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Connect with us, writing contests & publication opportunities for youth.

Girls Write Now is a dynamic, multi-generational community of writers on a mission. For more than 20 years, our nationally award-winning programs have provided creative, critical and digital writing training, college and career readiness, personalized mentoring and massive opportunities for the next generation of leaders.

Know about a great writing contest for teens or young adults? Feel free to reach out to Sally Familia at [email protected] .


Approaching writing contests can be overwhelming. Where do you even start?

  • Submittable.com is a great source for perusing around different writing contests. From annual contests to general submissions and publications, Submittable is a place where many journals and literary organizations list their search for unpublished writing of all genres! Once you set up a Submittable account, you’ll even have a neat little dashboard to keep all your submissions in order. No mess = less stress!

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These select contests are not only specific to youth, but they will also come and go faster than you can spell “onomatopoeia.” Check back periodically for new contests throughout the year!

If you write historical or mythology-inspired short fiction, and are 18 years old or above, you can enter a story of between 1,500 and 2,000 words to win some great prizes from World History Encyclopedia and Oxford University Press! Make sure it’s set before 1939, the current cut-off date for World History Encyclopedia. Submission Deadline: October 7, 2023.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand is a provocative novel that presents one of the most challenging ideas in all of fiction—that man’s ego is the fountainhead of human progress. Enter the Fountainhead  Essay Contest to win a $5,000 prize! Follow the instructions on the website to receive more information on how to apply.

The nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens, The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards recognizes art in 28 categories. Students will first apply for regional awards, and those that receive a Gold Key will be judged in the national competition. Find your region to determine your deadline and learn more about submitting at: https://www.artandwriting.org/awards/how-to-enter/ . When you apply, make sure to identify Girls Write Now as your organization. Click here for more details about how to have your fee waived as a Girls Write Now mentee.

The New York State (NYS) Youth Poet Laureate Program aims to identify young writers and leaders committed to creating change through civic engagement and poetic excellence. Along with the official title and a cash prize of $500, the NYS Youth Poet Laureate gets both high-level performance and learning opportunities and the chance to apply to be the National Youth Poet Laureate.

Select Annual Contest Schedules

Bennington’s Young Writers Awards exists to promote excellence in writing at the high school level. Included genres are poetry, fiction and nonfiction. A first, second, and third place winner is selected in each category. The details below can be found on their Submittable page at https://www.bennington.edu/events/young-writers-awards .

Awards & Rules First-place winners in each category are awarded a prize of $1,000; second-place winners receive $500; third-place winners receive $250.

There is no entry fee.

All entries must be original work reviewed, approved and sponsored by a high school teacher. We will use your sponsoring teacher as a contact for the competition should we have any questions. For homeschooled students, please contact a mentor to sponsor your writing.

Young Writers Award finalists and winners are also eligible for undergraduate scholarships at Bennington. YWA finalists who apply, are admitted, and enroll at Bennington will receive a $10,000 scholarship every year for four years, for a total of $40,000. YWA winners who apply, are admitted, and enroll at Bennington will receive a $15,000 scholarship every year for four years, for a total of $60,000.

Black Lawrence Press has annual awards and competitions for a variety of genres. The schedule below, as well as individual descriptions for each award, can be found on their Submittable page at https://blacklawrencepress.submittable.com/submit . The Big Moose Prize: Open December 1 – January 31 (Open competition, novels) The Hudson Prize: Open February 1 – March 31 (Open competition, poetry and short story collections) The Spring Black River Chapbook Competition : Open April 1 – May 31 (Open competition, poetry and prose chaps) Open Reading Period 1: Between June 1 – June 30 The St. Lawrence Book Award: Open July 1- August 31 (First book competition, poetry and short story collections) The Fall Black River Chapbook Competition: Open September 1 – October 31 (Open competition, poetry and prose chaps) Open Reading Period 2: Between November 1 – November 30 (Please note that Black Lawrence Press occasionally offers early bird specials on their contests. These specials allow authors to submit their manuscripts ahead of time at a discounted rate.)

The 2024 Ocean Awareness Contest –  Tell Your Climate Story  – encourages you to become a climate witness and share your own unique climate story. We are asking you to creatively express your personal experiences, insights, or perceptions about our changing climate reality. Use this opportunity to learn about the climate crisis and how it impacts your family and community, and to examine your individual responses to our evolving world. Learn more at  http://www.bowseat.org/contest .

This Goi Peace Foundation essay contest aims to inspire society to learn from the young minds and to think about how each of us can make a difference in the world. This year’s theme challenges writers to explore their values, and how those values shape their lives. Three winners will be selected, with cash prizes of up to $840. To learn more, visit https://www.goipeace.or.jp/en/work/essay-contest/ .

The American Writers Museum, John Estey Student Writing Competition, has opened its 4th annual student writing competition. To learn more, visit American Writers Museum

Using the prompt MY NOTE TO THE WORLD as a springboard, we invite you to imagine you’re onstage and the world is listening: what challenge do you feel compelled to address creatively and in your unique voice? Students from the US and internationally, grades 9–12, are eligible to submit to the contest. Winners and finalists, along with their teacher representatives, will be asked to provide identification. Learn more here: https://www.narrativemagazine.com/narrative-for-schools/ninth-annual-contest


THE ADROIT JOURNAL  is run by high school students, college students, and emerging writers. Adroit publishes within “over 21” and “under 21” categories, so your writing will appear alongside great work by writers of any age. Adroit publishes fiction and poetry, and includes art and photography. They will reopen our submission reading period in January 2021. Find them online at:  http://www.theadroitjournal.org/

AFFINITY MAGAZINE works to spotlight teen voices about current events. We find that the media sometimes forgets the voices of teens on many topics! So we are here to give them a voice. Affinity Magazine allows you to get your writing published and read by thousands of people! You can get your work published and sharpen up on your writing so you can write for The New York Times one day (hopefully!!). For ages 13-20. Visit http://affinitymagazine.us/write-for-us/ for more information on all the different

AGNI  is Boston University’s well-respected journal. It appears in both print and online. AGNI submissions are not limited to high school writers, but the journal is known to accept and publish lots of work by new writers. Get published in high school at AGNI and you’ve taken an important step to becoming a writer in the real world! Find them online at:  http://www.bu.edu/agni/submit.htm

THE ALCOTT YOUTH MAGAZINE is a magazine devoted to sharing the written perspectives of young people. The magazine publishes work on a variety of topics, including current events, young adult life, and women’s rights issues. Published works are primarily focused on young women from ages thirteen to twenty-two. However, anyone who is interested in sharing their voice is encouraged to submit to the magazine, regardless of age or gender. The Alcott Youth Magazine is open to publishing articles, essays, short stories, illustrations, cartoons, photographs, or any other works. Visit https://www.alcottmagazine.com/submit

THE AUDACITY is Roxanne Gay’s bi-monthly newsletter where she features emerging writers with fewer than three article/essay/short story publications and no published books or book contracts. The Audacity features only non-fiction and is particularly interested in literary essays and memoir. All essays are paid a flat fee of $2,000. For more information, visit https://gay.submittable.com/submit

BLUE MARBLE publishes four times a year and accepts submissions of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, essays, opinion pieces, travel writing, photography and art on a rolling basis. Blue Marble looks for new work from writers ages 13-21 that hasn’t been published anywhere else either online or in print. For more details on how to submit your work, visit https://bluemarblereview.com/submit/ .

DIALOGUE HUMANITIES is an online, biannual journal that publishes high quality, humanities-focused essays written by middle and high school students. Essays will be reviewed by a panel of experts in various humanities-based fields and will be chosen based on the strength of the writing, the author’s familiarity with his or her chosen topic, and the appropriateness of the essay’s content. Dialogue Humanities Review aims to include academic essays from a wide variety of fields, including but not limited to: African-American Studies; American Studies; Anthropology; Archaeology; Art Criticism, History, and Theory; Classics; Ethics; Ethnic Studies; Folklore; Geography; History; History and Ethics of Science; International Studies; Jurisprudence; Languages and Linguistics; Literature; Music History and Criticism; Philosophy; Political Science; Psychology; Religion and Comparative Religion; Sociology; Social Sciences; Theatre History and Criticism; and Women’s Studies. If selected, authors will be asked to revise their essays to ready it for publication. Please visit http://dialoguehumanitiesreview.org/about/ or contact Jessica Rafferty at [email protected] for more information.

ÉLAN LITERARY MAGAZINE accepts original fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, plays, and all kinds of art from students ages 14-18 in locations internationally. Élan produces two online editions a year, one in the Fall/Winter and another in the Spring/Summer. The two editions are combined into a single Print Edition each Summer. For more information on how to submit, visit: https://www.elanlitmag.com/submit .

EMBER only publishes twice a year, but this beautiful and dreamy journal of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction appeals to all age groups. Although it doesn’t exclusively publish young writers, submissions from writers and artists ages 10 to 18 are strongly encouraged. Submissions open March 1, 2023 . For more details, visit them online at:  http://emberjournal.org/ .

ENOUGH PLAYS is taking submissions from teen writers (ages 13-19) of 10-MIN PLAYS confronting the issue of gun violence. Six plays will be selected by a panel of astonishing writers to be published and performed nationwide and the writers will receive $500. Deadline for submissions is April 20, 2023 . Visit them online: https://www.enoughplays.com/amplify

GIRLS RIGHT THE WORLD  is a literary journal inviting young, female-identified writers and artists, ages 14–21, to submit work for consideration for the fourth annual issue. They believe girls’ voices transform the world for the better. We accept poetry, prose, and visual art of any style or theme. Girls Right The World ask to be the first to publish your work in North America; after publication, the rights return to you. Please include a note mentioning your age, where you’re from, and a bit about your submission. Send your best work, in English or English translation, to [email protected] between September 1 and December 31. 

HANGING LOOSE PRESS has had a section of high school writing in their issues since 1968. Hanging Loose has long been known for its special interest in new writers. This press reads manuscripts throughout the year, accepting poetry and prose. For more details on the submission process, visit https://www.hangingloosepress.com/submissions/ .

HELLOGIGGLES a positive online community for female-identifying readers (although others are always welcome!) covering the latest in beauty and style, relationships, career and money, culture, identity, and more. Featuring a mix of news, personal essays, reported features, and service, we’re committed to providing our readers with smart, thoughtful, and relatable content representing a range of voices. We were founded by Zooey Deschanel, Molly McAleer, and Sophia Rossi in 2011 as a place on the Internet to inspire a smile, and years later, we’re still doing just that. for ages 14 and up

HOT DISH MAGAZINE , an online journal serving up a bubbling mixture of poetry and fiction by teens (grades 9–12), wants your voice to be heard! We award cash prizes for fiction, poetry, and the Hot Dish Challenge. Our submission period is October-January. Visit us at  www.hotdishmagazine.com . 

ICE LOLLY REVIEW:  Ice Lolly Review accepts a variety of pieces including, creative nonfiction, fiction, haikus, poems, plays, spoken word, and etc. They are looking for pieces that have a strong, solid voice and aren’t afraid of delving into deep topics. For more details, go to  https://www.icelollyreview.com/submissions .

jGIRLS   MAGAZINE:   jGirls Magazine accepts submissions on an ongoing basis from self-identifying Jewish teenage girls and gender-expansive youth ages 13-19. You can submit articles, essays, fiction, poetry, cultural reviews, humor, photographs, music, videos, artwork and other creative materials. You can submit as often as you’d like. For more details, visit  https://jgirlsmagazine.org/submission-guidelines/ .

KIDSPIRIT is a nonprofit online magazine and community by and for youth to engage each other about life’s big questions in an open and inclusive spirit. Its mission is to promote mutual understanding among 11- to 17-year-olds of diverse backgrounds and support their development into world citizens with strong inner grounding. KidSpirit is in syndication on the Huffington Post and Spirituality & Practice and has won numerous awards from major educational, parenting, and spiritual organizations. Visit the Get Involved section to learn more about publishing your work, becoming an editor, or facilitating a conversation about one of the 50 themes KidSpirit contributors have explored: https://kidspiritonline.com/get-involved/

THE LUMIERE REVIEW is a literary magazine dedicated to shining the light on all voices through poetry, prose, and art. General submissions are now open. Submissions to the forthcoming Issue 08 of The Lumiere Review in poetry, prose (creative fiction and non-fiction), and all forms of art can be sent to [email protected]. Details on how to submit and format your work can be found at: https://lumierereview.com/submit .

THE MORGAN LIBRARY & MUSEUM : invites middle and high school students to enter the Morgan’s Teen Writing contest with a first-person poem or narrative telling a story from the perspective of a hero or heroine. Submission deadline is February 24, 2023. Written work should be submitted using this online form . Submissions must be written in English. Works can contain mature themes but inappropriate or graphic content is subject for removal. More details can be found at: https://www.themorgan.org/education/writing-contest

POLYPHONY LIT:  invites submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction from high school students worldwide. Student editors provide feedback to all submissions, including the ones not accepted for publication. Submissions are open from February 1-28, 2022 and June 1-30, 2022. More details can be found at  https://www.polyphonylit.org/.

