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Writing competitions and opportunities – August 2020

We’ve brought together August’s best writing competitions, contests and opportunities open to writers of novellas, short stories, poetry, plays and more.

All the writing opportunities 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.

Don’t forget that our submissions are also open. Details here.

Red Hen Press Novella Award

This novella award is open to previously unpublished, original works of fiction. Submit stories that are between 15,000 and 30,000 words. 

Tulip Tree Publishing contest

Enter fiction, nonfiction, poetry or any narrative of up to 1,000 words into Tulip Tree Publishing’s ‘Stories that need to be told’ contest. The judges are looking, in particular, for stories that excel in terms of humour, passion, depth and any form of love. 

Women Poet’s Prize 

The biennial, Rebecca Swift Foundation Women Poet’s Prize is open to writers living in the UK (including Northern Ireland).

Rebecca was the much-loved editor, novelist, diarist and poet as well as founder and director of The Literary Consultancy until she passed in 2017. The prize honours her passions for poetry and the empowerment of women.

To apply, submit three poems as well as statements detailing why you write poetry and what you think you would gain from the prize. 

Grayson Books Poetry Contest

Grayson Books offers two contests a year and the latest is inviting full-length collections of poetry (50 to 90 pages).

Dalkey Writing Prizes

Enter short stories of up to 2,000 words and poetry of up to 30 lines in any theme or style into this competition. Entries must not have been previously published or broadcast.

Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize

The international, Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize is open to all styles of poetry. You can submit up to three unpublished poems. Each must fit onto a 8.5 x 11 inch page. 

David Charles Horn Prize

The Yale Drama Series seeks submissions for its latest playwriting competition from writers worldwide who have not yet had a play produced. Submissions must be original full-length plays with a minimum of 65 pages. 

Palette Poetry Prize

This international competition is open to submissions of poetry written primarily in English. There are no page requirements but you can enter up to three poems. You will also need to include a brief cover letter detailing your publication history.

The competition will be judged by Pulitzer Prize winner, Forrest Gander.

Voyage First Chapters Contest 

Voyage is on the hunt for great young adult novels with a first chapter that will captivate audiences and make them want to keep reading. Submissions must be written from the point of view of a young adult and should be no more than 5,000 words.

Summer Writing Contests

Kallisto Gaia Press is running two writing contests over the summer: The Chester B. Himes Memorial Short Fiction Prize and the Julia Darling Memorial Poetry Prize. Submit fiction between 800 and 4,200 words or poems of up to 65 lines. You will also need to provide a bio detailing any previous awards or publishing credits.

Best Opening Page Competition 

Submit up to 400 words from the opening page of your novel, memoir or short story for a chance to win the Retreat West Best Opening Page Competition. 

Costa Short Story Award 

The prestigious, Costa Short Story Award is back and open to fiction of up to 4,000 words from published and unpublished writers based in the UK or Ireland. 

Once again, there is a great line up of judges including Adele Parks, Joe Haddow, Kit de Waal, Sarah Franklin and Simon Trewin. The public will read the top three stories selected by the judges and will have the chance to vote for their favourite. The winners and two runners-up will be announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in January 2021. 

Masters Review Short Story Award

This international competition is designed to support emerging writers and help them get their stories read. All stories entered are considered for publication. Submit bold, short fiction of up to 6,000 words in any style or genre. The judge is Kali Fajardo-Anstine.

That’s it for this month but do join us on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter below to make sure you don’t miss out on new opportunities. Our inspirational newsletter comes out every Monday to get each week started with a creative boost. We never bombard our readers with emails. Our wish is only to inspire and support your writing.

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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 Lightbox Originals and promote even more on social media.

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