2018 Free International Writing & Non-Writing Entry Contests

Updated on July 18, 2018
Contest | Source

Are you looking for online contests to submit your work to? Do you have the passion to undertake the category of contest you're interested in? You don't need to look any further. This article will provide you with an up-to-date list of competitions, each clearly stating the deadline of submission for the listed contests.

These contests are free to enter. They appeal both to restricted regions (countries) and non-restricted regions (any individual from any country can submit their works in the contests that fall in this category). Wherein the contest is restricted to a particular region, it will be indicated.

There are four categories of contests this article will concentrate on: Fiction (short story & flash fiction), Non-fiction (essays, articles & poems), Photography and Design (including illustrations).

Ensure you follow the rules outlined in each contest. If you fail to do so, your submission will be rejected. A link has been provided in each contest which will direct you to the website’s contest page so that you can digest more bites for that particular competition. This article has provided an overview of each contest, thereby it has not exhausted information for the contests listed.

Don't forget to familiarize yourself with the different types of writing. There are numerous online guides, articles and tutorials which teach you how to write stories, essays and poems. You don't need to be a pro, a professional. As long as you have the passion to write for a particular purpose, with money not being the main reason, then you've every chance of winning. In terms of photography, you don't need to be an expert. As long as you follow the rules and familiarize yourself with how to take good pictures, you're good to go.

Cheers on your success. If you don't win, don't beat yourself down. Try another one, and another one, and another one. You never know.

Writing is My Hobby
Writing is My Hobby | Source

Monthly Contests

1. The Writing District Contest

This is a monthly short story contest.

Deadline: The last date of the month

Word count: 3,000

Theme: Open

Email submission: competition@thewritingdistrict.com

Prizes: $50 to the overall winner

Visit their website for more info: The Writing District

2. Micro Sweek Flash Fiction Contest

This is a monthly flash fiction contest. Each month has its own theme.

Prize: $50 for the overall winner

Deadline: The 22nd day of every month

Word count: 250 words

In addition, there is a prize of $15 for the best feedback to the stories updated for each particular month.

Familiarize yourself with the general rules that have been outlined in Sweek Blog pertaining to the monthly flash fiction contest.

Click here to find out Sweek's flash fiction contest theme for each month.


July Deadline

1. John Locke Institute Essay Competition 2018

There are four categories in this contest: Philosophy, Politics, Economics and History. Each category has its own set of questions which you should base your essay on.

Word count: 2,000 words

Deadline: July 31, 2018

Prize: " There is a prize for the best essay in each subject category...Each subject prize is worth £100 and the essays will be published (with the author's permission) on the Institute website.

The candidate who submits the best essay overall will be awarded an honorary John Locke Institute Junior Fellowship, worth £500."

In addition, "A small number of exceptional candidates will be invited to Oxford ahead of the awards ceremony for a viva voce interview with a senior member of our faculty. These interviews will be issued after the First Reading, on the same day the Short List is announced, while the judging process is still ongoing."

The purpose of this essay is to encourage "young people to cultivate the characteristics that turn good students into great writers: independent thought, depth of knowledge, clear reasoning, critical analysis and persuasive style. The John Locke Institute Essay Competition invites students to explore a wide range of challenging and interesting questions beyond the confines of the school curriculum."

Click here for more information.

2. Story of the Year Contest 2018

Story shares is a nonprofit organization whose aim is to engage and support struggling readers. They state,"The stories generated through our contests make a real difference. They serve the 774 million teens and adults around the world who lack key literacy skills...in pursuit of a more literate society."

The organization is offering three types of awards: Diversity Award, Texas Award and Character-Based Award. Each award has its own specifications including the word limits.

As a rough guide, the word limits range from 1,000-1,500 words.

Deadline: July 27, 2018

For more information, visit the site's contest page here.

