2018 Free International Writing & Non-Writing Entry Contests

Updated on November 7, 2018
Contest | Source

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.

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.

3. The Writing Quarter Competition

Theme: Open

Word count: 3,000 words

Only one entry per person.

Prize: $30

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 or each month.

Prize: £20 and your work will be published on the organizer's website.

Details here.

How to Submit a Video-Contest

Quarterly Contests

1. Writer Contest

This is a quarterly contest which occurs four times a year, starting on October 1 (January 1, April 1 and July 1) and ending on September 30.

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.

Details here.

Cat on Laptop
Cat on Laptop | Source

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.

2. Urban YA Competition 2018

This competition is restricted to U.K residents or anyone living in the country. The organizer of this competition, Everything Words, is inviting individuals living in UK to submit a full-length young adult novel for a chance of winning £1000 and the possible publication of the novel by the same organization.

They are looking "for a vibrant debut novel for young adults, a book set in today's multi-cultural Britain. Shar dialogue, a story that's got a feel of here and now, the street and the city today. Atmosphere is important, both physical and psychological. It can be in any city in the UK but it must be a real city. No fantasy."

They're hoping "to find someone who can capture the feel of the city, the sound and tone of how people speak, their raw thoughts, hopes and fears."

Your novel should be original, not previously published and your first novel of this kind (Young Adult).

Word length: 40,000-70,000

When submitting, send a separate summary to the email they've provided.

Deadline: November 30, 2018

For more information, check them here.

3. 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

This competition is open to citizens of commonwealth countries. If you're living outside of your resident commonwealth country, you're still eligible to participate in this competition.

Word count: 2,000-5,000 words

Deadline: November 1, 2018

Prize: The prize covers five commonwealth regions (Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, Caribbean, and Pacific). One winner will be selected from each region. The overall winner will receive £5,000 while the remaining four winners will receive £2,500.

Translated entries in the following languages are eligible: Bengali, Chinese, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan and Tamil.

Details here.

4. J.F Powers Prize for Short Fiction

They are looking for stories which contain real or believable characters who "encounter grace in everyday settings." They want to see "who, in the age we live in, might have one foot in this world and one in the next."

Prizes: $500, $250 and 8 honorable mentions

They do do not accept previously published work and submit only one short story.

Word Length: 8,000

Deadline: November 30, 2018

Details here.

5. The Betty Trask Prize and The Betty Trask Awards

The Society of Authors are holding the above contest for authors under the age of 35 who are publishing their first novels. This is in line with Betty Trask's request to Society of Authors to fund prizes for first time authors.

Total prize:

"The author must be resident in Great Britain and Northern Ireland or the Commonwealth for three years prior to the date of submission for the award, or a British national, and writing in English."

"The author must not have had any novel published (other than the one submitted).

"The prize money must be used for foreign travel."

Deadline: November 30, 2018

Details here.

How to Win a Writing Contest (Tips from a Contest Judge)

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

3. ICRC Writing Competition II

The International Committee of the Red Cross is inviting people from Arabic nations to participate in ICRC second contest whose theme is: Missing. The writing competition is aimed to "engage the Arab speaking scholars on relevant IHL discussions and to provide an academic platform for legal debates."

"Every year, countless people go missing as a result of armed conflicts, other situations of violence, natural disasters, and migration flaws. Families of the missing suffer anguish and make desperate attempts in the hopes of finding their loved ones.

International humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IARHL) uphold the rights of families to know the fate and whereabouts of their missing relatives. States have to make every effort to prevent pupils from disappearing, to search for missing persons and to deal with the consequences related to such events."

Your article should focus on:

- An overview of the legal framework

- Examining the needs of families of the Missing

- Legal, economic, administrative and psychological needs

- Justice and public acknowledgement: the importance of accountability

- Recent developments in the humanitarian response

- Psycho-social support for the missing

- National mechanisms for addressing the issue of the missing/disappeared

The article should be written in Arabic from Arab speaking people.

Prizes: The first, second and third winner will receive a certificate and cash prize of $1,500, 1,000 and 750 respectively. Additionally the first winner's article might be published by ICRC.

Deadline: December 1, 2018

Details: visit the contest's page at ICRC

4. Blue Mountain Arts

Theme: Any

They prefer non-rhyming poems because they read better though it doesn't mean you shouldn't submit a rhyming one.

You may enter as often as you like.

Deadline: December 31, 2018

The winning poems will be displayed on their website.

Prizes: $350, $200 and $100

You may submit your poem(s) through postal mail or online.

Details here

5. $1,000 Scholarship for Veterans

Personal Money Service Veteran’s Scholarship is a unique opportunity to support veteran who aim for superior educational heights.This one-time payment of $1, 000 can help you deal with educational costs and excel in studies.

Applicants must:

  • Be an active duty member of the U.S. Military service or a veteran.
  • Be a high school senior or a high school graduate.
  • Be a legal resident or citizen of the U.S.
  • Not have previously earned a bachelor’s degree.If these criteria are met Personal Money Service will accept any application for the scholarship.

All applicants have to take several steps to participate:

  • Write a post that explains why you should be awarded this scholarship.
  • Add the link to Personal Money Service
  • Make this post public on your Facebook or Youtube account
  • Link to Personal Money Service Facebook or Youtube page

Send your application to admin@personalmoneyservice.com

Deadline: December 31, 2018 (winner announced January 14, 2019)

For more information, click here.

