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10 Top Free Writing Contests

Even though there is a myriad of writing contests considered being “free,” it doesn’t mean that they are free of charge. Many of them require so-called reading fees, which means that you have to pay to participate.

No matter how the web page of the contest looks, don’t be gullible. Fees can be a warning signal for a scam page.

Indeed, free writing contests are hard to find. But if you do find them, you are sure to have not only a chance to win amazing prizes. You can experience high competition, the organization of the event, and the overall atmosphere.

With substantial help from this arguably the best and unbelievably fast writing service, where you can ask to do my research paper for me, we are ready to present you 10 well-respected, well-reviewed, and most importantly, free writing contests that offer fantastic career prospects for the winners.


1. PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

If you tend to write novels, novellas, and various short stories, you can take part in this contest

The winner is awarded a fantastic cash prize, which is $15,000. Besides money, the winner may well be present during the ceremony in Washington, DC. Indubitably, there are no submission fees; you just send copies of your book via mail to the organization.

Deadline: Every year at the end of October. Keep in mind that your book has to be published that calendar year.



2. Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

This contest has been of stable financial support for African American writers. $15,000 cash prize lets the winner focus entirely on writing. To be a full-fledged candidate, you have to submit your work published in the calendar year.

Deadline: Annually, however, the period is soon to be announced.


3. The Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans

This award is offered to former US military officers and active members. The best thing about this award is that you can submit any work of any topic written in any genre. However, acknowledge that you have submit works that have no more than 20 pages. The first-prize winner will receive $1,000 and the opportunity of publication in the Iowa Review. The second place is to get $750, and the third one — $500.

Deadline: Once every two years. The following contest will occur in 2022. Applications will be revised between May 1 and May 31.


4. Graywolf Press Non/fiction Prizes

Grayworld Press has a proven track record of being among the best and smallest presses in the writing world. The press hosts a plethora of different events for writers regardless of their recognition level. The most prominent thing about the Graywolf contest is that genres rotate every year. That said, if this year is a nonfiction one, fiction is up in 2021. Even though the press is small, it offers a fairly large benefit — over $12,000 cash prize as well as the publication of the winner’s work.

Deadline: To be announced.


5. Young Lions Fiction Award

If you are 35 or younger, this contest is for you. This $10,000 award requires submitting any novel or short stories already published or planned to be published in 2021. Bear in mind that in no condition will works written by kids or youngsters be accepted.

Deadline: Approximately August–the end of September. However, the deadline for 2021 is to be announced soon.


6. St. Francis College Literary Prize

This literary contest has been occurring since 2009. Its primary aim is to honor writers who have lately published their work of fiction and award the winner with a cash prize of $50,000. Aside from money, the winner may well be invited to the St. Francis College campus situated in Brooklyn, NY, to give a speech about the work of a writer, its pros, cons, and reveal some insights of being a writer.

Deadline: Once every two years. Though the deadline for 2021 is to be announced.


7. Drue Heinz Literature Prize

The University of Pittsburgh and its affiliated Press organize an annual contest for short fiction writers. The winner of the event gets $15,000 and the publication by the University Press

To be eligible, you have to send an unpublished written piece of short stories or a collection of novellas and short stories. The overall word count should not exceed 300 pages.

Deadline: Works must be submitted between May 1 and June 30.


8. L.Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest

Every three months, winners are awarded $1,000, $750, and $500 coupled with an extra prize of $5,000.

When it comes to the requirements, you are most welcome to be an amateur writer and submit your short stories or short novels in the genre related to the science fiction of fantasy.

Deadline: Once every quarter of a year (March 31, June 30, and September 30).


9. Tufts Poetry Awards

If you have a knack for poetry, under no circumstances must you avoid this contest! Claremont Graduate University grants two awards annually to fantastic poets. This award gives $10,000 for the first published and promising book.

In case you are an established poet, you have a chance to grab $100,000 for a published book of poetry.

Deadline: Annually on July 1. However, your manuscript needs to be published before the beginning of July.


10. The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing

If you are a first-generation immigrant and have plenty of written short stories, you can win $10,000 and be published by Restless Books in print and digital editions. Your stories don’t necessarily have to be real. The same as with the Graywolf Press Contest, fiction supersedes nonfiction. Considering 2020 as the year of fiction, 2021 will be nonfiction.

Nonfiction includes essay collection, narrative nonfiction, historical, scientific, or economic writings, and the manuscript has to be over 25,000 words. To apply, you have to submit your CV coupled with a cover letter. The latter should describe your background as an immigrant writer.

Deadline: Check the website to get more information regarding the due date.


Want to stand a better chance at winning? Engage a good English tutor to gain an advantage.

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Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

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