December Short Story Contests and Awards

Short Story Contest Deadlines for Fiction Writers

'Tis the season to apply to short story contests . . . or so it would seem from the sheer quantity of opportunities in December. Below you will find links and brief descriptions of short story contests, awards, residencies, and fellowships with December deadlines. For more specific information on each contest, click through to the site.

For general information about getting your work out there, see articles on how to publish your short stories -- and how to know if you're even ready to publish.

  • American Library Association W. Y. Boyd Literary Award -- December 1
    An annual award of $5,000 and a 24k gold-framed citation of achievement honoring the best fiction set in a period when the United States was at war. The novel must have been published during the year prior to the award, and incidents of war must constitute the main plot of the story or provide the setting. Publishers or authors send seven copies of the application and the book to ALA Awards Program, Governance Office, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. No fee.
  • American Short Fiction Short Story Contest -- December 1
    Submit unpublished stories of 6,000 words or less. First prize is $1,000 + publication; 2nd place winner receives $500. Submit online. $20 fee.
  • Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown Fellowships -- December 1
    Fellowships for a 7-month residency at the Fine Arts Work Center are awarded annually to 10 writers. Each fellowship includes an apartment and a monthly stipend of $650. Submit application, personal statement, and 8 copies of up to 35 pages of fiction to Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, 24 Pearl Street, Provincetown, MA 02657. $45.00 application fee.
  • Human Rights Watch Hellman/Hammett Grants -- December 1
    Grants of $1,000 to $10,000 each are given annually to writers in financial need as a result of political persecution. Submit nominations to Human Rights Watch, Hellman/Hammett Grants, 350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor, New York, NY 10118-3299. No entry fee.
  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships for Latin America and the Caribean -- December 1
    Provides fellowships for advanced professionals in all fields, including creative arts. See the site for an application or write John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 90 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016.
  • Langum Project for Historical Literature Fiction Prize -- December 1
    A prize of $1,000 each for for for the best historical fiction published in the preceding year. Send three copies of each book to The Langum Charitable Trust, 2809 Berkeley Drive, Birmingham, Alabama 35242. David Langum, Sr., Director: djlangum@samford.edu.
  • NYFA Artists' Fellowships -- December 1
    Artists' Fellowships are $7,000 cash awards made to individual artists living and working in New York State. There are no restrictions on the use of the money, which is for work already accomplished. The literature prize alternates between fiction and poetry; the 2010-2011 cycle is for poetry and book arts. (Visual arts deadline is November 30.) See the NYFA website for application and guidelines. No entry fee.
  • Phillips Exeter Academy George Bennett Fellowship -- December 1
    Provides time and freedom from material considerations to a person seriously pursuing a career as a writer. It provides a stipend (at present $13,000) for one academic year, as well as housing and meals for this person and family, at Academy expense. Send application and personal statement to Bennett Fellowship, Phillips Exeter Academy, 20 Main Street, Exeter, New Hampshire 03833-2460. $10.00 entry fee.
  • Pushcart Press Prizes -- December 1
    Publication in The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses is awarded annually for the best literary works published by small presses in the current calendar year. Little magazine and small book press editors may make up to six nominations from the year’s publications: send tear sheets or photocopies to Pushcart Press, Pushcart Prizes, P.O. Box 380, Wainscott, NY 11975. (631) 324-9300. No entry fee.
  • Smink Works Books Short Story Competition -- December 1
    SMINK WORKS IS NOT HOLDING THE CONTEST IN 2010. A prize of $100 to a work of short fiction written in accordance with a given philosophical theme. Open to writers internationally. 1,000-word maximum. Stand-out stories are published in an anthology. Submit stories via email to short story comp [at] sink works [dot] com. $10 entry fee.
    • Stanford University Wallace Stegner Fellowships -- December 1
      Stanford offers ten two-year fellowships each year, five in fiction and five in poetry. Fellowships include a living stipend of $26,000 and required workshop tuition of approximately $6,500. Submit fiction manuscript, totaling no more than 9,000 words, composed of two short stories, one short story and a novel excerpt, or one novel excerpt online. $60.00 application fee.
    • Writer's Digest Short Short Story Competition -- December 1
      Writer's Digest is now accepting entries in their annual short short story competition. First Place: $3,000 and a trip to the Writer's Digest Conference in New York City. Submit short fiction of up to 1,500 words using online form. $20.00 entry fee.
    • Wisconsin People & Ideas/Wisconsin Book Festival Short Story and Poetry Contests -- December 15
      Wisconsin People & Ideas, the quarterly magazine of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, is accepting submissions for its annual short story and poetry contests. Winners will receive prizes of $500, $250, and $100. Their works will be published serially beginning with the first-prize story. The first-place story will be reviewed by a publisher of note. Entry fee: $20.
    • Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Awards -- December 17
      A prize of $500 to a work of fiction to recognize depictions of sensitive and authentic personal experience either within the framework of contemporary literary standards and themes or which explore innovative literary formats. Publishers may send one copy of each title to members of the Literary Awards Committee. See website for complete rules. No entry fee.
    • Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award -- December 17
