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. 



30th June
The Australian Orchid Foundation Essay Prize
Max. 4,000 words. A$750 prize fund. 



31st July
Landfall Essay Competition
4,000 words max. The purpose of the competition is “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 top prize. 

AAWP / Westerly Magazine Life Writing Prize
Entry fee A$20. Top prize A$500.

AAWP / Express Media Sudden Writing Prize
Open to emerging writers under 25, with a non-fiction category (plus others). 400 words max.



14th September
Bass Coast Prize for Non-Fiction
A$10,000 prize money. Open to Gippsland writers. 



Liminal / Pantera Press NF Prize (June 2022)
Mindshare Awards (June 2022)
National Science Week WA – ICRAR Monologue Competition (July 2022)
Lane Cove Council’s Lane Cove Literary Awards (August 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)
The Writers College My Writing Journey Competition (January 2023)
Chief of Navy’s Essay Competition (March 2023)
Griffith Review Emerging Voices Awards (March 2023)
Charles Brasch Young Writers’ Essay Competition (March 2023)
Wakefield Press Essay Prize (April 2023)
Ada Cambridge Biographical Prose Prize (April 2023)
Furphy Story Prize (April 2023)
Questions Writing Prize (May 2023)
IPSANZ’s The John McLaren Emmerson QC Essay Prize (May 2023)
The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award 2023 (May 2023)

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