Novel Writing Competitions 2024

We have gathered a list of the best Novel Writing Competitions in 2024 for unpublished / unagented authors.

Each of these is handpicked, with the data checked on a regular basis.

Many of these novel writing competitions are very prestigious, and highly likely to lead to agent representation and / or publication. We have not included any competitions that do not present a satisfactory level of credibility and authority.

For each competition we have collated the following information into an easy to access format:

  • Name of competition, with a link to the website
  • Deadline
  • Entry fee
  • Details of 1st Prize
  • Eligibility - the writer (any limitations placed on who can enter)
  • Eligibility - the submission (details about what sort of work is appropriate for this competition)
  • Genre - which genres are accepted

They are listed in date order, so you can scroll down to find the ones with deadlines coming up soon.

Please note that as these are annual competitions, those with later deadlines may not have opened for submissions yet.

Entry fees vary from free to £10 to £20, and 1st prizes average about £1000. There are some exceptional ones, with cash prizes of £20,000. Several offer mentoring, publication deals and agent representation as their first prize and even for runners up.

Most are open to entrants worldwide, but some have slightly more limited eligibility criteria, such as being only open to UK residents, people of colour, or women.

If you have a novel writing competition that you would like added to this list, please get in touch. Or, if you notice any errors in the data, please do let us know so we can correct them.

We aim to update this post several times a year, to add new competitions as we discover them.

Please share and bookmark this page if you find it useful!

Exeter Novel Prize

Deadline 1st Jan
Entry Fee £18
First Prize £500 plus Trophy
Eligibility (writer) Authors currently without representation, whether or not they have been published.
Eligibility (submission) The competition is for the first ten thousand words (including synopsis) of a novel.
Genre All genres excluding children’s, but including Young Adult and New Adult, are acceptable.

Author Mentor Match

Deadline 14th Jan
Entry Fee FREE
First Prize Mentorship
Eligibility (writer) Unpublished writers of young adult, middle grade, and select adult novels, about to start querying (or have only queried lightly) who are looking to find an agent and/or traditional publisher for their manuscript.
Eligibility (submission) A completed manuscript for Middle Grade, Young Adult or Adult
Genre All genres

WriteMentor Children's Novel Award

Deadline 31st Jan
Entry Fee £12
First Prize Mentorship
Eligibility (writer) Unpublished writers of children's novels
Eligibility (submission) A completed children's manuscript
Genre All genres (children's)

Next Generation Indie Book Awards

Deadline 11th February
Entry Fee $75
First Prize $1500 and trophy
Eligibility (writer) Indie authors
Eligibility (submission) Book independently published within the last few years (see website for details)
Genre All genres

Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize

Deadline 9th February
Entry Fee £12
First Prize £1500, networking dinner and editorial consultation
Eligibility (writer) Women over 18 resident in the UK, who have not had a full length novel previously published.
Eligibility (submission) Unpublished, and must not have been accepted for future publication or self-published.
Genre All genres except picture books

Northern Writers Awards

Deadline 17th Feb
Entry Fee FREE
First Prize Various
Eligibility (writer) Writer must be based in Northern England at the time of submission.
Eligibility (submission) Various
Genre Various

Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award

Deadline Last working day in February
Entry Fee £42
First Prize Shortlisted entries are presented to publishers and agents
Eligibility (writer) Unpublished and unagented writers
Eligibility (submission) The opening of a proposed crime novel (up to 3,000 words) and a synopsis (up to 1,500 words) outlining its further development.
Genre Crime

Chapter One Prize for Novelists

Deadline 1st March
Entry Fee $20
First Prize $1,000
Eligibility (writer) Over 18
Eligibility (submission) First chapter of an Adult or Young Adult novel (full novel does not need to be completed).
Genre Adult and Young Adult

The Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize

Deadline Awaiting Updates
Entry Fee £39
First Prize £15,000 advance and publishing deal
Eligibility (writer) Unpublished and unagented writers (self pub okay)
Eligibility (submission) Adventure writing only
Genre Adventure

Daphne du Maurier Awards for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense

Deadline 15th March
Entry Fee $15/$30
First Prize Exposure to agents and editors
Eligibility (writer) Unagented, unpublished
Eligibility (submission) Unpublished, and must not have been accepted for future publication or self-published.
Genre Romantic suspense and mystery / thriller / suspense

