Here is a list of non-fiction, essay, memoir and life writing competitions currently open to UK and Irish writers — and some to writers worldwide.
Competitions whose terms and conditions request copyright in entries submitted — or make other unreasonable demands — are not included. T&Cs are usually checked, but some copyright-grabbers may occasionally slip through. Please read them carefully.
29th March 2019
Mencap Journalism Awards 2019
Open to aspiring journalists, for writing exploring learning disability, 800-1,000 words long.
English & Media Centre’s emagazine Close Reading Competition
On a passage from ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’. 500 words. £150, plus 2 x £50.
31st March 2019
Journal of Ecclesiastical History’s World Christianities Essay Prize
£500. For an essay ‘relating to the history of Christianity outside Europe and North America since the year 700’.
Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize
For writing on nature and the outdoors.
Tacchi-Morris The Page Is Printed
For any kind of ‘bold’ or ‘imaginative’ writing, restricted to one page of A4.
1st April 2019
Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize
On the theme of ‘identity’.
5th April 2019
Wavell Writes Essay Writing Competition
Theme: Human / Machine Teams; how can emerging concepts and technology disrupt the Defence ‘status quo’ and enhance operational capability? 2,250-2,750 words. £1000 / £500 / runners-up prizes.
30th April 2019
The Write It Competition
Open to young people under 18. Various categories. Non-fiction (or fiction) on the theme of food.
NAWG Members’ Creative Writing Competition.
Various categories, including memoir, comedy, travel (and fictional forms).
1st May 2019
The Lifted Brow 2019 Prize for Experimental Non-Fiction
Australian, but open to writers worldwide. AU$5,000 + 2 x AU$500. 5,000 words max.
1st June 2019
The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition
Open to young people. Two age categories; various topics. Theme: A Connected Commonwealth.
3rd June 2019
Young Norfolk Writing Competition
Ages 11-18. Includes an essay category.
12th June 2019
The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non Fiction
For published non-fiction books (via publishers).
15th June 2019
Goi Peace Foundation’s International Essay Contest for Young People
Short essay on ‘Creating a Society Full of Kindness’. Open to people 25 and under.
28th June 2019
Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize
Life writing category. £1,000 winner’s prize. (Also fiction and poetry.)
30th June 2019
Impress Prize for New Writers
For a book proposal, up to 6,000 words, including sample chapter. £25 entry fee. £500 prize, but publication not guaranteed.
31st July 2019
Park Publications Article Competition
My Writing Day. £50 / £25 / £15
John Locke Institute Essay Competition
Open to students. Option of three set questions in several categories, including Politics, Law and Theology. £100 category prizes. £500 top prize.
15th August 2019
The Charroux Literary Competition
Memoir. £150 / £50 / £30. 1,500–3,000 words.
1st September 2019
Transitions Abroad Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest
1,200 – 3,000 words on your experience of moving, working or living abroad. $500 / $150 / $100 / $50 x ?
UNCONFIRMED AND FURTHER AHEAD …
NB: Most of the following are included on the basis of having run in the previous year, but are provisional or as yet unconfirmed for the upcoming date specified.
World Congress of Faiths Essay Competition
The Tony Lothian Prize
Association of Christian Writers Journalism Competition
Mountaineering Scotland Mountain Writing Competition
The London Magazine Essay Competition
Bright Blue’s Tamworth Prize
Jancis Robinson Wine Writing Competition
Mind Media Awards
The Planet Essay Competition
The Hubert Butler Prize
British Guild of Beer Writers’ Awards
Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize
Youth Essay Competition
FT/McKinsey Bracken Bower Prize
The Garden Media Guild Awards
Write to End Violence Against Women Awards
Journal of Ecclesiastical History’s Eusebius Essay Prize
Annals of Science Student Essay Prize
Galley Beggar Prize
The Royal Institute of Philosophy essay prize.
Print Networks-Peter Isaac Essay Prize
READ Foundation 2018 Writing Competition
Senior Travel Expert’s Heritage Writing Competition
The Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize.
The Philosophical Quarterly’s Essay Prize
The Orwell Prize for Political Writing
Bradt Travel Guides ‘New Travel Writer of the Year’ 2020 Competition
War for the Wounded (Reformatted Prize) for 2020
Wisden Almanack Cricket Article Competition
The Observer / Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism
New Media Writing Prize
Somerset Maugham Awards
Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize
The Institute of Information Law’s “Science Fiction & Information Law” Essay Competition
Women’s History Scotland Essay Prize.
Wild Words Winter Writing Competition
Castle Craig’s 30th Anniversary Essay Writing Competition
Bill Braham Memorial Essay Writing Competition
RHS David Berry Prize
The Fresher Writing Prize
Bradt Travel Guides’ Travelling with Kids Anthology Competition
Keats-Shelley Memorial Association Essay Prize
The Australian Book Review’s Calibre Essay Prize
Amnesty International Media Awards
Cassandra Jardine Award
Guild of Food Writers Awards
Fish Publishing Short Memoir Prize
Association of British Science Writers Awards
Spread the Word’s Life Writing Prize
St Gallen Symposium Essay Competition
Hugo Young Award
New Welsh Writing Awards
Northern Writers Awards
Johnson & Johnson Awards 2019
Coram Voices 2019
The Wincott Awards
MTP Short Story Competition
Hugh Cudlipp Student Award
The Winchester Writers’ Festival Writing Competition
Hugh Miller Writing Competition – Children’s and adult categories. For any form of writing inspired by fossils in Scotland.
Robert Fear’s Travel Stories Competition