Winning Writers’ Sports Poetry & Prose Contest

29 January 2012

Winning Writers’ Sports Poetry & Prose Contest

Guidelines for the Sports Poetry & Prose Contest

This new contest seeks today’s best poetry and prose on sports-related themes. We will award $5,000 in prizes. Submit online.

Whether you’re a player or a fan, or the kid who counted the minutes till gym class was over, sports can bring out the best and the worst in human nature. In this arena, teamwork, loyalty, courage, disappointment, failure, fame (and shame), and second chances are regularly on display. Sports can reinforce bullying and social dominance, or offer personal empowerment to an underdog. Yet poems, stories and essays about sports are too often dismissed as “genre writing”. This contest aims to bridge the gap between the worlds of physical culture and literary culture. We’d like to see the jocks and the writers sit down at the same lunchroom table and discover that they’re both on a journey of self-transformation through disciplined risk-taking…and that they both really, really like to win. Click for advice from the contest judge.

Submission Period
Entries accepted November 15, 2011-May 31, 2012 (online submission dates)

What to Submit
An entry is 1-2 poems, one story, or one essay on a sports-related theme. Entries should be original and unpublished. Each entry may contain up to 6,000 words. You may submit an unlimited number of entries.


Poetry Category
First Prize, $1,500 cash
Second Prize, $500 cash
Five Honorable Mentions, $100 cash each

Prose Category (fiction and nonfiction compete together)
First Prize, $1,500 cash
Second Prize, $500 cash
Five Honorable Mentions, $100 cash each

All winners of cash prizes will be announced in our email newsletter and published on, which receives over one million page views per year.

Entry Fee
$15 per entry. We welcome online submissions with payment by credit or debit card. We also accept email submissions when paid via PayPal. Please note: Generally entry fees are not refundable. However, if you believe you have an exceptional circumstance, please contact us within one year of your entry.

Your entry must be submitted by May 31, 2012.

Preparing Your Entry
Please make sure your name does not appear anywhere within your entry. Make your entry easy to read—no illustrations, pictures, fancy fonts or decorative borders.

How To Submit
Click here to submit online (credit and debit cards)
Click here to submit via PayPal

Announcement of Winners
The winners of our inaugural contest will be announced on November 15, 2012.

Entries Must Be Original and Unpublished
Your entries must be original, written by you, unpublished (either in print or in an online journal), and not have received a monetary award or high honors from any other contest. Self-published work is not eligible. Exceptions: Works posted to the web outside of online journals, such as to a bulletin board, email list, personal web page, blog, critique site or public forum are eligible for entry. Our goal is to recognize work that has not yet received honors or wide publication. Please email us if you’re unsure of eligibility.

Simultaneous Submission Allowed
You may submit your works simultaneously to this contest and to other contests and publishers. Please notify us if one of your works wins an award in another contest or is published elsewhere.

English Language
Entries should be in English. Works translated from other languages are not eligible, unless you wrote both the original work and the translation.

We respect your privacy. Winning Writers does not rent customer or contestant information to third parties. Please click here for our full privacy policy.

You retain the copyright to your submission. If you receive a cash prize, Winning Writers only requests permission to publish your work on, in our email publications and in our press releases. Any other use will be negotiated with you.

Jendi ReiterFinal Judge of the Contest – Jendi Reiter
Ms. Reiter is the editor of Poetry Contest Insider, an online database of poetry and prose contests published by Winning Writers. She is the author of the poetry collection A Talent for Sadness (Turning Point Books, 2003) and the award-winning poetry chapbooks Swallow (Amsterdam Press, 2009) and Barbie at 50 (Cervena Barva Press, 2010). In 2010 she received a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists’ Grant for Poetry. Other awards include the 2011 OSA Enizagam Award for Fiction, first prize in the 2010 Anderbo Poetry Prize, second prize in the 2010 Iowa Review Awards for Fiction, first prize in the 2009 Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Prize from Quarter After Eight, first prize for poetry in Alligator Juniper’s 2006 National Writing Contest, and two awards from the Poetry Society of America. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Iowa Review, The New Criterion, Mudfish, Passages North, American Fiction, The Adirondack Review, Cutthroat, The Broome Review, FULCRUM, Juked, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Clackamas Literary Review, Alligator Juniper, MARGIE: The American Journal of Poetry, Phoebe, Best American Poetry 1990 and many other publications. Visit her blog at

Advice for Contestants
Read our Advice from the Judge before entering. It will measurably improve your chances. You may also find useful our page of Frequently Asked Questions.

About Winning Writers
Winning Writers finds and creates quality resources for poets and writers. Our expert online literary contest guide, Poetry Contest Insider, profiles over 1,250 poetry and prose contests. We directly sponsor the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest and the Sports Poetry & Prose Contest. We also assist the Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest, the Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse and the Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest. Winning Writers is proud to be one of “101 Best Websites for Writers” (Writer’s Digest, 2005-2011) and a recipient of the Truly Useful Site Award (Preditors & Editors, March 2006).

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