3. Economist’s Open Future Initiative Essay Contest 2018

This contest organized by Economist is inviting youths between 16 and 25 years to submit their essays on the following questions. Check their website to gain an insight into the following questions/themes you should base your essay on:

  • Open markets: What is the best way to improve competition in modern capitalism?
  • Open borders: Does immigration strengthen or undermine intolerance?
  • Open ideas: What should a commitment to free speech on campus entail?
  • Open society: Has political correctness gone too far?
  • Open progress: Do the benefits of artificial intelligence outweigh the risks?

Of course, Economist admits it is hardly neutral on the above themes. However, they state submissions from individuals whose opinions differ from them won’t be disregarded. “The Economist is hardly neutral on these subjects: we are advocate of free trade, open societies and technological progress. But that should not discourage those who disagree with our opinions. We will select the best essays based on the quality of their arguments, not the extent to which they align with our views.” Additionally, they will make allowances for submissions from individuals whose English is not their native language.

The Economist has “launched the Open Future initiative to re-state the case for the values of classical liberalism – that is, political, economic and social freedom – to address the challenges of the 21st century. We want this exploration of ideas to involve our critics as well as our supporters, and to engage a young audience in particular.”

Deadline: July 15, 2018

Check their website, Economist, for more details including admission process.

4. 2018 Platt Family Scholarship Prize Essay Contest

The topic of the contest: Frederick Douglass, Stephen Douglas, and Abraham Lincoln.


“2018 marks the 160th anniversary of the famous debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. It will also be the bicentennial of the birth of abolitionist Frederick Douglas. Although Lincoln had major policy disagreements with both of these men, they also greatly influenced his political philosophy. What is the historical impact of Lincoln’s relationships with Stephen Douglas and Frederick Douglas?”

Eligibility: Fulltime, undergraduate students at any American college or university. Your nationality doesn't matter as long as you're an undergraduate student studying fulltime at any American college or university.

Deadline: 31 July 2018

Word count: A minimum of 1,500 words to a maximum of 5,000 words.

Prizes: $1,500, $750 and $500 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd winners respectively.

For more info, check their contest page here.

5. Frieze Writer’s Prize 2018

This international award aims to “discover and promote new art critics.”

The declared winner will be “commissioned to write a review for Frieze and will be awarded GBP £2,000.”

Your submission should be original, not published anywhere.

Your review should not exceed 700 words and should be in English.

Deadline: July 16, 2018

Check out their contest page, Frieze, for more detail.

6. DEATHSCRIBE: The International Festival of Horror Radio Plays

The organization is seeking 10-minute audio drama scripts that are “genuinely scary, imaginative, chilling, intelligent, suspenseful, horrific or downright grotesque.”

You are required to submit up to a maximum of two audio scripts.

The five scripts selected from the submissions will be performed live on stage, in front of an audience.

The length of the script shouldn't exceed ten minutes. Ensure you follow the format of audio drama. Your submission should not be a screenplay. It will be discarded if it's the case.

“The DEATHSCRIBE experience includes performing the pieces on stage with Folay artists and a band creating the sound effects and music live. Therefore, scripts must be ready to produce, including direction for sound and music cues. Sorry, but submissions cannot include usage of copyrighted music.”

Deadline: July 31, 2018

Prize: Bloody Axe Award and $100

Check their website here for more information.

7. Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2018

This poetry competition is open to youths aged 11-17 years.

The entries must be original and unpublished. An individual can enter more than one poem and the poems should be in English language.

The organization doesn't accept submission via email. You can send your submission through post or submitting your entry online.

"All 100 winning poets (top 15 and 85 commended) will be notified in autumn 2018 and invited to an award ceremony in October 2018. All winners be required to provide a biography, photograph and permission form."

Deadline: July 31, 2018

Length: Any

Theme: Any

They note, "We are unable to cover the international travel fees for winners to the award ceremony and Arvon course)."

For more information, check their contest page here.


