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Young Writer Competitions

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Last updated 18th September 2021

This resource lists many writing competitions, contests, prizes, awards and challenges for young writers and child authors. The competitions listed are often aimed at students in full-time education.

Young Writer Competitions

In the tables, you will find many publishing opportunities for young authors across a variety of age ranges, including children, kids, students and young writers up to around the age of 25 (please note, the upper age limit does vary depending on which competitions are open and their submission guidelines).

I will try and keep the lists on this page up-to-date, but please check the rules and dates on the different contest websites before entering.

PLEASE NOTE: Most of the young writer competitions listed on this page accept entries from authors living anywhere in the world. The country each award is run from is listed so you know which global market you are submitting to.

Each listing contains information about a contest's name, closing date, the date they announce winners, the maximum number of words accepted, the entry fee (if there is one - many of the competitions are free to enter) and the top prize. In the notes, I try to include details of the age young writers have to be to enter.

If you run a creative writing competition for young authors / children and would like me to add it to my lists, please contact me and provide ALL of the following information:

  • How often you will be running the competition (eg, annually, quarterly, one-off)
  • The name of your competition
  • A link to your website
  • The country you run the competition from
  • Closing date
  • Date you announce winners
  • Maximum word count of stories
  • Entry fee
  • Top prize
  • Any other details, including how winning writers' stories will be published and any theme or limitation on style/genre of stories accepted - please also include details of how old writers have to be to submit

I will add more publishing opportunities / writing competitions for children to this page as I hear about them.

Short Story Writing Course

Writing Competitions for Young Writers & Children

The table below lists writing contests for young writers and children that run regularly (EG, annually, quarterly, biennially etc.). Some of them have different age categories, so click on the links and be sure to read all the rules before you enter.

Competition Country Closing Date Winners Announced Max Words Entry Fee Top Prize
Amazing Young Writers Challenge UK Always Open NA 100 FREE See notes

Notes on Amazing Young Writers Challenge: Open to any form of creative writing, including stories, poems, non-fiction: absolutely anything - every submission is published online and the writer receives a Certificate of Publication

