Writing Contests for Novels, Novellas & Novel Excerpts in 2019

Writing a novel is definitely a major achievement, and if you have written one but want to hold off on publication or submitting it to publishing houses for a little while, then you may want to think about entering it into a novel contest instead. Some contests will require that you submit the entire novel, but more often they just require an excerpt from your novel. If this excerpt winds, there may even be a chance to get a publishing deal from the contest. Let’s take a look at some of the contest that are specifically for people asking how to write a novel.

William Van Wert Award for Fiction

This contest will give the winner publication in the hidden River review of arts and letters and it is open to the best short novel or novel excerpt. There is also $1000 prize that is awarded to the winner. Unfortunately, there is also an entry fee of $17. The deadline for submitting your novel this contest is June 30 of 2019, but it opens in February of each year.


This is a contest that has been going on since 2012. It is sponsored by David Weinstein and it is a program that is mostly targeted to high school age writers. They have a community that comes up with writing contests each month and award the prize of $100. The word count varies with each contest, and writers between the ages of 13 to 18 are eligible to enter. Besides the cash prize, they will get recognition for their story from the global community.


NanoWriMo, or the National Novel Writing Month, is not really a contest but more of an organization that tries to inspire people to write a fully novel of at least 50,000 words during the month of November each year. They have word sprints on their Twitter feed and a variety of support articles and tools on their website. Although there is no actual price for finishing your novel, they have offered prizes in the past such as a single publication and print copy of your novel sent to you if you reached 50,000 words.

Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

This contest is specifically for African-American fiction writers and the top cash prize is $10,000. In order to be eligible, authors have to have a novel or short story collection published in the same calendar year is the contest. The deadline for the contest’s August 15 of 2019.

PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

The PEN/Faulkner award for fiction is another terrific fiction contest. This award has been won by novelist such as Philip Roth and John Updike and the cash prizes up to $15,000 as well as attendance at an awards ceremony in Washington, DC. Again, for this when you actually have to have a book published that has to be published within the same year is a contest. For example, the deadline is October 31 in the book has to be published prior to that date but in 2019.

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