For the benefit of our members (and the broader writing community), we’ve collected this list of current competitions and opportunities for you. Please note that we do not administer these competitions, and we can’t answer any questions you might have about them. Listings are provided in good faith. Please check conditions of entry.
Looking for children’s contests? Those exclusively for young writers are marked (KIDS), but others may include junior sections.
KSP Writers’ Centre’s short fiction competition has categories for youth (free entry, cash prizes) and 18-and-over (entry fee, cash prizes, weekend residency), closing 25 September, 2020
Entries for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards close on 28 September, 2020
The Copper Triangle Writers (SA) literary contest for short stories and poetry (entry fee, cash prizes) has extended its closing date of 30 September, 2020
US outfit Sunspot Lit seeks the best openings in prose, poetry and art in its Inception contest (entry fee, cash prize), closing 30 September, 2020
HNSA’s Elizabeth Jane Corbett Mentorship Contest (entry fee) offers a previously unpublished author from Australia or New Zealand to receive a mentorship with Wendy J Dunn to develop a completed first draft of an unpublished historical fiction manuscript for young adults. Closes 30 September, 2020
KIDS: School-aged children with a connection to Buninyong and surrounds are invited to enter the Paint the Town with Poetry contest, closing 30 September, 2020
Geelong’s Scribe Writers seeks fiction and memoir for its Short Takes prose contest (entry fee, cash prizes) closing 30 September, 2020
The Better Read Writing Competition (cash prizes, publication) seeks short fiction for an anthology, closing 30 September, 2020
The Arts Central Queensland Lorna McDonald Essay Prize (cash prize, free entry), seeking essays of 3,000 to 5,000 words exploring any aspect of Central Queensland’s story, closes on 30 September, 2020
Tennessee-based City Limits Publishing has contests (entry fee, cash prizes, publication – note, non-winning entries may be published with one contributor copy as payment) for poems of political protest, short stories, poetry and plays, closing 30 September, 2020, and novels, closing 1 November, 2020
Noosa Arts Theatre Playwriting Competition seeks one-act plays to be produced as part of a festival (entry fee, cash prizes) by 1 October, 2020
Wakefield Press is looking for YA horror stories for its Hometown Haunts anthology due out next year, closing 1 October, 2020
The Peter Porter Prize for poetry offers $6000 to the winner and $1000 to runners-up (entry fee), closing 1 October, 2020
The UK-based Perito Writing Prize seeks short stories of 1,000-2,000 words on the theme of accessibility (cash prize and publication, free entry) and closes on 1 October, 2020
The Silver Quill poetry contest seeks works, across several categories including juniors, with good rhyme and rhythm and an Australian theme (entry fee, cash prizes) and closes on 2 October, 2020
Entries for the Stella Prize close on 2 October, 2020
US-based Book Pipeline contest (entry fee) for unpublished manuscripts closes on 5 October, 2020
KSP Writers’ Centre’s national poetry contest has categories for youth (free entry, cash prizes) and 18-and-over (entry fee, cash prizes, weekend residency), closing 9 October, 2020
Griffith Review seeks the best new writing and ideas around resources and sustainability across all forms and genres: essays, reportage, memoir, fiction, creative non-fiction, visual essays and poetry. See www.griffithreview.com for submission guidelines, closing 15 October, 2020
Pocketry’s inaugural prize for poets who have not had a book of poetry published offers mentoring and publication (free entry) to the winner, closing 15 October, 2020
The inaugural AVCAT Essay Prize (free entry, cash prizes), promoting recognition of the impact of the Vietnam War on veterans their families and loved ones, closes 16 October, 2020
Hardie Grant and RMIT have launched the Spark prize for narrative non-fiction, offering prize money and mentoring (free entry), closing 16 October, 2020
StoryFest, to run in NSW in June 2021, welcomes submissions from artists, filmmakers, storytellers, writers, musicians, and performers of all kinds. They are also interested in talking to people with proven skills in facilitating events, MC-ing, or similar in the festival environment. Submissions close on 23 October, 2020
The Port Stephens Literature Award seeks short fiction (no theme, entry fee, cash prizes) to 2,000 words, closing 30 October, 2020
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytellers and writers who have published at least one book are invited to apply for the $10,000 Magabala Fellowship, closing 30 October, 2020
The UK-based Bedford Competition seeks poetry and short stories (cash prizes, entry fee, inc. students), closing 31 October, 2020. It also has a special short story category this year for over-70s, the Rainbow Prize.
