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Young Writer Competitions

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Last updated 26th July 2022

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 terms & conditions on the different contest websites before entering. I'm not a legal expert, but if you have any questions relating to publishing terms and conditions please send me a message and I'll do my best to answer it.

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

Australasian Association of Writing Programs Sudden Writing Prize Australia July September See notes $5 $500
Notes on AAWP Prize: For writers aged 25 and under - 400 words (prose), 40 lines (poetry), or 200 words (prose poetry) - winner published on the Express Media website - winner also receives a Voiceworks subscription and a one-year membership to the AAWP
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 - doesn't always run every year
Blandford Rotary Short Story & Poetry Competition UK September November 1,000 £3 £50
Notes on Blandford Rotary Competition: Any style / genre - there is a category for under 18s - in addition to cash prizes, there is an award ceremony, cups, certificates, readings and other goodies - to find the current details put "competition" into their website's search box
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 - prizes vary: in the past they have been bundles of books, book vouchers etc. - 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 February Summer 500 FREE £300
Notes on Chaucer HT Competition: Any style / genre but themed, so check website for current theme - three age groups: junior 5-10 years old, intermediate 11-14 years old and senior 15-18 years old - in addition to prize money, the winner receives £1000 for their school - winners and highly commended entries published on website
Coram Voice 'Voices' Writing Competition UK February April 500 FREE See notes
Notes on Coram Voice Competition: Any style or genre but themed, so check website for current details - for children writers in care and care leavers up to the age of 25 - prizes vary and have been things like shopping vouchers in the past - 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 Competition UK Varies Varies Varies FREE Varies
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 usually vouchers or 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 Varies Varies 500 £2 £20
Notes on Glittery Literary Contest: Any style / genre - winners published in Glittery Literary book - has run monthly in the past but more recently once a quarter
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 - also run a comp for adults
Immerse Education Essay Competition UK Varies Varies Varies FREE See notes
Notes on Immerse Education Competition: Any style or subject but visit their website for a list of current topics - for students aged 13 to 18 - prize is a scholarship for one of Immerse Education’s residential or online academic programmes - current competition details are usually somewhere on their homepage
Korean Spirit and Culture Promotion Project Essay Contest USA January March No word limit FREE £500
Notes on KSCPP Essay Contest: Any style or subject but based on set topics, so check website for current details - two age categories - winners published on website
Libra Essay Prize UK June July 2,000 FREE Varies
Notes on Libra Essay Prize: Any style, subject or theme, but essays must be written responding to a single-word essay title, so check website for current details - entrants must be students in years 12 or 13 of UK education - winners published on website - top prize has been up to £150 in the past - you can find the prize page in the 'Outreach' section of the website
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 - top prize has been up to $250 in the past - look in 'Programs' and then 'Omega Sci-Fi Awards' to find current competition details
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 15–19 and studying in the UK - prizes paid in book vouchers / tokens - winner published in Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine and on website
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
Principia Perspectives USA April June See notes FREE $200
Notes on Principia Perspectives Competition: Any style, subject but themed, so check website for current details - 2 categories: middle school and high school - word limits are 600 words for middle school and 800 words for high school - winners published on website - find the competition details in the 'Academics' section of the website
R C Sherriff Trust's Elmbridge Literary Competition UK February Varies Varies 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 and word limits, so check website for full details
Reader's Digest 100-Word-Story Competition UK May June 100 FREE See notes
Notes on Reader's Digest Competition: Any style / genre but entries must be exactly 100 words in length - winners published on Reader's Digest website - there are 2 categories for children: under 12s and 12 to 18-year-olds - prizes are book vouchers and other goodies - to find the competition details, look in the "Fun & Games" section of their site, or put "competition" into their website's search box
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
The Incandescent Review USA Varies Varies 6 pages FREE None
Notes on The Incandescent Review Magazine: Quarterly magazine that accepts fiction, prose, poetry, art and music - you must be aged between 13 and 24 to submit
The Royal Commonwealth Society 'Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition' UK Varies Varies Varies FREE Varies
Notes on Royal Commonwealth Society Competition: Check website for current topics - for writers aged 18 and under - prizes vary, but in past prizes have included certificates, resources for schools, visits to London and activities /work experience at international organisations - winners published in worldwide media - usually mentioned on homepage, but if not, put 'essay competition' into their site search
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 - indefinitely postponed because of the pandemic, but hoping they will be back up and running at some point
Walt Whitman Film 'East Rock Films' Student Essay Contest USA January March 1,000 FREE $500
Notes on Walt Whitman Film Contest: Any style / genre but based on a questions, so see website for full details - for high school or college students from U.S. or Canada - they accept traditional essays, video essays and performance essays
William J. Kite's The Writing Tournament Australia July ? 750 FREE $200
Notes on William J. Kite's Tournament: Any style / genre but themed, so check website for current details - two categories: 8-11 and 12-16 - winning stories are read on YouTube, professionally edited and the writers receive feedback
WordHound's Writing Challenge UK Varies Varies 300 FREE See notes
Notes on Wordhound's Challenge: Any style / genre but they each have a 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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Poetry Competitions For Young Writers & Children

