Creative writing is what Swoop Books is all about. Our aim is to encourage you to write and provide platforms for you to display your work. To achieve this, we offer a range of writing competitions covering different genres and styles. Why not subscribe for personal updates? To keep it exciting, we offer cash prizes and opportunities to be published on our website or in our other publications.
Swoop Books ‘Love Locks’ Short Story Writing Competition 2021
Swoop Books ‘Ordinary People’ Creative Writing Competition 2020
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Short story prize: Swoop Books Creative Writing Competition
Playwriting competition: Sky Blue Theatre British Theatre Challenge 2024
29 november 2023.
The 270+ Best Writing Contests
A successful entry in a writing competition can be a significant boost for an author's career, providing exposure and potentially even leading to a publishing deal. They also provide fantastic motivation to get a work finished, to hone your writing, and to test yourself against your peers. Some also offer cash prizes—always welcome! In this list, we showcase over 270 of the best writing contests out there, in a variety of genres.
Children's Fiction & Nonfiction
Children's & Young Adult Fiction
Fiction & Creative Nonfiction
Fiction & Essay
Fiction & Nonfiction
Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize
Adventure Writers Competition
Rattle Chapbook Prize
Black Voices in Children’s Literature Writing Contest
Mslexia Children’s & Young Adult Novel Competition
Children’s & Young Adult Fiction
Searchlight Writing for Children Awards
Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition
Bath Children’S Novel Award
Cherished Children's Story Contest
New Voices Award
AAWP Slow Canoe Creative Nonfiction Prize
Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Nonfiction
WOW! Women on Writing Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest
Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award
St. Martin’s Minotaur/ Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition
Brandon Langhjelm Memorial Essay Contest
Calibre Essay Prize
Alpine Fellowship Academic Writing Prize
Kemper Human Rights Education Essay Contests
KSCPP Essay Contest Essay
NCH Essay Competition
Biopage Storytelling Writing Contest
Blue Pencil Agency Pitch Prize
Breakwater Fiction Contest
Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest
Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence
Killer Nashville Claymore Award
Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize
Minds Shine Bright Writing Competition
Mslexia Adult Novel Competition
PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest
Si Leeds Literary Prize
Virginia Prize for Fiction
Young Lions Fiction Award
Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize
First Pages Prize
Fiction, Creative Nonfiction
Friends of American Writers Chicago Adult Literature Award
Friends of American Writers Chicago Young People's Literature Awards
SFWP Literary Awards
Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest
Richell Prize for Emerging Writers
Book Pipeline Unpublished Contest
Chanticleer International Book Awards
Daisy Pettles Writing Contest
Impress Prize for New Writers
New Media Writing Prize
Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing
Desert Writers Award
Smokelong Quarterly Comedy Prize
Aniko Magazine Flash Fiction Competition
Bath Flash Fiction Award
Bridport Flash Fiction Prize
Cranked Anvil Flash Fiction Competition
Fish Flash Fiction Prize
Flash 500 Flash Fiction Competition
Fusilli Writing Flash Fiction Competition
Oxford Flash Fiction Prize
PNM Flash Fiction Prize
Quantum Shorts Flash Fiction Contest
Screw Turn Flash Fiction Competition
Voice.Club Flash Fiction Contest
WOW! Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contest
Bet Tuppi’s Ancient Near Eastern Historical Fiction Prize
Saudi Historical Fiction Awards
Van Diemen History Prize
Bridport Memoir Award
Fish Short Memoir Prize
Mslexia Memoir & Life Writing Competition
Lustrous Long Story Contest
Moth Nature Writing Prize
Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize
Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prizes
Marfield Prize (aka National Award for Arts Writing)
A Woman's Write Annual Writing Competition
Bath Novel Award
Betty Trask Prize
Big Moose Prize
Blue Pencil Agency First Novel Award
Booksie First Chapter Novel Contest
Bridport Novel Award
Caledonia Novel Award
Exeter Novel Prize
First Novel Prize
Flash 500 Novel Opening & Synopsis Competition
Grindstone International Novel Prize
Inkitt's Writing Contest
James Jones First Novel Fellowship
Meet Me at 19th Street’s Competition
New Voices Competition
Spotlight First Novel Award
VCU Cabell First Novelist Award
Black Orchid Novella Award
Bath Novella-in-Flash Award
Exisle Academy "Passed Down" Writing Competition
Academy of American Poets First Book Award
Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize
