Spring is an energising season for writing. While everything starts to grow again and blossoms begin to flourish, your writing could be doing the same.
Whether you love writing novels, short stories, poetry or screenplays, we’ve brought together April’s top writing competitions and opportunities, open to writers based in the UK and internationally, to give your work the chance to get noticed.
We’ve summarised details of prizes, requirements, entry fees (some are free) and deadlines so you can decide which are the best opportunities for you. Good luck!
The Australian Book Review is welcoming entries from around the world for this year’s Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize. Stories may be between 2,000 and 5,000 words. The first prize is $7,000AUD, the second $2,000 and the third $1,000 with a further prize fund for highly commended entries. The top stories will also be published. The entry fee is $25 and the deadline is 10th April. Details here.
When analysing their submissions, Galley Beggar Press realised they were getting more submissions from men even though they have published several great books by women. In a bid to redress the balance, this prestigious publisher of many award-winning titles has opened an additional submission window exclusively for women until 11th April. They’re looking for adult literary fiction and narrative non-fiction. It’s free to submit. Details here.
The Winchester Writing Festival competitions have a great selection of categories and prizes for novel extracts, short stories, flash fiction, poetry and more. It costs £6 per entry and, for an additional £10, they’ll provide constructive feedback on your submissions too. The deadline this year is 11th April (earlier than in previous years). Details here.
In addition, the festival is offering a number of bursaries for people who would like to attend the festival but have limited means. It’s free to apply until 13th April. Details here.
Fancy spending a week on a writing retreat by the sea in Greece? That’s the first prize in the Limnisa Short Story Competition and we’re sure such a tempting prize will inspire some great writing. Best of all, it’s free to enter provided you like and share Limnisa’s social media pages. As an optional extra, you can choose to pay £30 and, in return, Limnisa promises a professional evaluation of your story. The judges are looking for compelling stories, set in the past, present or future, that involve plastic. The deadline is 15thApril. Details here.
The BBC Writersroom is open for unsolicited comedy scripts for TV, film, radio, stage or online. In addition to distinctive voices, they’re looking for brilliant, vivid, funny and original characters and an authored perspective that grabs them, excites them and makes them laugh. Scripts must be a minimum of 30 minutes long and sent in by 16th April. Entries are free. This year, the BBC is giving writers the opportunity to nominate 10 consecutive pages anywhere in scripts submitted for the initial 10-page read. At the end of the process, a group of writers (usually between 10 and 15) will be selected to join the BBC Comedy Room writer development group for 2018. Details here.
Before you prepare your entry, we highly recommend you listen to a podcast featuring the BBC’s script readers here.
Applications for the 2018-2019 writer-in-residence positions with the Kerouac Project are now open. Four three-month residencies are on offer per year to writers living anywhere in the world. There are categories for poetry, plays, screenplays, fiction/short stories and non-fiction. It’s $30 to apply and the deadline is 16th April. Details here.
Applications are still open for the Kevin Elyot Award for a writer-in-residence. £3,000 is on offer to support a promising writer, practitioner or scholar to begin creating a new written work. Entries are open until 20th April and it’s free to apply. Details here.
The NYC Midnight’s 15th Annual Screenwriting Challenge is a competition open to screenwriters around the world. There are three rounds. Writers are placed randomly in heats and assigned a genre, subject and characters with eight days to write an original short screenplay no longer than 12 pages. The judges choose the top five in each heat to advance. The winner will receive $3,250 and there are generous prizes for runners up too. It costs $55USD to enter by 19th April. Details here.
The fifth, international Bath Short Story Award is open for entries until 23rd April. Euan Thorneycroft, senior literary agent at A M Heath, will be selecting the winning and commended stories from the short list. Prizes have be increased for 2018 to £1,200 for first, £300 for second and £100 for third. It costs £8 per story to enter. Details here.
The Bath Novel Award is an annual, international prize for emerging novelists of any nationality who do not yet have a traditional publishing contract. Novels can be in any genre written for adult or young adult (13+) readers. The judge is literary agent, Felicity Blunt and the first prize is £2,500. Shortlisted writers receive manuscript feedback and literary agent introductions. The entry fee is £25 and the closing date is 30th April. Details here.
