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Best Children's Writing Contests in 2024

Showing 17 contests that match your search.

John Estey Student Writing Competition

American Writers Museum

Genres: Children's

“Tradition was safety; change was danger.” — Mary Doria Russell, The Sparrow. This prompt is a quote from Russell’s The Sparrow and can be used as a first line, a last line, a jumping-off point, an inspiration for your students’ work.

Top Prize:


📅 Deadline: June 07, 2024 (Expired)

$1000 for 1000 Words Contest

The Layla Beban Young Authors

Genres: Children's and Short Story

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.

Top Prize:


📅 Deadline: February 01, 2024 (Expired)

"Write On!" Short Story Contest

Ann Arbor District Library

Genres: Children's and Short Story

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.

Top Prize:

Publication on website

📅 Deadline: February 05, 2024 (Expired)

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The Betty Award

The Betty Award

Genres: Children's

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.

Top Prize:


💰 Entry fee: $20

📅 Deadline: May 04, 2024 (Expired)

Youth Writing Contest

Vancouver Writer's Fest

Genres: Children's

Every year, the Vancouver Writers Fest launches a youth writing contest for short stories and personal essays in spring. We’re thrilled to once again be organizing two writing contests for students in British Columbia: one for grades 5-7 and the other for grades 8-12. These contests are judged by esteemed members of the Vancouver literary community.

Top Prize:


📅 Deadline: May 31, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Children's, Crime, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thriller, and Young Adult

Please submit the first 3,500 words of your novel. A one-page synopsis is also required.

Top Prize:


Additional prizes:

30-minute consultation with genre expert

💰 Entry fee: $13

📅 Deadline: May 28, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Children's

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.

Top Prize:

£100 Amazon Voucher

Additional prizes:

Celebrities reading out winning entries, publication on website.

📅 Deadline: June 21, 2022 (Expired)

Jane Austen Society of North America Essay Contest

Jane Austen Society of North America

Genres: Children's and Essay

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.

Top Prize:

$1,000 scholarship

Additional prizes:

Two nights’ lodging for JASNA’s Annual General Meeting

📅 Deadline: June 02, 2022 (Expired)

Rattle Poetry Prize

Rattle Foundation

Genres: Children's and Poetry

The annual Rattle Poetry Prize offers $15,000 for a single poem to be published in the winter issue of the magazine. Ten finalists will also receive $500 each and publication, and be eligible for the $5,000 Readers’ Choice Award, to be selected by subscriber and entrant vote.

Top Prize:


💰 Entry fee: $30

📅 Deadline: July 15, 2024 (Expired)

The Bath Children's Novel Award

The Bath Novel Awards

Genres: Children's, Fiction, and Young Adult

The Bath Children's Novel Award is a £5,000 international prize for emerging writers of children's fiction. Submit the first 5,000 words plus a one page synopsis of your chapter book or novel for children or young adults, or up to three picture book texts with summaries. Shortlistees receive feedback on their full manuscript from young judges and all listees receive editorial director feedback on their extract and synopsis.

Top Prize:


Additional prizes:

£1,800 course for one longlistee

💰 Entry fee: $38

📅 Deadline: November 30, 2024

100 Word Writing Contest

Tadpole Press

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

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.

Top Prize:


Additional prizes:

2nd: writing coach package

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: November 30, 2024

Cricket Magazine Contest

Cricket Magazine

Genres: Children's

Will you write about a hidden talent or secret superpower? A secret identity or a hidden message? Whatever you decide, all the bugs in Cricket Country just can’t hide their excitement to read your wonderful words. They’ll be sticking close to the mailbox in hopes that you don’t hide your poetic talent. Proudly share your best poem—of 24 lines or fewer, please—about hiding.

Top Prize:

Publication in Cricket Magazine

📅 Deadline: May 30, 2024 (Expired)

North Street Book Prize

Winning Writers

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

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)

Top Prize:


Additional prizes:

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

💰 Entry fee: $75

📅 Deadline: May 01, 2024 (Expired)

IEW Writing Contest

Institute for Excellence in Writing

Genres: Children's

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. For both the students and their teachers, we have great prizes for the top three in each category!

Top Prize:


📅 Deadline: April 30, 2024 (Expired)

World Historian Student Essay Competition

World History Association

Genres: Children's and Essay

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.

Top Prize:


📅 Deadline: May 01, 2024 (Expired)

Promising Young Writers Contest

National Council of Teachers of English

Genres: Children's

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.

Top Prize:

The NCTE Certificate of Recognition

💰 Entry fee: $25

📅 Deadline: February 15, 2024 (Expired)

Amazing Women’s Edition Contest

National Youth Foundation

Genres: Children's

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.

Top Prize:


📅 Deadline: January 07, 2022 (Expired)

Discover the finest writing contests of 2024 for fiction and non-fiction authors — including short story competitions, essay writing competitions, poetry contests, and many more. Updated weekly, these contests are vetted by Reedsy to weed out the scammers and time-wasters. If you’re looking to stick to free writing contests, simply use our filters as you browse.

