Swoop Books


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.

Previous Competitions

Swoop Books ‘Love Locks’ Short Story Writing Competition 2021
Swoop Books ‘Ordinary People’ Creative Writing Competition 2020

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The 270+ Best Writing Contests

swoop books creative writing competition

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.

Adventure Writing

Children's Fiction & Nonfiction

Children's & Young Adult Fiction

Children's Fiction

Creative Nonfiction

Crime Novel

Fiction & Creative Nonfiction

Fiction & Essay

Fiction & Nonfiction

Flash Fiction

Historical Fiction

Historical Nonfiction

Nature Writing

Query Letters

Science Fiction

Script Writing

Short Story

Multiple/All Genres

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

Fable Competition

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

Fiction, Essay

Richell Prize for Emerging Writers

Fiction, Nonfiction

Stowe Prize

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

McKitterick Prize

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

Parracombe Prize

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

Poetry, Essay

Orison Prizes in Poetry & Fiction

Poetry, Fiction

Manchester Writing Competition

Lascaux Prizes in Poetry and Flash Fiction

Poetry, Flash Fiction

Black River Chapbook Competition

Poetry, Prose

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

Hudson Prize

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

Narrative Prize

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

Fiction, Poetry

Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award

Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize

Anansi Archive Writing Awards

Fanstory Writing Contests

Gulf Coast Writers Association Writing Contest

Jhalak Prize

​Rubery Book Award

Tadpole Press 100 Word Writing Contest

Recent Posts

8 Tips on Submitting Poetry to Literary Magazines

Announcing the Winner of the 2020 QueryLetter.com Writing Contest

How Can You Publish Poetry?


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creative writing competition

swoop books creative writing competition

All Ireland Scholarships Alumni Association

Creative writing competition 2024 – public.

swoop books creative writing competition

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


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


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.

Illustration of person surrounded by trophies, certificates and literary journals/creative writing magazines

  • 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

From Penguin

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.

Breakthrough scholarships

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 Awards

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.

Writing retreats

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

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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