11 Awards and Contests for New Authors to Enter!

Something that’s been on my mind since I finished #NaNoWriMo is the opportunity for authors to enter their works into a contest or consideration for an award.

As you might already know, Inkitt, a site that allows writers to share their work within the platform, has a contest specifically for authors who participate in #NaNoWriMo. This got me interested in looking at other contests I could enter my book into. I put a lot of work into those 50,000 words, so might as well make the most of it, right?

Surprisingly, there isn’t as much out there as I thought there would be. A lot of awards or contests are hyper-tailored to a specific genre; one award I found only considers novels set in the American South.

I thought it might be helpful to other authors and writers to aggregate a list of contests.

These contests/awards are open to authors 18+ who write fiction, including young adult/new adult. Be aware that some have fees to apply, so I’ve given those less priority.

Inkitt X NaNoWriMo Contest

  • Contest for fiction writers who submit their NaNoWriMo projects. Inkitt also offers other contests throughout the year.
  • Prize: $1,500 for first; $1,000 for second, and $500 for third. Various other prizes for those selected.
  • Fees: none

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

  • Recognizes works that contribute to an understanding of racism or diversity. Book must be published within the previous year; no self-published works.
  • Prize: $10,000
  • Fees: none

Bard Fiction Prize

  • Awarded to American citizen 39 or younger with at least one published work and an in-progress work.
  • Prize: $30,000 and appt as writer-in-residence at Bard College
  • Fees: none

Cabell First Novelist Award

  • Recognizes a rising talent who published their first novel within the last year. Self-published books not considered.
  • Prize: $5,000 and travel to VA for a reading
  • Fees: none mentioned

The Ernest J. Gaines Award

  • Awarded to an emerging Black author for a book of fiction published in the previous year.
  • Prize: $15,000
  • Fees: none

Hodder Fellowship

  • Seeks writers who demonstrate intellectual and literary gifts (vague, I know.)
  • Prize: $88,000 stipend and a residency at Princeton
  • Fees: none

Young Lions Fiction Award

  • Recognizes authors under 35 who published a book in the previous year. The book must be for adults.
  • Prize: $10,000
  • Fees: none

The PEN/Faulkner Award

  • Recognizes 3 authors of fiction.
  • Prize: $15,000 first place; two runner-ups get $5,000
  • Fees: unknown (2023 contest opens early next year)

Friends of American Writers Chicago Awards

  • Awards fiction and YA writers based in several midwestern states who have published a novel in the last year. No self-published. Must have less than 3 published books.
  • Prize: Cash
  • Fees: none

James Jones First Novel Fellowship

  • Awarded to an American author of a first novel-in-progress.
  • Prize: $10,000 first place; $1,000 runner up
  • Fees: $30; $33 online submission

William Saroyan International Prize

  • Awarded two times a year for newly published fiction and nonfiction. Self-published is eligible.
  • Prize: $5,000
  • Fees: $50

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