Writing Competitions for Young Writers in Australia: February to July 2018
If you’re a young writer, and have been putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) for a while, then you might be wondering if there’s anywhere to send your stories, essays, poems (and any other writing forms you can think of). The answer is that there’s actually a lot, if you know where to look. To make it easy, I’ve compiled a range of Australian writing competitions into one blog post, in reverse order of closing date.
There are few others I will add to this list as more details comes to hand. This includes the Tim Winton Award and the John Marsden & Hachette Australia Prize as well as the Shaun Tan Art Award for any artists out there. And if you hear of something I’ve missed, then please let me know!
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:
- February: Essay – ‘Us on Earth’ (600-1000 words). Closes 20 February 2018.
- March: Opinion – ‘The Art of Persuasion’.
- April: Poetry – ‘The World Anew’.
- May: Reflection – ‘Vital Nutrients’.
- June: Science Fiction – ‘An Imagined Future.
For a more detailed information about each topic, including deadlines (for draft and final submissions) and prizes, head to the Write the World website.
2018 Adelaide Plains Poets Competition
The Brief: Write a poem on the theme of ‘truth’.
Open to: The junior sections are open to primary and secondary students. There is also an open section for poets 18 years and over.
Categories: primary school students; secondary school students; open class.
Cost: no entry fee for students.
Prizes: 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes, plus highly commended and commended certificates as awarded by the judge.
Closing Date: 6 July 2018.
Further Information: Poetic Pause website, or email the competition secretary, Ms C Cordon (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Make Your Own Story Book Competition 2018
The brief: create a picture book or story book that tells an original story, using original text and illustrations.
Open to: Western Australian students from pre-primary to year 8.
Categories: years PP-2 picture book; years 3-4 picture book; years 3-4 story book; years 5-6 picture book; years 5-6 story book; year 7-8 picture book; year 7-8 story book.
Prizes: 3 prizes are awarded for each age group, in each category.
Closing date: Friday 8 June 2017.
Check out further info for the Make Your Own Story Book Competition and download an entry form, which spells out instructions and guidelines in detail, including the difference between a picture book and a story book.
SAETA Young Writers Award
The Brief: Write poetry or prose, on any theme, up to 1000 words.
Open to: all South Australian students.
Categories: There are six categories, which include students from Reception to Year 12.
Prizes: Shortlisted finalists will be contacted and invited to the Young Writers Award 2018 Presentation Night.
Closing Date: Friday 18 May 2018.
Further information: and an entry form can be found via the South Australian English Teachers Association (SAETA) website.
What Matters? is an annual competition run by the Whitlam Institute. Entrants are invited to respond to the question ‘What Matters?’ by expressing their views on any subject or issue they care about.
The Brief: Write a 400-600 word piece in prose or poetry, either fiction or non-fiction, on an issue of significance to you.
Open to: school students in NSW, Tasmania and ACT.
Categories: years 5-6; years 7-8; years 9-10; years 11-12.
Closing date: Friday 11 May 2018.
Further information: Check out the What Matters Writing Competition page for more details and to download an entry form for the state in which you live.
Laura Literary Awards
The Brief: Write a short story or poem. Word limit depends on the category you enter.
Open to: Ages 5 to 18 (although it also includes a category for adults).
Categories and prizes:
The Flinders News Prose Awards:
- Section 1 – OPEN Prize $200 A short story up to 1500 words
- Section 2 – YOUNG ADULT (13-18 yrs) Prize $50 A short story up to 1000 words
- Section 3 – JUNIOR (9-12 yrs) Prize $25 A short story up to 500 words
- Section 4 – JUNIOR PRIMARY (5-8 yrs) Prize $15 A short story up to 500 words
The CJ Dennis Poetry Awards (Poem up to 60 lines for all sections):
- Section 5 – OPEN Prize $200
- Section 6 – OPEN BUSH POETRY Prize $200
- Section 7 – YOUNG ADULT (13-18 yrs) Prize $50
- Section 8 – JUNIOR (9-12 yrs) Prize $25
- Section 9 – JUNIOR PRIMARY (5-8 yrs) Prize $15
Cost: No fee is required for student entry (but $10 per entry for adults).
Closing date: Friday 13 April 2018.
2018 South Perth Young Writers Award
The Brief: Write a piece of prose up to 1500 words.
Open to: students living in or attending school in the City of South Perth.
Categories: lower primary (years 1-2); middle primary (years 3-4); upper primary (years 5-6); lower secondary (years 7-9); upper secondary (years 10-12).
Prizes: Prizes may be awarded for 1st and 2nd in each category, and certificates for highly commended works may also be awarded. The most outstanding entry will be awarded the Cristobel Mattingley Bronze Medalion.
Closing Date: Saturday 7 April 2018.
Childrens and Young Adults Writers and Illustrators Competition
The Brief: You may submit a picture book, graphic novel, illustrated picture book, middle grade illustrated novel, or a published illustration.
- Picture Books: Text only for preschool or primary aged children up to 500 words in English. Open theme.
- Chapter Book: Text only for older primary aged children/Young Adult. First 1000 words in English. Open theme.
- a) Text only for younger primary aged children. First 1000 words in English. Open theme.
- b) Text only for older aged children (Middle Grade). First 1000 words in English. Open theme
- c) Fiction writing for Young Adults. First 2000 words max and a page single spaced synopsis. Only the first 1000 words in English will be judged. Open theme.
- Graphic Novel/Illustrated picture book/Middle Grade Illustrated Novel: Fiction or non-fiction – any age group within CYA. Three pages of graphic novel or 3 pages of illustrated picture book, up to 500 words. Three illustrations of the middle-grade novel, with the words present on the pages. Words in English. (Complete story to accompany – not judged.) Open theme.
NB: Read the guidelines outlined in the downloadable PDF carefully, as they are quite specific.
Open to: Hatchlings (8-18 years old). There are other categories for both aspiring and published authors as well.
Categories: see ‘The Brief’ above.
Prizes: 1st prize ($100); 2nd prize ($60) and 3rd prize ($40) per category. Short listed entries will be read by at least one children’s publisher.
Closing date: 4 April 2018.
Nakata Brophy Short Fiction and Poetry Prize for Young Indigenous Writers
The Brief: Write a short story of up to 3000 words.
Open to: Indigenous writers who are 30 years or younger at the closing date of the competition.
Prizes: First place is a $5000 prize, publication in Overland’s print magazine, and a three-month writer’s residency at the beautiful Trinity College, the oldest student residence at the University of Melbourne. Two runner-up prizes of $500 may also be awarded.
Closing Date: 16 February 2018.
Further Information: Entry conditions and online entry form can be found on the Overland Literary Journal website.
Black Cockatoo Aboriginal Story and Art Competition
The Brief: Short story of up to 5,000 words and/or art piece in any medium.
Open to: Aboriginal youth aged 10-20 from rural or remote locations in Australia.
Categories: Art work; short story.
Prizes: Head to the Black Cockatoo website for a detailed list of prizes.
Closing Date: 14 February 2018.
Over to You
Just one quick note: if you do enter a competition, take time to read the guidelines carefully to ensure you’re entry meets the requirements, and is therefore accepted. 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 – and keep writing!