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Writing Opportunities for Students

We’ve been asked by the following publications to share their calls for submissions.  Please contact the publications directly if you have questions or submissions.

Note that the most recent additions are posted at the  top.

  •  SmashCut Screenplay Competition – early bird deadline February 15, 2018

Taliesin Nexus is proud to announce the judging panel for the inaugural 2018 season of the SmashCut Screenplay Competition.


Bill co-wrote the romantic time-travel thriller DEJA VU, which holds the record for the highest-priced spec screenplay of all time after selling to producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Touchstone Pictures for $5 million. Starring Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Val Kilmer and Jim Caviezel, the movie opened Thanksgiving 2006 and went on to gross over $180 million worldwide. Soon after, Bill sold 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA: CAPTAIN NEMO to Walt Disney Pictures, and with his DEJA VU partner Terry Rossio sold their space adventure LIGHTSPEED to Bruckheimer/Disney as well. Bill is currently adapting the sci-fi comic SEBASTIAN X for producer Gale Anne Hurd and director Martin Campbell, and has just sold an original project, COLD, to Lionsgate with Reese Witherspoon attached to star and produce.

Sara Anne Fox is a former development executive and producer with over 40 years in the film industry. Sara played a vital role in the conception and development of over 25 screenplays, three published novels and three produced films: MY FAVORITE YEAR, NOSFERATU and the Oscar winning film QUEST FOR FIRE. For over 20 years, she has used her skills as a writing coach and story editor with screenwriters and novelists to strengthen character development, clarify motivation and improve story structure and plot.

Craig currently is co-executive producer on Marvel’s AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D on ABC television. As a screenwriter, Craig wrote PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTENING THIEF, CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN starring Steve Martin, and wrote for the tv series STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS.

The SmashCut Screenplay Competition is currently accepting scripts
(PDF format only) in two separate categories:

Feature Film

Short Film / Series Pilot

Early Bird deadline is fast approaching – February 15
Regular deadline – April 30, 2018
11th Hour deadline – May 31, 2018
Notification date – November 22, 2018
Event date – November 22, 2018

• One-on-one script analysis with screenwriter Paul Guay (LIAR, LIAR)
• A $2500 Writing Fellowship with an industry screenwriting mentor
• Acceptance into the SmashCut Film Lab and a $10,000 film grant
• Cash Prize and much more…

  • Zócalo Public Square’s Seventh Annual Poetry Prize – closes February 2, 2018

Zócalo Public Square, the Los Angeles-based ideas magazine, is now accepting submissions for our seventh annual poetry prize, which is awarded to the U.S. poet whose poem best evokes a connection to place.

The winning poet in 2018 will receive $500, a published interview, and deliver a public reading of the winning poem at our annual Book Prize award ceremony in Los Angeles. There is no fee to enter this contest.

The deadline is February 2, 2018.

Send up to three poems to

More information at:

  • 2018 Gatewood Prize – closes March 1, 2018

The Gatewood Prize is Switchback Books’ annual competition for a first or second full-length collection of poems by a woman. It is named after Emma Gatewood, the first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.

Judge: Heather Christle
Dates: January 1, 2018 – March 1, 2018
Contest Fee: $20 (or $28 with a book from our catalog)

Eligibility Requirements
Our definition of “woman” includes all women, including transgender and all other female-identified individuals.
Writers must have no more than one previous collection of poems (48 pages or longer) published or under contract. Chapbooks, broadsides, and other shorter publications do not affect eligibility.
Manuscripts by close friends and former students of the judge or editors are ineligible. If the judge or editors would recognize your manuscript for any reason, please do not enter the contest.
Individual poems from the manuscript may have been published previously in magazines, chapbooks of less than 48 pages, or anthologies, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished.
Simultaneous submissions are permitted. Please let us know immediately if your manuscript is accepted by another publisher while under our consideration.​
Co-written collections are eligible provided both poets meet all eligibility requirements.
Translations ineligible.
Entries that do not meet these terms may be disqualified. Please email with any questions.

Manuscript Requirements
Manuscripts should be between 48 and 80 pages, paginated.
Please remove any identifying references from your manuscript (including those in the body of the manuscript).
Please include a cover letter with a one-paragraph bio and list of acknowledgments in the cover letter box on Submittable; do not upload a cover letter as the first page of your manuscript and do not include your acknowledgments in the manuscript document.
Table of contents recommended.

Multiple submissions are acceptable, but each manuscript must be entered under separate cover and fee.
No revisions to submitted manuscripts will be considered; the winning manuscript may be revised before publication.

Click here to submit

  • Epiphany Magazine – closes February 15, 2018

Epiphany Magazine announces the first annual Breakout Eight Writers Prize sponsored by the Authors Guild
Judged by Alexander Chee, Hannah Tinti, and Tracy O’Neill

Purpose: To honor and support outstanding emerging literary voices amongst student writers, bringing visibility to the writers of our future.

Prize: Eight writers will receive publication in Epiphany’s Breakout Eight special issue; a $250 cash prize; a year-long mentorship with Epiphany editor-in-chief, 2015 National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, and 2012 Center for Fiction fellow Tracy O’Neill; a complimentary one-year student membership to the Authors Guild, including free access to seminars, webinars, and the writers’ resource library; a featured interview published on the Epiphany website, in the Authors Guild Bulletin, and on the Authors Guild website; a one-year subscription to Epiphany; and a short manuscript review.