BBC Radio 2 500 Words Competition UK Varies Varies 500 FREE See notes
Notes on BBC 500 Words Competition: Any style / genre - for ages 5 to 13 - entrants must be resident in the UK - winners receive books + 500 books for their school - winners' stories are read on the radio by incredibly famous people, heard by around 10 million listeners
Brighton & Hove Arts Council Sussex Poetry Competition UK October November 40 lines FREE £150
Notes on B&HAC Sussex Poetry Competition: Any style, subject or theme - winners published on website - all prizewinners invited to read at the festival - look in scrolling banner at top of homepage to find current competition information - they also run a competition for adults
C.A.A.B Publishing Story Competition UK Varies Varies Varies FREE See notes
Notes on Caab Publishing Competition: Any style / genre but often themed, so check website for current details - winner receives a bundle of books - winners published in anthology - to find competition details, look in the 'Submitting To Us' section of their website
Chaucer Heritage Trust's Canterbury Tales Writing Competition UK Varies Summer 500 FREE £300
Notes on Chaucer HT Competition: Any style / genre but themed, so check website for current theme - in addition to prize money, the winner receives £1000 for their school library - winners published on website and there is an anthology planned - usually closes around January / February
Coram Voice 'Voices' Writing Competition UK February April 500 FREE See notes
Notes on Coram Voice Competition: Any style or genre - for children writers in care and care leavers up to the age of 25 - winner receive £100 in shopping vouchers, but further prizes maybe added at a later date - shortlisted entries published on website and in a printed book
Crowvus Christmas Ghost Story Competition Scotland Varies Varies 4,000 FREE £50
Notes on Crowvus Competition: Ghost stories - prize is a £50 gift card - winner published in anthology - also run contest for adults
Fresher Publishing's Writing Wizardry Competition UK February Varies 500 words FREE £150*
Notes on Fresher Publishing's Competition: Any style, subject or theme - for children in school years 3 to 6 (aged 11 or under) - top prize is £150 worth of books - shortlisted stories published in a book - they also accept poems - Fresher Publishing is part of Bournemouth University
Glittery Literary Cherished Children's Story Contest UK Monthly Monthly 500 £3 £20
Notes on Glittery Literary Contest: Any style / genre - winners published in Glittery Literary booklet, recorded and made available via online streaming
H G Wells Short Story Competition For Young Writers UK July September Varies FREE Varies
Notes on H G Wells Competition: Rules vary year to year and there is usually a theme, so check website for current details - prize varies too, but has been anywhere from £100 to £1,000 in the past
Light Bringer Project's Tomorrow Prize USA Varies Varies Varies FREE Varies
Notes on Light Bringer Project Award: Science fiction - for students enrolled in a Los Angeles County high school - winning stories performed by celebrity guests - top prize has been up to $250 in the past
Lil Author Skool 'Little Big Book' Competition UK Biannual Biannual 2,000 FREE* See notes
Notes on Little Big Book Competition: Any style / genre but themed, so check website for current theme - for entrants aged 21 and under - winner receives a goody bag and their story is published on the Lil Author Skool website - first entry is free, subsequent entries £2 - there are 2 categories for entry: little category ages 5-11 and the BIG category ages 12-21 years
Lune Spark Young Writers' Short Story Contest USA Varies Varies 1,500 $15 $500
Notes on Lune Spark Contest: Any style / genre - 2 categories: 10 to 13 years and 13 to 16 years - winners published in anthology that's made available in eBook, paperback, hardback, and audio formats - usually closes between May and July
National Flash Fiction Youth Competition UK February ? 360 FREE £100
Notes on Lune Spark Contest: Any style / genre - for current AS-level, A-level, or Scottish Higher students aged 16–19 and studying in the UK - prizes paid in book vouchers - winner published in Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine and on website
Omonefe's Redefiners Writing Challenge Nigeria June July 900 NGN 1,000 (approx £2 / $2.50) NGN 50,000 (approx £100 / $130)
Notes on Omonefe's Challenge: Any style / genre but themed, so check website for current details - top 20 stories published in the Redefiners Anthology
Pak Learners Short Story Competition Pakistan Quarterly Quarterly 1,000 $8 $500
Notes on Pak Learners Competition: Any style / genre - for students in student Grade 06 to 12 (in the Pakistan school system)
Polar Expressions Student Writing Contest Canada Varies Varies Varies FREE See notes
Notes on Polar Expressions Competition: Any style / genre - open to Canadian students in kindergarten through to grade twelve - prizes vary depending on age, so check the website - winners published in an anthology
R C Sherriff Trust's Elmbridge Literary Competition UK February February 1,000 FREE See notes
Notes on R C Sherriff Trust Competition: Any style / genre but themed, so check website for current details - winners published in a Chapbook published by Sampson Low - look in the 'Current Projects' section of the website to find competition details - categories for children: 5 to 7, 8 to 11, 11 to 13, 14 to 18 all with a variety of cash prizes, so check website for full details
Salisbury Literary Festival Story Prize UK September October 500 FREE £50
Notes on Salisbury Literary Festival Prize : Any style / genre, but must use a given story title, so see website for full details - 2 categories: primary school children aged under 11; secondary school children aged between 12 and 18 - winners published in Salisbury Journal - prize given in vouchers, winner receives £50 and so does their school
Saugus Ghost Story Competition USA October Halloween 24 pages FREE T-Shirt
Notes on Saugus Competition: Ghost stories appropriate for any age group - 4 categories: Adult, High School, Middle School and Elementary school - winners published on website during October
SMK Contests USA November January Varies $5 $100
Notes on SMK Contests: Any style / genre - they have multiple categories for flash fiction, poetry, short story, non-fiction, novel and more, so check website for full details - children's category is for 13 to 18 year olds
Tamworth Literary Festival's Writing Competition UK Varies Varies See notes FREE See notes
Notes on Tamworth Lit Fest Competition: Any style or genre - winners published in anthology - 2 categories: 11 to 16 year olds, 1,000 words, £75 top prize; under 11 year olds, 500 words, £50 top prize - there are also cash prizes for 2nd and 3rd place in both categories
The Wicked Young Writer Awards UK March June 750 FREE See notes
Notes on Wicked Young Writer Awards: Any style / genre - for 5 to 25 year olds - the prizes vary so check the website for current details - 20 finalists in 5 different age categories, plus 20 finalists in a non-fiction category will be published in the Wicked Young Writer Awards anthology
WordHound's Weekly Writing Challenge UK Monthly Monthly 300 FREE See notes
Notes on Wordhound's Challenge: Any style / genre but they have a monthly topic, so check website for details - entrants must be aged 12 or under - prizes vary but have been goodie-bags of sweets and stationery in the past - winners published on blog - to find competition details, look in the 'blog' section of their website
Young Walter Scott Prize UK October Spring 2,000 FREE See notes
Notes on Young Walter Scott Prize: Historical - 2 categories, 11 to 15 and 16 to 19 - winners offered a travel and research grant + invitation to the Borders Book Festival in Scotland, runners-up receive £100 book token - winners and runners-up published in anthology

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One-Off Young Writer Contests

Here is a list of one-off writing competitions for students.

