Submit Now: Emerging Writers Contest

About the Contest

The Dream Foundry Contest for Emerging Writers is an annual no submission fees contest with cash prizes! Every year our contest coordinator selects ten finalists from a pool of submissions from writers around the world. In addition to their cash prizes, winners get featured at Flights of Foundry, an annual convention where professionals from all over the industry come to discuss all things related to the speculative arts.

  • No Submission Fee
  • Last Date: 8 October, 2022

Cash Prizes

  • First Place: $1000
  • Second Place: $500
  • Third Place: $200


This contest is for writers who are relatively new to paid or incoming-earning publication of speculative short fiction in English. To be eligible for this contest, all four rules below must be true of you:

  • You have published a total of less than 4,000 words of paid or income-earning speculative fiction in English.
  • You have earned a total of less than USD 320 from those words.
  • You have never been nominated for any award listed here as a major award in speculative fiction.
  • You are not a previous winner of the Dream Foundry writing contest.

Please note that you are on the honour system for judging your own eligibility. However, we may disqualify any entrants in order to uphold the spirit of this contest’s goals; such determinations of eligibility are decided by the Dream Foundry and are not open to debate or argument.

Submission Guidelines

  • Submit one complete and finalized story of up to 10,000 words via our submission manager. Links to the submission manager will appear when submissions open.
  • All entries are final. No revisions are accepted.
  • No multiple submissions (do not send more than one story.)
  • Your submission must be previously unpublished at the time of submission, but simultaneous submissions (submitting the story to us while also submitting elsewhere) is allowed.
  • Entries can be from any country.
  • All entries must be original prose works in English. Plagiarism, poetry, song lyrics, or stories that utilize characters or settings from another person’s works will not be considered.

The manuscript should be in standard manuscript format and should be titled and numbered on every page, but the author’s name MUST BE DELETED from the manuscript file to facilitate fair judging.

Please Don’t Send

We are looking for short speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, weird fiction, etc.) Please don’t send us stories that have no speculative element (mainstream, contemporary, romance, westerns, historical fiction etc.)
Sexual and adult themed stories are allowed. Please don’t send us erotica or gratuitous depictions of violence, sexual assault, or abuse.

Don’t send novels or non-standalone novel excerpts, screenplays, poetry, non-fiction or works written for children.

How to Submit

Accepted file types: doc, docx, rtf, Max. file size: 256 MB.

Submit Here

You can see a list of our past finalists and winners on our Winners Page.


L. D. Lewis

A closely framed shot of a Black woman's head, face forward. Her shoulder length hair is worn natural. Her eyes are looking far off to the left of the frame, while the right corner of her mouth is quirked slightly upward. The effect is one that redners her looking amused but detached and conveys a great deal of charming personality.

L.D. Lewis does… well, a lot. She’s an award-winning SF/F writer and editor, and publisher at Fireside Fiction as of July 2021. She serves as a founding creator, Art Director, and Project Manager for the World Fantasy Award-winning and Hugo Award-nominated FIYAH Literary Magazine. She also serves the founding Director of Hugo-nominated FIYAHCON, chair of the 2021 Nebula Conference, and Awards Manager for the Lambda Literary Foundation. She also acquires novellas for and researches for the LeVar Burton Reads podcast. She frequently bothers the publishing industry by authoring studies about the treatment and experiences of racially/ethnically marginalized authors in speculative literature. She is the author of A Ruin of Shadows (Dancing Star Press, 2018) and her published short fiction and poetry includes appearances in FIYAH, PodCastle, Strange Horizons, Anathema: Spec from the Margins, Lightspeed, and Fireside Magazine, among others. She lives in Georgia, on perpetual deadline, with her coffee habit and an impressive Funko Pop! collection. Tweet her @ellethevillain.

Sarah Gailey

Sarah Gailey is a Hugo Award Winning and Bestselling author of speculative fiction, short stories, and essays. They have been a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and

Portrait of a white person with attitude in the best sense of the word. They are facing the camera, shoulder's at a slight angle, with a confident smirk. Their reddish brown hair is closely cropped at the sides and coiffed fetchingly at the top. They are rocking a black jacket over black shirt.

Locus awards for multiple years running. Their bestselling adult novel debut, Magic For Liars, was published by Tor Books in 2019. Their most recent novel, The Echo Wife, and first original comic book series with BOOM! Studios, Eat the Rich, are available now. Their shorter works and essays have been published in Mashable, The Boston Globe, Vice,, and the Atlantic. Their work has been translated into seven different languages and published around the world. You can find links to their work at and on social media at @gaileyfrey.


Julia Rios (they/them) is a queer, Latinx writer, editor, podcaster, and narrator whose fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in Latin American Literature Today, Lightspeed, and Goblin Fruit, among other places. Their editing work has won multiple awards including the Hugo Award. Julia is a co-host of This is Why We’re Like This, a podcast about the movies we watch in childhood that shape our lives, for better or for worse. They’ve narrated stories for Escape Pod, Podcastle, Pseudopod, and Cast of Wonders. They’re @omgjulia on Twitter.

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