National Competitions & Awards

For young writers, there are plenty of national competitions and awards running throughout the year that offer a huge confidence boost, some fine prizes and new opportunities. And for those serious about pursuing a writing-related career, gaining wider recognition for your writing through an award or competition can be just the catalyst you need to start you on that path.

To give you a helping hand, Hive have put together a list of some of the most well-known and respected awards and competitions running in the UK. We’ll add ops as we see them. If you’ve got a suggestion, drop us a line at with details and a link and we’ll be happy to add it to the list.

And whatever you’re sending work to, always read the guidelines carefully.

Competitions & Awards quick links:
Prole Laureate Poetry Competition, 2016 | aged 16 & upwards | deadline 31st Jan
Cuckoo Young Writers Northern Writers Awards | Aged 14-18 | deadline 2nd Feb
Tower Poetry competition – 17th Feb
New Poets Award – Pamphlet competition | Aged 16-21 |deadline 1st March
Wicked Young Writers Award – Aged 14 -25 | deadline 13th March
Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition Aged 14 -25 | deadline 13th July
Foyle Young Poets Award – 11-17 | deadline 31st July
Young Muslim Writers Awards – 14-16 | deadline 31st July
Slambassadors – National youth slam |12-18 year olds | deadline Sept
Poetry Rivals (17+ under) | deadline Oct
BBC Young Writers’ Award with BookTrust 14-18 | deadline TBC
School competitions

Prole Laureate Poetry Competition
What: Single poem competition (as many as you wish)
Who: Prole
Deadline: 31st Jan yearly
Age range: 16+ Cost: £3.00 for first entry, £2.00 for any subsequent entries.
Submission ask:  no limit to submissions
About: Prole is a print magazine that publishes high quality, accessible poetry and prose. We aim to challenge, engage and entertain – but never exclude. Prize for Winner: £200, Publication in Prole 22 in April 2017. Publication on the Prole website. 2 x runner up prizes of £50, publication in Prole 22.Publication on the Prole website
Website: click here
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Cuckoo Young Writers Northern Writers Awards
What: A Northern Writers Award of £200 for a young writer, aged 14-18, writing poetry or prose or creative non-fiction.
Who: New Writing North
Deadline: 2nd Feb yearly
Age range: 14-18 Cost: FREE
Submission ask:  Up to 2,000 words of prose or up to 10 poems.
About: Established in 2000 by New Writing North, the Northern Writers’ Awards supports work-in-progress by new, emerging and established writers across the North of England. The Awards support writers creatively as they develop their work towards publication, as well as helping them to progress professionally and navigate their way through the publishing industry.
Website: click here
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Tower Poetry competition
What: Single poem competition with cash prizes
Deadline: 17th Feb
Age range: 16-19 – Entrants must be in full or part-time education at a school, college or other educational institution in the United Kingdom. Students enrolled on higher education courses are not eligible to enter the competition.
Submission ask:  1 poem (for the 2017 competition, it must be on the subject of ‘stone’ one more than 48 lines in length
About: Tower Poetry started in 2000 when a generous bequest to Christ Church, University of Oxford was made by the late Christopher Tower to stimulate an enjoyment and critical appreciation of poetry, particularly among young people in education, and to challenge people to write their own poetry.
Website: click here