      PEN New England awards an $8,000 cash prize for a novel or book of short stories by an American author who has not previously published a book of fiction. Mail four copies and the enclosed application form to: Hemingway Foundation / PEN Award, PEN New England, 29 Everett Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 $40.00 entry fee.
    • Meridian Editors' Prize Contest -- December 17
      Prizes of $1,000 and publication in Meridian. Submit one story of 10,000 words or fewer or up to four poems. All entries must be submitted electronically. $16 entry fee.
    • The PEN New England/L. L. Winship Award -- December 17
      Each year, PEN New England awards one cash prize each for an outstanding book of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, published that year, with a primarily New England setting and/or by an author principally residing in New England. Mail three copies of the book and an application form to: PEN New England PEN/L.L. WINSHIP AWARDS, 29 Everett Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. $35.00 entry fee.
    • Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards -- December 31
      Two prizes of $10,000 each are awarded annually to honor books that have made "important contributions to our understanding of racism or our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures." Books written in English published in the previous year are eligible. Submit five copies with an entry form to: Laura S. Scharf, c/o Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, 700 West St. Clair Avenue #414, Cleveland, OH 44113. No entry fee.
    • Before Columbus Foundation American Book Awards -- December 31
      The Before Columbus Foundation views American culture as inclusive and has always considered the term "multicultural" to be not a description of various categories, groups, or "special interests," but rather as the definition of all of American literature. Each year it honors books published in the U.S. during the preceding year that make outstanding contributions to American literature. Submit two copies of your book to: Before Columbus Foundation, American Book Awards, The Raymond House, 655 13th Street, Suite 302, Oakland, CA 94612. (510) 268-9775. Judged by a panel of writers, editors, and publishers. No entry fee.
    • Boulevard Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers -- December 31
      A prize of $1,500 and publication in Boulevard for a short story by a writer who has not published a book with a nationally distributed press. Boulevard Emerging Writers Contest, PMB 325, 6614 Clayton Road, Richmond Heights, MO 63117. (314) 862-2643. $15.00 reading fee includes subscription.
    • Delacorte Press Contest for a First Young Adult Novel -- December 31
      A book contract with $1,500 in cash and $7,500 advance against royalties is awarded each year to encourage the writing of contemporary YA fiction. See site for details and send mass to Delacorte Press Contest, Random House, Inc., 1745 Broadway, 9th Floor,
New York, NY 10019.
    • Moment Magazine-Karma Foundation Short Fiction Contest -- December 31
      The moment will award three prizes ($1,000, $500, and $250, and publication) to outstanding works of unpublished short fiction of 7,000 words or less with Jewish content. Send entries to Moment-Karma Short Fiction Contest, Moment Magazine, 4115 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 102, Washington, DC 20016. $15.00 entry fee.
    • Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Individual Artist Grants for Women -- December 31
      Grants of up to $1,500 are given twice yearly to U.S. and Canadian feminist writers. Submit three copies of a short story or novel excerpt of up to 25 pages, a project description, a budget proposal, and a resumé to Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Individual Artist Grants for Women, P.O. Box 309, Wilton, NH 03086. Susan Pliner, Executive Director. Send SASE for complete guidelines. $20 application fee.
    • PEN Center USA Literary Awards -- December 31
      PEN Center USA awards prizes of $1,000 to recognize outstanding books published in the current calendar year by writers living west of the Mississippi. See site or contact PEN for details.
    • River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize -- December 31
      River Teeth's editors and editorial board will conduct a yearly national contest to identify the best book-length manuscript of literary nonfiction. The winner will receive $1,000 and publication. Mail entries to RIVER TEETH, 401 College Ave., Ashland University, Ashland, OH 44805. $25 entry fee includes a subscription.
    • Ruth Hindman Foundation H. E. Francis Short Story Competition -- December 31
      A prize of $1,000 for an original, unpublished short story. Submit two copies of a story of no more than 5,000 words to Department of English, Morton Hall 222, H.E. Francis Contest, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL 35899. $15.00 entry fee.
    • Shaara Book Prize -- December 31
      An award of $5,000 is awarded annually to honor a novel about the Civil War published in the current calendar year to "encourage fresh approaches to Civil War fiction." Publishers, critics, and authors may submit books published this year to the Michael Shaara Book Prize, Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, 300 N. Washington Street, Campus Box 435, Gettysburg, PA 17325. No entry fee.
    • Ruth Hindman Foundation H. E. Francis Short Story Competition -- December 31
      A prize of $1,000 for an original, unpublished short story. Submit two copies of a story of no more than 5,000 words to Department of English, Morton Hall 222, H.E. Francis Contest, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL 35899. $15.00 entry fee.
    • Shaara Book Prize -- December 31
      An award of $5,000 is awarded annually to honor a novel about the Civil War published in the current calendar year to "encourage fresh approaches to Civil War fiction." Publishers, critics, and authors may submit books published this year to the Michael Shaara Book Prize, Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, 300 N. Washington Street, Campus Box 435, Gettysburg, PA 17325. No entry fee.

      To check out contests for other months, click here.

      Other Articles on Publishing:

      Find Your Next Job

      Job Search by