Short Story Critique Service

Contests that have already taken place will be moved to the History of Closed Young Writer Competitions below.

Competition Country Closing Date Winners Announced Max Words Entry Fee Top Prize
Mighty Pens Pearl Pavlova Young Illustrators Award UK 30th September 2021 October 2021 NA FREE See notes
Notes on Mighty Pens Award: Draw and develop a character for the new Pearl Pavlova book series - two age categories: 4-7 and 8-14 - prize is winners' characters will be included in the new book

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Other Opportunities for Young Writers

There are sometimes other opportunities for young writers listed on my Flash Fiction competitions page and my non-fiction /essay competition lists.

On the non-fiction contests page, you will often find details of scholarships.

Here are details of other websites that list competitions for young writers:

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A History of Closed Young Writer Competitions

For reference, here is a list of young writer contests that have run in the past but are now closed.

Writing Prompt App

Competition Country Closing Date Winners Announced Max Words Entry Fee Top Prize
Curry Mallet Children's Short Story Competition UK June September 500 £3 £35
Notes on Curry Mallet Children's Competition: Any style / genre but themed so check the website for current details - 2 categories: under 11s and 12-16 - 3 winning stories receive feedback from a published author - NOT RUN SINCE 2015, so removed listing in 2017
Mane Chance Children's Writing Competition UK July July 1,500 £5/£2 £50
Notes on Mane Chance Competition: Any style / genre themed around animals - winners will be published on Mane Chance website, in Surrey Occasions and a newspaper, the title of which is TBC - 3 categories: under 10 (£2 entry), 11 to 14 (£5 entry) and 15 to 18 (£5 entry) - there is also an adult category which you can find in the annual competition list above - CLOSED 2016
Norfolk Day Drabble Writing Competition UK 30th June 2021 27th July 2021 100 FREE See notes
Notes on Norfolk Day Drabble Competition:  Any style, subject or theme - winners get a bundle of online courses - winner published in EDP - 3 categories: ages 5 to 10, ages 11 to 17 and 18+ - CLOSED, was a one-off
Oxford Festival of the Arts Stories: By & For Children UK 2nd May 2016 May 1,000 FREE See notes
Notes on Oxford Festival of Arts Competition: Any style or genre, but entries must be by or for children - winners invited to read their stories during an event at Oxford Festival of the Arts in June 2016 - CLOSED 2016
Print Express Children’s Short Story Competition UK 31st March 2017 14th April 2017 500 FREE See notes
Notes on Print Express Competition: Any style or genre - top prize is £50 in book tokens and £175 in book tokens for the winner's school - open to children between 5 and 13 (two age brackets - 5 to 9 and 10 to 13) - winners published on the website - this is a one-off competition - CLOSED, was a one-off
Print Express Flash Fiction Competition UK 31st July 2016 5th August 2016 150 FREE £100*
Notes on Print Express Competition: Any style or genre - prize paid in Amazon vouchers - winner published on website - ONE-OFF CLOSED 2016
Print What Matters 'Write Christmas' Competition UK November December 200 FREE See notes
Notes on Print What Matters Competition: Any style / genre but themed around Christmas - open to children aged between 4 and 11 - winner receives a stocking filled with £50 worth of goodies and winner's primary school receives £1,500 - top 50 entries published in an e-book - NOT RUN since 2016, so removed listing 2019
WGM Atlantic Young Writers' Short Story Competition UK 20th June 2020 15th July 2020 See notes FREE £75
Notes on WGM Atlantic Competition: Any style / genre but themed around favourite animals - for children aged between 5 and 12 - 2 categories: 5-8 (500 word limit) and 9-12 (750 word limit) - CLOSED, was a one-off
Writing Times Children's Writing Competition UK Quarterly Quarterly 1,500 FREE A book
Notes on Writing Times Children's Competition: Any style / genre but themed so check website for current details - prize is any book up to £10 in value - winners published in the Writing Times - also a prize for drawing - WEBSITE DISAPPEARED, so removed from lists Jan 2018

 

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