Saturday, May 21, 2022

Lots of writing contests (including a free contest) and markets for your short fiction, poetry, and nonfiction

Note: You can hang out and chat with quick brown foxes and vixens on my Facebook page (here). Just send a friend request to Brian Henry.

Also, if you’re not yet on my newsletter, send me an email, including your locale, to: ~ Brian


RoomMagazine welcomes submissions from people of “all marginalized genders,” including cis and trans women, trans men, nonbinary and Two-Spirit people, but no men allowed. And like everybody else, they specifically encourage writers with “overlapping under-represented identities” to submit.

Room has five contests on their calendar: Poetry (June 15 – Aug 15); Short Forms (Sept 1 – Nov 1); Cover Art (Nov 15 – Jan 15); Fiction (Jan 15 – March 15); and currently running... 

Creative Nonfiction Contest Judge
Luna Ferguson 

Creative Nonfiction Contest: Submit creative nonfiction (memoir, travel writing, nonfiction humour, essay, literary journalism, personal journalism, biography, profile, etc.) of up to 3,500 words.

Prizes: $1,000, $250, and $100 for honorable mentions. First and second prize pieces may be published in Room; Honourable Mentions will be published on Room’s Website. Entry fee: $35 from within Canada; $45 from the US or $55 from outside North America. All entries receive a one-year subscription to Room.

Deadline: June 1, 2022. Details here.

Room also accepts regular submissions of short stories, poems, creative nonfiction, and art. Pays $50 per page to a maximum of $200.

Guidelines here.


Variety Pack is an independent and voluntarily run online literary magazine.  Their Editors are based all over: Lahore, Pakistan; Southwestern Oregon; Oakland, California; Atlanta, Georgia; and Western NY. They publish full issues tri-quarterly, mini-packs, & special issues at different times throughout the year. 

“We firmly believe that diversity is the bedrock of the Arts, and hope to establish that with our wide variety of contributors and the artistic expressions found within our publications.”

Variety Pack is temporarily open for submissions of short fiction, nonfiction, poetry, reviews and interviews, and visual arts, comics and mixed media.

For fiction: either flash fiction under 1,000 words or short stories up to 9,000 words. “We want something short that kicks through the door and pushes against the literary grain. We crave gripping, haunting work that is hard to turn away from once we dig in. We accept both genre and literary work.

For nonfiction: cultural criticism, immersive journalism, memoirs, creative nonfiction, and essays. Maximum 1,500 words (though you can submit up to three nonfiction pieces at a time).

For poetry, they’re open to any and all forms.

For reviews and interviews, they wan in-depth reviews, review essays, and interviews. Welcomes reviews of music, books, films, TV, art, and theatre.

Deadline: June 15, 2022. Full Guidelines here.


Toasted Cheese is a literary quarterly and a writing community. They’re well worth checking out. Toasted publishes poetry, flash, fiction, creative nonfiction, and reviews. TC was founded in 2001 by a group of American and Canadian women writers. Like everyone else, they are committed to publishing a diversity of voices and, unlike many Canadian journals, welcome submissions from around the world.

Toasted encourages unpublished writers to submit. “We are impressed by quality writing, not by a list of credentials.” Currently, there is no remuneration other than recognition. 

No “excessively graphic” sex or violence.

Submission guidelines here.

Toasted Cheese also runs four annual free contests:

Dead of Winter Horror Fiction Writing Contest. Submissions accepted Oct 1 – Dec 21. More here.

The Mollie Savage Memorial Writing Contest is a 48-hour short story writing contest. It runs twice a year on the weekends closest to March 21 and September 21. This coming September, the contest will be Science Fiction and Fantasy and opens Sept 23 at 5 p.m. More here.

And A Midsummer Tale contest – open now and every spring, April 1 – June 21.

A Midsummer Tale is a summer-themed narrative writing contest open to non-genre1 fiction and creative nonfiction.

The theme of the 2022 A Midsummer Tale writing contest is: The End. This year your challenge is to write about a personal ending that ties into a concurrent cataclysmic event and together feel like the end of the world for your protagonist.

Your story must be set during the hot summer months and the theme must play an integral role in the story.

Identify your story as fiction or creative nonfiction. For CNF entries, please indicate whether names have been changed.

Length: 1,000 words minimum; 5,000 words maximum.

Winning stories are published in the September issue of Toasted Cheese.

§  If 50 or fewer eligible entries are received, first place receives a $35 Amazon gift card & second a $10 Amazon gift card.

§  If 51 or more eligible entries are received, first place receives a $50 Amazon gift card, second a $15 Amazon gift card & third a $10 Amazon gift card.

Questions? Ask on the contest announcement post or on Twitter @toasted_cheese.

Deadline June 21, 2022. Contest guidelines and rules here.  


The Ontario Poetry Society has nine contests listed. See them all here

The next contest is their Ultra Short Poem Competition: Poems must be no more than 8 lines and no more than 8 words on a line. Prizes: $100; $75; $50; $25, plus 36 Judge’s Choice Awards. All prize-winning poems to be published in a chapbook; all winners get a free copy. Entry fee $10 for up to 5 poems, the $2 for each additional poem.

Deadline: June 30, 2022. Details here.


See Brian Henry’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.

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