August Deadline

1. The Preservation Foundation Contest, 2018

The Preservation Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 1998 is an organization that seeks to help both fiction and non-fiction writers. They not only hold contests on a continuous basis, but also accept regular submissions in the fiction and non-fiction genres.

In the 2018 contest they are holding non-fiction contests in four categories: General nonfiction, Biography, Travel and Animals.

Prizes: The overall winners in each category will receive $200 with the runners up each receiving $100. The finalists in each contest will receive $50. In addition, the winners (overall winners, runners up and finalists) will each receive a certificate of recognition.

World length: 1,000-10,000 words.

Deadline: August 31, 2018

In the Biographical contest they note, “A biographical entry must be a true story of an individual(s) known to the author personally – not a factual or historical character. Autobiography, of course, must be the true story about the author’s life, the whole or an episode.”

In the General Nonfiction category they state “Any appropriate nonfiction topic is eligible. Stories must be true, not semi-fictional accounts.”

In The Travel Nonfiction contest they say, “Stories should be factual and true accounts of a trip taken by the author or a person or persons known by the author.”

Lastly, in the Nonfiction Animal contest they state, “Stories should be factual and true accounts of an encounter or encounters by the author with a wild animal or animals. These include, but are not limited to birds, fish, butterflies, snails, lions, bears, turtles, etc. As long as it is not your pet.”

To learn more including entry rules, visit their website at Story House.

2. Sweek Poetry Awards

The Sweek team is inviting any individual to submit their best poems in the duration the contest will run from April 18, 2018 to August 15, 2018.

Theme: Open

Grand prize: $100

Popularity prize: Special badge

10 shortlisted titles will be printed online by Milk Press and featured on Sweek website. Furthermore, the ten shortlisted participants will be awarded a badge, and receive constructive feedback from the juries.

Word count: 10 - 2,000 words

"You can publish either one poem or a whole pamphlet (if it does not exceed 2,000 words in total)."

For more info, check their contest page here.

3. The End of Our World Short Story Contest

In recent years, a number of people have predicted the end of the world on a certain date. However, none of their predictions have come to light. This doesn't mean our world isn't doomed. There is every evidence our world is arriving at a final end. Scientific facts are available to back up this statement.

Thus, the AfterMath online magazine is inviting individuals to submit their stories based on facts which predict the end of our world. They state, “This contest is meant to inspire a deeper and broader understanding of what is happening to our world, or rather: what is being done to it. We are looking for short stories dealing with the many existential issues facing us right now. No nonsense, no wild, impossible fantasies bit strong, intelligent stories, based on realistic speculations, cautionary tales, exploratory, plausible and thought-provoking.”

Word count: 1,500 and 5,000 words

Deadline: August 31, 2018

Digital format submission: Ms. Word or PDF

Prizes: $1000, $300, $100 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd winners respectively.

“We are going down, and most of us know, not clearly spelled out, but we know, deep inside, that we are going down, in spite of all the comforting lies told by those who are profiting from our downfall and want us to go meekly.”

Check their website here for more detail.

4. UNFCCC Global Youth Video Competition 2018

Are you a youth who is engaging in activities to fight climate change? Interested in becoming a youth reporter at the UN Climate Change Conference in Poland in December? If the answer is Yes then you’re invited to submit your video addressing this issue in the following two categories:

1st Category: Responsible Production and Consumption

2nd Category: Green and Climate Friendly Jobs

You should submit a 3 minute video showcasing your activities that contribute to any of the above categories. After the submission window period is over, the voting process will begin which will determine the winner.

Deadline: August 31, 2018

You should be between 18-30 years to participate in this contest.

The contest, The Global Youth Video Competition on Climate Change, is co-organized by the UNFCCC Secretariat and the UNDP-GEF Small Grants Programme. If you’re declared the winner you’ll get a “round-trip travel to 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (Cop24) in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018.” Your assignment is acting in the capacity of a youth reporter “assisting the UN Climate Change team with videos, articles and social media posts.”

