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



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

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”.



1st December 2017
Michael Terence Publishing Short Story Competition
Genre of non-fiction accepted. Cash prizes.

11th December 2017
Basingstoke Music and Arts Festival Writing Competition
Categories for children and adults, including for ‘articles’.

13th December 2017
Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers’ Awards
For a 20k-30k WIP (non-fiction or fiction) – for unpublished, uncontracted writers.



11th January 2018.
The Orwell Prize.
For political writing.

14th January 2018:
The Fresher Writing Prize.
Non-fiction up to 3,000 words. ” … work that blends style with substance and tells us something new about the world”.

15th January 2018.
The Keats-Shelley Prize.
An essay based on the life and work of the Romantics and their circle. Open to writers 16 or 17 on 1st January 2018.

15th January 2018
The Australian Book Review’s 2018 Calibre Essay Prize
Essays 3,000-6,000. $5,000 / $2,500.

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



1st February 2018.
Northern Writers Awards.
3,000-6,000 word prose extract.

2nd February 2018.
New Welsh Writing Awards.
For an essay collection. Open to all writers educated in Wales.

9th February 2018.
Spread the Word Life Writing Prize.
Unpublished piece of life-writing, up to 5,000 words.

1st March 2018
City Arts and Nottingham Writers’ Studio Writing Competition 2017–18
For a ‘story’ — including memoir or travel writing — of up to 2,000 words on the theme of ’40’. Various age groups, both adults / children.

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

6th March 2018.
Words for the Wounded Prize.
Four categories, including one non-fiction.

31st May 2018
Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals’ Creative Writing Prize
500 words. Three age categories (including children’s). ‘piece of prose’ (as well as poetry), which presumably includes non-fiction.

31st July 2018
Park Publications Article Competition
“Reflections on Writing”

21st December 2018.
Women’s History Scotland Essay Prize.
8,000-10,000 words on some aspect of Scottish women’s or gender history.



NB: Most of the following are included here on the basis of having run in the previous year, but are provisional or as yet unconfirmed for the upcoming date specified.

January 2018. 
Bodley Head / FT Essay Prize.

February 2018. 
Artificium ‘In Brief’ Writing competition.

February 2018.
Connell Guides Essay Prize.

March 2018.
Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize.

March 2018.
Wainwright Prize.

March 2018.
Thresholds International Short Fiction Features Writing Competition.

April 2018. 
The Anthony Howard Award for Young Journalists.

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

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

May 2018.
The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize.

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

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

May 2018.
Winchester Writers’ Festival Competition – Memoir

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

June 2018.
Londnr New Voices Competition

June 2018.
The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non Fiction

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

June 2018.
Erewash Writers Group Competition

June 2018.
Impress Prize for Writers.

June 2018.
Madeleine Milburn Non-Fiction Writing Competition

June 2018.
Mind Media Awards

July 2018.
Wasafiri Life Writing Prize.

July 2018.
The Frieze Writer’s Prize

July 2018.
Gawp – Green Alphabet Writing Prize – by Flipside

July 2018.
Travel for Seniors Writing Competition.

July 2018.
The Reader Berlin

July 2018.
I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition.

August 2018.
W&N Student Essay Prize

August 2018.
World Congress of Faiths Essay Award

August 2018. 
Park Publications’ Article Writing Competition

August 2018.
The London Magazine Essay Competition

September 2018.
Writers in Oxford Young Oxfordshire Writers Competition

September 2018.
The Planet Essay Competition

September 2018.
Bright Blue’s The Tamworth Prize

September 2018. 
Mountaineering Scotland Mountain Writing Competition

September 2018.
The Garden Media Guild Awards.

September 2018.
FT/McKinsey Bracken Bower Prize.

September 2018. 
Write to End Violence Against Women Awards

October 2018. 
The Royal Institute of Philosophy essay prize.

October 2018
The Portobello Prize
For ‘new voices in narrative non-fiction’

October 2018
Royal Society of Literature – Giles St Aubyn Non-Fiction Award

October 2018
The Armchair Mountaineer Wild Writing Competition

October 2018
Scottish History Network School Essay Prize
Open to High School students only

October 2018
The Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize.

November 2018
Words and Women Prose Competition.
2,200 words or under. Includes memoir / life-writing / creative non-fiction (plus fiction).

November 2018
Bradt Travel Guide’s New Travel Writer of the Year

November 2018
The Philosophical Quarterly’s Essay Prize

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

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