Alpine Fellowship Poetry Prize
Anthology Poetry Award
Arts Queensland Val Vallis Award for Unpublished Poetry
Black Ink Poetry Competition
Blake Poetry Prize
Blue Mountain Arts Poetry Contest
Bridport Poetry Prize
Brotherton Poetry Prize
Cave Canem Poetry Prize
Colorado Prize for Poetry
Donald Hall Prize for Poetry
Fish Poetry Prize
Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition
Ginkgo Prize Ecopoetry
Guernsey International Poetry Competition
Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine
Jack Grapes Poetry Prize
James Laughlin Award
Joan Eardley Centenary Poetry Competition
Judith Wright Poetry Prize
Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Open Competition
Live Canon International Poetry Competition
Luschei Prize for African Poetry
Magma Poetry Competition
Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize
Michael Waters Poetry Prize
Miller Williams Poetry Prize
Moth Poetry Prize
Mslexia Women's Pamphlet Competition
Mslexia Women's Poetry Competition
Nature and Place Poetry Competition
Never Such Innocence Poetry Competition
Ó Bhéal Five Words International Poetry Competition
Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition
Parkinson’s Art Charity Poetry Competition
PenFluenza Short Story Contest
Peseroff Prize Poetry Contest
Plough Poetry Prize
Poetry d’Amour Love Poetry Contest
Poetry London Prize
River Styx International Poetry Contest
Robyn Mathison Poetry Prize
Ros Spencer Poetry Prize
SAETA Spring Poetry Festival Contest
Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition
Shepton Mallet Snowdrop Festival Poetry Competition
Tampa Review Prize for Poetry
The Caterpillar Poetry Prize
Third Wednesday Annual Poetry Contest
Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest
Trio Award for First or Second Book
Tufts Poetry Awards
Tusculum Review Poetry Chapbook Prize
Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest
Willow Run Poetry Book Award
Winchester Poetry Prize
Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry
Clash of the Query Letters
Roswell Award & Feminist Futures Award
Tomorrow Prize & Green Feather Award
Taking Flight 2022 New Writing Competition
Moment Magazine-Karma Foundation Short Fiction Contest
Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction
Stony Brook $1,000 Short Fiction Prize
Drue Heinz Literature Prize
Mary Mccarthy Prize In Short Fiction
CWA Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition
53-Word Story Contest
AlburyCity Short Story Award
Anthology Short Story Award
Bath Short Story Award
Blackwater Press Short Story Contest
Bridport Short Story Prize
Bristol Short Story Prize
City Academy Short Story Writing Competition
Cranked Anvil Short Story Competition
Djillong Short Story Competition
Écrire! Words Alike Short Story Competition
Ethos Literacy Annual Short Short Story Contest
Exisle Academy ‘Undiscovered Gems’ Writing Competition
Fish Short Story Prize
Flash 500 Short Stories Competition
George Floyd Short Story Competition
Grindstone International Short Story Prize
Henshaw Short Story Competition
Jane Austen Literacy Foundation Writing Competition
Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition
Mary River Press Services Short Story Competition
Masters Review Winter Short Story Award for New Writers
MiNDFOOD Short Story Competition
Mogford Prize for Food and Drink Writing
Moth Short Story Prize
Mslexia Short Story Competition
Olga Masters Short Story Award
Parsec Short Story Contest
PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers
Rhiza Edge Short Story Competition
River Styx Microfiction Contest
Science-me a Story
Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition
Seán O'Faoláin International Short Story Competition
ServiceScape Short Story Award
Shimmering Short Story Contest
Shooter Flash Competition
Shooter Short Story Competition
Southport Writers’ Circle Short Story Competition
Stories Through The Ages - Baby Boomers Plus
Stringybark Times Past Short Story Award
Val Wood Prize
Wenlock Writers-on-the-Edge Short Story Competition
Swoop Books Writing Competitions
Do Wha(TS) Creative Writing Contest
Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award
Story of the Year Contest
To Hull And Back Humorous Short Story Competition
Turn Off The Lights Thriller Contest
Unleash Press Book Prize
Novel, Short Story, Personal Essays, Reimagined Fairytales, Narrative Nonfiction
Yeovil Literary Prize
Novel, Short Story, Poetry, Prose
Pen Nib International Writing Competition
Orison Prizes in Poetry & Fiction
Manchester Writing Competition
Lascaux Prizes in Poetry and Flash Fiction
Poetry, Flash Fiction
Black River Chapbook Competition
Boroondara Literary Awards
SaveAs Writers' International Writing Competition
VISIBLE Poetry and Prose Submissions
Aesthetica Creative Writing Award
Poetry, Short Fiction
Prime Number Magazine Awards for Poetry & Short Fiction
Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest
Poetry, Short Story
