Writing

Novel Writing Competitions List for 2019

Novel Writing Competition List. Updated 1 June 2019. These competitions are for unpublished or self-published novels and novellas for international writers, plus a few for UK residents only. It’s a long list and accurate as far as possible, updated monthly, so bookmark this page! I can’t vouch for all these comps personally, but if you have experience of them, I’d love to hear from you. Good luck!

Please be sure to check the websites for more information, submission requirements and deadlines.

Adventures in YA Publishing

Regular Contests and Workshops open to young adult, middle grade, and new adult writers. 1st Five Pages workshops run every month, and the contests are annual. Receive constructive feedback. Submissions are sent during specific time windows to be read by agents. Many contestants are asked to submit full manuscripts.

Entry Fee: Free

Deadline: ongoing – see website

Submit: varies per contest but you’ll need a strong pitch. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Adventure Writer’s Competition

Sponsored by the Clive Cussler Collector’s Society. Annual competition to recognise and celebrate adventure writing. Open to unpublished novels and published novels that have sold no more than 5,000 copies. Must be an action-adventure novel. Win $1,000 plus marketing help with your novel.

Entry Fee: $25

Deadline: 30 April 2019 *CLOSED*

Submit: complete manuscript. Check website for full submission details and rules.

A Woman’s Write

International prize for an unpublished novel written in English. Open to women only. All submissions receive a critique. Prize $500 and certificate! Runs every year and opens on 1st January.

Entry Fee: $40

Deadline: 30 November 2019

Submit: first 50 pages, a detailed synopsis and bio. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Bath Novella-in-Flash Award

Annual prize for novellas of between 6,000 and 18,000 words, where each flash (or chapter) is no more than 1,000 words. Win £300 plus publication in print and digital anthology. Two runners up receive £100 each. Any subject or theme, but must be in English and written for adults or young adults.

Entry Fee: £16

Deadline: 14 January 2019 *CLOSED*

Submit: full manuscript via email. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Bath Novel Award

International prize for aspiring and self-published novelists. Win £2,500, plus literary agent introductions. Long-listed entrants will be asked to submit their complete manuscript (min. 50,000 words). One long-listed entrant also gets access to an online editing course worth £1,800 from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.

Entry Fee: £25

Deadline: 2 June 2019

Submit: first 5,000 words and 1 page synopsis. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Bath Children’s Novel Award

International prize for aspiring and self-published writers of children’s fiction. This competition runs in rotation every other year with the Bath Novel Award for adult fiction. For all genres of chapter, middle grade and young adult novels. Opens for entries 17 June 2019.

Entry Fee: £25

Deadline: 17 November 2019

Submit: first 5,000 words and 1 page synopsis. Check website for full submission details and rules.

BPA First Novel Award

Blue Pencil Agency competition for unrepresented and unpublished authors of any genre, including YA if there’s an adult crossover. They’re looking for a strong voice and an original, unforgettable story. Win £1,000 and introduction to literary agent, Nelle Andrew. Runner up gets £250 plus manuscript review. Shortlisted entrants will be asked to submit 20,000 words.

Entry Fee: £20

Deadline: 31 May 2019 *CLOSED*

Submit: first chapter (up to 5,000 words) plus 300 word synopsis and covering letter. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Bridport Prize: Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award

Win £1,000 plus mentoring and possible publication of your first novel. Open to UK residents only. For a complete or nearly complete (min. 15,000 words) novel in any adult or young adult fiction genre. Shortlisted entrants will have to submit at least 30,000 words for final judging.

Entry Fee: £20

Deadline: 31 May 2019 *CLOSED*

Submit: the first 5,000 to 8,000 words, plus a 300 word synopsis. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Caledonia Novel Award

International competition for unpublished and self-published novels in any genre for adults or YA. Win £1,500, plus a free place on a week-long residential writing course in Scotland (for the best novel from the UK & Ireland). Long-listed entrants will be asked to submit their complete manuscript (min 50,000 words). Open for entries.

