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 2021 DEADLINES
Charles Brasch Young Writers Essay Competition
Open to those aged 16–21. No more than 1,500 words. AU$500 winner’s prize.
APRIL 2021 DEADLINES
Furphy Story Prize
Opens 1st February. Up to 5,000 words. Theme: Australian life in all its diversity. Non-fiction or fiction. AU$15,000 / 3,000 / 2,000.
MAY 2021 DEADLINES
Questions Writing Prize
For young writers aged 18–30. For non-fiction (or fiction) between 1,500 and 2,000 words. A$2,000 prize fund. Free entry.
The Australian / Vogel’s Literary Award
Opens 21st January. Open to writers aged under 35 at date of entry closure. 50,000–80,000 words. Books on Australian history or biography accepted. A$20,000 plus publication. A$25 entry fee.
MTP 2021 Short Story Competition
Non-fiction accepted. £2,021 top prize. 3,000 words max. Open to authors worldwide. Entry fee £5 / £7.
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)
Douglas Stewart Prize for Non Fiction (June 2021)
Landfall Essay Competition (July 2021)
The New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Non-Fiction (July 2021)
ACICA Essay Competition (July 2021)
National Science Week WA – ICRAR Monologue Competition (July 2021)
Lane Cove Council Travel Story Prize (August 2021)
Bass Coast Prize for Non-Fiction (September 2021)
The Deakin University Non-Fiction Prize (September 2021)
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)