Polar Expressions National Poetry and Short-Story Contest
St. Lawrence Book Award
Bedford Writing Competition
Well’s Festival of Literature
Poetry, Short Story, Children's Book
AWP Award Series
Poetry, Short Story, Creative Nonfiction, Novel
Create the Future Writing Competition
Poetry, Short Story, Creative Prose
Red Hen Press Women’s Prose Prize
Joe O’Sullivan Writers Prize
Prose, Fiction, Nonfiction
L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest
Science Fiction, Fantasy
Globe Soup Writing Competitions
Short Memoir, Flash Fiction, Poetry, Short Story, Travel Writing
F(r)iction’s Writing Contest
Short Story, Flash Fiction, Poetry
Accenti Writing Contest
Short Story, Nonfiction, Creative Nonfiction
Short Story, Novel, Poetry, Literary Nonfiction
Writing Magazine Grand Prize Short Story and Poetry Writing Competition
Short Story, Poetry
Cinnamon Literature Award
Short Story, Poetry, Novel
Fall Travel Writing Prize
Travel Writing, Narrative Nonfiction, Fiction, Essay, Poetry
City of Fremantle Hungerford Award
Adult fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Narrative Nonfiction
Fogarty Literary Award
What's Your Story? Writing Competition
Adult Short Story, Adult Poetry, Children's Story, Teen's Story
Green Stories Writing Competitions
Adult Short Story, Children's Short Story
North Street Book Prize
Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, Poetry, Children's Book, Graphic Novel & Memoir
Bacopa Literary Review Contest
Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, Prose Poetry
Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award
Fiction, Nonfiction, Children Story, Short Story
Port Writers Open Literary Competition
Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry
Southeast Review Writing Contest
Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award
Wild Words Competition
Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition
Nonfiction Essay, Short Story, Literary Short Story,
Poetry, Script, Children’s/Young Adult Fiction
Write the World Monthly Competitions
Poetry, Fantasy, Sports Journalism, Flash Fiction
Eyelands Book Awards
Poetry, Novellas, Short Story Collections, Novels, Children's Books, Historical Fiction/Memoir, Graphic Novels
Mississippi Review Contest
Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction
Black Caucus of ALA (BCALA) Self-Publishing Literary Awards
Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award
Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize
Anansi Archive Writing Awards
Fanstory Writing Contests
Gulf Coast Writers Association Writing Contest
Rubery Book Award
Tadpole Press 100 Word Writing Contest
8 Tips on Submitting Poetry to Literary Magazines
Announcing the Winner of the 2020 QueryLetter.com Writing Contest
How Can You Publish Poetry?
LEARN HOW TO LAND A PUBLISHING DEAL
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creative writing competition
All Ireland Scholarships Alumni Association
Creative writing competition 2024 – public.
Fresh Pages, New Stories
The 2023/24 creative writing competition supported by the all ireland scholarships, open to all writers/emerging writers from ireland with stories to share, frequently asked questions.
Is this competition open to anyone? If you are over 18 and a resident on the island of Ireland or hold an Irish passport, then you are eligible to enter this competition. This competition is open to the public, you do not have to be an AIS Alumnus.
Do I have to be an experienced writer to enter? Not at all! While experienced writers are welcome to apply, we are actively seeking submissions from new voices and new storytellers too. Many of our previous winners have been first-time creative writers, so don’t worry if you haven’t got a track record as a writer yet. We’re looking forward to reading your work.
How do I submit an entry? Entrants should send an email, (with your creative entry included in an attachment) to: [email protected]
What format should my submission be? Submissions must be in word.doc or .docx file attachments. Remember that you must keep your word limit to a maximum of 2000 (not including title). Entries that exceed that maximum will be disqualified.
Should my entry have a title? Yes, all submissions should contain a title (note this title will not be included in the word count).
Should I include my name on my submission? Competitor contact details should be contained separately from the submission (i.e., in the body of the email). Since this competition is judged anonymously, the creative writing attachment itself must not contain any identifying information.
Are there other layout requirements? Submissions should be typed in a standard 12pt font and be double-spaced.
Is there an entry fee? No. Both categories of this competition are free to enter.
Can I submit more than one entry? Yes, you can submit up to a maximum of two entries in the same category i.e. Category 1 (Alumni) or Category 2 (Public).