TEEN INK is one of the most popular and diverse writing spaces to get published in high school. The broad categories for publication reflect the diversity of writing that this lively online magazine celebrates. Some publication categories include: community service, travel and culture, the environment, health, reviews of TV shows and video games, and college essays, among the more traditional poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Visit online at:  http://www.teenink.com

THE TRAILBLAZER LITERARY MAGAZINE is an international high school publication dedicated to push for cultural diversity through creative writing. For general submissions, the magazine accepts fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction all year, from middle and high school students between 14 and 18 years old. In addition, they host the Cultural Heritage Writing Contest, which welcomes submissions about the young creatives’ cultural background, ancestry, values, customs, etc. Visit online at: https://www.thetrailblazerreview.com/ TRAVELNITCH was founded in 2018 to encourage a love of travel and make it more accessible to all families. Travelnitch believes travel has the power to changes lives, open minds, and build stronger communities. They love to feature new & aspiring travel writers who can delight and entertain readers. They currently need support developing family-centric travel content to engage kids (and sometimes parents) in fun and innovative ways.  If you are a writer who loves to travel, this could be the perfect fit for you—turn your own passion into an inspiring story for our readers! https://travelnitch.org/writers/storyteller-spotlight/

TYRIAN INK is an independent LGBTQIA+ press that is dedicated to uplifting youth voices. TYRIAN INK is currently open to chapbook manuscripts of any genre (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, hybrid, etc) with a minimum of 30 pages and a maximum of 50 pages in length. Please only submit if you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community and are 22 or below. Writers will be paid $250 for their manuscripts and receive a percent of royalties for every chapbook sold. https://tyrianinkpress.com/home/submission-guidelines/

Auroras & Blossoms’ third annual PoArtMo Anthology , gives a voice to people whose stories and/or art seek to nurture hope and optimism. Writers of poetry, short stories, flash fiction, essays, and six-word stories are all encouraged to send in their work! To read more about The PoArtMo Anthology, visit the Auroras and Blossoms Anthology guidelines page at https://abpositiveart.com/youth .


Hedgebrook’s mission is to support visionary women-identified writers,18 and older, whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. Writers must be women, which is inclusive of transgender women and female-identified individuals.

Hedgebrook’s Writer-in-Residence Program supports writers from all over the world for fully-funded residencies of two to four weeks (travel is not included and is the responsibility of the writer to arrange and pay for). Up to 6 writers can be in residence at a time, each housed in their own handcrafted cottage. They spend their days in solitude – writing, reading, taking walks in the woods on the property or on nearby Double Bluff beach. In the evenings, “The Gathering” is a social time for residents to connect and share over their freshly prepared meals.

Writers can apply here for a residency in Fiction, Non-fiction, Playwriting, Poetry, Screenwriting/TV Writing, or Songwriting. Read more and apply at https://www.hedgebrook.org/writers-in-residence.

MacDowell’s mission is to nurture the arts by offering creative individuals an inspiring environment in which they can produce enduring works of the imagination. We encourage applications from artists representing the widest possible range of perspectives and demographics, and who are investigating an unlimited array of inquiries and concerns.

MacDowell  is currently accepting applications for the Spring Summer 2023 residency season (March – August 2023). Learn more at https://macdowell.slideroom.com/#/Login.

The NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship is a $8,000 unrestricted cash grant available to artists living in New York State and/or one of the Indian Nations located therein. This grant is awarded in fifteen different disciplines over a three-year period (five categories a year) and the application is free to complete. The NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship is not a project grant, but is intended to fund an artist’s vision or voice, at all levels of their artistic development.

Learn more at https://www.nyfa.org/awards-grants/artist-fellowships/ .

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Me and my family.

Get your reception pupils drawing with this brand-new art competition!

Closing Date Friday 22nd December 2023

Primary 5-7

The spook squad (for 5-11 year-olds).

What lurks in your child's imagination...? Get them involved today in this ghost story writing competition for writers aged 5-11 years!

Open All Year

An engaging creative writing competition that will inspire 4-7 year-olds to get writing about superhero animals!

Primary 7-12

Crazy creatures 2023.

Let your pupils' imaginations run wild as they create a crazy creature and then write a story about it in up to 100 words!

Secondary 11-18

Fright club (12-18 year-olds).

11-18 Years

What lurks in your imagination...? Get involved today in this ghost story writing competition for writers aged 12-18 years!

Inspire your students to become confident writers as they imagine the consequences of The Glitch.

Winter Wonderland 2024

Whatever your thoughts about wintertime, write a poem in any style and let us know!

Closing Date Thursday 29th February 2024

Key Stage 1 Winners

View our winning poetry & writing entries for Key Stage 1 competitions.

Key Stage 2 Winners

View our winning poetry & writing entries for Key Stage 2 competitions.

Upload Entries

Send your school or individual entries to use here!

Competition Planner

Our national writing competitions run throughout the academic year for primary and secondary schools.

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Recommended reading books for primary & secondary aged children in the UK

Home » Competitions for Children » Children’s Writing Competitions

Children’s Writing Competitions

Writing competitions for children in the UK

Young writer’s competitions for children and teens aged 5-18

Please read our list of writing competitions for children. The contests are checked and updated each month . We are happy to feature writing challenges open to primary-age children, secondary-age pupils, and young adults in the UK. If you would like your competition featured here, please contact us . We are happy to feature competitions with at least one month remaining before the closing date. We have also compiled a list of recommended creative writing manuals and writing workshop activity guides suitable for use with KS1, KS2, KS3, and KS4 at the bottom of this page.

New competitions are listed at the top of each month. Past and annual competitions are listed below .

Writing competitions for children and teens

Please note – many previously annual competitions have been affected by lockdown/COVID/cost of living crisis. This is beyond our control.

Scholastic books for children and teachers. Discounts available.

Closing date in December

  • Love Letters to London , run by the London Society, offers children aged 11 and under and 12-18 year-olds the opportunity to win cash prizes by entering prose (fiction, essays, and reportage) or poetry that celebrates ‘our wonderful, fantastic, infuriating city’. Full details, including this year’s theme, can be found on the competition website.
  • Into Film awards will hopefully return in 2024. See also the ‘Film of the Month’ competition and the extensive resources to encourage school film clubs.

Closing date in January

  • This Page is Printed offers an under-18s competition with cash prizes for entries of up to one page of A4 ‘in any genre: prose, poetry, script’. Judges will be looking for ‘something that dares to be different.’
  • The Young Cartoonist Awards have an under-18 category where children and teens can enter ‘pocket (gag) cartoons, political cartoons and short strip cartoons.’
  • The Cheshire Prize for Literature invites primary and secondary-aged students to enter short stories, poetry, children’s literature and scriptwriting. To qualify, entrants ‘must live or have lived, work or have worked, studied or have studied in Cheshire, Wirral, Warrington or Halton.’
  • The Royal Mint Museum short story competition – will return in January 2024.
  • The Japan Society runs the World Children’s Haiku Contest . Students aged 15 and under can enter a haiku on A4 or letter-sized paper on the theme of “family”, accompanied by hand-drawn artwork on the same page. Full details are available on the competition website.
  • The Immerse Essay Competition offers teens aged 13-18 the opportunity to write an essay choosing from a range of topics including architecture, science, law, international relations, medicine, economics, creative writing and many more. There are two age groups: 13-15 and 16-18. The deadline is 4th January.
  • North Eastern University London is running an essay competition for students in year 12. Pupils can submit up to 1,500 words, choosing from a range of set essay titles that span a broad range of topics including humanities, philosophy, social issues, the law and creative writing. There are cash prizes for the top three entries and the closing date is 16th January.
  • The Korean Spirit & Culture Promotion Project Essay Contest is an international competition open to children in two age group categories: years 6-9 and years 10-13. There are cash prizes for the top three entries and honourable mentions in each category. Full entry details are available on this information poster . All submissions must be submitted by 15th January.
  • The Herne Hill Lit Fest is running a “Stepping into Stories” competition for children aged 4-7, 8-11 and 12+. The theme is “ bouncing back “. Entries can be written stories, drawings, comic strips, poetry, raps, or digital animations. There are book token prizes for the winners and the closing date is 14th January.
  • Bournemouth Young Writers prize – open to children in years 3&4, and years 5&6 and stories can be “ about anything you like “. Prizes include £150 worth of books. The closing date is 16th January.
  • Rotary Club International Young Writer competition.

Closing date in February

  • The Elmbridge Literary Competition is open to children under 18 (free) in four age group categories: 5-7; 8-11; 11-13 and 14-18. The theme for 2024 is “Fame”. Short stories or poems can be entered. Full entry details and requirements can be viewed on the competition website.
  • Perse Research’s Year 9 Aristotelian Award is open to students in Year 9 or equivalent. The award exists to “ promote the independent study skills in Year 9 pupils while simultaneously providing an avenue to explore super-curricular interests in the arts, humanities and sciences. ” Entrants are invited to write an 800-1500 word essay choosing a title from a choice of topics and essay titles spanning arts, humanities and the sciences.
  • The Canterbury Tales Writing Competition – annual – open to all children of school age, including school and college pupils, home-educated children and entries from young people’s community organisations. There are three age categories: 5-10; 11-14 and 15-18. The 2024 theme is “ Being Part of a Group “.
  • Bright Light Education Creative Writing Competition for children aged 7-13. This annual competition returns in 2023 and is open to all children in the UK, with three age categories – 7-9, 9-11 and 11-13. Entries need to be a 500-word story (full criteria on the website) inspired by Joseph Coelho’s advice on the website.  Closes on February 28th.
  • The Royal Society of Literature invites students aged 13-18 to write up to 500 words about “ the writer from the past that most inspires them “. Prizes for the “ History is in the Making ” competition include book tokens for both entrants and the school, and the closing date is 10th February.
  • The Hugo Young Award – held in memory of Guardian political columnist Hugo Young, this competition encourages “fresh voices” aged 16-18 and 19-25 from UK state schools to pen political opinion pieces. Highly recommended for students studying A-level politics, sociology or looking towards a career in journalism.
  • Voices – a writing competition, run by the charity Coram Voice, which is open to children and young people who are in or have experience with the care system.
  • Christopher Tower Poetry Prize – open to young adults aged 16-18.

Closing date in March

  • Humanimal Trust Creative Awards 2023 – children and teens aged 7-18 can share their creative skills on the theme of ‘ Connectivity ‘ and/or ‘ One Medicine’  in four age group categories: 7-11; 12-14; 15-16 & 17-18. Full details are on the competition website.
  • Young Songwriter 2023 – “ The world’s leading songwriting competition for young aspiring songwriters, aged 8-18 “. Children are invited to enter up to five songs. There are three age group categories for UK children and teens: 8-12; 13-15 & 16-18. Full details are on the Song Academy website.
  • The BBC Young Reporter Competition is open to children and teens aged 11-18 who “want to report on a story or issue which is important to their life or the world around them”.
  • Young Financial Journalist Competition – open to secondary students aged 14-15, 15-15, 16-17 and 18-19. “We are seeking well-argued articles from students aged 14–19”. The closing date is 18th March.
  • Fitzwilliam College Cambridge is running a series of essay competitions aimed at pupils in their penultimate year of education before university – i.e. Year 12, S5 or Y13 (Northern Ireland). Entries (written in English) are welcome from around the world. With six categories: Ancient World and Classics, Archaeology, History, Land Economy, Medieval World, and Architecture; this competition is highly recommended for 6th formers and could provide useful evidence for university applications, a starting point for an EPQ project, or a talking point for an admissions interview. The deadline is 3rd March.
  • Chiltern Bookshops is running a children’s writing competition open to reception, year 1 and year 2 children; years 3-6; and 11-16-year-olds in secondary schools. Full details of word limits and story titles are on the website. The competition will be judged by Cressida Cowell. The closing date is 12th March.
  • The BBC Young Writer’s Award – is open to 14-18-year-olds who can submit a piece of original fiction of up to 1000 words. Highly recommended.
  • The Portico Sadie Massey Awards feature two competitions open to children. There’s the KS2, KS3, KS4, and KS5 Young Readers Competition (write a book review – any genre – on any subject) and the Young Writers competition, open to pupils in KS3,4&5 (write a story based in the North of England.)
  • The Girton College Humanities Writing Competition – open to Year 12 students in the UK, the writing task is based on five objects in the college’s antiquities museum.
  • The Royal Mint runs an annual competition for primary school pupils aged 8-11 who can enter short stories of up to 500 words. Prizes include books for the school library. For this year’s theme and entry details, see the competition website.
  • The Lowry’s Creative Writing Challenge is open to children aged 7-11 from across Salford and Greater Manchester. “ Pupils can draw on all aspects of writing for performance “, and enter writing of up to 500 words including poetry and stories or up to three minutes of playscript.

Closing date in April

  • Warwick University offers Year 11 and Year 12 students the opportunity to write a response to one of three questions on the theme of Global Sustainable Development . Students can enter essays, podcasts, photographic presentations or an artistic expression and commentary.
  • In association with The Times and FIPP, Pitch Magazine is running a Young Sports Journalist competition . Students aged 14-24 can enter an article of 700-800 words in response to the question prompts on the website. There are four age group categories: 14-17, 17-19, 19-21 and 21-24 and there’s a £150 prize for each winning entry.
  • Tadpole Press is running a worldwide 100-word writing contest open to writers of all ages. 100 words can be submitted in any genre. There is an entry fee for this competition and there’s a cash prize for 1st place and writing coaching and editing packages for the 2nd and 3rd places. The deadline is 30th April.
  • UK-RAS is running ‘ Once Upon a Robot ‘ – an up to 800-word short story competition for 7-11-year-olds in the UK. Children are invited to write a story – in any genre – involving a robot.
  • The Writing Bee organised by Boom Writer offers children an exciting opportunity for children attending schools or those who are learning at home. The competition runs from January to April as an in-school contest, and from April to May as an online competition.
  • Author of Tomorrow – run by the Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation, the Author of Tomorrow prize aims to find adventure writers of the future. Young people under 21 can submit entries between 1500 and 5000 words (under 500 words for primary-aged pupils). The prizes are £1000 for the 16-21 age group, £100 and £150 in book tokens for the 12-15 age group, and £100 and £150 in book tokens for the 11 and under age group. The closing date is 29th April.
  • The Day ‘ Young Journalist Awards ” are open to anyone under 19 (under 10 and 11-18)  and entrants can submit a written article, a video clip, an audio piece, photography, an illustration or a graphic in any one of 12 subject categories. Full details including how to enter are on the competition website.

