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.
Looking Through the Lens Photography competition (Entries close 20 August 2021)
Open to writers 8 to 18 year olds in the City of Canning. look around the City of Canning and take photos of places and spaces showing biodiversity.
PRIZES: winners will receive vouchers and a canvas print of their photo.
The Currency Press Award: Short Script Writing competition (DEADLINE EXTENDED: Entries close 23 July 2021)
Open to writers aged 18 or younger. Entries must be pieces of writing for the stage, in the form of a monologue, dialogue or short scene of no more than 500 words, about anything you like! The only rule is that the word ‘FIFTY’ must appear somewhere in the script.
PRIZES: winner will receive $250, second place $100, third place $50. The three winners will be published on the Currency Press website for six months. The writers retain copyright at all times.
The Spencil Writers Prize (Entries close 18 July 2021)
Open to young writers in two age categories: age 8 and younger, and age 9 – 12. Enter your short story, poem or comic (with or without illustrations!) under 500 words about ANY topic.
PRIZES: Winner of each age category: $100 Spencil e-gift voucher, book bundle pack, hard copy book of your short story, publication on the Spencil blog.
Tim Winton Award for Young Writers (Entries OPEN 19 July 2021 & CLOSE 13 August 2021)
The Tim Winton Award is open to Western Australian school students in years one to twelve. Stories submitted must be an original piece of prose writing, no more than 2000 words in length. Entries may be accepted from individuals or from teachers on behalf of their students. Entry is limited to one per person.
PRIZES: Not stated.
Roland Leach Poetry Prize (Entries close 5pm, 15 August 2021)
Open to students in Western Australia in Grades 3 to 12. Enter a poem — entries can be submitted via hard copy or electronically. Poems must be previously unpublished and not have won awards in other competitions.
PRIZES: Vouchers and a trophy awarded to the winners of each age category.
Toolangi CJ Dennis Poetry Competition (Entries close 30 August 2021)
Enter your bush poetry, a maximum of 40 lines long. Poems must have very good rhyme and meter and be original with an Australian theme.
ENTRY: FREE for the junior (children’s) category.
PRIZES: First place: $100; second place: $75; third place: $50
Poem Forest Competition (Entries close 5pm 17 September 2021)
The competition’s children’s categories are open to Australian students or young people aged 18 and under. Red Room Poetry is inviting students and communities to create and publish poems inspired by the natural environment. For every poem received a native tree will be planted in The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan to help heal habitats and create a POEM FOREST for future generations. Their goal is to plant 15,000 trees in 3 years.
Your poem must be no more than 20 lines and identifiably linked to the theme of nature.
The following prizes will be awarded to the best poem in each category:
- $500 cash
- Book pack from Copyright Agency, Magabala Books and Wonderground journal (valued up to $150)
- Plant or seeds from The Australian Botanic Garden
- Judging notes and winner’s certificate
Silver Quill Bush Poetry Competition (Entries close 8 October 2021)
Possibly only open to Western Australian residents, if you are not in WA you would be advised to check with the competition organiser to see if you are eligible to enter.
Enter your poetry, no word or line limit. Poems must have very good rhyme and meter and be original with an Australian theme.
ENTRY: FREE for the junior (children’s) category.
PRIZES: Monetary prizes will be awarded for the best poem in each category. Each winner, as well as those judged ‘Highly Commended’ or ‘Commended’, will receive a Certificate.
Little Darlings Portrait Prize (Entries close 5pm EST, 8 October 2021)
The competition is open to Australian school students and home-schooled students aged from 5-18 years (inclusive) as at 1 March 2021. The theme is IDENTITY. Portraits can be done using any artistic medium (e.g. painting, drawing, photography etc) but must be 2-dimensional and under 1kg in weight. No glitter can be used. Numbers of entries per school are limited, please check the competition’s website for guidelines.
There are four age categories for entry, divided as follows:
- 5-7 years;
- 8-11 years;
- 12-15 years;
- 16-18 years
PRIZES: A total of twelve winning entries will be selected from the digital images of the portraits submitted. Each age category will be represented in this selection. Winning portraits will be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery for a limited period during autumn 2022, in conjunction with the Darling Portrait Prize. The National Portrait Gallery will be responsible for the framing and display of the winning portraits. Winning portraits will also be photographed for publication in a calendar produced by the National Portrait Gallery. Each winner will receive three copies of the calendar, which will also be available for purchase online and in the Curatoreum shop at the National Portrait Gallery. The National Portrait Gallery will arrange to deliver workshops in person or online at each school from which a winning entry has been received. The workshops will take place within 12 months of the closing date for entries, 8 October 2021.
Open to Australian school-aged students (aged 5-18) for the creation of a picture book: Screen Free Holiday !
This marks the fifth instalment of the Illustration Challenge, and the fifth opportunity for young illustrators all around the country to be published in a professionally produced children’s book.
Choose one or multiple spreads to illustrate. Use an A4 or A3-size page (landscape) for each illustration spread. Each spread must have a separate illustration. Your page may be a single or double page, but ensure it matches and expands creatively on the text. Every spread must be illustrated in landscape (NOT portrait). Do not fold or crumple your illustration. Click here for the text to use.
ENTRY: The fee to enter this year is a previous purchase of one of Wombat Books’ other illustration challenges. You must include in your entry a copy of the purchase receipt.
PRIZE:Winning illustrations will be published in a new book, which is due for release in 2022. Illustrators will receive two free copies of the book. They will also be acknowledged on the Wombat Books website. Judging decisions will be made by Wombat Books.