Great writing competitions – April 2019

We’ve brought together April’s best competitions and opportunities, open to writers of books, flash fiction, screenplays, short stories and poetry. This month, you’ll find everything from cash prizes and scholarships to competitive writing challenges and the opportunity to win places at a wonderful writers’ summer school.

All the competitions listed should be open to writers across the UK and most are open internationally too. We share details of prizes, requirements, eligibility, entry fees (some are free) and deadlines to help you choose the right ones for you.

Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize 

The Writing Prize will be awarded by the Alpine Fellowship to the best work written around the theme of ‘identity’. The prize is open to all nationalities and genres. Entries can be up to 2,500 words and must not have been published. Submissions will be reviewed by head judge, John Burnside, as well as Katherine Rundell and Gillian Clarke.

  • Prizes  A £10,000 cash prize will be presented to the winner. Second prize is £3,000 and third, £2,000. The winner and two runners up will also be invited to attend the Fjällnäs symposium
  • Deadline – 10th April
  • Entry fee – FREE
  • Full details – Visit the Alpine Fellowship website

The Alpine Fellowship also has categories covering the visual arts and theatre which also carry the theme of ‘identity’.

Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting

Each year, the Academy Nicholl screenwriting competition awards fellowships to promising new screenwriters around the world. Applicants must submit an original feature film screenplay between 70 and 160 pages, in English. You can enter up to three scripts. 

Judging is completed over several rounds by industry professionals, Academy members drawn from across the motion picture industry and the Academy Nicholl committee. Fellowship recipients will be expected to complete at least one original feature film screenplay during the fellowship year.

  • Prizes – Up to five $35,000 fellowships
  • Deadline – The official deadline is 10th April
  • Entry fee – $60 if your entry is submitted by 10th April and $85 if you take advantage of the late deadline of 1st May. Reader comments are available for purchase but are not required for entry
  • Full details – Visit the Academy website

Galley Beggar Press publishing opportunities for women 

Galley Beggar Press, a prestigious publisher of many award-winning titles, realised they needed to increase the balance in submissions. So, in addition to their main submissions windows, a number of opportunities aimed at specific groups have been introduced. A window exclusive to women is open during March and April for submissions of adult literary fiction and narrative non-fiction.

NYC Midnight Annual Screenwriting Challenge

The NYC Midnight’s 16th 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. 

  • Prize  The winner will be awarded $3,750. Second prize is $1,250 and third, $500. There are further cash prizes up to sixth place and all winners will receive Movie Magic Screenwriting software. 
  • Registration deadline – 11th April
  • Entry fee – $55 and you’ll receive a $5 discount if you promote the competition on Facebook or Twitter
  • Full details – Visit the NYC Midnight Screenwriting Challenge website

The Bath Short Story Award

The seventh international Bath Short Story Award is open for entries. This year, literary agent, Samuel Hodder, from Blake Friedmann Literary Agency will be judging the short list. Stories entered can be up to 2,200 words. 

  • Prize  First prize is £1,200, second is £300 and third is £100. In addition, the £100 Acorn Award will be presented to an unpublished writer and £50 to a local writer
  • Deadline – 15th April
  • Entry fee – £8
  • Full details – Visit the Bath Short Story Award website

Hektoen International Grand Prix Essay Competition 

Entries are being invited into the seventh Hektoen Grand Prix Essay Competition. Topics might include art, history, literature, education as they relate to medicine. Essays must be under 1,600 words and there are specific formatting guidelines. If accepted for publication, an article may be published at any time regardless of the outcome of the competition.

  • Prize  The winner will receive $3,000 and the runner up, $800.
  • Deadline – 15th April
  • Entry fee – FREE
  • Full details – Visit the Hektoen International website

Omnidawn Single Poem Broadside Contest 

A broadside is a large sheet of paper printed on a single side. The printing is often done by smaller presses and is designed to be framed and hung on a wall, almost as if it is a piece of fine art. Broadsides can be highly prized and collectable within the poetry community. Omnidawn’s poetry broadsides are produced using a traditional letter press. If you fancy having your poetry beautifully published, this could be the competition for you.

Omnidawn is seeking a wide range of poetry styles, approaches and forms from writers of any nationality. Poems should be between eight and 24 lines. 

  • Prize  $1,000, letterpress publication of the broadside by Omnidawn, fifty free copies of the broadside and publication of the winning poem in the Omniverse online journal
  • Deadline – 22nd April
  • Entry fee – $10 for the first poem and $5 for each additional poem 
  • Full details – Visit the Omnidawn Publishing website

BBC Comedy Script Submissions Opportunity

The BBC Writersroom is open for comedy scripts for TV, film, radio, stage or online. Script Room is not a competition but a means by which the BBC seeks out writers with the strongest potential to be developed and produced for BBC broadcast. 

The BBC is looking to unearth the treasures, the page-turners, the new perspectives, the engaging dialogue, the surprising character creations. They want to find that special, funny something that makes them want to read more. They’re especially looking for distinctive voices. Scripts must be a minimum of 30 minutes long 

Before you prepare your entry, we highly recommend you listen to a podcast featuring the BBC’s script readers here.

Edinburgh International Flash Fiction Award 

The Edinburgh International Flash Fiction Award is open to writers worldwide, published and unpublished. Enter stories on any topic up to 250 words. The competition is part of the Scottish Arts Club Story Awards.

  • Prize  The winner will receive £500. Three shortlisted writers will be invited to participate in the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Awards Dinner in Edinburgh in October 2019
  • Deadline – 30th April
  • Entry fee – £5 per story
  • Full details – Visit the Scottish Arts Club Story Awards website

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction and Essay Contest

This international contest, run by Winning Writers, is open to original short stories and essays on any theme. Entries may be published or unpublished and up to 6,000 words in length. 

  • Prize  $2,000 in both categories and a one-year gift certificate for Duotrope worth $50. 10 honourable mentions in any category will also receive $100. Twelve entries will also be published online
  • Deadline – 30th April
  • Entry fee – $20 per entry
  • Full details – Visit the Winning Writers website

The Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award

Short stories between 1,500 and 10,000 words on a supernatural theme are being sought for The Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award.

  • Prize  The winner will be awarded $1,000 and print publication. Two other writers will also receive honourable mentions, including $250 and publication
  • Deadline – 30th April
  • Entry fee – $20
  • Full details – Visit the Ghost Story website

Swanwick Writers’ Summer School Competition

Win a place at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School by entering a poem of up to 40 lines, a short story of up to 1,000 words or children’s fiction of up to 1,000 words on the theme of ‘close call’. 

  • Prize  The winner in each category will receive a fully inclusive week at the 2019 Summer School. The second prize is a Writing Magazine manuscript appraisal. The third prize is copy of the latest Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook
  • Deadline – 30th April
  • Entry fee – £6 for each work entered
  • Full details – Visit the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School website

That’s it for this month but do join us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss out on new opportunities. 

You can also find details of more competitions coming up this year here.

If you’re running a great competition or are creating a wonderful opportunity for writers in the near future, do get in touch with us here. We publish the best every month on Literary Lightbox and promote even more on social media.

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    By: Literary Lightbox

    Literary Lightbox, founded by Loretta Milan, publishes great writing inspiration, opportunities and news. We feature New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling authors, emerging and indie authors too.

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