Young Writers’ Resources
Hi and welcome to a page packed with opportunities for young writers aiming for publication, to enter competitions, or just wanting to get your writing out there. Here you’ll find resources, competitions and websites to hook you in to just some of the opportunities available for young writers. There’s heaps more to be found online.
Writing is fun and sometimes frustrating. It’s great to get words on the page and watch your characters come to life. They can do the most unexpected things, and take you to exciting places. (Be warned: They won’t always do what you want them to.) Getting published and winning competitions takes work, but it is possible. How much do you want it? You can write (redraft) your way there. Check out the links below and see which ones suit you and your writing best, then – be brave – put your writing out there. Go for it.
Meanwhile, I’ll try and keep this page as up-to-date as possible. I’d love you to let me know of your writing successes or if you find any resources you think others might find helpful. Just send me an email – details on the Contact page.
Good luck. Happy writing.
RESOURCES & WEBSITES:
Australian Writers’ Centres full listing of Australian state and various writing centres on the Australian Society of Authors website: Click here.
Dee White’s Deescribe Writing Blog – lots of writing advice, info and Tuesday Writing Tips
Express Media (“provides support and opportunities for young people in writing and media”)
Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) look at their national literary awards link below– several sections for young writers
Inside a Dog (Home of YA readers)
Steph Bowe’s Hey Teenager of the Year blog –
National Young Writers Festival – “NYWF is the country’s largest gathering of young and innovative writers working in both new and traditional forms including zines, comics, blogging, screenwriting, poetry, spoken word, hip hop music, journalism, autobiography, comedy, songwriting and prose. The festival presents ‘writing’ in its broadest sense through panels, discussions, workshops, launches, performances, readings, installations, and more.” See below for callout and festival dates.
Teaching Authors – website with a comprehensive range of markets for young writers.
The Australian Writers’ Marketplace – Writers resource listing competitions, awards, prizes and markets accepting submissions, i.e. publishers, newspapers, magazines. (available via online subscription or print version, also available through your local writers’ centres.) – perhaps request your school library to invest in a subscription or hardcopy.
The Guardian website features reviews, comp’s and articles for YA readers and writers.
The National Young Writers’ Group Facebook page is hosted by Express Media. The group is a place to drop by and share your writing, let members know about competitions, publications accepting submissions, upcoming workshops or events that may be of interest for young Australian writers.
Writing Classes for Kids: free activities and affordable writing classes for kids and teens. Author Dee White’s fabulous website for young writers features tips, free competitions (win books and/or writing services), visits from published authors sharing writing advice, plus heaps more. Check out the website:
YARR-A Young Adult Reader Reviews – Australia. The YARR-A website is devoted to teenage / young adult books and features reviews written by students and teachers of novels by Australian and overseas authors. Also features interviews.
[* means the competition runs yearly, so if the deadline for this year has passed or the comp is finished, check back on website link next year – a few months in advance.]
* Boroondara Literary Awards: Young Writers categories – Junior Writers, who live or attend school in the City of Boroondara – Year levels 5-6. Prose length: between 300-500 words. Poetry: must be less than 100 lines. Years 7-9. Prose length: between 500-900 words. Poetry: must be less than 200 lines. Senior Writers – Prose and Poetry: Year levels 10-12 (or if not at secondary school, 15-18 years of age as at 1 January 2013), who live, work or attend school in the City of Boroondara. Prose length: between 900-1300 words. Poetry: must be less than 200 lines. Cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place-winners in each section. Entries close Friday 26 August 2016. Click here for further details.
* Child Writes Competition: Open to all Australian primary school students. Writers: submit a story suitable for a children’s picture book, max 800 words. Illustrators: Submit a variety of at least three full colour A4 sample illustrations, showcasing at least three different characters and settings. Entry Cost: $15 per submission. Prize: The winning writer and the winning illustrator will be mentored to publication of a collaborative children’s picture book, worth over $1000 each (or total prize $2000). Entries close Sunday 11th September, 2016. For further details click here.
* City of Melbourne Young Writers’ Award: Open to emerging writers 10 – 25-years, residing in Victoria. Three categories: Short story, – max 3500 words, Poetry – may not exceed 100 lines and/or Graphic/comic story – four to eight pages in length. Entries close: Saturday 3 September 2016 at 6pm. Click here for full details.
