Hi and welcome.

We're both authors and love to write. We want to encourage you to get writing too, and to make it easy for you, we're putting together this listing of English language writing and poetry competitions from around the world. We'll also be alerting you when respected publishers call for manuscript submissions for novels and other types of books.

On our home page, we'll be listing current opportunities, and on the Calendar page you will find a list of past competitions we have listed so you can schedule them for next year.

So you don't miss out, sign up for our email notifications. If you have a writing competition you would like us to list here, please email: editor (at) writerscompetitions (dot) com

Writing for competitions is a great way to improve your writing skills, and you just might win a prize in the process.

We also know there's nothing like a deadline to force those words to flow.  So have a look through this list, choose one to enter and start writing.

Good Luck!

Julie & Dianne

AWG/Freemantle Media Neighbours Script Training Award

Have you grown up on a diet of Neighbours and Home and Away? Does that song just loop around and around in your head?  Is the desire to write for TV and performance the thing that gets you out of bed each day? The Australian Writers Guild and Freemantle media are offering an incredible opportunity to work with the story department of the hit Australian TV series, Neighbours. 

For a 6 week period, two lucky writers will work as trainee storyliners and will each receive a $5000 stipend. Entry is by means of a 2 page outline of a story idea for the current characters of neighbours. There are helpful application guidelines and examples, and these should be strictly followed.

Entry fee: AUD$33 (incl GST) per application.

Prize: 6 week internship for 2 writers with the Neighbours Story Department, and a $5000 stipend.

Open to: Australian residents over 18 years of age.

Deadline4 May 2012

Kids Book Review Unpublished Manuscript Award 2012

Are you a budding children's author just waiting for the right person to read your manuscript? Kids Book Review are running their 2nd picture book award for an unpublished manuscript, written for children between the ages of 3 and 10, in association with the National Year of Reading, 2012.  Texts of strictly 500 words or less, without any illustrations (though short illustration notes within the body of the text are OK) are invited.  Entries must be previously unpublished.

Entry fee: AUD$25 per manuscript, up to 3 manuscript entries allowed. Entry is by email.  Submission guidelines must be strictly followed.

Prize: 1st Prize AUD$300, a certificate, and importantly,  a manuscript appraisal by Sue Whiting, Publishing Manager at Walker Books Australia. Two runners up will receive AUD$100 each, a certificate and a short manuscript appraisal. 

Open to: Australian residents over 18 years of age.

Deadline16 July 2012

Tips for poetry submissions to Publishers

Calling all poets interested in publication! Here is the link to an excellent short audio interview with Michael Schmidt of Carcanet Publishing in the UK, one of the world's leading poetry imprints.

He gives very helpful, no nonsense tips on what you need to consider when submitting to a publisher, talking about the yeas and nays of submitting your poetry for consideration.http://www.carcanet.co.uk/data/audio/audio53.mp3


Kathleen Julia Bates Memorial Writing for Children Competition

Is writing for children your thing?  The 8th Kathleen Julia Bates Memorial Writing for Children Competition invites Australian writers, both published and unpublished, to submit the first chapter (maximum of 2000 words) of their children's chapter book for readers up to 10 years of age. Fittingly, the competition remembers the two year old daughter of successful children's author, Di Bates

Entry fee: AUD$10 per manuscript.  Cheques/money orders should be made payable to Di Bates, and posted with the manuscript to PO Box 2116, Woonona East, NSW, 2517 or online via: dibates@pacific.net.au. Manuscripts should include only a cover page with the story title, word count, writer's name and contact details, including email. 

Prize: 1st Prize AUD$150, two runners up AUD$50 each. Results will be published in Buzz Words and all entrants who include a Stamped, self addressed envelope will recieve copies of the results.

Open to: Australian writers

Deadline30 March 2012


The Australia/Vogel's Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript

OK, so you've painstakingly crafted your manuscript over the past few years and it's ready to be put out there in the world.  If it hasn't take you TOO long to get to this stage, and you are still under 35 years of age, think about submitting it to the Australian/Vogel's Literary Award, run by Australian publisher, Allen and Unwin.

This is one of Australia's leading literary awards and an established route to 'discovery' - previous winners have included Tim Winton, Kate Grenville and Andrew McGahan. Manuscripts must have been previously unpublished (commercially), not under consideration elsewhere, between 30,000 and 100,0000 words and may be fiction, Australian history or biography.

Entry fee: AUD$25  

Prize: Combined prize pool of more than AUD$20,000, plus publication by Allen and Unwin, who will retain exclusive worldwide publishing rights - this also applies to any other entry they deem to be of 'sufficient merit', so be conscious of that in submitting.

Open to: Australian residents under 35 as at 31 May 2012, writing in English

Deadline1 June 2012

Stringybark Short Story Award

If short and sharp and twisted is your thing, here's the contest for you! The Stringybark Short Story Award, now in its third year, is looking for short stories, up to a maximum of 1500 words, in any genre for its annual contest. There are only two requirements: there has to be a 'nifty twist' at the end which will leave the judges gasping (well, ok, entertain them at least!), and it must in some way, shape or form, have a link to Australia. 

Entry fee: AUD$9.75 for one entry, $18 for two stories, $25 for a maximum of three stories

Prize: First prize: AUD$300 cash; Second AUD$125; 3rd AUD$50.  All prize winners also receive a certificate, paper and electronic publication in The Stringybark Award Anthology and a free copy of the anthology. Highly commended stories may also be published in the Anthology.

Open to: Anyone, anywhere, any age, writing in English

Deadline4 March 2012


Pitching to a publisher...

You could call pitching your book idea to a publisher a type of writing competition. You're competing against all of those other authors for the attention of a commissioning editor. 

