Skip to main content

More Bang for Your Contest Buck: Which Lit Mags Offer Something in Return for Entering Contests?

More Bang for Your Contest Buck: Which Lit Mags Offer Something in Return for Entering Contests?

By Jonathan Levy

As a new writer, I'm wary of contests. I'm not experienced enough to know whether my writing is even GOOD let alone good enough to win a contest. Also, as a new writer, I know it's important to get to know what's out there. To that end, I wanted to find a list of contests that offer subscriptions with the entry fee. But I could not find any such list. So I made one.

I started with lit mags I was familiar with somehow or another. Then I checked the sites of those listed in Clifford Garstang's rankings, Every Writers' Resource Top 50, and John Fox's BASS rankings (all from The Review Review's "Ranking Lit Mags, Ranking Writing" post). Finally, I went through the contest announcements (all, not just upcoming) on Poets & Writers.

Regarding the list, here are a few things you should know:

1) I was interested in only short stories and flash, so that's what I looked for. Anyone who wants the same info for collections, novellas, poetry, nonfiction, chapbooks, etc...sorry. For what it's worth, many (most?) of these contests hold them in several genres.

2) It goes without saying that anyone who wants to submit to a competition needs to look at the lit mag's website. I'm just one dude. I may have misread something. Contest guidelines may change from year to year. Point being, please don't be upset with me or especially the lit mags if you don't get the subscription that the list below promises.

3) There's no way I caught them all. Please add if you know of others! (I already have a list of ten or so I need to check back on because the contests are closed and no submission info is posted.)

Anyway, below is what each lit mag listed includes for its contest fee (with number of issues in parentheses).


Cloudbank (2 (1 per year))


Alligator Juniper (1)
Antigonish Review (4)
Black Warrior Review (2)
Boulevard (3)
Briar Cliff Review (1)
Chattahoochee Review (3)
Cincinnati Review (2)
Crab Orchard Review (2)
Crazyhorse (2)
CutBank (2)
Dogwood (1) (electronic)
Florida Review (2)
Folio (1)
Geist (3) (electronic if outside Canada)
Greensboro Review (2)
Gulf Coast (2)
Jabberwock Review (2)
Kenyon Review (4)
Laurel Review (2)
Indiana Review (2)
Meridian (2) (electronic)
Missouri Review (4)
New Letters (4)
New Millennium Writings (1)
New South (2)
Nimrod (2)
Ninth Letter (2)
Ploughshares (3)
PRISM international (4)
Puerto del Sol (2)
Quarter After Eight (1)
Redivider (2)
River Styx (3) (also a 1-issue option for a lower entry fee)
Salamander (2)
Slippery Elm (1)
Southern Indiana Review (2)
Sycamore Review (2)
Tampa Review (2)
Willow Springs (2)


Bellevue Literary Review (2)
Carolina Quarterly (3)
Iowa Review (3)


Boston Review - half-year subscription (3)


Bayou Magazine
Bear Deluxe Magazine
Bellingham Review
Chariton Review
Cream City Review
Green Mountains Review
Mid-American Review
Mississippi Review
Passages North
The Pinch
Reed Magazine
River Styx (also a one-year subscription option for a higher entry fee)
Ruminate Magazine
Southeast Review
Southwest Review
Tusculum Review


Narrative - three months’ access to Narrative Backstage
Philadelphia Stories - one-year membership

Jonathan Levy is a law-school graduate living for the time being in Arlington, VA with his wife and two dogs. He joined the fiction world late last year, and so far Boston Literary Magazine and Pure Slush have made him feel so grateful and lucky.


#1 Thanks!

This is an incredibly helpful list. Thanks, Jonathan (and Becky!).

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
2 + 0 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.