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.
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:;
- June: Creative Non-Fiction — Food Writing — Source of sustenance
- July: Sports Writing — Journalism — The balls in your court
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. Make Your Own Story Book Competition 2020
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.
Entry fee: free.
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 5 June 2020.
More information: visit the CBCA WA’s website, where you can find submission guidelines, read writing tips and download an entry form.
3. Connecting through Creativity Competition
The brief: Get creative using a method of visual storytelling to explore the topic of CONNECTIVITY during the global COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Create your artistic response, to the theme Connectivity, in any visual method that inspires you! Some examples include 2D Arts (drawing, illustration, painting, collage, photography, comics, etc.); Video (video diary, performance, stop motion, interview, short film, etc.); and 3D Arts (ephemeral art, land art, sculpture, pop up books, etc.).
Open to: Primary and secondary students in Western Australia.
Categories: Primary (any age attending Years 1-6); Secondary (any age attending Years 7-12)
Entry fee: free.
Prizes: 2x winners will be chosen from each age category by a panel of judges comprising of 1x winner from a regional community, and 1x winner from the Perth metro area. Each winner will receive $250 cash and a $250 voucher to Riot Art & Craft.
Closing date: Friday 26 June 2020.
More information: head to the Scribblers Festival website.
4. The Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards 2020
The brief: Submit poems no longer than 80 lines; no illustrations, graphics or decorations submitted. Up to 3 poems per student. In 2020, the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society has chosen the theme “We Used to Live There.” As always, it is an optional theme, so please write about whatever topic sparks your poetic genius. You can enter as an individual or as a school.
Open to: primary and secondary students in Australia.
Entry fee: Online entries: individual (up to 3 poems)—$20.00; up to 30 poems—$30.00; over 30 poems—$60.00; over 100 poems—$80.00. Postal entries (primary only): individual (up to 3 poems)—$25.00; up to 30 poems—$35.00; over 30 poems—$65.00; over 100 poems—$100.00.
Closing date: Tuesday 30 June 2020.
More information: visit the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards website.
5. Ogla Masters Short Story Award
The brief: Submit a short story (2,000 to 4,000 words) on the theme of life in rural Australia.
Open to: all Australian residents, with a special youth category (18 years and younger).
Entry fee: $20.
Prizes: In the Youth Prize there is a $500 first prize and a $250 prize for runner-up (13 to 18 years) and a creative writing tutorial with JD Shaw for 12 years and under.
Closing date: Friday 10 July 2020.
More information: visit the Olga Masters Short Story Award website.
6. 2020 New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Writing
The brief: Submit a story or article up to 2,500 words or a poem up to 60 lines. All genres of crime writing are eligible, from hard-boiled to comic, paranormal to rural, historical to contemporary, noir to cosy. Entries welcome from anywhere in Australia, from published or unpublished writers.
Open to: Entries are welcome from anywhere in Australia, from published or unpublished writers, and there is a special category for writers under 18.
Categories: There are six categories, with one of them being for young writers: The Youth Award, for writers under 18.
Entry fee: $10 for adults, $5 for Youth.
Prizes: $150 for the Youth Award.
Closing date: Friday 31 July 2020.
More information: visit the the New England Writers’ Centre website.
7. 2021 Premier’s Anzac Student Tour
The brief: Prepare an extended written response of no more than 1000 words on the following topic: What should we believe when accounts of the same historical event are in conflict? Using supporting evidence of a Western Australian individual, community or group from Australian military history, present your explanation of this conflict. (NB: Schools conduct their own selection process and can nominate up to three students in each of the two categories of Years 8 and 9, and Years 10 and 11.)
Open to: Western Australian students in years 8 to 11.
Categories: years 8 and 9; years 10 and 11.
Entry fee: free.
Prizes: Ten student ambassadors will represent Western Australia on the 2021 Premier’s Anzac Student Tour.
Closing date: Friday 14 August 2020.
More information: visit the Western Australian Department of Education website, where you can download a student application package.
8. UNSW Bragg Student Prize for Science Writing
The brief: 2020 theme: The Big Ideas Saving the Planet. In 800 words, describe some scientific research that has delivered a solution that you believe could change the future for our planet.
Open to: Australian students in years 7 to 10.
Entry fee: free.
Prizes: The winner will be awarded a $500 UNSW Bookshop voucher and a subscription to the Australian Book Review. The winning essay will be included in the 2021 edition of NewSouth Publishing’s highly acclaimed anthology The Best Australian Science Writing, where it will appear alongside essays by some of the country’s leading science writers. It will also appear in an issue of CSIRO’s Double Helix Magazine, on Careers with STEM and on New South Publishing. Winners and runners up will get the opportunity to attend the Bragg Prize award ceremony and launch of The Best Australian Science Writing 2020 in Sydney.
Closing date: Friday 28 August 2020.
More information: head to the Careers with STEM website.
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!