Entry Fee: £25

Deadline: 1 November 2019

Submit: the first 20 pages plus 200 word synopsis. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition

Annual competition open to unpublished and unagented writers of fiction for 7-18 year olds. Win publication with Chicken House plus advance of £10,000. All long-listed entrants receive a reader’s report. Entries should be a minimum of 30,000 words and no more than 80,000 words.

Entry Fee: £18

Deadline: 28 February 2019 *CLOSED*

Submit: full manuscript, 1 page synopsis, and cover letter. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Cinnamon Literature Award

Annual competition open to all writers, both debut and established. Submit either poetry, short stories, or a novel. There doesn’t appear to be any prizes but the winner and two runners-up will be announced on the website. Worth the entry fee? Your call…

Entry Fee: £16

Deadline: 30 November 2019

Submit: first 10,000 of your novel. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Cinnamon Pencil Mentoring Competition

The Cinnamon Press mentoring programme offers a full year of feedback on fiction or poetry. Win a free place on the Cinnamon Pencil mentoring scheme. Two runners up will receive 50% bursaries. Open to all writers, including novels, poetry and short stories. Your submission should be a work in progress and not previously published.

Entry Fee: £12

Deadline: 30 October 2019

Submit: first 10,000 words of novel or 3 short stories. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Claymore Award

Open to unpublished manuscripts in thriller, mystery, crime, Sci-Fi, fantasy, and more. Win possible publication and agent representation. This is an international competition but many of the prizes require your presence in the USA.

Entry Fee: $40

Deadline: 1 April 2019 *CLOSED*

Submit: first 50 pages and online submission form. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award

International annual competition for unpublished crime writers. Self-published writers can enter if they’ve never been traditionally published. Win £500. All shortlisted entrants receive a professional assessment of their work.

Entry Fee: £36

Deadline: 28 February 2019 *CLOSED*

Submit: first 3,000 words, a 1,500 word synopsis, plus entry form. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Exeter Novel Prize

International annual competition open to writers who don’t have an agent and are not currently under contract with a publisher. Win £500. Five runners up receive £75. All genres except children’s, but they will accept YA.

Entry Fee: £18

Deadline: 1 January 2019 *CLOSED*

Submit: first 10,000 words, including 500 word synopsis. Check website for full submission details and rules.

First Novel Prize

Daniel Goldsmith Associates literary prize for unpublished and self-published novelists. Win £1,000 for a novel of at least 50,000 words in any adult genre.

Entry Fee: £25

Deadline: 31 May 2019 *CLOSED*

Submit: full manuscript plus synopsis. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Flash 500 Novel Opening Chapter Competition

Annual competition for unpublished novels to be judged by senior editors at Accent Press. Win £500. Runner up £200.

Entry Fee: £10

Deadline: 31 October 2019

Submit: opening chapter of no more than 3,000 words, plus 1 page synopsis. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Greenhouse Funny Prize

Run by Greenhouse Literary Agency for writers of funny books for children. Open to residents of the UK, Europe and the Commonwealth (excluding Canada) only. Win a meeting with Greenhouse and Faber plus other prizes. Any age group and genre as long as it’s funny.

Entry Fee: Free

Deadline: 30 September 2018 *CLOSED*

Submit: the whole book if finished or first chapter plus 1 page synopsis. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Historical Novel Society New Novel Award

Open to historical novels of any genre, as long as the story is set at least fifty years ago. The novel must not be under contract with a publisher, but self-published novels are accepted. Your novel doesn’t have to be completed, but must be at least 60,000 words long. Win £2,000. Opening TBC.

Entry Fee: $40 ($20 for members)

Deadline: TBC

Submit: first 5,000 words plus 500 word synopsis. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Impress Prize for New Writers

International annual prize for debuts from unpublished novelists and non-fiction writers. Your entry should be developed enough that it could be published within a year. Win publication by Impress Books plus £500 advance. Open for entries.

Entry Fee: £25

Deadline: 30 June 2019

Submit: sample chapter (no more than 6,000 words) plus book proposal. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Jhalak Prize

Annual prize for a published or self-published book by a BAME writer. Open to UK residents only. All genres including fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, children’s and YA. The aim is to find the best writers of colour in the country. Win £1,000.

