Novel Writing Competitions 2023
We have gathered a list of the best novel writing competitions in 2023 for unpublished / unagented authors..
Each of these is handpicked, with the data checked on a regular basis.
Many of these novel writing competitions are very prestigious, and highly likely to lead to agent representation and / or publication. We have not included any competitions that do not present a satisfactory level of credibility and authority.
For each competition we have collated the following information into an easy to access format:
- Name of competition, with a link to the website
- Details of 1st Prize
- Eligibility - the writer (any limitations placed on who can enter)
- Eligibility - the submission (details about what sort of work is appropriate for this competition)
- Genre - which genres are accepted
They are listed in date order, so you can scroll down to find the ones with deadlines coming up soon.
Please note that as these are annual competitions, those with later deadlines may not have opened for submissions yet.
Entry fees vary from free to £10 to £20, and 1st prizes average about £1000. There are some exceptional ones, with cash prizes of £20,000. Several offer mentoring, publication deals and agent representation as their first prize and even for runners up.
Most are open to entrants worldwide, but some have slightly more limited eligibility criteria, such as being only open to UK residents, people of colour, or women.
If you have a novel writing competition that you would like added to this list, please get in touch. Or, if you notice any errors in the data, please do let us know so we can correct them.
We aim to update this post regularly, to add new competitions as we discover them.
Please share and bookmark this page if you find it useful!
Click here to visit the Exeter Novel Prize website
Click here to visit the Author Mentor Match website
Click here to visit the WriteMentor Children's Award website
Click here to visit the Next Generation Indie Book Awards website
Click here to visit the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize website
Click here to visit the Northern Writers Awards website
Click here to visit the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award website
Click here to visit the Chapter One Prize website
Click here to visit the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize website
Click here to visit the Daphne du Maurier Awards for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense website
Click here to visit the Cheshire Novel Award website
Click here to visit the Claymore Award website
Click here to visit the First Pages Prize website
Click here to visit the Adventure Writer's Competition website
Click here to visit the BPA First Novel Award website
Click here to visit theWriteMentor Novel-In-Development Award website
Click here to visit the Page Turner Awards website
Click here to visit the First Novel Prize website
Click here to visit the Bridport Prize Novel Award website
Click here to visit the Bath Novel Award website
Click here to visit the Times Chicken House Competition website
Click here to visit The Guppy Books Middle Grade Open Submission website
Click here to visit North Street Book Prize website
Click here to visit the Page One Prize website
Click here to visit The Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour website
Click here to visit Staunch Book Prize website
Click here to visit the Fiction Factory First Chapter Competition website
Click here to visit Kindle Storyteller website
Click here to visit Book Pipeline Adaptation Contest website
Click here to visit the Impress Prize for New Writers website
Click here to visit Mslexia Novel Competition website
Click here to visit Grindstone Literary International Novel Prize website
Click here to visit the Pitchwars website
Click here to visit The First Page Challenge (The Darling Axe) website
Click here to visit the Book Pipeline Unpublished Competition website
Click here to visit the Flash 500 Novel Opening Chapter & Synopsis Competition website
Click here to visit The Caledonia Novel Award website
Click here to visit The Bath Children's Novel website
Click here to visit The Searchlight Writing for Children Awards website
Click here to visit the Cinnamon Press Literature Award website
Click here to visit The Betty Trask Prize website
Click here to visit the David Higham Open Day for Under Represented Writers website
Click here to visit the Daisy Pettles Writing Contest for Women website
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Non fiction book writing competitions uk 2017
Our editors believe that providing a platform for emerging writers and helping them find readers is an essential role of literary magazines, and its been our privilege to work with many fine writers early in their careers. Choice of genre narrative story, poetry, nonfiction. Here are the top 5 writing contests, as measured by bang. Its one thing to write, and another entirely different proposition getting others to actually read what you have written. The big list of uk writing competitions neon books. Below is a list of book and novel writing competitions. Essay contests, nonfiction writing competitions, awards. For non fiction writing competitions from canada and america, and mostly aimed at north american writers, click here. The next generation indie book awards was established to recognize and honor the most exceptional independently published.
