Calling all writers and artists! Here is a list of competitions for writing and illustrating open to children aged 12 and under. The list will be updated as often as we can. (Note: most of these competitions will be open to Australian residents only.)
Some tips when it comes to entering competitions:
- Writing comps are a good way to hone your writing skills and to work to a deadline.
- If you don’t win, it doesn’t mean your work is bad—don’t lose heart, just keep at it!
- Many writing/art competitions have free entry for kids. If there IS an entry fee, check with your parent/guardian about whether it’s a reputable competition. (Some competitions ask you to pay large amounts of money to enter, or say it is free to enter but then want you to buy a book with all the ‘winners’ writing published. It’s usually a good idea to avoid those sorts of competitions.)
- Read all the entry conditions. And read them again! You don’t want to be disqualified for going over the word limit or missing the closing date.
- We list competitions here but we are not usually affiliated with those competitions and do not necessarily endorse them. You will need to check with a parent/guardian before entering.
Commissioner for Children Tasmania 2016 Young Creative Writers Awards (Closes 29 July 2016)
The award is open to Tasmanian children and will be judges in 4 age categories: 8 and under; 9–11; 12–14; 15–17. There will also be one overall prize for outstanding writing. The theme for the competition is ‘FAIRNESS AND RESPECT’ and entries can be a short story or poem, and must be no longer than 1000 words.
PRIZES: Certificates, book vouchers and an ipad mini.
NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge Words and Art Competition (Closes 29 July 2016)
This competition is open to NSW students in Kindergarten to Year 9, who are registered for the 2016 NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge.
I. Kindergarten – Year 2: Words and Artwork
Students in Kindergarten to Year 2 create an artwork (drawing, painting, illustration, graphic interpretation etc) depicting their favourite book chosen from the 2016 Premier’s Reading Challenge Booklists. The artwork must be accompanied by 25 words or less detailing why they have chosen this book.
II. Years 3 – 6: Words and Artwork
Students in Years 3 – 6 create an artwork (drawing, painting, illustration, graphic interpretation etc) that could be used as a book jacket or poster for a book chosen from the 2016 Premier’s Reading Challenge Booklists. The artwork must be accompanied by 100 words or less, or a short video (not more than one minute in length), detailing why they have chosen this book.
The Author, relevant to each category, will visit the winning school during Book Week* August 20 – 26, 2016, (*or on a mutually agreed date prior to the end of Term 3), to read/lead discussion on a book from the 2016 PRC Booklists.
Authors: Belinda Murrell – K to Year 2; Kate & Jol Temple – Years 3 to 6.
There will be five finalists selected in each category. From the five finalists, one overall winner will be chosen for each category.
Each finalist will receive a finalist’s certificate. There will be 15 finalists chosen in total.
Each winner will receive a winner’s certificate and their school will receive a visit from the nominated author for their category. There will be three overall winners chosen in total.
Tristan Bancks My Life Make a Video Trailer Competition (closes 31 August 2016)
The award is open to residents of Australia and you may only enter once. A group may enter together but that counts as ‘entering once’. Make a book trailer (like a movie trailer but for a book) inspired by My Life and Other Exploding Chickens. For info about making book trailers, visit Tristan Banck’s website.
PRIZES: $500 cash and books.
Toolangi CJ Dennis Poetry Competition (Closes 7 September 2016)
Submit your original verse in or around the style of CJ Dennis, based around an Australian subject with good rhyme and metre. Limit of two poems per entrant per category.
ENTRY: $3 in unused stamps with your entry form (to cover cost of posting your certificate and an anthology of the winning poems for every entrant).
PRIZES: Prizes for first place, second place and third place — Prep to Grade 6 $30/$20/$10; Gr 7 to 12 $50/$30/$20
Red Room Poetry Object Competition (Closes 23 September 2016)
Open to students in Australia and New Zealand in grades 3 to 10 and their teachers. To enter: students and teachers submit poems about ‘talismanic’ objects that are special to them.
Red Room is committed to providing creative opportunities for students to compose and publish their own poetry for authentic audiences. All student and teacher poems submitted to Red Room Poetry Object are published on The Red Room Company’s website.
PRIZES: Certificates of Achievement are awarded to all participants. Prizes are awarded for Best Student Poem (Primary), Best Student Poem (Secondary), Best Teacher Poem, and Best School Installation.
All winning poems will be exhibited at Big Fat Smile Gallery in Wollongong. Exhibition opening: Saturday November 12th 2016.
Excerpts from winning poems will be exhibited on posters in Sydney’s trains, as part of a new Red Room poetic arts project that gives voice to young writers by publishing poetry in unexpected places.
Info about poetry workshops for students and Professional Development for teachers also available at the above link.
Patrick White Indigenous Writers’ Award (Closes 23 September 2016)
Entry to this competition is only open to students of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent. Enter a short story, a play or a poem (maximum 1500 words for any entry) on the theme:
Kindergarten to Year 12
- “Things are not always what they seem…”
- “Standing on one leg….”
Individual and group categories available.
Roland Leach Poetry Prize (Opens 1 August; Closes 30 September 2016)
Open to students in Years 3 to 12 residing in Western Australia. Poems must not have won any other competition previously.
PRIZES: Not stated yet.
Epic! Short Story competition (Opens Day 1 of Term 3 in each state and territory; Closes 30 September 2016)
Open to Australian school students in 2016. Entries should be stories up to 300 words. Theme: FRIENDSHIP
PRIZES: Not stated yet. (In 2015 the prizes were really awesome. Stay tuned for more info when the competition opens on the first day of Term 3.)
Wombat Books Illustration Challenge (Closes 28 February 2017)
Open to Australian school children aged 8 to 17. Well-known children’s author Aleesah Darlison has written a picture book text and students are invited to submit illustrations for spreads to illustrate the book.
PRIZES: Winners will have their work featured in the book (the book will be published in 2018), receive two free copies of the book and a $50 voucher for Wombat Books. One overall winner will also be selected to design the book’s cover and they will also receive a bonus $200 cash prize.