* CYA Conference Hatchlings (conference for young writers 8 – 18 y/o) Yearly writing competition. Multiple categories – picture book/chapter book & ya novel/graphic novel/illustrated middle-grade. Prizes: $100.00 per category (1st $50, 2nd $30, 3rd $20) and submission of shortlisted entries to at least one children’s publisher. (Feedback provided.) Entry fee. Entries close 30 April, 2016. Click here for further details.
* Dorothea MacKellar Poetry Awards Entries are accepted from 1st March to 30 June 2015 – Open to Australian school students. Entries to be submitted through schools. This year the optional theme is ‘waiting’. Secondary and Primary school categories. Cash prizes and trophies. Click here for further details.
* FAW Hilarie Lindsay Young Writers Short Story Competition for School students. (click link for conditions and entry form) Section 1: Years 10, 11 & 12 (up to 2500-words) Prize $150 Section 2: Years 7, 8 & 9 (up to 2500-words) Prize $150 Section 3: Years 5 & 6 (up to 1500-words) Prize $100 Section 4: Year 4 & under (up to 1500-words). Prize $50. Entry fee of $2.00. Closing date: 31 August 2016. Click here for further details.
OPEN FAW Young Writers’ Awards (National Literary Awards): Open: September Entries close: 30th November – see individual sections below:
OPEN FAW Young Poet of the Year Award: For a poem on any theme. No word limit. Part A Entrants: Ages 8-12*, Prize $150 Part B Entrants: Ages 13-16*, Prize $250 (*Age at, and including, 30/11/15). Click here for further details.
OPEN FAW Ivy Hart Peace and Environment Rhyming Poetry Award: Rhyming poetry of “sustained quality and distinction with the theme of “Peace” or “the Environment”. Part A: Students in Years 3 or 4 in 2015. Prize $100. Part B: Students in Years 5 or 6 in 2015. Prize $100. Click here for further details. Runners up prize $25.
* Gawler Poetry Competition 2016: Entry open to residents of South Australia. Youth and Junior and categories. Short stories maximum 2000-words. Youth (13-18 years). 1st Place $150 2nd Place $75 3rd Place $25 Juniors (12 years & under) 1st Place $100 2nd Place $70 3rd Place $25. Entries close 8 July 2016. Click here for entry form and details.
* Ipswich Poetry Feast International Poetry Competition: Age categories include: 5-7, 8-10, 11-13, 14-15, 16-17 years. All categories and 1st, 2nd, 3rd prizes win cash prizes and certificates. No theme. Entries close 5 p.m. 29th July 2016. Click here for further details.
* John Marsden & Hachette Australia Prize for Young Australian Writers 2015: Submissions of fiction or nonfiction may be up to 3,000 words in length. Submissions of poetry may be up to 100 lines in length by writers aged 18 years and under. Winners in each section receive a $500 cash prize plus $500 travel reimbursement to attend the winners’ announcement event – A book pack of selected works from Hachette Australia’s young adult publications – Publication in Voiceworks #105. Entries close 1 July, 2016. Click here for further details.
OPEN 2016 Joseph Furphy Commemorative Literary Prize Writing Competition: Short story: Junior (Up to 12 years) First Prize: $50 Word Limit: 2,000 (or less) Poetry: Youth (Up to 18 years) First Prize: $75 Word Limit: 30 lines. Entries close 14 October 2016. For further info and entry form click here.
OPEN 2017 Laura Literary Awards: The Flinders News Prose Awards: Section 2 – Young Adult (13-18 yrs) Prize $50 A short story max 1000-words Section 3 – Junior (9-12 yrs) Prize $25 A short story max 500-words Section 4 – Junior Primary (5-8 yrs) Prize $15 A short story max 500-words. The CJ Dennis Poetry Awards: Poem up to 60 lines for all sections. Section 7 – Young Adult (13-18 yrs) Prize $50 Section 8 – Junior (9-12 yrs) Prize $25 Section 9 – Junior Primary (5-8 yrs) Prize $15. Closing date Friday 24th March 2017. Click here for further details.
CLOSING SOON 2016 Melton City Council Short Story Competition: Entries can be submitted in any medium: print, illustration, video, verse, voice or combinations of any of the above. Max 1500-words. Teenage Section (13–17 years)* 1st Prize: $250 (plus $250 for their school) 2nd Prize: $100 (plus $100 for their school) 3rd Prize: $50 (plus $50 for their school) Junior Section (up to 12 years)* 1st Prize: $250 (plus $250 for their school) 2nd Prize: $100 (plus $100 for their school) 3rd Prize: $50 (plus $50 for their school). Entries close Friday 7 October 2016. Click here for details and entry form.
