.)

Inkitt runs contests regularly, so be sure to check back often!

Deadline: See individual contest pages.

8.Real Simple’s Life Lessons Essay Contest

Have you ever had a “eureka” moment? If you have, and you can write a compelling personal essay about it in no more than 1,500 words, you may be able to win $3,000 in Real Simple’s annual essay contest.

Deadline: Annually; 2017 deadline has not yet been announced.

9. New Voices Award

Presented by Lee & Low Books, an award-winning children’s book publisher, this award is given for a previously unpublished children’s picture book manuscript (of no more than 1,500 words) written by a writer of color.

The winner receives $1,000 cash and a standard publication contract. You may submit up to two manuscripts.

Deadline: Submissions must be postmarked by September 30 each year.

10. Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

This contest aims to provide visibility for emerging African American fiction writers and to enable them to focus on their writing by awarding a $10,000 cash prize. Eligible authors should submit a work of fiction, such as a novel or short story collection, published in the calendar year.

Deadline: Annually; 2017 deadline has not yet been announced.

11. PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Honoring the best work of fiction published by an American author in a single calendar year, this award has been given to the likes of John Updike, Philip Roth and Ann Patchett.

The winner receives $15,000 and an invitation to read at the award ceremony in Washington, DC. Four finalists also each receive a $5,000 award.

Deadline: Annually on October 31 for books published that calendar year.

12. Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize

Presented by the Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival, this annual prize awards $500 cash for “the best Brooklyn-focused non-fiction essay which is set in Brooklyn and is about Brooklyn and/or Brooklyn people/characters.” (So it’s Brooklyn-centric, if you haven’t picked up on that yet.)

Submissions should be four to 10 pages (up to 2,500 words), and five authors will be chosen to read and discuss their submissions at the annual December event.

Deadline: Annually in mid-November.

13. Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

Fiction and nonfiction writers who have recently published a book that “contributes to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures” are eligible for this award, which offers $10,000 cash as well media and publicity opportunities.

Submissions must be published in the prior year (so books published in 2016 are eligible for the 2017 award).

Deadline: Annual submission window is September 1 through December 31.

14. Marfield Prize (a.k.a. National Award for Arts Writing)

Presented by the Arts Club of Washington, this award seeks to honor nonfiction books that deal with “any artistic discipline (visual, literary, performing, or media arts, as well as cross-disciplinary works).” This may include criticism, art history, memoirs and biographies, and essays.

Deadline: Annually in the last quarter of the year; the 2017 deadline has not yet been announced.

15. W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction

If you’re a war buff, this competition is for you. It awards $5,000 to the best piece of fiction set during a period when the U.S. was at war (war may either be the main plot of the piece or simply provide the setting). Submissions may be adult or YA novels.

Deadline: Annually on December 1.

16. Friends of American Writers Chicago Awards

FAW presents two annual awards: an Adult Literature Award for literary fiction or nonfiction, and a Juvenile Literature Award for a children’s/YA book.

Authors must reside in the state of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota or Wisconsin — or they must set their book in one of those locations. Prize amounts vary from year to year but are typically between $500 and $2,000.

Deadline: Annually at the end of the year; 2017 deadline has not yet been announced.

17. Hektoen Grand Prix Essay Contest

Hektoen International, an online journal dedicated to medical humanities, offers two prizes annually for essays of no more than 1,600 words in two categories.

The Grand Prize of $1,200 is given for an essay suited for their Famous Hospitals section, while a Silver Prize of $1,000 is given to the best essay suited for the sections of Art Flashes, Literary Vignettes, Moments in History or Physicians of Note.

Deadline: Annually; 2017 has passed and 2018 deadline is not yet announced.

18. Nelson Algren Short Story Award

Presented by the Chicago Tribune, this award presents $3,500 to one grand prize winner, $1,000 to four finalists and $500 to five runners-up for a short fiction story of less than 8,000 words.

You may submit up to two short stories, but note that your name must not appear anywhere on your submission as the process is anonymous.

Deadline: Annually; 2017 has passed and 2018 deadline is not yet announced.

19. Minotaur Books / Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition

Writers 18 and older who have never had a novel published (in any genre) are eligible for this prize, awarded for an original book-length manuscript where “murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the story.” The winner receives a publication contract with Minotaur Books and an advance of $10,000 against future royalties.

Deadline: Annually in the last quarter of the year. The deadline for 2017 awards has passed; the deadline for 2018 awards has not yet been announced.

20. FutureScapes Writing Contest

Want to change the world? Then listen up.

FutureScapes is looking for concrete, substantive pieces that “can provide a roadmap for cities, states, and nations to follow.” If you just want to write the next Hunger Games, this isn’t the contest for you, but if you’re inspired by politics and civic issues, you’ve found the right place. (Case in point: the inaugural theme, “Empowerment Cities,” features a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville.) First place wins $2,000; second place $1,000; and four runners-up will get $500 each. Oh, and did we mention publication in an anthology that will be “distributed to mayors, governors and members of the U.S. Congress”?

Deadline: Annually; deadline for 2017 is TBD.

21. Stowe Prize

This biennial prize of $10,000 honors an American author whose work has had an impact on a critical social justice issue (as did Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin).

In addition to submitting a copy of your book or written work, you must also complete a 250-word statement that describes the tangible impact your piece has made in the world and outlining any social justice work you perform outside of your writing.

Deadline: Biennially in odd-numbered years. The deadline for 2017 awards has passed, and the deadline for 2019 have not yet been announced.

22. The Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Non-Fiction

Creative nonfiction essays of no more than 5,000 words on any subject, are eligible for consideration for this award, whose winner receives $250 and publication in Lunch Ticket, the literary and art journal produced by the MFA community of Antioch University Los Angeles.

