July 2018’s best writing competitions


Whether novels, short stories, poetry or screenplays are your thing, July’s a great time to write at home or away. 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!

The Nowhere Magazine Travel Writing Contest

Literary travel magazine, Nowhere Magazine is accepting submissions for its Spring 2018 Travel Writing Contest. Enter fiction, non-fiction and essays of up to 5,000 words. The winner will be awarded $1,000USD and will be published. It costs $20 to submit and the deadline has been extended to 1st July. Details here.

The Brighton Prize 

The Brighton Prize judges are on the hunt for inventive writing and new voices. Their favourite short story (up to 2,000 words) will be awarded £1,000 and the best piece of flash fiction (up to 350 words) will win £500. This year’s judges include Man Booker long-listed novelist Alison McLeod and literary agent Sarah Manning from The Bent Agency. Short story entries cost £8 and flash fiction £6. The deadline is 1st July. Details here.

Penguin Random House Development WriteNow Scheme

Penguin Random House’s WriteNow scheme aims to find, mentor and publish new writers from under-represented communities in the UK. To apply, you need to submit information about the book you’re working on, a 1,000-word extract and details of how you meet the selection criteria by 9th July if you’re a writer, 23rd July if you’re an illustrator.

150 writers and illustrators will be invited to take place in one of the development workshops around the country in September. Ten exceptional new voices will then be selected to join a year-long mentoring programme.  While there are no guarantees, five writers who have been through the programme since it launched in 2016, have signed publishing deals. Details here.

William Faulkner Literary Competition

The categories in the William Faulkner Literary Competition include the novel, one act play, poetry, adult short story and student short story. Prizes are up to $2,000USD. Entry fees range between $20 and $50. The student category is free. Deadlines are between 15th July and 31st August depending on the category. Details here.

HG Wells Short Story Competition

The HG Wells Short Story Competition offers prizes of £250 in the Senior category (for authors aged over 22) and £1,000 in the Junior category (for authors aged 21 and under) as well as publication of all shortlisted entries in an anthology. Enter short stories between 1,500 and 5,000 words on the theme of ‘peace’ by 23rd July. Entries cost £10 for ‘seniors’ and £5 for ‘juniors’ if you have student ID. Details here.

The Women Poets’ Prize

The Women Poets’ Prize, which has been launched in memory of Rebecca Swift, seeks to honour her passion for poetry and the empowerment of women. It’s open to all female-identifying poets and is free to enter. The winners will receive a cash bursary of £1,000 and mentoring. The deadline for entries is 23rd July. Details here.

The Felix Dexter Bursary for Comedy Screenwriting

BBC Comedy and the BBC Writersroom have announced their continued commitment to developing talented BAME comedy writers with the Felix Dexter Bursary. BBC Comedy Commissioning is the largest comedy department in the UK, responsible for some of the most watched and critically acclaimed programmes in the world. A six-month bursary will be awarded to an aspiring comedy writer to develop his or her skills. It’s free to apply until 30th July. Details here.

Cinnamon Press Debut Fiction Prize

Cinnamon Press’ annual, Debut Fiction Prize is open to unpublished authors of adult or cross-over stories. Enter novels, novellas or short story collections from anywhere in the world. The winner will receive one year’s free mentoring (worth £1,000), a publishing contract and 10 copies of their work. Entries cost £12 and the deadline is 31st July. Details here.

The Masters Review Short Story Award

This short story competition is dedicated to new writers around the world. The winning story will be awarded $3,000USD and publication online. All winners and honourable mentions will also have their work reviewed by leading literary agents. Submit unpublished stories up to 7,000 words by 31st July. Entries costs $20 per story. Details here.

Win a £10,000 romantic fiction publishing deal with Trapeze Books

Are you an aspiring romance writer? eharmony has teamed up with Trapeze Books to launch a romantic fiction competition designed to find the next, great love story. The winner will be offered a publishing contract with Trapeze, worth £10,000, as well as mentoring from Anna Stuart. A runner-up will also be awarded a place on Curtis Brown Creative’s Online Novel-Writing Course worth £200. Entry is free and is open until 31st July. Details here.

InkTears Flash Fiction Competition

InkTears’ latest flash fiction contest is open internationally for entries until 31st July. Submit stories of up to 500 words for a chance to win the top prize of £250. All winning entries will be published. There’s a £3.50 entry fee per story. Details here.

The Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Prize

This competition is open to original short stories of up to 3,000 words which have not been published or broadcast. The first prize is €2,000, a week-long residency at the Anam Cara Retreat and publication in Southword alongside a selection of shortlisted stories. Entries cost €15 each and can be submitted by writers of any nationality, living anywhere in the world up until 31st July. Details here.

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.

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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