Great writing competitions – March 2019

We’ve brought together March’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 writing retreats in sunny locations and a programme for emerging writers based in a fabulous library.

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.

We’ve also changed our format a little to make it easier to get an impression of what’s on offer quickly as you scroll. We’d love to hear what you think!

The White Review Short Story Prize

The White Review Short Story Prize is an annual competition for emerging writers residing in the UK or Ireland who have not yet secured a publishing contract. The prize aims to reward ambitious, imaginative and innovative writing.

The judges, this year, are Chris Power, Sophie Scard and Michal Shavit. They’re looking for short stories that explore and expand the possibilities of the form in any literary genre, on any theme or subject matter. 

  • Prize  £2,500
  • Deadline – 4th March
  • Entry fee £15
  • Full details – Visit the White Review website here

The London Library Emerging Writers Programme

An Emerging Writers Programme has been launched by The London Library. It offers a unique opportunity to writers, in all genres, including one years’ free membership of the library, masterclasses, networking, guidance and support. 

  • Deadline – 12pm (GMT) on 4th March
  • Application fee – FREE
  • Full details– Visit the London Library website here

Winchester Writers’ Festival Scholarships

The Lindsay Literary Scholarship 

The Lindsay Literary Scholarship covers the cost of three days at the Winchester Writers’ Festival (14th to 16th June 2019), access to all workshops, talks, one-to-one appointments with industry experts, meals, accommodation as well as a grant toward travel.

The scholarship will be awarded to a children’s fiction, middle grade or YA writer of any age who lives in the UK or Ireland and comes from an under-represented background. Applicants can be unpublished or self-published but must be unagented.

The Monica Wood Scholarship 

This scholarship is open to writers aged between 18 and 25 who would like to apply for a free weekend package at the Winchester Writers’ Festival, including all meals and accommodation plus travel costs up to £100.  

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 spectrum of 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 first, early deadline is 7th March
  • Entry fee $45 if you enter by 7th March, $60 by 10th April and $85 by 1st May. Reader comments are available for purchase but are not required for entry
  • Full details Visit the Academy website

Room Magazine Fiction Contest 

Room’s annual Fiction Contest is being judged this year by Catherine Hernandez, the award-winning author of Scarborough.

  • Prizes First: $1,000; Second: $250; Honourable mentions $50. All will also be published
  • Deadline – 8th March
  • Entry fee $35 CAD if based in Canada, $42 USD for the rest of the world. Additional entries cost $7. Entry includes a one-year subscription to Room
  • Full details Visit the Room Magazine website

The magazine also has poetry, short story and creative nonfiction competitions coming up later in the year.

BBC National Short Story Award

The BBC and Cambridge University are again welcoming entries into the BBC National Short Story Award. It’s open to British nationals and UK residents who have a prior record of publication in creative writing in UK. Stories submitted can be up to 8,000 words. 

  • Prizes An impressive top prize of £15,000 and £600 for four further shortlisted stories
  • Deadline – 9am (GMT) on 11th March
  • Entry fee FREE
  • Full details Visit the BBC website

Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction

Short stories of between 2,500 and 12,500 words are being welcomed by The Colorado Review for the 2019 Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction. Stories must be between 10 pages/2,500 words and 50 pages/12,500 words. They can be on any theme but must be unpublished. This year’s judge is Joan Silber. 

  • Prize $2,000 and publication in the fall/winter issue of Colorado Review
  • Deadline – 14th March
  • Entry fee $15 
  • Full details Visit the Colorado Review website

Prairie Schooner Book Prize

Literary magazine, Prairie Schooner is accepting fiction and poetry for its annual book prize. It’s open to writers worldwide who are both published and unpublished as long as the manuscripts entered have not yet made it into print. You can enter both categories and make multiple submissions. 

  • Prizes $3,000 and publication through the University of Nebraska Press
  • Deadline – 15th March
  • Entry fee $25
  • Full details Visit the Prairie Schooner submissions website

Harper’s Bazaar Short Story Competition 

Win a stay at Brownber Hall in Yorkshire in the Harper’s Bazaar UK 2019 Short Story competition. Submit up to 2,500 words on the theme of ‘Liberty’, which was the title of a story by Vita Sackville-West published in a 1930s issue. The competition is open to published and unpublished writers.

