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 North America, click here.

We aim to avoid listing competitions whose terms and conditions request copyright in entries submitted — or make other unreasonable demands. T&Cs are usually checked, but some may slip through. Please check carefully before participating. 

 

JANUARY 2023 DEADLINES

31st January
Fish Publishing Short Memoir Prize
4,000 words max. Entry fee: Euro 18 (or Euro 11 for subsequent entries). Prizes Euro 1,000 for winner, plus 2 x Euro 300 plus online writing course for 2nd / 3rd. 

Guild of Food Writers Awards
For published work (published in 2022); various categories. 

The Plaza Prizes: Memoir: First Chapters
For unpublished memoirs. 300 one-page summary, plus opening 5,000 words. £20 entry / £10 subsequent entries. £1,500 / £300 / £100. 

ABSW Awards
15 categories, dedicated to science writing and journalism. Free entry to members; £55 per category for non-members. £500 prize in each category.

 

FEBRUARY 2023 DEADLINES

1st February
St Gallen Symposium Global Essay Competition
Theme: The best or worst legacy from previous generations: How to preserve or replace it? Max 2,100 words. CHF 20,000 prize fund. 

22nd February
Northern Writers Awards
Including awards for narrative non-fiction. Generous prize funds for developing works-in-progress. 

24th February
The Wincott Awards
For financial, business and economic journalism published in 2022. Free entry. 

28th February
Southword Literary Essay Competition
For “original, unpublished, personal essays between 2,500 and 5,000 words. We’re looking for personal, confessional essays which border on memoir ‒ gripping essays full of memories and feelings”. Euro 20 entry fee. Euro 1,000 top prize, plus 8 x Euro 500.  

The Welkin Prize
“For narrative prose up to 400 words”. Non-fiction is included. Various and multiple modest cash prizes, including ‘bonus’ awards for entries from variously disadvantaged / under-represented writers. No entry fee. 

 

MARCH 2023 DEADLINES

1st March
The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize
(Open 1st January, by which time theme will be announced.) 2,500 words max. £3,000 top prize. 

5th March
Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law Essay Competition
Open to university / school students; 3,000 / 1,000 words. Cash prizes / prizes to schools. For essays on the question: Richard Ryder once wrote: “Since Darwin, scientists have agreed that there is no ‘magical’ essential difference between human and other animals, biologically-speaking. Why then do we make an almost total distinction morally?” Assuming that is correct, how does this affect the arguments for and against animal rights laws?

13th March
Fitzcarraldo Editions / Mahler & LeWitt Studios Essay Prize
“£3,000 to the best proposal for a book-length essay (minimum 25,000 words) by a writer resident in the UK & Ireland who has yet to secure a publishing deal.”

15th March
The Curae Prize
Opens 1st January. 4,000 words of non-fiction (or fiction). Open to carers only. £500 in each category, plus lots of other prizes. 

16th March
New Welsh Review Writing Awards
For ‘prose with a Welsh theme or setting’. £1,000 prize. £12 entry.

31st March
Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award
£10,000 awarded to a writer of particular talent. 15,000-20,000 words of prose (non-fiction included). 2 x £1,000 runner-up awards.

NAWG Members Writing Competition
Various categories, including ‘Science and Nature’ article, ‘How to’ and Memoir. 

BBC Young Reporter Competition
Open to 11–18 year-olds. Theme: “Me and My World” — What original story idea do you think the BBC should be reporting? 350 words max. (Or three minutes for audio.)

 

APRIL DEADLINES

28th April
The Sophie Coe Prize
2,500–10,000 words. For “an original, informative article or essay on any aspect of food history relating to any period, place, people or culture”. £1,500 top prize. 

 

MAY DEADLINES

14th May
Creative Futures Writers’ Award
For one piece of creative non-fiction, up to 2,000 words. (Poetry and fiction category too.) Open to underrepresented writers over 18. Theme: “X”. Prizes: £20,000 in cash and professional development. Entry fee: “free or pay what you can”. 

31st May
MTP Short Story Competition
Opens 1st February. Inclusive of non-fiction (eg biography, memoir). £1,000 / £500 / £250 / 5 x £50 prizes. Entry fee: £6 (by 28th February) or £8. Max. 3,000 words. Open to writers worldwide. 

 

UNCONFIRMED AND FURTHER AHEAD …

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.

March 2023
Wild Atlantic Writing Creative Nonfiction Award

April 2023
Young Norfolk Writing Competition
The Keats Shelley Prize

May 2023
Globe Soup Short Memoir Competition
Tacchi Morris The Page is Printed

June 2023
Hubert Butler Essay Prize
Libra Education Essay Prize
Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize
Paul Mellon Centre Write on Art Prize
John Locke Institute Essay Competition
The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Prize
Art UK Write on Art Prize
Aurora Prize for Writing
Black Ink Prize
Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour 

July 2023
Marlborough Lit Fest’s Love Books Competition
Quiet Man Dave Prize
Young Economist of the Year Competition
Young Wild Writer Competition
Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour
William T Hearn Student Essay Prize 
The National Geographic Traveller Travel Writing Competition

August 2023
The Nan Shepherd Prize
The Laurie Lee Prize for Writing
AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award
Brian Black Memorial Award 2022

September 2023
Planet New Writers Competition
British Guild of Beer Writers’ Awards
Gaia / Class Nature Working Class Writers Nature Prize
Garden Media Guild Awards
Merky Books New Writers Prize
RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for Non-Fiction
The Moth Magazine Nature Writing Prize
The Falconer Museum’s Falconer 150 Competition
The FT Bracken Bower Prize

October 2023
The Gardens Trust Mavis Batey Essay Prize
Bridport Prize Memoir Award
RUSI’s Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize
The Barbellion Prize
The Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize
Writing East Midlands’ Solstice Nature Writing Prize
Mountaineering Scotland Mountain Writing Competition
Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival Writing Competition

November 2023
JKP Writing Prize
The Somerset Maugham Awards
The Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism
Women’s History Scotland Essay Prize

December 2023
Writing Magazine’s Creative Non-Fiction Competition
The Philosophy Essay Prize
RHS David Berry Prize
The Writers College Free Writing Competition

January 2024
The European Society of Literature Writing Prize
Barbara O’Neill Local History Writing Competition — Past Forward Essay Competition

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