Lightbox Originals Logo

Writing contests, competitions and opportunities – January 2019

writing opportunities, writing contests, writing competitions

Happy New Year! If one of your writing goals in 2019 is to get your work noticed, entering competitions could be a great start. They can give you an incentive to create something new, the focus to polish your work to its best and a wonderful feeling if you succeed. 

We’ve brought together January’s best competitions and opportunities, open to writers of short stories, flash fiction, poetry and books, around the world. 

You’ll find details of prizes, requirements, eligibility, entry fees (some are free) and deadlines to help you choose the right ones for you. 

DISQUIET Literary Prize

The DISQUIET Literary Prize has three categories: fiction, poetry and nonfiction. The winners’ work will be published and one grand prize winner will be awarded a full fellowship to the 2019 DISQUIET International Program in Lisbon, Portugal. Runners-up and other outstanding entrants will also be considered for financial aid. The entry fee is $15 and the deadline is 10th January.

Full details here.

Magma Poetry Competition

Enter poetry of various lengths into two categories in the Magma Poetry Competition. The Judge’s Prize for poems of 11 to 50 lines will be judged by award-winning poet, Andrew McMillan. The Editor’s Prize for poems of up to 10 lines will be judged by a panel of five Magma editors.

The top prize for both categories is £1,000, £300 for second and £150 for third. Six winning poems and five special mentions will be published in Magma and invited to be read at an event in Spring 2019.

The competition is open to poets based in and outside the UK. The entry fee for the first poem entered is £5 and additional entries cost less. The deadline is 12th January.

Full details here

Colorado Prize for Poetry

The international Colorado Prize for Poetry has a top award of $2,000USD and publication of a poetry collection by the Center for Literary Publishing. Enter a manuscript of 48-100 pages by 13th January. Entry costs $28 and includes a one-year subscription to Colorado Review.

Full details here

Writers in the Forest opportunity 

The Forestry Commission is offering a special opportunity to two talented writers with a passion for nature. They’re looking for innovative and imaginative storytelling, especially from under-represented groups. You’ll get £2,500, unique access to forests, development opportunities and promotional support. It’s free to apply by 14th January.

Full details here

Writer’s Digest Short Story Competition

Writer’s Digest has extended the deadline for its Short Story Competition to 14th January. Submit up to 1,500 words for a chance to win $3,000USD, publication in Writer’s Digest magazine and a paid trip to the publication’s popular conference. You can enter from most countries around the world. The first story submitted costs $30 and additional entries are slightly less.

Full details here.

The Cambridge Short Story Prize

The Cambridge Short Story Prize is open for entries from writers worldwide until 15th January. The prize fund is £1,750 and all shortlisted writers will be published in an anthology. 

Entries cost £8. In celebration of the organisers’ links to the Dhaka Literary Festival, writers living in Bangladesh will be eligible for a special prize of £250 and will receive free entry.

Full details here.

The Nine Dots Prize

The Nine Dots Prizeawards creative thinking that tackles contemporary societal issues. Entrants need to respond to the question: “Is there still no place like home?” within 3,000 words. 

The winner will receive $100,000USD to write a short book expanding on their ideas. Submit a response to the question, a structure for a proposed book and a statement outlining how it would be completed within seven months by 21st January. Entry is free.

Full details here.

Well Review Poetry Prize

The inaugural Well Review Poetry Prizewill award the best single poem with €1,000. Second prize is €500 and third, €250. Winning entries will also be published in The Well Review. The judge is poet, Ishion Hutchinson, author of two poetry collections and the recipient of several awards. The first entry costs €8 and there are further price bands for submitting multiple poems. The deadline is 26th January.

Full details here.

Retreat West First Chapter Competition

The Retreat West First Chapter Competition offers the winner the opportunity to have a submission package reviewed by literary agent, Sarah Hornsley (née Manning). Sarah is looking for commercial and accessible literary adult fiction, YA and nonfiction, including uplifting women’s fiction in the reading group space as well as emotional love stories. She represents high-concept thrillers and crime books full of twists and turns with interesting settings and speculative fiction. There are also review opportunities for the runner-up and shortlisted authors. Entry costs £10 and the competition is open until 27th January.

Full details here.

Stratford Literary Festival and Salariya Picture Book Prize

Have you written a wonderful story suitable for children aged 0-5 years? Or are you an illustrator who can create charming images for this age group? The Stratford Literary Festival and Salariya Picture Book Prize is open to both authors and illustrators who have not yet been published and are based in the UK or Ireland.

The top prize includes £1,000, career advice from a leading children’s book agent and publicity through the Stratford Literary Festival. Salariya Books imprint, Scribblers, will also have an option to publish the winning story. Entry is free and open until 31st January.

Full details here.

Iowa Review Awards

The Iowa Review is inviting submissions to The Iowa Review Awards, a writing contest covering poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Winners will be awarded $1,500USD and the first runners-up $750 as well as publication.

Submit up to 25 pages of prose or 10 pages of poetry by 31st January. Work must be unpublished and costs $20 to enter. This year’s judges are Kiki Petrosino (poetry), Rebecca Makkai (fiction), and Roxane Gay (nonfiction).

Full details here.

Fish Publishing Short Memoir Prize

Write a piece about your life and enter it into the Fish Publishing Short Memoir Prize by 31st January for a chance to win €1,000. The second prize is a writer’s retreat at Casa Ana in La Alpujarra, Spain with €300 to fund travel. Third prize is €200. Ten authors will be selected for publication and will each receive five copies of the Fish Anthologyas well as an invitation to read at the West Cork Literary Festival in July.

The competition is open to writers of any nationality. Entries can be up to 4,000 words. The judge is Chrissie Gittins, author of multiple short stories, poems and radio plays.

Full details here.

The Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Open Competition

The Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Open Competition welcomes unpublished poems on any subject, in any form or style of up to 40 lines. The judge is poet Ruth O’Callaghan. It costs £5 to enter a single poem and slightly less for multiple submissions. The deadline is 31st January.

Full details here.

Lamar York Prizes for Fiction and Nonfiction

Two prizes of $1,000USD and publication in The Chattahoochee Review will be awarded to a winning story and essay as part of the Lamar York Prizes for Fiction and Nonfiction. Submit unpublished works of up to 6,000 words by 31st January. Entry costs $18 which includes a one-year subscription to The Chattahoochee Review. No theoretical, scholarly, or critical essays will be considered but all other approaches and topics are welcome.

The fiction judge is Kevin Wilson, author of several collections and the recipient of the Shirley Jackson Award. The nonfiction judge is Adriana Páramo,a cultural anthropologist, writer and women’s rights advocate who has won numerous awards and honours.

Full details here

The Short Story Project ‘New Beginnings’ Competition

Enter short stories of up to 2,500 words into The Short Story Project ‘New Beginnings’ competition for a chance to win the grand prize of $5,000USD. Second prize is $1,900 and third is $950. Entry costs $17. The deadline is 31st January.

Full details here.

Masters Review Winter Short Story Award

The Masters Review Winter Short Story Award is open internationally to new writers who have not yet published a novel or a collection with a circulation of more than 5,000 copies. 

The first prize is $3,000USD, publication on The Masters Review website and a review from multiple agencies. Second and third place stories will receive $300 and $200 respectively, publication and an agency review. The winners will be selected by author, Aimee Bender. The entry fee is $20 and the deadline is 31st January.

Full 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 Lightbox Originals and promote even more on social media.

Related Articles

Join the Discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Sign up to our inspirational, weekly newsletter (it's free) and receive a beautiful guide that will show you the magic of how just 100 words can unlock your writing dreams. You'll also receive a motivational writing calendar.