This table lists different poetry competitions specifically for young adults and children.

Poetry Critique Service

Competition Country Closing Date Winners Announced Max Lines Entry Fee Top Prize
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 - when running, competition details can usually be found at the top of homepage - they also run a competition for adults
Christopher Tower Poetry Prize Competition UK Varies Varies 48 lines FREE £3,000
Notes on Christopher Tower Competition: Themed, so check website for current details - for 16 to 18 year olds in full time education - winners published on website
Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award UK July October No max FREE See notes
Notes on Foyle Award: Any style, subject or theme - for ages 11 to 17 - winners receive a range of prizes, from mentoring to residential Arvon writing courses, Poetry Society membership and books
Fresher Publishing's Competition UK Varies Varies Varies FREE Varies
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 usually vouchers or books - shortlisted poems published in a book - they also accept short stories - Fresher Publishing is part of Bournemouth University
Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition UK July ? 40 lines FREE Varies
Notes on Ledbury Poetry Competition: Any style, subject or theme - 2 categories: 12 to 17 years and 11 and under - prizes vary but have been up to £100 in the past
Live Canon Young Writer's Poetry Competition UK Varies Varies No max FREE Varies
Notes on Live Canon Competition: Any style, subject or theme - 100 winning poems published in anthology - multiple categories for different age groups
Magic Daisy Publishing Children's Poetry Competition UK Biannually Biannually 35 lines FREE See notes
Notes on Magic Daisy Publishing Competition: Any style or subject - spring comp has an open theme, winter comp has a Christmas theme - for writers aged 4 to 11 - prize is winning poems will feature on the Magic Daisy website and in a poetry book
Never Such Innocence Poetry Competition UK March May 40 lines FREE Varies
Notes on Never Such Innocence Competition: Any style or subject but themed, so check website for current details - for 9 to 18 year olds: multiple age categories so visit website for full details - the contest is also open to submissions of art, speeches and songs
Shepton Mallet Snowdrop Festival Poetry Competition UK January February 30 lines FREE Varies
Notes on Snowdrop Festival Competition: Any style or subject, but themed so check website for full details - 2 classes for young writers: up to 11 years old and 12–17 years old - top prize has been up to £70 in the past
Soldiers' Arts Academy International Poetry Competition UK September October 40 lines FREE See notes
Notes on SAA Competition: Any style, subject or theme - open to members of the military community (i.e. serving personnel, veterans and their families) aged 12 to 17 - winner receives a selection of poetry books - winners published on website - to find the competition details, look in the 'Projects' section of their website
Wax Poetry and Art Magazine's Poetry Contest Canada Varies Varies Varies Varies Varies
Notes on Wax Poetry and Art Contest: Any style or subject, but themed, so check website for current details - entrants must be under 25 years old - winners published online and in Wax Poetry and Art Magazine - look in the 'Submissions' section of their site, then hold down the ctrl key and press F, then search for 25 to find the details quickly
Wells Festival of Literature Young Poets Competition UK June October 35 lines £3 £150
Notes on Wells LitFest Competition: Any style, subject or theme - winner also receives a year's subscription to The Poetry Society - winners published on website - they also run a poetry competition for adults
Wimbledon Bookfest Competition UK Varies Varies Varies FREE Varies
Notes on Wimbledon Bookfest Competition: Any style or subject but themed so check website for current details - winners published in Bookfest Book of Stories anthology - multiple age categories that are subject to change, so check website for current details