Eligibility: Candidates must be enrolled in an accredited university at least part-time for the academic year Fall 2017­–Spring 2018. The prize is open to both graduate and undergraduate students. Students need not be enrolled in MFA programs or creative writing programs.

Submission: Applications will be submitted by individual writers. They must include a creative work and a “Statement of Interest” including the author’s enrollment status and university, and an email address and telephone number for the department head of the student’s program of study. Manuscripts may be a single work of short fiction, novel excerpt, or work of creative nonfiction of no more than thirty double-spaced pages, or up to five poems. The author’s name should NOT appear on the creative manuscript. All entries must be submitted via Submittable. The entry fee of $10 can be paid via Submittable to subsidize administrative costs associated with the application review. Submit here. 

Judging: Honorees will be selected blind on the basis of the work’s creative merit by a judging panel of Authors Guild Council Members Alexander Chee and Hannah Tinti, and Epiphany Editor-in-Chief Tracy O’Neill.

Deadline: Entries must be received by February 15.

Epiphany is a nonprofit literary journal published in print twice per year. We are interested in risk-taking work, and though we’ve published well-established writers like Elena Ferrante and Patricia Smith, we are especially open to writers whose explorations of new territory may not yet have found validation elsewhere. In the first year of the PEN/Robert J. Dau Prize for Debut Fiction, a story from the magazine, “A Message” by Ruth Serven, was awarded the honor. Our contributors have included winners of the Pulitzer Prize, the Man Booker Prize, and the National Book Award.

The Authors Guild has been the nation’s most trusted resource for working writers since 1912, advocating on behalf of all authors, and offering guidance, advice, and community in the form of professional support, education about the legal and business sides of writing, and networking opportunities. As the largest and oldest community of professional writers, the Guild is committed to providing lifelong support to authors of all stripes as they move through multiple stages of their careers. Whether it’s securing an agent, landing a first book contract, negotiating royalties, or reclaiming rights, the Guild stands by its members, helping to ensure a sustainable future for every author. The Authors Guild has spent over 100 years advocating for the rights of authors, protecting copyright, defending free speech, and ensuring fair pay. Its advocacy work is on the front lines of the fight to guarantee writers can continue to have the creative freedom that comes with the ability to earn a living wage, and can continue to produce the diversity of books that free expression makes possible.

  • Catamaran Poetry Prize – closes March 15, 2018

The 2018 Catamaran Poetry Prize is now open for submissions.
The contest is open to West Coast poets living in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Submissions will be accepted from Nov 1, 2017 until the deadline: March 15, 2018.
Manuscripts must be between 60-100 pages in length. Simultaneous submissions will be accepted, but inform us immediately if the manuscript is accepted elsewhere.
For complete submission guidelines, visit our website link here: Catamaran Poetry Prize Guidelines

Submissions will be accepted from Nov 1, 2017 until the deadline: March 15, 2018.

 The winning poetry manuscript will be published in book form and awarded a prize of $1,000
The winning poetry collection will be judged and selected by Zack Rogow. 500 copies of the winning book will be published.

  • Punctuate Creative Nonfiction – closes April 30, 2018

Punctuate is a nonfiction magazine of the Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago. Published year round online, beginning in October of 2015, Punctuate will also publish a print edition once a year. We are looking for creative nonfiction in a broad array of forms, including essays, memoir, craft essays, graphic essays, and hybrid works. We will reply in eight to twelve weeks. Multiple submissions are accepted. Submissions every month during the academic year September – May.


  • WNBA Writing Contest 2018 – closes March 1, 2018

$250 cash prizes for the winner in each category and publication in The Bookwoman.

Categories and Judges


Carol Smallwood will judge the poetry submissions. One of Carol Smallwood’s over five dozen anthologies, Women on Poetry: Tips on writing, revising, publishing and teaching, is on Poets & Writers Magazine’s List of Best Books for writers. Her latest is Library Outreach to Writers and Poets: Interviews and case studies of cooperation (McFarland, 2017). A multiple Pushcart nominee, she has served as reader, reviewer, interviewer, and judge and has received various recognitions such as a National Federation of State Poetry Societies Award.


Regina Marler will judge the fiction submissions. After Editing Selected Letters of Vanessa Bell, Ms. Marler wrote Bloomsbury Pie: The Making of the Bloomsbury Boom, and edited Queer Beats: How the Beats Turned America on to Sex. Her fiction has appeared in North American Review, Carolina Quarterly, and elsewhere. Her story, She has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, the New York Observer,, and the Advocate and currently contributes to the New York Times Book Review, the TLS, and the Signet Classics series. Recent essays include the Cambridge Companion to Bloomsbury, Queer Bloomsbury, and forthcoming: Oxford Guide to Virginia Woolf.


Katie Hafner will judge the nonfiction submissions. She has been writing for The New York Times since 1991. She has also written for The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Wired, The New Republic, and O, the Oprah Magazine. Her books include Cyberpunk: Outlaws and hackers on the computer frontier (with John Markoff), Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The origins of the internet (with Matthew Lyon), and others. Her most recent book Mother Daughter Me, a memoir about multigenerational living, was published in 2013 by Random House.

YA Fiction

Tanya Egan Gibson will judge the Young Adult fiction submissions. Her debut novel, How to Buy A Love of Reading, was published by Dutton in May 2009. An alumna of Squaw Valley Community of Writers, she is mother to a four-year-old who produces countless construction paper “books” that she insists Mommy “get published” and an infant whose favorite teether is HTBALOR, and wife to the most patient man in the universe.

For contest requirements, fees, and submission information, please go to: