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Essay Contest 2023

The Writer is proud to present the

 

2023 Essay Contest

Submit your very best essay in 2,000 words or less. Any theme, subject, or genre is fair game, as long as it is nonfiction and falls under 2,000 words. Enter today for a chance to win the grand prize: $1,000 and publication in The Writer magazine!

Do you have what it takes? Enter today!

Submit your best work now – final deadline to submit is February 28, 2023

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ENTER OUR CONTEST TODAY!
The Writer Plus and VIP Members can take advantage of their FREE entry.
Writing is one method to discover ideas that a person previously never consciously considered.
Kilroy J. Oldster

Prizes

1st Prize
  • $1,000 cash prize
  • Publication in a print issue of The Writer magazine
  • Publication on The Writer’s website
  • One (1) one-year VIP The Writer membership
2nd Prize
  • $500 cash prize
  • Publication on The Writer’s website
  • One (1) one-year VIP The Writer membership
3rd Prize
  • $250 cash prize
  • Publication on The Writer’s website
  • One (1) one-year VIP The Writer membership

Entry Fees

$25

Per Entry

ENTER OUR CONTEST TODAY!
The Writer Plus and VIP Members can take advantage of their FREE entry.

Past Contests

Explore past winners, finalists and prizes from our previous contests.

View Contests

Frequently asked questions and official rules

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions. If your question isn’t answered here, please check the help page at Submittable or send us an email at [email protected] with the following details:

  1. The name of the contest (2023 Essay Contest)
  2. The title of your submission as it appears in Submittable
  3. The exact nature of your problem

Question: Who may enter?

Answer:

Contest is open to individuals over the age of 18.

Question: How do I enter?

Answer:

Click “Enter Our Contest Today!” You’ll need to be logged in to your Submittable account to enter. If you don’t have an account, click https://manager.submittable.com/signup to register for your free account.

Question: In what format should I submit my essay?

Answer:

We prefer Word documents, but we do accept some other file types (such as PDFs). Please do give your piece a title and make sure that title matches the name you enter in the Submittable “title” form. (Your title will not be included in the maximum word count.) For multiple submissions, simply enter one of your stories’ titles in the Submittable form. We do not have any particular spacing or font preferences as long as your entry is legible. However, please REMOVE ALL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION (including your name) from your document before you submit or your submission may be disqualified.

Question: How many submissions may I enter?

Answer:

There is no limit to the amount of submissions you may enter. However, each submission must consist of only one document of 2,000 words or less.

Question: How much does it cost to enter?

Answer:

Enter from January 10, 2023 until February 28, 2023 at 11:59 PM EST at $25 for each entry. All submissions are final. Refunds will not be provided.

Question: Can I pass the word on this competition to my friends, classmates, Facebook/Twitter followers, etc.?

Answer:

Yes, please! The link to the contest portal is https://www.writermag.com/the-writer-contests/essay-contest

Question: Do I have to print or mail in my stories?

Answer:

No. We only accept entries via Submittable. We cannot accept mailed or emailed entries in order to collect payment and ensure a blind contest.

Question: When will the winners be notified and announced?

Answer:

We expect all judging to be complete by the end of December 2023, if not before. Winners will be announced in a future print issue of The Writer and are often announced in print long before the winners are posted online.

Question: What are the prizes?

Answer:

The grand prize is $1,000, publication in The Writer magazine and on writermag.com, and one 1-year VIP membership. The second-place winner will receive $500, publication on writermag.com and one 1-year VIP membership. The third-place winner will receive $250, publication on writermag.com and one 1-year VIP membership.

Question: Can I edit my submission after I’ve already submitted it?

Answer:

If you’d like to swap out your file with a more updated version, please email us and indicate:

  1. The name of the contest (2023 Essay Contest)
  2. The story title as it appears in Submittable

However, if your essay has already been read by our judging panel, you will not be allowed to swap out the file.

Question: Are the submissions blind?

Answer:

Yes. This is a blind contest and your confidentiality is essential. Please remove your name, bio, and any contact info from the file that you submit, including title page, header and footer. Once we close the contest and determine our winners, Submittable will allow us to contact you via your account information. There is no need whatsoever to include your personal information in your document.

Question: How can I get a refund for a submission I already entered?

Answer:

All submissions are final. Refunds will not be provided.

Question: Can I use a work that I’ve published elsewhere?

Answer:

All submissions must be previously unpublished. A work that has previously appeared on any blog or website is considered previously published and is thus ineligible for our competition.

Question: What rights do you retain?

Answer:

We only ask for first rights of publication for our top three entries; the author retains the copyright. We request zero rights for works we do not publish; all rights remain with the author.

Question: Can I enter a simultaneous submission?

Answer:

You may enter simultaneously submitted work. However, if one of your pieces is accepted for publication anywhere else, please withdraw your entry on Submittable and email us at [email protected] immediately so we know your story is no longer under consideration. We are not able to give refunds for contest entries that were accepted for publication elsewhere, so consider your options carefully before entering simultaneously submitted work.

