Great writing competitions – August 2019

We’ve brought together August’s best competitions and opportunities, open to writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and flash fiction. 

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.

Costa Short Story Award

The prestigious, Costa Short Story Award is now open for entries from authors based in the UK and Ireland. Submit fiction of up to 4,000 words. Only one story may be entered per author and it must be original, unpublished and not broadcast. 

  • Prize  The winner will be awarded £3,000.
  • Deadline – 1st August.
  • Entry fee – FREE.
  • Full details – Visit the Costa Book Awards website.

Curtis Brown First Novel Prize 

As part of its 120th birthday celebrations, literary agency, Curtis Brown – in partnership with Curtis Brown Creative – has launched the inaugural Curtis Brown First Novel Prize. The mission is to find exciting new voices of the future. Tracy Chevalier, bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring and A Single Thread, will chair the judging panel formed of Curtis Brown agents and the Curtis Brown Creative team

  • Prizes  The author of the winning novel will win £3,000 and will be offered representation by Curtis Brown. The first runner up will receive a place on a three-month Curtis Brown Creative novel writing course as well as a mentoring session with one of the Curtis Brown literary agent team. Four shortlisted writers will be offered a place on a six-week online course and a mentoring session. 
  • Deadline – 1st August.
  • Entry fee – FREE.
  • Full details – Visit the Curtis Brown Creative website.

Writer’s Digest Self-Published Ebook Awards

The Writer’s Digest Self-Published Ebook Awards honour the best self-published books with a total of $13,000 in cash prizes on offer. There are eight categories covering some of the most popular genres including contemporary fiction, romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, memoir, young adult and nonfiction. Entries are open to authors from most countries in the world.

  • Prizes  The grade prize is $5,000 in cash, a feature in Writer’s Digest Magazine and a paid trip to the publication’s annual conference in New York. The first prize winner in each category will receive $1,000 in cash and more. Honourable mentions will receive $50 gift certificates for the Writer’s Digest Shop. 
  • Deadline – The early-bird deadline is 1st August and the main deadline is 3rd September.
  • Entry fee – First entry is $99 and each additional entry is $85 for the early-bird deadline. First entry is $125 and each additional entry is $95 if you wait until the main deadline. 
  • Full details – Visit the Writer’s Digest website.

The Palette Emerging Poet Prize

The Palette Emerging Poet Prize is open to writers around the world with fewer than two full-length collections out at the time of submission. There is no page requirement but submissions must be no more than three poems. Ten finalists will be selected by the editors and guest judge Kim Addonizio will then select the winner and two runner ups. Kim is the author of seven poetry collections, two novels, two story collections and two books on writing poetry.

  • Prize  The winning poet will be awarded $3,000 and online publication. Second prize is $300 and third is $200 as well as publication online. 
  • Deadline – 15th August.
  • Entry fee – $20.
  • Full details – Visit the Palette Poetry website.

Room Magazine Poetry Contest 

The 2019 poetry contest will be judged by Jamaican-Canadian author Pamela Mordecai who writes stories and poems for adults and children. She has published six books of poetry and her debut novel was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. 

  • Prizes  First prize is $1,000 and second prize is $250. Both stories will be published in Room Magazine. One honourable mention will receive $50 and publication online. 
  • Deadline – 15th August.
  • Entry fee – Entry costs $35 CAD if you live in Canada and $42 USD if you live outside of the country. This fee includes a one-year subscription to Room Magazine. Additional entries cost $7 USD/CAD.
  • Full details – Visit the Room Magazine website.

Omnidawn Open Poetry Book Contest

The Omnidawn Open Poetry Book contest is open to all writers worldwide with no limitations as to the amount of poetry a writer has published. Submissions should include 40–120 pages of poetry (not including front and back matter). The judge is Rachel Zucker.

  • Prize  The winner will be awarded $3,000.
  • Deadline – 19th August.
  • Entry fee – $27.
  • Full details – Visit the Omnidawn Publishing website.

UNO Press Publishing Lab Prize

The UNO Press Publishing Lab, based in the University of New Orleans, is on the hunt for the best book or short story collection written this year. The contest is open to all authors regardless of publishing history.

  • Prize  The winner will receive a $10,000 advance on royalties and a contract to publish with UNO Press.
  • Deadline – 31st August.
  • Entry fee – $28.
  • Full details – Visit the UNO Press website.

Retreat West Novel Prize

Win a publishing deal with Retreat West Books which was shortlisted as Most Innovative Publisher in the 2019 Saboteur Awards. The judges are seeking new, unagented authors with exciting novels to share. Submit the first 7,500 words of your novel and a synopsis of up to 500 words. The judge is Amanda Saint, author, publisher and founder of Retreat West.

  • Prizes  First prize is a paperback and ebook publishing contract with Retreat West Books and an advance of £500. Second prize is a full, manuscript assessment and editorial report from Amanda Saint. Third prize is a year’s Gold Author Membership with Retreat West. 
  • Deadline – 18th August.
  • Entry fee – £15.
  • Full details – Visit the Retreat West website.

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is seeking talented new writers of short fiction and poetry. The prize is organised by the art and culture publication, Aesthetica Magazine. Short fiction entered should be no more than 2,000 words and poetry a maximum of 40 lines. 

  • Prizes  The winner of both the Poetry and Short Fiction contests will be awarded £1,000, publication in Aesthetica Magazine and more. 
  • Deadline – 31st August.
  • Entry fee – £12 for poetry and £18 for short fiction.
  • Full details – Visit the Aesthetica Magazine website.

The Reflex Fiction International Flash Fiction Competition

The latest round of the Reflex Fiction Flash Fiction Competition is open to stories between 180 and 360 words. The competition is run by dedicated flash fiction writers who are passionate about promoting the craft. 

  • Prize  First prize is £1,000, second is £500 and third is £250.
  • Deadline – 31st August.
  • Entry fee – You can choose how much to pay. 
  • Full details – Visit the Reflex Fiction website.

The BookLife Prize– Fiction Contest

The BookLife Prize is an annual writing competition sponsored by BookLife and Publishers Weekly. The Prize seeks to support independent authors and discover great written works across the categories of Romance/Erotica; Mystery/Thriller; Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror; General Fiction; and Middle-Grade and YA Fiction. The Prize is judged by Publishers Weekly reviewers, editors, acclaimed authors and publishing veterans. 

  • Prize  The grand prize winner in both the fiction and nonfiction contests will be awarded a cash prize of $5,000 as well as a profile in Publishers Weekly. There are also rewards for the finalists in each of the categories. 
  • Deadline – 31st August.
  • Entry fee – $99.
  • Full details – Visit the Book Life Prize website.

Kindle Storyteller Award

The Kindle Storyteller Award is a literary prize that recognises outstanding writing. It is open to authors publishing in English, in any genre, through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Readers play a significant role in selecting the winner, helped by a panel of judges including various book industry experts. Books must be published between 1st May and 31 August. 

  • Prize  The winner will be awarded £20,000. All finalists of the 2019 UK Kindle Storyteller contest will be entered into an additional round of judging. One title will be selected by Amazon International Original Studios and the author will be offered a contract for an audio-visual production with an advance of $10,000.
  • Deadline – 31st August.
  • Entry fee – FREE (aside from costs related to publishing through KDP).
  • Full details – Visit the Amazon 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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