Well, here are three opportunities that might help your manuscripts avoid the slush pile and put you ahead of the pack.

Pan Macmillan Australia's Manuscript Monday

Penguin Books Australia's The Monthly Catch

Allen & Unwin's - The Friday Pitch

Be sure to read and follow their guidelines very carefully. 

Women in Focus 'In My Shoes' Global Blogger Search

Is your writing inspired by the places and events around you? Feeling the need for somewhere exotic to fire your writing passion? Do you love the immediacy of blogging?

Women in Focus are giving two Australian women bloggers an amazing chance to blog from two incredible locations: either New York for Fashion Week or Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.  The winners will author a personal blog, 'In My Shoes', on the womeninfocus.com.au website, giving access to an instant audience for their writing.

Entry requires you to set up a personal blog on the womeninfocus.com.au website and write at least one simple post with the theme 'In My Shoes', then demonstrate your ability to build a following. Entries will be judged on writing skill (60%), social engagement (20%) and blog name (20%).  It's all fun with a great reward at the end. If you win, we are happy to volunteer to be your 'take a friend'!

Entry fee: Free!

Prize:  First Prize: Trip for you and a friend to either New York for Fashion Week or Mt Kilmanjaro for trekking and volunteering (value $20,000); Second Prize: trip to New York or Mt Kilimanjaro for you (value $10,000)

Open to: Australian women bloggers over 18 (for Kilimanjaro) and over 21 (for New York).

Deadline 30 March 2012


Humour Verse Competition

When my cousins and I were little, our Uncle Ron used to write funny limericks for us. He even wrote one for me as a wedding gift.  So Uncle Ron would have approved of this writing competition which is open to humorous verse in any style including limericks and poems up to 30 lines.

The organisers are looking for original, unpublished content that makes them smile.

Entry fee: £3 for the first poem, then £2.50 per poem


Quarterly Deadlines:
  • 31 March
  • 30 June
  • 30 September
  • 31 December

Open to: Writers worldwide, writing in English

RulesGeneral Rules


Bridport Prize for Poetry, Short Stories & Flash Fiction

Founded by the Bridport Arts Centre in Dorset UK, this writing prize has been going since 1973.  This was a time when writers belted out novels on manual typewriters, there were fewer than 60 computers connected to the internet and long-distance phone calls were so expensive, we spent the first minute of the call talking about how expensive the call would be.  

Now that we live in a much faster world, a new "Flash Fiction" category has been introduced. If you're a Twitter fan you shouldn't have any trouble creating a complete micro-story using no more than 250 words.

Short story writers have 5,000 words to play with and poets can write up to 42 lines.

Entry fee: £6 per flash fiction, £7 per poem and £8 per story

Prize for poetry and short stories: 

  • 1st £5000
  • 2nd £1000
  • 3rd £500
  • plus 10 supplementary prizes of £50 each

  • Prize for flash fiction: 

  • 1st £1000
  • 2nd £500
  • 3rd £250
  • plus 3 supplementary prizes of £25 each

  • Open to: Writers worldwide (over 16 years old), writing in English

    Deadline: 31 May 2012

    Website:   The Bridport Prize


    Reminder - Public Lending Rights

    Just a quick reminder for published authors that the deadline for registering for Public Lending Right (PLR) payments in Australia is 31 March 2012.

    PLR programs provide authors with some compensation for income that is lost "through the free multiple use of their books in public and educational lending libraries". (arts.gov.au)

    PLR programs exist in a number of countries.  Check this list of countries to see if you can register your book.

    Quick Links to PLR schemes





    Poetic Republic 2012 Poetry Competition

    Poetic Republic's annual poetry award introduces a uniquely democratic approach to competition judging.  Entries are judged via a rather fascinating and rigorous round-robin process conducted by the participants themselves, who can provide short 'twitter' style comments which are available to entrants after the judging process is complete. Seems a terrific way to get some feedback on your work!

    Poems can be in any style, and about any subject, to a maximum of 42 lines. Entries must not have been previously published. In addition to the cash prize, the top 48 poems along with a selection of comments, will be published in an e-book.

    Entry fee: GBP7 per poem

    Prize:  Single poem prize GBP2000; Portfolio prize (2 poems) GBP1000

    Open to: Poets worldwide (over 16 years old), writing in English
    Deadline 30 April 2012

    Website:   Poetic Republic


    Fish Flash Fiction and Poetry Competitions

    It's time to flex those writing muscles after the pleasures of Christmas-New Year. What better way to start than with the Fish Publishing Writing Contests?  Short, sharp and very sweet might be just what is needed.

    County Cork (Ireland) based Fish Publishing hosts 4 writing contests a year, with a view to launching talented new writers and getting them into print.  They attract heavyweight Irish writers and poets as judges and patrons and you have the option of paying extra for a full critique of your submission. Michael Collins is the judge for the 2012 Flash Fiction Prize (word limit: 300 words) and US Poet Laureate Billy Collins will judge the Poetry Prize (word limit: 200 words). The Inaugural Short Memoir Award (4000 word limit) will be judged by David Shields

    Entry fee: EUR14 for first entry, EUR6 for subsequent entries. Option to pay extra to receive a professional critique of your submission.

    Prize:  EUR1000 for first prize in Poetry and Flash Fiction contests; EUR2000 for Short Memoir. Other prizes include accommodation at the Anam Cara Writers Retreat in Spain. Winner and up to 10 shortlisted entires selected by the judges in each category are published in the annual Fish Anthology, which is launched during the West Cork Literary Festival each year.  

    Open to: Authors worldwide, writing in English.

    Deadlines 30 January 2012 (Short Memoir)
    30 March 2012 (Poetry and Flash Fiction)
    Short Story 2012 contest to open shortly - check the Fish website

    Website:  Fish Publishing