Cheshire Novel Prize

Deadline 1st April
Entry Fee £29 - 10% of which goes to charity
First Prize £1500 plus lunch with 6 judges in London on 1st August 2022 (or remotely if can’t attend)
Eligibility (writer) Any unagented unpulished or unagented self published writers
Eligibility (submission) Initially first 5000 words, plus 1 page synopsis. Shortlisted authors will be required to submit full manuscript.
Genre Any except Children’s or picture books (YA allowed)

Claymore Award

Deadline 1st April
Entry Fee $45
First Prize Possible publication and agent representation. Networking opportunities (in the US)
Eligibility (writer) No limitations
Eligibility (submission) First 50 double-spaced pages of unpublished English-language manuscript, or appropriately formatted play or screenplay, containing elements of thriller, mystery, crime, suspense, action, and/or romance NOT currently under contract.
Genre Action, Adventure, Alternate History, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Suspense, Thriller, Western.

First Pages Prize

Deadline 10th April (extended deadline 21st April)
Entry Fee $20/$35
First Prize $2,000, agent consultation and developmental editing
Eligibility (writer) Any writer worldwide over 18 years of age who is currently un-agented
Eligibility (submission) First 5 pages (1,250 words max) of a longer fiction or creative non-fiction manuscript
Genre All genres

Adventure Writer's Competition

Deadline 30th April
Entry Fee $50
First Prize $1000
Eligibility (writer) No limitations
Eligibility (submission) Novels in the genre 'Adventure' only
Genre Adventure

Blue Pencil First Novel Award 2023

Deadline 31st May
Entry Fee £24 (free entries for low income writers available)
First Prize £1,000 + Agent Introduction
Eligibility (writer) Unrepresented and unpublished authors
Eligibility (submission) Opening chapter or chapters up to 5000 words plus a 300 word synopsis and a covering letter.
Genre Any Adult Genre

WriteMentor Novel-In-Development Award

Deadline 16th May
Entry Fee £10
First Prize 1 year of Spark Mentoring (at Level 3, 5000 words a month)
Eligibility (writer) Any unagented or unpublished writer
Eligibility (submission) First 1,500 words of your novel and a 1-page synopsis
Genre Children's

Page Turner Awards

Deadline 30th May
Entry Fee £30 (£20)
First Prize Various
Eligibility (writer) Over 18
Eligibility (submission) Unpublished, complete fiction or non-fiction
Genre Any

First Novel Prize

Deadline 31st May
Entry Fee £25
First Prize £1,000
Eligibility (writer) Unpublished writers
Eligibility (submission) English, unpublished or self-published
Genre Adult fiction genres only (no children or young adult)

Bridport Prize Novel Award

Deadline 31st May
Entry Fee £24
First Prize £1500 plus mentoring
Eligibility (writer) Writers aged 16 and over living in Britain (including the Channel Islands and Isle Of Man) and Ireland (Northern Ireland and Republic Of Ireland) and British writers living overseas.
Eligibility (submission) Full or part-written novel
Genre Any adult fiction genre including fiction for young adults (YA) providing there is a genuine crossover for adult readership. Non-fiction and fiction for children is not eligible.

Bath Novel Award

Deadline 31st May
Entry Fee £28
First Prize £3,000
Eligibility (writer) Writers should be yet to accept a traditional publishing deal. 
Eligibility (submission) Novels may be unpublished, self-published or independently published. At least least 50,000 words in length.
Genre Any genre for adults or young adult (13+)

Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition

Deadline 1st June
Entry Fee £18
First Prize Royalty advance of £10,000, publishing contract and agent representation
Eligibility (writer) Unpublished and unagented writers over 18
Eligibility (submission) A full-length novel for children/young adults aged between 7 and 18 years.
Genre Children's

Guppy Books Middle Grade Open Submission

Deadline 7th - 11th June
Entry Fee None
First Prize Editorial Meeting and Publication Offer
Eligibility (writer) Unagented and unpublished authors
Eligibility (submission) First three chapter and a synopsis
Genre Middle grade

North Street Book Prize

Deadline 30th June
Entry Fee $79
First Prize $10,000 plus perks
Eligibility (writer) Self-published authors
Eligibility (submission) 200,000 words maximum.
Genre For self-published books

Gutsy Great Novelist Page One Prize

Deadline July 14th
Entry Fee $20
First Prize $1,000
Eligibility (writer) Open internationally to all writers over 18 who are working on an as-yet-unpublished novel in the English language.
Eligibility (submission)

FIRST PAGE of an unpublished novel written in the English language. Novel can be in any stage of completion.

