Essay Writing Contests: The Ultimate List of 2024

Essay Writing Contests: The Ultimate List
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Did you know that the very first recorded essay contest can be traced back to the early 16th century, initiated by none other than the renowned philosopher and essayist Michel de Montaigne? In 1580, Montaigne published his collection of essays titled 'Essais,' which not only marked a pivotal moment in the evolution of the essay as a literary form but also contained an implicit challenge to his readers. He encouraged them to engage with his ideas and respond by writing their own essays, essentially laying the groundwork for what we now recognize as essay contests.

Fast forward to the vibrant year of 2024, and this tradition of writing competitions has evolved into a global phenomenon, offering emerging writers from all walks of life a captivating platform to share their thoughts, emotions, and narratives with the world.

In this article, our essay writer will review essay writing contests, presenting you with an exclusive selection of the most promising opportunities for the year ahead. Each of these competitions not only provides a stage to demonstrate your writing prowess but also offers a unique avenue for personal growth, self-expression, and intellectual exploration, all while competing for impressive writing awards and well-deserved recognition.

Top Essay Writing Contests in 2024

If you enjoy expressing your thoughts and ideas through writing, you're in for a treat. Essay writing competitions in 2024 offer you a chance to do just that and win some great prizes in the process. We've put together a list of contests specially designed for students like you. These contests cover various interesting essay topics, giving you a unique opportunity to showcase your writing skills and potentially earn cash prizes or scholarships. So, let's jump right into these fantastic opportunities.

Top Essay Writing Contests in 2024

2024 International Literary Prize by Hammond House Publishing

The 2024 Writing Competition beckons writers with over £3000 in cash prizes, publication opportunities in anthologies, and a chance to participate in a televised Award Ceremony. Sponsored by the University Centre Grimsby, this annual contest, now in its eighth year, draws entries from approximately 30 countries worldwide. Entrants can vie for prizes across four categories, gaining exposure at the televised award ceremony and receiving expert feedback at the annual literary festival.

And if you're determined to learn how to overcome writer's block for this contest, we have a wealth of expert tips and strategies to guide you through the process!

Deadline: 30th September 2024


  • 1st Prize: £1000
  • 2nd Prize: £100
  • 3rd Prize: £50

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International Voices in Creative Nonfiction Competition by Vine Leaves Press

Vine Leaves Press welcomes writers worldwide, prioritizing voices from marginalized communities such as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and individuals with chronic illnesses or disabilities, among others. Submissions, which must be in English and previously unpublished, are accepted from February 1, 2024, until July 1, 2024. Manuscripts can be either narrative (50,000 – 80,000 words) or experimental (at least 100 pages), adhering to specific formatting guidelines, including anonymity to ensure impartial judging. Each submission requires a $25 entry fee via Submittable, and multiple entries are allowed. Entries will be judged based on originality, creativity, writing quality, and adherence to genre, with finalists announced in October 2024, shortlisted in January 2025, and winners in March 2025.

Deadline: July 01, 2024


  • The winner will receive a cash prize of $1000.
  • Publication of the winning manuscript will occur in 2026 by Vine Leaves Press.
  • Runners-up will also be considered for publication.

Solas Awards by Best Travel Writing

The Solas Awards, continuing a tradition since 1993, celebrate travel stories that inspire. They're looking for engaging tales that capture the essence of exploration, whether funny, enlightening, or adventurous. Winners may get published and join a community of fellow storytellers. Entries in essay, non-fiction, and travel genres are welcome with a $25 submission fee.

Deadline: September 21, 2024


  • $1,000 Gold
  • $750 Silver
  • $500 Bronze

Vocal Challenges by Creatd

Vocal, in partnership with Voices in Minor (ViM), announces a creator-led challenge in celebration of International Women's Day, open to all Vocal creators. Participants are invited to write a 600-800 word piece about a woman who has inspired them for International Women's Day in the Year of the Dragon 2024. Submissions must adhere to specific length criteria and can be of any genre or format. Vocal will review entries and create a shortlist, from which ViM will select two co-grand prize winners and ten runners-up.