Why you should submit to writing contests

Submitting to poetry competitions and free writing contests in 2024 is absolutely worth your while as an aspiring author: just as your qualifications matter when you apply for a new job, a writing portfolio that boasts published works and award-winning pieces is a great way to give your writing career a boost. And not to mention the bonus of cash prizes!

That being said, we understand that taking part in writing contests can be tough for emerging writers. First, there’s the same affliction all writers face: lack of time or inspiration. Entering writing contests is a time commitment, and many people decide to forego this endeavor in order to work on their larger projects instead — like a full-length book. Second, for many writers, the chance of rejection is enough to steer them clear of writing contests. 

But we’re here to tell you that two of the great benefits of entering writing contests happen to be the same as those two reasons to avoid them.

When it comes to the time commitment: yes, you will need to expend time and effort in order to submit a quality piece of writing to competitions. That being said, having a hard deadline to meet is a great motivator for developing a solid writing routine.

Think of entering contests as a training session to become a writer who will need to meet deadlines in order to have a successful career. If there’s a contest you have your eye on, and the deadline is in one month, sit down and realistically plan how many words you’ll need to write per day in order to meet that due date — and don’t forget to also factor in the time you’ll need to edit your story!

For tips on setting up a realistic writing plan, check out this free, ten-day course: How to Build a Rock-Solid Writing Routine.

In regards to the fear of rejection, the truth is that any writer aspiring to become a published author needs to develop relatively thick skin. If one of your goals is to have a book traditionally published, you will absolutely need to learn how to deal with rejection, as traditional book deals are notoriously hard to score. If you’re an indie author, you will need to adopt the hardy determination required to slowly build up a readership.

The good news is that there’s a fairly simple trick for learning to deal with rejection: use it as a chance to explore how you might be able to improve your writing.

In an ideal world, each rejection from a publisher or contest would come with a detailed letter, offering construction feedback and pointing out specific tips for improvement. And while this is sometimes the case, it’s the exception and not the rule.

Still, you can use the writing contests you don’t win as a chance to provide yourself with this feedback. Take a look at the winning and shortlisted stories and highlight their strong suits: do they have fully realized characters, a knack for showing instead of telling, a well-developed but subtly conveyed theme, a particularly satisfying denouement?

The idea isn’t to replicate what makes those stories tick in your own writing. But most examples of excellent writing share a number of basic craft principles. Try and see if there are ways for you to translate those stories’ strong points into your own unique writing.

Finally, there are the more obvious benefits of entering writing contests: prize and publication. Not to mention the potential to build up your readership, connect with editors, and gain exposure.

Resources to help you win writing competitions in 2024

Every writing contest has its own set of submission rules. Whether those rules are dense or sparing, ensure that you follow them to a T. Disregarding the guidelines will not sway the judges’ opinion in your favor — and might disqualify you from the contest altogether. 

Aside from ensuring you follow the rules, here are a few resources that will help you perfect your submissions.

Free online courses

On Writing:

  • "How to Craft a Killer Short Story" (Click here)
  • "The Non-Sexy Business of Writing Non-Fiction" (Click here)
  • "How to Write a Novel" (Click here)
  • "Understanding Point of View" (Click here)
  • "Developing Characters That Your Readers Will Love" (Click here)
  • "Writing Dialogue That Develops Plot and Character" (Click here)
  • "Stop Procrastinating! Build a Solid Writing Routine" (Click here)

On Editing:

  • "Story Editing for Authors" (Click here)
  • "How to Self-Edit Your Manuscript Like a Pro" (Click here)
  • "Novel Revision: Practical Tips for Rewrites" (Click here)

Blog posts

  • "How to Write a Novel: Steps From a Bestselling Writer" (Click here)
  • "How to Write a Short Story in 9 Simple Steps" (Click here)
  • "100 Literary Devices With Examples: The Ultimate List" (Click here)
  • "20 Writing Tips to Improve Your Craft" (Click here)
  • "How to Write Fabulous Dialogue [9 Tips + Examples]" (Click here)
  • "8 Character Development Exercises to Write 3D Characters" (Click here)

Bonus resources

After you submit to a writing competition in 2024

It’s exciting to send a piece of writing off to a contest. However, once the initial excitement wears off, you may be left waiting for a while. Some writing contests will contact all entrants after the judging period — whether or not they’ve won. Other writing competitions will only contact the winners. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind after you submit:

  • Many writing competitions don’t have time to respond to each entrant with feedback on their story. However, it never hurts to ask! Feel free to politely reach out requesting feedback — but wait until after the selection period is over.

  • If you’ve submitted the same work to more than one writing competition or literary magazine, remember to withdraw your submission if it ends up winning elsewhere.

  • After you send a submission, don’t follow it up with a rewritten or revised version. Instead, ensure that your first version is thoroughly proofread and edited. If not, wait until the next edition of the contest or submit the revised version to other writing contests.

Prompts | Prompts Sans Serif | 2024-03

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