2019 Free International Writing & Non-Writing Entry Contests
If you're looking for online contests that you can participate or submit your work for free, without being required to pay entry free; don't look further.
This article will provide you with an overview of each contest including the last date to submit your work and the type of prizes to be won. A link has been included in each contest which will direct you to the relevant contest's page to better understand what's required of you.
However, unlike earlier, this article will concentrate on writing contests only, that is, short story, novel, flash fiction, poetry, article, essay and creative nonfiction. For non-writing contests - designing, illustration, drawing, painting, photography and short video/film production - a separate article has been created to provide you with an up-to-date list of the said contests.
Click here to be directed to non-writing contests.
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.
NOTE: Unless otherwise stated, the entries should be submitted in English language. Whereas a language(s) is accepted other than English, it will be noted in the concerned contest.
1. The Writing District Contest
This is a monthly short story contest.
Deadline: The last date of the month
Word count: 3,000
Email submission: email@example.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.
3. The Writing Quarter Competition
Word count: 3,000 words
Only one entry per person.
The winner of a particular month will be notified by the organizer of this contest by the 30th day of the following month.
Check them here to learn more.
4. Furious Fiction
Can you beat the deadline in as little as 55 hours after receiving the short story prompt? This is your chance to put your writing skill into test. Once the prompt is displayed in the organizer's website, on the first Friday of every month, you have to race against the clock to write a 500-word short story (or less) in less than 55 hours to win AUD$500.
Click this link to learn more.
5. The Third Word Press
In this contest you are required to write flash fiction of not over nor under but exactly 80 words. "Your submission can be an extract from a longer work; a full story with a beginning, a middle and end; or it can simply be a scene - it's what you do with it that is of interest. You can submit as many pieces as you like per competition."
Deadline: 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month.
Prize: £20 and your work will be published on the organizer's website.
How to Submit a Video-Contest
1. Writer Contest
This is a quarterly contest which occurs four times a year.
Type of contest: Scientific and Fantasy genres
Word length: 17,000 words
"The contest is open only to those who have not professionally published a novel or short novel, or more than one novelette, or more than three short stories, in any medium. Professional publication is deemed to be payment of at least six cents per word, and at least 5,000 copies, or 5,000 hits."
Prizes: $1000, $750, $500 including trophies. Additionally, the winners of quarterly contest will compete to win the annual prize of $5,000.
You can submit through email or snail mail.
1. Bracken Bower Prize 2019
“The Financial Times and McKinsey & Company, organizers of the Business Book of the Year Award, want to encourage young authors to tackle emerging business themes. They hope to unearth new talent and encourage writers to research ideas that could fill future business books of the year.
With a £15,000 award, the competition aims to find the best proposal of a business book.
Those who are under 35 years are eligible for this competition.
Deadline: September 31, 2019
More information here
2. Atlas Shrugged Contest
Eligibility: 12th graders, college undergraduate and graduate students.
Prizes: 1st prize - $25,000 (1 winner)
2nd prize - $2,500 (3 winners)
3rd prize - $500 (5 winners)
Finalists - $100 (50 winners)
Topics: 3 topics. You have to choose one of the topics to submit for this contest.
Only one entry per student per contest.
Length: 800-1,600 words
Deadline: September 19, 2019
3. Val Wood Prize 2019
Theme: Love Letters
"The theme of this year's competition is 'Love Letters' and we want you to pack them with romance, originality and creativity...Entries should be in the form of a love letter and entrants are free to write about whatever they wish as long as the theme of love and the form of a letter are adhered to."
Participant's age: Over 16 years
Length: 1,500 words
Prizes: Winner will receive £100 and their entry published on the contest's website.
Runner up will receive £50
2 commendations will receive £25 each
Entries can be typed or neatly handwritten.
Deadline: September 21, 2019
4. My Writing Journey
Theme: The Best Writing Tip I've Ever Received
Length: 600 words
Prize: One winner will be awarded with $200.
The winning entry will be published on the Writers College blog and newsletter.
Deadline: September 30, 2019
5. 2019 Expariate and Work Abroad Writing Contest
Entrants: Professionals and freelancers
"Professionals and freelancers are encouraged to write non-fiction inspirational and practical that describe their experience living, moving, and working abroad..."
Prizes: You can win $500 (1st winner), $ 150 (2nd winner), $100 (3rd winner) or $50 (finalists) for Sharing Your Living and Work Abroad Experience.
Length: Submit an original and unpublished essay or mini-guide of between 1,200 and 4,000 words relating to your experience living, moving, or working abroad.
Deadline: September 15, 2019.
6. OWL Canyon Short Story Hackathon #3
The rule: The organizer of the contest has provided the 1st and 20th paragraph. Your story should contain a total of 50 paragraphs. As an entrant, you should submit a story of 48 paragraphs including the two paragraphs that have been provided.
Prizes: 1st ($3,000), 2nd ($2,000) and 3rd winner ($1,000)
The winning short stories will "be published in a short anthology, as well as an invitation to give a public reading at Inkberry Books on Niwot, Co. The twenty-four finalists will also have their short stories included in this anthology."