Entry Fee: Free

Deadline: 15 December 2018 *CLOSED*

Submit: two copies of the book by post or ebook via email. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Katherine Paterson Prize

Run by Hunger Mountain, the VCFA Journal for the Arts. Win $1,000 and publication in the journal; also 3 category winners of $100 each and publication. Entry can be a short story or novel extract, but the extract must stand alone and be unpublished.

Entry Fee: $20

Deadline: 1 March 2019 *CLOSED*

Submit: full piece under 10,000 words and cover letter. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Kelpies Prize

Run by Floris Books for fiction in any genre aimed at children as long as the novel is set in Scotland and has Scottish characters or themes. You need to submit three pieces of writing which demonstrate your imagination, writing style and range. Win £1,000 plus mentoring and publication in the Kelpies range, and a week-long writing retreat.

Entry Fee: Free

Deadline: 28 February 2019 *CLOSED*

Submit: first five chapters, a short synopsis for a different book, plus another piece of writing. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize

Open to women novelists over the age of 21 for unpublished novels, including children’s and YA, but not picture books. UK residents only. Win the opportunity to attend a networking dinner plus editorial consultation. All shortlisted entrants also receive the editorial consultation.

Entry Fee: £12

Deadline: 8 February 2019 *CLOSED*

Submit: first 50 pages, plus up to 10 page synopsis. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Mslexia Children’s Novel Competition 

Alternates each year with the Mslexia Novel Competition for adult readers. For unpublished novels by women for YA or children, at least 30,000 words. Win £5,000, all finalists get feedback on their manuscript plus invite to networking event in London.

Entry Fee: £25

Deadline: 1 October 2018 *CLOSED*

Submit: first 5,000 words. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Mslexia Adult Novel Competition

Open to unpublished women novelists writing in any genre for adult or young adult readers. Your novel must be at least 50,000 words. Win £5,000, plus feedback and introductions to agents and editors at a networking event in London. Four finalists will also receive feedback and attend the networking event. Longlisted entrants will be asked to submit the full manuscript in February 2020.

Entry Fee: £25

Deadline: 30 September 2019

Submit: first 5,000 words. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Myriad First Drafts Competition

Looking for exceptional new voices. Open to unpublished writers for a novel or short story collection. Women writers of African heritage or descent only. Win a week-long writing retreat in West Dean College near Chichester (UK), plus editorial feedback from the judges. Winner announced November 2018. Opening TBC.

Entry Fee: £10

Deadline: TBC

Submit: 5,000 words of a work in progress plus synopsis. Check website for full submission details and rules.

New Voices Competition

Open to novelists in all genres. Win a mentoring package worth £550, including manuscript appraisal and guidance from Adventures in Fiction. Designed for first time writers in the early stages of a novel.

Entry Fee: £10

Deadline: 14 September 2019

Submit: one page synopsis and first page of the novel. Check website for full submission details and rules.

North Street Book Prize

For self-published books in various categories: Mainstream/Literary fiction, Genre fiction, Creative Non-fiction and Memoir, Poetry, and Children’s Picture Book. Win up to $3,000 plus marketing services and advice. Open to ebooks and print books. Open for entries.

Entry Fee: $60

Deadline: 30 June 2019

Submit: details on opening. Check website for full submission details and rules.

PENfro First Chapter Competition

Run by the PENfro Book Festival in Wales. Open to unpublished writers who don’t have an agent. Your novel should be for adults or young adults. Win a review of your work and a session with full feedback from literary consultants. Ten shortlisted writers will also receive a consultation.

Entry Fee: £10

Deadline: 13 July 2018 *CLOSED*

Submit: first chapter up to 3,000 words. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Rubery Book Award

International book award for independent and self-published books of poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction. All genres including children’s and young adult. Win £1,500, plus three category winners of £150 each. The winning book will be read by a leading literary agency.

Entry Fee: £37 or $60 USD

Deadline: 31 March 2019 *CLOSED*

Submit: one copy of the book, plus book blurb and entry form. See website for full submission details and rules.