Do I retain copyright of my work? Yes, all entrants retain long-term copyright to their work. (If your story is placed first, second, third or is highly commended in the competition, we ask for one-time publication rights after which copyright reverts to you.)
Do you accept simultaneous submissions (i.e., can your written submissions be under consideration for publication/competitions elsewhere?) Yes, we are happy to accept simultaneous submissions, but we ask that you notify us immediately should your entry be successful elsewhere so that it can then be withdrawn from this competition.
Can I submit something that has already won a prize or been published elsewhere? No, please do not submit work that has previously been successful in another contest or published elsewhere.
What themes or topics or stories are the judges looking for? We welcome original creative writing stories, non-fiction or op-ed/opinion pieces on any subject, genre or theme. However, please be advised that content that we consider discriminatory or gratuitously offensive will be disregarded in its entirety. Judges’ decision is final.
Is there any other advice available before I enter? Yes! Writer and competition judge, Prof Donal Ryan, and competition chair, Prof Sarah Moore Fitzgerald will be hosting an online writing workshop on Saturday December 9th from 10am-12noon. We’ll share some general insights on writing, clarify the different competition categories, explain the three forms of writing we’re looking for, and give you the courage you need to submit a piece of your writing! This workshop is fun, engaging and informative, and anyone who’s considering entering the competition is advised to attend if they can.
When can I enter? Competition opens Monday 13th November, 2023.
When is the entry deadline? January 15th, 2024.
What is the entry timeline? • Jan 15th - Feb 15th: Entries are screened, read and assessed, and shortlist is identified. • Mid-Feb: Shortlist is announced. • Feb - March: Judging process for overall winners begins. • April: Winners and runners up are announced and prizes awarded.
Will you send feedback on my submission? No, unfortunately we cannot provide feedback to entries thatare not shortlisted. Shortlisted pieces will receive direct feedback and commentary from the chair. The decisions of the judges will be final and no correspondence will be entered into relating to this final decision.
What’s the difference between fiction, creative non-fiction and op-ed?
Fiction: A fictional short story can about anything at all, created from your imagination. For inspiration, have a look at the short stories/collections of any of these Irish writers: Donal Ryan; Joseph O’Connor; Louise Kennedy; Madeleine D’Arcy; Wendy Erskine; Nicole Flattery; Kevin Barry, Nuala O’Connor.
Creative non-fiction: While creative non-fiction should have a strong story arc, it is based clearly on real events. It could include memoir, biography, a moment in time; travel; a figure or moment in history. For good examples of excellent non-fiction have a listen to: any of the memoir-based pieces from RTE’s Sunday miscellany, read Emilie Pine’s award-winning ‘Notes to Self’, Kerry Ni Dochartaigh’s ‘Thin Places’ or chapters from memoirs that you admire. Like fiction, non-fiction can be written in any style and can be funny, sad, insightful, strange. Your non-fiction piece should be well structured and have just as satisfying sense of story as a fictional short story.
Op-Ed/opinion piece: Op-ed generally involves some analysis and exploration of real-life or world events and opinion should also be backed up by evidence. While requiring research and an informed backdrop, your writing should also be fresh and original – condensed through the lens of your own point of view. That point of view can be political, philosophical or reflective. For inspiration, check out some of our favourite op-ed writers in Ireland such as Olivia O’Leary, Maeve Higgins, Justine McCarthy, David McWilliams, Alison O’Connor.
Terms and Conditions
-In the event of an insufficient response and/or low numbers of competition entries, the All Ireland Scholarships Association competition team reserves the right not to award a prize or prizes once the specified time frame is complete. -Entrants must be over 18 and reside on the Island of Ireland or hold an Irish passport. -The judges’ decision will be final and they will have absolute discretion with regard to the number of awards in each category. -No correspondence will be entered into with any entrants in relation to the award decisions. -The competition screening, shortlisting and selection process will be overseen by the competition team and by a trustee of the Scholarships Association. -Membership of the judging panel, prize money amounts, categories, competition time frames and deadlines may be subject to change. -Shortlisted and / or winning entries may be subject to media and other forms of publication. By entering the competition, you agree to this.
The Judging Panel
Professor sarah moore fitzgerald.
Professor Sarah Moore Fitzgerald is an award-winning teacher, academic and novelist. She was UL’s first Dean of Teaching and Learning and is now part of their creative writing team and founder and director of UL’s Creative Writing Winter School. From 2013 to 2018 she was Ireland’s inaugural chair of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.