Writing competitions below is a list of non fiction, essay, memoir and life writing competitions from uk, ireland and europe although some are open to writers internationally. Galley beggar press is an independent publisher committed to publishing daring, innovative fiction creative non fiction. Independent book publishers association runs this one. A massive thanks to all our users who participated in the recent survey we know they can be annoying. Short story competitions 2020, list of writing competitions uk. Nonfiction book awards, writing contests and literary prizes. The young persons writing competition is open to 614 year olds. One of the most significant short story competitions in the uk, this. Novel writing competitions list for 2020 jessica davidson. Open to new and emerging writers living in the uk aged 18 or over, the prize. I am not including details of short story competitions here as i have a separate page for short fiction awards which you can see by clicking here. It covers all non fiction in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts. Best essay scholarship, uk, 30th november 2017, 7th december 2017. Quarterly flash fiction contest with guest judge literary agent quressa robinson with the nelson literary agency.
Gb 708774309 mslexia is supported by arts council england. The winner will also have their story featured on the servicescape blog, which sees. Find one or more that fits with your style and submit your work. The prize is open to women writers age 40 and older, who do not yet have a booklength publication of fiction. The competition is open to writers who have yet to publish a fulllength work or have a literary agent. Christian book awards, writing contests and literary prizes. Im a member, but dont get any dough for recommending them. A guide to short story contests in 2017 aerogramme writers studio. Power play are on the search for a femaleidentifying or non binary writer to create and develop a new play. Entries can be fiction, memoir, creative nonfiction and lifewriting on. Give your hard work the best chance to win, make sure that you follow the entry requirements. All competitions on this site are carefully vetted. Genres include short story, flash fiction, novel, poetry, childrens, etc.
The ultimate list of writing contests in 2020 win cash prizes. Speaking volumes christian book awards the purpose is to promote what is best in christian writing in the uk and to encourage the writing of christian books. The spread the word life writing prize is the annual prize for narrative non fiction, run by spread the word in partnership with goldsmiths writers centre, and established to celebrate and develop life writing in the uk thanks to a generous donation from joanna munro. Here is a list of writing competitions, awards, fairs, festivals and other book markets with deadlines in august, 2017.
Your book trips, travels and dreams how lsd saved me entered in the life stories category was included in the 2019 writers digest 28th annual selfpublished book awards and was considered, along with all submissions, for the prizes. Any woman writer living in the uk or ireland, aged 40 and over by the 15th november 2017, can enter. Nonfiction book awards nonfiction authors association. Mslexia is the trading name of mslexia publications limited.
Writing competitions 2017 list of competitions for creative writers. An extensive list of short story contests and prizes for writers at all. I cant vouch for all these comps personally, but if you. The newpages big list of contests lists writing contests, chapbook contests, book contests, and more from literary magazines, indie presses, and more. Entries must not have been previously published, either in print or online, or been accepted for publication elsewhere. For reference, a record of non fiction writing contests that have closed.
Submit at least 400 words describing your dream uk holiday. The kindle storyteller award is open to authors writing in english across any genre. The prize aims to reward the best of nonfiction and is open to authors writing in the. Open to anyone writing a book about their experience of an unfamiliar. Servicescape, a platform matching freelance writers, editors, and graphic designers with clients i. In addition to this, the winners face is featured on the front cover of the book. Here you will find details of other online resources that provide lists of non fiction and essay competitions. Below is a list of nonfiction, essay, memoir and life writing competitions from uk, ireland and europe although some are open to writers internationally. Ready to share your novel or personal essay with the world. Guidelines for the 2020 autumn house nonfiction contest for the 2020 contest, the autumn house staff serves as the preliminary readers, and the final judge is jaquira diaz. Writing competitions august 2017 writing and publishing. As an extension of the nonfiction authors association, we are committed to honoring excellence in nonfiction books and welcome submissions by selfpublished and traditionally published authors alike, in both print and ebook formats. Discover the finest writing contests of 2020 for fiction and non fiction authors including short story competitions, essay writing competitions, poetry contests, and many more. Awarded for fiction and nonfiction in alternate years this year the prize.
