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16 Top Poets and Writers Contests

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Can you support yourself as a poet? With a little bit of luck and winning poetry competitions, you can start your poetry career off on the right foot.

Poets and authors that impress their judges are recognized by numerous organizations across the world with monetary awards, publication rights, and other rewards. These are some of the best poets and writers contests to enter if you want to have your poetry published.

Top Poets and Writers Contests

Participate in any of these available poets and writers contests:

Codhill Press

Pauline Uchmanowicz Poetry Award

  • Deadline: 30th of December 2022
  • $30 entry fee
  • Prize money: $1000
  • Contact information:

poets and writers contests

A poetry collection can win a $1,000 award, publishing by Codhill Press, and 25 author copies each year. The judge is James Sherwood. By December 30th, submit a manuscript between 48 and 70 pages with a $30 entry fee. We consider publishing all submissions. To view the complete rules, go to the website.

Pauline Uchmanowicz Poetry Award, Codhill Press, 331 Station Road, Highland, NY 12528 Contest coordinator James Sherwood

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Virginia Commonwealth University

First Novelist Cabell Award

  • Deadline: 30th of December 2022
  • Prize money: $3,000
  • Contact information:

Every year, an award of at least $3,000 is granted for a debut novel released in the previous calendar year. In addition, housing and travel costs are covered for the winner and two additional guest panelists (often the winner’s agent and editor) to attend the First Novelist Award event night at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in the fall of 2023. VCU academic members and MFA candidates will serve on the jury. A book released in 2022 must be submitted by December 30 in both one digital copy and five physical copies. There isn’t a cost to enter. To view the complete rules, go to the website.

Cabell First Novelist Award, Virginia Commonwealth University, c/o VCU English Department, Hibbs Building, Box 842005, Richmond, VA 23284. Contact Brenna Camping.

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Press 53

Short Fiction Award

  • Deadline: December 31, 2022
  • $30 entry fee
  • Prize money: $1000
  • Contact information:

A tale collection can win a $1,000 award, publishing by Press 53, and 50 author copies each year. The judge is Claire V. Foxx. By December 31st, submit a manuscript of between 100 and 250 pages along with a $30 entry fee. To view the complete rules, go to the website.

Award for Short Fiction, Press 53, Winston-Salem, NC 27101, 560 N. Trade Street, Suite 103. (336) 770-5353. Publisher Kevin Morgan Watson

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Anisfield-Wolf Books Awards

  • Deadline: December 31, 2022
  • Prize in cash: $10,000
  • Contact information:

poets and writers contests

For a poetry collection, a book of fiction, and a book of nonfiction (including creative nonfiction) released in the previous year and “that contribute to our awareness of racism and our respect of cultural variety,” three to four prizes of $10,000 each are granted each year. Additionally, a lifetime achievement award is given. Judges include Rita Dove, Simon Schama, Steven Pinker, Joyce Carol Oates, and Henry Louis Gates Jr. Five copies of a book released in 2022 must be sent by December 31. There isn’t a cost to enter. For the entire rules and the required entry form, see the website.

Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, Cleveland Foundation, 1422 Euclid Avenue, Suite 1608, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 685-2018.

Omnidawn Publishing

Fabulist Novelette or Chapbook Contest

  • Deadline: December 31, 2022
  • $20 entry fee
  • Prize money: $1000
  • Contact information:

A piece of fabulist fiction can win a $1,000 prize, publishing by Omnidawn Publishing, and 20 author copies each year. The judge will be Michelle Ruiz Keil. By December 31st, submit your manuscript of one or more short stories, a novelette, or both using only the online submission system. The entry fee is $18. To view the complete rules, go to the website.

Fabulist Fiction Chapbook/Novelette Contest, Omnidawn Publishing, 1632 Elm Avenue, Richmond, CA 94805. (510) 237-5472. Co-publishers Laura Joakimson and Rusty Morrison.

Hippocrates Prize for Medicine and Poetry

One poem receives a £1,000 reward each year from the Hippocrates Prize in the spring. The prize also includes a poem video on the organization’s website and publication in the anthology of the organization. Any entries must be poems written by medical professionals with a medical theme or audience.

This poetry competition has a $10 entry fee. There are 50 lines in a poem.

The Derek Walcott Poetry Prize

A complete poetry collection, submission form, and $20 registration fee are required from poets.

