A great way to achieve consistency in writing is to participate in writing competitions as they come. Their challenging topics, incredible themes, enticing prizes, and yes, DEADLINES, get writers all fired up.

This month, there are over a hundred writing contests open for you to participate in. Prizes range from hundreds of thousands of dollars to publication and recognition.

It can however be discouraging to come across the words; “entry fee“, especially for those skeptical about paying before entering a competition, or those who cannot afford to pay entry fees. Worse still, some have restrictions based on age, country of birth or residence and blah blah blah.

All the same, we’ve scoured the internet and found free (yes, free) international writing competitions, open to everyone, with January deadlines. So, you have nothing to lose even if your work doesn’t eventually get selected for these free international writing competitions.

You’re a winner, either way.

There’s a brief description of each of the free international writing competitionswith a link to the main contest page of the organizers (indicated as “Guidelines for submission here“). So, sit back and enjoy scrolling through these free international writing competitions. You’ll definitely find at least, one that interests you.

The Reedsy Weekly Writing Prompts Contest

Not until recently, Reedsy was entirely free to enter, with the prize pegged at $50. However, the prize has been increased to $250, with an entry fee of $5.

The good thing is, Reedsy is a community for writers to get honest feedback, so you can still participate in this contest for free, even if you don’t want to pay the entry fee. You’ll only be eligible to get feedback on your work, and not the $250 prize.

Deadline: Weekly
Guidelines for submission here.

Author Mentor Match

If you’ve always needed a mentor to guide you through the manuscript publishing process, then this free international writing competition is for you.

Prize: Mentorship by a published author.

Deadline: Open from 12th January until 14th January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

Apparition Lit

A magazine that accepts speculative flash fiction of up to 1000 words, based on the theme they provide. Poems and stories of between 1000 and 5000 words are also accepted quarterly.

Deadline: 15th January, 2022.

Prizes: $0.05 per word, minimum of $50 for short stories, and $50 per poem. For the flash fiction, they pay $30.

Guidelines for submission here.

Defenstration Flash Suite Contest

Genre: A series of “at least 3 flash fiction works that correlate, and build something greater.”

Word count: 1000 words for each piece of flash fiction.

Prizes: $75 for the winner, $60 for the runner-up.

Deadline: 15th January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize

Genre: Poetry written in English.

Prizes: $500 for the winner, $400, $300, $200, and additional cash awards for honourable mentions, publication for the respective runners-up.

Deadline: 15th January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

Arnold Adoff Poetry Awards

Genre: Poetry books published in 2020 and 2021.

Prizes: $500, a certificate and an award.

Deadline: 15th January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

Border Crossing Volume 12

As the name implies, they are especially interested in “writing that crosses boundaries in genre or geography, and voices that aren’t often heard in mainstream publications.”

Genre: Poetry, Prose (Fiction and Non-fiction).

Word count: Prose (5000 words maximum), Poetry (10 pages maximum)

Prize: $100 per category.

Deadline: 15th January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

Penfluenza 2.0 Short Story Contest

Genre: Short Story on the theme they provide.

Word count: 1500 – 2500 words.

Prizes: 25 winning stories will be published in a book to be released thereafter. The top three winners will receive a physical copy of the book, and a merit certificate (virtual) from WriteFluence.

Deadline: 15th January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

53-Word Story Contest

Genre: Flash Fiction on the provided theme.

Word count: 53 words, no more, no less.

Prizes: Publication in prime number magazine and a free book from press 53.

Deadline: 15th January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

Write The World Monthly Competition

Genre: Any genre picked for the month.

Prizes: $100 (Winner)
$50 (Runner-up)
$50 (Best peer review)

Deadline: 18th January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

The Lumiere Review Writing Contest

Genre: Poetry and prose (fiction and non-fiction)

Prizes: $100 each for the poetry and prose winners, publication in the magazine.

Deadline: 31st January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

My Writing Journey Essay Competition

What’s the best writing tip you know? Tell them!

Word count: 600 words maximum.

Prize: NZ$200 (equivalent to R2000 or £100)

Deadline: 31st January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

Gotham Writers

Do you have a Twitter account? This is a freeinternational writing competition that requires you to post a flash fiction story on Twitter with the hashtag #GWStorieseverywhere

Word count: 25 words, 280 characters maximum.

Prize: A free class on Gotham Writers workshop.

Deadline: 31st January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

The Writing Quarter Competition

Genre: Fiction

Word count: 1000 – 3000 words.

Prize: $30

Deadline: 31st January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

Creative Writing NZ Flash Fiction Competition

Genre: Fiction

Word count: 1000 – 3000 words

Prize: $30

Deadline: 31st January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

Creative Writing Ink Competition

Genre: Poetry, open theme.

Length: Up to 40 lines.

Prizes: An Amazon voucher worth $10, and publication on their website.

Deadline: 31st January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

The Year 12 NCH Essay Competition

This competition is open to all students in their penultimate (2nd to last) year of secondary school (the equivalent of y12 in England) from around the world. There are 10 categories, entrants are required to choose one.

Genre: Essay Writing

Word count: Maximum 1500 words.

Prizes: £1,000 (first)
£500 (second)
£250 (third)

Deadline: 31st January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

Good Story Grant

This is a grant open to all writers, to further their writing career. You only have to tell them what you plan to use the prize money for.

Genre: Essay Writing

Word count: 500 words.

Prize: $1,500

Deadline: 31st January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

The Rose Mary Crawshay Prize

Genre: A historical or critical book by a woman, on any subject connected with literature, published within the last three years.

Word count: Book-length

Prize: £500

Deadline: 31st January, 2022. Guidelines for submission here.

Citizenship: The New Story Flash Fiction Competition

Genre: Flash Fiction

Word count: 500 words maximum.

Prizes: Publication on Word factory website, Word factory membership, citizenship themed book bundles.

Deadline: 31st January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

World Bank and Financial Times Blog Writing Competition 2022

Open to 12 – 19 year old high school students from all over the world. “What insights from your experience during the covid-19 pandemic do you think would improve learning? What should educators and policy makers do differently?”

Genre: Essay Writing

Word count: 500 words maximum.

Prizes: Publication in the financial times and world bank blog, additional, virtual ways to honour the winner.

Guidelines for submission here.

BONUS!!!

There are also some available competitions for Black and African writers only:

Solarpunk Magazines

Genre: Speculative micro-fiction based on the theme they provide.

Word count: 250 words maximum.

Prizes: $25 and publication on their magazine website.

Deadline: Open from 21st to 27th January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

AKO Caine Prize For African Writing

Genre: Short Fiction published from 31st January, 2017.

Word count: 3,000 to 10,000 words.

Prizes: £10,000 for the winner, £500 each to four shortlisted writers.

Deadline: 31st January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

ADDITIONAL BONUS!!!

Here are some available writing competitions for Nigerians:

D’LitReview’s Monthly Writing Contests

Genre and word count: Based on the selected genre and theme for the month.

Prizes: Cash or Airtime, You Decide!
1st: N2,000 and publication on the new website.
2nd: N1,000
3rd: N500

Deadline: 25th January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

Challenging The Writers

You have to select one of the three writing prompts on their website.

Genre: Short Story based on your selected prompt.

Word count: 3500 – 5000 words.

Prizes: N30,000, and publication.

Deadline: 31st January, 2022.

Guidelines for submission here.

Good Luck!!!!!

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