short story competition

70 Outstanding Writing Competitions and Book Awards (Ultimate Guide)

Attention all authors, aspiring authors, and hobbyist writers! Whether you’re an experienced novelist, an emerging writer, or a passionate hobbyist, writing competitions and book awards are an excellent way to get recognition for your work, not to mention potential cash prizes, publication deals, and invaluable exposure.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve rounded up 70 of the most compelling writing competitions and book awards from around the globe. From short stories to poetry, first novels to works of non-fiction, there’s something here for every writer. These awards and competitions welcome works across a broad spectrum of genres, styles, and themes.

So, dust off that manuscript or fire up your computer and start crafting a winning entry for one of these fantastic writing opportunities. Deadlines vary, and the specifics of each contest are subject to change, so make sure to check out the provided links for all the details. Happy writing and good luck!

  1. Man Booker Prize: This is arguably one of the most prestigious English-language literary awards in the world. It is awarded each year for the best original novel written in English and published in the UK. Deadline: Varies Website
  2. The Newbery Medal: Awarded annually by the American Library Association to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Deadline: Varies Website
  3. Hugo Awards: One of the most prestigious science fiction awards. Named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories. Deadline: Varies Website
  4. Nebula Awards: Presented annually by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), for the best science fiction or fantasy works. Deadline: Varies Website
  5. Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: One of the seven American Pulitzer Prizes that are annually awarded for Letters, Drama, and Music. Deadline: Varies Website
  6. The Edgar Awards: Presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America, named after Edgar Allan Poe. Deadline: Varies Website
  7. Costa Book Awards: Recognizes some of the most enjoyable books of the year, written by authors based in the UK and Ireland. Deadline: Varies Website
  8. The Women’s Prize for Fiction: One of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious literary prizes, awarded annually to a female author of any nationality for the best original full-length novel written in English. Deadline: Varies Website
  9. Caine Prize for African Writing: An annual literary award for the best original short story by an African writer, published in the English language. Deadline: January 31, 2024 Website
  10. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize: An annual award for unpublished short fiction open to citizens of the 53 Commonwealth countries. Deadline: November 1, 2023 Website
  1. National Book Awards: Presented annually by the National Book Foundation, with awards in four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature. Deadline: Varies Website
  2. International Dylan Thomas Prize: Presented annually to the best published or produced literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under. Deadline: Varies Website
  3. The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award: The world’s richest prize for a single short story, open to any novelist or short story writer from around the world who has been published in the UK or Ireland. Deadline: Varies Website
  4. Bridport Prize: One of the most prestigious awards in the field of poetry, short stories, and flash fiction. Open internationally. Deadline: Varies Website
  5. The Bath Novel Award: An international prize for emerging novelists writing for adults or young adults. The winner receives £3,000. Deadline: Varies Website
  6. Bristol Short Story Prize: An annual international writing competition open to all published and unpublished UK and non-UK based writers. Deadline: Varies Website
  7. Yeovil Literary Prize: Open to anyone over the age of 16, with categories for novels, short stories, and poetry. Deadline: Varies Website
  8. Grindstone Literary International Novel Prize: This competition is open to any writer, anywhere, with a completed manuscript. There’s a cash prize and the chance for your work to be presented to literary agents. Deadline: Varies Website
  9. The BBC National Short Story Award: One of the most significant awards for a single short story. Open to UK residents or nationals. Deadline: Varies Website
  10. The Eric Gregory Award: For a collection by poets under the age of 30. Administered by the Society of Authors. Deadline: Varies Website
  11. James Tait Black Prizes: Awarded for literature written in the English language. They, along with the Hawthornden Prize, are Britain’s oldest literary awards. Administered by the University of Edinburgh. Deadline: Varies Website
  12. Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition: Offers the winner a cash prize, a place on an Arvon residential writing course, and publication on the W&A website. Open to all unpublished authors. Deadline: Varies Website
  13. Bath Flash Fiction Award: An award for flash fiction of up to 300 words. Open to writers worldwide. Deadline: Varies Website
  14. The Paris Review Discovery Prize: Known as the Plimpton Prize, this $10,000 award recognizes an emerging writer of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or literary criticism published in the Paris Review. Deadline: Varies Website
  15. The Stella Prize: A significant literary award celebrating Australian women’s writing, championing diversity and cultural change. Deadline: Varies Website
  1. Fish Publishing Short Story Prize: An international competition welcoming stories on any subject. The top ten stories are published in the Fish Anthology. Deadline: Varies Website
  2. The Booker Prize for Fiction: One of the most prestigious international literary awards for novels written in English. Deadline: Varies Website
  3. The Manchester Writing Competition: Offers the UK’s biggest literary awards for unpublished work, administered by Manchester Metropolitan University. Deadline: Varies Website
  4. The Debut Dagger: Sponsored by the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) in the UK, this is for the opening of a crime novel that has not been previously published in any form. Deadline: Varies Website
  5. Foley Poetry Contest: Every year America Magazine receives hundreds of entries for the Foley Poetry Contest from around the world. Deadline: Varies Website
  6. The Montreal International Poetry Prize: A global poetry competition open to any English poem of 40 lines or less. The prize awards $20,000 CAD to the winner. Deadline: Varies Website
  7. Mogford Prize for Food and Drink Writing: This annual short story competition is all about food and drink, and awards a £10,000 prize. Deadline: Varies Website