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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
Magic Daisy Short Story Writing Competition UK 31st July 2022 30th September 2022 See notes £4 See notes
Notes on Magic Daisy Competition: Any style / genre - for entrants aged 4 to 11 years - EYFS/KS1 word limit is 250 words and KS2 word limit is 1,000 words - the winning stories from each category will be turned into books which will be available from the Magic Daisy Bookshop - winners will receive one free copy of their book
Morrab Library's Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry UK 30th September 2022 31st October 2022 40 lines FREE £150
Notes on Morrab Library Patricia Eschen Prize: Any style, subject or theme - the child's category is for children aged under 16 - over 16s can enter the adult category

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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
Boccia Short Story Competition UK 6th May 2022 23rd May 2022 2,000 FREE £50
Notes on Boccia Competition: Any style or genre but all entries must feature the disability sport of boccia in some way - winners of each category (under 18s and adults) will receive the top prize, paid as an Amazon gift card - winning entries (and up to two runners up per category) published on website - CLOSED, was a one-off
Celebration Day Writing Competition UK 21st June 2022 24th June 2022 250 / 500 FREE £100 but see notes
Notes on Celebration Day Competition: Any style or genre - word limit is 250 words for primary school pupils, or 500 words for secondary school students - top prize is £100 Amazon gift card - winning entries will be read out by celebrities and published on The Day's website
Cheshire Prize for Literature UK 31st January 2022 30th June 2022 See notes FREE Book tokens
Notes on Cheshire Prize for Literature: Four categories: Short story: maximum 1,500 words; Poetry: maximum 100 lines; Children’s literature: maximum 1,500 words / 100 lines; Scriptwriting: maximum 15 minutes in length - competition is open to anyone who has a connection to Cheshire, Wirral and Halton i.e. lived worked or studied there - age categories: 4 – 7: Poetry and Short Stories; 8 – 10: Poetry and Short Stories; 11-13: Poetry and Short Stories; 14-16: Poetry, Short Stories and Scriptwriting; 17-18: Poetry, Short Stories and Scriptwriting; 19-24: All categories - winners of each category will have the opportunity to appear in the Anthology, published by University of Chester Press - CLOSED, was a one-off
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
Essex Life Magazine & Mighty Pens Young Writer Award UK 12th March 2022 March 2022 See notes FREE £20
Notes on To Be Confirmed: Any style / genre - open to young writers living In Essex - three categories: up to age 9 (500 words max), age 10 to 13 (500 words max) and age 14 to 16 (750 words max) - one prize winner from each category wins a £20 book token, an invitation to an NSPCC Childhood Day event, publication in Essex Life and will have their work read by industry professionals - CLOSED, was a one-off
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
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 - CLOSED, was a one-off
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
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 - WEBSITE DISAPPEARED 2021
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
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) - WEBSITE DISAPPEARED 2021
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
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 - NOT RUN SINCE 2019, so removed listing during 2022 update
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 - NOT RUN SINCE 2020, so removed listing during 2022 update
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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Ire B
It's a good resource, thanks.

Chris Fielden
Thanks Ire :)