Deadline: Mar 12, 2024


  • 2 Co-Grand Prizes: $200
  • 10 Runners-up: $20

Cambridge Re:think Essay Competition 2024

The Re:think Essay Competition welcomes students aged 14 to 18 worldwide to participate in crafting essays under 2000 words, following MLA 8 citation style, with submissions undergoing plagiarism and AI checks. Essay prompts cover diverse themes, such as the role of women in STEM, provided by distinguished professors from prestigious institutions like Harvard, Brown, UC Berkeley, Cambridge, Oxford, and MIT. To maintain anonymity during review, submissions should be in PDF format without personal details.

Deadline: 10th May, 2024


  • Gold: $150 cash, $500 CCIR scholarship, digital certificate, interview, Cambridge invite.
  • Silver: $100 cash, $300 CCIR scholarship, digital certificate, interview, Cambridge invite.
  • Bronze: $50 cash, $200 CCIR scholarship, digital certificate, interview, Cambridge invite.

The Hudson Prize by Black Lawrence Press

Each year, Black Lawrence Press presents The Hudson Prize, inviting submissions for an unpublished collection of poems or prose. This competition is open to writers at all stages of their careers, offering the winner book publication, a $1,000 cash prize, and ten copies of the published book. Entries are read blind by a panel of editors, requiring manuscripts to adhere to specific formatting guidelines, including pagination and font choice. Poetry manuscripts should be 45-95 pages, while prose manuscripts should range from 120-280 pages.

Deadline: March 31, 2024


  • Top prize $1,000
essay contest 2024

Irene Adler Prize by Lucas Ackroyd

Introducing The Irene Adler Prize essay writing contest, offering a $1,000 US scholarship to the winner, with up to two $250 awards for honorable mentions. Open to women pursuing bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. degrees in journalism, creative writing, or literature worldwide, regardless of age. Unlike previous years, this year's competition welcomes applicants from any country. The application period runs from January 30, 2024, to May 30, 2024, with no late submissions accepted. Each application requires a 500-word essay on one of five provided prompts and a completed entry form, both submitted via email.

Deadline: May 30, 2024


  • Top prize $1,000
  • 2x honorable mentions: $250

100 Word Writing Contest by Tadpole Press

With a doubled first-place prize of $2,000 USD, participants are invited from all corners of the globe, regardless of age, gender, or nationality. Pen names are accepted, and winning entries will be published under those names. Previously published pieces are also welcome, with no restrictions. Any genre is accepted, with the theme centered around creativity. Each entry must be 100 words or less, including the title.

Deadline: April 30, 2024


  • 1st place: $2,000 USD.
  • 2nd place: Writing coaching package valued at $450 USD.
  • 3rd place: Developmental and diversity editing package valued at $250 USD.

African Diaspora Awards 2024 by Kinsman Avenue Publishing, Inc

The African Diaspora Award 2024 seeks original works from Afro-descendants, including short stories, flash fiction, essays, poetry, or visual art. Winners can earn up to $1000 USD and publication in Kinsman Quarterly and "Black Butterfly: Voices of the African Diaspora." Submissions reflecting cultural themes are due by June 30, 2024. Authors retain copyrights, and entrants must be 18 or older. No plagiarism is allowed, and Kinsman Quarterly employees cannot enter. Various genres are accepted with specific word count limits.

Deadline: June 30, 2024


  • Grand Prize: $1000 cash and publication in Kinsman Quarterly & anthology.
  • 1st Runner Up: $300 cash and publication 
  • 2nd Runner Up: $200 cash and publication 
  • 3rd Runner Up: $50 cash and publication
  • Top 6 Finalists: $25 Amazon gift card and publication 
  • 6 Honorary Mentions: Publication in Kinsman Quarterly & anthology.