  8. The Caledonia Novel Award: An Edinburgh-based, international award for unpublished and self-published novelists. Deadline: Varies Website
  9. ServiceScape Short Story Award: This contest is for new short stories of up to 5,000 words. The winner receives $1,000 and publication. Deadline: Varies Website
  10. The New Voices Award: Presented by Lee & Low Books for a children’s picture book manuscript by a writer of color or a Native/Indigenous writer. Deadline: Varies Website
  11. The Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award: An annual grant of $2,000 for an emerging writer of color who has not yet published a full-length work. Deadline: Varies Website
  12. Toni Beauchamp Prize in Critical Art Writing: A writing competition open to writers of all levels, backgrounds, and from any country. Deadline: Varies Website
  13. The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing: Alternates yearly between accepting unpublished fiction and nonfiction submissions. Deadline: Varies Website
  14. Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize: Aimed at celebrating cutting-edge fiction, this contest awards a cash prize, a writing residency, and more. Deadline: Varies Website
  15. Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship: This Australian fellowship awards $15,000 for the writing of a new biography. Deadline: Varies Website
  16. The American Library in Paris Visiting Fellowship: Offers a $5,000 stipend for a month-long stay in Paris, France, for research and writing. Deadline: Varies Website
  17. Hodson Trust-John Carter Brown Fellowship: A fellowship that supports work by academics, independent scholars, and writers working on significant projects relating to the literature, history, culture, or art of the Americas before 1830. Deadline: Varies Website
  18. The McKitterick Prize: An award for first novels, in the name of Tom-Gallon, who bequeathed his estate to the Society of Authors. Deadline: Varies Website
  19. CINTAS Foundation Fellowship in Creative Writing: Awards up to $20,000 in cash grants to individuals of Ibero-American descent working on a creative writing project. Deadline: Varies Website
  20. The Malahat Review’s Open Season Awards: Open for poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction from writers worldwide. Deadline: Varies Website
  21. The Orwell Prize for Political Writing: Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing. A political book prize, a journalism prize, and a prize for exposing Britain’s social evils. Deadline: Varies Website
  22. Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction: This annual award recognizes the most outstanding work of fiction by an Albertan author. Deadline: Varies Website
  23. Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting: This international screenwriting competition awards up to five fellowships of $35,000 each year. Deadline: Varies Website
  24. CBC Literary Prizes: CBC Books has annual awards for original, unpublished works in categories: Short Story, Poetry, and Creative Nonfiction. Deadline: Varies Website
  25. William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition: Open to all writing in all genres, to all writers, this competition has multiple categories and prizes. Deadline: Varies Website
  1. The Adventure Writers Competition: This is an international competition now in its tenth year, and there is a cash prize. Deadline: Varies Website
  2. Drue Heinz Literature Prize: You can win $15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press with this prize, awarded for a collection of short fiction. Deadline: Varies Website
  3. Tony Hillerman Prize: An annual award by St. Martin’s Press for best first mystery set in the Southwest. The winner gets a contract with St. Martin’s Press. Deadline: Varies Website
  4. Friends of American Writers Chicago Awards: FAW presents two annual awards: an Adult Literature Award for literary fiction or nonfiction, and a Juvenile Literature Award for a children’s/YA book. Deadline: Varies Website
  5. The Sunday Times Short Story Award: A British competition open to any writer over 18 who has been previously published in the UK or Ireland. Deadline: Varies Website
  6. Bristol Short Story Prize: An international writing competition based in Bristol, UK, which is open to all published and unpublished, UK and non-UK based writers. Deadline: Varies Website
  7. PageTurner Award: Has a writing contest and book cover contest for indie authors. Varies Website
  8. Doris Gooderson Short Story Competition: Offers a first prize of £200 in an annual competition for a story on any subject. Maximum 1200 words. Deadline: Varies Website
  9. Young Lions Fiction Award: This $10,000 award recognizes “young authors,” which the rules define as any author aged 35 or younger. Deadline: Varies Website
  10. Colorado Prize for Poetry: This contest from Colorado State University’s Center for Literary Publishing offers a $2,000 honorarium and publication of a book-length collection of poetry. Deadline: Varies Website
  11. The Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize: This contest from Selected Shorts radio program at Symphony Space in New York City offers the winner $1000 and their story read live. Deadline: Varies Website
  12. Bridport Prize: From the UK, the Bridport Prize offers a substantial amount of money for short fiction and poems. The competition is open to anyone. Deadline: Varies Website
  13. Cinnamon Press Writing Awards: Any debut novelist or short story writer working in English can apply. Winners receive a one year mentorship program with the press. Deadline: Varies Website
  14. Inkitt Novel Competition: Inkitt runs contests regularly, so be sure to check back often! You could win cash, or an investment towards a book deal. Deadline: Varies Website
  15. Notting Hill Editions Essay Prize: Biennial essay competition, with a first prize of $20,000 and five runner-up prizes of $1,000. Deadline: Varies Website
  16. Aesthetica Creative Writing Award: Aesthetica Magazine runs this contest for short fiction and poetry. Winners receive a cash prize, publication, and more. Deadline: Varies Website
  17. Commonwealth Short Story Prize: This prize is part of Commonwealth Writers and is for unpublished short fiction. Winners and runners-up get cash prizes. Deadline: Varies Website
  18. PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction: Honors the best published works of fiction by American citizens in a calendar year. Three finalists also each receive a smaller cash prize. Deadline: Varies Website
  19. Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence: This contest aims to honor outstanding and deserving writers, working and shaping literature. Deadline: Varies Website
  20. Jan Michalski Prize for Literature: An international literary award for any work of fiction or nonfiction published anywhere in the world in any language. Deadline: Varies Website

