Competitions & opportunities

Competitions & opportunities

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Advice based on Australian Style Manual (ASM)

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What's the best way to get your writing noticed?

Picture of writing in a book

Let people read your work.

You’re writing because you want to read, correct? So you need to take a chance on your work being seen by those in the know. Entering short story, unpublished manuscript or poetry competitions is one great way to firstly, get your writing chops moving, and secondly, get your name circulating where it counts – within the world of readers, writers, editors and publishers.

Whether you’re new to the game or have been doodling away for years, if your words are staying hidden on your computer, in your bottom draw or journal, you’re never going to know the thrill and satisfaction of being published.

Of course, before sending off any submission, you’ll want it to be the best it can be: polished and proofread. Workshopping through a writing group, engaging a beta reader or a professional editor will increase your chances multi-fold. If a judge spots errors in your first few paragraphs, or they can see you have no idea about point of view, character development and story arcs, I can assure you they won’t read any further – and why should they? If you can’t be bothered to put in your best effort, why should they give you their valuable time?

So go to it!

Below is a list of competitions and writing opportunities.

Some may have closed for the current year. You will need to check the relevant websites to find out the next submission dates.

Good luck and remember:  Rejection is not failure, but a step closer to your goal. 

Ada Cambridge Writing Prizes

Who: Willy Lit Fest
What: Biographical prose and poetry
Closes: March
Fee: AU$15

An Axe to Grind
Who: Canadian Darling Axe
What: Flash fiction
Closes:  Feb
Fee: CAD$5

Architecture of Power Short Story Award
Who: GoArchitect
What: Short Fiction
Closes: Feb
Fee: US$24.99

Audrey Daybook 2019 Short Story Prize
Who: Audrey Daybook
What: Short fiction inspired by Audrey puzzle
Closes: Aug
Fee: Check website

Banjo Paterson Writing Awards
Who: ABC Central West Radio
What: Short stories, contemporary poetry with Australian content
Closes: Apr
Fee: AUD$5-$15

Bristol Short Story Prize
Who: Bristol Review of Books
What: Short fiction, any theme, subject, style. Published and unpublished writers.
Closes: May
Fee: £9

Buzz Words Short Story Prize for 2019
Who: Buzz Words Books
What: Short fiction for children
Closes: Sep
Fee: AUD$10

Calibre Prize
Who: Australian Book Review
What: Essay
Closes: Jan
Fee: AU$15-25

Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award
Who: Spineless Wonders
What: Short fiction collections
Closes:  Feb
Fee: AU$25

Fiction Factory Short Story Competition
Who: Fiction Factory (UK)
What: Short fiction
Closes:  Jan
Fee: £6

First Pages Prize
Who: Stockholm Writers Festival
What: Fiction, creative non-fiction or poetry
Closes:  Feb
Fee: USD$25

Furious Fiction
Who: Australian Writers’ Centre
What: Fast fiction
Closes: first Friday every month
Fee: FREE

Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers Comp
Who: Writers Victoria
What: Fiction and creative non-fiction
Closes: June
Fee: Check website

Grace Marion Wilson Glenfern Fellowship
Who: Writers Victoria
What: Open category
Closes: Jul
Fee: Writers Vic Membership

Ink&Insights
Who: Ink&Insights
What: Fiction. First 10K of manuscript. Feedback given and chance for submission to agents.
Closes: June
Fee: US$50

Literary Taxidermy Short Story Competition
Who: Regulus Press
What: Short fiction – opening and closing lines from a classic work of literature.
Closes: June
Fee: USD$10

Little Bird Contest
Who: Sarah Selecky Writing School
What: Short fiction
Closes: May
Fee: CAN$25

Mogford Food and Drink Short Story Prize
Who: The Mogford Hotels and Restaurants Group (UK)
What: Short fiction
Closes:  January
Fee: £10

Nature Writing Prize 2019
Who: Nature Conservancy Australia
What: Essay
Closes:  Feb
Fee: AU$30

Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund
Who: Writers Victoria
What: Travel grant for emerging, mid-career, established writers
Closes: several rounds, check website
Fee: Free

Newcastle Short Story Award
Who: Hunters Writers Centre
What: Short fiction
Closes: Feb
Fee: AU$16.50

Peter Cowen 600-word Short Story Competition
Who: Peter Cowen Writers Centre
What: Short fiction
Closes:  March
Fee: AUD$10

Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction 2019
Who: Lip
What: Short fiction – open to all women, female-identifying and non-binary writers
Closes: April
Fee: AUD$10

ServiceScape Short Story Award
Who: Servicescape
What: Short fiction, non-fiction – open genre / theme
Closes: November
Fee: Free

Sheila Malady Short Story Competition
Who: Shakespeare on the River group
What: Short fiction inspired by Shakespeare plays
Closes:  Mar
Fee: AUD$5

Speculative Fiction/Fantasy Showcase
Who: Kill Your Darlings
What: short fiction
Closes:  Jan
Fee: KYD Membership

Stella Prize
Who: The Stella Prize
What: Published fiction and non-fiction books – Australian Female and non-binary writers
Closes: Aug
Fee: AU$60

Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Writing Competition
Who: Hawkeye Publishing
What: short fiction
Closes: Sep
Fee: AUD$5

Wyndham Writing Awards 2019
Who: Wyndham City Council
What: Short fiction – story, graphic, flash and poetry.
Closes: June
Fee: Check website

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