Closing date in May

  • Never Such Innocence – The 2024 theme is “How does war affect people’s lives?” , and to enter children and teens can ‘using poetry, art, speech and song’. There are four age group categories (9-11;  11-14;  14-16;  & 16-18) and full details are on the competition website.
  • The D.H. Lawrence Children’s Prize: Writing Competition 2023 is open to students aged 11 and under and 12-16, who can enter up to 500 words on the theme of “my neighbourhood”. Prizes include Kindles and book tokens.
  • Primary children aged 5-7, 7-9 and 9-11 from Dorset can enter the Bournemouth Writing Festival Schools’ Competition . The competition is run in association with AFC Bournemouth.
  • Inspired by the curiosity and imagination of Martha Mills, The Martha Mills Young Writers’ Prize invites young people in the UK aged 11-14 to enter under 500 words of “ writing that is lively, unusual or otherwise original “. This year’s theme is “ The Stranger ” and there are full entry details on the competition web page.
  • War Through Children’s Eyes is open to children aged 7-17 and aims to “ raise awareness of the impact of wars and violent conflicts on the communities caught up in them, and particularly on the most vulnerable members of those communities: their children “. Entries of up to 1000 words are invited, there are vouchers for the top three entries and full details are available on the website. The closing date is 10th May.
  • The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition is open to young people under the age of 19. The competition features a starter paragraph and invites entrants to write under 1000 words to continue the story. The closing date is 22nd May.
  • First News Education School Newspaper of the Year Competition. (Not running in 2023) Open to primary schools, secondary schools, and special schools. Will this become the long-term successor to the legendary Daily Telegraph competition from the 90s and 00s?
  • SATIPS poetry writing competition. (Not running in 2023)

The number one writing tool. Eliminates grammar mistakes, checks for plagiarism and improves word choice and style.

Closing date in June

  • Alzheimer’s Society poetry competition ‘ welcomes entries about dementia or people affected by the condition ‘ and offers those under 18 the opportunity to enter up to three poems of 40 lines or less. Winning entries will feature in the October/November edition of Dementia Together magazine.
  • The Wells Festival of Literature offers young poets aged 16-25 the opportunity to enter poems of up to 35 lines on any subject for the annual Young Poets Competition. All entries must be in English .
  • Celebration Day writing competition – entrants are invited to write 250 words (primary) or 500 words (secondary) to tell the story of an inspirational person they know. There are five age categories: 5-7; 8-10; 11-13; 14-16; 17-18 & teachers. Full details and resources are available on the competition website and the Celebration Day website.
  • The Poetry of Science Competition – is open to children who go to school in Oxfordshire or Buckinghamshire. The task is to write a ‘terrific scientific poem’. Entries in three age group categories: Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 and Key Stages 3&4. The closing date is 11th June. There’s a downloadable poster for classrooms here .
  • The Orwell Youth Prize – for secondary students aged 12-18, entries can be in any form, up to 1000 words. This year’s task is to respond to this title: “The Future We Want”. The closing date is 11th June.
  • The ISA Handwriting Competition is open to children in years 1, 2, 3-4 & 5-6 in ISA member schools, “to showcase their handwriting skills”.
  • Cambridge University and SATIPS handwriting competition .

Closing date in July

  • The Laurie Lee Prize for Writing offers a young person’s category for those who either live in Gloucestershire or were born in Gloucestershire.  16–20-year-olds  can enter up to 2500 words or up to 125 lines of poetry on “a nature or conservation theme”. There are more details on the competition website.
  • The Young Wild Writer competition , run by Hen Harrier Action invites children aged 6-8, 9-12 and 13-16 to enter stories, poems, articles, prose or letters of up to 500 words on the theme of animal survival . Prizes include book vouchers and an online author visit to the winning child’s school. Full details, including a downloadable poster, are on the competition website.
  • The Hampshire Young Poets competition is open to any young person aged 4-7; 8-11 or 12-16 “ who lives or studies in Hampshire “. Entrants can submit up to 14 lines of poetry on the theme of ‘ home ’. Full details are on the competition website.
  • The Writing Tournament is a “free, not-for-profit writing competition for young writers which simulates the journey of a professional author”. Run by author W.J. Kite, 8-16-year-olds can submit 750-word stories written in English on the theme “Unsung Heroes”. There are two age categories – 8-11 and 12-16. ( Not running in 2023 ).
  • Foyle Young Poets competition – for 11-17-year-olds, the competition welcomes “poems on any theme and any length”. Closing date 31st July.
  • Stephen Spender Trust poetry in translation prize – the challenge is to translate a poem from any language into English. There are three categories for young people: U18, U16, and U14. The top prize is £1000. The closing date is 17th July.
  • Ledbury Under 18’s poetry competition . Two categories – 11 and under and 12-17 request poems of no more than 40 lines in length. There are cash prizes or book tokens for the winners.  Deadline 15th July.
  • HG Wells short story competition.

Closing date in August

  • Overgrowth Magazine is running an Undergrowth competition open to 16-19-year-olds who can submit 500 words of writing, or artwork, in any form “ about nature and our relationship to it .” Full details and ideas are on the competition webpage.
  • Goldsmiths University of London is running a series of competitions for 16-18-year-olds who are invited to a short story, a piece of journalism with a historical angle, or a piece about identity and culture. The Young Writer, Young Columnist, and Young Anthropologist competitions close on 2nd August.
  • Cinemagic Young Filmmaker – open to films on any subject from young filmmakers aged under 25. The prizes include winning films being screened in cinemas.
  • Young Muslim Writers Award – open to UK children and teens in KS1, KS2, KS3 and KS4 who can submit a short story or poetry – and in KS3 and KS4, this is extended to also include journalism, screenplays, and play scripts. Full details are on the website.

Closing date in September

  • The annual OxBright Essay Competition invites 15-18-year-olds to submit an essay of up to 3,800 characters (around 500 words). Details of the theme and subject requirements are on the competition website.
  • Atom Learning’s Young Author Award offers 7-9-year-olds and 10-11-year-olds the chance to win a trip to Disneyland Paris. Children can enter fiction stories of up to 500 words inspired by the theme “If I were in charge for a day…” There’s also a free creative writing activity pack to download.
  • C.A.B.B Publishing is running a short story competition for children. Full details are available on their website.
  • The Betty Haigh Shakespeare Prize – is open to “any sixth-form student of English Literature”. There are two options, both with detailed entry criteria which can be viewed on the competition website. The closing date is 1st September.

Closing date in October

  • ‘If Dylan met Thomas Hardy’ is the title of a new competition hosted by the Dylan Thomas Society and the Thomas Hardy Society. Writers aged 11+ can submit a play of up to 15 minutes in length for up to four cast members. The best three plays entered will be performed at the Dylan Thomas Theatre.
  • The Yorkshire Festival of Story Children’s Story Competition invites short stories from UK children aged 7-12.
  • Royal Geographical Society School Essay Competition – an annual competition, run in association with the Financial Times, for 16-19-year-olds, with a closing date in October.
  • The Young Walter Scott Prize is dedicated to historical fiction, defined as “in a time before you were born”, and this competition has two age categories: 11-15 and 16-19. Entries can be prose, poetry, drama, fictional letters, or reportage. The closing date is the end of October.
  • The Solstice Prize For Young Writers , organised by Writing East Midlands, invites children and teens aged 7-17 to write ‘ imaginative short stories (up to 500 words) and p rovocative poems (up to 40 lines)’. The competition offers cash prizes and an anthology of the best entries. There are three age categories: 7-11, 12-14 and 15-17.
  • Saugus Halloween story writing contest.

Closing date in November

  • BBC 500 words short story competition for children –  with two age group categories, 5-7-year-olds and 7-11-year-olds.
  • The WILD WORDS National Eco-Poetry Project is open to young people aged 18 and under in the UK, who are asked to “imagine co-writing a poem with a tree, river, or even the weather” . Poem entries should be a maximum of one side of A4. Full details are on the competition website.
  • Poetry Together Competition – children under 18 in the UK are invited to enter poems of no more than 14 lines on a theme detailed on the competition website, and choose a poem on any theme to learn by heart. There are two age group categories and full details are available on the competition website.
  • The East Riding Festival of Words runs an annual poetry competition. Entries of up to 45 lines are open to children aged 4-10 and 11-16 and there are cash prizes for the winners.
  • The Tadpole Press 100 Word Writing Contest is a worldwide competition open to writers of all ages. There’s an entry fee for this one, with cash prizes and writing development packages on offer for the winners. The deadline is November 30th.
  • Wenlock Olympian Society Short Story Competition – open to students aged 16+ who are invited to write a story on any theme of up to 2500 words. Full entry details are on the Wenlock website. The closing date is 23rd November.
  • One Teen Story – story submission site for teenagers. The deadline is 27th November.
  • The Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize for writers aged 18-25 invites entries of 1000-1500 words on a Franklin quote which changes each year. The deadline is 30th November.

Undated or open

  • The Scottish Book Trust runs monthly mini-sage 50-word story writing competitions for children aged 5-11 and 12-18, with a different theme each month.
  • Wordhound runs a monthly creative writing challenge for children aged 12 and under, who can send in 300-word stories “of funny, weird or otherwise unique writing” on a different subject each month.
  • Kids’ Poetry Club runs a variety of competitions for primary and secondary-aged children, with a new theme announced every few months.
  • The Young Poets Network runs regular writing challenges and competitions, which can be viewed on their website.
  • BBC Today Student Journalism Awards – annual. this competition features a variety of journalism categories, including journalism (any medium), broadcasting, visual and photojournalism, criticism, publication, and programme. Entrants must be over 18 and in full-time UK higher education. The prizes include places on highly coveted BBC Journalism Trainee Schemes (paid positions).
  • BBC Writers Room is inviting speculative screenplay submissions of at least 30 pages from young scriptwriters aged 16+ in the UK or the Republic of Ireland.
  • Blue Things Zine invites young writers aged 13+ to write articles and stories under 1500 words for consideration for publication.
  • Scholastic We Are Writers – not a competition per-se, but lots of ideas for literacy and writing projects with the aim of getting your pupils published. Ideal for fundraisers or whole-school writing initiatives.
  • Inkhead short story competition and writing clubs.
  • Amnesty International has a series of online resources – ‘ Words That Burn ‘ – to inspire teenagers to write about human rights, equality and discrimination.
  • National Literacy Trust competitions page.
  • Readers’ Digest Competitions . – including a 100-word story competition for children.
  • The Guild of Food Writers Write It – Young Food Writer of the Year – is open to children up to 18 in three age categories.
  • Live Canon: Children’s Poetry Competition – for young people aged 5-18.
  • For a non-competitive option, the John Muir Award offers schools an opportunity to “encourage people of all backgrounds to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places.” Through an award scheme, pupils can create a dossier of experiences, challenges and presentations to demonstrate how they have discovered a wild place, explored it, done something to conserve it and shared their experience. A good option for larger groups, classes and year groups, this award requires teacher input and planning. Suitable for year 4 through to secondary-aged pupils.
  • The First Story Young Writers Festival offers pupils a day-long online festival with workshops, resources, interviews with writers, showcases for young writers, resources and CPD for teachers. This is a fantastic resource to inspire children to write for publication and would make a great starting point for pupils considering entering writing competitions. ( Note the festival is not running a competition of its own ).

Resources for creative writing in schools and at home

  • Hoo’s Writing Corner – an exciting creative writing website for primary-aged children. The website includes writing prompts and exercises, and the monthly subscription magazine includes story construction ideas and spelling worksheets.
  • Below is a collection of books recommended to inspire children to write – whether it be creative writing, nonfiction, or poetry.

Write Like a Ninja: An essential toolkit for every young writer by Andrew Jennings

Write Like a Ninja: An essential toolkit for every young writer by Andrew Jennings

500 Words: A collection of short stories that reflect on the Black Lives Matter movement

500 Words: A collection of short stories that reflect on the Black Lives Matter movement

Descriptosaurus by Alison Wilcox

Descriptosaurus by Alison Wilcox

How to Write your Best Story Ever! by Christopher Edge

How to Write your Best Story Ever! by Christopher Edge

How to Write Poems by Joseph Coelho

How to Write Poems by Joseph Coelho

Just Imagine by James Carter

Just Imagine by James Carter

Spilling Ink – A Young Writer’s Handbook by Ellen Potter & Anne Mazer

Spilling Ink - A Young Writer's Handbook by Ellen Potter & Anne Mazer

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

For more competition ideas, have a look at our public speaking and debating contests.

Browse our list of Children’s Book Publishers in the UK

Peruse our list of magazines for children and teens

Why not have a look at our suggested reading lists for children aged 3-16?

Books for EYFS & Reception Books for Year 1 Books for Year 2 Books for Year 3 Books for Year 4 Books for Year 5 Books for Year 6 Books for Year 7 Books for Year 8 Books for Year 9 Books for Year 10 Books for Year 11 Books for 6th formers

Please respect copyright and don’t copy or reproduce our reviews. Thanks .

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creative writing competitions youth

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6th April, 2022

The ultimate guide to competitions for young writers 2022

creative writing competitions youth

Getting words down onto the page isn’t the hard part for many keen young writers, but making the time to polish a story or poem can be hard. That’s especially true if you’re in school and juggling other demands like exams or extracurricular activities. But entering a writing competition is a motivation to do the editing that will turn your inspired draft into a shining example of your craft. Here’s a list of competitions aimed at young writers and poets; why not give one a go? We’re starting with our own, of course, which opens next month.  Good luck!

