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, try Cathy Bryant’s How to Win Writing Competitions

Deadline 1st June 2017
Londnr New Voices Competition
Essay / non-fiction article, plus pitch for another. Paid writing opportunity / mentoring as prizes.

Deadline 2nd June 2017
The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non Fiction
For “all non-fiction in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts”. £30,000 top prize.

Deadline 15th June 2017
Goi Peace Foundation’s International Essay Contest for Young People
700 words, several languages, open to under 25s. Theme ‘learning from nature’.

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 30th June 2017
Madeleine Milburn Non-Fiction Writing Competition
Books and projects in non-fiction with the theme ‘Inspire Us’. Vouchers, critique, possible representation …

Deadline 14th July 2017
Wasafiri Life Writing Prize

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

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

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