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.
MARCH 2020 DEADLINES
Charles Brasch Young Writers Essay Competition
Open to NZ residents, aged 16–21. $500. 1,500 words.
MAY 2020 DEADLINES
Questions Writing Prize
Open to young Australian writers, 18–30. Fiction or non-fiction. 1,500–2,000 words. $2,000.
The Writers College Free Writing Competition
600 words. On ‘The best writing tip I’ve ever received’. £100 / US$200.
JUNE 2020 DEADLINES
The AAWP Slow Canoe Creative Non-fiction Prize
For the best ‘unpublished narrative-driven non-fiction of up to 3,000 words’. $500. $20 entry.
JULY 2020 DEADLINES
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 Nature Conservancy Nature Writing Prize
The Lifted Bow Experimental Non-fiction Prize (May 2020)
Australian Orchid Foundation Essay Prize (June 2020)
Elyne Mitchell Writing Award (August 2020)
Lane Cove Council Travel Story Prize (August 2020)
The Deakin University Non-Fiction Prize (September 2020)
The Horne Prize (September 2020)
New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Non-Fiction (October 2020)
Bass Coast Prize for Non-Fiction (November 2020)
Calibre Essay Prize 2020 (January 2021)
Ada Cambridge Biographical Prose Prize (March 2021)