August 2018’s best writing competitions


Whether novels, short stories, non-fiction or poems are your thing, August is a great time to write whether you’re on holiday, at home or somewhere else. We’ve brought together this month’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!


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 $13,000USD 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. 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. Entries are open to authors from most countries in the world until 1st August. Details here.

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 by 3rd August. It’s free to take part but only one story may be entered per author. It must be original, unpublished and not broadcast. The winner will be awarded £3,500. Details here.

Three full writing fellowships

Three fantastic fellowships for English-language writers and journalists are currently open for applications with Under the Volcano, an organisation which runs a programme of masterclasses throughout the year to develop writers’ voices. Submissions for two fellowships are open until 15th August and the third until 1st September. It’s free to apply. Recipients will be chosen by a committee on the basis of their literary promise. Details here.

The Palette Poetry Prize

The Palette Poetry Prize will award $4,000USD and publication to one excellent poem that speaks to what poetry is and can be for our world. Submissions are open internationally until 15th August. Entry costs $20. Details here.

The Robert Graves Poetry Prize

The Robert Graves Poetry Prize is searching for original, unpublished poems of up to 40 lines. The first prize is £1,000 and two runner ups will each receive £100. The top three entries will be published in POEM. Enter by 15th August. It costs £5 per poem. Details here.

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. There are no word limits or genre restrictions but your submission must not have been unpublished before. The winning author will receive a $1,000USD advance and a contract to publish with UNO Press. It costs $18 to enter by 15th August. Details here.

Creative funding opportunities from the Arts Council 

The Arts Council is investing £3.6 million this year to allow independent creatives, including writers, to develop their craft. You can apply for a grant between £2,000 and £10,000 to support you with an ambitious and innovative writing project (or any arts project). Funding could help you, for example, carry out research, develop new work, explore fresh ideas, get training you need, access mentorship and travel internationally as part of your project. Round 2 is open for applications. The deadline is 16th August. Details here.

Retreat West Novel Prize

Win a paperback and digital publishing deal in the Retreat West Novel Prize. This independent publisher is looking for new, unagented authors with exciting stories to share. It costs £15 to enter and the deadline is 19th August. Details here.

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award

Offering £1,000 prize money, publication and literary consultation, the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is seeking submissions across Short Fiction and Poetry. Submissions can be on any theme and previously published. Alongside the two winners, 60 shortlisted authors will be featured in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual. There are also some fabulous bonus prizes. Submissions close on 31st August. It costs £12 to enter a poem and £18 to enter a short story. Details here.

The Reflex Fiction Quarterly International Flash Fiction Competition

The latest round of the Reflex Fiction Flash Fiction Competition is open until 31st August. Enter stories between 180 and 360 words for a chance to win the top prize of £1,000 (or the equivalent in your local currency). The competition is run by dedicated flash fiction writers who are passionate about promoting the craft. All long-listed entrants will be offered the opportunity to be published in an annual print anthology. Entry costs £7. Details here.

The End of our World Short Story Contest

This short story competition is designed to raise awareness of what is happening in the natural world right now and what this may mean for the future. The winner will be awarded $1,000USD. You’ll need to make sure your entry is relevant to the contest’s theme, links to events/issues of the present and explores the potential consequences. It should not be purely fantastical. The deadline is 31st August and there is no entry fee. Details here.

The Quill Prose Award

Red Hen Press is seeking to honour and empower authors who identify as queer through The Quill Prose Award which will be judged by David Francis. $1,000USD and a publication deal will be awarded to the winning author. Entries must be over 150 pages. The deadline is 31st August and entries cost $10. Details here.

The BookLife Prize

This prize celebrates independent authors and seeks to discover great written works in six categories: Romance/Erotica; Mystery/Thriller; Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror; Memoir/Autobiography; General Fiction and Middle-Grade/YA Fiction.The top prize is $5,000USD and an author profile in Publishers Weekly. All entrants will also receive brief, critical assessments of their novels written by Publishers Weekly reviewers. Entry costs $99 and the deadline is 31st August. Details here.

Kindle Direct Publishing Prize

There is a £20,000 prize on offer for the best book published through Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon between 1st May and 31st August. It’s a prize dedicated to self-published authors. Books can be in any genre but can’t have been published elsewhere. In addition to the cash prize, the winner will be recognised at a prestigious awards ceremony in London. Details here.


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

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.

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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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