Kenyon Review was founded by John Crowe Ransom in 1939. It prides itself on publishing talented emerging writers, especially from diverse communities, alongside many distinguished, established writers. Kenyon Review’s short stories have won more O. Henry Awards than any other non-profit journal and it frequently appears on lists ranking America’s best literary magazines.
The Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest is only open to writers who have not yet published a book of fiction. To enter writers must provide a story of up to 1200 words.
The judge of the 2016 contest is Jaimy Gordon, author of Lord of Misrule, winner of the National Book Award for Fiction in 2010. An entry fee of US$20 is payable with each entry; in exchange each entrant receives a one year subscription to the magazine (normally $30).
The James Jones Fellowship Contest is now in its 25th year. It awards $10,000 to an American writer with a first fiction novel in progress in 2016. Two runners-up will each receive $1000.
Entrants are asked to supply a two-page outline of their entire novel, plus the first 50 pages of the work.
The fellowship is only for unpublished first novels: collections of short stories, memoirs and self-published novels are not eligible. To enter this contest, writers must be United States citizens.
Our regular round-up of writing contests, publication opportunities, fellowships and other opportunities for writers is back for 2016.
If you would like these lists to continue throughout the year, please share this link on social media and don’t forget to tell your friends about our site.
Deadlines and details do sometimes change, so please check the relevant websites (linked in bold) for all the latest details.
The University of Notre Dame
is offering every student accepted to its Creative Writing MFA program full scholarships plus a US$12,500 fellowship. Applications are open until 2 January.
is an independent literary magazine with a strong emphasis on design, as well as substance. Firewords aims to be a publication where exciting new writers can have their voices heard and remembered. Submissions of short fiction, flash fiction and poetry for issue six, which carries theme ‘Secrets’, are open until 14 January.
is accepting fiction and non-fiction of up to 6000 words until 15 January. Writers are asked to include a short cover letter citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence with a guest or staff editor.
Jentel Artist Residency Program
is located on a 1000 acre plus working cattle ranch 20 miles southeast of Sheridan, Wyoming. It offers individuals a supportive environment in which to further their creative development. Application for residencies in summer and fall close on 15 January.
UPDATE: Our list of short story competitions in 2017 can be found here.
Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award
carries a first prize of US$3500 and has four finalist prizes ($1000 each) and five runners-up prizes ($500 each). Stories can be up to 8000 words and must be previously unpublished. Entries for the 2016 award open on 1 December 2015 and close on 31 January 2016.
Caine Prize for African Writing
is awarded to a short story (3000 to 10,000 words) by an African writer published in English, whether in Africa or elsewhere. ‘An African writer’ is taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African country, or whose parents are African. First prize is £10,000 (US$15,000) and the shortlisted writers will also receive a travel prize and £500 each. Entries close 31 January.
Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction Prize
is run by Vermont-based journal Hunger Mountain. The winner receives US$1000 and publication. The judge of the 2016 prize is award-winning novelist, poet and playwright Janet Burroway. Stories may be up to 10,000 words in length and entries close on 1 March.
Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction
is offered each year by Colorado State University’s Center for Literary Publishing. The winner receives a US$2000 honorarium and the story is published in the fall/winter issue of Colorado Review. There are no theme restrictions, but stories must be at least 10 pages (or 2500 words) but no more than 50 pages (12,500 words). Entries close 14 March
Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize
offers a total of AUD$12,500 (US$9000) in prize money and is open to writers worldwide. Entries must be between 2000 and 5000 words and written in English. The winner will be announced at a special event at the Melbourne Writers Festival in August. Entries close 11 April.
Bath Short Story Award
is open to stories up to 2200 words in length. Stories may be in any genre and entries from both published and unpublished writers are encouraged. First Prize is £1000 (US$1500) and a selection of twenty winning, shortlisted and longlisted stories will be published in a print and digital anthology. Entries close on 25 April.
Writers from around the world are invited to enter the 25th International Radio Playwriting Competition. The competition is presented by the BBC World Service and the British Council, in partnership with Commonwealth Writers and co-produced by the Open University. Three winners will receive fully paid trips to London and there are two cash prizes of £2200 (US $3350).
To be eligible to enter the competition, writers must be over the age of 18 and be living outside the UK. Entries are encouraged from both new and established writers.
The competition has two first prizes – one for writers with English as a First Language and another for writers with English as a Second Language. Both winners will receive £2200, be flown to London to attend an award ceremony and see their plays recorded for broadcast on the BBC World Service.