Great writing competitions – May 2019

We’ve brought together May’s best competitions and opportunities, open to writers of books, flash fiction, screenplays, short stories and poetry.

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.

Winchester Writers’ Festival Bursary

The Winchester Writers’ Festival is an inspiring event for creative writers working in all forms and genres. The three-day weekend includes workshops, talks and one-to-one appointments with over 70 literary agents, commissioning editors, authors, poets and publishing experts.

The Winchester Writers’ Festival Bursary Fund has a number of bursaries available for writers experiencing financial difficulty. The offer is open to all Festival package applicants. 

Miami Book Fair de Groot Prize for the Novella

The Miami Book Fair has partnered with The de Groot Foundation to launch the Miami Book Fair/de Groot Prize which will be awarded to an author of an unpublished novella. The judge is Justin Torres, author of the novel, We the Animals, which has been translated into fifteen languages and was adapted into a film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. His shorter works have been published in The New Yorker, Granta, The Guardian and more.

  • Prizes  The winner will receive $6,000, publication by Melville House, an expense-paid trip to the Miami Book Fair and a chance to read/participate at the event. Two runners-up will each receive $3,000, an expense-paid trip to the fair and the opportunity to participate. The winners’ work will also be publicised in print and online.
  • Deadline – 10th May.
  • Entry fee – $70.
  • Full details – Visit the Miami Book Fair website.

Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest

This Emerging Writer’s Contest is open to writers of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry who have not yet published or self-published a book. 

  • Prizes  The winner in each of the three genres will be awarded $2,000, a review from Aevitas Creative Management, a one-year Ploughshares subscription. The winning works will also be published in the Winter 2019/20 issue of Ploughshares
  • Deadline – 15th May.
  • Entry fee – Entry is FREE for Ploughshares subscribers. Otherwise, the fee is $24, which includes a one-year subscription. 
  • Full details – Visit the Ploughshares website.

Raymond Carver Short Story Contest

The Raymond Carver Short Story Contest is one of the most prestigious literary fiction contests. Open to writers around the world, the contest has a prize fund of $2,500 across five categories. Short stories entered can be up to 10,000 words. This year’s guest judge is award-winning author Claire Fuller, whose novels, Our Endless Numbered DaysSwimming Lessons, and Bitter Orange have been translated into sixteen languages. 

  • Prizes  First prize is $1,500, second is $500 and third is $250. There are also two $125 Editor’s Choice awards. Winning stories will be read by three literary agents. Honourable mentions and semi-finalists will be listed online for a limited period. 
  • Deadline –15th May.
  • Entry fee – $15.
  • Full details – Visit the Carve Magazine website.

Frontier Poetry Digital Chapbook Contest

The judges of the Frontier Poetry Digital Chapbook Contest are looking for an electric bundle of poems of up to 30 pages.

  • Prize – $2000, publication online and distribution of the chapbook to readers, editors, agents and magazines through Frontier Poetry’s newsletter. 
  • Deadline – 15th May.
  • Entry fee – $20.
  • Full details – Visit the Frontier Poetry website.

BAFTA Scholarship 

If you’re based in the UK and are looking to study a post-graduate course in film, journalism, game design or TV, you could get financial assistance and mentoring as part of a BAFTA scholarship. First check if the course you’re interested in is eligible here.

  • Scholarships  Each BAFTA Scholar will receive up to £12,000 toward their annual course fees; mentoring support from a BAFTA member, winner or nominee as well as free access to BAFTA events around the UK. 
  • Deadline – 28th May.
  • Entry fee – FREE. 
  • Full details – Visit the BAFTA website.

The Yeovil Literary Prize

The Yeovil Community Arts Association is inviting entries into the 2019 Yeovil Literary Prize from all corners of the world. There are four categories covering novels, short stories, poetry and a unique one with few restrictions designed to unleash writers’ imaginations. There is also a local prize. All genres are welcome. 

  • Prizes  First prizes vary from £100 to £1,000 depending on the category. 
  • Deadline – 31st May.
  • Entry fee – These vary from £5 to £7 depending on the category. 
  • Full details – Visit The Yeovil Literary Prize website.

First Novel Prize 2018 

Have you written a novel that hasn’t been published yet or have you published your novel yourself? Then the First Novel Prize could be for you. It’s open to previously unpublished or independently published novelists. Your novel has to be over 50,000 words and can be in any genre for adults.

  • Prizes  First prize is £1,000, second is £500 and third is £100.
  • Deadline – 31st May.
  • Entry fee – £25.
  • Full details – Visit the First Novel Prize website.

The Bridport Prize

The prestigious, Bridport Prize has a generous prize fund. The organisers are dedicated to finding and encouraging the most promising writers from across the world. Enter flash fiction, short stories, novels and poetry. 

  • Prizes  First prizes are different for each category, ranging from £1,000 to £5,000. The Novel Award also includes mentoring from The Literary Consultancy. Winning and highly commended poems, short stories and flash fiction will be published in an annual anthology and the opening chapters of the winning and runner-up novels will be published online. 
  • Deadline – 31st May.
  • Entry fee – Entry fees range from £9 to £20 depending on the category. Author Kit de Waal, who grew up in Birmingham, is funding five bursaries to enable low-income or marginalised writers based in the city to enter the flash fiction competition for free. 
  • Full details – Visit the Bridport Prize website.

William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition

The William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition is sponsored annually by The Pirate’s Alley Society, Inc, a non-profit literary and educational organisation. The aim is to find talented writers and help them improve their work, assist them in finding literary agents and, ultimately, help find publishers for their work.

  • Prizes  The Novel/Book Length Fiction Prize is $7,500 and the Non-Fiction Book Prize is $2,000. The Novella Prize, Short Story Prize and Novel-in-Progress Prize are all worth $1,500. There are also smaller prizes in all the other categories.
  • Deadline – 31st May.
  • Entry fee – Entry fees start at $15 and typically increase with word count.
  • Full details – Visit the Faulkner Society website.

Reflex Fiction Seasonal Flash Fiction Competition 

The latest round of the Reflex Fiction Flash Fiction Competition is open. Enter stories between 180 and 360 words.

  • Prize  First prize is £1,000, second is £500 and third is £250. All long-listed entrants will be offered the opportunity to be published in an annual print anthology.
  • Deadline – 31st May.
  • Entry fee – £7.
  • Full details – Visit the Reflex Fiction website.

Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

The Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards competition is open exclusively for independently published books and aims to spotlight the authors. 

  • Prizes  The grand prize includes $8,000, a feature in Writer’s Digest and a paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference. One first prize winner in each category will win $1,000 and a promotion in the March/April 2020 issue of Writer’s Digest. 
  • Deadline – 31st May.
  • Entry fee – First entry costs $125 and further entries cost $95.
  • Full details – Visit the Writer’s Digest 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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