With the restriction that the author cannot be a citizen of the United States, this original poetry competition gives $1,000 to an English poetry collection. The award winner also gets a reading invitation to the Boston Playwrights Theater. On the Arrowsmith Press website, poets must submit a complete poetry collection, an entry form, and a $20 entry fee to be considered. Not eligible for this? There are more poets and writers contests below.

Ballard Spahr Poetry Award

The top prize in this particular poetry contest is $10,000. One poet who resides in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, or Iowa receives the honor from Milkweed Editions.

A manuscript of at least 48 pages must be submitted by the poet. There is no entry fee for this contest.

Autumn House Poetry Contest

A poetry competition is held in the first half of the year by Autumn House Press. The prize in this contest is $2,500 and a full-length manuscript of a poetry book. Even though there is only one winner in the competition, all finalists have their work considered for publication, allowing writers to enter and maybe have their work published even if they don’t win.

The entry cost is $30, and the publisher advises against using any illustrations. All poems must also begin on a new page and be original works that haven’t been published anywhere.

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Society of Virginia’s Poetry Contest

Young poets who are still in school can enter the Society of Virginia’s poetry contest. Students compete against other poets their own age in the judging of a single poem that has no identifying information.

Poems must be 35 lines or less to be eligible for this contest. For each grade level, there are awards for first, second, and third place. Poems that win contests may also be published.

Colorado Prize for Poetry

Another contest that offers a cash reward for a poetry book is the Colorado Prize for Poetry. The winner of the competition will be published and receive $2,500 from the Center for Literary Publishing.

Send in a manuscript for this contest that is 48 to 100 pages long. Individual poems may have appeared in print in other publications, but the collection must not have been published, including through self-publishing. Read on for more poets and writers contests.

Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize

There is a literary contest sponsored by Utica College called the Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize. The first-place contest winner receives a $2,000 cash award in addition to reading and teaching a class at the college.

A completed entry form, a resume of the author’s accomplishments, and two copies of the whole poetry book are required for submission to this contest. A minimum of 48 pages must be included in every work. There is no entry fee for this contest.

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Sustainable Arts Foundation Writing Prizes

Up to 20 poets and writers receive $5,000 cash prizes from the Sustainable Arts Foundation. To be eligible, the author must be a parent of at least one child living at home. Writers can submit up to 10 poems or between 10 and 15 pages of prose for the poetry category. The $20 entry fee is for the contest. Read further for more poets and writers contests.

Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award

The Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award is presented by Poets & Writers and offers two $500 cash prizes to one poet and one fiction writer from a selected state, which in 2022 will be Nebraska. Additionally, the winning author will spend a month residing at the Jentel Artist Residency Program, where they can network with other authors, editors, agents, and publishers.

7 to 10 pages of poetry must be submitted for this competition. It is free to attend. Read on for more poets and writers contests.

Airlie Prize

Each year, Airlie Press bestows the Airlie Prize in recognition of a poetry volume. The judges are the press’s editors, and the reward is $1,000 and publication by the media.

To enter, send a manuscript between 48 and 90 pages together with a $25 entry fee to the Arlie Press.

National Poetry Series’ Open Competition

An outstanding $10,000 cash prize is up for grabs in the National Poetry Series’ Open Competition for the winning manuscript. A partnering publication business will also publish this award.

To submit a work to the National Poetry Series, send 48 to 64 pages along with a $35 entry fee. This will be the final on our list of top poets and writers contests.

poets and writers contests

Frequently Asked Questions

Are contests for writers worth entering?

You get knowledge from them. They aid in your craft improvement. You learn from them how to adhere to rules and meet deadlines. Try a few; it's worth your time and a few dollars.

Can writing poetry make you rich?

You CAN get money writing poetry, after all! All of these possibilities are quite profitable to help you as a writer have the revenue to support your love for writing, even though they may be the unconventional route from a published book comprising a collection of poems.

How can I get my poem noticed?

1. Start a blog or use social media to share.
2. Submit your poetry for awards in literary contests.
3. Distribute pamphlets or zines.
4. Submit your writing to book, collection, and anthology publishers.
5. Read publications and submit writing to them.

What three elements must a Poetry have?

Sound, rhythm, rhyme, and format are the main characteristics that set poetry apart from other literary genres. When you hear poetry read aloud, the first three of them stand out. When reading poetry, the last point is the most clear.


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