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.  



26th September
Growlife Medical Essay Competition
For “stories that acknowledge and celebrate family bonds”. 2,000 words max. Various voucher prizes. 

29th September
The New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Non-fiction
For an article up to 2,500 words. A$500 prize. 

30th September
Campbelltown Writers Competition
“Writers from across South Australia are invited to submit their original stories inspired by the theme of seasons. Entries can be fiction or non-fiction but must not exceed 2,500 words and must have a link to the Campbelltown area”. Various age categories. Gift voucher prizes. 



2nd October
Nillumbik Prize For Contemporary Writing 2024
Includes Memoir up to 2,500 words. Various price / prize structures. 



15th December
Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development Prize 2024
For a non-fiction or fiction book. AU$2,500 winner’s package. 

31st December
The Writers College Free Writing Competition
“Write us a 600-word piece on the theme: The best writing tip I’ve ever received … the winner receives NZ$200.”


Mindshare Awards (August 2023)
Catalyse Nonfiction Prize (August 2023)
Bass Coast Prize for Non-Fiction (September 2023)
John Barsby New Zealand Essay Competition (November 2023)
Douglas Kelly Australian Essay Competition (November 2023)
Calibre Essay Prize (January 2024)
Ada Cambridge Biographical Prose Prize (March 2024)
Charles Brasch Young Writers’ Essay Competition (March 2024)
Wakefield Press Essay Prize (April 2024)
The Fogarty Literary Award (April 2024)
Furphy Story Prize (April 2024)
Questions Writing Prize (May 2024)
The John Mclaren Emmerson QC Essay Prize (May 2024)
The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award 2023 (May 2024)
AAWP / Westerly Magazine Life Writing Prize (June 2024)
Landfall Essay Competition (July 2024)
The Australian Orchid Foundation Essay Prize (July 2024)

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