• Jess Lawrence

21 Writing Competitions for 2021



Well, 2020 has been a wild ride, hasn't it? But let's put this mess of a year behind us and make 2021 the year you get your writing out there. There are loads of writing competitions and I've selected a handful that look particularly exciting. Whether you're in it for glory and financial reward, or you just want to have some fun and create based on prompts, take a look at the below list and see what sparks your creativity.


I've split the list into categories so it's easier to find the competitions you're most interested in. Click on any of the links below to jump to that section.

Short Stories and Flash Fiction Competitions


Cheshire Prize for Literature

Deadline: 31st January

Prize: £500

Entry Fee: Free

Details:

  • 1500 words max

  • Entrants must have been born, lived, studied or worked in Cheshire

  • Open to all ages

Website: https://www1.chester.ac.uk/press-office/cheshire-prize-literature-2020



Paracombe Prize

Deadline: 31st January

Prize: £100, £50, £25

Entry Fee: £5

Details:

  • 2020 words max

  • Open to all

Website: https://prize.parracombe.org.uk/



Elmbridge Literary Competition

Deadline: 5th February

Prize: £250, £150, £100

Entry Fee: £5 (free for under 18s)

Details:

  • 1500 words max (for 14+), 1000 words max (for 8-13)

  • Theme: Music

Website: https://www.rcsherrifftrust.org.uk/copy-of-the-2020-elmbridge-literary



Bath Flash Fiction Award

Deadline: 7th February

Prize: £1000, £300, £100, £30

Entry Fee: £9

Details:

  • 300 words max

  • Any theme or subject, adult and YA fiction

Website: https://bathflashfictionaward.com/



Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize

Deadline: 5th March

Prize: $1000 + 10-week Gotham Writers course

Entry Fee: $25

Details:

  • 750 words max

  • Open to all.

Website: https://www.writingclasses.com/contest/stella-kupferberg-memorial-short-story-prize-2021



Bristol Short Story Prize

Deadline: 5th May

Prize: £1000, £500, £250, £100

Entry Fee: £9

Details:

  • 4000 words max

  • Any theme, subject and genre

  • Open to all

Website: https://www.bristolprize.co.uk/news/2021-bristol-short-story-prize-is-open



Zizzle Literary Flash Fiction Contest

Deadline: 15th March

Prize: $1000, $500, $150

Entry Fee: $5

Details:

  • 1000 words max

  • Must include the dialogue prompt from Zizzle's social media

  • Open to all

Website: https://zizzlelit.com/contest/



Anthology Magazine's Short Story Competition

Deadline: 30th April (Early Bird), 31st July (Final)

Prize: €500

Entry Fee: €10 (Early bird), €15

Details:

  • 1500 words max

  • Theme: Memories

Website: https://anthology-magazine.com/short-story/



Novel Competitions


The Debut Dagger Crime Novel Award

Deadline: 26th February

Prize: Shortlisted entries are sent to select agents and publishers for review

Entry Fee: £36

Details:

  • 3000 words max + 1500-word synopsis

  • Must be a crime novel (obviously)

  • Doesn't need to be completed work

Website: https://thecwa.co.uk/debuts/debut-dagger



Rubery Book Award

Deadline: 31st March

Prize: £1500

Entry Fee: £37

Details:

  • Books must be self-published or published by independent press

  • All genres welcome

Website: https://www.ruberybookaward.com/



Bridport Prize Novel Award

Deadline: 31st May

Prize: £1500, £750, £150

Entry Fee: £20

Details:

  • 8000 words max + 300-word synopsis

  • Work need not be completed, but long-listed entrants will need to send 15,000 words, and short-listed entrants will need to send 30,000 words

  • Open to Brits only

  • Must not currently have representation

  • Any fiction for adults (including YA with adult crossover)

Website: https://bridportprize.org.uk/the-competition/novel-award/



Poetry Competitions


Magma Poetry Competition

Deadline: 15th January

Prize: £1000, £300, £150

Entry Fee: £5

Details:

  • Judges' Prize: 11-50 lines

  • Editors' Prize: up to 10 lines

  • Open to all

Website: https://magmapoetry.com/magma-2020-21-poetry-competition/



Sentinel Literary Quarterly

Deadline: 31st January

Prize: £250, £125, £75, £30

Entry Fee: £5

Details:

  • 50 lines max

  • Open to all

Website: https://sentinelquarterly.com/competitions/poetry/index.htm



Nature and Place Poetry Competition

Deadline: 1st March

Prize: £1000, £500, £250

Entry Fee: £7

Details:

  • 40 lines max

  • Theme: any aspect of nature and place

  • Open to all

Website: https://www.therialto.co.uk/pages/nature-poetry-competition-2021/



Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

Deadline: 1st April

Prize: $2000, $500, $100

Entry Fee: Free

Details:

  • 250 lines max

  • Inspired gibberish is allowed (what an excellent criterion!)

  • Must be humorous

  • Open to all (except Syria, Iran, North Korea and Crimea due to US restrictions)

Website: https://winningwriters.com/our-contests/wergle-flomp-humor-poetry-contest-free



Essay Competitions


Calibre Essay Prize

Deadline: 15th January

Prize: $7500 AUD

Entry Fee: $25 AUD

Details:

  • 5000 words max

  • Essays of all kinds, including personal, political, literary and speculative

  • Open to all

Website: https://www.australianbookreview.com.au/prizes-programs/calibre-prize/current-prize



Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction and Essay Competition

Deadline: 30th April

Prize: $3000 USD

Entry Fee: $20 USD

Details:

  • 6000 words max

  • Any theme or subject

  • Open to all (except Syria, Iran, North Korea and Crimea due to US restrictions)

Website: https://winningwriters.com/our-contests/tom-howard-john-h-reid-fiction-essay-contest



Recurring Competitions


WriteTime Short Story Competition

Deadline: Quarterly (March, June, September, December)

Prize: £50, £25

Entry Fee: £3

Details:

  • 1500 words max

  • Entrants must be aged 60 and over

Website: https://writetime.org/about-writetime/



Creative Writing Ink Competition

Deadline: Monthly

Prize: £10 Amazon voucher

Entry Fee: Free

Details:

  • Poems up to 40 lines

  • Open to all

Website: https://creativewritingink.co.uk/competitions/free-to-enter-creative-writing-ink-competition/



Writing Prompt Competition

Deadline: Every two months

Prize: £10 Amazon voucher

Entry Fee: Free

Details:

  • No word limit

  • Writing must be inspired by images shared on Creative Writing Ink account

  • Entry must be posted online (details in link)

Website: https://creativewritingink.co.uk/writing-prompts/



The Writing Quarter Competition

Deadline: Monthly

Prize: $30

Entry Fee: Free

Details:

  • 3000 words max

  • Any theme

  • Open to all aged 18 and over

Website: https://writingquarter.com.au/the-writing-quarter-competition/

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