October 2018’s best writing competitions


As the weather cools and the leaves start to fall, it’s wonderful to retreat indoors for a while and write. Whether novels, short stories, poetry or screenplays are your thing, we’ve brought together October’s top writing competitions and opportunities, open to writers based in the UK and internationally, to give your work a boost this autumn.

You’ll find details of prizes, requirements, entry fees (some are free) and deadlines so you can decide which are the best opportunities for you. Good luck!


Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition

This competition is back for its ninth year and welcoming full-length screenplays, TV pilots and short scripts from writers around the world. There’s a total of $20,000USD in cash prizes on offer as well as other great bonuses such as industry readings and meetings, career consultations and screenplay analyses. It costs $65 to enter screenplays and TV pilots or $55 to enter a short script by 10th October. There’s an option of an extended deadline in November but the entry fees are higher. Details here.

Palette Poetry Emerging Poet Prize

The Palette Poetry Emerging Poet Prize is open for international entries until 15th October from authors with fewer than two full-length collections out at the time of submission. The winning poet will be awarded $3,000USD. It’s $20 to enter. Details here.

The Dora Maar Fellowship

Residencies are being offered to mid-career professionals in the arts and humanities, including writers, around the world. The residencies last one to three months and take place at The Dora Maar House in Ménerbes, France. To be eligible, you need to have an established career in your field as residencies are designed to provide dedicated time to further expertise. Applications are open until 15th October and cost $20. Details here.

Eyelands Book Awards

Submit novels, novellas, short story or poetry collections into the Eyelands Book Awards for a chance to win a five-day holiday in Athens and a special, handmade ceramic designed especially for the competition. You can enter from anywhere in the world for $30. The deadline is 20th October. Details here.

Arkansas International Emerging Writer’s Prize

The Arkansas International is welcoming entries into its Emerging Writer’s Prize. You can submit short stories of up to 7,500 words if you’ve not yet had a full-length book published. The top prize is $1,000USD and publication. It costs $20 to enter and this includes a one-year subscription to the magazine. Current subscribers can enter for free. The deadline is 20th October. Details here.

Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction

Comma Press and the University of Central Lancashire are inviting entries from writers based in the UK for the annual Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction. Stories need to be on the theme of ‘scent’ and can be between 2,000 and 6,000 words. The winner will be awarded £500 and ten shortlisted authors will be featured in a digital anthology. Entries close on 26th October. It is free to enter. Details here.

The RW Short Story Prize

Retreat West is still open for entries for its 2018 Short Story Prize. Stories can be in any genre (except children’s and erotica) and must be 1,500 to 5,000 words. The top prize is £400. All winning and shortlisted stories will be published in a beautifully presented anthology. It costs £10 to enter. The deadline is 28th October. Details here.

Greene Door Project

Literary agency, Greene & Heaton has launched The Greene Door Project, an open submissions initiative for writers from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds. The opportunity is open until 31st October and it’s free to take part. Details here.

Kimberley Chambers Bursary

Does your writing need a kickstart? Bestselling author, Kimberley Chambers has launched a new bursary which will provide a talented writer with £1,000, time with her editor and an offer of representation from literary agency, PFD. It’s free to apply by 31st October. Details here.

Iceland Writers Retreat Scholarship Places

Applications are open for scholarship places on the Iceland Writers Retreat which will take place in Reykjavík, Iceland from 3rd to 7th April 2019. Over the course of the retreat, each participant will be enrolled in a total of five writing workshops led by internationally acclaimed authors, a Q&A panel, numerous readings and social functions. You don’t need to be a professional writer but you must be serious about the craft and committed to developing your skills. Candidates will be chosen based on potential and financial need. Applications close on 31st October. 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 week 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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