* Mental Health Foundation Australia (Vic) Schools Creative Writing Competition 2015: Annual Creative Writing Competition for Victorian schools. Categories: Upper Primary (Years 5 & 6) with a prize of $100.00, Lower Secondary (Years 7, 8 & 9) with a prize of $125.00, Upper Secondary (Years 10, 11 & 12) with a prize of $150.00. Entries close 5pm on Friday 29 July 2016. For further details click here.
* Nillimbik 2015 Ekphrasis Poetry Award: Young poets section (11 – 18 years) $200 prize. Enter up to three poems. No entry fee. Online entries close 5 p.m. 31 March 2015. Postmarked hardcopy entries close 31 March 2016. Click here for more details.
ONGOING OzKids in Print Awards – primary and secondary students can submit their poems and/or stories for publication online. Shortlisted submissions will be printed in OzKids magazine and considered for the annual award. Check the website for full details by clicking here.
* Patrick White Young Indigenous Writers Awards: Yearly competition open to NSW Indigenous Australian students from kindergarten through to Year 12. A major prize and up to 2 Encouragement awards will be determined for a short story or play and a poem for each year level – Kindergarten to Year 12. Themes: Kindergarten to Year 12 – “Water” “The door slowly opened…” “This belongs to me”. Entries close end term three 2015. Click here for further details.
OPEN Redgum Young Writers’ Award:. Entry open to children 9 – 13. Two categories: Picture book and short story, with up to five young authors shortlisted in each category. Each shortlisted entry will receive a $150 Redgum Book Club voucher and Certificate of Achievement. The winner of each category will receive a $250 Redgum Book Club voucher and winning entry from each category will be published as a hard copy book and in e-book format. Entries close 16 December 2016. For further details click here.
* Robyn Stacey: Cloud Land – short story competition: Open to writers between 12 and 18 years. Shortlisted stories will be placed on the Museum of Brisbane website for the winner to be voted by the general public. The winner will receive vouchers from Queens Plaza, Folio Book, and Museum of Brisbane shop. Entries close 5pm Sunday 13 March 2016 (AEST). Click here for further info.
* Scribe Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers (in conjunction with Express Media) Entries must be between 5,000 and 10,000 words. They may be excerpted from a longer work but must also function as stand-alone pieces. Entrants must be 30 years or younger. Cash prize of $3000 plus an editorial mentorship to develop their work for publication: a generous selection of new-release Scribe books tailored to their reading interests. Longlisted and shortlisted writers also receive a book pack, manuscript assessments from the judging panel, and an invitation to an exclusive craft development masterclass in June. Entries close 9am, Monday 2nd May 2016. For full details click here.
* SLQ (State Library QLD) Young Writers Award: Open to QLD residents 15 – 25 years. Two categories: 18-25 year olds for short stories of 2,500 words or fewer. 15-17 year olds for short stories of 1,500 words or fewer. Prizes 18-25 years include $2000 first prize, $500 first runner-up plus membership QLD Writers Centre plus many more writerly goodies. Prizes 15-17 category include Apple iPad air 2 + $100 iTunes gift voucher to the Young Writers Award winner; Kindle Paperwhite NextGen + $50 Amazon gift voucher to the first runner-up recipient; 12 month youth membership to Queensland Writers Centre; Admission to a Story lab holiday workshop at State Library. Entries close: 17th July, 2015. Click here for full details.
* Ten Minute Quickie Play Competition: Calling young playwrights – want to see your work performed? Eltham Little Theatre Inc do. Plays should be no longer than 10 minutes in length. Youth Award: Playwrights should be 17 and under (at the time of entry). Successful selected plays will be performed at The Eltham Performing Arts Centre, Research, 2nd – 5th May 2016. Submission deadline: 8 August – 4 October 2015. You can find entry form and further details here.
* The Andy Griffiths Kids’ Writing Competition: Open to Australian primary school students. Word limit 200-400 words. Theme – ‘Living in a Treehouse. Major prize winner will receive an exclusive illustration by Terry Denton. The top 10 entries (including the winner) will each WIN* an Andy Griffiths book pack containing 16 books each supplied by Pan Macmillan valued at $238.84 each. Entries due by 3 October 2016.