6. Owl Canyon Press Short Story Hackathon #2

In this contest, you are required to submit a short story which consists of 50 paragraphs. The organizer of the contest will provide the 1st and 25th paragraph. Thus, you've to incorporate both the two paragraphs in their order with yours to make up 50 paragraphs.

Prizes: $300, $200 and $100 "with the winning short stories published in a short story anthology, as well as an invitation to give a public reading at Inkberry Books in Niwot, Co. The twenty-four finalists will also have their short stories included in this anthology."

Word length: No restriction as long as each paragraph consists of at least 40 words.

Deadline: December 1, 2018

7. Headway Quarterly Writing Contest

Theme: Mutants and Mutation

Prize: $100 plus publication

Your entry should not have been published anywhere else.

Deadline: December 1, 2018

Click here to learn more.

8. Better Than Starbucks 2018 Sonnet Contest

"This contest is for a metrical sonnet. Your sonnet can be shakespearean, petrachan, spenserian, rhymed, or slant-rhymed.

Blank verse is fine, as long as the sonnet form is clearly identifiable.

We'll consider tetrameter, hexameter, etc as well as pentameter."

They accept previously published work.

Prize: $100

Deadline: December 1, 2018

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Alianess Benny Njuguna


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      • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

        Alianess Benny Njuguna 

        32 hours ago from Kenya

        Hussein, these contests are free to enter. There is no fee to enter.

        XYZ, the prizes and payment depend with an organization and how much money they can afford to pay winners.

      • profile image


        4 days ago

        please motivate writers by providing good prizes and good payments.

      • profile image

        Hussein Sabbaghi 

        5 days ago

        Isn't any free entry fee?

      • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

        Alianess Benny Njuguna 

        2 weeks ago from Kenya

        Thank you Creative writing news. I agree with your comment, and you're warmly welcome.

      • profile image

        Creative writing news 

        3 weeks ago

        Thank you for publishing this list of contests.

        Writing contests encourage writers to push boundaries.

      • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

        Alianess Benny Njuguna 

        2 months ago from Kenya

        Thank you Ann Gibson. I very much appreciate your comment and encouragement. Thanks too for the blessing.

      • profile image

        Ann Gibson 

        2 months ago

        Thank you so much for this article... You're such of a kind... God bless you Njuguna

      • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

        Alianess Benny Njuguna 

        2 months ago from Kenya

        Thank you Madhvi for your feedback. The contests are free to enter, and any citizen from any part of the world can participate. If a contest is restricted to a specific region or nation, it will be indicated.

      • profile image


        3 months ago

        thanx for updating with such lovely contest.Citizen of all countries are allowed to participate or some specific countries?

      • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

        Alianess Benny Njuguna 

        3 months ago from Kenya

        You are welcome Douglas. There are plenty of them. I am sure you will find a couple to participate.

      • profile image


        3 months ago

        I really want to participate in the competition

      • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

        Alianess Benny Njuguna 

        3 months ago from Kenya

        Thanks for your feedback. I will consider it

      • profile image


        3 months ago

        Go Shortcuts!

      • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

        Alianess Benny Njuguna 

        3 months ago from Kenya

        I'm sorry to hear that. You're welcome. I hope through writing you'll be comforted and it will aid in the healing process because you've lost a very special person in your life. My condolence.

      • profile image

        Jean Saville 

        3 months ago

        I am interested in some of the competitions. I have just lost my ony daughter in a motor accident - i need o write !

      • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

        Alianess Benny Njuguna 

        3 months ago from Kenya

        Thank you Hipster24 for your feedback. I will include film making contests.

      • profile image


        3 months ago

        Its a very good content. Thank you. Please update about more competitions that is held throughout the year and please add a category for short film making contest.

      • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

        Alianess Benny Njuguna 

        4 months 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 

        4 months ago

        I want to participate in this competition

      • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

        Alianess Benny Njuguna 

        4 months ago from Kenya

        Thank you Augustin for stopping by.

      • profile image

        Augustin Kinguse 

        4 months ago

        Thanks for this great information

      • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

        Alianess Benny Njuguna 

        4 months ago from Kenya

        Thanks Vivek for the feedback.

      • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

        Alianess Benny Njuguna 

        4 months 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


        4 months 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 months ago

        Its really amazing post.

      • profile image

        Vivek Ydv 

        5 months ago

        Thank you so much for this posting.

      • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

        Alianess Benny Njuguna 

        5 months 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


        5 months 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..

      • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

        Alianess Benny Njuguna 

        6 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 

        6 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


        6 months ago


        Thanks for putting up a list for all of these writing contests. I would like to ask if you can add up our company’s contest?

        Here are the list of what the winners will get for our contest and this contest is free to join.

        – The winner of the contest will be hired to write for Peculium on a regular basis, a rare opportunity to work with an excellent team!

        – The 2nd runner up will receive an Amazon coupon of $500

        – The 3rd runner up will receive an Amazon coupon of $200

        This is the link to the full contest details:



      • profile image

        carl dixon 

        8 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.

      • profile image


        9 months ago

        Decent, informative and well written article, keep it up good work. It is also helpful a lot and can download ENG 106 Grand Canyon Week 1 Discussion loving such type of Post . Bundle of Thanks!

        Tutorials Experhttps://www.tutorialsexperts.us/product/eng-106-gr...

      • Ben716 profile imageAUTHOR

        Alianess Benny Njuguna 

        13 months ago from Kenya

        Thank you Dora Isaac Weithers for your feedback.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        13 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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