Writing competitions

Below is a list of non-fiction, essay, memoir and life writing competitions, awards and prizes from UK, Ireland and Europe — although some are open to writers internationally. 

For non-fiction writing contests and awards from Canada and America, and mostly aimed at North American writers, click here. For Australia and New Zealand, click here

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 slip through. Please check carefully. 



17th May
Globe Soup Short Memoir Competition
Memoir up to 3,000 words. Theme: Places that have made me, changed me, or inspired me. Prize £1,000. Entry: £3 members; £5 early entry; £12. 

31st May
MTP Short Story Competition
Includes memoir, biography, other non-fiction. Various cash prizes. Up to 3,000 words. Entry fee £5 (by end Feb) / £7. £1,000 / £500 / £250 / 5 x £50. 



24th June
Libra Education Essay Prize
Open to young people in years 12 and 13. Essay 1,000-2,000 words. Modest cash prizes.

30th June
Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize
Three categories, including ‘life writing’. 3,000 words max. £10 per entry (£16 for two). £1,000 top prize in each category. 

Paul Mellon Centre Write on Art Prize
For a piece of writing on an artwork. Open to young people. Two age groups. Generous cash prizes. 

John Locke Institute Essay Competition
Open to young people. Set questions in a range of subjects, including philosophy, law and theology. 

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Prize
Open to two age groups: Under 14s; 14–18.

Art UK Write on Art Prize
For a piece of writing on an art work on the Art UK site. Open to young people in two age groups. 400 or 600 words or thereabouts, respectively.



1st July
Marlborough Lit Fest’s Love Books Competition
Three age groups, including two for young people. “Tell us why you love your favourite book, poem or play” 750 words max (or 4-minute video).

Quiet Man Dave Prize
For ‘Flash Non-Fiction’ (and Fiction). £5 entry. £1,000 / £200 / £50 prizes. The Award seeks to ‘enable and promote new writing’. Everything from blog posts to theatre reviews accepted.

29th July
Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour
For works of narrative non-fiction (and fiction). Submit a “detailed summary of the work of not more than 30 pages, including a table of contents and a coherent 3,000 word writing sample”. £500 + extra prizes. 



1st August
The Laurie Lee Prize for Writing
For writing on nature / conservation. 4,500–5,000 words of non-fiction (or fiction). £1,000 x 2 (one under and one over 25)

7th August
Brian Black Memorial Award 2022
The award “celebrates the best writing about marine environmental issues as explored by sailing boat”. Articles 1,700–1,900 words. £2,500 plus other prizes. 



22nd September
The FT Bracken Bower Prize
£15,000 for the best business book proposal. 



2nd October
Mavis Batey Essay Prize
Open to recently graduated students. 5,000–6,000 words. Essay must be related to some aspect of garden history. £500 top prize. 



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

July 2022
Dartington Trust Schumacher College Essay Competition
Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award
Sustainable Futures Sustainability First Writing Prize
Young Wild Writer Competition
Young Economist of the Year Competition

August 2022
Park Publications Article Writing Competition
AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award
Anne Brown Essay Prize / Wigtown Book Festival
EmpowerHerVoice’s Creative Writing 2021 Competition
Tacchi-Morris The Page is Printed Prize
The Writers College Free Writing Competition

September 2022
Planet New Writers Article Competition
The Garden Media Guild Awards
Hubert Butler Essay Prize
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s Ghosts of the Landscape Nature Writing Competition
Moth Magazine Nature Writing Prize
RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for Non-Fiction
The National Geographic Traveller Travel Writing Competition
The Future Places Environmental Essay Prize
British Guild of Beer Writers’ Awards
Beechmore Books Writing Competition
The Future Places Environmental Essay Prize
Style x Black Writers’ Guild Essay Competition

October 2022
The Nan Shepherd Prize
Hamer Writer’s Over 40s Non-Fiction Writing Competition
The RUSI’s Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize
The Barbellion Prize
The Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize

November 2022
Mountaineering Scotland Mountain Writing Competition
The Somerset Maugham Awards
The Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism

December 2022
The Philosophy Essay Prize
Women’s History Scotland Essay Prize
RHS David Berry Prize

January 2023
Barbara O’Neill Local History Writing Competition — Past Forward Essay Competition
The Writers College My Writing Journey Competition
Fish Publishing Short Memoir Prize
Guild of Food Writers Awards
Association of British Science Writers Awards

February 2023
St Gallen Symposium Essay Competition
New Welsh Review Writing Awards
Northern Writers Awards

March 2023
Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival Writing Competition
Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law Essay Competition
Fitzcarraldo Editions / Mahler & LeWitt Studios Essay Prize
Pugmill Press Hidden Gem Prizes
BBC Young Reporter Competition
NAWG Members Writing Competition
Wild Atlantic Writing Creative Nonfiction Award

April 2023
The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize
The Sophie Coe Prize
Young Norfolk Writing Competition
The Keats Shelley Prize

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