Event non fiction contest po box 2503, new westminster, bc canada, v3l 5b2. Theme is into the woods inspired by the landscape of west sussex. Discover the finest writing contests of 2020 for fiction and nonfiction authors including short story competitions, essay writing competitions, poetry contests, and many more. These competitions are for unpublished or selfpublished novels and novellas for international writers, plus a few for uk or us residents only.
The 2017 prize was won by jon paul roberts for 19552012. If you are looking to take your writing to the next level, then entering a writing competition often provides that extra impetus to refine your work. The heroines anthology is a collection of stories of women written by women. The competition began in 2009 and is very popular, receiving entries from all over the uk. Writing competitions and events uk writers college. Explore new writing opportunities and events from the bbc and across the industry. This is a comprehensive list of the most worthwhile and genuine. Overall winner book publication and launched at festival see site for details. These are for full length books, novelettes or novellas. The writer must be a resident of the united kingdom or the republic of ireland. The following information has been extracted from other websites and no assurance can be given as its correctnes s. The competition was founded in 2017, and is overseen by the blue pencil agency.
The submission period opens january 1, 2020, and closes june 30, 2020 eastern time. Best childrens writing competitions the school reading list. Updated weekly, these contests are vetted by reedsy to weed out the scammers and timewasters. Sep 28, 2017 36 writing contests in october 2017 no entry fees. These competitions are for unpublished or selfpublished novels and novellas. The definitive guide a comprehensive and regularly updated list of writing contests in 2020. Its a long list and accurate as far as possible, updated monthly, so bookmark this page.
Any style or subject but themed, so check website for full details for previously unpublished authors only prize is a. Mar 31, 2020 a list of writing competitions and events for writers. Best writing contests in 2020 competitions with cash prizes. Explore the real world in our creative non fiction competition. This year the competition is for novels of at least 50,000 words written for adults and young adults in any genre by previously unpublished women novelists. The furious gazelle are seeking short story submissions of no more than 7000 words. For nonfiction writing competitions from canada and america, and mostly aimed at north american writers, click here. A calendar of essay contests and other nonfiction writing competitions, prizes and.
Wfnb writing competition wfnb writing competition offers prizes in seven categories. Writers who have published a novel or a book length collection of fiction with a traditional book publisher, or a minimum of three short stories or novellas in magazines or journals of national distribution are accepted. A worldrenowned literary agency based in the heart of mayfair, london, we represent a dynamic and awardwinning list of authors published in the uk, us and international markets. List of uk nonfiction, essay, memoir and article writing competitions, with deadlines. Writing contests 2019 2020 fiction and nonfiction book. Lush triumphant literary awards open to short fiction 3,000 words max, poetry 5 related poems, up to 15 pages, and creative nonfiction max 4,000 words.
The most common type of writing competitions on our list are short story competitions, but we also feature opportunities for poetry, flash fiction, essays, and full manuscripts. Hidden river arts offers the eludia award, for a first booklength unpublished novel or collection of stories. We are thrilled to open entries for our first madeleine milburn non fiction writing competition. Mar 17, 2017 west sussex writing competition entry via class teacher closing date friday 7th april 2017. Unlike many magazines, creative nonfiction draws heavily from unsolicited submissions. If nonfiction or journalism is your thing, we have plenty of opportunities to get your voice heard. Here is a list of writing competitions, awards, fairs, festivals and other book markets with deadlines in december, 2017. A flash fiction contest and a creative nonfiction essay contest.
We hope there is something here to satisfy every taste. Whether you are an aspiring or established author, here you will find a complete list of short story, novel, poetry, books and essay competitions where you can submit your fiction and non fiction masterpieces for the chance to win great prizes and. May 09, 2019 it can be hard for a writer to know where to start looking for writing competitions, and how to tell if theyre legitimate. Nonfiction book awards, writing contests and literary.