* The Australian Vogel’s Literary Award: Open to Australian residents under 35-years of age on 31 May, 2016 submitting a work of fiction, Australian history or biography. Minimum length of 30,000 words and a maximum of 100,000 words. Prize includes publication by Allen & Unwin, with an advance against royalties plus prize money totalling $20,000. Entries must be lodged by 31 May 2016. Click here for further details.
* The Footpath Library 2016 Epic Short Story Competition: For Australian primary and secondary students. Six major prizes – 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in two age-based categories. This year’s theme is ‘Friendship.’ Max 300-words. Entries close 30 September 2016. Click here for details.
* The Future Leaders Writing Prize 2016: open to Year 11 and 12 students in Australian secondary schools. Submit a piece of writing (fiction or non-fiction) 800 to 1,000 words. Prize $1000. Electronic submissions by 1 June 2016 to email@example.com. Click here for further details.
* The HEYWIRE Competition 2016 is now open to people aged 16 – 22, who live outside metropolitan Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane or Perth. You may create a story (in any media: text, video, photography or audio) about life in Australia outside the major cities. Each Prize Winner will receive: i. the opportunity for their story to be produced for ABC Radio or for the Heywire website; and ii. an all-expenses paid trip to the Heywire Youth Issues Forum in Canberra in February 2016, including return economy airfares from the prize winner’s nearest capital city to Canberra, five night’s accommodation in Canberra, airport transfer costs and catering. Entries close September 16, 2016. Click here for further details.
* The Katharine Susannah Prichard Fiction Awards: Four different competitions running in 2016. (20 years & under) – no entry fee. Ghost Story Competition: (Open to only WA residents) 8-18 years max. 500-words prose or 25 lines poetry. Entries close 29 July 2016. Speculative Fiction Competition: (Open nationally to Australian residents) Youth 10 – 20 years. 500-2000-words. Short Fiction Award (Open nationally to Australian residents) Youth 10 – 20 years. 500-2000-words. Entries close: 16 September 2016. Poetry Award: (Open nationally to Australian residents) Youth 12 – 20 years. Min 6, max 50 lines. (Open nationally to Australian residents) Prizes: Cash and publication for all competitions. For further details click here.
* Monash Short Story and SnapStory Competitions: This year there are two competitions running in conjunction with WordFest. (open to all members of the Monash community over the age of 12) WordFest Short Story Competition Category A (12-14 years) 1st Prize: $200 2nd Prize: $100 3rd Prize: $75 Category B (15-17 years) 1st Prize: $300 2nd Prize: $150 3rd Prize: $100. WordFest SnapStory Competition is a celebration of visual storytelling and the relationship between photography and text. The theme for this year’s competition is: Directions. Category A (12-13 years) 1st Prize: $200 2nd Prize: $100 3rd Prize: $75 Category B (14-16 years) 1st Prize: $300 2nd Prize: $150 3rd Prize: $100 Category C (17-18 years) 1st Prize: $500 2nd Prize: $250 3rd Prize: $150. Closing date is Saturday 6 August 2016 at 4pm. Click here for further details.
* The Nakata Brophy Short Fiction and Poetry Prize for Young Indigenous Writers is open to Indigenous writers 30 years or younger to enter a best poem or suite of poems (limit of 100 lines). Prize $5000 (plus optional Writer in Residency). Entries close 31 January 2015. Click here for further details.
OPEN The 2017 Somerset National Novella Writing Competition: Open to all Australian secondary school students. (Under 19yrs as at 2/12/2016) 8000-words min – 20,000-words max. Entry cost $20. Entries close 2 December 2016 at 5.00pm. State winners receive personalised advice on their winning manuscripts from Penguin Group (Australia). National winner receives a monetary prize of $2500 plus full editorial report from Penguin Group (Australia). Click here for further details.
OPEN The 2017 Somerset National Poetry Prize: Junior Secondary – Years 7 to 9, Senior Secondary – Years 10 to 12. (Under 19 y/o as at 11/12/15) Winner in each category receives $300 plus flights to attend Somerset Celebration of Literature Festival. Max 50 lines. Entry fee $15 per poem. Entries close: 9 December 2016, 5.00p.m. Click here for further details.
* The 2016 Toolangi CJ Dennis Poetry Competition: Primary school students: preps to grade 6 (no set theme) ($30 / $20 / $10) Secondary school students: years 7-12 (no set theme) ($50 / $30 / $20). Entries close 7th September 2016. Click here for entry form and full terms and conditions.