SI Leeds Literary Prize

Biennial competition for Black and Asian women writers. UK Residents only. Win £3,000 for a finished novel or collection of short stories. The winner also receives a free place on an Arvon creative writing course. Loads of other prizes for runners-up, and the winner’s book will be considered for publication by Peepal Tree Press. Opens 1 January 2020.

Entry Fee: £10

Deadline: TBC

Submit: full manuscript. Check website for full submission details, rules and eligibility.

Society of Authors Awards and Prizes

Various competitions run by the Society of Authors. The Betty Trask Prize is for traditional or romantic novels by authors under the age of 35 and open to Commonwealth citizens only. Prize money of £20k to be used for foreign travel. Opening TBC.

The McKitterick Prize is for first novels by international writers over the age of 40, published or unpublished. Win £4,000 or £1,000 for runner up. Your novel must be complete before entry. Opening TBC.

The Young Writer of the Year Award is for published or self-published fiction, non-fiction or poetry by writers aged 18-35. Open to UK and Irish writers only. Win £5,000 for a work of outstanding literary merit. Open for entries.

Entry Fee: Free

Deadlines: Young Writer Award 15 June 2019

Submit: copies of the book (varies by prize) or manuscript, for McKitterick unpublished novels send the first 30 pages. Check the website for full submission details and rules.

Spotlight First Novel Competition

Open to international unpublished novelists in all genres. Win a mentoring package from Adventures in Fiction worth up to £1,270, and a page featuring your work on their website.

Entry Fee: £16

Deadline: 14 February 2020

Submit: one page synopsis and first page of the novel. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Virginia Prize for Fiction

International competition open to women novelists only. Win editorial guidance and possible publication by Aurora Metro Press. Your novel must be complete (at least 45,000 words) and never have been published or self-published. Runs every two years. Fee depends on deadline. Open for entries.

Entry Fee: £15 – £25

Deadline: Early Bird 1 June 2019; Standard 1 August 2019; Late 1 October 2019

Submit: completed novel. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize

Annual award for the best published and unpublished adventure novels. Winner of published novel receives £15,000 advance for a publishing deal. Self-published e-books are eligible. Entries must be longer than 50,000 words. Re-opens in January 2020.

Entry Fee: Free

Deadline: 1 March 2019 *CLOSED*

Submit: full manuscript as a pdf. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Yeovil Literary Prize

International writing competition judged by professional writers aimed at aspiring novelists. Win first prize £1,000, second £250, third £100. Your novel must be unpublished and must not be under consideration in any other competition. Opens 1 January each year.

Entry Fee: £12

Deadline: 31 May 2019 *CLOSED*

Submit: synopsis and first 3 chapters (up to a total of 15,000). Check website for full submission details and rules.

More competitions here:


Before entering any competition make sure you check the entry requirements and rules. If I’ve missed any good novel competitions, please let me know in the comments below…

Note: This is a list of competitions I’ve compiled from information available online. I have no connection to any of the companies. Any problems or queries should be directed to the companies concerned.

14 thoughts on “Novel Writing Competitions List for 2019

  1. Thanks a lot for this! I’ve wanted to wrap up a novel and publish for years, but I had no idea where to start.
    I have a quick question because I’m really puzzled… I assume it’s not ok to send more than one competition / publishers at the same time, the way we do when we apply for many jobs and do interviews. Is that right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some competitions won’t allow you to submit to more than one at a time, but others don’t mind. You’ll need to read all the terms and conditions and double check before you enter. Then again, it depends whether you think you could win – if you don’t win, it doesn’t matter! A tricky call.

      As for publishers and agents, I think they accept the fact that you’ll be submitting to multiple organisations at the same time. You can wait months to hear back from people, and sometimes they don’t get back to you at all. So for publishers and agents, best practice is to send stuff out in batches of 5-10, then wait a few months and send out another batch… Then again, it’s always a good idea to double check their submission process too, just in case.

      Hope that helps – and good luck!

      Like

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