Win a place at the 70th Swanwick Writers’ Summer School by entering a poem, short story or piece of children’s fiction into this year’s competition. Entries are open until 30th April and cost £5 each. Details here.
Enter stories that explore the craft of writing into the international Craft Short Fiction Prize. Writers are invited by this online literary journal to participate from around the world and there is a $20 reading fee per story. Award-winning author, Jim Shepard, is this year’s judge. The author of the top story will receive $2,000USD, the two runners-up $500 and $300 respectively. The three stories will be published in CRAFT, accompanied by an introduction from Shepard and a craft essay from each author. The deadline is 30th April. Details here.
The London Magazine has launched its first Novel Writing Competition. The judges hope to find a new and exciting literary voice to share with an international audience and become a part of The London Magazine’s colourful history. Manuscripts may be written by authors from anywhere around the world, should be previously unpublished and between 40,000 and 120,000 words. There is no set theme or subject but the judges are looking for strong and entertaining literary fiction. Entry costs £20 per manuscript. The first prize is £1,000 and publication by Author Enterprises. The deadline is 30th April. Details here.
This international contest is open to original short stories and essays on any theme. The top short story and essay will each receive $2,000USD and ten honourable mentions will also be awarded $100. Top entries will be published online. Submissions into both categories should be a maximum of 6,000 words. Entries cost $20 and close on 30th April. Details here.
Short stories between 1,500 and 10,000 words on a supernatural theme are being sought for The Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award. The winner will receive $1,000USD as well as online and print publication. Two writers receiving honourable mentions will be published. They will get $250 and $100 respectively. Entries cost $20 and the deadline is 30th April. Details here.
Poetry London’s 2018 competition is open until 1st May with a generous prize fund. This year’s judge is distinguished poet, Kwame Dawes, who is the author or twenty-one books of poetry as well as numerous other works of fiction, criticism and essays. The first prize is £5,000, the second £2,000 and the third £1,000. There will be cash awards for four, highly commended entries too. Entries cost £3 for Poetry London subscribers or £7 for non subscribers and must be no more than 80 lines each. Details here.
Enter short stories of up to 4,000 words on any theme or subject into the Bristol Short Story Prize, including graphic, verse or genre-based stories (crime, science fiction, fantasy, historical, romance, children’s etc). Twenty stories will be shortlisted and published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology with rewards for the top entries worth up to £1,000. It costs £8 for each story entered and the deadline is 1st May. Details here.
The Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards is an international competition, with a wide variety of categories, designed to celebrate today’s best indie fiction. The grand prize includes $8,000USD in cash, a feature about you in the March/April 2019 issue of the magazines, publicity and a paid trip to the popular Writer’s Digest Conference. The deadline for entries is 1st May. The entry fees are quite steep though at $125 for one book and $95 for additional ones. Details here.
Applications are still open for the 2018, $35,000USD Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting from new and/or amateur screenwriters based anywhere in the world. Applicants must submit an original feature film screenplay between 70 and 160 pages, in English, written by up to two writers. The final deadline is 1st May. Details here.
The Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition is dedicated to recognising and supporting emerging writers whose writing has not yet achieved success. Entries must be no more than 3,500 words. The winner will receive $1,500USD and will be published. Entries cost $15 if you submit before 1st May, $20 if you enter by the final deadline of 15thMay. Details here.
This Emerging Writer’s Contest is open to writers of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry who have not yet published or self-published a book. The winner in each genre will be awarded $2,000USD. The 2018 contest judges are Carmen Maria Machado (Fiction), Roxane Gay (Nonfiction), and Roger Reeves (Poetry). Entry is free for Ploughshares subscribers and $24 for non-subscribers. The deadline is 15th May. Details here.
Now in its 18th year, the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest is one of the most prestigious literary fiction contests. Open to writers around the world, the contest attracts prominent guest judges and has a prize fund of $2,500USD across five categories. Short stories must be no more than 10,000 words and cost $15 each to enter. The top stories will also be published in Carve Magazine’s autumn issue and winning stories will be read by three literary agents: Nat Sobel from Sobel-Weber Associates, Erin Harris from Folio Literary Management, and Catherine Cho from Curtis Brown UK. The deadline is 15th May. Details here.
If you have a great competition or opportunity for writers coming up, do get in touch with us here. We publish the best every month on Literary Lightbox and promote even more on social media.