Organised by ourselves, the Young Walter Scott Prize is the UK’s only creative writing prize for budding historical fiction authors. You can enter if you’re between 11 and 19 and live in the UK.  You could win a £500 travel grant, an invitation to one of the UK’s best book festivals, and a chance to see your own work in print. Stories must be between 800 and 2,000 words, set in a time before you were born. For details of the next competition, opening in May 2022, and copies of previous winning entries go to this  website page or follow the YWSP on TikTok www.tiktok.com/@walterscottprizes  and YouTube www.youtube.com/c/walterscottprizes

Orwell Youth Prize

The Orwell Foundation’s Orwell Youth Prize is open to you if you’re between 8 and 13 years old. You’ll need to write a story, essay or write your own game, and the themes they’re looking for vary from year to year. This year you’ll also need to answer a question about what you think should be done about the climate crisis. Find out more at  https://www.orwellfoundation.com/the-orwell-youth-prize/

War Through Children’s Eyes

Organised by the Azerbaijani Community in the United Kingdom, this is a new art and creative writing competition set up as part of the 30th anniversary commemoration of the Khojaly massacre in Azerbaijan in 1992. If you are a UK resident aged between 7 and 17, you can enter with an artwork or a written piece inspired by the themes of war and peace; written work should be no more than 1,000 words. The deadline is 10 May 2022 and entry is free, although participants are encouraged to make a donation to War Child. For more information, see https://www.warthroughchildrenseyes.org.uk/

Green Stories Writing Competitions

This short story competition is run by the University of Southampton and aims to inspire green behaviour; stories need to be between 2,000 and 5,000 words and include a synopsis. You’ll also need to show that you’ve read previous published work from the Green Stories project. Entry is free and the winner will take home £200. The 2022 deadline has passed, but keep an eye on the website for future competitions.  https://www.greenstories.org.uk/upcoming-competitions/short-stories-competition-for-under-18s-deadline-march-2022/

Young Poets’ Competition

Organised by the Wells Festival of Literature, which celebrates its 30 th anniversary in 2022, this competition looks for poems on any subjects but not more than 35 lines long. First second and third places all win cash awards, plus a year’s subscription to the Poetry Society. You must be between 16 and 22 years old and you can only submit one entry. Find out more https://www.wellsfestivalofliterature.org.uk/2022-young-poets-competition/

Wenlock Olympian Society Writing Competition

This competition welcomes stories and poems and is open to young writers from around the world. There are awards in three medal categories – gold, silver and bronze – and all medallists receive their own Wenlock Olympian Society medal. Find copies of winning stories on their website, where details of the next competition will also be published later in 2022. http://www.wenlock-olympian-society.org.uk/creative/

Author of Tomorrow

The Author of Tomorrow prize, founded by the writer Wilbur Smith, is open to young writers in a range of age categories, from 11 and under, up to 21 years. The competition aims to find the adventure writers of the future and offers a cash award, book tokens, and digital publication in an anthology. Find out more at https://www.wilbur-niso-smithfoundation.org/awards/author-of-tomorrow-2019

Solstice Prize

Organised by Writing East Midlands, the Solstice Prize is open to writers aged 11 to 17; you can submit stories or poems and the prizes on offer include a cash award and a book voucher for your school. Watch the website, which has copies of previous winning entries, for details of the next competition at https://writingeastmidlands.co.uk/young-writers/solstice-prize/

Write on Art

If you’ve ever been moved by a work of art, then Write on Art is a wonderful opportunity to put your thoughts into words. The prize is organised by Art UK and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. To enter, you should be aged 15 to 18 and residing in England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland; choose one artwork from artuk.org that fascinates you. For details and guidelines see https://artuk.org/discover/stories/how-to-write-about-art-and-how-to-enter-the-write-on-art-competition

BBC Young Writers’ Award with Cambridge University

This writing prize, run by the BBC along with Cambridge University, could be for you if you’re aged 14 to 18 and live in the UK. You’ll need to write a story of up to 1,000 words; the shortlist will be announced on BBC Radio 1 and the winner will be announced live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row. Learn more at http://bbc.co.uk/ywa

The John Byrne Award

Another opportunity here for writers both young and old, but you must be living or studying in Scotland and be aged over 16. The John Byrne Award is reorganising in 2022; see its website for details at  https://www.johnbyrneaward.org.uk/enter-now/

You’ll never know how you’ll fare in a competition unless you enter, so give it a try! Whether you’ve ambitions to become an author or just enjoy working with words, it’s fun to take part. Why not take a look at our YouTube channel to meet past winners?

You’ll also find inspiration on our TikTok , Instagram , Twitter , Facebook , and our website .

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Young Writers: Competitions

If you’re a young writer in Australia, and have been wondering about opportunities to submit your work, then look no further. This post contains a list of writing competitions for young writers in Australia, together with useful information such as word limits, closing dates and links to entry forms.

Be sure to check back regularly, though, because I’ll update the post whenever info about other competitions (or publishing opportunities) are released. You can also sign up for my monthly newsletter , in which I always include a list of opportunities for the coming month.

The competitions listed are in order of closing date, apart from the first one listed, as it has a different competition each month.

creative writing competitions youth

1. Write the World (ongoing monthly competitions)

Write the World describes itself as a ‘community of young writers (ages 13-18), hailing from over 80 countries’. Write the World holds monthly competitions, developed around a particular idea or genre of writing. The competitions encourage you to try out new genres and share your work with other readers, as well as offering the opportunity to receive peer and expert feedback, before submitting your final piece.

Upcoming topics include:

  • December 2023 — surprise! Your choice (competition opens Monday 4 December; closing date: Monday 1 January 2024, voting Friday 5 January to Friday 12 January)
  • January 2024 — songwriting: strike a chord (drafts for expert review due Monday 8 January; submissions due Monday 22 January)
  • February 2024 — op-ed: say what matters (draft for expert review due Monday 12 February; submissions due Monday 26 February)
  • March 2024 — fairy tales and myths: story leap forward (draft for expert review due Monday 13 March; Monday 27 March)

Entry fee: Free.

Prizes: Winning entrant receives $100. Runner-up and best peer reviewer are awarded $50. All three winners will be featured on their blog.

More info: For a more detailed information about each topic, including deadlines (for draft and final submissions) and prizes, head to the Write the World website .

2. Night Parrot Press Flash Lab

The brief: submit a flash fiction story under 500 words.

Open to: Western Australian writers aged between 12 and 17 years.

Entry fee: free to submit.

Prizes: one story will be selected each week to be published on Night Parrot Press’s website. (You can read the current Story of the Week on the website now .)

Closing date: rolling.

More information: visit Night Parrot Press’s website .

3. IndigoTeen Magazine

The brief: submit short stories, essays and novellas, memes, and comics, fan fiction and poetry, graphic design and artwork.

Open to: young people from 13 to 19 years old.

Closing date : rolling.

More information: visit IndigoHub’s website .

4. Little Stories. Big Ideas

The brief: submit a piece of flash fiction that is 100 words or less and incorporates the current theme, ‘magic’. Any literary style is welcome – short-story form, poem, haiku, limerick, song – but entries must be in English.

Open to: Australian Secondary School Students.

Categories: Years 7 to 9; Years 10 to 12.

Entry fee: free.

Prizes: visit the competition’s website to see the prizes.

Closing date: Friday 22 December 2023.

More information: visit the Little Stories. Big Ideas website .

5. 2022 Storyfest National Poetry Prize

The brief:  submit poems up to 50 lines excluding the title, on any subject.

Open to: to all current secondary students attending school in Australia. Students receiving home schooling are eligible to enter.

Categories: j unior secondary (years 7 to 9); s enior secondary (Years 10 to 12).

Entry fee: $15.

Prizes:   the winner of each category will receive $300. Category winners will have the opportunity to attend Somerset Storyfest Writers’ Festival, be billeted by students of the Somerset Wordsmiths’ Club, and attend the events at Storyfest over the three days, where the national winners will be announced and awarded prizes at the Literary Long Table Dinner. This decision will be at the discretion of the competition organisers.

Closing date: Friday 1 December 2023.

More information: visit Storyfest’s website .

6. 2022 Storyfest National Novella Writing Competition

The brief: submit a novella of no less than 8,000 words and no more than 20,000 words.

Open to: to all current secondary students attending school in Australia. Students receiving home schooling are eligible to enter. Entrants must be under 19 years of age as at date of close of entries on 3 December 2021.

Entry fee: $20.

Prizes:  Three finalists will be selected and have the opportunity to attend Somerset Storyfest Writers’ Festival, be billeted by students of the Somerset Wordsmiths’ Club, and attend the events at Storyfest over the three days, where the national winner will be announced. This decision will be at the discretion of the competition organisers.There will be monetary prizes awarded to finalists ($100) and a prize of $500 will be awarded to the national winne

Over to You

Just a quick note: if you do enter a competition, take time to read the guidelines carefully to ensure you’re entry meets the requirements, so that it’s accepted. This can include seemingly minor details such as size, font and spacing of your text.

If you’d like some guidance on what to look out for, then take a look at an earlier post of mine, Writing Competitions: What You Need to Know Before Entering .

What are you waiting for? Start writing, keep writing – and let me know how you go!

creative writing competitions youth


Writing Contests for Young Writers – the NewPages Guide

Updated December 2, 2023

View Publications for Young Writers

Where young writers can find print and online literary magazines to read, places to publish their own works, and legitimate contests. Some publish only young writers, some publish all ages for young readers. For specific submission guidelines, visit the publication’s website. Ages can include elementary, teen, or early college. This is an ad-free resource: publications and writing contests listed here have not paid to be included. This guide is maintained by Editor Denise Hill, a teacher who loves to encourage young writers.

Safety Matters! We expect sites listed in this guide to adhere to the  Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act . This includes a transparent method for obtaining parental/guardian permission when collecting information from contributors under the age of 13 years old.

This is a select list of contests from reputable sources. There are many contests that charge fees, but for this resource, I have sought contests which mean to recognize and encourage young writers and do not charge reading or entry fees. Of those listed that do charge a fee, some provide a publication subscription in return as they are trying to gain new readers; that seems fair and the publishers are upfront about it. Other fee-based contests are from reputable members of the literary community, and the fee is considered reasonable in relation to the prize winnings being offered.

Please avoid contests that tell you you’ve won and then want you to purchase expensive copies of the book in which you have been published. These types of “scam” contests publish hundreds, even thousands of entrants, and profit greatly from book sales. These contests take advantage of young writers and inexperienced writers of all ages.

Also see the NCTE Guidelines for Contests , which is helpful for contest organizers who want to reach out to K-12 students and for teachers assessing the legitimacy of contests for their students.

Contest Deadlines : I make every effort to update the contest list monthly and update deadline dates as the contest sponsors update them on their websites. Contest dates may change without anyone notifying me, so users of this guide should check the contest website for the most accurate information. If a previous year’s date is noted here, then the contest sponsor may not have updated their website yet, but they will likely be running the contest again. Please check back here or on the contest sponsor’s site if you are interested in that contest.

January    February     March     April     May    June     July August     September     October     November     December

The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Grades 7-12 during the current school year Deadline: Varies by Region – Enter zip code to find deadline

The Earth Chronicles

Monthly Summer Writing Contests June/July/August Grades 9-12

Homer Humanities

Prompt-based Ages 10-22 Bimonthly

Manningham Trust Student Poetry Contest

National Federation of State Poetry Societies Grades 6-12 Each participating state conducts its own contest with deadline. Each participating state sends its top entrants to the national contest. Click here for a list of participating states.


Open to U.S. citizen students of African descent grades 9-12 Multiple categories within academic, scientific, and artistic achievement Requires local program oversight and participation that culminates in a national competition.

National History Day Project Competition

Junior Division (grades 6, 7, 8) and Senior Division (grades 9, 10, 11, 12) Categories: Paper, Performance, Documentary, Exhibit, Website Check the website for an affiliate region near you for timelines.

National PTA Reflections Awards

Grades Pre-K to 12 Dance Choreography, Film Production, Literature, Music Composition, Photography and Visual Arts Each state holds its own contest, submitting winners to the national contest.

The New York Times

Ages 13-19 Various contests with varying deadlines Editorial Cartoon Contest, Civil Conversation Challenge, Review Contest, Year in Rap Contest, Vocabulary Video Contest, Editorial Contest, Found Poetry Contest, Summer Reading Contest

Poetry in Voice

A monthly poetry contest for Canadian students grades 9-12. Based on a monthly prompt. All poems submitted are considered for publication in Voices/Voix.

Six Word Memoirs

Six Words hold monthly contests for which writers must respond to a prompt in exactly six words.

Stone Soup Flash Contest

Stone Soup holds a monthly flash contest challenge based on a prompt for writers 13 and under.

Write the World

WtW holds monthly contests based on an idea or genre (poetry, fantasy, sports journalism, fiction, etc.). For young writers 13-18 years old.

An organization that runs quarterly writing contests with topics centered around different world issues, encouraging charity donations, and prompting teens 12-18 years old to reflect on current crises and inspiring solutions.

Young Writers Project

A free online community of writers and visual artists ages 13-18 (12-year-olds with permission). Teachers are also invited and have a “For Teachers” space on the site. YWP holds regular challenges and seasonal contests.

Youth Communication

Every three months, YC will highlight five recent articles and ask readers ages 14-19 to write a response to the author of a story (up to 300 words). Three winners will receive prizes of $150 (1st prize), $75 (2nd prize), and $50 (3rd prize.)

