Stiff Competition - the novel

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Writing Comps

Current UK Writing Competitions

Stiff Competition - the novel

Details


 
 

     Despite having had hundreds of poems published I’ve never won a poetry competition, but that’s probably because I’ve only entered four.  However, I did once win a cash prize for a short story, and then I won the Peter Pook Humorous Novel Contest with Stiff Competition, a story that had previously been rejected by a top publisher for being too funny (see Comps Novel).  I therefore speak from experience when I say that winning literary competitions doesn’t always lead to fame.  But having a few such wins to boast about does you no harm when approaching editors or agents, so if you have dreams of a writing career, this could be the place to begin. Or maybe you just want to win some money.  Whatever your motives, the best advice I can offer is that you emulate my old friend Percy Vere, who reads, writes, reads, writes ad infinitum.

     Below is a list of the most interesting UK writing competitions I’ve seen recently.  I’ve done my best to vet them and eliminate the dodgy ones, but I can offer no guarantees.  Bear in mind that contests with smaller prizes attract fewer entries and are therefore easier to win.

 
  

UK Writing Competitions (currently 60)

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

Writers’ Forum Short Story Competition.  There is a new contest in each issue of this glossy writers’ mag.  All types of stories are accepted, from horror to romance, with a length of between 1,000 and 3,000 words.
    Closing: Monthly.  Entries arriving too late for one comp automatically go into the next.
    Prizes: £300, £150, £100.
    Entry Fee: £6, or £3 for subscribers to the magazine.  Critique - £5 (enclose sae if entering by post).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  29.6.17

 

Writers’ Forum Poetry Competition.  This monthly contest from the glossy magazine Writers’ Forum is for poems of up to 40 lines on any thme.
    Closing: Monthly.  Entries arriving too late for one month automatically go forward to the next.
    Prize: £100 and a Chambers dictionary.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, or £6 if you want a short critique (enclose sae for the critique if entering by post).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

Telegraph ‘Just Back’ Travel writing Competition.  If you are just back from somewhere a shade more interesting than the local park, the Telegraph Online would like the gripping details in up to 500 words.  You can read previous winners on the website.  A ‘voyage’ across the Mersey is one of them - proving that you don’t have to write about anywhere exotic to scoop the prize.
    Closing: Monthly.
    Prize : £200 in your choice of currency.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
27.1.15

 

Hour of Writes Competition.  To enter this new weekly peer-reviewed contest from Manchester you submit a piece of writing of any type you choose running to no more than 2,000 words. There is a different theme every week.
    Closing: 11pm every Friday.
    Prize: £50 (usually the minimum, they say; prize increases if more entries are received).
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
17.6.16

 

Hello again!
     Thanks for all you've done. I've had another two wins recently - Concrete Cow and UPLI - and I've actually had my book How to Win Writing Competitions accepted by a publisher! Your website gets a mention in it, of course.
     Best wishes,  Cathy Bryant

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

Scribble Quarterly Short Story Competition.  This quarterly contest from Scribble magazine is for stories in any genre and on any subject, running to no more than 3,000 words.  Winners are chosen by the magazine’s readers.
    Closing: Quarterly.
    Prizes: £75, £25, £15.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
13.6.17

 

Dark Tales Short Story Competition.  As you may gather from the name of the competition, this is not for the sort of jolly happy-ending story that leaves you with a warm glow inside.  It is for horror and speculative fiction, the sort that leaves you afraid to turn out the lights in case something other than a tiny moth is hiding in the wardrobe.  Your entry must be limited to 5,000 words.
    Closing: Monthly.
    Prize: £100 and publication.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
22.1.18

 

Flash 500 Competition.  This quarterly flash fiction contest, which offers higher prize money than many similar competitions, is for stories of up to 500 words on any theme.
    Closing: 31.12.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £300.  2nd - £200.  3rd - £100.  Highly Commended - A copy of Bad Moon Rising.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £8 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 
    
  

                         The Rules, the T&Cs, the Fine Print
When you submit a story or poem to a competition, you are entering into a contract with the promoter.  Make sure you know the terms.  It may be, for instance, that you are granting the promoter the right to publish your work without payment even if you don’t win.  This is often the price you pay for entering a contest with no entry fee.  If it bothers you, don’t participate.  But before you get sniffy about that 450-word story set in the sedate world of turnip farming, ask yourself this: Would I really be able to sell it to anyone else?  Publication, even without payment, might not be a bad thing if it gets you a healthy crop of readers.  And if it’s in a newspaper or magazine that carries some prestige ... well, there are plenty of struggling writers who would gift wrap and hand over their very souls for the privilege of being able to put that in their cv.  Only you can decide if it’s worth it.