Genre Any genre of novel for adults or young adult readers.

Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour

Deadline 14th August
Entry Fee FREE
First Prize £500 cash and a consultation with an agent from Rachel Mills Literary Agency
Eligibility (writer) The writer must be over 18, a resident of the UK or Republic of Ireland and a person of colour - Asian, Asian/British/Arab/Black, African, Caribbean or Black British/mixed or multiple ethnic groups or other marginalised ethnic groups. The applicant must not previously have had a novel or novella published. They must not be signed with an agent.
Eligibility (submission) For a work of fiction, 30 pages of an original novel plus an outline of no more than three pages. For non-fiction, a summary of not more than 30-pages, plus a 3,000 word writing sample.
Genre There are two prizes, one for fiction and one for non-fiction

Kindle Storyteller

Deadline Open for entries between 1st May and 31st August
Entry Fee Free
First Prize £20,000
Eligibility (writer) Over 18s
Eligibility (submission) You must publish your book through Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon
Genre Any genre

Book Pipeline Adaptation Contest

Deadline August 31st (early deadline May 20th)
Entry Fee $55
First Prize $5,000 + Film/TV Industry adaptation consideration /circulation
Eligibility (writer) Self-published authors (and trad published authors)
Eligibility (submission) Published (including self-pub) books, graphic novels, short stories (trad published / produced plays also accepted)
Genre Any genre

Letter Review Prize for Unpublished Books

Deadline August 31st
Entry Fee $25
First Prize 3 Winners share $1000, plus extract published and letter of recommendation
Eligibility (writer) Anyone in the world
Eligibility (submission) Not traditionally published
Genre Any genre

Mslexia Novel Competition

(Children's and Adults' on alternate years)

Deadline 18th September
Entry Fee £26
First Prize £5,000
Eligibility (writer) Unpublished women writers of any nationality from any country.
Eligibility (submission) All entries must be in English, not previously published and not under consideration in other fiction competitions.
Genre Either Adult or Children on alternate years (Adult in 2023, Children in 2024)

Grindstone Literary International Novel Prize

Deadline 28th September
Entry Fee £20
First Prize £1,000 + Full MS Request
Eligibility (writer) No limitations
Eligibility (submission) Previously unpublished completed manuscripts exceeding 70,000 words in total length.
Genre All adult genres, but not middle grade or younger. YA allowed.

The First Page Challenge (The Darling Axe)

Deadline 30th September
Entry Fee $5 CAD
First Prize $200
Eligibility (writer) No limitations
Eligibility (submission) First page of a novel
Genre Any genre

Book Pipeline Unpublished Competition

Deadline 15th September
Entry Fee $65
First Prize $2,500 for each of six winners and industry circulation
Eligibility (writer) Any writer worldwide over 18 years of age
Eligibility (submission) Unpublished, full-length manuscripts of fiction and nonfiction
Genre Young Adult, Sci-Fi / Fantasy, Mystery / Thriller, Literary, Outsider / Experimental, and Nonfiction

I Am In Print Novel Award

Deadline Monday 9 October 2023 at 10am BST
Entry Fee £25
First Prize £1000 plus a 60 minute online consultation with a Canelo editor
Eligibility (writer) Writers not under representation or in a traditional publishing contract.
Eligibility (submission) Completed manuscripts written in English for an adult audience between 70,000 and 100,000 words. Work should not have placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in another competition.
Genre Action thriller, cosy mystery, crime, historical adventure, horror, psychological thriller, romance or saga

Eyelands Book Awards

Deadline 20th October
Entry Fee $25 - $35 (discount for early entries)
First Prize Five-day holiday in Athens plus a special handmade ceramic designed especially for Eyelands Book Awards / Publication
Eligibility (writer) Any writer worldwide over 18 years of age
Eligibility (submission) Published and Unpublished Manuscripts (see website)
Genre Any

The Book Edit Writers' Prize

Deadline 23rd October
Entry Fee Free
First Prize There are 8 winners selected and all 8 have the chance to read their work at an online showcase in front of literary agents
Eligibility (writer) Unpublished, unagented novelists from communities currently underrepresented in UK fiction
Eligibility (submission) First 1000 words of a completed novel
Genre All apart from children's

Flash 500 Novel Opening Chapter & Synopsis Competition

Deadline 31st October
Entry Fee £10
First Prize £500
Eligibility (writer) No limitations
Eligibility (submission) The only stipulation is that the entry must be unpublished.
Genre Any genre