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Children’s Writing Competitions
Young writer’s competitions for children and teens aged 5-18
Please read our list of writing competitions for children. The contests are checked and updated each month . We are happy to feature writing challenges open to primary-age children, secondary-age pupils, and young adults in the UK. If you would like your competition featured here, please contact us . We are happy to feature competitions with at least one month remaining before the closing date. We have also compiled a list of recommended creative writing manuals and writing workshop activity guides suitable for use with KS1, KS2, KS3, and KS4 at the bottom of this page. New competitions are listed at the top of the page. Past and annual competitions are listed on the second half of the page below the horizontal line .
New writing competitions for children and teens
- BBC 500 words short story competition for children – re-opening in September 2023 with two age group categories, 5-7-year-olds and 7-11-year-olds.
Annual (and past writing) competitions for children and teens
Please note – many previously annual competitions have been affected by lockdown/COVID during 2020-3. This is beyond our control.
Closing date in March
- Humanimal Trust Creative Awards 2023 – children and teens aged 7-18 can share their creative skills on the theme of ‘ Connectivity ‘ and/or ‘ One Medicine’ in four age group categories: 7-11; 12-14; 15-16 & 17-18. Full details are on the competition website.
- Young Songwriter 2023 – “ The world’s leading songwriting competition for young aspiring songwriters, aged 8-18 “. Children are invited to enter up to five songs. There are three age group categories for UK children and teens: 8-12; 13-15 & 16-18. Full details are on the Song Academy website.
- Never Such Innocence – The 2023 theme is “ What does war mean to you? ” and to enter, children and teens can ‘share thoughts on how people, communities and countries build a life after conflict using poetry, art, speech and song’. There are four age group categories (9-11; 11-14; 14-16; & 16-18) and full details are on the competition website. The closing date is 10th March.
- The BBC Young Reporter Competition is open to children and teens aged 11-18 who “want to report on a story or issue which is important to their life or the world around them”.
- Young Financial Journalist Competition – open to secondary students aged 14-15, 15-15, 16-17 and 18-19. “We are seeking well-argued articles from students aged 14–19”. The closing date is 18th March.
- Fitzwilliam College Cambridge is running a series of essay competitions aimed at pupils in their penultimate year of education before university – ie Year 12, S5 or Y13 (Northern Ireland). Entries (written in English) are welcome from around the world. With six categories: Ancient World and Classics, Archaeology, History, Land Economy, Medieval World, and Architecture; this competition is highly recommended for 6th formers and could provide useful evidence for university applications, a starting point for an EPQ project, or a talking point for an admissions interview. The deadline is 3rd March.
- Chiltern Bookshops is running a children’s writing competition open to reception, year 1 and year 2 children; years 3-6; and 11-16-year-olds in secondary schools. Full details of word limits and story titles are on the website. The competition will be judged by Cressida Cowell. The closing date is 12th March.
- The BBC Young Writer’s Award – is open to 14-18-year-olds who can submit a piece of original fiction of up to 1000 words. Highly recommended.
- The Portico Sadie Massey Awards feature two competitions open to children. There’s the KS2, KS3, KS4, and KS5 Young Readers Competition (write a book review – any genre – on any subject) and the Young Writers competition, open to pupils in KS3,4&5 (write a story based in the North of England.)
- The Girton College Humanities Writing Competition – open to Year 12 students in the UK, the writing task is based on five objects in the college’s antiquities museum.
Closing date in April
- In association with The Times and FIPP, Pitch Magazine is running a Young Sports Journalist competition . Students aged 14-24 can enter an article of 700-800 words in response to the question prompts on the website. There are four age group categories: 14-17, 17-19, 19-21 and 21-24 and there’s a £150 prize for each winning entry.
- Tadpole Press is running a worldwide 100-word writing contest open to writers of all ages. 100 words can be submitted in any genre. There is an entry fee for this competition and there’s a cash prize for 1st place and writing coaching and editing packages for the 2nd and 3rd places. The deadline is 30th April.
- UK-RAS is running ‘ Once Upon a Robot ‘ – an up to 800-word short story competition for 7-11-year-olds in the UK. Children are invited to write a story – in any genre – involving a robot.
- The Writing Bee organised by Boom Writer offers children an exciting opportunity for children attending schools or those who are learning at home. The competition runs from January to April as an in-school contest, and from April to May as an online competition.
