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Writing contests, competitions and opportunities – September 2019

writing competitions, writing opportunities, writing contests

We’ve brought together September’s best competitions and opportunities, open to writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, flash fiction and scriptwriting. There are a lot of great competitions with deadlines this month so we’ve got a bumper list for you! 

All the opportunities mentioned should be open to writers across the UK and most are open internationally too. We share details of prizes, requirements, eligibility, entry fees (some are free) and deadlines to help you choose the right ones for you.

Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards

The Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards honour the best self-published books. A total of $13,000 in cash prizes are on offer.

There are eight categories covering some of the most popular genres including contemporary fiction, romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, memoir, young adult and nonfiction. Entries are open to authors from most countries in the world.

Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition

This competition is welcoming full-length screenplays, TV pilots and short scripts from writers around the world. Executives, managers and producers actively seeking new writers and projects are lined up to read this year’s winners.

Adventures in Fiction New Voices Competition

If you have a winning idea for a novel and would like support in the early stages, Adventures in Fiction is offering a start-up package to the most promising first page and synopsis. 

Women’s Poetry and Pamphlet Competition

The Poetry Book Society has teamed up with Mslexia magazine to run two prestigious women’s poetry competitions. 

The Women’s Poetry Competition will be judged by the award winning poet Malika Booker. Women poets who have not previously had a full collection published are also invited to submit a new poetry pamphlet.

The Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoetry

The Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoetry is a major international award for poems embracing ecological themes. It aims to highlight the role poetry can play in raising awareness, gaining insight, and provoking concern for the ecological imperatives of our time.

The judges are the iconic Mexican writer, activist and ambassador Homero Aridjis and the TS Eliot Award-winning poet Jen Hadfield.

Giles St Aubyn Awards for Non-Fiction

The Royal Society of Literature’s annual awards for first-time writers of nonfiction are funded by a generous bequest from author and RSL Fellow, Giles St Aubyn.

Two prizes will be awarded to two writers to support them with completing their first commissioned works of nonfiction. The 2019 judges are Rachel Hewitt, Kenan Malik and Fiona St Aubyn (Chair).

Manchester Writing Prizes 

Manchester Metropolitan University has two great writing competitions open internationally.

Enter short stories of up to 2,500 words into The Manchester Fiction Prize or a portfolio of three to five poems (up to 120 lines combined) into The Manchester Poetry Prize.

Grindstone International Novel Prize

Enter the first 3,000 words of a finished novel or a work-in-progress for a chance to win the Grindstone International Novel Prize. This year’s guest judge is Literary Agent Lucy Morris from Curtis Brown.

The Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize

The prestigious, Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize is open for submissions of literary stories. This year’s judges are Arifa Akbar, Toby Litt and Todd McEwen.

Dzanc Books Writing Prizes

Novels (40,000 words and up), novellas (18,000 to 40,000 words) and book-length short story collections are being welcomed by Dzanc Books across three competitions this year. 

Channel 4 screenwriting opportunity

Opportunities to be paid a fee to participate in a Channel 4 screenwriting course and complete two drafts of a one-hour script will be awarded to twelve writers who have not yet had a broadcast credit.

Submit a writing sample of 20 to 130 pages (this can be a screenplay, stage play or radio play) along with your CV. Scripts should be original and not episodes of an existing drama series. 

The New Guard Fiction and Poetry Contests 

The New Guard Volume IX Knightville Poetry Contest and Machigonne Fiction Contest are open.

Enter poems, in any form, of up to 150 lines into the Knightsville Poetry Contest which is being judged this year by Richard Blanco.

The Machigonne Fiction Contest is being judged by Elizabeth Hand and is welcoming works of fiction in any genre. Enter up to 5,000 words.

Mslexia Women’s Competitions

Mslexia has a number of great competitions open this year to anyone who identifies as a woman. You can be any nationality and from any country.

As a result of support given by Mslexia to winners in previous years, many have gone on to see their work broadcast or published beyond the pages of the magazine, have secured agent representation and publishing deals.

The Caterpillar Story for Children Prize 

This annual award is given to the best story (of no more than 1,500 words) written by an adult for children aged 7 to 11. Anyone can enter, as long as you are over 16 and your story is unpublished. 

Philip Levine Prize for Poetry 

The Philip Levine Prize for Poetry is an annual book contest sponsored by the Creative Writing Program at California State University, Fresno. This contest is open to any poet writing in English.

Enter original, unpublished, full-length poetry manuscripts that are between 48 and 80 pages in length with no more than one poem per page.

Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest 

Winning Writers’ 17th annual Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest is welcoming published and unpublished poetry from writers in most countries around the world. Poems can be up to 250 lines. 

That’s it for this month but do join us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss out on new opportunities. 

You can also find details of more competitions coming up this year here.

If you’re running a great competition or are creating a wonderful opportunity for writers in the near future, do get in touch with us here. We publish the best every month on Lightbox Originals and promote even more on social media.

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