Deadline: September 30, 2019
7. Gransnet Writing Competition
Entrant's age: Only women who are above the age of 40.
Region: UK or Ireland
Prize: The winner of the contest will sign a publishing contract with HQ, an imprint of HarperCollins UK.
"The first prize will be awarded for the most original and exciting work of fiction of any genrez featuring a leading character over the age of 40, and excluding science fiction, fantasy, erotica or Young Adult genres (the 'Content Criteria').
Five shortlisted entrants will have their work critiqued by a HQ editor.
"Entrants are asked to submit a one page synopsis and the first 20,000 words of their unpublished novel which needs to be a completed work of at least 85,000 words."
Deadline: September 30, 2019
How to Win a Writing Contest (Tips from a Contest Judge)
1. Stories Out of School Flash Fiction Contest
“This annual contest was created to inspire honest, unsentimental stories about teachers and the rich and complex world of schools.”
Age: 18 years and above
Length: 6-749 words
Condition: The story’s protagonist or its narrator must be a k-12 teacher.
Deadline: October 1, 2019
Prizes: 1st - $100 and published online in The Commuter
2nd - $500
2. The Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction
If you're a resident of UK or Ireland, you are invited by Comma Press and the University of Lancashire to submit your story for their annual Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction.
Age: 18 years and over
Theme: Artificial Intelligence
Length: 2,000 - 6,000 words
Prize: One winner will receive £500.
"10 shortlisted authors will be featured in an ebook anthology which will be published by Comma Press and sold online. The winner will also have their story published online by our media partner Northern Soul."
"Work which has been published on public websites, blogs or social media sites can be submitted, but must be taken down before the date of entry and must not be uploaded again until the writer has been notified whether they have become successful in making the shortlist.:
Deadline: October 25, 2019
3. 2020 DRF Writers Award
"An award of £10,000 will be presented to a first-time prose writer whose submission demonstrates literary talent and who would benefit from financial support to complete their work."
Runners up will each receive £1,000.
Length: 20,000 - 25,000 words (of a work in progress, fiction or nob-fiction, which is not under option or contract).
Region: Residents of British Commonwealth and Eire
The competition is restricted to those who have not published or self published a full-length book of prose (with the exception of a collection of poetry).
Deadline: October 31, 2019
4. The Word Poetry Competition
This contest is organized by Lichfield Cathedral. They state on their contest page, "We are inviting you to write new poems inspired by the awe and wonder of the anniversary of the moon landing and that one small step for humanity, to reflect on the origins of the universe and the vastness of space, light and time, and to explore our fragile earth through the themes of creation and cosmology, space travel and astronomical discovery."
The contest consists of two categories (based on age), each with its own theme.
a) Awe and Wonder (7-11 and 12-16)
b) Light in Our Darkness (17-25 and beyond 26 years of age)
They would like "entries to be as creative as possible when interpreting these themes." They are looking for poems "which go beyond simple rhyming couplets and limericks...looking for original, contemporary poems. This is an invitation to write in new and exciting poetic forms!"
Entries for ages 7-16 should be done through their school while for those above the age of 17 can submit individually.
Prizes: 1st (£100), 2nd (£50), 3rd (£25)
"Prizes in the 7-11 and 12-16 categories will be awarded as book vouchers for the winning schools."
Deadline: October 3, 2019
1. ServiceScape Short Story Award 2019
For this international free-to-enter writing award, any genre or theme of short story is accepted. All applicants should submit their original, unpublished work of short fiction or nonfiction, up to 5,000 words by November 30, 2019. Along with receiving an award for $1,000.00 USD, the winner will have his or her short story featured within our blog, which reaches thousands of readers per month.
You can find more information on our short story writing contest by clicking this link, ServiceScape.
Questions & Answers
Are there writing competitions for students below the age of 15?
Yes, there are, for instance, the Commonwealth competition. If a contest accepts entries from participants from the age of 13 upward, I will indicate so that you can know.Helpful 73
Are the writing contests described in this article open for any age?
These contests are mostly opened for people above the age of 18. Wherein there is a specific age required for in a contest, I will indicate it. Some contests have not mentioned the age range but normally the interested participants should be 18 years and above.Helpful 31
What is the preferred language when participating in international writing contests?
The preferred language is English. In each contest I have provided a link which will direct you to the website's contest page. In that page they will indicate which languages they accept. If they have not indicated which language you should use in submitting your entry, the English language is the preferable one or the one you should use.Helpful 24
Is there a mailing list for any of these free international writing and non-writing entry contests?
In some contests, yes but not many of them. When you click the link to the contests it will be indicated in that website contest's page whether there is.Helpful 2
Are there writing competitions for a comedy acts writer?
There are drama/play competitions on diverse genres including comedy writing. BBC is one of the organizations that hold drama contests.
I will update the list once I come across this type of competition.
© 2017 Benny Njuguna