Below is a list of non-fiction, essay, memoir and life writing contests based in Australia and New Zealand — although some may be open to writers elsewhere.
We aim to avoid listing competitions which make unreasonable demands on entrants, such as copyright claims on all entries. Please check terms and conditions before entering, in case some slip through.
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.
MARCH 2022 DEADLINES
Chief of Navy’s Essay Competition
2,000–4,000 words on theme: ‘Noting the commitment of Indo-Pacific nations to a commonality of purpose, security, prosperity and good order, how might Navies best serve a common interest?’ A$5,000 top prize in each of the three divisions.
Charles Brasch Young Writers’ Essay Competition
Max. 1,500 words. AU$500 top prize. Ages 16–21. NZ citizens or residents.
APRIL 2022 DEADLINES
Wakefield Press Essay Prize
2,000–10,000 words on an aspect of South Australian history. Prize: A$500 book voucher.
Ada Cambridge Biographical Prose Prize
Biographical stories, 1,000–3,000 words. Open to adult writers in Victoria. AU$15 entry. AU$500 prize.
Furphy Story Prize
For a true or fictional story. Opens 1st February. Theme: Australian life in all its diversity. Up to 5,000 words. Prizes: A$15,000 / A$3,000 / A$2,000.
MAY 2022 DEADLINES
Questions Writing Prize
Open to 18–30 year olds. 1,500–2,000 words. Open theme. A$2,000 prize money.
IPSANZ’s The John McLaren Emmerson QC Essay Prize
5,000–10,000 words on an aspect of intellectual property. A$5,000 / A$2,000 / A$1,000 prizes.
The Australian / Vogel’s Literary Award (June 2022)
MTP 2021 Short Story Competition (June 2022)
The Writers College Free Writing Competition (June 2022)
Australian Orchid Foundation Essay Prize (June 2022)
Moth Nature Writing Prize (June 2022)
Liminal / Pantera Press NF Prize (June 2022)
Mindshare Awards (June 2022)
National Science Week WA – ICRAR Monologue Competition (July 2022)
Landfall Essay Competition (July 2022)
ACICA Essay Competition (July 2022)
AAWP Prize (July 2022)
Lane Cove Council’s Lane Cove Literary Awards (August 2022)
Bass Coast Prize for Non-Fiction (September 2022)
The Deakin University Non-Fiction Prize (September 2022)
Thunderbolt Crime for Crime Writing (September 2022)
Campus Writing Competition (October 2022)
Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Developmental Prize (December 2022)
Broad Media Writing Competition (December 2022)
The Horne Prize (November 2022)
JNZL Essay Prize (December 2022)
The Spark Prize (January 2023)
The Calibre Essay Prize (January 2023)