- Author of Tomorrow – run by the Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation, the Author of Tomorrow prize aims to find adventure writers of the future. Young people under 21 can submit entries between 1500 and 5000 words (under 500 words for primary-aged pupils). The prizes are £1000 for the 16-21 age group, £100 and £150 in book tokens for the 12-15 age group, and £100 and £150 in book tokens for the 11 and under age group. The closing date is 29th April.
Closing date in May
- War Through Children’s Eyes is open to children aged 7-17 and aims to “ raise awareness of the impact of wars and violent conflicts on the communities caught up in them, and particularly on the most vulnerable members of those communities: their children “. Entries of up to 1000 words are invited, there are vouchers for the top three entries and full details are available on the website. The closing date is 10th May.
- The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition is open to young people under the age of 19. The competition features a starter paragraph and invites entrants to write under 1000 words to continue the story. The closing date is 22nd May.
- First News Education School Newspaper of the Year Competition. (Not running in 2023) Open to primary schools, secondary schools, and special schools. Will this become the long-term successor to the legendary Daily Telegraph competition from the 90s and 00s?
- SATIPS poetry writing competition. (Not running in 2023)
Closing date in June
- Celebration Day writing competition – entrants are invited to write 250 words (primary) or 500 words (secondary) to tell the story of an inspirational person they know. There are five age categories: 5-7; 8-10; 11-13; 14-16; 17-18 & teachers. Full details and resources are available on the competition website and the Celebration Day website.
- Wells Festival of Literature Young Poets competition – open to secondary and post-secondary students aged 16-22. Poems must be no longer than 35 lines and the closing date is 30th June. The closing date is 21st June.
- The Poetry of Science Competition – is open to children who go to school in Oxfordshire or Buckinghamshire. The task is to write a ‘terrific scientific poem’. Entries in three age group categories: Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 and Key Stages 3&4. The closing date is 11th June. There’s a downloadable poster for classrooms here .
- The Solstice Prize for Young Writers – open theme for either poetry – up to 40 lines, or short stories – up to 1000 words, aimed at secondary pupils. Categories for 10-13 and 14-17. The closing date is Saturday 20th June .
- The Orwell Youth Prize – for secondary students aged 12-18, entries can be in any form, up to 1000 words. This year’s task is to respond to this title: “The Future We Want”. The closing date is 11th June.
- Cambridge University and SATIPS handwriting competition .
Closing date in July
- The Writing Tournament is a “free, not-for-profit writing competition for young writers which simulates the journey of a professional author”. Run by author W.J. Kite, 8-16-year-olds can submit 750-word stories written in English on the theme “Unsung Heroes”. There are two age categories – 8-11 and 12-16 – and the closing date is 31st July.
- The Chester Cathedral Young Poet’s Competition is open to UK students aged 16-18 and invites original poems of up to 40 lines. For further details and this year’s theme, please see the competition website. The closing date is 17th July.
- Foyle Young Poets competition – for 11-17-year-olds, the competition welcomes “poems on any theme and any length”. Closing date 31st July.
- Stephen Spender Trust poetry in translation prize – the challenge is to translate a poem from any language into English. There are three categories for young people: U18, U16, and U14. The top prize is £1000. The closing date is 17th July.
- Ledbury Under 18’s poetry competition . Two categories – 11 and under and 12-17 request poems of no more than 40 lines in length. There are cash prizes or book tokens for the winners. Deadline 15th July.
- HG Wells short story competition.
- The Lewis Carroll society is running a competition that includes categories for up to 16 and 16-20-year-olds who invite young writers to create a missing chapter of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking-Glass. Full details are on the website link and the competition closes on 3rd July.
Closing date in August
- 3-18-year-olds can enter the Potential Plus creative writing competition . Entries can be poems, short stories, essays, statements or plays. There are categories for KS1, KS2 and secondary school pupils. There’s a comprehensive guide to the contest on their website. The closing date for online entries is 24th August.