Work-In-Progress (WIP) Contest by Unleash Press

The Unleash WIP Award 2024 offers $500, feedback, coaching, and a feature in Unleash Lit to help writers with their book projects in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. All writers can apply. So, if you're looking for resources like free Harvard online courses to hone your writing skills, consider entering this competition. Submissions of the first 25 pages and answers to questions are due by July 15, 2024. Multiple entries are okay, but follow the rules, especially keeping your submission anonymous. Unleash also welcomes previously self-published works.

Deadline: July 15, 2024


  • Top prize: $500
  • Additional prizes: Coaching, interview, and editorial support

Aurora Polaris Creative Nonfiction Award by Trio House Press

Open to all writers, the poetry manuscripts should be 48-70 pages, and the prose manuscripts should be up to 80,000 words. Submissions must be from U.S. residents and must be original works. AI-generated submissions and translations are not eligible. Manuscripts should be sent as a single Word doc. or docx. file with no identifying information, and a cover letter with bio and contact details should be uploaded separately.

Deadline: May 15, 2024


  • $1,000, publication, and 20 books
2024 International Literary Prize by Hammond House Publishing

Poetry & Spoken Word Competition 2024 by Write the World

Young writers aged 13 to 19.5 are invited to enter this upcoming competition, with submissions of 50 to 500 words. Inspired by Audrey Lorde's words and the power of poetry, participants are encouraged to craft original poems or spoken word pieces advocating for change and self-expression. Winners, including top prizes for written and recorded performances, will be announced on June 14. Malika Booker, a renowned British poet, serves as the guest judge. To enter, writers should sign up on Write the World, respond to the prompt, and submit their final entries before the deadline.

Deadline: May 27, 2024


  • Best entry: $100
  • Best Peer Review: $50

Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award

The Killer Nashville essay writing contests seek to uncover new talent and recognize outstanding works by established authors, aiming to introduce their works to a broader audience. With numerous fiction and non-fiction categories available, writers have the opportunity to showcase their talent across a wide range of genres. The top prize includes a $250 award, and entry requires a fee of $79. Genres eligible for entry encompass crime, essay, fantasy, fiction, humor, memoir, mystery, non-fiction, novel, poetry, science fiction, script writing, short story, and thriller.

Deadline: June 15, 2024


  • Top prize: $250

Journalism Competition 2024 by Write the World

In this upcoming competition, young writers aged 13 to 19.5 are invited to participate, with entries ranging from 400 to 1000 words. Participants are tasked with exploring and reporting on significant events within their own country, fostering a deeper understanding of local issues. Optional draft submissions for expert review are available until July 8, with feedback returned to writers by July 12. Winners will be announced on August 9. To enter, writers must sign up for a free account on Write the World, respond to the prompt, and submit their final entries before the deadline.

Deadline: July 22, 2024


  • Best entry: $100
  • Best Peer Review: $50

National Essay Contest by U.S. Institute of Peace

This year, AFSA is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the United States Foreign Service. They've been involved in important events throughout history, like making decisions about war and peace, supporting human rights, and responding to disasters. Now, AFSA wants students to think about the future of diplomacy. They're asking students to imagine how diplomats can adapt to the changing world and its challenges. It's a chance for students to explore how diplomacy can continue to make a difference in the world.

Deadline: April 01, 2024


  • Top prize: $2,500
  • Additional prizes: Runner-up: $1,250

To Sum Up

In 2023, the world of writing competitions offers a diverse tapestry of opportunities for writers across the globe. From exploring the depths of nature to delving into the mysteries of microfiction, these competitions beckon with enticing prizes and platforms for your creative voice. So, pick your favorite, sharpen your pen, and embark on a journey of literary excellence!


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Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker

is a seasoned educational writer focusing on scholarship guidance, research papers, and various forms of academic essays including reflective and narrative essays. His expertise also extends to detailed case studies. A scholar with a background in English Literature and Education, Daniel’s work on EssayPro blog aims to support students in achieving academic excellence and securing scholarships. His hobbies include reading classic literature and participating in academic forums.

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