PS if you’re entering a short story competition, it may be worth hiring an editor.

Rise of AI: The Impact on Short Story Competitions

The emergence and rapid development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) have brought about dramatic changes across all sectors, and the world of literature is no exception. In recent years, AI has started to show impressive capabilities in creative writing, leading to an unexpected consequence – some short story competitions are closing their doors due to a flood of submissions generated by AI.

AI tools, like OpenAI’s GPT-3, have become so sophisticated that they can generate short stories that are nearly indistinguishable from those written by humans. While this might sound like an exciting advancement, it has led to an ethical quandary for writing competitions.

The purpose of these contests has traditionally been to celebrate and encourage human creativity, offering aspiring and established writers a platform to share their work, receive recognition, and often, to win cash prizes. However, with AI now capable of generating compelling narratives, it’s becoming increasingly challenging for competition organizers to discern whether a submission is the work of a human or a machine.

This influx of AI-produced stories has led to a new form of competition flooding. It’s not uncommon for these competitions to receive thousands of entries, but with AI, that number could easily surge into the millions. Faced with an insurmountable volume of submissions, some competition organizers have found no other solution than to shut down.

This development raises important questions about the role of AI in creative fields. Is AI-generated literature a form of creativity to be celebrated, or does it undermine the value of human imagination? And if AI continues to infiltrate this space, how can competitions adapt to ensure they’re still rewarding and promoting human creativity?

The answers to these questions are still up for debate, and the situation is continually evolving. It’s clear, however, that the intersection of AI and literature will be a fascinating space to watch in the coming years.

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