Writer's Resources

Novel Writing Competition List for 2019

Novel Writing Competition List for 2019. Updated 1 December 2018. These competitions are for unpublished or self-published novels and novellas for international writers, plus a few for UK residents only. It’s a long list and accurate as far as possible, updated monthly, so bookmark this page! I can’t vouch for all these comps personally, but if you have experience of them, I’d love to hear from you. Good luck!

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

Adventures in YA Publishing

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

Entry Fee: Free

Deadline: ongoing – see website

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

Adventure Writer’s Competition

Sponsored by the Clive Cussler Collector’s Society. Annual competition to recognise and celebrate adventure writing. Open to unpublished novels and published novels that have sold no more than 5,000 copies. Must be an action-adventure novel. Win $1,000 plus marketing help with your novel. Opens again in January 2019.

Entry Fee: $25

Deadline: 1 July 2018 *CLOSED*

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

A Woman’s Write

International prize for an unpublished novel written in English.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

Entry Fee: $40

Deadline: 30 November 2018 *CLOSED*

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

Bath Novella-in-Flash Award

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

Entry Fee: £16

Deadline: 14 January 2019

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

Bath Novel Award

International prize for aspiring and self-published novelists. Win £2,500, plus literary agent introductions. Long-listed entrants will be asked to submit their complete manuscript (min. 50,000 words). One long-listed entrant also gets access to an online editing course worth £1,800 from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy. Opens for entries on 5 December 2018.

Entry Fee: £25

Deadline: 2 June 2019

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

Bath Children’s Novel Award

International prize for aspiring and self-published writers of children’s fiction. This competition runs in rotation every other year with the Bath Novel Award for adult fiction. For all genres of chapter, middle grade and young adult novels. Win £2,500.

Entry Fee: £25

Deadline: 2 December 2018

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

Bridport Prize: Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award

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

Entry Fee: £20

Deadline: 31 May 2019

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

Caledonia Novel Award

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

Entry Fee: £25

Deadline: 1 November 2018 *CLOSED*

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

Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition

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

Entry Fee: £18

Deadline: 28 February 2019

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

Cinnamon Press Debut Novel Prize

Annual competition open to authors who have not previously been published. Win a year of mentoring worth £1,000 plus a publishing contract with Cinnamon Press. Opening TBC – but check out the new mentoring competition below…

Entry Fee: £12

Deadline: 31 July 2018 *CLOSED*

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

Cinnamon Pencil Mentoring Competition

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

Entry Fee: £10

Deadline: 15 December 2018

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

Claymore Award

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

Entry Fee: $40

Deadline: 1 April 2019

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

Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award

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

Entry Fee: £36

Deadline: 28 February 2019

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

Exeter Novel Prize

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

Entry Fee: £18

Deadline: 1 January 2019

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

First Novel Prize

Daniel Goldsmith Associates literary prize for unpublished and self-published novelists. Win £1,000 for a novel of at least 50,000 words in any adult genre. Re-opens for entries in February 2019.

Entry Fee: £25

Deadline: 31 May 2018 *CLOSED*

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

Flash 500 Novel Opening Chapter Competition

Annual competition for unpublished novels to be judged by senior editors at Crooked Cat Publishing. Win £500. Runner up £200.

Entry Fee: £10

Deadline: 31 October 2018 *CLOSED*

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

Greenhouse Funny Prize

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

Entry Fee: Free

Deadline: 30 September 2018 *CLOSED*

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

Historical Novel Society New Novel Award

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

Entry Fee: $40 ($20 for members)

Deadline: 31 December 2017 *CLOSED*

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

Impress Prize for New Writers

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

Entry Fee: £25

Deadline: 29 June 2018 *CLOSED*

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

Jhalak Prize

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

Entry Fee: Free

Deadline: 15 December 2018

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

Katherine Paterson Prize

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

Entry Fee: $20

Deadline: 1 March 2019

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

Kelpies Prize

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

Entry Fee: Free

Deadline: 28 February 2019

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

Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize

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

Entry Fee: £12

Deadline: 8 February 2019

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

Mslexia Children’s Novel Competition 

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

Entry Fee: £25

Deadline: 1 October 2018 *CLOSED*

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

Mslexia Novella Competition

*NEW* Open to unpublished women novelists writing in any genre for adult or young adult readers. Your novella must be between 10,000 and 40,000 words. Win £1,000, plus the opportunity to be published by Mslexia and Galley Beggar Press. Finalists announced in June 2019.

