Writer's Resources

Novel Writing Competitions 2016

Competitions for 2016 now closed. Click the link below for a massive new list of writing competitions for 2017:

Novel Writing Competitions for International & UK Writers
An up-to-date list of novel competitions for self-published and unpublished writers for 2017.



19 thoughts on “Novel Writing Competitions 2016

  1. Hi Jessica: Do you want details of International competitions you might have missed? This year I was a finalist in The Independent Author Network Awards and again in The Best Indie Book Awards – Both are International competitions with cash prizes!


    1. Thanks Philip.

      For those interested in entering – both of these awards are for published novels, and the entry fees are quite high. Judge for yourself if you think it’s worth it. (Personally, I wouldn’t at these prices.) You can find the details here:

      http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/book-of-the-year.html Deadline 1st June 2016; Fee $49

      http://bestindiebookaward.com/live/enter-the-best-indie-book-award/ Opens Jan 1st 2016; Deadline: 31st May 2016; Fee $50


  2. Interesting to note the number of competitions for ‘women novelists’ Should there be competitions open only to male writers you’d hear cries of sexism. But the other way round seems acceptable. However you look at it positive discrimination is still discrimination.


    1. I’d agree, if it weren’t for the fact that women suffer negative discrimination in regards to their writing (along with everything else). Women are more likely to struggle to get into print and once published, are more likely to have problems getting reviewed or winning awards.

      As Mslexia magazine says: “Mslexia means women’s writing (ms = woman lexia = words). Its association with dyslexia is intentional. Dyslexia is a difficulty, more prevalent in men, with reading and spelling. Mslexia is a difficulty, more prevalent in women, with getting into print. Mslexia is the complex set of conditions and expectations that prevents women, who as girls so outshine boys in verbal skills, from becoming successful authors.”

      Here’s an interesting post from The Bookseller if you’re not convinced: http://www.thebookseller.com/insight/year-women

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Robert says exactly what I was thinking reading through the list of competitions. I appreciate Jessica’s response, which I must admit goes against what I believed to be true. I thought that the area of writing was one where discrimination no longer existed but I do understand the point you are making about expectations. Let’s hope that this can be put right in future generations and the discriminatory nature of these awards, positive or not, can fade into history. Lastly, I’d just like to thank Jessica for this invaluable resource.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Jessica, The Bookseller post that you refer to is a call for male authors to be banned from being published in 2018. The ‘stark’ statistics quoted in that article to support this measure are that over the past five years only 37% of those who have selected books of the year for the Guardian have been women, only 40% of books submitted to the Man Booker were written by women.

        It may well be that some people in the publishing world have a condescending attitude to the worth of woman’s fiction (dreadful name for a genre, btw) and that is regrettable, but no more regrettable than similar attitudes to fantasy and sci fi and I don’t hear calls from these authors to have other authors banned from being published. At the end of the day, whatever the rights and wrongs of Kamilia’s arguments, her solution was disproportionate. And it is a sad day when we have one group of writers calling for other writers to be banned from publishing.

        Paradoxically, other gender biases in the publishing industry are more extreme, namely that 2/3 of The Bookseller rising stars this year were women and 0 out of 6 authors topping the best sellers list the week that article was published were men, and made me wonder why there is no call for action to address these ‘wrongs’. The answer is that most reasonable people would consider these statistics to simply reflect the quality of the people in the book industry and the quality of current best-selling authors.

        If you look at the overall numbers for fiction, a recent Bookseller article women pointed to the fact that female authors outsell and outearn their male counterparts by some considerable margin. I have no problem with that, as yet again I believe it reflects the dynamics of the marketplace and the quality of women writers.

        What is worrying to me is that despite the success of women in publishing in both the workplace and the marketplace, calls for specific access and development programmes for women writers and more gender-specific retailer promotions are increasing. The danger then is that rather than reflect the true picture on gender talent, we start to see a distorted and unfair gender profile based on initiatives like these. It would be a supreme irony if the well-intentioned efforts of people attempting to end discrimination led to the creation of a new set of biases and unfairness.

        This is, however, one gender bias that exists in the writing world that is indisputably and as a man I feel ashamed of. If you look at the people like yourself who selflessly put a lot of effort in providing resources, advice and support for fellow writers they are overwhelmingly, in fact almost exclusively, women. Because of that I’d conclude by saying that until men get better at helping others, we can’t complain too much if women decide to give platforms to other women to succeed.


        1. I agree – it shouldn’t matter what gender you are, it should be irrelevant. I think the call for no male novelists to be published in 2018 is clearly absurd – perhaps she’s just trying to make a point.

          Perhaps the condescending attitude towards women writers only comes from certain parts of the industry. As you say, there’s a lot of snobbery towards all different kinds of writing, whether written by women or men. Most of the people buying books probably couldn’t care less – they just want a good story.

          Maybe one of the reasons people feel it necessary to have ‘women only’ competitions or book prizes, etc is because, for one reason or another, many women doubt themselves and tend to hold themselves back. So introducing these apparently discriminating opportunities is a way to encourage women to write more and submit their work. In the end, it might have nothing to do with the publishing industry at all – it might just be a lack of confidence.

          Thanks for your comments, Glyn. I think a post on this subject may be in order…


  3. That’s a loooong list of contests solely for UK residents….and I can do nothing with it. 😛 I am blown away by people who can write a novel in a month for some random dare-contest. It makes my pencil shrink into nothingness.


      1. Huh? But, I saw listings of Fffff-pounds and UK whatnot. How did I…

        Ah, well. It’s not like I can focus on any of them, anyway. I have my own projects to attend. Always busy trying to craft a masterpiece. Maybe one day I’ll feel accomplished enough and not be too old to compete.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Jessica, I hope you will add A Woman’s Write to your list of annual (unpublished) novel writing competitions, open to any woman (age 18 or older) writing in English. Our last year’s winner was a UK resident, and we receive entrants from all over the world every year. The website is http://www.awomanswrite.com, and the current competition ends on November 30 (as always). This is a contest of ten year’s standing and we are proud of the assistance we give to writers, especially women writing their first novel, because every entry receives a thorough, thoughtful critique, which can open a useful dialogue. All details can be found at the website, http://www.awomanswrite.com. Thanks so much — Barbara Bamberger Scott

    Liked by 1 person


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