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.
JULY 2021 DEADLINES
July 31st 2021
Landfuall Essay Competition
“The purpose of the competition remains as it was at the outset: 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”. 4,000 words max. NZ$3,000.
ACICA Essay Competition
Theme: Arbitration, but not as we know it. 3,000–7,000 words.
AUGUST 2021 DEADLINES
19th August 2021
Lane Cove Council’s Lane Cove Literary Awards
$15 entry fee. Memoir Prize, as well as poetry / short story. $1,500 prize.
SEPTEMBER 2021 DEADLINES
14th September 2021
Bass Coast Prize for Non-Fiction
$5,000 / $3,000 / $2,000.
The Deakin University Non-Fiction Prize
All nonfiction genres. A$3,000. Runners-up prizes (non-cash) for shortlisted writers.
30th September 2021
Thunderbolt Crime for Crime Writing
Crime non-fiction category. Article up to 2,500 words. AU$500 first prize.
OCTOBER 2021 DEADLINES
1st October 2021
Campus Writing Competition
Open to student writers. Non-fiction and fiction categories. Cash prizes.
The Horne Prize (November 2021)
JNZL Essay Prize (December 2021)
Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development Prize (December 2021)
The Spark Prize (January 2022)
Overland’s Kuracca Prize for Australian Literature (January 2022)
Calibre Essay Prize 2020 (January 2022)
The Writers College My Writing Journey Competition (January 2022)
World Bank Blog Writing Contest (February 2022)
Charles Brasch Young Writers Essay Competition (March 2022)
Ada Cambridge Biographical Prose Prize (March 2022)
Furphy Story Prize (April 2022)
Questions Writing Prize (May 2022)
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)
National Science Week WA – ICRAR Monologue Competition (July 2022)