A lifelong creative writer, she’s the author of seven novels for children and young adults and her fiction has been shortlisted for many literary prizes including the Irish Book Awards, The Waterstones Prize and CBI book of the year. Her work has been translated into eighteen languages and adapted for the stage in London and Edinburgh. Sarah is 2023’s winner of the London Magazine Short Story Award. Among her outreach work, she’s currently working with Children’s Books Ireland on a project entitled ‘Every Child A Reader.’
Donal Ryan, from Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, is the author of six novels and a short story collection. He has won several awards for his fiction, including the European Union Prize for Literature, the Guardian First Book Award, four Irish Book Awards, and has been shortlisted for several more, including the Costa Book Award and the Dublin International Literary Award. He was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2013 for his debut novel, The Spinning Heart, and again in 2018, for his fourth novel, From A Low and Quiet Sea.
In 2021 he became the first Irish writer to be awarded the Jean Monnet Prize for European Literature. His work has been adapted for stage and screen and translated into over twenty languages. His seventh book, The Queen of Dirt Island, was published by Doubleday in August 2022 and was an instant number one bestseller. A law graduate and former civil servant, Donal has lectured in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick since 2014.
Marian Keyes is the multimillion copy, internationally bestselling author of some of the most widely loved, genre-defying novels of the past thirty years – including Rachel’s Holiday, The Break and Grown Ups. Readers are irresistibly drawn by her warmth and wit, fearless honesty, relatable characters and relationships, and sheer storytelling magic. Not only has Marian inspired and entertained countless readers, but also the next generation of writers too.
Both critically acclaimed and commercially unstoppable, Marian’s fifteenth novel Again, Rachel – the sequel to the groundbreaking Rachel’s Holiday – was an instant Sunday Times and No. 1 bestseller. In 2022, Marian was named the British Book Awards Author of the Year.
Roddy Doyle is an internationally acclaimed and Booker Prize-winning novelist, dramatist and screenwriter. He is one of Ireland's most prolific and best-loved writers, and creator of some of our most unforgettable fictional characters.
He is the author of eleven novels for adults, eight books for children, seven plays and screenplays, and dozens of short stories. Several of his books have been made into films, beginning with The Commitments in 1991. Doyle's work is set primarily in Ireland, especially working-class Dublin, and is notable for its heavy use of dialogue written in slang and Irish English dialect.
- Search Results
Writing prizes and opportunities
There are many awards and development schemes available for authors at all stages of their careers. Below is a list of monetary awards, sponsored retreats, mentorships and training opportunities.
If you're looking for help both in development or funding from organisations near you, find information about local support here.
Take a look through the opportunities for new writers:
- Opportunities from Penguin - From other organisations - For published writers - Writing retreats
For new writers
WriteNow is run by Penguin Random House and aims to find, nurture and publish new writers from communities under-represented on the nation's bookshelves. It offers workshops and feedback, and includes the chance to join a year-long programme.
#Merky New Writers' Prize
#Merky Books is a home for underrepresented voices and provides a platform where their stories can be told, heard and uplifted. The winner of the New Writers’ Prize receives a publishing contract. All longlisted writers are invited to our Writers’ Camp, where they participate in writing workshops, panel talks, editorial one-to-ones, and meet the #Merky Books team.
Harvill Secker Young Translators' Prize
The Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize aims to recognise the achievements of young translators at the start of their careers and to encourage and support the next generation of literary translators. It focuses on a different language each prize year and is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 34, with no more than one full-length translation published.
From other organisations
The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize
Awarded for the best piece of writing on an annual theme. The winner of the Writing Prize receives a cash prize, and the runners-up receive travel expense support that must be used to attend their annual symposium which is hosted in a European country. All genres of writing are permitted, including fiction, non-fiction and non-academic essays. Open to unpublished writers only.
Anthology Poetry Competition
Established to recognise and encourage excellence in the craft of poetry writing and to provide a platform for publication, the Anthology Poetry Competition is open to original and previously unpublished poems in the English language.
Anthology Short Story Competition
Established to recognise and encourage creative writing and provide a platform for publication, the Anthology Short Story Competition is open to original and previously unpublished short stories in the English language by a writer of any nationality, living anywhere in the world.
Aurora Prize For Writing
The Aurora Prize for Writing is a national competition run by Writing East Midlands, in partnership with the Society of Authors. It seeks outstanding new writing in short fiction and poetry.
