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 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 2nd October 2017
Royal Society of Literature – Giles St Aubyn Non-Fiction Award
To support a first-time non-fiction author. £10,000 and £5,000.

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

Deadline 31st October 2017
Scottish History Network School Essay Prize
Open to High School students only

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 31st October 2017
Common Age Association’s Commonwealth Nonagenarians Story Telling Project
Open to writers 15-24 from a Commonwealth nation. Essays based on interviews with individuals or couples aged 90 or over.

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

Deadline 15th November 2017.
Words and Women Prose Competition.
2,200 words or under. Includes memoir / life-writing / creative non-fiction (plus fiction). Opens 5th September.

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 11th January 2018.
The Orwell Prize.
For political writing. Entries open 30th October.

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.

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

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 January 2018The Fresher Writing Prize.

Deadline January 2018. Bodley Head / FT Essay Prize.

Deadline January 2018The Keats-Shelley Prize. On the theme of Liberty.

Deadline February 2018Northern Writers 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 July 2018. Gawp – Green Alphabet Writing Prize – by Flipside

Deadline July 2018. Travel for Seniors Writing Competition.

Deadline July 2018. The Reader Berlin

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

Deadline August 2018. W&N Student Essay Prize

Deadline August 2018. World Congress of Faiths Essay Award
“If one faith is true, does that mean all others are false?”

Deadline August 2018. Park Publications’ Article Writing Competition

Deadline August 2018. The London Magazine Essay Competition

Deadline September 2018. Writers in Oxford Young Oxfordshire Writers Competition

Deadline September 2018. The Planet Essay 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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