5 writing competitions to apply to in the new year

By   Hannah Bickerton 2 min read

whitefox publishing: helping brands, thought leaders and writers create beautiful bespoke books

1. Alternarratives: exploring innovation in short-form storytelling

Deadline: 13 January 2020

Prize: £15,000

Entry fee: none

Do you love writing in exciting and innovative ways? Do you want to inspire the younger generation with your words? If that is the case, Alternarratives might just be the perfect competition for you. Nesta is looking for cutting-edge story ideas that will help engage young readers (age 11-16) to read for pleasure. Ten authors will be longlisted in February, receiving a £1000 bursary and mentorship before the shortlist and the winner are announced in June.

2. Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize 2020

Deadline: 17 January 2020

Prize: £1,500

Entry fee: £12

Do you have the beginning of a novel hidden away? Don’t let it go to waste! The Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize is open to women over the age of 21 and welcomes unfinished texts. Besides the necessity for your book to ‘marry literary merit and unputdownability’, the competition’s entry requirements are wonderfully broad, welcoming all genres, from literary fiction to genre fiction, and even children’s books. Each shortlisted author will receive a half-hour one-to-one consultation with literary agents at PFD, the competition sponsors, who will give valuable editorial feedback.

3. The Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize

Deadline: 2 March 2020

Prize: £15,000 for each category

Who doesn’t get excited by a good adventure novel? If you not only love reading them, but also writing them, this is the perfect competition for you. The Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize is split into two categories – an award for the best published adventure novel and an award for the best unpublished manuscript by a debut author. The winner of the Best Unpublished Manuscript award will receive a publishing deal with Bonnier Books UK, with a writer’s advance of £15,000. For more info on perfecting your manuscript, check out this helpful post.

4. Bath Flash Fiction Award

Deadline: 16 February 2020

Prize: £1,000 first prize, £300 second prize and £100 third prize

Entry fee: £9

The Bath Flash Fiction Award offers £1,000 to the best 300-word fiction story. And yes, you read that right – 300 words is the maximum length. If you love flash fiction or are new to the genre, why not give it a try? This award runs three times per year, so if you’re not quite ready for this one you can always catch the next.

5. Comedy Women in Print Prize

Deadline: 2 March 2020

Prize: £5,000 (Unpublished Comedy Novel category)

Entry fee: £10 (Unpublished Comedy Novel category only)

The Comedy Women in Print Prize has three separate awards for female-identified (including non-binary people) authors who write comedy: published comedy novel, unpublished manuscript, and an exciting new category for published graphic novels. First prize for Unpublished Comedy Novel is a publishing deal with HarperCollins, including a £5,000 author advance, so don’t miss this fantastic opportunity.

Hannah Bickerton
Hannah Bickerton
Hannah has worked in marketing for nine years, specialising in strategy development for start-ups and EdTech companies. Having recently jumped across industries to join the Whitefox team, Hannah isn’t a complete stranger to the publishing world with previous employment at Macmillan and TES Global. She is now dedicated to ensuring that anyone who has something interesting to say knows all about whitefox.