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writing competitions 2022: Your complete Guide

Writing competitions are an incredible opportunity to get your work in front of industry professionals so in this week’s blog post I’ve curated a list of contests that you may want to consider as part of your author journey.

While it can be nerve-wracking to submit your work, the benefits far outweigh any discomfort helping you understand where you need to improve, who the competition is, and what the publishing industry is looking for. If you win, there’s often a cash prize along with the prestige and confidence that comes from an award.

In fact you may (or may not) know that my own author career started as a result of winning a writing competition in 2016 which led to a 3-book deal.

So if you’re serious about your writing and being published, check out my round up of upcoming writing competitions, many of which have submissions open now.

As many of you are from all around the world, the majority of these are open to international entries but please do check the terms and conditions carefully!

1. The 2021 Exeter Novel Prize

Prize: First prize - £500

Entry fee: £18 (or £100 with appraisal)

Deadline: 11.59pm on 1 January 2022

About: The competition is open to everyone, living anywhere in the world, published, self-published or yet to be published, who does not have representation by a literary agent, and who does not receive a contract from a commercial publisher by the closing date.

2. Unleash Prize 2022 Book Prize

Prize: $1,000 advance and standard contract option to publish with Unleash Press

Entry fee: $35

Deadline: 5 January 2022

About: Unleash Press are looking for submissions for novels, short story collections, and creative nonfiction manuscripts.

3. The Emirates LitFest Writing Prize

Prize: a one-hour one to one with each of the judges for feedback, and writing career advice.

Entry fee: AED 200

Deadline: 12 December 2021

About: Part of the Emirates Literature Festival, this competition is for fictional entries in English by GCC residents and should include a 400-word synopsis of the book and the first 2,000 words of the almost completed manuscript.

4. Manchester Fiction Prize

Prize: £10,000

Entry fee: £18

Deadline: 28 January 2022

About: The Manchester Fiction Prize asks for a short story of up to 2,500 words in length. Stories submitted should be new work, not previously published elsewhere. The Prize is open internationally to those aged 16 or over.

5. Bristol Short Story Prize

Prize: 1st : £1000, 2nd: £500, 3rd: £250

Entry fee: £9

Deadline: TBA 2022

About: an annual international short-story writing competition open to all published and unpublished, UK and non-UK based writers.

6. The Bath Novel Award 2022

Prize: £3000

Entry fee: TBA

Deadline: Submissions open on 1 December 2021

About: The Bath Novel Award is an international prize for emerging novelists and is open worldwide to unpublished, self-published and independently published writers. To enter, submit your first 5,000 words plus one page synopsis of novels for adults or young adults

7. First Novel Prize 2022

Prize: 1st : £1000, 2nd: £250, 3rd: £100

Entry fee: £25

Deadline: Submissions open February 2022

About: The First Novel Prize aims to discover a powerful new voice in fiction writing, across the English language world. Prizes are available for unpublished or independently published novelists. The submission should be over 50,000 words and of an adult genre.

8. Mississippi Review Contest

Prize: $1000

Entry Fee: $16

Deadline: 1 January 2022

About: The contest is open to all writers in English except current or former students or employees of The University of Southern Mississippi. Fiction and non-fiction entries should be 1000-8000 words; poetry entries should be three to five poems totaling ten pages or less.

9. The Disquiet Prize

Prize: a full fellowship (airfare stipend, tuition, and housing included) to the 2022 DISQUIET International Program in Lisbon, Portugal. Genre winners will receive a $500 cash prize in addition to publication.

Deadline: January 24, 2022

Entry fee: $15

About: The 2022 DISQUIET Prize is open for submissions in fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.

10. Fish Short Memoir Prize

Prize: 1st: €1,000, 2nd: Online writing course + €200, 3rd: €200

Deadline: 31 January 2022

Fee: €18

About: This contest is an opportunity to have your memoir published. Qian Julie Wang, author of her memoir Beautiful Country, will select 10 short memoirs to be published in the Fish Anthology 2022, which will be launched during the West Cork Literary Festival, July ’22.

Which competition will you enter?


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