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.
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.
OCTOBER 2021 DEADLINES
Hamer Writer’s Over 40s Non-Fiction Writing Competition
Open to unpublished authors. For “a piece of lyrical non-fiction e.g. an essay, life writing, nature writing etc. Any Non-fiction genre you like of 500 words or under”. 1st Prize – £250, 2nd Prize – £175, 3rd prize – £100; plus some non-fiction books. Free Entry.
The RUSI’s Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize
For essays on “any topic related to national or international defence and security”, including but not limited to the re-emergence of economic warfare, deglobalisation and food security, and migration in a global pandemic. 4,000 words max. Two categories (one for those in F/T education; one open). £1,000 prize in each.
The Barbellion Prize
For a book, published in the previous 12 months.
The Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize
Open to writers aged 18–25. 1,000–1,500 words on the Franklin Quote: “Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.”
NOVEMBER 2021 DEADLINES
Mountaineering Scotland Mountain Writing Competition
2,000 words max in prose category. £200 / £100 / £50.
The Somerset Maugham Awards
For a book published in 2021.
The Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism
£3,000 top prize, plus 2 x £500 runners-up. For “a previously unpublished review of up to 800 words on new work in the arts”. £10 entry fee.
DECEMBER 2022 DEADLINES
Women’s History Scotland Essay Prize
“For an essay on an aspect of women’s or gender history, focused on any time period and geographical area”. 8,000–10,000 words.
RHS David Berry Prize
For “the best published essay addressing an aspect of Scottish history”. £250.
JANUARY 2022 DEADLINES
The Writers College My Writing Journey Competition
600 words on ‘The best writing tip I’ve ever received’. Winner: NZ$200 / R2,000 / £100.
Fish Publishing Short Memoir Prize
4,000 words max. Euro 18 entry fee. Euro 1,000 / 200 + course / 200, for 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
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.
Tacchi-Morris The Page is Printed Prize
St Gallen Symposium Essay Competition
Spread the Word’s Life Writing Prize
The Guild of Food Writers Awards
Past Forward Essay Competition
Association of British Science Writers Awards
The Society for Army Historical Research Essay Prize
World Bank Blog Writing Contest
Northern Writers Awards
Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival / Bipolar Scotland Writing Competition
Borough Press Of This Our Country Essay Competition
Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law Essay Competition
Fitzcarraldo Editions Mahler & LeWitt Studios Essay Prize
New Welsh Review Welsh Writing Awards
NAWG Members Writing Competitions
The Journal of Ecclesiastical History World Christianities Essay Prize
Mavis Batey Essay Prize
Wild Atlantic Creative Nonfiction Award
MTP 2021 Short Story Competition
National Centre for Writing’s Young Norfolk Writing Competition
Queen Mary Wasafiri Writing Prize
The Writers College Free Writing Competition
Libra Education Essay Prize
Love Books Competition
The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition
Paul Mellon Centre Write on Art Prize
John Locke Institute Essay Competition
Write on Art Prize
Jancis Robinson Wine Writing Competition
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
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
FT Bracken Bower Prize
The Future Places Environmental Essay Prize
Style x Black Writers’ Guild Essay Competition
The Nan Shepherd Prize