10 Writing Contests You Should Definitely Enter

Guest Post

If you’re a new writer, chances are you’re not quite sure
how to kick off your career. Should you get an agent? Write to publishers?

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 Competition

Category: Short
Entry Fee: £3
for subscribers, £6 for non-subscribers
Prize: First
Prize £300, Second £150, Third £100.

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)

Travel Writing
Entry Fee: None
Prize: £200 in
currency from the Post Office
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-Site

Category: Short
Stories, Flash Fiction
Entry Fee: £4
Prize: £50
Deadline: 6pm
every Saturday

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 Prize

Category: Poems
Entry Fee: £5
for first poem, £4 for subsequent poems
Prize: First
Prize £1000, Second £500, Third £250
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 Prize

Category: Prose
Entry Fee: £4.00
for first entry, £3.00 for any subsequent entries
Prize: Winner
£200, Runners-up £50
Deadline: 1
October 2016

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 Press

Novels, Poems, Short Stories,
Entry Fee: £12
Prize: £300 for
poetry, £500 for novel or short story
Deadline: 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.

7.  The Notting Hill Editions Prize

Entry Fee: £20
Prize: Winner
£20,000, Runners-up £1000
Deadline: 9
January 2017

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.

8.  Spotlight First Novel Competition

Entry Fee: £16
Prize: A
mentoring package worth up to £990
Deadline: 14
February 2017

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.

9.  The Terence Rattigan Society Award

Category: Plays
Entry Fee: Free
Prize: £2500
plus guaranteed production in a professional theatre
Deadline: 31
August 2016

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 Prize

Novels, Poems, Short Stories, Flash Fiction
Entry Fee: £8 –
£10 per submission
Prize: Up to
Deadline: 31
May 2016

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.


Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write – Write to communicate

This article has 0 comments

  1. Sharon

    Great post. Are these contests open to writers from the U.S.?

  2. Writers Write

    Sharon, we believe so, but please read the rules of each competition on the individual websites.

  3. Crystalin

    Julie, thank you for giving me inspiration to take my courage in both hands and enter one of these competitions. Besides, I enter this short story contest https://unplag.com/blog/unplag-plagiarism-busters-contest. Hope, things will work in my favor 🙂

  4. MJ

    Hope our Fiction War is one of eleven next count! US-based, but UK are more than welcome. Great article!

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