Writing competitions

This 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. 

For advice on entering writing competitions, you might like Cathy Bryant’s How to Win Writing Competitions

Deadline 31st July 2017
Gawp – Green Alphabet Writing Prize – by Flipside
Inspirational writing on the environment and how to care for it. Prose (non-fiction / fiction – max 500 words) (and poetry too). Adult and children’s categories.

Deadline 31st July 2017
Travel for Seniors Writing Competition.
For a 750-word article on theme ‘travel for seniors’. £100 top prize. 10 x £10 Amazon voucher runner-up prizes.

Deadline 31st July 2017
The Reader Berlin
On the theme ‘Home is Elsewhere’. Prize is a one-month residency in a Berlin hotel …

Deadline 31st July 2017.
I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition.
Free entry until 31st May.

Deadline 7th August 2017
W&N Student Essay Prize
For ‘Goodbye, Europe’ book anthology. £2,000

Deadline 29th August 2017
World Congress of Faiths Essay Award 2017
“If one faith is true, does that mean all others are false?”

Deadline 31st August 2017
Park Publications’ Article Writing Competition
“My Writing Day”.

Deadline 31st August 2017
The London Magazine Essay Competition
1,500 words max. £500, £300, £200. “Non-academic, original work with a powerful voice that is not afraid to surprise”.

Deadline 1st September 2017
The Planet Essay Competition
Open to under-30s. £200 and other prizes.

Deadline 29th September 2017
Bright Blue’s The Tamworth Prize
Open to under-21s. For an essay on the theme: What are today’s ‘burning injustices’ and how should conservatives go about tackling them?

Deadline 30th September 2017
Mountaineering Scotland Mountain Writing Competition
Up to 2,000 words. Writing which has “a connection with any aspect of mountaineering, rock climbing, walking or ski mountaineering / ski-touring”. Fictional forms also accepted.

Deadline 30th September 2017.
The Garden Media Guild Awards.
Celebrating the best in “horticultural communications”. Open to all gardening writers, of all levels. Multiple categories.

Deadline 30th September 2017.
2017 FT/McKinsey Bracken Bower Prize.
For “young authors tackling emerging business themes”.

Deadline 30th September 2017
Write to End Violence Against Women Awards
For writing aimed at a Scottish audience. 

Deadline 2nd October 2017:
The Royal Institute of Philosophy essay prize.

Deadline 16th October 2017
The Portobello Prize
For ‘new voices in narrative non-fiction’

Deadline 31st October 2017.
The Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize.
Open to young writers 18-25. £750 / £500. For a piece 1,000-1,500 words inspired by a nominated Franklin quote.

Deadline 1st November 2017
The Philosophical Quarterly’s Essay Prize
Theme: What is effective altruism? £1,500.

Deadline 24th November 2017.
New Media Writing Prize.
Various prizes and awards in new media / journalism.

Deadline 30th November 2017:
The Observer / Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism.
£3,000 top prize. For a review of 1,000 words on “new work on the arts”.

Deadline 31st January 2018
Fish Short Memoir Contest
First prize Euro 1,000. Runner-up – writers’ retreat.

Deadline 1st March 2018.
The George Borrow Trust Essay Competition.
For an essay of at least 5,000 words, on Borrow’s work. £500 prize.

Further ahead …. 

NB: Some of the following are included here on the basis of having run in the previous year, but are provisional / as yet unconfirmed for the year in question.

Deadline October 2017The Prolitzer Prize for Prose Writing. £150 first prize / £50 runners-up.

Deadline October 2017. Ouen Press ‘The Journey’ Short Story Competition – for *true* travel stories.

Deadline November 2017Words and Women Prose Competition. 2,200 words or under. Includes memoir / life-writing / creative non-fiction (plus fiction).

Deadline December 2017. Women’s History Scotland Essay Prize.

Deadline January 2018The Fresher Writing Prize.

Deadline January 2018. Bodley Head / FT Essay Prize.

Deadline January 2018The Orwell Prize. For political writing.

Deadline January 2018The Keats-Shelley Prize.

Deadline February 2018Northern Writers Awards.

Deadline February 2018Wills Writing Awards.

Deadline February 2018. Artificium ‘In Brief’ Writing competition.

Deadline February 2018Connell Guides Essay Prize.

Deadline February 2018. Spread the Word Life Writing Prize.

Deadline March 2018New Welsh Writing Awards.

Deadline March 2018. Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize.

Deadline March 2018. Words for the Wounded Prize.

Deadline March 2018. Wainwright Prize.

Deadline March 2018The George Borrow Trust Essay Competition.
For an essay of at least 5,000 words, on Borrow’s work. £500 prize.

Deadline March 2018Thresholds International Short Fiction Features Writing Competition.

Deadline April 2018. The Anthony Howard Award for Young Journalists.

Deadline April 2018NAWG Members’ Creative Writing Competitions.
Various categories, including memoir and travel writing (and fictional forms).

Deadline May 2018. Tacchi-Morris’ The Page Is Printed
An A4 piece of writing – any style / subject.

Deadline May 2018.  The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize.

Deadline May 2018. The Royal Commonwealth Society’s The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Prize.

Deadline May 2018. Transitions Abroad’s Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest.

Deadline May 2018. Winchester Writers’ Festival Competition – Memoir

Deadline May 2018. The Michael O’Pray Prize for Arts Criticism

Deadline June 2018. Londnr New Voices Competition

Deadline June 2018. The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non Fiction

Deadline June 2018. Goi Peace Foundation’s International Essay Contest for Young People

Deadline June 2018. Erewash Writers Group Competition

Deadline June 2018. Impress Prize for Writers.

Deadline June 2018. Madeleine Milburn Non-Fiction Writing Competition

Deadline June 2018. Mind Media Awards

Deadline July 2018. Wasafiri Life Writing Prize.

Deadline July 2018. The Frieze Writer’s Prize

Deadline January 2019. Notting Hill Editions Essay Prize. Biennial essay prize. £20,000 top prize; 5 x £1,000 runners-up.

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