Written by A Guest Author May 23rd, 2019

9 Free Writing Contests

Natalia Bulat

The following 9 fee free writing contests are divided into two categories, fiction and non-fiction. All contests offer cash prizes.


1. Drue Heinz Literature Prize. They consider unpublished manuscripts of short stories, two or more novellas (length of a novella is up to 130 pages) or a combination of a novella (novellas) and short stories. Stories or novellas can be previously published in magazines, journals or as a part of anthology. According to their website, ‘The award is open to writers who have published a novel or a book-length collection of fiction with a reputable book publisher, or a minimum of three short stories or novellas in magazines or journals of national distribution. Digital-only publication and self-publication do not count toward this requirement’. Every writer in English (excluding University of Pittsburgh employees, former employees, students and those who have been students within the last three years) can be a participant.

Length of a manuscript: 150-300 pages.

Prize: $15000, publication and promotion support.

Deadline: 30 June 2019.

Details: www.upress.pitt.edu/drue-heinz-literature-prize-submission-guidelines  

2. ServiceScape Short Story Award. They consider stories of any genre or theme written in English. The work must be original and unpublished. The award is open to every writer aged 18 and over, excluding ServiceScape employees and their family and household members.

Length: up to 5000 words.

Prize: $1000.

Deadline: 30 November 2019.

Details: www.servicescape.com/short-story-award  

3. Fitzcarraldo Editions Novel Prize. According to their website, they are looking for novels ‘which explore and expand the possibilities of the form, which are innovative and imaginative in style, which tackle subjects and themes relevant to the world we live in’. The novels must be original, completed, unpublished and written in English. Co-authored works are not accepted.

Length: 30000 words or more.

Prize: £3000.

Deadline: 15 July 2019.

Limitation: Only for residents of Great Britain and Ireland.

Details: https://fitzcarraldoeditions.com/prizes/novel-prize


4. CNO Naval History Essay Contest. According to their website, the CNO invites you to write an essay, which provides readers with ‘a lesson learned from history that can be applied to today’. The essay must be original, unpublished and not being under consideration for publication.

Length: up to 3,000 words.

Prizes for professional historians: $5,000 (first prize), $2,500 (second prize), $1,500 (third prize).

Prizes for rising historians: $5,000 (first prize), $2,500 (second prize), $1,500 (third prize).

Deadline: 31 May 2019.

Judging. According to their website, ‘This contest is judged in the blind. The Judging Committee will be composed of naval historians from the U.S. Naval Institute, U.S. Naval Academy, Naval War College, Naval Postgraduate School, Naval History and Heritage Command, and Office of the Chief of Naval Operations’.

Details: www.usni.org/essay-contests/cno-naval-history-essay-contest

5. 2019 Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest. According to their website, they are looking for ‘non-fiction inspirational and practical articles’ that describe authors’ experience ‘living, moving, and working abroad’. The contest is open to every writer from every location. Works must be original and unpublished. Supporting photos are welcome.

Length: 1200-1300 words.

Prizes: $500 (first place), $150 (second place), $100 (third place), $50 (for all finalists).

Deadline: 1 September 2019.


6. Cromwell Article Prize. They consider early career scholars’ articles published in the field of American legal history, excluding articles published in the Law and History Review.

Prize: $5000.

Deadline: 31 May 2019.

Details: https://aslh.net/award/cromwell-article-prize

7. Essay Writing Contest 2018/2019. They are looking for essays on the following topics:

  • The cause and effect of telling lies.
  • Growing up in poverty and the impact it has on a person.
  • How I would change the world.
  • The one thing I regret.
  • Traveling the world: how it may change a person.

The contest is open to all writers. Essays must be original, finished and written in English.

Length: 800-1000 words.

Prizes: first prize – $1000, second prize – $800, third prize – $600. In addition, the winners’ essays will be published on the website and promoted through social media.

Deadline: 31 May 2019.

Details: www.aussiewritings.com/writing-contest

8. International Essay Contest for Young People. They are looking for essays written on the theme ‘Creating a Society Full of Kindness’. The contest is open to anyone up to 25 years old. There are two categories: Children (ages up to 14) and Youth (ages 15-25). Essays must be original and unpublished. Co-authored works are not accepted.

Languages: English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese

Length: up to 700 words in English, French, Spanish or German, or up to 1600 characters in Japanese, excluding essay title and cover page.

Prizes: 1st Prize (1 entrant) – Certificate, prize of 100,000 Yen, 2nd Prize (2 entrants) – Certificate, prize of 50,000 Yen and gift, 3rd Prize (5 entrants) – Certificate and gift, Honorable Mention (25 entrants) – Certificate and gift.
Deadline: 15 June 2019.


9. Biopage Mini-Essay Writing Contest. They are looking for essays on any topic. The contest is open to everyone.

Length: up to 5,000 characters.

Prizes: $1,000 for 1st place, $200 for each of three runner-ups.

Judging. According to their website, ‘The winners will be determined by the quality of the writing, and the votes by other users’ likes and comments’.

Deadline: 30 June 2019.

Details: https://www.biopage.com/contest/biopage-mini-essay-writing-contest-6/show


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