The Bracken Prize
The Financial Times and McKinsey want to encourage young authors to tackle emerging business themes and ask entrants to submit a business book proposal. The prize aims to encourage a new generation of business writers and has already seen a number of shortlisted and longlisted proposals emerge as published books.
The Bath Novel Awards
The Bath Novel Award and The Bath Children’s Novel Award spotlight emerging writers, and are open to unpublished and independently published novelists worldwide.
Blue Pencil Agency First Novel Award
The First Novel Award is open to unrepresented and unpublished authors for a novel in any adult fiction genre.
Breakthrough Writers' Programme
Curtis Brown Creative, supported by the Curtis Brown and C&W agencies, run a programme of creative writing courses, mentoring opportunities and scholarships for under-represented writers – with all opportunities fully funded for the writers taking part.
Curtis Brown Creative, supported by the Curtis Brown and C&W agencies, regularly offer funded places on their courses to talented writers facing barriers to entry.
Breakthrough Mentoring Programme
This mentoring programme is for talented writers who fulfil the eligibility criteria and are seeking targeted, detailed one-to-one feedback on a work-in-progress, plus industry advice. You can apply to be mentored for a project at any writing stage.
Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize
Entries of original short fiction between 1000 and 5000 words can be entered into the Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize. The winner will receive £1,000 and 12 shortlisted writers will be included in an anthology.
The Bridport Prize
The Bridport Prize has a number of categories: novel, poetry, short story and flash fiction. All the awards are for work which has not previously been published, while the novel award is only open to writers who are not represented by a literary agent.
The Bristol Short Story Prize
This is an annual international writing competition open to all published and unpublished, UK and non-UK-based writers.
The Caledonia Novel Award
An Edinburgh-based, international writing competition for unpublished and self-published novelists in all genres for adults and YA.
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize
The prize is open to all Commonwealth citizens aged 18 and over entering a story of between 2,500 and 5,000 words. The regional winners receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives a total of £5,000. The winning stories are published online by Granta and in a special print collection by Paper + Ink.
Creators of Justice Literary Awards
The Creators of Justice Literary Awards is an annual, international contest featuring works which highlight the struggle for human rights and social justice across the world. Writers can submit one poem, essay, or short story on an annual theme.
The Creative Future Writers’ Award
The Creative Future Writers’ Award (CFWA) is a national writing development programme which celebrates talented, underrepresented writers who lack opportunities due to mental health issues, disability, health or social circumstance. Prizes include £20,000 of cash and top writing development prizes supplied by prominent publishers and development agencies.
Criptic x Spread The Word
CRIPtic Arts x Spread the Word collaboratively produce a range of activities including salons, a retreat and research for deaf and disabled writers. Their work together aims to offer a range of activities to support, develop and empower deaf and disabled writers.
The Women’s Prize Trust, NatWest, Curtis Brown Literary Agency and Curtis Brown Creative Writing School have partnered to create Discoveries, a unique initiative searching for the most talented and original new female writing voices in the UK and Ireland. The winner will be offered representation by Curtis Brown Literary Agency and a cash prize of £5,000.
Footnote x Counterpoints Writing Prize
Footnote Press and Counterpoints Arts have partnered to launch the Footnote x Counterpoints Writing Prize for writers from refugee and migrant backgrounds. The £15,000 award, which includes an advance of £5,000 and a publication agreement with Footnote Press, is for narrative non-fiction centred around themes of displacement, identity and/or resistance. Writers can be published or unpublished.
Green Stories Writing Competitions
Green Stories writing competitions are a series of free writing competitions open to all across various formats to solicit stories that showcase what a sustainable society might look like.
Grindstone Literary International Novel Prize
The 2023 Novel Prize is open to authors from all countries, provided their submissions are in English. To be eligible to enter, authors must be unrepresented . Entrants are asked to submit the first 5,000 words of their manuscript.
The London Library Emerging Writers Programme
Geared towards supporting writers at the start of their careers, the programme includes writing development masterclasses, literary networking opportunities, peer support and guidance in use of the Library’s resources. With its extensive open-access book collection, dedicated writing spaces and diverse community of established writers, the benefits of Library membership are very valuable.
The London Writers’ Awards
This is a development programme run by Spread the Word which aims to increase the number of writers from under-represented communities being taken up by agents and publishers. The awards support 30 London-based writers of colour and working class, LGBTQ+ and disabled writers each year, and bursaries are available for writers in need. There is also an Access Fund for disabled writers. Writers on the awards scheme take part in group feedback sessions on their work and also attend one-to-one professional development sessions.