Works must not have been published elsewhere. Award winners are required to submit a 100-word biography, recent photo and a short note thanking the Woods family for their generosity and support.

Deadlines: Biannual reading periods are the month of February for the Summer/Fall issue and the month of August for the Winter/Spring issue.

23. Words & Brushes

This contest seeks to foster collaborations between artists and writers. Select a piece of artwork from the gallery provided and submit a short story inspired by it and you could win $350 — plus a spot in a future art book showcasing these collaborations. Short stories should be between 2,000 – 5,000 words.

Deadline: Annually; 2017 has passed and 2018 deadline is not yet announced.

24. Write the World

For young writers ages 13-18, this cool contest also serves as a mini writer’s camp. Recognizing that “a first draft is never perfect,” submissions actually receive peer review by authors, writing teachers and other experts and writers are given the chance to revise their pieces based on this feedback before submitting them for final prize consideration. There’s a $100 prize for the winner and $50 for the runner-up (plus $50 for the best peer-reviewer). All three are featured on Write the World’s blog alongside comments from a guest judge. And since each month’s prompt is from a different genre, developing writers get a chance to test out different styles.

Deadline: Monthly.

25. Prose.

Stuck with writer’s block and looking for a way to jumpstart your escape? Prose offers weekly challenges meant to spark your creativity; many are just for fun, but look for the weekly numbered challenges posted by Prose (rather than community members or sponsors) for a chance to win money.

Prizes are typically between $100 – $200 and word counts are low — some as low as under 150, some as high as 500, but all say “quality beats quantity.” So even if all you get from the prompt is a chance to flex your brain, it’s not a bad deal.

Deadline: Weekly.

Poetry contests

Curious about opportunities for poets? Your stanzas — rhyming or not — could be worth a fair amount of money in these competitions.

26. Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award

Open to African American poets, previously published or not, this award provides a $500 prize and publication by Boardside Lotus Press for the best book-length collection of poems (approximately 60 to 90 pages).

Deadline: Annually on March 1.

27. James Laughlin Award

If you’re already a published poet, this is the award for you; it’s given for a second book of poetry due to come out in the forthcoming year. The winner receives $5,000 and an all-expenses-paid week-long residency. In addition, copies of her book are distributed to the 1,000 members of the Academy of American Poets.

Deadline: Annual submission window is January 1 through May 15.

28. African Poetry Book Fund Prizes

The APBF awards three prizes annually for African Poetry. The Glenna Luschei Prize for Afican Poetry gives $5,000 for a book of original African poetry published in the prior year.

The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets gives $1,000 and a publication contract for an unpublished book-length collection of poetry by an African author.

The Brunel University African Poetry Prize is a new prize that grants £3,000 to a poet who was born in Africa, is a national of an African country or has African parents, who has not yet had a full-length book of poetry published. (U.S. citizens qualify.) To submit, you’ll need 10 poems.

Deadlines: See individual prize pages.

29. Tufts Poetry Awards

Claremont Graduate University presents two awards each year to poets they deem to be “outstanding.” The Kate Tufts Poetry Award grants $10,000 for a published first book of poetry that shows promise.

The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award grants a mammoth $100,000 for a published book of poetry by an an established or mid-career poet.

Deadline: Books published between July of the previous year and June 30 of the current year are eligible for the following year’s prize (i.e. award for 2017 was for works publishing between between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016). Deadline for 2018 awards has not yet been announced.

Writing contests with multiple categories

Some contests accept submissions in multiple categories, so you could submit a novella as well as a poem or other work.

30. Binghamton University Book Awards

Sponsored by the Binghamton Center for Writers — State University of New York, this competition offers a $1,000 prize for work published in the previous year in two separate categories. The John Gardner Fiction Book Award goes to the best novel or collection of fiction, while the Milt Kessler Poetry Book award goes to the best book of poems.

Deadline: Annually on March 1 for books published the previous year.

31. Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition

(Editor’s note: We were so excited to include this competition that we overlooked its entry fees. We’ll leave it in the post for those interested in submitting their work, but please note that this contest is not free.)

One of the longest-running writing competitions — it’s now in its 83rd year — this contest spotlights up and coming writers in a number of categories, including Memoirs/Personal Essay, Magazine Feature Article and Genre Short story.

The Grand Prize winner gets $5,000, a feature in Writer’s Digest magazine, a paid trip to a writing conference and more. Runners-up earn prizes in first through tenth places.

Deadline: Annually; May 5, 2017.  

Where to find more legitimate, free writing contests

Looking for more opportunities to submit your work to writing contests? Here are a few great sites to keep an eye on.

Winning Writers

A number of the contests found on our list came highly recommended by this site, which compiles some of the best free literary contests out there. You can sort contests by recommendation level (Highly Recommended, Recommended or Neutral), view plenty of info on requirements and even see which contests are better for beginners, intermediate writers and pros.

They also offer a handful of contests themselves, including the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest (which sounds delightful).

Poets & Writers

Another fantastic source for legitimate writing contests I consulted when compiling this list, Poets & Writers vets competitions, contests, awards and grants to make sure they’re following legitimate practises and policies. It’s worth checking out regularly as it features both annual and one-time contests.

Cathy’s Comps and Calls

Writer, poet and editor Cathy Bryant sources legitimate, free-to-enter writing contests and calls for submission. She releases a new list of contests and calls each month, so check back monthly for new opportunities.

Are you planning to enter any writing contests this year? Which ones?

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase through our links, you’re supporting The Write Life — and we thank you for that!

This post originally ran in February 2016. We updated it in March 2017.

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