New Poets Award
Short collections of poems
Who: The Poetry Business
Deadline: 1st March yearly
Age range: 16-22 (incisively) Cost: £8
Submission ask: Entrants are invited to submit short collections of 12 pages of poems.
About: The New Poets Prize is a short collection competition for writers between the ages of 16 and 22. This prize runs alongside the renowned and long-established International Book & Pamphlet Competition organised by The Poetry Business. Four outstanding collections will be selected to receive mentoring, readings, publication in the North magazine.  One of the four collections will be published as a pamphlet by smith|doorstop. All four winners will also receive a subscription to the North magazine, and will have a launch reading organised by the Poetry Business and a selection of their poems published in the North magazine.
Website: click here
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Wicked Young Writers Award
About: Writing Award recognising excellence in writing in young people between 5-25 years old from across the UK / Various Prizes
What: Partnered with the National Literacy Trust
Deadline: Monday 13th March 2017
Age: Relevant categories 11-14 | 15 -17 | 18-25 | 15-25 For Good Award for Non-Fiction
Cost: FREE
Submission ask: Writing subject: We want your writing to be personal to you, so choose whichever topic you like. Length: 750 words
About: The “prestigious Wicked Young Writer Awards” (The Times) was established by the long-running musical WICKED to link the important messages of the production with a competition that would inspire young people to use creative writing to look at life a little differently. The Award recognises excellence in writing, encourages creativity, and helps develop writing talent in young people between 5-25 years old from all backgrounds and areas of the UK. In 2016, a sixth category, the For Good Award for Non-Fiction was introduced to encourage 15-25 year olds to write essays or articles that celebrate the positive impact that people can have on each other, their community and the world we live in. Each year, we hold a very special prize giving event at the Apollo Victoria Theatre for all 120 of our finalists.
Website: click here
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Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition
About: Part of the Ledbury Poetry Festival
Deadline: 7th July TBC
Age: Relevant categories 12 to 16 cat and adult cat
Submission ask: Poems must not exceed 40 lines.
(More info yet to be available)
Website click here
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Foyle Young Poets Award
Single poem competition
Who: The Poetry Society
Deadline: July yearly
Age range: 11-17 Cost: FREE
Submission ask: Your best poem/s (quality over quantity).
About: The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is an opportunity for any young poet aged 11-17 to accelerate their writing career. Since it was founded in 1998 the Award has kick-started the career of some of today’s most exciting new voices, such as Helen Mort. With around 7,500 entries a year from across from the UK and worldwide, it’s the largest competition of its kind and its importance is widely attested.
Worth knowing: Although the Foyle receives a huge amount of entries, it’s not impossible to win with an innovative and well written and edited poem. Twice over the last few year, young people who’ve attended our South Yorkshire groups have won the Foyle (Imogen Cassels 2013, Clare Carlile 2012). There is also a record of the past winning poems on the site to get an idea of what has previously won.
Website: click here
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Young Muslim Writers Awards
Young Muslim Writers Awards competition category KS 4 (Aged 14-16)
Deadline: 31st July 2017
Submission: One story not be more than 8,000 words / up to 3 poems.
About: The Young Muslim Writers Awards work towards raising the standards of child literacy and creative writing. We want to enable young people to be confident communicators to help build a vibrant society. Since 2006 we have been working with 5 – 16 years olds across the UK both directly and through schools, libraries and community organisations. We strive toward nurturing their imagination and creative skills by organising writing workshops and holding an annual writing competition.
Website: click here
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What: The national youth slam for 12-18 year olds
Who: The Poetry Business
Deadline: September yearly
Age range: 12-18 Cost: FREE
Submission ask: film yourself performing your piece and submit it online.
About: SLAMbassadors is the national youth slam for 12-18 year olds. The slam is open every year to any young person in the country, and aims to uncover the next generation of MCs, rappers, performance poets and spoken word artists. To enter the slam simply film yourself performing your piece and submit it online.
Website: click here
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Poetry Rivals
Poetry Rivals is a national performance poetry competition providing young poets from across the UK with the opportunity to be published and the chance to perform at a slam final.
Deadline: 2017 dates not yet announced / likely Oct 2017
Age: 17 and under Cost: FREE
Submission: A poem on any subject and in any poetic style.
About: Poetry Rivals invites you to express yourself, gain confidence in poetry writing and to introduce you to the world of performance poetry.
We are inviting you to submit a poem on any subject and in any poetic style. Whether you want to put the world to rights through rap, make people laugh with a humorous verse or maybe show your softer side by writing a love piece about someone special, we want to read it!
If you are one of the finalists chosen, you could find yourself performing at the Slam Final in front of a panel of judges and a live audience, with the chance of bagging one of the top prizes – your height in books (Under 12s), or the choice of an ASPIRING AUTHOR PACKAGE or £500 (12 Plus)! Two winners will be chosen at the end of the slam.
Website: click here
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BBC Young Writers’ Award
What: BBC Young Writers’ Award with BookTrust
Deadline: 2017 dates not yet announced (check site for updates, March possible)
Age: 14-18 Cost: FREE
Submission: Details not yet available
About: The award welcomes short story entries from young people aged 14-18-years old who live in the UK. In order to try and help, we’ve assembled a host of resources for you to use in your bid to write the perfect short story.
Winner 2016 (14 years old)
Website: click here
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Schools competitions
Various competitions for schools to run in the classroom –
National Young Writers Award – click here
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