Personal Essay Awards

LEARN MORE! CLOSED Writer’s Digest’s newest competition, the Personal Essay Awards, is not currently open for entries. Winners of the competition will be announced in our May/June 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.
Author:
Publish date:
WD-PersonalEssay-2020-WebsiteImages-1100x615

CLOSED

We’re looking for personal essays! Think you can write a winning essay in 2,000 words or less? Enter the first ever 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!

Prizes

Special Guest Judge: Windy Lynn Harris

Special Guest Judge: Windy Lynn Harris

One Grand Prize Winner will receive:

  • $2,500 in cash
  • Their essay title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s May/June 2021 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 2021 issue

The Third Place Winner will receive:

  • $500 in cash
  • Their essay title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s May/June 2021 issue

Fourth through Tenth Place Winners will receive:

  • $100 in cash
  • Their essay titles published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s May/June 2021 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!

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let a character fall under the influence of something or someone.

WD-PersonalEssay-2020-WinnerGraphic

Suspended: Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards Winner

Congratulations to J.E. Stamper, grand prize winner of the Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards. Here's his winning essay, "Suspended."

Planting Clues: Red Herrings That Fool but Don't Frustrate Your Readers

Planting Clues: Red Herrings That Fool but Don't Frustrate Your Readers

Want to know how to keep your readers engaged and entertained with your mystery novel? Let these six tips from thriller author Kris Calvin guide you!

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 15

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a blank story poem.

Kristin Beck: On Writing Quickly and Publishing Slowly

Kristin Beck: On Writing Quickly and Publishing Slowly

Debut novelist Kristin Beck shares what it was like to write her historical fiction novel Courage, My Love and why she was so thankful for a slow publishing process.

Whitney Hill Elemental

Whitney Hill: Self-Published E-Book Awards Winner

Whitney Hill, winner of the 8th Annual WD Self-Published E-Book Awards, talks fan fiction, creating her own stories, and why she chose to self-publish.

8 Tips to Build Your Supportive Writing Network

8 Tips to Build Your Supportive Writing Network

Writing can be a solitary activity ... but it doesn't have to be. Let author Gale Massey give you some tips for building a supportive writing network.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 14

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a "from where you're sitting" poem.

Tension in Poetry: The Hidden Art of Line-Writing

Tension in Poetry: The Hidden Art of Line-Writing

Writer and editor Matthew Daddona explains how to easily create tension in your poems and how that adds weight to your message.