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. 



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

4th October
Bridport Prize Memoir Award
“Celebrate a snapshot of your life, a fragment in time or rear view mirror look at what was and now is” …. “We initially need 5,000 to 8,000 words plus a 300 word overview”. £1,500 / £750 / £150 x 3. 

28th October
RUSI’s Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize
For “original writing on contemporary issues of national and international defence and security”. Two categories, one for students, other for those “in the first 10 years of their military career”. 2 x £1,000 prizes. 

31st October
The Barbellion Prize
For a book “dedicated to the furtherance of ill and disabled voices in writing. The prize is awarded annually to an author whose work has best represented the experience of chronic illness and/or disability”

The Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize
Open to writers 18–25. 1,000 to 1,500 words. The Franklin quote for interpretation in 2022 is ‘The Eyes of other People are the Eyes that ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want neither fine Clothes, fine Houses nor Fine Furniture.’ Letter to Benjamin Vaughan, 1784. £750 / £500 prizes. Fiction, as well as non-fiction.

Writing East Midlands’ Solstice Nature Writing Prize
Open to children 7–17 (three categories). Theme: Fight for Flight. “Tell us about a particular bird that means something to you. Do you have a favourite? Have you ever experienced an encounter with one? Do you know a person who reminds you of a bird? ….”

Mountaineering Scotland Mountain Writing Competition
For “the best in new writing about mountains and mountaineering”. £5 entry. 2,000 words max. £200 / £100 / £50 prizes. 



30th November
The Somerset Maugham Awards
For a published work of non-fiction (or poetry / fiction), open to writers under 30. Themes appear to be only: travel, biography, criticism, history and philosophy.

The Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism
For unpublished reviews of new work. Prize fund £4,000. 800 words max. 



31st December
RHS David Berry Prize
Open to doctoral students in a historical subject in a UK institution, or who have recently submitted a corrected thesis in a historical subject in a UK institution. For published essays. Opens 1st September. 

The Writers College Free Writing Competition
On ‘the best writing tip I ever received’. 600 words. £100.



1st January
The European Society of Literature Writing Prize
On the theme of ‘Anxiety’ — 1,500–3,500 words. No entry fee. Euro 50 top prize. 

16th January
Barbara O’Neill Local History Writing Competition — Past Forward Essay Competition
For an article “on a local history topic within the geographical boundaries of Wigan Borough”. Three age categories. Modest but multiple cash prizes (for adult category) and vouchers (for children’s categories). 

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. 



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. 



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.

December 2022
The Philosophy Essay Prize
Women’s History Scotland Essay Prize

January 2023
Guild of Food Writers Awards

February 2023
New Welsh Review Writing Awards
Northern Writers Awards
Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award

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
Association of British Science Writers Awards

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

May 2023
Globe Soup Short Memoir Competition
MTP Short Story 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

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