Question: What time zone is the final deadline?

Answer:

Eastern time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, we recommend using an online time zone converter, such as thetimezoneconverter.com.

Question: I’m a Member Plus or VIP. How do I redeem one of my free contest entries?

Answer:

Please log in to your account through our contest landing page, and you should be directed to Submittable from there with a unique link. If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected] and we will get back to you within a couple of business days.

The Writer Essay Contest 2023 Official Rules

Deadline: February 28, 2023
Grand Prize: $1,000 and publication in our magazine, publication in a print issue of The Writer magazine, publication on our website writermag.com, and one (1) one-year VIP The Writer membership.
Word Count: 2,000 words or less
Other prizes: Our second-place winner will receive $500, publication on our website writermag.com, and one (1) one-year VIP The Writer membership; our third-place winner will receive $250, publication on our website writermag.com and one (1) one-year VIP The Writer membership.

Please read all guidelines before submitting or your work may be disqualified.

Guidelines:

  • The submission period is from January 10 to 11:59 ET on February 28, 2023. Please note that the deadline is eastern time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, we recommend using an online time zone converter, such as thetimezoneconverter.com. Every year, we receive emails from writers who waited until the last minute to enter and experienced a technical glitch or another emergency. To be safe, we recommend submitting before the final deadline to account for any problems. If you experience a technical problem or glitch, we recommend contacting Submittable directly at [email protected]. If you experience a non-technical problem or you have a question, contact [email protected] and we will do our very best to help you, but please read through ALL guidelines before emailing as your question may have already been answered.
  • Please remove your name, bio, and any contact info from the file that you submit, including title page, header and footer. This is a blind contest and your confidentiality is essential. Once we close the contest and determine our winners, Submittable will allow us to contact you via your account information. There is no need whatsoever to include your personal information in your document.
  • The entry fee is $25 (including processing fees). All entries MUST be submitted through Submittable to be considered. We cannot accept mailed or emailed submissions. Entry fees are non-refundable.
  • All entrants will receive a message via Submittable regarding the final status of your submission once judging has closed. We expect all judging to be complete by the end of December 2023, if not before. Please do not contact us about the status of your submissions until that time.
  • You may choose to add on a critique of one of your entries for an additional $40. Our critiques are roughly 200 words and aim to show both your work’s best strengths in addition to what might need improvement.
    • If you submit more than one piece, our judging panel will critique the essay that we felt was the strongest overall. Again, if you submit more than one entry and you add-on a critique fee, we will only critique one piece.
    • You will receive your critique in an email via Submittable once we close the contest and announce the winners. It takes a great deal of time to read all entries and craft our critiques, so please have patience with us as we work through our entries. Our critique times vary based on how many submissions we received and can take up to six months after the contest has closed for our staff to process.
    • Please do not contact us about the status of your critique until Aug. 31, 2023. It is our hope to have completed all critiques sooner than that date, but we are unable to predict how many entries we will receive and we want to give our staff ample time to craft thoughtful critiques. If you need a critique sooner than that date, please do not purchase the critique option.
  • You may enter simultaneously submitted work. However, if one of your pieces is accepted for publication anywhere else, please withdraw your entry on Submittable and email us at [email protected] immediately so we know your story is no longer under consideration. We are not able to give refunds for contest entries that were accepted for publication elsewhere, so consider your options carefully before entering simultaneously submitted work.
  • This is an essay (nonfiction) contest. Do not submit short stories, poetry, or other works of fiction. Do not submit any work over 2,000 words or it will be disqualified. (Your piece’s title will not be included in the final word count.)
  • We prefer Word documents, but we do accept some other file types (such as PDFs). Please do give your piece a title and make sure that title matches the name you enter in the Submittable “title” form. (Your title will not be included in the maximum word count.) For multiple submissions, simply enter one of your stories’ titles in the Submittable form.
  • We only ask for first rights of publication for our top three entries; the author retains the copyright. We request zero rights for works we do not publish; all rights remain with the author.
  • A blind reading of all entries will be conducted by our judging panel.
  • Although we rarely do so, please know that we reserve the right to extend the official deadline as needed. Any deadline extensions will be announced via our newsletter, which you can subscribe to here: writermag.com/newsletter/.
  • Close friends and colleagues (current & former) of The Writer staff and Madavor Media are not eligible to compete.
  • All submissions must be submitted via our online submission form manager. Again, we will not accept mail or email submissions.
  • All submissions must be previously unpublished. A work that has previously appeared on a blog or website is considered previously published and is thus ineligible for our competition.
  • If your work is selected as a winner, we request first rights of publication in order to publish the work in our magazine. The copyright will always remain with the author.
  • Entry fees are non-refundable.
  • International (non-US) writers are welcome to submit.
  • Must be 18 years or older to enter.