Entry Fee: £15

Deadline: 1 October 2018 *CLOSED*

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

Myriad First Drafts Competition

Looking for exceptional new voices. Open to unpublished writers for a novel or short story collection. Women writers of African heritage or descent only. Win a week-long writing retreat in West Dean College near Chichester (UK), plus editorial feedback from the judges. Winner announced November 2018. Re-opens in February 2019.

Entry Fee: £10

Deadline: 6 July 2018 *CLOSED*

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

New Voices Competition

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

Entry Fee: £10

Deadline: 14 September 2019

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

North Street Book Prize

For self-published books in various categories: Mainstream/Literary fiction, Genre fiction, Creative Non-fiction and Memoir, Poetry, and Children’s Picture Book. Win up to $3,000 plus marketing services and advice. Open to ebooks and print books. Opens 15 February 2019.

Entry Fee: $60

Deadline: 30 June 2019

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

Novel Fair Competition 2019

A ‘Dragon’s Den for writers’ run by the Irish Writers Centre which aims to introduce new writers to publishers and literary agents. It’s an international competition but you have to be able to attend the Novel Fair in February 2019. Win the chance to pitch your novel in any genre or style. Unpublished writers only.

Entry Fee: €50 (€40 for members)

Deadline: 28 September 2018 *CLOSED*

Submit: up to 5 chapters (or 10,000 words) plus 300 word synopsis. Check website for full submissions details and rules.

PENfro First Chapter Competition

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

Entry Fee: £10

Deadline: 13 July 2018 *CLOSED*

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

Rubery Book Award

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

Entry Fee: £37 or $60 USD

Deadline: 31 March 2019

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

Search For A Bestseller

*NEW* The Richard and Judy Book Club competition open to first-time authors with the potential to become bestsellers. Open to UK & Ireland residents only. Win a £30,000 publishing deal with Bonnier Zaffre and specialist advice from literary agent Furniss Lawton. Your novel must be in any genre for adults, except science fiction and fantasy, and at least 80,000 words long. If shortlisted, you would have to submit the completed novel by 28 December 2018.

Entry Fee: Free

Deadline: 14 June 2018 *CLOSED*

Submit: first 10,000 words plus synopsis and bio. See website for full submission details and rules.

SI Leeds Literary Prize

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

Entry Fee: £10

Deadline: 30 April 2018 *CLOSED*

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

Society of Authors Awards and Prizes

Various competitions run by the Society of Authors. The Betty Trask Prize is for traditional or romantic novels by authors under the age of 35 and open to Commonwealth citizens only. Prize money of £20k to be used for foreign travel. Re-opens in 2019.

The McKitterick Prize is for first novels by international writers over the age of 40, published or unpublished. Win £4,000 or £1,000 for runner up. Your novel must be complete before entry. Re-opens late in 2019.

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

Entry Fee: Free

Deadlines: all comps *CLOSED*

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

Spotlight First Novel Competition

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

Entry Fee: £16

Deadline: 14 February 2019

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

Virginia Prize for Fiction

International competition open to women novelists. Win £1,000 and possible publication by Aurora Metro Press. Your novel must be complete and never have been published or self-published. Runs every two years. Next round will open in January 2019.

Entry Fee: £15

Deadline: TBC

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

Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize

Annual award for the best published and unpublished adventure novels. Winner of published novel receives £15,000; winner of unpublished novel receives a £7,500 grant for travel and research into next novel. Self-published e-books are eligible. Entries must be longer than 50,000 words. Re-opens early in 2019.

Entry Fee: Free

Deadline: 12 March 2018 *CLOSED*

Submit: for published novels send 2 copies of the book and cover letter; for unpublished novels send full manuscript, synopsis, cover letter and CV. Check website for full submission details and rules.

Yeovil Literary Prize

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

Entry Fee: £12

Deadline: 31 May 2019

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

More competitions here:


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

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

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