Buzz Words Short Story Prize, seeking fiction for children (entry fee, cash prizes), closes 31 October, 2020
The Best of Times Short Story Competition seeks humourous short stories (entry fee, cash prizes)
The Robyn Mathison Poetry Prize has a theme of “flora or fauna” (entry fee, cash prizes), closing 31 October, 2020
Odyssey House Victoria Annual Short Story Competition (entry fee, cash prize) seeks fiction on the theme of ‘isolation’ with a reference to drugs or alcohol, closing 13 November, 2020
The Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize seeks travel-themed fiction to 3,000 words (entry fee, cash prizes and publication), closing 16 November, 2020
The Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets offers cash prizes and publication (entry fee), closing 16 November, 2020
Walker Books has an open call for unpublished kids and YA manuscripts, closing on 25 November, 2020
Ireland-based Anthology Magazine seeks entries for its poetry contest (entry fee, cash prize + publication) on the subject ‘expectations’, closing 30 November, 2020
Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development Prize offers consultation and editing on an unpublished manuscript with a publishing option (80,000 words max., entry fee), closing 18 December, 2020
Ireland-based The Moth Poetry Prize offers cash prizes and publication (entry fee), closing 31 December, 2020
Gumnut Press opens 1 October for submissions for its romance anthology Sweet Delights, involving sweets and desserts, closing 10 January, 2021
The inaugural SCWC Poetry Award seeks poems responding to the theme “every body”, and while the contest is run in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name at the Wollongong Art Gallery, entries (entry fee, cash prizes, publication) do not have to respond that. Entries close on 1 February, 2021
Allen & Unwin’s Crime Fiction Prize offers publication and advance, opening 31 August, 2020, and closing 26 February, 2021
Allen & Unwin has founded a new imprint, JOAN, curated by writer, actor and director Nakkiah Lui, for ‘voices that get pushed to the fringes’.
The COVID-19 collective dream journal is looking for dreams and hallucinations experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. No payment, but collected accounts will be published. You can submit your experiences here.
The Australian Bush Poets Association run a calendar of bush poetry events for both written and performed bush poetry.
Ginninderra Press (accepts unsolicited manuscripts across a range of genres, please read their criteria carefully).
Wombat Books (accepts unsolicited manuscripts, submitting authors should be familiar with WB’s body of printed books).
Brow Books (the book publishing arm of The Lifted Brow) accepts submissions for non-fiction books.
LitMag is looking for fiction, poetry and non-fiction submissions (submission fees, paid).
Utterance journal is looking for female, trans and non-binary writers to submit poems and short non-fiction on their life. Submissions open monthly and are capped at 100 total, so keep an eye on this one.
Babyteeth journal is looking for a variety of content (including photography, scripts and illustrations). There is a small payment for contributors.
Transcollaborative is looking for people to help with a translation project (no second language required) (paid)
Furious Fiction begins on the first Friday of every month, there is a cash prize for the best story in the month.
Big Sky Publishing is open for finished non-fiction manuscripts.
The Archipelago is a new online journal exploring themes of migration, identity and decolonisation (limited payment) through prose, poetry and art.
[untitled] is open to submissions of short stories 300-5,0000 words
Science Write Now is a website promoting writing about science through the forms of fiction, memoir, creative nonfiction and poetry.
Stereo Stories seeks short memoir (800 words. max) centred on songs for publication on its website.
Write from the Heart runs a monthly, themed micro-fiction contest with the $2 entry fee being split between a charity and the prize pool.
ABC Radio Melbourne seeks Postcards to Victoria, 2-3 minute pieces to be recorded over the phone for the Friday Revue.
The Memoria podcast seeks audio pieces of up to two minutes on the theme of “epiphany” for its upheaval — stories from isolation series.