5 Lucrative Short Story Contests to Enter in 2017

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Ever dreamed of having your own short story published? You’ve come to the right place. There are tons of literary contests out there just waiting for your manuscript—and some of them even pay. We perused the web (so you can focus on your writing) and found 5 lucrative short story contests open for submission and even organized them in order of deadline so you can have at ‘em with the greatest of ease.
 
Here ya go: 

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1. F(r)iction’s Fall 2017 Literary Contest

F(r)iction is a triannual literary publication featuring short fiction, flash fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and graphic stories. Founded in 2015, this experimental journal has quickly grown into a global success, helping launch the careers of hundreds of artists and writers. On a quest to#PublishWeird, they provide opportunities to outstanding writers from any style or genre who celebrate the weird, take risks, and write in a strong, unique voice. They are well-known for providing a platform to writers of marginalized communities. Managed by a “ragtag team” (their words, not ours) of writers, editors, and artists, F(r)iction is an initiative run by the Denver-based non-profit, Tethered by Letters (TBL).
 
CRITERIA: F(r)iction is currently accepting previously unpublished short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. Their editorial staff is looking for works that not only take risks but also celebrate the weird and the strange. And you can submit as many stories as you like.
 
PRICE OF ENTRY: $8–$15
 
PRIZES: In addition to the cash prizes ($1000 for the short story and $300 for the winning flash fiction and poetry respectively), winning submissions will be published in the Summer Issue of F(r)iction and receive air time on Tethered by Letters’ official podcast, Untethered.
 
Check out their formatting guidelines page for more details.
 
DEADLINE: November 1, 2017. Get goin’!

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2. 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Funded by the Commonwealth Foundation, Commonwealth Writers is a cultural initiative working to “inspire and connect writers and storytellers” from around the world. Founded in 2012, they believe that a good story can help people engage with others and also inspire positive change. They are committed to tackling global challenges by facilitating dialogue and the exchange of ideas between storytellers and civil society groups. And did we mention it's visually beautiful?!
 
PRIZES: The overall winner will receive £5,000 (that’s more than $8,000 CAD!) and regional winners (a winner from each of the 5 Commonwealth Regions) will receive £2,500 (around $4,000 CAD).
 
CRITERIA: Commonwealth Writers is accepting previously unpublished works of short fiction between 2,000 and 5,000 words. You must be a citizen of a Commonwealth country to enter.
 
*While JEC is an English-based editing company, this contest also accepts writing in Bengali, Chinese, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, and Tamil. Have a translation of your writing into English? We love editing translated work.
 
There’s a lot of entry details, so be sure to check them all out before submitting.
 
DEADLINE: November 1, 2017. 

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3. John Steinbeck Award for Fiction & Gabriele Rico Challenge for Nonfiction

Reed Magazine is California’s oldest literary journal. With reach worldwide, this Silicon Valley publication can trace its history back to 1867. As an “ongoing, expanding, and wondrous mosaic of thoughts, ideas, and emotions,” it reflects the very state in which it was conceived.
 
CRITERIA: Reed Magazine is currently accepting fiction and nonfiction works all about the State of California. Manuscripts should be no longer than 5,000 words—and don’t forget to include page numbers and a word count (their editors will be much obliged)!
 
Visit their website for more submission details.
 
PRICE OF ENTRY: $15
 
PRIZE: The winner of the John Steinbeck Award for Fiction will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and the winner of the Gabriele Rico Challenge for Nonfiction will receive a cash prize of $1,333. Submissions not selected as winners may be considered for publication.
 
DEADLINE: Step to it! Due November 1, 2017.

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4. Boulevard Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers

Boulevard has been described as "one of the half-dozen best literary journals" by American Poet Laureate Daniel Hoffman, and is a triannual magazine publishing contemporary works of fiction, poetry, and essays that critically and creatively explore arts and culture. Founded in 1985, its mission is to publish a variety of writers that together build a diverse yet unified community—a boulevard, so to speak. They host annual poetry and short fiction contests supporting new and emerging writers and poets.
 
CRITERIA: Boulevard seeks short fiction no longer than 8,000 words. Entries must be penned by writers who have not yet published “a book of fiction, poetry, or creative non-fiction with a nationally distributed press”.
 
Check out their website for their full list of rules and criteria.
 
PRIZE: The winning writer gets $1,500 and their story published inBoulevard Magazine.
 
PRICE OF ENTRY: $16 includes a one-year subscription to the magazine.
 
DEADLINE: December 21, 2017 at midnight EST.

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5. 26th annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

Winning Writers is a Massachusetts-based literary initiative offering invaluable resources, advice, and support for writers and poets. Founded in 2001, they sponsor 4 annual writing contests and also curate an up-to-date database of free poetry and prose contests.
 
CRITERIA: Winning Writers is currently accepting previously published or unpublished stories (short fiction) or essays (short nonfiction). All themes are accepted; however, they must be no more than 6,000 words. Having paid the submission fee, you’re welcome to enter as many stories or essays as you like. Just make sure you upload them all at the same time.
 
PRIZES: The respectable sum of $1,500 will be awarded to the authors of the winning story and the winning essay, and ten honourable mentions will win $100. The top 12 entries will be published online.
 
PRICE OF ENTRY: $20
 
DEADLINE: Submissions will be accepted from October 15, 2017 until April 30, 2018.
 

Not convinced yet? Here are 5 Reasons Every Writer Should Submit to Short Story Competitions. Up your odds and take advantage of JEC’s PRIZEWINNER PACKAGE to help you slay those slush piles! 

 

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  KATE JUNIPER   Editor, Writer & Founder of JEC. Inspired, most often, to write about writing. She has a lot of opinions about it, you know.

KATE JUNIPER

Editor, Writer & Founder of JEC. Inspired, most often, to write about writing. She has a lot of opinions about it, you know.

  HAYLEY EVANS   Hayley is Copy Editor/ Editing Ninja for JEC. She is also an arts journalist for several online publications including Scene 360 and Illusion Magazine.

HAYLEY EVANS

Hayley is Copy Editor/ Editing Ninja for JEC. She is also an arts journalist for several online publications including Scene 360 and Illusion Magazine.

  GEORGIA RUDELOFF   Georgia is a published poet as well as Poetry Editor for  This Side of West,  Modern and Contemporary Genre Editor for  The   Albatross , and Contributing Writer for  The Martlet  and  Saltern Magazine.

GEORGIA RUDELOFF

Georgia is a published poet as well as Poetry Editor for This Side of West, Modern and Contemporary Genre Editor for The Albatross, and Contributing Writer for The Martlet and Saltern Magazine.

  JAIME CLIFTON-ROSS   Jaime is a Research Curator at a university and as such knows a thing or two re: communications. She is JEC's Content Writer and Communications Specialist.

JAIME CLIFTON-ROSS

Jaime is a Research Curator at a university and as such knows a thing or two re: communications. She is JEC's Content Writer and Communications Specialist.