Mairtín Crawford Awards
The Mairtín Crawford Awards are aimed at writers working towards their first full collection of poetry, short stories, or a novel. Both published and unpublished writers are invited to submit between 3-5 poems for the poetry award, and a short story of up to 2,500 words for the short story award, with the only stipulation being that they have not yet published a full collection of poetry, short stories, or a novel.
The Malorie Blackman Scholarships for Unheard Voices
City Lit’s Malorie Blackman Scholarships for Unheard Voices provide three annual awards worth up to £1000 each, to fund one year’s study within the Creative Writing department at City Lit.
The Manchester Writing Competition
The Manchester Writing Competition for poetry and fiction, offers the UK’s biggest literary awards for unpublished work, with each category awarding £10,000.
Mogford Prize for Food and Drink Writing
The Mogford Prize for Food and Drink Writing is an annual short story competition open to writers across the globe. The prize awards £10,000 to the best short story that has food and drink at its heart.
Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour
Jointly run by Morley College London and the Rachel Mills Literary Agency, the prize is awarded to unpublished aspiring authors of colour. There are two prizes – one for works of fiction and one for Life Writing and Creative Non-fiction.
The Moth Prizes
The Moth Magazine runs an annual short story prize, nature writing prize and poetry prize open to anyone from anywhere in the world, as long as their writing is original and previously unpublished.
The National Poetry Competition
The National Poetry Competition is one of the world’s most prestigious prizes for an unpublished poem of up to 40 lines, open to anyone 18 or over.
New Writers Poetry Competition
Open to poets from around the world, the winner receives £1,000, with a second prize of £300 and a third prize of £200.
The Nine Dots Prize
The Nine Dots Prize is a prize for creative thinking that tackles contemporary societal issues. Entrants are asked to respond to a question in 3,000 words, with the winner receiving $100,000 to write a short book expanding on their ideas. The aim of the Prize is to promote, encourage and engage innovative thinking to address problems facing the modern world. Its name references the nine dots puzzle – a lateral thinking puzzle which can only be solved by thinking outside the box.
The Oxford Poetry Prize
The winner of the Oxford Poetry Prize receives £1,000, the runner-up £200, and third place £100. The winning poets are also offered publication in Oxford Poetry.
Poetry London Prize
The Poetry London Prize is a major, internationally renowned award for a single outstanding poem. The first prize is £5,000.
Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize
Run by Wasifiri , the magazine of international literature, in conjunction with Queen Mary University, this prize supports new writers.
Rhys Davies Short Story Competition
The Rhys Davies Short Story Competition is a distinguished national writing competition for writers born or living in Wales. The first prize is £1,000 and publication in a short story anthology to be published by Parthian Books.
The Royal Society of Literature V. S. Pritchett Short Story Prize
The annual prize of £1,000 goes to the best unpublished short story of the year. The winning entry is also published in Prospect magazine and the RSL Review.
Scottish Book Trust New Writers Awards
The New Writers Awards is an annual awards programme supporting individuals committed to developing their writing. The award includes a cash award, a week-long retreat, training and mentoring.
Scottish Book Trust Next Chapter Award
The Next Chapter Award is an annual award supporting an emerging writer over the age of 40. The Award includes a cash reward, 2-week writing retreat, training and mentoring.
The Society of Authors' Awards
The Society of Authors runs annual awards, which are open to writers at all stages of their careers. Among them is The ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award for a short story (applicants need to have had at least one short story accepted for publication); and The McKitterick Prize, which is given annually to an author over the age of 40 for a first novel, published or unpublished.
Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition
The competition is open to original, unpublished and unbroadcast short stories in the English language of 3,000 words or fewer. The first prize is €2,000 and a one-week residency at Anam Cara Retreat.
Searchlight Writing for Children Awards is an international competition for aspiring authors writing for children or young adults. Categories are 'Best Children’s Picture Book Text' and 'Best Novel Opening for Children or Young Adults'.
The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition
Chicken House are looking for original ideas, a fresh voice, and a diverse range of entries and stories that children will love! They'd particularly like to encourage entry from writers from underrepresented backgrounds. The first prize is a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House with a royalty advance of £10,000, plus an offer of representation from an agent.
The Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize
The Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize is an international prize that supports and celebrates the best adventure writing today. The Prize is open to writers of any nationality, writing in English. Awards are presented in three categories: Best Published Novel, New Voices and Author of Tomorrow.