VSA Playwright Discovery Competition

Grades 6-12 / Ages 11-18 Ten-minute play, screenplay, or music theater exploring the disability experience Written by young writers with disabilities and collaborative groups that include students with disabilities Deadline: January 10, 2024

Quantum Shorts

Short Story “Entries must take inspiration from quantum physics and be no longer than 1000 words.” Ages 13+ Alternates between sci-fi and sci films each year. Deadline: January 8, 2024

National Youth Foundation

Amazing Women Writing Contest Theme: Local Heroines Grades K-8 Deadline: January 9, 2025 [that is correct – 2025]

International Bipolar Foundation

High School Essay Contest Ages 13-29 Deadline: January 15, 2024

John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest

Sponsored by the JFK Memorial Library and John Hancock Grades 9-12 Deadline: January 12, 2024 postmark

Atkins Center for Ethics Essay Contest

Carlow University Grades 11 and 12 Deadline: January 15, 2023 [Sent inquiry 12/2]

Ringling College of Art and Design

High School Creative Writing Contest High School Age Writers Deadline: January 15, 2024

In Search of Walt Whitman

East Rock Films Essay, Video Essay, Performance High School Juniors/Seniors (U.S. or Canada) College Freshman/Sophomore (U.S. or Canada) Deadline: January 15, 2023 [Sent inquiry 12/2]

Power to Explore Writing Challenge

California Institute of Technology U.S. Students in grades K-12 Deadline: January  26, 2024

Columbus State University

The Carson McCullars Literary Award Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, Expository Essay, Playwriting, Screenwriting High School Age Category for Georgia and Alabama High School Students Deadline: January 19, 2024

Saint Mary’s College

River of Words Poetry and Art Contest Grades K-12 (Ages 5-19) Deadline: January 31, 2024

Outdoor Writers Association of America

Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards Grades 6-8 or 9-12 For outdoor-oriented works. Deadline: January 31, 2024

Arizona Mystery Writers

Mary Ann Hutchison Memorial Story Contest for Youths Ages 9-13; 14-17 Both age groups awarded prizes. Deadline: February 1, 2024

Bluefire 1000-word Story Contest

Leyla Beban Young Authors Foundation Grades 6-12 Deadline: February 1, 2024

EngineerGirl Writing Contest

Fiction in which the main character is a female who uses engineering skills to solve a problem. Grades 3-12 Deadline: February 1, 2023

Gannon University

High School Poetry Contest Grades 9-12 Deadline: February 1, 2024

Narrative High School Writing Contest

Prompt provided in guidelines. Grades 9-12 Deadline: February 1, 2024

Paterson Prize for Books for Young People

Open to books published in the previous year FOR young readers. Categories: Pre-K to Grade 3; Grades 4-6; Grades 7-12 Deadline: February 1, 2024

Holocaust Art and Writing Contest

Chapman University Grades Middle and High School Deadline: Postmark February 2, 2024 or by February 5, 2024 for digital submissions

North Carolina Poetry Society

Student Poetry Contest Grades 3-College Undergraduate North Carolina Residents Only Deadline: February 2, 2024

U.S. Kids Annual Cover Art Contest

Ages 2-12 Deadline: February 1, 2024

Write On! Story Writing Contest

Ann Arbor District Library Flash Fiction and Short Story Grades 3-5 Open to Michigan Residents Only Deadline: February 6, 2023 [See March for Grades 6-12 contest.]

Korean Spirit & Culture Promotion Project

Nationwide Essay Contest Topic provided on website. Middle School and High School Deadline: February 15, 2024

Davidson Fellows Scholarship

Davidson Institute, Reno, NV Ages 18 and under as application date For completion of a significant work in STEM or Humanities categories Deadline: February 14, 2024

NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing

For Juniors in the current academic school year Students must be nominated by their school’s English Department Deadline: February 15, 2024

NCTE Promising Young Writers Program

For 8th grade students in the current academic year Students must be nominated by a school committee or department Deadline: February 15, 2024

Writopia Labs Worldwide Plays Festival

Micro-Play Contest Grades 1-12 Deadline: February 15, 2023

Society of Professional Journalists and Journalism Education Association

Essay based on prompt. Grades 9-12 U.S. Public, Private, & Home Schools Deadline: February 19, 2023

Curieux Research Scholarship Award

Middle or High School Students Deadline: February 20, 2024

Keats-Shelley Memorial Association

Young Romantics Prizes Poetry, Essay Ages 16-18 Deadline: February 23, 2022 [sent inquiry 10/24]

Polyphony Lit Black History Month Contest

Open to High School Students Globally Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction Deadline: Open February 1-February 28, 2024

Polyphony Lit Winter Contest

Open to High School Students Globally Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction Deadline: Open February 1 – February 28, 2024

American Society of Human Genetics

DNA Day Essay Contest Grades 9-12 Deadline: March 1, 2023

Carl Sandburg Student Poetry Contest

Grades 3-12 Deadline: March 1, 2023

Dear Poet Project

Grades 5-12 Letters written in response to poets reading poems Select letters will be published online; Select letters will receive a response Deadline: March 1, 2023

Elephant Aid International Essay Contest

Essay Prompts Grade 3-5 and 6-8 Deadline: March 1, 2023

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society

University of Central Florida Middle & High School Writing Contest Story, Poem, Essay Deadline: March 1, 2024

Project Yellow Light

Scholarship Competition Grades High School or College Video, Billboard, Radio PSA on not driving distracted [Also listed under April] Deadline: March 1, 2023

Cancer Unwrapped Teen Essay Writing Contest

Cancer Pathways Grades: 9-12 Deadline: March 3, 2023

It’s All Write! Teen Writing Contest

Ann Arbor District Library Flash Fiction and Short Story Grades 6-12 Open to Michigan Residents Only Deadline: March 5, 2023 [See February for Grades 3-5 contest.]

Taradiddle Youth Writing Contests

Animal-themed prompt-based fiction Age Categories: Elementary under 13; High School 14-18 Deadline: March 14, 2024

Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program

Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction/Memoir Online Flexible Dates June 20-August 1 High School and Gap Year Students Financial Aid Available Deadline: March 15, 2023

The Blank Theatre Young Playwrights Festival Competition

Original Plays or Musicals on any subject Ages 9-19 Deadline: March 15, 2023

Jacklyn Potter Young Poets Competition

The Word Works Grades 9-12 Deadline: March 15, 2023

West Chester University

Several contests for undergraduate college/university. Deadline: March 15, 2023

The Haiku Society of America

Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition Grades 7-12 Deadline: March 27, 2023

Radiant Peace Education Awards

Essay, Art, Video, Projects Grades 1-12 Deadline: Postmark March 23, 2023

Essay and Art Contest on Human and Civil Rights

Hindus for Human Rights Open to South Asian American students in grades 6-12 Deadline: March 30, 2022 [sent inquiry 3/19: plan to update soon]

ukiaHaiku Festival

Haiku Contest All Ages – Some Regional to California Counties No Fee (except for Adult Contemporary Haiku) Deadline: Will reopen in 2023 The website includes helpful guidelines for writing haiku.

The Caterpillar

Best Poem for Children Contest This contest is actually for adults writing for readers ages 7-11(ish). Deadline: March 31, 2023

Princeton University

Lewis Arts Center Ten-Minute Play Contest Grades 11 and 12 in the current school year Deadline: March 31, 2023

Sarah Mook Poetry Prize

Grades K-12 Deadline: March 31, 2023

The Sejong Cultural Society

Essay, Sijo (Poetry) Open to Pre-college and Young Adults Deadline: March 31, 2023

Scholarship Competition Grades High School or College Video, Billboard, Radio PSA on not driving distracted [Also listed under March] Deadline: April 1, 2023

United States Institute for Peace

High School Essay Contest Deadline: April 3, 2023

American Foreign Service Association

High School Essay Contest Grades 9-12 Deadline: April 4, 2023

All-Media Public Anti-Hate Message Contest Grade Categories: K12; 7-12 Grade; Higher Education Individual and Class Group Submissions Deadline: December 1, 2023 and April 5, 2024

The Legacy Project

“Listen to a Life” Writing Contest Ages 8-18 Deadline: April 14, 2023

We the Students Essay Contest

Bill of Rights Institute Ages 14-19 Deadline: on hiatus for 22-23

Americans Against Gun Violence

National High School Essay Contest Theme provided on website. Deadline: April 15, 2023

Short on Words

Poetry or Prose in response to one of ten photographs. Age Categories 17 and under, 18 and older $10 Nonprofit fundraising entry fee Deadline: April 22, 2022 [Sent inquiry 3/19; said site should be updated soon.]

fingers comma toes

National Flash Fiction Day Youth Competition All ages Deadline: April 30, 2023

The Wilbur & NISO Smith Foundation

Author of Tomorrow Adventure Writing Contest Ages 11 and under; 12-15; 16-21 Deadline: April 30, 2023

Under the Madness Magazine

Teen Poetry Contest Ages 13-19 Deadline: April 30, 2023

Leaders Igniting Generational Healing & Transformation Under 18 category “How might we recreate public health as art, letters, stories, and poetry?” Letters, Poetry, Stories, Art, and a “Surprise Us” category Deadline: May 1, 2023

New Voices One-Act Competition for Young Playwrights

YouthPLAYS Non-musical, one-act play suitable for HS audience Written by Playwrights 19 years and under Deadline: May 1, 2023

World Historian Student Essay Competition

World History Association Grades K-12 Deadline: May 1, 2023

Skipping Stones Asian Celebration Haiku Contest

Ages 7-18 Deadline: May 5, 2023

Skipping Stones Youth Honors Award

Promoting Multicultural Awareness, International Understanding and Nature Appreciation Original Writing and Art Ages 7-17 Deadline: May 5, 2023

Holocaust Center for Humanity

Holocaust Writing, Art, and Film Contest Open to ages 9-18 in WA, OR, ID, AK Deadline: May 15, 2023

Go On Girl! Scholarships

Aspiring Writer and Unpublished Writer Each has unique criteria; See website Deadline: May 15, 2023

The Roadrunner Review

High School Writing Contest Poetry and Prose (“any genre”) Deadline: May 15, 2022 [Publication on hiatus as of 1/4/23.]

Toyin Fálọlá Prize

Short Story Theme: Africanfuturism Ages 15-35 Entrants must be African Deadline: May 15, 2022 [sent inquiry 3/19]

Quills and Keyboard

Poetry, Song Lyrics, SciFi, Fantasy, Short Story, Personal Essay, Memoir, Novel Excerpts, Journalism, Humor, Flash Fiction, Dramatic Script, Critical Essay, Horror, Philosophy, Speeches, Classic Literary Adaptations High School Students 14+ Deadline: May 20, 2023

Humane Education Network

A Voice for Animals Essay Contest for 14-15 and 16-18-year-olds Video Action Project for 16-18-year-olds Essay with Photos for 16-18-year-olds Deadline: May 21, 2023

The Adroit Journal

Prizes for Poetry and Prose Open to Secondary and Undergraduate Students Fee Waiver Request Form available Deadline: May 31, 2022

Last House Writing Contest for Emerging Writers

Sponsored by Audubon Canyon Ranch Essay, Short Story, Poetry Age Categories 8-12 years old and 13-17 years old Deadline: May 17, 2023

California Young Playwrights Contest

Open to residents of California only. Ages Under 19 as of June 1 Deadline: June 1, 2023

Fraser Institute Student Essay Contest

Open to students studying in Canada and Canadian students studying abroad. High School / Undergraduate / Graduate Categories Topic changes each year Deadline: June 1, 2023

Jane Austen Society of North America Essay Contest

Ages High School / College / Graduate School Topic changes each year Deadline: June 1, 2023

Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest

“Youth” Category of High School Age and Younger Deadline: June 1, 2023

Natures Wild Neighbour Society

“Get to Know Your Wild Neighbors” Art, Writing, Photography, Videography, Music Ages 11-18 Deadline: June 1, 2023

John Estey Student Writing Competition

American Writers Museum Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Cross-Genre, Drama/Playwriting, Hybrid Elementary, Middle, and High School Categories Deadline: June 5, 2023

Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Contest

Art, Poetry, Prose, Film, Music, Multimedia, Performing Arts, Spoken Word Ages 11-18 Deadline: June 13, 2023

Goi Peace Foundation International Essay Contest

Theme Essay Contest Ages 25 and under Deadline: June 15, 2023

National Teen Storyteller Contest: Solidarity

The Center for Fiction and The Decameron Project Ages 13-18 Deadline: June 1-June 25, 2022

Chicago Young Writers Review (CYWR)

Theme: “The Story That Made Me Feel” Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry Grades K-8 Deadline: June 30, 2022

Eden Mills Writers’ Festival

Poetry Contest for Children Ontario Residents Only Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8 Deadline: June 30, 2022

Poetry Contest for Teens Ontario Residents Only Grades 9-10 and Grades 11-12 Deadline: June 30, 2022

The Geek Partnership Society

Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural and Alternate History Fiction Poetry, Fiction, Graphic Novel Various age categories (K-Adult) Deadline: [on hiatus for 2023]

Polyphony Lit Pride Month Contest

Open to High School Students Globally Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction Deadline: Open June 1-June 30, 2023

Polyphony Lit Summer Contest

Theme: “2020 Hindsight” Open to High School Students Globally Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction Deadline: Open June 1-June 30, 2023

Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Award

Ages: Adult; Youth (13-18); Youth (12 and under) No fee for 12 and under. Deadline: Postmark July 1, 2023

1455 Teen Poetry Contest

Ages 13-19 Deadline: July 4, 2023

Johnson County Library Youth Short Story Contest

Short Story in Verse on a theme Grades 3-12 Deadline: Postmark July 6, 2023

Johnson County Library Youth Sticker Design Contest

Theme: “Oceans of Possibilities!” Ages 11 and under Deadline: Postmark July 6, 2023

Stony Brook Short Fiction Prize

State University of New York Only undergraduates enrolled full-time in American and Canadian universities and colleges for the academic year are eligible Deadline: July 14, 2022

Youth Innovation Challange

Global Environmental Education Partnership Themed Essay Contest Ages 15-30 Deadline: July 19, 2023

NCTE Excellence in Student Literary Magazines

Open to all accredited middle and secondary schools (US, CA, VI, US schools abroad) Deadline: July 31, 2023

Student Book Scholars

National Youth Foundation Theme: Anti-Bullying Grades K-8 Deadline: July 15, 2023

“I Matter” Poetry Contest

National Youth Foundation Topic: “Black Lives Matter” Grades: K-12 Deadline: July 23, 2024

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award

The Poetry Society Ages 11-17 Deadline: July 31, 2023

The Lincoln Forum

Platt Family Scholarship Prize Essay Contest Specific topic posted on the website. For full-time college/university students. Deadline: Postmark July 31, 2023

Stone Soup Book Contest

Fiction, Memoir, Poetry Manuscript Ages 14 or under for 2023 Deadline: August 15, 2023

Wax Poetry and Art Poetry Contest

Ages under 25 Deadline: August 31, 2023

William Faulkner Literary Competition

Student Short Story Category Open to Mississippi High School Students Deadline: August 31, 2023

Youth Free Expression Film Contest

National Coalition Against Censorship Ages 19 and under Deadline: September 8, 2023

Animal-themed prompt-based fiction Age Categories: Elementary under 13; High School 14-18 Deadline: September 19, 2024

Art of Unity Creative Award

International Human Rights Art Festival Poetry, Short Story, Essay as well as any creative media Youth Age Category 18 and under Deadline: September 30, 2023

Creators of Justice Literary Awards

International Human Rights Art Festival Poetry, Short Story, Essay 2500 words or less on Human Rights Theme Youth Age Category 18 and under Deadline: September 30, 2023

Embracing Our Differences

Art Exhibit and Quote Contest For all ages Deadline: October 5, 2023

National YoungArts Foundation

Ages 15-18 Various Arts Categories Receive up to $10k + educational support Applications Open June 12 – October 13, 2023

American Geosciences Institute

Earth Science Week Essay Contest Theme: “Finding ‘Art’ in Earth” Grades 6-9 Deadline: October 13, 2023

Polyphony Lit Latin Heritage Contest

Open to High School Students Globally Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction Deadline: Open September 15 – October 15, 2023

Polyphony Lit Fall Contest

Open to High School Students Globally Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction Deadline: Open October 1 – October 31, 2023

VFW Patriot’s Pen

Themed Essay Competition Grades 6-8 Deadline: October 31, 2023

VFW Voice of Democracy

Audio Essay Competition Grades 9-12 Deadline: October 31, 2023

Hollins University

Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest For High School Sophomore and Junior Girls Deadline: October 31, 2022 [site not updated; contacted 10/24]

Bennington College

Young Writers Competition Grades 10-12 Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction Deadline: November 1, 2023

Interlochen Arts Academy

Virginia B. Ball Creative Writing Competition Fiction, Poetry, Spoken Word Personal essay or memoir, Screenwriting, Playwriting, Comics, Experimental or unclassifiable writing Grades 8-11 Deadline: November 15, 2023

Theme: A Story Worth Telling Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry Grades K-8 Deadline: November 7, 2022 [site not updated; sent inquiry 10/24]

Lions International

International Peace Essay Contest Ages 11, 12, 13 years old on November 15, 2023 Open to students who are considered visually impaired according to their national guidelines.

