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.
For US / Canada, click here.
NOVEMEBER 2019 DEADLINES
Bass Coast Prize for Non-Fiction
Very generous prizes — AU$5,000 / 3,000 / 2,000. Writers must be connected to Gippsland and entries must be on Gippsland themes.
JANUARY 2020 DEADLINES
Calibre Essay Prize 2020
AU$5,000 / 2,500. Open to all essayists writing in English. 2,000–5,000 words on any subject.
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
Charles Brasch Young Writers Essay Competition (March 2020)
Questions Writing Prize (May 2020)
Mavis Batey Essay 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)