* South Australian English Teachers Association Young Writers’ Award: open to all South Australian students. Poetry or prose up to 1000 words. Categories from Reception to Year 12. Entries close May 20, 2016. Click here for further details.
* The Tim Winton Award for Young Writers is run yearly by the City of Subiaco and presented in August. (open to all Western Australian students aged between five and eighteen) Sections include: Lower, middle and upper primary, lower and upper secondary. Entries close Monday 4th July, 2016. Click here for further details.
* Write Around the Murray Nano Competition 2015: Write a story in 50 words exactly. Include the word ‘forget’. (Must reside within 150 km radius of Albury) Categories: Years 3-4, Years 5-6, Years 7-8. Open – all ages. First prize student categories: $50 book voucher. First prize open: $100 book voucher, Highly commended student category: $25 book voucher. Entries close 5pm, Wednesday 27 July 2016. Click here for further details and entry form.
* Write the World Historical Fiction Competition: Length: 400-1,000 words. Best Entry: $100 (winning piece + author interview featured on Write the World’s website and blog) Runner up: $50 Best Peer Review: $50 (reviewer interview featured on Write the World’s website and blog) Submit by April 11th to receive feedback. The winning entry, plus the runner-up and best peer review. Entries close: 19th April, 2016. For further details click here.
OPEN Wombat Books Illustration Challenge 2017: Wombat Books are seeking original illustrations from Australian school-aged students to be published in a unique picture book by well-known children’s author Aleesah Darlison. Selected entries will be posted on the Wombat Books blog for public voting. Entrants must be aged between 7 – 18 years and school age. Entries close 28 February 2017. Click here for further details.
ONGOING Writing Classes for Kids 2012 competitions run quarterly: Check out the Writing Classes for Kids competition page for full details and quarterly themes for 2012. These comps offer three categories: 8-12 years, 13-17 years and adults. Prizes include the fabulous opportunity for assessment of your winning 500 word story plus an additional 500 words and great books. All competitions are free for young writers to enter.
* KSP Young Writers in Residence 2015: Three positions, eligible to writers up to the age of twenty-five years, full-time period of 10-days from Monday 23 November – Wednesday 2 December 2015. Please note that applicants should be 25 years or younger at the closing date of application. The residents will be given writing space and time to concentrate on, develop or complete a work in progress. They will also receive a mentorship session with a local professional writer in their genre. The writer will also be invited to participate in KSP Writers’ Centre activities. Salary: $650.Click here for further details. Applications must be post marked on or before 5pm, Friday 21st August 2015.
* National Young Writers Festival Artist Call Out. “NYWF are currently looking for bright young writers and artists of all stripes to show the world what they’re made of at the 2016 National Young Writers’ Festival.” Apply now. Applications close end March 2016. Visit the website for further details.
* National Young Writers Festival held Yearly: September 29 – October 2, 2016: The focus of the National Young Writers’ Festival is creating opportunities for young writers (18 to 35 years). Held yearly in Newcastle, check the website for details.
* Ray Koppe Young Writers Residency: The annual Ray Koppe Young Writers’ Residency offers a week’s stay at Varuna, The Writers’ House in Katoomba NSW to an unpublished writer under 30. The recipient is provided with a private working space to further develop a work-in-progress, as well as accommodation and meals. Travel expenses are not covered. Applications open: 30 March, 2015. Applications close: 2 May, 2016. Click here for further details on the ASA website.
* Ten Minute Quickie Play Competition: Calling young playwrights – want to see your work performed? Eltham Little Theatre Inc want to. Plays should be no longer than 10 minutes in length. Youth Award: Playwrights should be 17 and under (at the time of entry). Successful selected plays will be performed at The Eltham Performing Arts Centre, Research, 2nd – 5th May 2016. Submission deadline: 8 August – 4 October 2015. You can find entry form and further details here.
Spineout is a new YA online magazine where you can submit reviews of newly published YA books (Spineout provide), book trailers, poems, short stories, music lyrics, videos and art work.
SUBMISSIONS OPEN Visibility Fiction Website: Submissions now open: Quick Guidelines: Word count: 2000-5000 words, Genre: Any Young Adult fiction. Must have: Diverse protagonist/s. Payment: Under 18s – giftcard. Over 18s $10AUD per story. Also accept non-paid non-fiction. Click here for submission details.
[Prize winner image courtesy of www.lumaxart.com]
(Please note: These links, opportunities, and organisations are listed as resources without endorsement by the author.)
Last Updated: 4 October 2016