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.
EngineerGirl International Writing Contest (Entries close 1 February 2023)
Write a piece that shows how women and/or non-white engineers have contributed to or can enhance engineering’s great achievements. Submissions will be judged by a slate of volunteers that include professionals from various engineering fields. In addition to checking that submissions meet all of the basic rules, they will be looking for:
- Presentation of engineering (~35%)
- Celebration of diversity (~50%)
- Quality of writing (~15%)
PRIZES: First-place winners will be awarded $500; Second-place entries will be awarded $250; Third-place entries will be awarded $100. Winning entries, along with honorable mention entries, will be published on the EngineerGirl website.
The Spencil Art Prize (Entries close 21 February 2023)
Open to residents of Australia and New Zealand aged 13 years or younger as at the closing date of 21 February 2023.
Submitted artworks can be of any ‘flat’ media – drawing, painting, collage, photography, computer art or a mix of these media – that can be applied to textile product. Images submitted of three-dimensional artworks such as sculpture, pottery, craft or textile art will be judged on the merits of the photograph as the artwork – not the sculpture, pottery, craft or textile artwork.
PRIZES: There is one winner of each of the two prize categories – 8 years and under and 9 to 13 years.
Each Winner will receive:
- A collaboration with Spencil’s in-house designers to produce one or more Spencil products in their design. Winning artists will work with Spencil designers in choosing appropriate products and further developing the designs to be best applied to those products.
- One of each product/s produced in their design.
- Acknowledgement of the artist behind the design in promotions.
- $100 cash prize provided as a debit gift card, able to be used wherever major credit cards are accepted
- A bundle of Spencil Art Prize products, selected by Spencil Management, to the value of $250
- A Spencil Art Prize Award certificate
Spooky Story Competition (Entries close 5pm AWST, 15 March 2023)
Open to Australian residents only. The Youth category is for Australian residents up to the age of 17 years.
You may enter one short story of 500 words maximum on the theme ‘AFTER MIDNIGHT’.
ENTRY: FREE for the Youth category. (fees apply for the 18+ category)
PRIZES: For the youth category, First prize – $100 + copy of anthology; $25 + copy of anthology; Interstate Youth Award – $50 + copy of anthology; Shire of Mundaring resident Youth Category: $25 + copy of anthology; Shortlist/Highly Commended/Commended: digital certificate and publication in the anthology.
Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards (Entries open 1 March 2023)
Keep an eye on the website — details of the 2023 competition will be posted to their website very soon.
CYA Writing + Illustration competition (Entries close 11 April 2023)
Open to all writers and illustrators who are 8 – 18 years old (as of 11th April 2023) worldwide, who have not been published in book format within the section’s genres.
- Picture Books – Text only (no illustrations needed) for preschool or primary aged children, up to 500 words. Open theme.
2. Chapter Book —
a) Text only for younger primary aged children. First 1,000 words, pitch and a single-spaced synopsis no longer than 600. Open theme. OR
b) Text only for older aged children (Middle Grade). First 1,000 words, pitch and a single-spaced synopsis no longer than 600. Open theme. OR
c) Fiction writing for Young Adults. First 5,000 words, pitch and a single-spaced synopsis no longer than 600.
PRIZES: First – $100, Second – $60, Third – $40 and all shortlisted entries are read by at least one publisher of children’s books.
Gosnells Writers Circle Short Story Competition (Entries open 1 March and close 30 April 2023)
Open to residents of Western Australia aged under 18.
In the under-12 age category: write a short story up to 500 words.
PRIZES: 1st – $100; 2nd $60; 3rd $40 + all place winners will have their story printed in Showcase Magazine in November.
Shaun Tan Award for Young Artists (Entries usually open in April)
Keep an eye on the website for the 2023 Awards
Laura Literary Awards (Prose) (Entries close 12 May 2023)
Write a short story. No theme. Word limit: Upper primary: 800 words; Junior: 800 words; Junior Primary: 500 words.
PRIZES: Upper Primary Category: $25; Junior Category – $25; Junior Primary Category – $15
CJ Dennis Poetry Awards (Entries close 12 May 2023)
Open Australia -wide. Write a poem up to 60 lines long. Must have good rhythm and metre.
ENTRY: FREE in the children’s categories
PRIZES: cash prizes
Furphy Literary Awards (Entries open 1 March and close 31 May 2023)
Open to residents of the Goulbourn Valley or students who attend school there. Enter a short story or a poem. Word and line limits apply, see competition website for details.
PRIZES: Cash prizes
Tim Winton Writing Awards (Entries usually open in July)
CBCA Make Your Own Storybook Competition (Entries Close 9 June 2023)
This competition is open to all WA students from Pre Primary to Year 8. Individual and school based entries accepted. The Make Your Own Story Book Competition is held annually and attracts entries from young people statewide.