To learn more on the above two categories and how to submit your work, visit the contest’s site here.

5. Short Story Contest

Submit your original story in the English language.

You must be over the age of sixteen.

You can submit up to a maximum of five entries.

The submitted stories will be published on ReaderWriterLounge website.

Word count: 1,000-10,000 words.

Prizes: Gold Award - £100 GBP, Silver Award - £50 GBP and third winner, Bronze Award - £20 GBP.

Deadline: August 31, 2018

Check their website, ReaderWriterLounge, for more information.


October Deadline

1. Bed Bug Awareness Week 2018 Writing Contest for Teens

They are a nuisance. Some of us have been trying for many years to eradicate them from our households but to no avail. Of course, there are those who have been lucky in getting rid of bed bugs. Well, this competition aims to find out whether it is possible to get rid of them. Or, are we doomed to live with them?

If you are a student between the age of 13 and 18, you're dearly invited to participate in this contest whereby you're required to submit an interview piece in either the Text Category or Video Category. The interview should align with the theme of the contest which is: Are we capable of winning the battle against bedbug or we will be forced to live them!

If you want to participate in the Text category, the length of your entry should be between 600-1,000 words. In the Video category, the length of your entry should be a maximum of 5 minutes.The organizer of the contest, Get Rid of Pests, states, "Competitions will be in written or interview format. The participant can enter any one of them, or both with similar materials, delivered for a different medium."


Text Category: 1st Winner - $100, 2nd Winner - $50, 3rd Winner - $50

Video Category: 1st Winner - $200, 2nd Winner - $100, 3rd Winner - $100


Interview deadline: 01.06.2018

Video Interview deadline: 01.10.2018

The following is what is required of you:

  1. Research as much as you can about the social and economic consequences of bedbugs from reputable sources.
  2. Think about what you just learned.
  3. Interview someone you know and transcribe the conversation (write out the questions and answers.
  4. Submit your transcript.
  5. You could make a video from your interview and participate with the same or similar materials again.

Remember, "Your primary focus should be to investigate how the community reacts to bedbug epidemic and what are the social and economic consequences.:

For more information including how to submit your entry, visit their website at Get Rid of Pests.

The organizer has posted two videos in YouTube as pertaining to this contest: 31 questions Writing Contest for Teens Bed Bug Awareness Week 2018 and Writing Contest for Teens (Publication & Cash) 2018.

November Deadline

1. ServiceScape Short Story Award 2018

You are invited to submit your work of fiction or non-fiction which should be original and not published anywhere else.

There is only one slot to be won in this contest. The winner will pocket $1,000 and his/her winning entry featured in ServiceScape’s blog.

Theme: Any

Genre: Any

Word Count: 5,000 word

The potential winner “must send a headshot photograph within 10 days of the prize of the notification. The potential winner must also sign and return an affidavit of eligibility, a liability release, and a publicity release (where legal) within 10 days of the prize notification.”

Deadline: November 30, 2018

For more information including how to submit your work, click here.

December Deadline

1. Castle Craig’s 30th Anniversary – International Essay Writing Competition

Castle Craig Hospital in Scotland is holding an international essay writing contest to celebrate their 30th anniversary. It is inviting students who are studying medicine, psychology, nursing, psychotherapy and social work.

The theme of the contest is: Focusing on Addiction

They have included three essay questions to base your essay on:

  • Is addiction to a drug a brain disease?
  • What is the role of psychotherapy in realizing and sustaining recovery for addiction?
  • ‘Society holds the solution to addiction because social problems are the main cause.” Discuss.

Prizes: “The award for the first prize is £1,000, and there will be up to 5 runner-up prizes of £250. Additional notable submissions will receive a written commendation.”

Deadline: December 30, 2018

For more information, visit their contest’s page here.