  • Prizes A two-night stay at Brownber Hall in Yorkshire and publication
  • Deadline – 15th March
  • Entry fee – FREE
  • Full details Visit the Harper’s Bazaar website

Eyelands International Flash Fiction Contest 

The Eyelands International Flash Fiction Contest is open once again, this time with a theme of ‘Spring’. Stories can be up to 500 words, in any genre but must be unpublished. The judge is Gregory Papadoyiannis.

  • Prizes First Prize is a week’s break at the Three Rock Writers Resort οn the island of Crete. Runners-up will receive a handmade ceramic gift, a 50% (non-obligatory) discount on the same retreat. All will be published in an anthology and will receive a complimentary copy
  • Deadline – 20th March
  • Entry fee 10€
  • Full details Visit the Eyelands website

Enizagam Literary Contest 

Enizagam is welcoming submissions of short fiction and poetry into this year’s competition. Short stories may be up to 4,000 words in any literary style and on any subject. Poetry may be up to ten pages (with no more than one poem per page), in any poetic form (including free verse) and on any subject.

  • Prizes $1,000 in both the fiction and poetry categories. Winners will also be nominated for the annual Pushcart prize
  • Deadline – 23rd March
  • Entry fee $20
  • Full details – Visit the Enizagam website

You can also make general submissions of fiction, poetry and mixed/multi-genre works to the publication throughout the year for free.

Limnisa Short Story Competition

Take part in Limnisa’s annual Short Story Competition for a chance to win a fabulous, writing holiday in Greece. Enter original stories up to 1,500 words inspired by the colourful photograph on Limnisa’s website. Stories must not have been published before.

  • Prizes First prize is a week’s, all-inclusive writers’ retreat at a seaside location near Agios Georgios, Methana, Greece. The retreat includes optional yoga sessions, a literary evening, an international library and more. Alternatively, you can opt for five online sessions of personal tutoring. Second and third prizes are a 50% discount on the same week’s retreat of a free online tutoring session/feedback on written work. Two runners up will also get a 25% discount on the retreat
  • Deadline – 30th March 
  • Entry fee FREE (They only request a friendly ‘like’ on social media and that you help spread the news about the contest in return). For an optional £35, you will receive an evaluation of your story
  • Full details Visit the Limnisa website      

TSS International Flash Fiction Competition

The latest round of the TSS International Flash Fiction Competition is open to writers internationally. Stories may be up to 400 words. The judges are Elisabeth Ingram Wallace and Rupert Dastur.

  • Prizes First prize: £400 and a nomination for the Best Small Fiction Awards; Second: £100 and third £50. Winning and highly commended stories will also be published online and in print
  • Deadline – 31st March
  • Entry fee £5 (Submission fees will be waived for any writers from marginalised and disadvantaged communities or anyone suffering from economic hardship)
  • Full details Visit the TSS Publishing website

The Rubery Book Award

The Rubery Book Award seeks the best books published by indie writers, self-published authors and independent presses internationally. The organisers have a reputation for finding great books and aim to bring recognition to the works that win and heighten the authors’ profiles.

All genres of adult fiction, young adult, children’s, biographies, nonfiction, self-help, cookery, poetry, photography and more are accepted. Both books and ebooks are eligible. This year’s judges are Paul McDonald, Clare Morrall and Kerry Hadley-Pryce.

  • Prizes The Book of the Year will be awarded £1,500 and will be read by London literary agency, MBA. Category winners will receive £150
  • Deadline – 31st March
  • Entry fee – £37
  • Full details – Visit the Rubery Book Award website

Caterpillar Poetry Prize

The Caterpillar Poetry Prize is open to unpublished poems written by adults for children aged seven to 11. Poems may be of any length and on any subject. This year’s judge is Brian Moses, cited as ‘one of Britain’s favourite children’s poets’. Poems entered must not have been published and can be entered from anywhere in the world.

  • Prize €1,000 and publication in the summer 2019 issue of The Caterpillar
  • Deadline – 31st March
  • Entry fee €12 
  • Full details Visit The Caterpillar website

Fish Publishing Poetry Prize 

The annual, Fish Poetry Prize will be judged this year by Billy Collins. The competition is open to writers of all nationalities. There is no restriction on theme or style. Poems may be up to 300 words and must not have been published.

  • Prizes First prize is €1,000; Second prize is a week in residence at the Anam Cara Writers’ Retreat and third prize is €200. The top ten poems will also be published in the Fish Anthology
  • Deadline – 31st March
  • Entry fee €14 for the first entry and €8 for additional entries
  • Full details Visit the Fish Publishing website

There are also lots of other great competitions coming up throughout the year from Fish Publishing covering a variety of creative forms.

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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