The New Letters Writing Contests & Deadlines

2019 Winners & Judges Announced.
Click here for a list of winners, finalists and judges. 

Judges and Winners
(Left to Right: Kevin Wilson, Angie Sijun Lou, Sheila Kohler,
Terrance Manning Jr., Gary Dop, Brianna Flavin.)

* The Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction, send by May 18, 2021 (See below).

* The Patricia Cleary Miller Award for Poetry, send by May 18, 2021 (See below).

* The Robert Day Award Fiction, send by May 18, 2021 (See below).

* Publication Fiction Award, October 2020 deadline (See left column).

Coming Awards Deadline: Monday, May 18, 2021. 


The $2,500 Patricia Cleary Miller Award for Poetry

for the best group of three to six poems. 

The $2,500 Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction

for the best Essay. 

The $2,500 Robert Day Award for Fiction

for the best short story.

  Online Entry Page  


Upload your writing online by midnight (PST) Monday, May 18th. Entries sent after midnight (PST) May 18th cannot be considered or refunded. Please read guidelines carefully to insure best service.  

Submit with each entry:

$24 entry fee for each manuscript submitted. A one-year subscription or subscription renewal to New Letters, shipped to any address within the United States, is included in the price of the first entry.  (Subscriptions mailed outside the U.S. require a $15 postal surcharge.)  

Please include one cover sheet with your entry stating the genre and the tile of the essay or short story. For poetry, please list the titles of each poem. Your personal information should not appear anywhere on the entry.  

The name of the file you upload should be the name of your manuscript or the number of poems in your entry.


  • Simultaneous submissions of unpublished entries are accepted with proper notification upon acceptance elsewhere.
  • All entries will be considered for publication in New Letters.
  • Fiction and essay entries should not exceed 8,000 words.  A single poetry entry may contain up to six poems, and those poems need not be related.
  • Multiple entries are accepted with appropriate fees.  
  • No substitutions after submissions.  No refunds will be offered for withdrawn material.
  • Current students and employees of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and current volunteer members of the New Letters and BkMk Press staffs, are not eligible.


  • Finalists are notified in mid-August, after preliminary judging.
  • Final judging selects one winner and one runner-up in each category, announced the third week of September.
  • Judges have the option to select work for second runner-up and honorable mentions.
  • All finalists are listed in the New Letters issue in which the winners are published.
  • These and all other entries will be considered for publication by the New Letters editor.

Online Entry Page


New Letters established its Awards for Writers in 1986 to discover and reward new writers and to encourage more established writers to try new genres or new work in competition.  The contest is open to any writer.  In order to assure fairness throughout the decision process, all judging is done anonymously and by writers outside the New Letters staff, with two rounds of judges making finalist and winner decisions.  For final judges from previous years, please see the list below.

Previous Awards Final Judges and Winners (1986 to Latest)

Kansas City Literary Events

Coutley, Gaskin & Molberg

Friday, August 21, 2020
Kansas City, Mo.


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