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.
Shaun Tan Award for Young Artists (Entries close 24 May 2021)
The Shaun Tan Award is open to Western Australian school students in years one to twelve. Artworks submitted must be an original, two-dimensional (2D) creation, no bigger than 1 metre x 1.5 metres in size. Artworks must be the sole work of the entrant – group or joint entries will not be considered. Entry is limited to one per person. Entries may be accepted from individuals or from teachers on behalf of their students. An online registration must be completed for each individual, and artworks submitted to Subiaco Library with a printed confirmation of entry before 5.30pm on Monday 24 May.
Teachers entering multiple students’ work may do so using the online teacher’s registration form.
ENTRY: Free to enter
PRIZES: Awarded to the top three entries in each category. Prizes not detailed on the website.
Whitlam Insititute What Matters? Competition (Entries close 21 May 2021)
Open to all students in Australia. Inspired by Gough Whitlam’s commitment to involving young people in the shaping of Australia’s future, the What Matters? writing competition is currently open to school students in years 5 to 12 from Australia. Responding to the simple question ‘what matters?’, entrants are free to express their views on any matter they care about.
ENTRY: Free to enter
PRIZES: Mentoring, money, trips. See here for prize details.
Make Your Own Storybook Competition (Entries close 11 June 2021)
Open to all students from Pre-primary to year 8 in Western Australia.
This is an opportunity for students to showcase their narrative writing and illustrative talents through the creation of a picture or story book. Students can enter through their school or send individual entries from their home address.
PRIZES: Prizes include book vouchers, Healthway Go for 2 & 5 bags and CBCA Book Week merchandise.
The 2021 Make Your Own Story Book Competition flyer with entry form is now available on the CBCA WA website. Hints pages and guiding videos made by WA author and illustrator Sean E Avery can also be found on the website.
Download an entry form from the competition website.
For enquiries please email Denise Robins
Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards (Entries close 30 June 2021)
Open to all students in Australia. Write a poem up to 80 lines long. Optional theme: Rich and rare.
ENTRY: Fees apply, see competition website for details.
PRIZES: Money awarded to the winner and runner-up of each age category. See here for prize details.
Adelaide Plains Poetry Competition (Entries close 2 July 2021)
Open to Australian primary school students in the Primary school category. Write a poem (max 60 lines long) on the theme: Recovery.
ENTRY: Free for entrants in the primary school category, but only one poem may be entered.
PRIZES: Cash prizes.
Randolph Stow Young Writers Award (Entries close 3 July 2021)
The competition is open to all students in Years 3 to 12, who are studying in the Midwest of Western Australia as designated by the Department of Education, Western Australia.
The competition has two categories: poetry and prose. Students may enter both categories, but only one entry is permitted per category.
PRIZES: Not stated.
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.
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
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.