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 details and conditions of entry.
Looking for children’s contests? Those exclusively for school-aged and ‘young’ writers are marked YOUTH, but others may include junior sections.
US-based Fractured Lit runs its Micro Fiction Prize (entry fee, cash prizes), for stories to 400 words, closing 19 September, 2021
NEW: Frontier Poetry runs its New Poets Award (entry fee, cash prize, publication) for poets with no more than one full-length collection. It closes on 19 September, 2021
The [untitled] short story competition (entry fee, cash prizes, publication) closes 20 September, 2021
King of the Ranges bush poetry competition (entry fee, cash prizes) closes 25 September, 2021
Writeability Fellowships, offered by Writers Victoria to writers with a disability, close 27 September, 2021
NEW: Island Online Australian Nature Writing Project seeks nonfiction (payment, publication), closing 27 September, 2021
Applications for KSP Centre Fellowships (including for CALD writers) (fees apply) for 2022 close on 30 September, 2021
The KSP Centre’s Poetry Awards (entry fee – free for YOUTH, cash prizes) closes 30 September, 2021
Aurealis magazine seeks speculative fiction, non-fiction, art, book reviews. Submissions close 30 September, 2021
The VI International Short Tales Contest (cash prizes, online entry only) accepts stories to 100 words and closes on 30 September, 2021
The Port Stephens Literature Awards (entry fee, cash prizes) seeks short stories, closing 30 September, 2021
UK-based Hammond House Publishing seeks entries on the theme of ‘stardust’ for its International Literary Prize (entry fee, cash prizes) for songwriting, poetry, short stories and screenplays. Entries close 30 September, 2021
Scribes Writers ‘Short Takes’ Prose Competition (entry fee, cash prizes) seeks short fiction and memoir, closing 30 September, 2021
US-based Sunspot Lit runs its Inception contest (entry fee, cash prize), for best openings, closing 30 September, 2021
NEW: Issue 3 of print literary journal Aniko Magazine is opening for submissions of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry, with the theme of ‘fantasize’, closing 30 September, 2021
** Ballarat Writers‘ Southern Cross Short Story Competition (entry fee, cash prizes) closes 30 September, 2021 **
YOUTH: The Little Stories, Big Ideas is a flash fiction competition for secondary school students, with a different theme each semester. The current theme is ‘alien’, and entries close 1 October, 2021
Cervantes Art Festival bush poetry competition (entry fee, cash prizes) closes 1 October, 2021
Ipswich Poetry Feast international poetry writing competition (cash prizes, includes YOUTH) closes 3 October, 2021
NEW: Queensland Writers Centre is seeking unproduced manuscripts from emerging scriptwriters for the 2021 Scriptable program (entry fee), closing 4 October, 2021
Silver Quill bush poetry competition (includes YOUTH) (entry fee, cash prizes) closes 8 October, 2021
NEW, YOUTH: The TAF Children’s Short Story Competition, with the theme of ‘scene of the crime’, offers book prizes and certificates across three four groups. It closes 10 October, 2021
Lambing Flat writing competition (includes YOUTH) for short stories and poetry (entry fee, cash prizes) closes 15 October, 2021
NEW: Midnight Echo is open to short stories and poetry with horror themes until 15 October, 2021
NEW: The Stella Prize (entry fee, cash prize), for books by Australian women writers published in 2021, is open to submissions until 15 October, 2021
NEW: The Cat Protection Society of Victoria seeks stories in junior and open categories, aimed at preschool to junior primary school aged children, that helps to educate the community on responsible cat ownership and raise the profile of cats as companion pets. The Furry Tales short story competition closes on 17 October, 2021
The Eyelands Book Awards (entry fee) offers a trip to Greece for the winner in the published book section and publication to the winner of the unpublished book section, closing 20 October, 2021
Applications for Faber Writing Scholarships for 2022, in the Writing a Novel program, close on 29 October, 2021
US-based Sunspot Literary Journal (entry fee, cash payment) is looking for pieces in all forms offering advice to writers, closing 31 October, 2021
The Positive Words end-of-year competition (entry fee, cash prize) seeks poetry and short stories, closing 31 October, 2021
The UK-based 2021 National Poetry Competition offers cash prizes for unpublished poems of up to 40 lines, open to anyone 18 or over. It closes 31 October, 2021
The UK-based Bedford Competition for short stories and poetry (entry fee, cash prizes, including youth section) closes on 31 October, 2021
NEW, YOUTH: The Nakta Brophy award offers $5000, publication in Overland and a residency for the best short story by an Indigenous writer who is 30 years or younger at the closing date of the competition, 2 November, 2021
The Odyssey House Victoria Annual Short Story Competition (entry fee, cash prizes) seeks work on the theme of ‘new beginnings’ that references alcohol and/or drugs, closing 5 November, 2021
The Korean Spirit and Culture Promotion Project is running a school essay contest for Australian students (Years 5-12) (free entry, cash prizes) based on a book, Chung Hyo Ye, available for free. Entries close 7 November 2021
NEW: The Blake Poetry Prize (entry fee, cash prize), for poetry that explores the spiritual and religious, closes 15 November, 2021
Caves and karst are the theme of the ASF Caves Competition, seeking written, digital and visual art entries (cash prize, vouchers), closing 21 November, 2021
The Kembla Flame Written Bush Poetry Competition (entry fee, cash prizes) closes 24 December, 2021
Women with Disabilities Australia is looking for blog posts from women, girls and non-binary persons with disability that live in Australia, on the theme of leadership.
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. It is paused during the ongoing pandemic, so check in for updates.
LitMag is looking for fiction, poetry and non-fiction submissions (submission fees, paid).
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.
Overland journal is paying for fiction in its print and online editions.
Right Now magazine is looking for pitches on written and multimedia works about human rights issues in Australia.
Penny Mint seeks experimental poetry, spoken word, essays, serialised fiction and more.
Frankie seeks interviews, rants, research pieces, photography projects and editorial illustrations.
Quadrant online seeks essays, literature, poetry and historical and political debate.
Arena (Online and Quarterly) seek commentary on emerging social and political issues.
Going Down Swinging journal seeks fiction, creative non-fiction, spoken word, commentary, essays, comics, poetry and experimental work.
Archer Magazine is open to pitches for articles and images about sexuality, gender and identity.
The Sydney Review of Books is open to pitches for non-fiction on contemporary literature and culture.
Sweaty City seeks writing about climate change and urban ecologies with a Sydney focus.
The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund has rolling grant opportunities for artists and organisations throughout the year.
US-based Sunspot Literary Journal offers a $35 Editor’s Prize for every digital edition, a $50 Editor’s Prize for the annual print edition, and pays for artwork selected for a cover. It accepts flash, stories, essays and memoir up to 49,000 words, poetry and art. Translations welcome.