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 are not included. I try to carefully check the T&Cs for all, but some copyright-grabbers may occasionally slip through. Please read T&Cs carefully. 

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

Competitions / prizes 

Deadline 31st March 2017
Wainwright Prize.
” … seeks to reward the best writing on the outdoors, nature and UK-based travel writing”.

Deadline 23rd April 2017
The Anthony Howard Award for Young Journalists. “Working or aspiring journalists under the age of 27 should submit a detailed proposal for a 5,000-word piece on an aspect of British politics and government, displaying the qualities that Howard most looked for in a writer: flair, imagination and wit.” £25,000 prize, working for 3 major UK publications.

Deadline 30th April 2017.
NAWG Members’ Creative Writing Competitions.
Various categories, including memoir and travel writing (and fictional forms).

Deadline 1st May 2017.
Tacchi-Morris’ The Page Is Printed
An A4 piece of writing – any style / subject.

Deadline 1st May 2017.
The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize.
On the theme of ‘landscape’. All genres. £3,000 top prize.

Deadline 1st May 2017.
The Royal Commonwealth Society’s The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Prize.
On the theme of ‘peace’ – junior and senior categories.

Deadline 15th May 2017.
Transitions Abroad’s Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest.
Essays of between 1,000 and 5,000 on your experience living, moving or working abroad.

Deadline 15th May 2017
Winchester Writers’ Festival 2017 Competition – Memoir
(Many non-fiction competitions too). 2,500 words – self-contained piece, or first chapter of an autobiography

Deadline 29th June 2017
Erewash Writers Group Competition
On the theme of ‘Books’ – any interpretation.

Deadline 30th June 2017
Impress Prize for Writers.
Non-fiction (and fiction) book proposal / sample chapter.

Deadline 14th July 2017.
Wasafiri Life Writing Prize

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

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

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 September 2017Off the Beaten Track Writing Competition – from Senior Travel Expert.

Deadline September 2017The Garden Media Guild Awards. Celebrating the best in “horticultural communications”. Open to all gardening writers, of all levels. 20 categories.

Deadline September 20172017 FT/McKinsey Bracken Bower Prize.

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

Deadline October 2017The Royal Institute of Philosophy essay prize.

Deadline October 2017The Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize. Open to young writers 18-25.

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 November 2017The Observer / Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism. £3,000 top prize.

Deadline November 2017. New Media Writing Prize.

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

Deadline January 2018The Fresher Writing Prize.

Deadline January 2018Fish Short Memoir Contest.

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

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