Rachel Carson Sense of the Wild Contest

Poetry and Prose w/ or w/o Photograph Intergenerational Team of two or more only Deadline: November 16, 2023

Rattle Young Poets Anthology

Open Call for Submissions Ages 15 or younger Deadline: November 16, 2023

One Teen Story Contest

Open Call for Submissions Ages 13-15, 16-17, 18-19 Deadline: November 27, 2023

Leonard Milberg ’53 Secondary School Poetry Prize Any student who is in the eleventh grade in the academic year is eligible. Deadline: November 26, 2023

Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers

The Kenyon Review High School Sophomores and Juniors Award: First place: Full scholarship to the Kenyon Review Young Writers workshop and publication. Second and third place: Publication. Deadline: November 1 – 30, 2023

NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program

National Novel Writing Month November 1 – 30, 2023 Many free events year-round; visit their website for details.

The Telling Room

Themed Poetry and Fiction Grades 6-12 / Ages 11-18 For Maine Residents only Deadline: November 30, 2023

Under the Madness

Short Fiction and Street Poetry Contests Ages 13-19 Deadline: November 30, 2023

The Upper New Review

Essay Contes: A Sense of Place Ages 13-17; 18-older Deadline: November 30, 2023

Literacy In Place

Rural Teen Writing Contest Fiction, Nonfiction Grades 9-12 Deadline: December 1, 2023

Smith College

The Poetry Center High School Prize An annual prize for sophomore & junior girls in New England Deadline: September 1 – December 1, 2023

Essay, Art Grades 1-8 Deadline: December 4, 2022 Note: This contest is run twice each year. See entry under March/April.

Kemper Human Rights Education Foundation Essay Contest

Kemper Human Rights Education Foundation Essay Contest High School Students Deadline: December 10, 2023

Rider University

Annual High School Writing Contest Grades 9-12 Essay, Short Story, Poetry Deadline: December 20, 2023

Short Stories on the theme: 2050 Grades 9-12 Deadline: December 31, 2023

The Fire Scholarship Contest

Essay: Prompt using video examples on topic of Free Speech Grades High School Juniors & Seniors Deadline: December 31, 2021 [On hiatus 2022-23; check back in 2024]

The Fitzgerald Museum

Fiction, Poetry, Multi-Genre High School and College Students Deadline: September 1 – December 31, 2023

The Lyric Magazine

Poetry Contest Undergraduate Students – USA and Canada Deadline: Postmark December 31, 2023

Northeastern University – London

[Formerly New College of the Humanities] Essay Competition Prompts provided in humanities and social sciences. Grade 12 only Deadline: December 31, 2023

Poetry Society of America

Louise Louis/Emily F. Bourn Student Award Poetry Award Teacher/Administrator Nominated unpublished poem by 9-12 grade student. Deadline: Postmark October 1-December 31, 2023

The Society of Classical Poets

Poetry Competition Ages 13-19 Deadline: December 31, 2023 [New info is posted September 1]

Looking for a list of publications that publish young writers? Check out our guide here .

The NewPages Young Writers Guide to Contests is a free and ad-free resource for anyone looking for writing contests for teens, writing contests for high school students, scholastic writing contests, writing contests for middle school students, writing contests for kids, high school writing contests, writing contests for elementary students, creative writing contests for high school students, poetry contests for high school students.

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The Best Student Writing Contests for 2023-2024

Help your students take their writing to the next level.

We Are Teachers logo and text that says Guide to Student Writing Contests on dark background

When students write for teachers, it can feel like an assignment. When they write for a real purpose, they are empowered! Student writing contests are a challenging and inspiring way to try writing for an authentic audience— a real panel of judges —and the possibility of prize money or other incentives. We’ve gathered a list of the best student writing contests, and there’s something for everyone. Prepare highly motivated kids in need of an authentic writing mentor, and watch the words flow.

1.  The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

With a wide range of categories—from critical essays to science fiction and fantasy—The Scholastic Awards are a mainstay of student contests. Each category has its own rules and word counts, so be sure to check out the options  before you decide which one is best for your students.

How To Enter

Students in grades 7-12, ages 13 and up, may begin submitting work in September by uploading to an online account at Scholastic and connecting to their local region. There are entry fees, but those can be waived for students in need.

2.  YoungArts National Arts Competition

This ends soon, but if you have students who are ready to submit, it’s worth it. YoungArts offers a national competition in the categories of creative nonfiction, novel, play or script, poetry, short story, and spoken word. Student winners may receive awards of up to $10,000 as well as the chance to participate in artistic development with leaders in their fields.

YoungArts accepts submissions in each category through October 13. Students submit their work online and pay a $35 fee (there is a fee waiver option).

3. National Youth Foundation Programs

Each year, awards are given for Student Book Scholars, Amazing Women, and the “I Matter” Poetry & Art competition. This is a great chance for kids to express themselves with joy and strength.

The rules, prizes, and deadlines vary, so check out the website for more info.

4.  American Foreign Service National High School Essay Contest

If you’re looking to help students take a deep dive into international relations, history, and writing, look no further than this essay contest. Winners receive a voyage with the Semester at Sea program and a trip to Washington, DC.

Students fill out a registration form online, and a teacher or sponsor is required. The deadline to enter is the first week of April.

5.  John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest

This annual contest invites students to write about a political official’s act of political courage that occurred after Kennedy’s birth in 1917. The winner receives $10,000, and 16 runners-up also receive a variety of cash prizes.

Students may submit a 700- to 1,000-word essay through January 12. The essay must feature more than five sources and a full bibliography.

6. Bennington Young Writers Awards

Bennington College offers competitions in three categories: poetry (a group of three poems), fiction (a short story or one-act play), and nonfiction (a personal or academic essay). First-place winners receive $500. Grab a poster for your classroom here .

The contest runs from September 1 to November 1. The website links to a student registration form.

7. The Princeton Ten-Minute Play Contest

Looking for student writing contests for budding playwrights? This exclusive competition, which is open only to high school juniors, is judged by the theater faculty of Princeton University. Students submit short plays in an effort to win recognition and cash prizes of up to $500. ( Note: Only open to 11th graders. )

Students submit one 10-page play script online or by mail. The deadline is the end of March. Contest details will be published in early 2024.

8. Princeton University Poetry Contest for High School Students

The Leonard L. Milberg ’53 High School Poetry Prize recognizes outstanding work by student writers in 11th grade. Prizes range from $100 to $500.

Students in 11th grade can submit their poetry. Contest details will be published this fall.

9. The New York Times Tiny Memoir Contest

This contest is also a wonderful writing challenge, and the New York Times includes lots of resources and models for students to be able to do their best work. They’ve even made a classroom poster !

Submissions need to be made electronically by November 1.

10.  Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest

The deadline for this contest is the end of October. Sponsored by Hollins University, the Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest awards prizes for the best poems submitted by young women who are sophomores or juniors in high school or preparatory school. Prizes include cash and scholarships. Winners are chosen by students and faculty members in the creative writing program at Hollins.

Students may submit either one or two poems using the online form.

11.  The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers

The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers is open to high school sophomores and juniors, and the winner receives a full scholarship to a  Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop .

Submissions for the prize are accepted electronically from November 1 through November 30.

12. Jane Austen Society Essay Contest

High school students can win up to $1,000 and publication by entering an essay on a topic specified by the Jane Austen Society related to a Jane Austen novel.

Details for the 2024 contest will be announced in November. Essay length is from six to eight pages, not including works cited.

13. Rattle Young Poets Anthology

Open to students from 15 to 18 years old who are interested in publication and exposure over monetary awards.

Teachers may choose five students for whom to submit up to four poems each on their behalf. The deadline is November 15.

14. The Black River Chapbook Competition

This is a chance for new and emerging writers to gain publication in their own professionally published chapbook, as well as $500 and free copies of the book.

There is an $18 entry fee, and submissions are made online.

15. YouthPlays New Voices

For students under 18, the YouthPlays one-act competition is designed for young writers to create new works for the stage. Winners receive cash awards and publication.

Scroll all the way down their web page for information on the contest, which accepts non-musical plays between 10 and 40 minutes long, submitted electronically. Entries open each year in January.

16. The Ocean Awareness Contest

The 2024 Ocean Awareness Contest, Tell Your Climate Story , encourages students to write their own unique climate story. They are asking for creative expressions of students’ personal experiences, insights, or perceptions about climate change. Students are eligible for a wide range of monetary prizes up to $1,000.

Students from 11 to 18 years old may submit work in the categories of art, creative writing, poetry and spoken word, film, interactive media and multimedia, or music and dance, accompanied by a reflection. The deadline is June 13.

17. EngineerGirl Annual Essay Contest

Each year, EngineerGirl sponsors an essay contest with topics centered on the impact of engineering on the world, and students can win up to $500 in prize money. This contest is a nice bridge between ELA and STEM and great for teachers interested in incorporating an interdisciplinary project into their curriculum. The new contest asks for pieces describing the life cycle of an everyday object. Check out these tips for integrating the content into your classroom .

Students submit their work electronically by February 1. Check out the full list of rules and requirements here .

18. NCTE Student Writing Awards

The National Council of Teachers of English offers several student writing awards, including Achievement Awards in Writing (for 10th- and 11th-grade students), Promising Young Writers (for 8th-grade students), and an award to recognize Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines.

Deadlines range from October 28 to February 15. Check out NCTE.org for more details.

19. See Us, Support Us Art Contest

Children of incarcerated parents can submit artwork, poetry, photos, videos, and more. Submissions are free and the website has a great collection of past winners.

Students can submit their entries via social media or email by October 25.

20. The Adroit Prizes for Poetry & Prose

The Adroit Journal, an education-minded nonprofit publication, awards annual prizes for poetry and prose to exceptional high school and college students. Adroit charges an entry fee but also provides a form for financial assistance.

Sign up at the website for updates for the next round of submissions.

21. National PTA Reflections Awards

The National PTA offers a variety of awards, including one for literature, in their annual Reflections Contest. Students of all ages can submit entries on the specified topic to their local PTA Reflections program. From there, winners move to the local area, state, and national levels. National-level awards include an $800 prize and a trip to the National PTA Convention.

This program requires submitting to PTAs who participate in the program. Check your school’s PTA for their deadlines.

22. World Historian Student Essay Competition

The World Historian Student Essay Competition is an international contest open to students enrolled in grades K–12 in public, private, and parochial schools, as well as those in home-study programs. The $500 prize is based on an essay that addresses one of this year’s two prompts.

Students can submit entries via email or regular mail before May 1.

23. NSHSS Creative Writing Scholarship

The National Society of High School Scholars awards three $2,000 scholarships for both poetry and fiction. They accept poetry, short stories, and graphic novel writing.

Apply online by October 31.

Whether you let your students blog, start a podcast or video channel, or enter student writing contests, giving them an authentic audience for their work is always a powerful classroom choice.

If you like this list of student writing contests and want more articles like it, subscribe to our newsletters to find out when they’re posted!

Plus, check out our favorite anchor charts for teaching writing..

Are you looking for student writing contests to share in your classroom? This list will give students plenty of opportunities.

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Best Student Contests and Competitions for 2023

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Top 20 Best Writing Contests for High School Students

Jin Chow with Tree Background

By Jin Chow

Co-founder of Polygence, Forbes 30 Under 30 for Education

15 minute read

creative writing competitions youth

Writing contests are a great way to focus on a topic that excites you, organize your thoughts, showcase your research and/or creativity, join a community, gain recognition, and even win cash, scholarships, and all-expenses-paid travel. The other nice thing about writing is that you can do it on your own time, and it doesn’t cost a dime. You can fit it around other summer activities or on weekends. You don’t need to win first place in these competitions to reap the benefits either. Many competitions offer all sorts of prizes at various levels, and you may get invaluable feedback from expert judges that will help you in your future writing projects–and, yes, winning looks great on college applications too!

We’ve organized this list of teenage writing contests alphabetically, by hosting institution. It covers a broad swath of subjects, including: scientific research; persuasive essays; poetry; comics; and philosophical arguments.

Pro tip : Most of these competitions publish past winners on their websites. Read these winning entries to get inspired and to get a sense of the format, length, tone, and subject matter that’s considered winning material. It’s also just fascinating to read this great writing.