- Atom Learning’s Young Author Award 2022 offers 7-9-year-olds and 10-11 year-olds the chance to win a trip to Disneyland Paris. Children can enter fiction stories of up to 500 words inspired by the theme “A Day That Changed The World”. There’s also a free creative writing activity pack to download. The closing date is 31st August.
- The Man Up! Creative Writing Competition is open to young people aged 15-25. Inspired by the Man Up! exhibition that highlighted ‘stories of women in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries who stepped into male roles’, entrants are invited to submit short stories and poems inspired by the women and stories in Man Up! There are categories for 15-17-year-olds and 18-25-year-olds, and full details are on the competition’s website. The closing date is 15th August.
- Goldsmiths University of London is running a series of competitions for 16-18-year-olds who are invited to a short story, a piece of journalism with a historical angle, or a piece about identity and culture. The Young Writer, Young Columnist, and Young Anthropologist competitions close on 2nd August.
- Cinemagic Young Filmmaker – open to films on any subject from young filmmakers aged under 25. The prizes include winning films being screened in cinemas.
- Young Muslim Writers Award – open to UK children and teens in KS1, KS2, KS3 and KS4 who can submit a short story or poetry – and in KS3 and KS4, this is extended to also include journalism, screenplays, and play scripts. Full details are on the website. The closing date is 13th August.
- C.A.B.B publishing is running a short story competition for children. Full details are available on their website.
Closing date in September
- The Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry invites children worldwide to enter poems written in English of up to 40 lines, on any theme, on ‘any subject that kindles your imagination. The closing date is 30th September.
- The Ottery Literary Festival is running a young writers’ competition open to children and young adults aged 18 and under for flash fiction stories of up to 500 words. This year’s theme is ‘ trapped ‘ and full details are available on the competition webpage. The deadline is 30th September.
- The National Museum of Computing has organised a poetry competition open to 5-18 years olds, in honour of WW2 code-breaking heroine Betty O’Connell. Entries should be “on the theme of community spirit, individual achievement, unsung heroes and those who inspire them.” The deadline is 15th September.
- The Curious Tales story competition offers children up to 16 the chance to win two tickets to the Harry Potter studios by entering stories of up to 3000 words. The deadline is 1st September. Full details are available on the competition website.
- The Style of Wight Children’s Writing Competition – children who live on the Isle of Wight aged 7-11 and 12-16 can submit stories of up to 500 words on any subject. The deadline is 2nd September.
- The Betty Haigh Shakespeare Prize – open to “any sixth form student of English Literature”. There are two options, both with detailed entry criteria which can be viewed on the competition website. The closing date is 1st September.
Closing date in October
- Poetry Together Competition – children in the UK aged 5-18 are invited to enter poems of no more than 14 lines on the theme of ‘Laughter and Tears’ by 12pm on 25th October. Full details are available on the competition website.
- The Yorkshire Festival of Story Children’s Story Competition invites short stories from UK children aged 7-12 that ‘feature a woodland creature or creatures.’ The deadline is 9th October.
- Royal Geographical Society School Essay Competition – an annual competition, run in association with the Financial Times, for 16-19-year-olds, with a closing date in October.
- Explore Learning’s Writers’ Awards invite children aged 4-14 to enter a 500-word short story on the theme “hidden talents”. The competition will be judged by Greg James. The deadline is 28th October.
- The Young Walter Scott Prize is dedicated to historical fiction, defined as “in a time before you were born”, and this competition has two age categories: 11-15 and 16-19. Entries can be prose, poetry, drama, fictional letters, or reportage. The closing date is the end of October.
- The Solstice Prize For Young Writers , organised by Writing East Midlands, invites children and teens aged 7-17 to write ‘ imaginative short stories (up to 500 words) and p rovocative poems (up to 40 lines)’. The competition offers cash prizes and an anthology of the best entries. There are three age categories: 7-11, 12-14 and 15-17 and the closing date is 31st October.
- Saugus Halloween story writing contest. Closing date is 21st October.
Closing date in November
- The East Riding Festival of Words runs an annual poetry competition. This year’s theme is ‘ My Wonderful World’ . Entries of up to 45 lines are open to children aged 4-10 and 11-16 and there are cash prizes for the winners. The closing date is 30th November.