Letter Review Prize for Unpublished Books

Deadline October 31st (runs every two months)
Entry Fee $25
First Prize 3 Winners share $1000, plus extract published and letter of recommendation
Eligibility (writer) Anyone in the world
Eligibility (submission) Not traditionally published
Genre Any genre

The Caledonia Novel Award

Deadline 1st November
Entry Fee £25
First Prize £1,500
Eligibility (writer) Open to unpublished and self-published novelists over 18
Eligibility (submission) Original work at least 50,000 words
Genre Any genre for adults or young adults

Blue Pencil Agency Pitch Prize 2023

Deadline 5th November
Entry Fee £12 (20 free entries for disadvantaged writers)
First Prize Agent Introduction
Eligibility (writer) Unrepresented authors
Eligibility (submission) Minimum of 10,000 words of novel written
Genre Any adult genre

Bath Children's Novel

Deadline November 30th (opens 1st June)
Entry Fee £29
First Prize £3,000 (plus trophy)
Eligibility (writer) Unpublished and independently published novelists
Eligibility (submission) Initial submissions are up to the first 5,000 words plus one page synopsis of novel or chapter book manuscripts for children, novels for teens, or up to three entire picture book texts with summaries.
Genre Children's

Searchlight Writing for Children Awards

Deadline November 22nd (opens 20th August)
Entry Fee £11
First Prize £500 and Agent 121
Eligibility (writer) Over 16
Eligibility (submission) Opening of a novel written for children aged 8 to 18.
Genre Children's and Young Adult

Cinnamon Press Annual Literature Award

Deadline 30th November
Entry Fee £18
First Prize Book published by Cinnamon Press
Eligibility (writer) Open to those who have not had a novel or full-length short story collection previously published through a press. (Those who have self-published novels or collections may enter.)
Eligibility (submission)  Unpublished
Genre Adult and crossover novels only (no children's fiction)

Betty Trask Prize

Deadline 30th November
Entry Fee Free (as far as we can tell)
First Prize £10,000
Eligibility (writer) Under 35. British National or resident (see comp page for more details)
Eligibility (submission) First novels (published in the last year, or unpublished - see comp for more details)
Genre Traditional or romantic but not experimental style

David Higham Open Day for Under Represented Writers

Deadline TBC
Entry Fee Free
First Prize Attendance at an Open Day meeting industry experts and receiving tailored feedback.
Eligibility (writer) Any un-agented writer living in the UK from an under-represented background (see website for details).
Eligibility (submission) None
Genre Any

Daisy Pettles Writing Contest for Women

Deadline December 12th
Entry Fee $0-25-45 (sliding income waivers)
First Prize $1,000 plus a month-long free residency in the Daisy Pettles' Writer's House
Eligibility (writer) Women writers, aged 40+, published OR unpublished
Eligibility (submission) 20 pages of sample writing
Genre Fiction or non-fiction. Not poetry.

The Summit Series

Deadline 1st January
Entry Fee $25 (sliding income waivers)
First Prize Publication by the CMICH Press Summit Series
Eligibility (writer) Open to writers who are from, have lived in, or live in Michigan.
Eligibility (submission) Book-length fiction and cover letter, including a brief biography and your name and contact information.
Genre Fiction

The Big Moose Prize

Deadline 31st January
Entry Fee $27 (sliding income waivers)
First Prize $1000 plus publication
Eligibility (writer) Open to new, emerging, and established writers.
Eligibility (submission) Full manuscript
Genre Open competition, novels

Spotlight First Novel Competition

Deadline 14th February
Entry Fee £16 (sliding income waivers)
First Prize Mentoring package worth up to £1950, and a page featuring your work on their website.
Eligibility (writer) Unpublished authors of all genres.
Eligibility (submission) One page synopsis and first page of the novel.
Genre Fiction

Fiction Factory Chapter Novel Competition

Deadline 29th February
Entry Fee £18 (sliding income waivers)
First Prize £500 plus appraisal
Eligibility (writer) Open to all writers aged 18 and above.
Eligibility (submission) First chapter (5000 wiords max) and one page synopsis.
Genre All genres except children and young adult.

