If you are a creative writing looking for contests and competitions to enter, two things should be high up your priority list from a financial perspective. Is the contest free to enter, and if you win, are you paid in cash.
What are the Free Writing Contest 2021?
Here, I’ve listed 11 contests that are entirely free to enter, and pay real money to the winner. Everyone of them is running in 2021.
Of course, money shouldn’t be the only consideration. In order to win, you will need to apply all of your creative powers. But, you don’t want to go bankrupt in the process, and there is undoubtedly more prestige in winning a prize that improves your bank account as well as your reputation.
This list is not comprehensive. But it should give you a great start it seeking out the best contests to enter.
Best Free Writing Contest 2021 for making a fast buck
To become the Six Word Wonder, all you need to do is write a six word story, poem, memoir, or joke. The top prize means you win $100 and get published in a forthcoming book.
Of course, we’re biased as the Six Word Wonder contest is run from this website, but we’re certain that it is one of the contests with the best ratio of effort to return – six words for $100 cannot be bad.
Best Free Writing Contest 2021 to remember your school days
“Stories Out of School” Flash Fiction Contest – The Acdamey of Teachers ask for a story between 6 and 749 words in exchange for an $1000 top prize. The deadline for entries hasn’t been set but is likely to be September.
Best Free Writing Contest 2021 for short story obsessives
To win £10,000 with the Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize, you need to be considered for the best piece of writing on the theme of Untamed: On Wilderness and Civilization – with a max word count of 2500. A challenge to be sure.
There two runners-up prizes of £3,000 and £2,000, and entries need to be in by 1st April. No – I promise this isn’t an April Fools joke!
Best Free Writing Contest 2021 to rub shoulders with a tech giant
£20,000 is on offer if you have a book on Amazon’s KDP service and tag it for the storyteller contest. Full details are at Amazon Kindle Storyteller Contest – paperbacks must be at least 24 pages long – which doesn’t sound like too high a bar.
I’m not sure why there isn’t a specific USA Kindle Storyteller contest but the terms and conditions say it is open to anyone to take part
Best Free Writing Contest 2021 for hearty novels
Although the Dorchester Literary Festival Local Writing Prize was a little disrupted by Covid-19, their popular competition returns in the third quarter of 2021. Look forward to a £1,000 if you were to win their novel contest..
Best Free Writing Contest 2021 for military fiction writers
Okay – this may be a little genre specific… but you can win $5,000 and a 24k gold-framed citation of achievement by entering the W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction. Any YA or adult novel published in the previous year can be entered – assuming it has a military theme.
Best Free Writing Contest 2021 for mid-career authors
The SFC Literary Prize pays a $50,000 prize – but only for a writers 3rd to 5th published work of fiction. So stop delaying getting your first novel off the ground. You’ve got to get three under your belt to qualify.
Best Free Writing Contest 2021 if you’re published by the big traditional houses
You’re going to need traditional publishing through an established publisher to get your hands on this one. £50,000 is up for grabs in one of the most famous contests – The Booker Prize. There’s a UK section and a section open to international entrants, provided their books are published in the UK. The Booker has an illustrious history of choosing magnificent novels (with the occassional dud).
Best Free Writing Contest 2021 if you want to appear on Radio 4
The much loved BBC is offering winning author £15,000, with an additional four authors receiving £600 each. The BBC Short Story Award will go to a writer of up to 8000 words. Entrants must already be published to get into this free contest.
Best Free Writing Contest 2021 for poets who don’t even know it
Forward Arts Foundation Prizes For Poetry pays £10,000 for a poetry collection and £5,000 for a single poem.
Best Free Writing Contest 2021 for those without grey hair.
The Dylan Thomas Prize is Swansea University’s. The Prize is awarded to the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under. Entry is likely to open in September.
The prize is £20,000, and your book has to have been “commercially published”. Strangely, it is free to enter but you may have to pay £2,500 if your book is shortlisted.
Know any better competitions?
If you’re aware of any better free writing contests where there is a cash prize, open this year, please contact me.