- The Tadpole Press 100 Word Writing Contest is a worldwide competition open to writers of all ages. There’s an entry fee for this one, with cash prizes and writing development packages on offer for the winners. The deadline is November 30th.
- Wenlock Olympian Society Short Story Competition – open to students aged 16+ who are invited to write a story on any theme of up to 2500 words. Full entry details are on the Wenlock website. The closing date is 23rd November.
- One Teen Story – story submission site for teenagers. The deadline is 27th November.
- The Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize for writers aged 18-25 invites entries of 1000-1500 words on a Franklin quote which changes each year. The deadline is 30th November.
Closing date in December
- The Otterpool Park story writing competition is open to children aged 8-14, who can enter stories of up to 500 words using one of three specified writing prompts about Westenhanger Castle. Have a look at the competition website for more details. There are prizes for the winners and the closing date is 8th January.
- The Geoffrey Weeden Poetry Prize offers children and young adults in two age categories: 9-12 and 13-18 to submit up to three poems not exceeding 150 lines on the theme ‘Draw Breath. The closing date is 18th December. Details on how to enter are on the competition website.
- The Royal Mint Museum short story competition – will return in 2023.
- Into Film awards -will return in 2023.
Closing date in January
- The Cheshire Prize for Literature is open to children and teens in two age group categories: 4-11 (who can enter poetry and short stories) and 11-18 (who can enter poetry or short stories). This year’s theme is open . Entrants must have lived, worked or studied in Cheshire and the closing date is 31st January.
- The Immerse Essay Competition offers teens aged 13-18 the opportunity to write an essay choosing from a range of topics including architecture, science, law, international relations, medicine, economics, creative writing and many more. There are two age groups: 13-15 and 16-18. The deadline is 4th January.
- North Eastern University London is running an essay competition for students in year 12. Pupils can submit up to 1,500 words, choosing from a range of set essay titles that span a broad range of topics including humanities, philosophy, social issues, the law and creative writing. There are cash prizes for the top three entries and the closing date is 16th January.
- The Korean Spirit & Culture Promotion Project Essay Contest is an international competition open to children in two age group categories: years 6-9 and years 10-13. There are cash prizes for the top three entries and honourable mentions in each category. Full entry details are available on this information poster . All submissions must be submitted by 15th January.
- The Herne Hill Lit Fest is running a “Stepping into Stories” competition for children aged 4-7, 8-11 and 12+. The theme is “ bouncing back “. Entries can be written stories, drawings, comic strips, poetry, raps, or digital animations. There are book token prizes for the winners and the closing date is 14th January.
- Bournemouth Young Writers prize – open to children in years 3&4, and years 5&6 and stories can be “ about anything you like “. Prizes include £150 worth of books. The closing date is 16th January.
- Rotary Club International Young Writer competition.
Closing date in February
- Bright Light Education Creative Writing Competition for children aged 7-13. This annual competition returns in 2023 and is open to all children in the UK, with three age categories – 7-9, 9-11 and 11-13. Entries need to be a 500-word story (full criteria on the website) inspired by Joseph Coelho’s advice on the website. Closes on February 28th.
- The Royal Society of Literature invites students aged 13-18 to write up to 500 words about “ the writer from the past that most inspires them “. Prizes for the “ History is in the Making ” competition include book tokens for both entrants and the school, and the closing date is 10th February.
- The Hugo Young Award – held in memory of Guardian political columnist Hugo Young, this competition encourages “fresh voices” aged 16-18 and 19-25 from UK state schools to pen political opinion pieces. Highly recommended for students studying A-level politics, sociology or looking towards a career in journalism.
- Perse Research’s Year 9 Aristotelian Award is open to students in Year 9 or equivalent. Entrants are invited to write between 800-1500 words from a choice of topics and essay titles spanning arts, humanities and the sciences. The competition aims to promote independent study and research. The deadline is 20th February.
- The Canterbury Tales Writing Competition – annual – open to all school pupils and home-educated children. There are three age categories: 5-10; 11-14 and 15-18. The 2023 theme is “ Promises Promises “. The closing date is February 28th.