2. Poetry Nation Contest 2018

Theme: Any

You can write on any subject you want and you can employ a variety of poetic styles. Nonetheless, you need to observe the format rules they've outlined such as: “Any entry containing cliché, overused phrases will not be accepted; contest entries must be at least 3 but cannot exceed 26 lines (including stanza breaks) and cannot exceed 55 characters per line (including spaces between words). Any submission that exceeds these limits will be automatically disqualified. The poem title does not count as a line.”

Check their website, Poetry Nation, to ensure you follow the rules to avoid disqualification of your submission.

In terms of prizes: “Both contests (i.e. Poetry Nation holds two poetry contests per year from January 1 – June 30 and July 1 – December 31) award one first place prize of $2,000.00 and a first prize wall plaque ($100.00 value); twenty second place prizes of $100 each and a second place wall plaque ($750.00 value); one hundred third place wall plaque and $25 gift certificate redeemable towards any Poetry Nation or Ebber & Wein Publishing product ($75.00 value). Sixty to seventy percent of all entries become semi-finalists and receive a certificate of participation or framing.”

Remember, your contest will be judged “based on poetic technique, effectiveness, style, and creativity.”

Deadlines: June 30 and December 31

© 2017 Alianess Benny Njuguna


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    • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

      Alianess Benny Njuguna 

      10 days ago from Kenya

      You are welcome, T. Shreya, to participate in any contest listed on this page. Find the contest which is appropriate to you, which you're eligible to enter, and you're good to go. Best wishes.

    • profile image

      T. Shreya 

      10 days ago

      I want to participate in this competition

    • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

      Alianess Benny Njuguna 

      3 weeks ago from Kenya

      Thank you Augustin for stopping by.

    • profile image

      Augustin Kinguse 

      3 weeks ago

      Thanks for this great information

    • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

      Alianess Benny Njuguna 

      3 weeks ago from Kenya

      Thanks Vivek for the feedback.

    • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

      Alianess Benny Njuguna 

      3 weeks ago from Kenya

      Hi Eli

      You are not seeing things. When the duration of a contest expires, I remove the outdated contest to make room for new ones. This, is to avoid browsing through a long list of contests, both the active and non-active. This applied to the missing contest which you saw but is no longer visible.

    • profile image


      3 weeks ago

      HI there. I visited this page a couple days ago and I think there was an essay contest about "How I plan on spending summer vacation" but I no longer see it on this page. Am I seeing things or did something change? Thanks.

    • profile image

      Vivek Ydv 

      5 weeks ago

      Its really amazing post.

    • profile image

      Vivek Ydv 

      5 weeks ago

      Thank you so much for this posting.

    • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

      Alianess Benny Njuguna 

      6 weeks ago from Kenya

      Thank you gungun for the feedback. I wish you all the best as you try out on any of the listed contest.

    • profile image


      6 weeks ago

      thanks a lot.. kudos to u all.. for the site...gained as knowledge as much as I can.. As a student I'll surely do my best..

    • profile image

      martin garix 

      2 months ago

    • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

      Alianess Benny Njuguna 

      2 months ago from Kenya

      Thank you Lizzy for your feedback. Since you aren't new to writing and have come across different writing tasks, I'm sure you'll do much better.

    • Lizzy Taylor profile image

      Lizzy Taylor 

      2 months ago from USA

      Thanks for putting all these useful sites together. As a writer of custom papers, I'll take part in one of for sure.

    • profile image


      2 months ago


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      This is the link to the full contest details:



    • profile image

      carl dixon 

      4 months ago

      Got to be interesting thing to see as I have been seeing lately some fictional character being highlighted here, https://www.papersarena.com/ have led me to this point its perfect.

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      6 months ago

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    • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

      Alianess Benny Njuguna 

      9 months ago from Kenya

      Thank you Dora Isaac Weithers for your feedback.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      9 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you for sharing this information. Something for almost everyone and a few extra dollars are always welcome.


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