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Essay Contest: List of Popular Competitions with Cash Prizes

Essay Contest

In the literary world, students always have the opportunity to demonstrate their talent in writing! Both novice authors and those who already have their own works can take part in various contests.

We are happy to provide you with an updated list of essay contests for writers. This is a great charge of motivation in order to finish a long-started work or to start a creative path from scratch. Thus, carefully study the information below and decide on the best contest for yourself.

“Writers of the Future” Contest by L. Ron Hubbard

Lafayette Ron Hubbard began writing in 1929 while attending university. Over the next 12 years, more than two hundred of his stories and novels were published. The audience reached about 30 million readers, and, as noted by the famous science fiction writer Frederick Paul, “his stories, barely appearing on the shelves of bookstores, became part of the culture for everyone”.

Ron Hubbard has worked in most well-known genres, from westerns and detectives to mysticism and science fiction. In the western genre, he fought fiercely with editors who published works by writers who had no idea about the Wild West. Due to this, westerns appeared on the pages of magazines, depicting real events of that time.

Despite his significant contribution to the transformation of the literary world, Ron Hubbard did not limit himself to this. He helped and supported novice writers in every way, gave lectures, and even founded competitions, paying prizes. Thus, in 1983, the “Writers of the Future” contest was launched. Of course, he was supported by fellow writers – among the members of the jury and honored guests of the event were science fiction masters Frederick Paul, Ray Bradbury, Catherine Moore, Frank Herbert, Roger Zelazny, and others.

A distinctive feature of the contest is that in addition to cash prizes, the finalists receive a week-long master class from members of the jury – the stars of world fiction and fantasy. During the classes, the masters share their own experience, as well as the achievements of Ron Hubbard, conducting courses on his articles. One of them is “Research Pursuit”, which contains useful recommendations for this activity. In it, the author notes that rarely anyone uses this ‘magic lamp’ quite honestly and recalls how he met his colleague Norwell Page in the library.

In the practical task, the finalists of the competition do not use the Internet but go to the nearest library and conduct research on the selected topic. They are looking for documents, selections of newspapers, publications of different years. And everyone, without exception, notes that this seemingly simple work really broadens the horizons and amazingly nourishes the imagination.

The “Writers of the Future” competition is today the most prestigious for English-speaking novice writers. After all, its winners not only become professional writers but have already received dozens of awards and prestigious literary prizes (including the Nebula and Hugo Awards), and their works can regularly be found in bestseller lists. 

“Peter Drucker Challenge” Essay Contest

This competition is organized for students and professionals aged 18-35 by the Peter Drucker Society Europe. It is held annually in June. Undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students can participate in the student category. Students can study both full-time and part-time. The professional category includes project, budget, or process managers, entrepreneurs, volunteers, leaders.

The essay is written in English. The volume of work – no more than 1500-3000 words, format – pdf.

Prizes for the winners:

  • The winner usually receives a certificate and a cash prize of € 1,500;
  • Opportunity to take part in the Global Peter Drucker Forum;
  • Full payment for travel and accommodation;
  • Invitation to events dedicated to the preparation for the forum;
  • Invitation to the awards ceremony;
  • Posting the winner’s essay on the druckerforum.org website;
  • 1-year subscription to Harvard Business Review.

Goi Peace International Essay Competition

This is a contest for aspiring poets and writers, a competitive event for writing poetry and prose (stories, fairy tales, essays, etc.). The purpose of the competition is to familiarize young people with intellectual and literary creativity and increase the level of cultural development. Objectives of the competition:

  • Promotion of creativity among the population;
  • Increasing the interest of children and young people in literature;
  • Providing opportunities for personal self-realization, disclosing talent, and developing literary abilities.

Participants in the competition are anyone under the age of 25 who composes poetry or prose. Participation in the competition is voluntary. The themes of the works are also not limited.

A jury is formed, to sum up the results. According to the results of the competition, the winners are awarded prizes:

  • First place – a certificate and cash prize of 100,000 yen;
  • Second place – a certificate, a cash reward of 50,000 yen and a gift;
  • Third place – a certificate and a gift.

All contestants, without exception, receive a letter of commendation and a consolation gift.

Drew Heinz Literature Prize

This prize is considered the premier American literary award for short stories. It has been issued by the University of Pittsburgh Press since 1981, designed by Frederick A. Hetzel, and introduced by Drew Heinz.

Every writer can take part in the contest and receive Drew Heinz Literature Prize, but only on the condition that he has printed at least 3 stories in one of the popular literary magazines. Evaluation of manuscripts is carried out by renowned writers such as Rick Moody, Nadine Gordimer, Russell Banks, Raymond Carver, etc.

The winner of the competition receives an award of $ 15,000, as well as the opportunity to publish own work in the Pittsburgh Press. 

St. Francis College Literature Award

This award of $ 50,000 is typically awarded twice a year. It can be obtained by a writer who has created and published 4 interesting books of fiction. The main purpose of the award is to reward and financially support a writer who has already started his career and for whom it is important to move forward and achieve new results.

Young Lions Award

The Young Lions Award amount of $ 10 000 was first awarded in 2001. Since then, it has been regularly issued to young writers for a collection of short stories or a novel.

The purpose of the competition is to support talented young people, creating conditions for their creative growth. The general management of the contest is carried out by the Organizing Committee of the Competition.

Evaluation of competitive works is carried out by members of the Expert Council. On the basis of a rating indicator, winners who are awarded diplomas of 1, 2, 3 degrees are established. Contest participants receive a certificate of participation in the competition. Diplomas of winners and certificates of participation in the competition are issued in electronic form. The results of the competition are final and not subject to appeal.

Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers

This award is given annually to 12 emerging writers. The cash prize is $ 2,000.

The competition is held in order to form the skills of the literary activity of young people, to support the creative work of talented youth. It is designed to promote the formation of a lasting interest in the literary activities of young writers.

The main objectives of the competition are:

  • Continuation and development of language, artistic word, and reading;
  • Identification and support of talented young authors;
  • Creating conditions for the realization of the creative potential of youth;
  • Involvement of creative youth in socially significant activities;
  • Creating a favorable position for the socialization of the creative personality;
  • Social support of youth creative initiative and popularization of youth creativity.

The contest is held on a voluntary basis, is open to young authors, and provides equal conditions for all participants and an objective assessment of the author’s creative activity.

Evaluation of competitive works is carried out by the jury according to the following criteria:

  • Proficiency in literary language;
  • Correspondence of the genre and completeness of the topic disclosure;
  • Independence of thinking, author’s position;
  • The originality of figurative and artistic thinking;
  • Consistency and meaningfulness of presentation, the endurance of style;
  • Emotionality and creativity.

ServiceScape Short Story Award

The purpose of the ServiceScape Short Story Award is to intensify the creative efforts of youth, affirm spiritual and cultural values ​​as a decisive factor in building an optimal modern society, intensify educational and patriotic work among students, develop the intellectual potential of the state, replenish professional ranks of writers and their professional orientation for further literary activity by receiving the appropriate education.

The competition is held annually in November-December. The results are announced in March. The contest is open to a variety of original works and translations, the theme, style, and technique of which is arbitrary. The volume is limited to 50 pages of computer typing (100 thousand characters).

The winners of the competition are awarded diplomas and cash prizes.

So, as we can see, today there are many different essay contests in which you can take part and get a good prize. Don’t miss this opportunity! If you enjoy writing, apply for one of the above competitions right now and surprise the jury with your unique paper.

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