- The Elmbridge Literary Competition is open to children (free) in four age group categories: 5-7; 8-11; 11-13 and 14-18. The theme for 2023 is “The Road”. Short stories or poems can be entered.
- The Japan Society is running a haiku competition . Children aged 15 and under can enter a haiku on the theme of “towns”. Full details are available on the competition website. Entries must be received by 28th February 2022.
- Voices – a writing competition, run by the charity Coram Voice, which is open to children and young people who are in or have experience with the care system.
- Christopher Tower Poetry Prize – open to young adults aged 16-18.
Undated or open
- The Scottish Book Trust runs monthly mini-sage 50-word story writing competitions for children aged 5-11 and 12-18, with a different theme each month.
- Wordhound runs a monthly creative writing challenge for children aged 12 and under, who can send in 300-word stories “of funny, weird or otherwise unique writing” on a different subject each month.
- Kids’ Poetry Club runs a variety of competitions for primary and secondary-aged children, with a new theme announced every few months.
- The Young Poets Network runs regular writing challenges and competitions, which can be viewed on their website.
- BBC Today Student Journalism Awards – annual. this competition features a variety of journalism categories, including journalism (any medium), broadcasting, visual and photojournalism, critic, publication, and programme. Entrants must be over 18 and in full-time UK higher education. The prizes include places on highly coveted BBC Journalism Trainee Schemes (paid positions).
- BBC Writers Room is inviting speculative screenplay submissions of at least 30 pages from young scriptwriters aged 16+ in the UK or the Republic of Ireland.
- Blue Things Zine invites young writers aged 13+ to write articles and stories under 1500 words for consideration for publication.
- Scholastic We Are Writers – not a competition per-se, but lots of ideas for literacy and writing projects with the aim of getting your pupils published. Ideal for fundraisers or whole-school writing initiatives.
- Inkhead short story competition and writing clubs.
- Amnesty International has a series of online resources – ‘ Words That Burn ‘ – to inspire teenagers to write about human rights, equality and discrimination.
- National Literacy Trust competitions page.
- Readers’ Digest Competitions . – including a 100-word story competition for children.
- The Guild of Food Writers Write It – Young Food Writer of the Year – is open to children up to 18 in three age categories.
- Live Canon: Children’s Poetry Competition – for young people aged 5-18.
- For a non-competitive option, the John Muir Award offers schools an opportunity to “encourage people of all backgrounds to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places.” Through an award scheme, pupils can create a dossier of experiences, challenges and presentations to demonstrate how they have discovered a wild place, explored it, done something to conserve it and shared their experience. A good option for larger groups, classes and year groups, this award requires teacher input and planning. Suitable for year 4 through to secondary-aged pupils.
- The First Story Young Writers Festival offers pupils a day-long online festival with workshops, resources, interviews with writers, showcases for young writers, resources and CPD for teachers. This is a fantastic resource to inspire children to write for publication and would make a great starting point for pupils considering entering writing competitions. ( Note the festival is not running a competition of its own ).
Resources for creative writing in schools and at home
Below is a collection of books recommended to inspire children to write – whether it be creative writing, nonfiction, or poetry.
Write Like a Ninja: An essential toolkit for every young writer by Andrew Jennings
500 Words: A collection of short stories that reflect on the Black Lives Matter movement
Descriptosaurus by Alison Wilcox
How to Write your Best Story Ever! by Christopher Edge
How to Write Poems by Joseph Coelho
Just Imagine by James Carter
Spilling Ink – A Young Writer’s Handbook by Ellen Potter & Anne Mazer
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
For more competition ideas, have a look at our public speaking and debating contests.
Browse our list of Children’s Book Publishers in the UK
Peruse our list of magazines for children and teens
Why not have a look at our suggested reading lists for children aged 3-16?
Books for EYFS & Reception Books for Year 1 Books for Year 2 Books for Year 3 Books for Year 4 Books for Year 5 Books for Year 6 Books for Year 7 Books for Year 8 Books for Year 9 Books for Year 10 Books for Year 11 Books for 6th formers
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