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Personal Essay Awards

ENTER NOW! Deadline:9/30/22. Writer’s Digest’s newest competition, the Personal Essay Awards, is now open for entries. Winners of the competition will be announced in our May/June 2023 issue of Writer's Digest.
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DEADLINE: September 30, 2022

We’re looking for personal essays! Think you can write a winning essay in 2,000 words or fewer? Enter the Writer’s Digest Personal Essay Awards for your chance to win $2,500 in cash, get published in Writer’s Digest magazine, and a paid trip to our ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference!

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PRIZES

One Grand Prize Winner will receive:

  • $2,500 in cash
  • Their essay title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s May/June 2023 issue
  • A paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference, including a coveted Pitch Slam slot

The Second Place Winner will receive:

  • $1,000 in cash
  • Their essay title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s May/June 2023 issue

The Third Place Winner will receive:

  • $500 in cash
  • Their essay title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s May/June 2023 issue

Fourth through Tenth Place Winners will receive:

  • $100 in cash
  • Their essay titles published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s May/June 2023 issue

Eleventh through Twenty-Fifth Place Winners will receive:

  • A $50 gift certificate for writersdigestshop.com

How to Enter

ENTERING IS EASY!

Create your free Submittable account by clicking the SUBMIT button. If you already have a Submittable account, simply log in!

*NEW* You can now compete in multiple WD competitions with a single login! Check back often for an updated list of competitions.

When you are ready to submit your work to the WD Personal Essay Awards readers, you’ll want to have the following information available:

Your contact information (be careful that the information provided is accurate). Contact information is to be provided only on the submission form (not on the submission’s file upload). Time sensitive information such as credits and contact information (for prize distribution) is taken directly from the submission form. Due to the nature of deadlines, corrections to this information are not guaranteed.

Your PERSONAL ESSAY AWARDS submission file (see the PREPARING YOUR ENTRY tips for more information).

Your method of payment (see the ENTRY PRICING, SUBMISSION DEADLINES AND WINNER NOTIFICATION page for tips for all pricing and deadlines).

Ready to enter? Click on the link below to get started!

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Special Guest Judge Estelle Erasmus

Special Guest Judge Estelle Erasmus

Estelle Erasmus, an award-winning journalist and writing coach, has written for over 100 publications, including The New York Times, Writer's Digest, The Week, Healthline, Next Avenue, GH, WIRED, The Independent, The Washington Post, Salon, Parents Magazine, AARP and more. She has been editor-in-chief of five national consumer publications. Erasmus writes the "All About The Pitch" column for Writer's Digest magazine, and is an adjunct professor for NYU. Her book WRITING THAT GETS NOTICED: How to find your voice, become a better storyteller and get published is forthcoming from New World Library in 2023. She speaks regularly about publishing at writing conferences all across the country.

She appeared on Good Morning America and won an ASJA award for her viral New York Times article "How to Bullyproof Your Child". Erasmus is a longtime member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and The American Society of Journalists and Authors, and a member of Women's Media Group. Her new podcast Freelance Writing Direct will launch in Fall 2022. She teaches pitching, personal essay writing, and getting started in writing for Writer’s Digest and is a three-time Blog Her Voice of the Year winner. She read her original work in the inaugural New York show of “Listen to Your Mother.” She can be found at her website (estelleserasmus.com) and on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok at @EstelleSErasmus

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