Writing competitions (Australia / New Zealand)

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.

For a list of UK, Ireland, and European competitions, click here, and for US / Canada, click here. Some competitions in both listings will be open to writers worldwide. 



31st July
Landfall Essay Competition
Award aims ‘ to encourage New Zealand writers to think aloud about New Zealand culture, and to revive and sustain the tradition of vivid, contentious and creative essay writing in this country’. NZ$3,000. 4,000 words maximum.

The New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Non-Fiction
AU$500 for an article of up to 2,500 words. 

ACICA Essay Competition
Open to students in Australia. Theme is ‘international arbitration and climate change’. 3,000–7,000 words. 

National Science Week WA – ICRAR Monologue Competition 
Open to writers in Western Australia. 5–7 minutes / 600–900 words. A creative nonfiction monologue inspired by a word, an image, a sentence or concept from ICRAR research. $100 / $50. Free entry. 



4th September
Bass Coast Prize for Non-Fiction
AU$5,000 / 3,000 / 2,000. 4,000–10,000 words. For and about the people of Gippsland. 



The Nature Conservancy Nature Writing Prize
Elyne Mitchell Writing Award (August 2020)
The Deakin University Non-Fiction Prize (September 2020)
The Horne Prize (September 2020)
JNZL Essay Prize (December 2020)
Calibre Essay Prize 2020 (January 2021)
Ada Cambridge Biographical Prose Prize (March 2021)
Charles Brasch Young Writers Essay Competition (March 2021)
Questions Writing Prize (May 2021)
The Lifted Bow Experimental Non-fiction Prize (May 2021)
The AAWP Slow Canoe Creative Non-fiction Prize (June 2021)
Australian Orchid Foundation Essay Prize (June 2021)
Lane Cove Council Travel Story Prize (August 2021)

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