Wondering where to send that finished manuscript or short story? Need a deadline to write towards? We’ve collated an up-to-date list of writing competitions, opportunities and awards for writers. Entries are in order of closing date.
Writing NSW Access for Regional Writers Grants
Travel grants of $300 help writers in regional NSW access professional development. Regional writers in any genre can use a grant to participate in an approved professional development event, such as a workshop or seminar, designed to further their writing skills or career as a writer.
Do you have a story to tell about growing up in diverse Australia? The SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition is a chance for budding writers to share their unique story and be in the running to win a prize pool of up to $10,000. The competition writing theme is ‘growing up in diverse Australia’ which allows plenty of scope to write a memoir piece about some aspect of your formative years.
$300 prize plus weekend residency at the KSP Writers’ Centre for open category and $100 first place prize for youth. Up to 2,500 words for adults and 1,000 for youth of original, unpublished writing with engaging characters and a compelling narrative in any fiction style or theme.
Two one-week Varuna residencies to members of Writing NSW for manuscripts, plays or poem collections. One of the fellowships is reserved for a writer under the age of 30. Open to works of fiction, creative non-fiction, a play, or a suite of poems that is ready for the next stage of development.
The fellowship provides one week of full board and accommodation at Varuna plus $350 towards travel and payment of the Varuna alumni fee of $99. Fellowship offered for manuscripts at any stage of development from writers living in the Federal Electorate of New England, who are at any point in their career and working in any form of literary creation.
A subsidised residency at Varuna and a residency at the Katharine Susannah Prichard (KSP) Writers’ Centre in Perth to be awarded to a WA novelist or short story writer who displays exceptional promise in their nominated project, in both their writing style and the premise of the work.
This prestigious poetry competition, organised by Australian Book Review, is one of Australia’s most lucrative poetry awards. First place takes $6,000 and four shortlisted poets receive $1,000. Poems should not exceed 75 lines. There is an entry fee of $25 of $15 for ABR subscribers.
The Noosa Arts Theatre Playwriting Competition aims to foster and encourage playwrights, both amateur and professional. A prize money pool of $8,000 is divided between the writers of the best three scripts, with $5,000 awarded to Best Play, while there is the stage presentation in 2021. Entry fee is $40, and a number of terms and conditions should be consulted.
The Buzz Words Short Story Prize is awarded annually to recognize excellence in short story writing for children. The stories should be appropriate for ages eight to eleven. First prize is $1,000 and second prize $500. Stories should not exceed 1,500 words. There is a fee of $10 per entry.
Magabala Books, Australia’s leading Indigenous publishing house, have opened applications for their 2020 Scholarships, and a brand-new Fellowship aimed at mid-career authors. These opportunities are available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytellers, writers, illustrators and artists.
Byron Writers Festival Members’ Mentoring Scholarships
Closing date: 21 October
Byron Writers Festival members are invited to apply for free-of-charge mentoring through the Mentoring Scholarships Program. This opportunity is for early stage writers working on a manuscript, who are seeking an initial appraisal of their work from an industry professional. There are four firsthand feedback sessions on offer, with one session reserved for an Indigenous writer. Successful applicants are awarded the mentorships based on a small sample of their work.
Aesop and The Saturday Paper have been cultural partners since 2014, promoting the written word through an annual calendar of events. Together, they nurture writers of longform non-fiction through The Horne Prize, an essay award valued at $15,000. The Horne Prize will be given for an essay of exceptional quality, of 3000 words or less.
Open to published and unpublished Australian writers, the Spark Prize offers $2000 in prize money, a six-month editorial mentorship with Hardie Grant Books and a one-week residency at RMIT’s McCraith House on the Mornington Peninsula. The three shortlisted candidates will each receive a $250 book bundle and a two-hour editorial session with the publisher.
These awards are designed to encourage Indigenous Australians from kindergarten to year 12, studying in NSW. There are three themes to write to: ‘Growing’, ‘Looking Back’ and ‘It Was So Small’. There is also a group competition for students working together.
The Robyn Mathison prize is open to all poets, and offers prize money of $200 for first prize and $50 for second prize. This year’s theme for poets to work to is ‘flora or fauna’. There is a $10 entry fee for up to two poems that can be up to forty lines each.
The Joyce Parkes prize is open to women writers in Australia. Both fiction and non-fiction entries are allowed, and must be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length. Prize money on offer is $500, while there is an entry fee of $10 per piece.
The Blackened Billy Verse Competition is open to works of bush verse that fit on one A4 piece of paper. Organised by the Tamworth Poetry Reading Group, the competition winner will be announced at Tamworth Country Music Festival. Entry fee is $10 per poem, or $20 for three.
Five fellowships, including accommodation, all meals, travel expenses and manuscript consultations, are awarded to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers from anywhere in Australia. This fellowship program is open to writers of all genres and submissions in language are welcomed.