Writing Contests


Ancient customer-feedback technology lasts millennia   …   Ever left an angry customer complaint? This 3750-year-old cuneiform tablet suggests you’re part of a very long tradition.

The clay message was sent from someone called Nanni to an Ea-nasir in ancient Mesopotamia, protesting about the low quality of copper ingots offered during a trade with Nanni’s messenger. Nanni demands that his money be returned post-haste.

“What do you take me for, that you treat somebody like me with such contempt?” writes a suitably enraged Nanni, according to Leo Oppenheim’s translation in Letters from Mesopotamia.


The World’s Oldest Writing


Writing Contests

Writer Beware:   Alerts about Schemes, Scams, & Pitfalls


Your Ultimate Guide to Writing Contests Through 2022 (Jerry Jenkins)


AFCEA Intelligence Essay Contest   

Antigonish Review 

Arc Poetry Magazine Contests & Awards

Atlantic Council of Canada

Ayn Rand Institute Essay Contests

Barbara Mandingo Kelly Peace Poetry Award 

Bastiat Prize for Journalism

Bellingham Review Contests

Canadian Authors Association Contests

Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Canadian Study of Parliament Group

Canadian Writers’ Contest Calendar

CBC Literary Awards

Center for Strategic & International Studies

Commonwealth Writers

Creative Writing Contests

Current Competitions (SWWV)

Dupont Challenge Science Essay

Dalton Camp Award Essay Competiton

Engineers Without Borders Youth Contests 

Eisaku Sato Essay Contest

Fiddlehead Poem and Story Contests 

Fraser Institute Education Programs           

Global Peter Drucker Challenge   

Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition     

Governor General’s Literary Awards   

Great Canadian Literary Hunt   

Great Questions Essay Competition   

Griffith Observer Annual Boeing Writing Contest

Germans from Russia Heritage Society   

Griffin Poetry Prize     

Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award   

Humanist Essay Contest  

Immersion in the Science Worlds through the Arts

International Affairs Forum 

International Finance Corporation & Financial Times Essay Competition   

Irmgard Coninx Stiftung Essay Competition                 

Japan Foreign Trade Council Essay Competition   

Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize     

Legal Writing Contest Database (NYLS) Life Lessons Scholarship Program

Malahat Review Awards & Prizes     

New Millenium Awards   

New Zealand Poetry Society Haiku Competitions  

Norman Mailer High School and College Writing Awards

PARSEC Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Story Contest

PEN American Center Literary Awards     

Physicians for Social Responsibility (Chapter Essay Contests)

Prairie Fire Contests   

Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society

Poets & Writers:  Grants & Awards Database  

PRISM International

Queer Foundation High School Seniors English Essay Contest    

Royal Commonwealth Society Youth Essay Competition

SEVEN Fund Essay Competitions        

Short Grain Contest   

Shakespeare Fellowship Essay Contest

Society for the History of Discoveries   

Society of Professional Journalists

Strokestown International Poetry Competition  

Teachers Against Prejudice Essay Contest 

Writing Contests for K – 12 Students

Writers’ Union of Canada Contests   

Writers’ Trust of Canada Contests   

Young Environmental Writers Contest (SAGE Magazine)

Young Naturalist Awards (AMNH)

Youth of Canada

Writer Beware:   Alerts about Schemes, Scams, & Pitfalls


Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.

Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

(Let us first agree that Sir Bacon’s statement applies equally to women.)


The only way to improve writing skills is to write more.  Helpful writing exercises include:  keeping a personal journal, writing letters to family and friends, and writing letters of opinions for publication.  Writing poems, essays, family history, and short fiction can also be very helpful for focusing your attention on writing.

Resources for improving writing skills are posted on EduNorth, under:   Plain Language, Punctuation, Spelling, Public Speaking, Writing Resources, and elsewhere.  “Seek, and ye shall find.”


Frank’s New Boots (A True Story)

Frank, now well past retirement age, had always wanted a pair of authentic Texas cowboy boots.  Seeing an especially fine pair on sale one day, he bought them and wore them proudly home.

Arriving home, he paraded into the kitchen, where his wife, Margaret, was toiling over the stove.

“Notice anything different about me today, Margaret?” asked Frank, with a big grin.

Margaret, no spring chicken herself, looked Frank over very carefully before saying “Nope, Frank, can’t say as I do see anything different about you today.”

Frustrated by Margaret’s lack of appreciation for his sense of style, Frank stormed into the bathroom, where he undressed before walking back into the kitchen, buck naked except for his new boots.

Frank asked, but a little more insistently, “Notice anything different about me now, Margaret?”

Margaret surveyed Frank in all his glory, and then said in her best deadpan, “Frank, what’s different?   It’s hanging down today, it was hanging down yesterday, and it’ll still be hanging down tomorrow.”

Feeling desperate now to win his wife’s approval of his fancy new boots, Frank asked, “And do you know why it’s hanging down like that, Margaret.?”

“Nope, Frank.  Not a clue.  Why is that?” asked Margaret, wide-eyed with curiosity.


Without missing a beat, Margaret looked ruefully at Frank’s new boots before replying, ever so sweetly:

“Shoulda bought a hat, Frank.  Shoulda bought a hat….”

(Author Unknown)