2024 Essay/Memoir Contest

Send us your creative non-fiction work now to win cash prizes!

$125, $75, and $50 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.
Entry fee: $15. Contest Dates: January 8th to April 15th, 2024 — Midnight EDT.

As with our regular essay/memoir submissions, we are seeking strong and stirring personal stories.



  1. Send us a minimum of 800 and maximum of 2400 words. Please do not submit previously published work.
  2. Please submit only one written work per entry–multiple entries are permitted, but please make a separate submission for each entry.
  3. Simultaneous submissions at other magazines are okay. Notify us immediately if a piece is accepted elsewhere.
  4. Contest deadline is April 15th, 2024 midnight EST.
  5. Winners will be announced on April 29th, 2024, and all winning entries will be published in Streetlight online and in Streetlight‘s annual anthology. Additionally, all contest entries will be further considered by our non-fiction editor for general publication in Streetlight’s Essay/Memoir category.
  6. Entry fee: $15
  7. Winners will be chosen by our non-fiction editor Susan Shafarzek and blog editor Paula Boyland.

This is a blind contest and your name will be hidden from our judges–do NOT include your name or address on the pages containing your work.

CASH PRIZES (paid by check):

  • 1st place: $125.00
  • 2nd place: $75.00
  • 3rd place: $50.00


  • By submitting your work, you grant Streetlight Magazine first North American print and electronic publication rights and guarantee that the submission is your own, original writing. All rights return to the author after publication.
  • If you publish your work again at a later date, we request that you include a notice of the first printing appearing at Streetlight.
  • Streetlight will only mark contest entries as ACCEPTED. Our editors do NOT decline contest entries nor close them out. After the contest deadline, winners are announced, and non-winning entries are considered for general publication.
  • All winning entries will be published on our website and also in the 2024 Streetlight anthology.
  • Winning entries may receive an audio production for Streetlight Voices.


About our contest judges, Susan Shafarzek and Paula Boyland:

Susan Shafarzek
Susan Shafarzek lives in Charlottesville, Va. Besides editing essays for Streetlight, she is a poet and photographer, blogging occasionally at Whaddyameanrosebuds.com.

Paula Boyland
Paula Boyland writes, paints, and cooks in beautiful Central Virginia. She is the blog editor for Streetlight Magazine, founder of Cracked Inkpots, and host of Virtually the Write Time. Paula lives and laughs with her husband and their three incorrigible dogs.

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Streetlight Magazine is the non-profit home for unpublished fiction, poetry, essays, and art that inspires. Submit your work today!