• Jessica Purgett

Writing Contests to Enter in September

We've saved you the hassle of researching writing contests to enter this month! See the list below for seven contests with September deadlines.


1. Fifty-three Word Story Contest

This is a free, monthly writing contest put on by Press 53. It is open to writers around the world who write in English. Every month, Press 53 posts a prompt on their website and, you guessed it, participants write a fifty-three word story. They open for entries on the first day of each month and the deadline is September 15. It's free to enter, and the winner gets published in Prime Number Magazine and receives a free book from Press 53. Find their website here.


2. L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest

This writing contest has been around for a long time. According to their website, "With more than three decades of developing new professional writers and more than a quarter century of cultivating new professional illustrators, the impact that the two contests have had on the field is impossible to measure." The contest is meant for new writers of science fiction and fantasy. No entry fee is required and the writer retains all publication rights to their story. Prizes of $1,000, $750, and $500 are awarded every three months. From these winners, judges select one story as the grand prize winner who receives the L. Ron Hubbard Golden Pen Award and a $5,000 cash prize. The next deadline is September 30. A link to their website is here.


3. PEN/ Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Authors

This contest is a little different because you have to have a shorty story previously published in a literary magazine, journal, or cultural website. (But you have time to work on it, the deadline isn't until November 15.) Each of the twelve winning writers is awarded a cash prize of $2,000, and the independent book publisher Catapult will publish their story in an annual anthology Best Debut Short Stories: The PEN America Dau Prize. Check out their website for official rules.


4. Red Hen Press Fiction Award

The Red Hen Press Fiction Award is relatively new, the first competition was in 2015. They look for a "fresh and original story of fiction with a minimum of 150 pages." The winner receives $1,000 and book publication by Red Hen Press. This year's contest will be judged by Susan Straight, who has published a memoir, eight novels, and two books for children. They require an entry fee of $25 and the deadline is September 30. A link to their website can be found here.


5. Hammond House Short Story Competition

The theme for their 2020 competition is "survival." Writers are encouraged to interpret the meaning in any way they choose. Stories should be between 2,000 and 5,000 words, and the entry fee is ten pounds. The deadline to submit is September 30. Check out their website here.


6. Dzanc Novella Prize

The Dzanc Novella Prize is a new prize, with the first winner being announced last year. Writer RE Katz won with the book And Then the Gray Heaven. Now, Dzanc Books is soliciting submissions for three different contests: the Prize for Fiction, the Short Story Collection, and a Diverse Voices Prize. The deadline to submit for all contests is September 30. To find out more about the contest, visit their Submittable page here.


7. Lascaux Prizes in Creative Nonfiction

For this prize, individuals might submit "memoirs, chronicles, personal essays, humorous perspectives, literary journalism—anything the author has witnessed, experienced, learned, or discovered," according to the website. Pieces can be previously published or unpublished and simultaneous submissions are accepted. The winner will receive a $1,000 prize, a bronze medallion, and publication online in The Lascaux Review. The entry fee for this prize is $15. The deadline to submit is September 30.