Opportunities for Older Writers

The following opportunities are aimed at older writers, “older” being 50+ in most cases, although you’ll also find a 70+, a 60+, some 40+, and a few defining “mature” as over 35. The description of each is taken directly from the associated website.

I’m breaking form a little bit here because some of these listings accept applications / submissions from men as well as women. However, older women who write face both ageism and sexism, and I feel it’s important to show everything on offer out there.

You’ll note that many of these opportunities have only arisen in recent years, so fingers crossed new ones continue to crop up and the ones looking a little wobbly from the pandemic stabilize soon.

I’ve put the country of origin for most (other than journals, which generally take a global approach these days), but if something catches your eye, do check out the link as several are open internationally.

This list is a work in progress. If you find a non-working link or newly defunct listing at any time in the future, or if you know of an opportunity that should be added to this list, please let me know. I appreciate your help in making this category as comprehensive as possible. Thank you!

LAST UPDATED: March 2023

— Nicole Melanson

Nicole Melanson - Writer, Poet, Editor of WordMothers



Bloom is a literary site devoted to highlighting, profiling, reviewing, and interviewing authors whose first major work was published when they were age 40 or older.


Creative Ageing Writing Bursary (Ireland)

The recipient of this €1000 bursary offered by Age & Opportunity Arts is required to write an essay reflecting on their practice as an artist, writer, or arts worker; their experiences working with older people in the arts; or other ideas relating to the arts and ageing that influence their work, thinking and research (please note by writer we do not necessarily mean literary writer). Applicant may be 50+ OR a younger artist/writer/arts worker with significant experience working with older people.

Age & Opportunity also runs Bealtaine, Ireland’s national festival which celebrates the arts and creativity as we age throughout the month of May.


Crone Magazine (USA)

At Crone: Women Coming of Age, we believe that the experience of aging is rich with spiritual meaning. That’s why we have created a unique magazine that honors our deep wisdom as eldering women.


Crone Power Issue

Annual special issue from Gyroscope Review dedicated to women-identifying poets over the age of 50.


Daisy Pettles House Older Women Writing Awards (USA)

Includes a full month’s rent-and-utility-free-residency in the furnished Daisy Pettles Writer’s House, a vintage 1920s arts and crafts bungalow in historic Bedford, Indiana, just south of Bloomington, Indiana (home of Indiana University); PLUS a $1,000 cash stipend, and an Award Certificate as Honorary Writer in Residence at the house for the year awarded.


The Debut Prize (UK)

Jenny Brown Associates are pleased to announce that we are running a prize for debut writers over the age of 50. The prize will include a place at a writer’s retreat and mentorship, and for the runner-up, one-to-one mentorship. We will be announcing full details of how to submit in April, and accepting submissions 1–31 May 2023.


Eludia Award

Hidden River Arts offers the Eludia Award, for a first book-length unpublished novel or collection of stories. The prize is open to women writers age 40 and older, who do not yet have a book-length publication of fiction.

NB: I’ve included this award because it runs annually and you’ll come across it advertised elsewhere. However, I have personally had a bad experience with this press, “winning” their 2019 William Van Wert Fiction Award with no announcement, no award, no fee reimbursement, and no communication since, so I don’t endorse them and I won’t be adding an active link to them. Please do your own research before entering.


Hags on Fire

We are a biannual literary zine focused on women’s embodied experiences of perimenopause, menopause, and croning—minus the patriarchy.


The Henry Morgenthau III First Book Poetry Prize (USA)

Run by Passager Books, The Henry Morgenthau III Poetry Prize is a $3,000 prize for a first book of poetry by a writer age 70 or older.


Hosking Houses Trust (UK)

We offer older women (40 or over) writers residencies in Church Cottage where they are able to pursue their own work in domestic peace without interruption. Many of these residencies also carry bursaries.


Instant Noodles

This online literary magazine from Devil’s Party Press supports authors 40 years of age and older in their publishing journey, whether they are new to writing or established authors.


The J. Michael Samuel Prize (USA)

The J. Michael Samuel Prize honors emerging LGBTQ writers over the age of 50. The prize will go to an unpublished LGBTQ writer over 50 working in any genre. The award includes a cash prize of $5,000.


Maximum Middle Age

Online zine dedicated to women who are mostly over 35.


The McKitterick Prize (UK)

The Society of Authors gives this prize annually to an author over the age of 40 for a first novel, published or unpublished.


The Next Chapter Award (UK)

The Next Chapter Award is an annual award from the Scottish Book Trust supporting an emerging writer over the age of 40.


NextTribe Short Story Contest (USA)

$500 plus publication in NextTribe will be awarded to a woman over age 45 for a short story.


The Older Writers Grant (USA)

The Older Writers Grant from the Speculative Literature Foundation is awarded annually to writers who are at least 50 at the time of application to assist such writers who are just starting to work at a professional level. This grant is intended to help writers working with speculative literature.


Passager Books (USA)

Passager (passage + passenger) is a small, independent literary press whose mission is to publish the work of older writers (50+), encourage the imagination in the later stages of life, and create beautiful and welcoming publications.

This press publishes books, as well as Passager Journal. They also run The Henry Morgenthau III First Book Poetry Prize for a poet 70 or over.


Persimmon Tree (USA)

Persimmon Tree, an online magazine, is a showcase for the creativity and talent of women over 60.


Quartet Journal

A poetry journal featuring work by women 50 and over.


Robert H. Winner Memorial Poetry Award (USA)

The Poetry Society of America runs this award to acknowledge original work being done in mid-career by a poet who has not had substantial recognition, and is open to poets over 40 who have published no more than one book.


RSL Christopher Bland Prize (UK)

The RSL Christopher Bland Prize is an annual award of £10,000 to a debut novelist or non-fiction writer first published aged 50 or over.


The Shirley Holden Helberg Grants for the Mature Woman (USA)

$1000. Must be age 35 or older to receive this grant from the National League of American PEN Women.


Sybilline Press

Sybilline Press is a hybrid publisher for women over 50.


The Wilder Series Poetry Book Prize (USA)

The Wilder Series Book Prize is open to women over 50 years of age (established or emerging poets) and includes a $1000 prize, publication by Two Sylvias Press, 20 copies of the winning book, and a vintage, art nouveau pendant.


The Writers Lab (USA)

The Writers Lab UK & Ireland

The Writers Lab Europe

The Writers Lab provides script development for women writers over the age of 40, and selects 12 promising writers each year, from a competitive pool of submissions, to work with accomplished women mentors from the film industry.