Writing Contests

Contests are a great way to sharpen your submission skills and get your work out there. Plus, you could win part of the $1,300 in prize money we award to our contest winners. Winning entries are critiqued in our Winners' Workshop where we announce the winners in a live webinar.

The Institute for Children's Literature and the Institute for Writers offer writing contests year around for various genres. Enter one of our current contests below:

IFW Holiday Romance Contest

Are you ready to practice your holiday romance writing skills? The Institute for Writers is challenging you to write an emotional scene––using any emotion you might find in a romance novel–– with a winter holiday twist.

This scene can take place anywhere in your book, but it can be no longer than 1,000 words.

Submit a touching, funny, or sad moment (or any moment that is truly emotional) between two romantic interests during a holiday season. It can be sexy or sweet, but it has to be emotional and the emotion must come from what they’re experiencing during the winter holiday.

Deadline: December 4, 2020

CLICK HERE for more details.

Contest rules available here:

IFW Contest Rules

ICL Contest Rules

Add yourself to our weekly newsletter to hear when our Winners Workshops and upcoming contests are announced.

Institute for Children's Literature Newsletter

Institute for Writers Newsletter


For tips on how to improve your contest entries (and possibly win!), check out these resources from ICL and IFW:


How to Win a Contest by ICL Instructor Nancy Coffelt

Tighten Up Your Weakest Link for a Contest Win by ICL contributor Jan Fields

Why a Contest? Seven Lucky Reasons to Enter by ICL Contributor Jan Fields

Why Entering a Contest Helps YOU! with Katie Davis and Nancy Coffelt


Past Winners:







Sign up for our weekly tips & market leads. 

If you write for children, sign up for our ICL newsletter.

Writing for adults? Sign up for the IFW newsletter.