Writing contests are a great way for beginners to get
noticed. By definition they attract more amateurs than professionals, giving
you a chance to compete with writers close to your own level. And if you’ve
already started your career but want to take it up a notch, a well-known
writing prize can really make your portfolio stand out.
It’s scary showing your work to the world. But you have
to bite the bullet eventually, so you might as well do it for a cash prize!
1. Writers’ Forum Fiction CompetitionCategory
for subscribers, £6 for non-subscribersPrize
Prize £300, Second £150, Third £100.Deadline
This monthly competition is run by the Writer’s Forum,
with winning entries published in their magazine. Entry is rolling; if you miss
the deadline you’ll simply be entered for the following month. You can also get
feedback from the editors for £5, so even if you don’t win you can still
improve your writing skills.
2. Just Back (The Telegraph)Category
Travel WritingEntry Fee
: £200 in
currency from the Post OfficeDeadline
Midnight on Wednesday
This competition runs every week, so there are endless
opportunities to win. If your summer holidays aren’t really inspiring you then
you can always write about a weekend trip to the country or even your own city.
Submissions should be under 500 words.
3. Write On-SiteCategory
Stories, Flash FictionEntry Fee
This terrifying competition publishes three themes at
5.30pm on a Saturday evening and then gives you half an hour to bash out a few
hundred words. Judges choose the three best entries, which are voted on during
the following week. If you like the adrenaline rush of tight deadlines you’ll love this.
4. The Winchester Poetry PrizeCategory
: PoemsEntry Fee
for first poem, £4 for subsequent poemsPrize
Prize £1000, Second £500, Third £250Deadline
31 July 2016
Any subject and any style is welcomed by this poetry competition,
and the winners not only get a cash prize but the opportunity to read their
poetry to a captive audience at the Winchester Poetry Festival in October.
5. The Prolitzer PrizeCategory
: ProseEntry Fee
for first entry, £3.00 for any subsequent entriesPrize
£200, Runners-up £50Deadline
No, not the Pulitzer. That might still be a little out of your league. This annual
prize run by Prole Magazine is open to any kind of prose writing, fiction or
non-fiction, so you can write pretty much anything that takes your fancy.
6. Cinnamon PressCategory
Novels, Poems, Short Stories,Entry Fee
: £300 for
poetry, £500 for novel or short storyDeadline
: 31 May
(Short Story), 31 July (Novel), 30 November (Poem)
Cinnamon Press run a clutch of annual competitions as
well as numerous mini-competitions throughout the year. The real prize here is
not the money but the publishing contract they offer to the winner of every
category. It’s only open to the unpublished, so perfect for amateurs looking to
break in to the business.
Absolutely any kind of non-fiction is accepted by this
biennial essay competition. If you’ve got a political essay, scientific
article, travel story or memoir to share this could be the place. An anthology
of the winners will be published in hardback by Notting Hill Editions.
If you’re struggling to finish your novel then this
competition is perfect for you. Instead of a finished draft, all you have to
submit is a synopsis and the first page. The prize is to have your work
appraised by a literary consultant and a development plan worked out to help
make your work really shine.
The judges for this year’s prize include Poirot actor David Suchet and Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes, so
it has some serious celebrity cachet. The competition is incredibly fierce, but
the chance to have your play actually performed by professionals is not to be
10. The Bridport PrizeCategory
Novels, Poems, Short Stories, Flash FictionEntry Fee
: £8 -
£10 per submissionPrize
: Up to
Yes, it’s the most prestigious writing prize in the UK.
Yes, we’re seriously suggesting you enter. Okay, the chances of winning are
slim, but even just taking part in such a respected competition will improve
the quality of your writing. What have you got to lose?
Even if you only enter small monthly competitions, the
regular practice will make you a better writer. And if your novel or short
story has been pushed to the bottom of your to-do list recently, a deadline and
a pot of gold at the end might inspire you to polish up that old draft into
something spectacular. So get writing!
by Julie Martin. Julie is a student, freelance writer and blogger. She manages to fill her life with her favourite work and hobbies. She is an editor on MyMathDone, and she writes for resources like GettingSmart, YourStory and ELearningIndustry. You can follow her on Facebook and LinkedIn for more interesting stuff.
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