IPPY Awards

Deadline 16th March
Entry Fee $95 (sliding income waivers)
First Prize Gold medal, personalized certificate, and 20 foil seals plus exposure and advertising campaign.
Eligibility (writer) Independent publishers, university presses, self-publishers and independent authors.
Eligibility (submission) Books released with 2022, 2023 or 2024 copyrights are eligible.
Genre All genres

The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize 2024

Deadline 1st March
Entry Fee Free
First Prize £3,000 plus travel expenses of up to £500 to attend their annual symposium.
Eligibility (writer) Open to all writers aged 18 or above.
Eligibility (submission) Unpublished stories written in English with a maximum of 2,500 words.
Genre All genres

Writers Of The Future Writing Contest

Deadline 31st March (2nd Quarter)
Entry Fee Free
First Prize $1000 + a chance to win $5000 as the annual grand prize winner.
Eligibility (writer) Open to all.
Eligibility (submission) Entries must be works of prose, up to 17,000 words in length.
Genre Sci Fi, Fantasy

Rubery Book Awards

Deadline 31st March
Entry Fee $70 or €60 or £45
First Prize £2,000 plus three category winners of £200 each. The winning book will be read by a leading literary agency.
Eligibility (writer) Open to Independent and self-published authors only.
Eligibility (submission) One copy of the book, plus book blurb and entry form.
Genre All genres

Orison Prizes In Poetry & Fiction

Deadline 1st April
Entry Fee $25
First Prize $1,500 plus publication
Eligibility (writer) Open to all unpublished writers.
Eligibility (submission) Full manuscript (30,000 words minimum).
Genre Fiction,centred on spiritual and religious thought, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Dogberry Books Writing Prize 2024

Deadline 1st May
Entry Fee £25
First Prize £500 plus publication offer
Eligibility (writer) Unpublished authors only.
Eligibility (submission) Full manuscript 70,000 - 90,000 words
Genre Memoir, Literary Fiction, or Autobiographical Novel

Dogberry Books Writing Prize 2024

Deadline 1st May
Entry Fee £25
First Prize £500 plus publication offer
Eligibility (writer) Unpublished authors only.
Eligibility (submission) Full manuscript 70,000 - 90,000 words
Genre Memoir, Literary Fiction, or Autobiographical Novel

Restless Books Immigrant Writing Prize

Deadline 31st May
Entry Fee $20
First Prize $10,000 plus publication
Eligibility (writer) Must be first-generation residents of their country.
Eligibility (submission) Fiction manuscripts must be a minimum of 45,000 words and a minimum of 25,000 words for nonfiction.
Genre Fiction, Nonfiction

Yeovil Literary Prize

Deadline 31st May
Entry Fee £14.50
First Prize £1,250
Eligibility (writer) Unpublished authors over 16.
Eligibility (submission) 500-word synopsis and first 10,000 words of novel.
Genre Fiction

AWW Unpublished Novel Competition

Deadline 30th November
Entry Fee $40
First Prize $500 plus certificate
Eligibility (writer) Unpublished women writers 18 and above.
Eligibility (submission) First 50 pages, a detailed synopsis and bio.
Genre Fiction

Jhalak Prize

Deadline 8th December
Entry Fee Free
First Prize £1,000
Eligibility (writer) Published or self-published book by a "BAME" writer. Open to UK residents only.
Eligibility (submission) Two copies of the book by post or ebook via email.
Genre All genres

Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition

Deadline 15th December
Entry Fee Free
First Prize An advance against future royalties of $10,000
Eligibility (writer) Unpublished authors aged 18 or older.
Eligibility (submission) Full manuscript.
Genre Crime, Murder, and Mystery

Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

Deadline 31st December
Entry Fee Free
First Prize $15,000
Eligibility (writer) African-American U.S. citizen
Eligibility (submission) Published work between Oct. 1, 2022 through Dec. 31, 2023
Genre Fiction

Mslexia Children's & YA Novel Competition

Deadline TBA
Entry Fee £26
First Prize £5,000
Eligibility (writer) Unpublished women writers aged 18 and above.
Eligibility (submission) First 3,000 words
Genre Children & Young Adult

Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest

Deadline TBA
Entry Fee $25
First Prize $1,500 plus publication
Eligibility (writer) Open to all unpublished US writers.
Eligibility (submission) Full manuscript plus cover letter and bio.
Genre Fiction

SI Leeds Literary Prize

Deadline TBA
Entry Fee £10
First Prize £4,000
Eligibility (writer) Open to Black and Asian women writers aged 18 or over, based in the UK.
Eligibility (submission) Full manuscript plus 500 word synopsis.
Genre Fiction