TW Contests

The Talking Writing Prize is an annual contest that celebrates the diversity online of original, personally driven writing.

TW 2014 Contests

Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type (1874)

This year, we'll be awarding two nonfiction prizes:

  • Talking Writing Prize for Flash Nonfiction
    Judge: Dinty W. Moore, editor of Brevity magazine.
  • Talking Writing Prize for Advice Writing
    Judge: Emily Toth, "Ms. Mentor" advice columnist
    for the Chronicle of Higher Education.

To enter, click here.

Submission Deadline: October 1, 2014.

Awards: Each winner will receive $250 and publication in Talking Writing.


General Contest Guidelines

Since its debut in 2010, Talking Writing has showcased personal essays and other endangered forms of literary and journalistic writing.

TW editors believe strongly in building a community that promotes literary culture all over the Web—and the world. TW features have been reprinted in Salon, Ebony, and the Huffington Post, among other online media sites. TW issues have featured interviews with Jennifer Egan, Robert Olen Butler, Terry Tempest Williams, Connie Willis, Andrew Lam, Mark Vonnegut, and many others. TW also publishes poetry, fiction, and the work of visual artists and photographers.

All contest submissions are reviewed by top TW editors and considered for publication in the magazine.

Submit all entries at, selecting the correct category name for your entry. (For example: "Contest 2014: TW Prize for Flash Nonfiction.") The $15 fee for each entry offsets administrative costs and supports ongoing publication of TW.

Enter as many pieces as you like, although each entry requires a separate submission and contest fee. Simultaneous submissions are fine, too, as long as you notify us immediately if your story is accepted elsewhere. We'll consider unpublished works only, and all entries must be in English.

Include only the story title and page numbers on the first page and in the header. Author names, bios, and cover letters will not be seen by contest readers or judges until the winners have been selected.


2014 Contest Information

Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type (1874)

Category 1: Flash Nonfiction

We're looking for very short, very powerful nonfiction work on any theme—be it creative nonfiction, an essay, or a tiny memoir. The key here is "flash." Length: 500 words or less.

The judge for this category is Dinty W. Moore, editor of the online journal of flash nonfiction Brevity. He's a professor of nonfiction writing at Ohio University and the author of The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life as well as the memoir Between Panic & Desire.

Category 2: Advice Writing

Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type (1874)

We're looking for great—and unusual—advice pieces, especially those that focus on writing craft and career dilemmas. These nonfiction features (also known as service or "how-to" articles) can range from the very practical to the inspirational. We're open to different formats, too, including the classic question-and-answer approach of an advice column. Humor and a light touch are encouraged. Length: 800 to 1,500 words.

The judge for this category is Emily Toth, author of eleven books, including Ms. Mentor’s Impeccable Advice for Women in Academia and Ms. Mentor’s New and Ever More Impeccable Advice for Women and Men in Academia. She writes the "Ms. Mentor" online advice column for the Chronicle of Higher Education, is a professor of English and Women’s Studies at Louisiana State University, and is TW's "Nothing But the Toth" columnist.

And the Award Goes To...

Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type (1874)

Each winner will receive a prize of $250, to be presented in December 2014.

The winning pieces will be published in the Winter and Spring 2015 issues of Talking Writing. Winners will be listed on the TW Contests page and in our newsletter.

We'll also promote winners on Twitter, Facebook, and other venues. TW currently logs almost a quarter million page views annually from an audience of committed writers and readers.


TW Contest Winners for 2012

Talking Writing Prize for Short Fiction
Judge: David Cameron
Winner: David Meischen for Agua Dulce

Talking Writing Prize for Nature Writing
Judge: Steven Lewis
Winner: John Gredler for Glistening Scar

TW Contest Winners for 2013

Talking Writing Prize for Flash Fiction
Judge: Joanne Avallon
Winner: Charlotte M. Porter for Deaf Uncle

Talking Writing Prize for Creative Nonfiction
Topic: Family Life
Judge: Lorraine Berry
Winner: Drew Ciccolo for Paige


Small Print

By submitting a contest entry, you agree that if your piece is a prize winner or is selected for publication, Talking Writing, Inc., will acquire First North American serial rights, the right to put it or portions of it on the TW website, and the one-time, non-exclusive right to include it in a TW anthology, should there ever be one. All other rights are retained by the author.

You also warrant that your piece is an original work, is solely owned by you, and has not been previously published.


The public-domain images here are from Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, Etc, published by the William H. Page wood type company in 1874. They appear here via the Public Domain Review.


Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, Etc.
Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, Etc.They appear via the Public Domain Review. 


Yes, certainly, the TW contests are open to non-Americans, as long as the pieces are in English. At TW, we're looking for great online writing, and we see such writing crossing all sorts of boundaries. Thanks for asking, Lucia.

Anne, thanks so much for checking in. Occasionally, we republish blog posts in Talking Writing. For the contest, however, they would be ineligible, since we'll request First North American serial rights for winning pieces.

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