Want to work on a writing project but want feedback? Check out our Polygence mentors . Most of these competitions don’t mind if you polish your work with a mentor if the work and ideas behind your entry are your own.

Writing Contests for Teens and High School Students

As entry requirements, writing prompt availability (if applicable), application and submission deadlines, and judging criteria may change year to year, be sure to refer to the specific contest websites for those that catch your attention.

1. The Adroit Prizes for Poetry and Prose

Hosting institution: The Adroit Journal

Awards: $200

Writing prompt availability: n/a

Application deadline: n/a

Submission deadline: Mid-May

The submission guidelines for this writing contest are very nuanced; in short, you can send up to 5 “packets” of writing. Each “packet” can consist of either 6 poems or 3 prose pieces (fiction or creative nonfiction, and a total of 3,500 words combined). Winners and runners-up will be published in The Adroit Journal .

This contest is open to students internationally and winners are announced in mid-October. Each year, the contest features a different set of esteemed judges. Judges in 2023 were Natalie Diaz (poetry) and Ocean Vuong (prose). 

Note: this writing contest has a non-refundable $15 submission fee; students can apply for financial assistance if needed

2. National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Hosting institution: Alliance for Young Artists & Writers

Awards: Scholarships of up to $12,500

Submission deadline: December or January, depending on your region

The prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards has been around since 1923 and has an impressive list of past winners including Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King, John Updike, and Sylvia Plath. There are 11 writing categories including humor, flash fiction, poetry, short stories, journalism, and more.

You may win at the regional level and then be automatically entered into the national contest. Winners at the national level are invited to attend a star-studded ceremony in New York City and your writing will be published in the annual anthology Best Teen Writing.

As timelines will vary based on your specific region and which writing contest you enter, the calendar on the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers site is a great resource for students to refer to for information about important dates and deadlines.

Learn more about Why You Should Apply for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards !

3. National High School Essay Contest

Hosting institutions: American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP)

1st: $2,500 and a paid trip to the nation’s capital from anywhere in the U.S. for the winner and his or her parents, plus an all-expense paid educational voyage courtesy of Semester at Sea

2nd: $1,250 and full tuition to National Student Leadership Conference’s International Diplomacy summer program

Writing prompt availability: Fall

Submission deadline: Early April

Every year, this essay contest invites high school students  to explore a topic that touches upon issues of peace building and the protection of national security. Your response to this prompt should be an essay of 1,000-1,500 words. Winning essays are also published on the website so you can see past topics and research.

You must be a U.S. high school student to participate and meet all eligibility requirements (e.g., your parents cannot be in the Foreign Service). It’s best to refer to AFSA’s site for the most up-to-date information about very specific writing contest rules and guidelines. The judging criteria include the quality of analysis, quality of research, form, style, and mechanics.

4. Young Writers Awards

Hosting institution: Bennington College

Awards: $500 (1st in each category), $250 (2nd in each category)

YWA winners who enroll at Bennington receive a $15,000 scholarship each year -  for a total of $60,000 

Submission deadline: Early November

Bennington College has quite a literary pedigree, with alumni that have garnered twelve Pulitzer Prize winners, three U.S. poet laureates, four MacArthur Geniuses, countless New York Times bestsellers, and two of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. In honor of its legacy, Bennington College started this contest to celebrate great writing by high school students.

You’re invited to submit writing in one of the following categories: poetry (3 poems), fiction (up to 1500 words), or nonfiction (up to 1500 words). All work must be reviewed, approved, and sponsored by a teacher. Homeschool students may use a mentor.

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5. My Impact Challenge

Hosting institution: Bill of Rights Institute

Awards: Up to $10,000, with $40,000 in total prizes 

Writing prompt availability: n/a

In this contest, a 1,200-word essay is part of a larger project that also includes a service project that you’ve completed along with a 2,000-word report detailing your inspiration, project plan, details of how you executed the plan, and how your understanding of civic virtue and your community grew as a result. Visual documentation of your project is also required. You’ll be judged on the impact your project had on the community, knowledge gained, originality, mechanics, and your understanding of civic virtue.

Get more information about the submission guidelines and judging rubric for My Impact Challenge on the Bill of Rights Institute website.

6. Ocean Awareness Contest

Hosting institution: Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs

Awards: Up to $1,500

Writing prompt availability: Early September

Submission deadline: Mid-June

This international writing contest was created to raise awareness about environmental issues through creative communication. Students aged 11 through 18 are eligible to participate.

The prompt for 2023 involved thinking about climate change and posing possible solutions for the climate crisis. The idea is to move beyond the bad news and celebrate the work that is being done by countless “climate heroes”—the scientists, activists, artists, and educators striving to make our world more habitable.

The writing prompt for the 2024 Ocean Awareness Contest is Tell Your Climate Story . Your submission can take the form of creative writing, film, interactive and multimedia, poetry, and spoken word.

The Ocean Awareness Contest FAQs on the Bow Seat site are an excellent resource to find out more specific information about how to participate in this writing competition.

7. Essay Contest

Hosting institution: Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA)

Awards: $1,000 scholarship + free trip to conference (1st), $500 scholarship (2nd), $250 scholarship (3rd)

Writing prompt availability:  November

Submission deadline: Begins February 2024

If you love Jane Austen novels, you must enter this contest! Each year, JASNA asks students from all around the world to think about a topic inspired by a work by Jane Austen and how this topic reflects on our culture today. The 2023 JASNA Essay Contest topic was about marriages and proposals , as inspired by the theme in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The 2024 JASNA Essay Contest topic will be announced in November 2023. Your original insights and clear, correct writing should then take the form of a 6-8 page essay written in English. Past essay winners are published on the website.

8. Profile in Courage Essay Contest by JFK Presidential Library

Hosting institution: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Awards: $10,000 (1st), $3,000 (2nd), $1,000 (five other finalists), $100 (eight semifinalists)

Submission deadline: Mid-January

Inspired by JFK's book, Profiles in Courage, this writing contest invites you to describe and analyze an act of political courage by a U.S. elected official serving after JFK was born (1917). Essays must be between 700 and 1,000 words and include a minimum of five sources. Judges are looking for originality, supporting evidence, source material, high-quality writing, and organization. They also want to see evidence that you understand the meaning of political courage.

Note: students must provide the name of a nominating teacher on their registration form, so make sure you coordinate with an educator who can serve in that capacity. Refer to the Profile in Courage Essay Contest eligibility requirements for more information.

9. John Locke Essay Competition

Hosting institution: John Locke Institute

Awards: Awards: $2,000 scholarship (for 1st in each of the 8 categories)

Application deadline: Late May

Submission deadline: Late June

Ready to think deep thoughts? This contest gives you the chance to refine your skills in argumentation (e.g,, independent insights, depth of knowledge, clear reasoning, critical analysis, and rhetoric) and have your work assessed by experts. You can choose from 1 of 3 challenging questions posed in 7 different categories (Philosophy, Politics, Economics, History, Psychology, Theology, and Law) in the form of a 2,000-word (max) essay. There’s also a junior category for students who are under age 15 (i.e., 14 or younger).

Your entry will be judged by a panel of Oxford and Princeton faculty. Winning essays are posted on the John Locke Institute website , and you can check out the fascinating archive.

Read our blog post, Everything You Should Know about the John Locke Institute Essay Competition to learn more about this writing contest!

10. High School Poetry Prize and Ten-Minute Play Contest

Hosting institution: Lewis Center for the Arts - Princeton University

Poetry: $1,500 (1st), $750 (2nd), $500 (3rd)

Play: $500 (1st), $250 (2nd), $100 (3rd)

Writing prompt availability: Late October (Poetry)

Application deadlines: n/a

Submission deadlines:

Poetry: Late November

Play: Late March

Princeton University has two writing contests that are open to 11th grade students and it is possible to enter both of them:

Leonard L. Milberg ’53 High School Poetry Prize : students may submit up to three poems and it is okay if they have also been submitted to other writing contests

Ten-Minute Play Contest : submissions are limited to one play per student

Entries for both contests are judged by Princeton faculty.

11. EngineerGirl Writing Contest

Hosting institution: National Academy of Engineering

Awards: $500 (1st), $250 (2nd), $100 (3rd)

Writing prompt availability: September

Submission deadline: Early February

This essay contest features a new writing prompt every year dealing with engineering’s impact on the world. The 2023 contest focused on diversity in engineering and how that might future design solutions . The prompt for the 2024 EngineerGirl Writing Contest is The Secret Life of Everyday Items . High school students are limited to 750 words and must cite anywhere from 3-10 resources. Winning and honorable mention entries are published on the website.

12. Achievement Awards in Writing

Hosting institution: National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

Awards: First-class awards will be published on the NCTE website

Writing prompt availability: August

Application deadline: Mid-November

Submission deadline: Early March; submission period begins in early February

Each year, the National Council of Teachers of English posts a thought-provoking prompt and participants in 10th and 11th grades are welcome to respond in up to 10 pages. 

The writing prompt for the 2023 contest was based on Malala Yousafzai’s address to the United Nations; the prompt for 2024 comes from Michele Obama’s book, Becoming:

“If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you'll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

Writing contest entries are not limited to informative or persuasive essays. They can also take the form of a research report, a personal narrative, a fictional story, a series of poems, a photo essay, or a comic or graphic narrative.

Other NCTE Writing Contests for Students

Promising Young Writers

Open to 8th graders

Submission deadline is mid-February

National Writing Award: The Humanities and a Freer Tomorrow - in partnership with the National Humanities Alliance

Open to 11th and 12th graders

Submission deadline is late October

13. YoungArts Writing Competition

Hosting institution: The National Foundation for the Advancement of Artists

Awards: Prizes up to $10,000, Entry to National YoungArtsWeek, Presidential Scholar In the Arts designation, grants and funding, residency opportunities

Writing prompt availability: Mid-June

Submission deadline: Mid-October

This multidisciplinary competition has entry categories across 10 disciplines. Writing is one of them, and you may submit your writing in the form of creative nonfiction, novel, play or script, poetry, short story, or spoken word. To be eligible to apply you must be a U.S. sophomore, junior, or senior. The website features a great section with tips and testimonials from past winners and guest artists. Awards are not simply cash-based. Entry into this organization connects you to a lifelong network and access to master artists.

14. Creative Writing Scholarship

Hosting institution: National Society of High School Scholars

Awards: $2,000 prize (3 given out for fiction and 3 given out for poetry)

Writing prompt availability: Early May

Submission deadline: Early October

You can enter this contest in the fiction or poetry category, or both. Fiction must be no more than 5,000 words. Your poem must appear as you would like for it to be published. Judging criteria include creativity, technique, expression, and originality. In addition to your writing, you’ll need to submit a recommendation from a teacher, a school transcript, an academic resume, and a photo of yourself.

15. Young Lions Fiction Award

Hosting institution: New York Public Library

Award: $10,000

Submission deadline: Early September

The Young Lions Fiction Award was started by Ethan Hawke, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, Rick Moody, and Hannah McFarland as a safety net and support system for young writers. You must be 35 or younger to submit your work for consideration. The catch with this particular contest is that your submission must be in the form of a published novel or collection of short stories that was published within the year of the contest– galley proof is an acceptable format.

As most high school students won’t have a published book to submit, this contest is a bit of a stretch–it’s generally geared toward young writers in their 20s and 30s. That said, if you have published a book, this is an amazing opportunity and it is a very prestigious distinction to be among the five finalists.

16. Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder / Sense of the Wild Contest

Hosting institution: Rachel Carson Landmark Alliance

Awards: Publication on the contest website

Submission deadline: Mid-November

Unlike the other writing contests listed here, this writing submission is meant to be co authored by you and at least one older adult. This could be your parent, grandparent, teacher, neighbor, mentor, etc. The idea is that you and your coauthor are from two different generations and that will inspire both of you to look at nature differently. You can choose to write about 1 of 2 themes and you can also choose to write it as an essay or as a poem. (Either can have up to 500 words). You may also include an original photograph with your entry.

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17. High School Essay Contest

Hosting institutions: The Society of Professional Journalists and the Journalism Education Association

Awards: $1,000 scholarship (1st), $500 scholarship (2nd), $300 scholarship (3rd)

Submission deadline: Mid-February

Raising awareness of the importance of independent media in our lives is the key goal of this contest. The topic for 2023 was “While consumers are drawn toward tweets and sound bites, how can journalists tell more of the story without losing readers’ interest?” U.S. high school students in grades 9 through 12 are invited to respond to this prompt with an essay of 300-500 words.

The judging criteria include: adherence to the topic and a logical interpretation of the subject (40 pts); vocabulary and style (30 pts); grammar (20 points); neatness (5 pts); and proper format (5 pts).

18. Voice of Democracy

Hosting institution: Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)

Awards: $35,000 college scholarship (grand prize); $1,000-$2,100 (other national scholarships); $1,000 (each state winner)

Submission deadline: Late October

This audio-essay contest was created in 1947 to promote patriotism for our U.S. democracy. High school students are invited to express their patriotism via a recorded speech. Each year students win $1.3 million in educational scholarships and incentives from this VFW contest. The 2023-24 prompt is: “What are the greatest attributes of our democracy?”

Students will write and record their essay response. (The audio file should be 3-5 minutes long.) The judging criteria include originality (30 pts), organization and flow (35 pts), and speech delivery (35 pts). You submit your audio file and written essay to your local VFW Post, which you can find on the VFW site we link to above.

Patriot’s Pen

VFW has a writing contest for students in sixth through eighth grade, called Patriot’s Pen . The 2023-24 prompt for this contest is: “How are you inspired by America?”

19. World Historian Student Essay Competition

Hosting institution: World History Organization

Awards: $500

Writing prompt availability: n/a 

Submission deadline: Early May

Open to all students internationally (grades K-12), this contest provides a prompt based on world history education and how it impacts you. The prompt for 2023 asks you to think about a family story related to a historical event or your family’s cultural background. Your response must be an essay of approximately 1,000 words. Judging criteria include a clear thesis, concrete supporting examples, evidence of synthesis and evaluation, and organization. They are also looking at your overall ability to communicate how a better understanding of world history has changed you.