W&A Working-Class Writers' Prize
Writers & Artists run the W&A Working-Class Writers' Prize – a celebration of stories as a mode of communication, and a reminder of how vital it is that everyone can share their ideas and experiences via the written word. The prize includes a cash prize and mentoring sessions with an acclaimed author.
The Writers Award
Run by The Deborah Rogers Found - set up in memory of a late literary agent - The Writers Award gives £10,000 to an unpublished writer to enable them to complete a first book. It is run biannually.
For published writers
These awards are for published writers only, and in order to be considered books must be nominated by their publisher or agent - authors cannot usually enter themselves (with the exception of the fellowships). However, as a writer looking to get published, it's always worth taking stock of the titles being longlisted and shortlisted for some of the top literary awards to give you a sense of which types of books are receiving critical acclaim. We've included prizes for fiction and non-fiction titles here.
Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction
The Baillie Gifford Prize rewards excellence in non-fiction writing across current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.
BBC National Short Story Award
An annual prize, entrants must have a prior record of publishing creative work in the UK. Stories up to 8,000 words are accepted and may be submitted by the author or by their agent. Shortlisted stories are awarded a prize of £600.
The Booker Prize
The leading literary award in the English-speaking world, which has brought recognition, reward and readership to outstanding fiction for over 50 years. Awarded annually to the best novel of the year written in English and published in the UK or Ireland. Although you have to be nominated by your publisher, many debut novels have been longlisted and shortlisted in the past.
The Desmond Elliot Prize
The Desmond Elliott Prize encourages publishers from across the UK and Ireland to submit literary fiction debuts for consideration, awarding one winning author £10,000 to shape their developing career.
Forward Prizes for Poetry
The Forward Prizes for Poetry honour excellence in contemporary poetry published in UK and Ireland.
FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year
This prestigious £30,000 prize goes to the book that is judged to have provided the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues, with £10,000 awarded to each runner-up.
Nero Book Awards
Celebrating outstanding writing by great authors living in the UK and Ireland, these awards list the best books of the year for their quality of writing and readability. There are four categories: Children’s Fiction, Debut Fiction, Fiction and Non-Fiction. An overall winner, given the Nero Gold Prize for the “Book of the Year”, is also be named.
Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize
Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the prize celebrates the international world of fiction in all its forms including poetry, novels, short stories, and drama. The winner receives a prize of £30,000.
The Royal Society of Literature Christopher Bland Prize
The RSL Christopher Bland Prize is an annual award of £10,000 to a debut novelist or non-fiction writer first published aged 50 or over.
The Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize
The annual award of £10,000 for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place.
Scottish Book Trust Ignite Fellowship
The Ignite Fellowship supports established writers who are embarking on or working through a significant project. You can apply whether the project is in its very earliest stages or already a work in progress.
Women's Prize for Fiction
The Women's Prize for Fiction is the UK's most prestigious annual book award celebrating and honouring fiction written by women.
Arvon runs an annual programme of creative writing courses and retreats for schools, groups and individuals. Their courses, tutored by leading authors, are held at three rural centres and include a mix of workshops and individual tutorials, with time and space to write, free from distractions of everyday life. Arvon courses are in a range of genres and they have different styles of courses. Grants are available to help with course fees.
The Garsdale Retreat
The Garsdale Retreat is a creative writing centre in the Yorkshire Dales. It provides inspirational courses tutored by professional writers, enabling participants to develop their individual creativity in a place of peace and tranquillity, away from the distractions and stresses of everyday life.
Gladstone's Library is a residential library and meeting place which is dedicated to dialogue, debate and learning for open-minded individuals and groups, who are looking to explore pressing questions and to pursue study and research. They offer a programme of courses and events that keep them connected with a wide range of writers and thinkers.
Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre
Moniack Mhor is Scotland’s National Writing Centre. Based in the Scottish Highlands, they run courses in a range of genres tutored by some of the finest authors in the UK and beyond. They also sponsor awards, bursaries, and professional residencies to develop works in progress and a programme for young writers.
The River Mill
This former flour mill in South Down, Northern Ireland is now a boutique reading and writing retreat. They offer individual residencies and workshops.
Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre
Tŷ Newydd is the National Writing Centre of Wales, run by Literature Wales specialising in residential creative writing courses.
Urban Writers Retreat
Providing residential retreats in Devon and one-day courses in London, they offer guidance and space away from everyday life.
We will keep this page updated with new opportunities as and when they become available. If you want to let us know about a new opportunity, please email us: [email protected]
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