Welcome to our list of essay, memoir and nonfiction writing competitions. Updated at the beginning of every year, it includes some of the key competitions which we anticipate launching for the first time or running again during the coming months. 

We hope it will help you plan ahead for the essay, memoir and nonfiction competitions you’d like to enter this year. They’re ordered by the month in which they’re due to close to assist with your scheduling and we’ve tried to pick the ones with prizes worth winning. 

All the competitions listed should be open to writers based in the UK and most are open internationally too. Some, particularly the essay competitions, often have specific topics/themes. 

Please note that, as some of these competitions won’t have opened yet for the year, full information for each one may not be online yet and some may change. We’ll keep this page updated throughout the year as details are announced by the competition organisers. 

In addition, every month, we publish fuller details of each key competition that has a deadline over the coming weeks, including information about the prizes on offer, entry requirements, eligibility, entry fees (some are free) and the final submission dates.  You’ll find the latest one here

To make sure you never miss news about the best writing competitions, why not subscribe to our free newsletter?

January

  • DISQUIET Literary Prize – Nonfiction – Details here.
  • Iowa Review Awards – Creative nonfiction – Details here.
  • New Millennium Writing Awards – Nonfiction– Details here
  • Fish Publishing Short Memoir Prize – Details here.
  • The BookLife Prize – Nonfiction Contest – Details here

February

  • IndieReader Discovery Awards – Details here.

March 

  • Rubery Book Award – Details here

April 

  • Hektoen International Grand Prix Essay Competition – Details here.
  • Tethered by Letters – F(r)iction Creative Nonfiction Contest– Details here
  • Tom Howard/John H. Reid Essay Contest – Details here.
  • Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards – Details here

May 

  • Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest – Details here.
  • The John Murray Prize with The Spectator– Details here.
  • William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition – Details here.

June

  • Berlin Writing Prize – Details here.
  • North Street Book Prize – Details here.
  • Silver Falchion Award – Details here
  • The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition (for ages 18 years and under) – Details here.
  • The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award – Details here.

July

  • Nowhere Magazine Travel Writing Contest – Details here.
  • PRISM International Creative Nonfiction Contest – Details here. Extended deadline!

August

  • The BookLife Prize – Memoir – Details here

September

  • Self Publishing Review Awards – Details here
  • The Royal Society of Literature – Giles St Aubyn Awards for Nonfiction – Details here.
  • Writer’s Digest Self-Published Ebook Awards – Details here.

October

  • Field of Words Memoir Competition – Details here
  • NUHA Foundation Blogging Prizes– Details here.

November

  • Book Pipeline Book Fiction and Non-Fiction Contests – Details here.
  • Reed Magazine – Gabriele Rico Challenge for Creative Nonfiction– Details here
  • Ruminate Magazine VanderMey Nonfiction Prize – Details here
  • The Society of Authors Somerset Maugham Awards – Details here

December

  • Castle Craig Essay Competitions– Details here.
  • Nowhere Magazine Travel Writing Contest – Details here.

If you know of any other great competitions for essay, memoir and nonfiction writers coming up this year, please get in touch with us here and we’ll consider adding them to this list, promoting them on one of our monthly lists and/or on social media.