20. New Voices One-Act Competition

Hosting institution: YouthPLAYS

Awards: $250 and publication in YouthPLAYS (1st), $100 (runner-up)

Writing prompt availability: Early January

This contest accepts any unpublished, non-musical one-act play from anyone under age 19. Your play must be between 10-14 minutes in length (a read-through before you submit is recommended) and at least 10 pages long. The play should be suitable for a school production and should ideally feature youth characters in age-appropriate roles. Your cast must also have two or more characters and more female roles are encouraged.

How Students Can Benefit From Participating in Writing Competitions

Writing competitions offer high school students a unique opportunity to showcase their skills, gain recognition, and enhance their college admissions prospects. Here are 10 ways writing contests can make a positive impact and be beneficial for student participants:

1. Demonstrating your commitment to writing

When you actively engage in writing competitions, you demonstrate your passion and commitment to the craft. Admissions officers appreciate applicants who have pursued their interests with dedication.

2. Showcasing your skills

Writing contests allow you to showcase your writing skills , whether it's in the form of essays, poetry, or other creative works. High-quality submissions can impress admissions committees.

3. Building a strong portfolio

Over time, your participation in various writing competitions can help you build a diverse and impressive writing portfolio. This portfolio can be submitted as part of your college application to highlight your talents .

4. Gaining recognition

Winning or even being recognized as a finalist in a prestigious writing contest can significantly boost your application. Admissions officers are more likely to take notice of applicants with such accomplishments.

5. Differentiating yourself

In a competitive admissions landscape, it's essential to stand out from the crowd. Participation in writing competitions sets you apart and adds a unique dimension to your application.

6. Highlighting your interests

Writing competitions can be a reflection of your academic and personal interests. They show that you are intellectually curious and proactive in pursuing your passions .

7. Earning scholarships and awards

Many writing contests offer cash prizes or scholarships as rewards. These can help offset the cost of your education, making you a more attractive candidate to colleges.

8. Receiving Expert Feedback

Writing competitions often involve evaluation by expert judges. Constructive feedback from these judges can help you improve your writing skills, which is valuable both academically and in your application essays .

9. Enhancing Your Writing Abilities

Regularly participating in writing contests hones your writing abilities, making you a more effective communicator. This skill is beneficial for college coursework and beyond.

10. Reflecting On Personal Growth

As you participate in writing competitions, you may explore new topics and perspectives. This growth as a writer and thinker is something you can discuss in your application essays.

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The Best Children's Writing Contests of 2023

Writing competitions curated by Reedsy


  • Flash Fiction
  • Non-fiction
  • Science Fiction
  • Science Writing
  • Script Writing
  • Short Story
  • Young Adult

Manage a competition? Submit it here

Showing 24 contests

World historian student essay competition.

World History Association

The World Historian Student Essay Competition is an international competition open to students enrolled in grades K–12 in public, private, and parochial schools, and those in home-study programs. Membership in the World History Association is not a requirement for submission. Past winners may not compete in the same category again.

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: May 01, 2023 (Expired)

Children's, Essay

100 Word Writing Contest

Tadpole Press

Can you write a story using 100 words or less? Pieces will be judged on creativity, uniqueness, and how the story captures a new angle, breaks through stereotypes, and expands our beliefs about what's possible or unexpectedly delights us. In addition, we are looking for writing that is clever or unique, inspires us, and crafts a compelling and complete story. The first-place prize has doubled to $2,000 USD.

Additional prizes

2nd: writing coach package

Deadline: November 30, 2023 (Expired)

Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Thriller, Young Adult, Children's, Poetry, Romance, Short Story, Suspense, Travel

The Atom Learning Young Author Award

Atom Learning

The theme for 2023 is 'If I were in charge for a day…'. Entrants must submit a creative response to this theme no more than 500 words. All entrants must be aged between 7–11 on the day the competition closes (10th September 2023). Submissions must be written by the child and must not be supported by an adult. We’re looking for aspiring writers, not perfect wordsmiths!

A trip to Disneyland Paris for a family of 4

Chromebook worth £250 | More prizes for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th

Deadline: September 10, 2023 (Expired)

Fiction, Children's

National Youth Foundation "I Matter" Contest

National Youth Foundation

Founded by Black women with a vision for change, the mission of the National Youth Foundation is to promote diversity, inclusion and gender equality through innovative literary programs. The “I Matter” poetry contest was launched by a 14-year old student who took action to educate the world about why Black Lives Matter. The contest calls upon students across the country to submit poems on this important topic.

Deadline: July 23, 2023 (Expired)

Children's, Poetry

The Betty Award

As one of the few competitions for elementary and middle school students, The Betty Award grants cash prizes for written pieces below 1,000 words. The Betty Award has both a Spring & Fall contest.

Deadline: May 13, 2023 (Expired)

North Street Book Prize

Winning Writers

Submit a self-published or hybrid-published book, up to 200,000 words in length. One grand prize winner will receive $10,000, a marketing analysis and one-hour phone consultation with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, a $300 credit at BookBaby, three months of Plus service (a $207 value) and a $500 account credit from Book Award Pro, and 3 free ads in the Winning Writers newsletter (a $525 value)

$1,000 for top winner in each category | $300 for honorable mentions

Deadline: June 30, 2023 (Expired)

Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, Poetry, Children's, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult

"It's All Write!" Teen Writing Contest

Ann Arbor District Library

The Ann Arbor District Library is excited to host its 30th annual “It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest in Winter 2022! Young Adult authors take part as judges each year, who then read and select the winning stories. Stories are judged in three different categories: Grades 6-8, Grades 9 & 10, and Grades 11 & 12. The top three writers in each age group receive fabulous prizes. This is an ever-growing, state-wide contest.

2nd: $150 | 3rd: $75

Deadline: March 05, 2023 (Expired)

Promising Young Writers Contest

National Council of Teachers of English

Through collaboration and community, shared stories and shared experiences, NCTE supports teachers and their students in classrooms, on college campuses, and in online learning environments. The Promising Young Writers Program stimulates and recognizes the writing talents of eighth-grade students and to emphasize the importance of writing skills among eighth-grade students.

The NCTE Certificate of Recognition

Deadline: February 15, 2023 (Expired)

$1000 for 1000 Words Contest

The Layla Beban Young Authors

The $1000 for 1000 Words fiction writing contest is open to all students enrolled in grades 6-12. Each entrant may submit a fiction piece consisting of exactly 1,000 words (not including title or author’s name). The fiction piece can be on any topic, as long as it is not vulgar or offensive, does not use inappropriate profanity, and is the original work of the entrant not previously published.

Deadline: February 01, 2023 (Expired)

Children's, Short Story

EngineerGirl Writing Contest


Every year, the EngineerGirl website sponsors a contest dealing with engineering and its impact on our world. The topic and detailed instructions for the contest are posted in September with a deadline for submissions on February 1st of the following year. Winners are announced in the spring.

Bennington Young Writers Awards

Bennington College

Bennington College has a unique literary legacy, including twelve Pulitzer Prize winners, three U.S. poet laureates, four MacArthur Geniuses, countless New York Times bestsellers, and two of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. In celebration of this legacy, Bennington launched the Young Writers Awards to promote excellence in writing at the high school level. Our goal with this competition is to recognize outstanding writing achievement by high school students.

2nd: $500 | 3rd: $250

Deadline: November 01, 2022 (Expired)

Seven Hills Literary Contest and Penumbra Poetry and Haiku Contest

Tallahassee Writers Association

The Seven Hills Literary Contest and Penumbra Poetry and Haiku Contest (collectively, “the Contest”) is sponsored annually by the Tallahassee Writers Association. The contest is open to English-language entries from around the world. For the first time, we are open to published entries as well as unpublished entries.

Published in the Seven Hills Review

Deadline: September 30, 2022 (Expired)

Children's, Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

Rattle Young Poets

Rattle Foundation

Rattle is a publication of the Rattle Foundation, an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the practice of poetry, and is not affiliated with any other organization. The author of the poem must have been age 15 or younger when the poem was written, and 18 or younger when submitted.

Publication in Rattle Magazine

Deadline: November 15, 2022 (Expired)

Celebration Day Writing Contest

The Celebration Day Competition gets children to connect with the oldest person they know and interview them about the person who inspired them most growing up. They will retell the story in a creative way to win their work being read out on camera by a star-studded collection of celebrity guests, an iPad, and a £100 Amazon voucher. You must be aged between five and 18 to enter the competition, or be a teacher, and can live anywhere in the world.

£100 Amazon Voucher

Celebrities reading out winning entries, publication on website.

Deadline: June 21, 2022 (Expired)

"Write On!" Short Story Contest

The annual "Write On!" Short Story Contest for Grades 3-5 accepts story entries each winter. All writers, their friends, and families are invited to a Story Celebration and awards ceremony on Saturday, April 23, 2022, featuring a published children's author and the top three writers in each grade will receive an award.

Publication on website

Deadline: March 06, 2022 (Expired)

Cricket Magazine Contest

Cricket Magazine

’Tis winter, and the cold wind doth blow. But it can be fun to frolic in the ice and snow. So, bundle up! For our January contest, everybuggy would love to read your best wintry tale. Welcome to an opportunity to get published in Cricket Magazine! Your contest entry must be your very own original work. Ideas and words should not be copied. Your entry must be signed by your parent or guardian, stating that it is your own work, that no help was given, and that Cricket has permission to publish it in the magazine and on our website.

Publication in Cricket Magazine

Deadline: January 25, 2022 (Expired)

PFD Children's Queer Fiction Prize

Peter Fraser + Dunlop

Judged by E. Latimer and agents Silvia Molteni and Lucy Irvine. Accepting middle grade (aimed at readers aged 8-12) and chapter books (aimed at readers aged 6-8) fiction samples across all genres. Applicants are asked to submit a three-chapter sample and synopsis. Works may be finished or in-progress.

Publishing contract with PFD

Deadline: March 01, 2022 (Expired)

Children's, Fiction, LGBTQ

Funny Festival Fables

C.A.A.B Publishin

Write us a short story about the festive period. We want tales about silly snowmen, naughty elves, and hilarious stories that would make Santa go HO! HO! HO! Entries should be around 1,000 words or less and must be sent as a Word Document with no pictures.

Deadline: August 31, 2022 (Expired)

Children's, Flash Fiction

IEW Writing Contest

Institute for Excellent Writing

We are delighted to present our annual writing contest for all aspiring and accomplished writers, ages eight to eighteen. Whether or not they have experience with IEW's Structure and Style® Writing Method, your students are invited to participate.

Deadline: April 30, 2021 (Expired)

Stone Soup Flash Fiction Contest

Stone Soup holds a Flash Contest during the first week of every month. The month’s first Weekly Creativity prompt provides the contest challenge. Submissions are due by midnight on Sunday of the same week. Up to five winners are chosen for publication on our blog. The winners, along with up to five honorable mentions, are announced in the following Saturday Newsletter.

Publication on Stone Soup's blog

Deadline: December 01, 2022 (Expired)

VFW Voice of Democracy

Veterans of Foreign Wars

The VFW is dedicated to promoting patriotism and investing in our future generation. If you are a democracy-loving high school student interested in a $30,000 college scholarship or a patriotic middle school student interested in winning $5,000, these scholarships may be for you.

$30,000 college scholarship

Deadline: October 31, 2022 (Expired)

Amazing Women’s Edition Contest

Founded by Black women with a vision for change, the mission of the National Youth Foundation is to promote diversity, inclusion and gender equality through innovative literary programs. To honor the vast accomplishments of women in the United States, the National Youth Foundation is pleased to announce the Amazing Women’s Edition (AWE) competition. This writing contest is open to students in grades K to 8 residing in the United States.

Deadline: January 07, 2022 (Expired)

Jane Austen Society of North America Essay Contest

Jane Austen Society of North America

JASNA conducts an annual student Essay Contest to foster the study and appreciation of Jane Austen's works in new generations of readers. Students world-wide are invited to compete for scholarship awards in three divisions: high school, college, and graduate school.

$1,000 scholarship

Two nights’ lodging for JASNA’s Annual General Meeting

Deadline: June 02, 2022 (Expired)

We the Students Essay Contest

Bill of Rights Institute

The Bill of Rights Institute engages, educates, and empowers individuals with a passion for the freedom and opportunity that exist in a free society. Students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Armed Forces schools abroad, and students in United States territories are eligible to participate in its contest.

Deadline: April 15, 2021 (Expired)

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    CONTEST SOURCES FOR YOUTH · Ink of Ages Fiction Prize Deadline: October 7, 2023 · Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest Deadline: November 6, 2023 · Scholastic Art

  5. Competitions

    We run poetry and creative writing competitions throughout the year for Primary and Secondary Schools in the UK and USA. Let's make writing fun!

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    Bright Light Education Creative Writing Competition for children aged 7-13. This annual competition returns in 2023 and is open to all children in the UK, with

  7. The ultimate guide to competitions for young writers 2023

    The Young Walter Scott Prize · Atom Learning Young Author Award · Author of Tomorrow · BBC 500 Words · CABB Publishing Writing Competitions · Foyle

  8. The ultimate guide to competitions for young writers 2022

    The Young Walter Scott Prize · Orwell Youth Prize · War Through Children's Eyes · Green Stories Writing Competitions · Young Poets' Competition.

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    Young Writers: Competitions · 1. Write the World (ongoing monthly competitions) · 2. Night Parrot Press Flash Lab · 3. IndigoTeen Magazine · 4. Little Stories. Big

  10. Young Writers Guide to Contests

    The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. Scholastic Art & Writing Awards · The Earth Chronicles · Homer Humanities · Manningham Trust Student Poetry Contest.

  11. The Best Student Writing Contests for 2023-2024

    The Best Student Writing Contests for 2023-2024 · 1. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards · 2. YoungArts National Arts Competition · 3. National Youth Foundation

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    The Young Authors Writing Competition is a national competition for high school writers of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. It began as a local

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    Writing contests are a great way to focus on a topic that excites you, organize your thoughts, showcase your research and/or creativity

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