For an up-and-coming writer, being selected for a writing award can be a monumental step in their career.
Not only is it recognition of their talent and hard work, but the opportunities and visibility provided by competitions can be the support they need to secure publishing deals and more paid work.
If you’ve been considering submitting your work for a writing competition, we’ve compiled a list of excellent options that may be of interest to you.
All of the competitions below are free to enter, accept international applicants, and are held on a yearly basis – so consider your top choices and plan your time around each deadline.
Good luck in advance!
Please note that all deadlines are accurate as of 6 May 2021. It’s possible that the organisations listed may change the dates of future events.
Deadline: April (annually)
Prize: up to £10,000
The Alpine Fellowship is a charitable organisation that commissions and celebrates emerging talent. Each year, they set a new theme for participants of their Writing Prize; this theme can be approached through prose, poetry, or non-academic essays.
The winner receives a cash prize of £10,000 and an award presented by acclaimed poet John Burnside. Second place receives a £3000 cash prize, while third place receives £2000.
Both the winner and the two runner ups are also invited to attend the Fjällnäs symposium – an annual event in Sweden attended by artists, academics, and philosophers from around the world.
Deadline: February (annually)
Prize: full manuscript read by agent
Organised by Grindstone Literary, the Crucible First Novel Award is an exciting competition for unrepresented authors of crime, mystery, and thriller novels.
Every year, a panel of judges selects 20-30 submitted manuscripts to be forwarded to a list of partner agents and agencies. In addition to this, each judge will also request at least one full manuscript from the list for their own consideration.
Deadline: October (annually)
Run by Perito Ltd, an inclusive environments consultancy based in the UK, the Perito Prize challenges participants to think – and write – about inclusivity, accessibility, and diversity.
The cash prize is awarded to the best submitted work of short fiction, while second and third place will have the opportunity to participate in interviews and readings on the Perito website.
All finalists, plus other shortlisted stories, will also be published in the annual Perito Prize Anthology – which is available for purchase with all profits going to charity.
Deadline: November (annually)
The ServiceScape Short Story Award is open to all original, unpublished works of short fiction or nonfiction.
The winner of the award will also have their short story featured within the ServiceScape blog for added exposure. Outside of the requirement for the piece to be published on the blog first, the winner retains all other copyright, publishing, and reprint rights.
Deadline: July (annually)
Prize: up to $5,000
Writer’s Digest offers a number of benefits to winners of its writing competition. The top five submissions of each award category receive cash prizes, while the sixth through tenth place participants are gifted a $25 gift certificate for the Writer’s Digest Shop.
The categories available for entries (as of May 2021) are Inspirational/Spiritual; Memoirs/Personal Essay; Print or Online Article; Genre Short Story; Mainstream/Literary Short Story; Rhyming Poetry; Non-rhyming Poetry; Script; and Children’s/Young Adult Fiction.
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