 


Added
16.1.18

 

Secret Attic Competitions.  Here are two free monthly contests from Secret Attic Press, one for short stories of up to 1,200 words, the other for poems running to no more than 28 lines.
    Closing: End of each month.
    Prizes (in each category): £10.  Best entries will be published in the monthly magazine.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Dear Mr Michael
    I discovered your website back in November, then, in January, finally had the guts to enter the Whidbey Writers’ Competition, with the 'lazy' way of judging entries: stopping reading once they found 'the one'. The January theme was Villains, and, guess what, I won.
    Thank goody-goody gumdrops for Prizemagic.
    Keep Smiling
                                                  
- Hannie Duncombe (The youngest ever Student Choice winner, at 13, thanks to you.)

 


Added
19.9.18

 

AQB Short Story Competition.  Stories of up to 4,000 words on any theme are required for this contest from Arts Quarter Books.
    Closing: 15.11.18.
    Prizes: £75, £25, £25.  Winners will, if they desire, be included in the forthcoming book Arts and Minds.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
2.11.18

 

Bradt Travel Guides New Travel Writer of the Year.  To enter this contest from Bradt Travel Guides and the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards you write a travel piece of between 600 and 800 words with the theme of ‘Into to Blue’.  This should be factual, based on personal experience and written in the first person.  To be eligible you must not previously have been paid for a travel article.
    Closing: 25.11.18.
    Prizes: 1st - A 3-night break for two in Lapland and a commission to write an article about the trip for Wexas Traveller magazine.  The three shortlisted finalists will be offered a place on the next Bradt Travel Writing seminar.  They will also be invited to attend the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards where the winner of this contest will be revealed.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.1.18

 

Templar Poetry Pamphlet Awards.  For this quarterly contest from Templar Poetry you submit a selection of your work as a manuscript of between ten and twelve A4 single-sided pages.
    Closing: 26.11.18.
    Prize: The winner will have his or her entry published in perfect-bound Templar Paperback Pamphlet format and will receive 5 free copies with the option to buy more at a discount.
    Entry Fee: £15.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.9.18

 

WB Flash Fiction Competition.  This contest from Writers Bureau is for stories consisting of no more than 500 words.
    Closing: 30.11.18.
    Prizes: £300, £200, £100.  All winners receive in addition a WB writing course of their choice.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Hi Michael
     Just to let you know I was a runner up in last year’s Eyelands short story competition. I entered it mainly because entries were accepted by email. The main prizes were very generous, as I remember they included video cameras and computers and “a notebook” which I took to mean a notebook computer. I didn’t win any of these but I was “awarded with distinction” and sent a certificate to prove it. I also received a copy of the Eyelands anthology which included my story. Only one problem – it’s in Greek. I recognised my story because it had my name at the top in English. I advise anyone entering this year's comp to look for the automatic translation feature in google - unless of course they understand Greek!
     Many thanks for your website. Always interesting even if I don't enter one of the comps.
                                                                               -  Mary Hodges

 


Added
23.10.18

 

Ghosts in the Bookshop Writing Competition.  This contest from the Petersfield Bookshop in Hampshire is, as you will no doubt have guessed, for ghost stories set in a bookshop.  The bookshop is celebrating its tenth anniversary, hence the competition.  There is no word limit as such, but the promoters say they prefer stories that can be read aloud ‘at a nice dramatic pace’ in under 20 minutes.
    Closing: 30.11.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £100.  Runners-up - Five books from the bookshop.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
19.9.18

 

Manning’s Pit Poetry Competition.  It doesn’t sound very attractive but it seems Manning’s Pit in Barnstaple, North Devon, is something of a beauty spot with more than its share of wildlife.  It goes without saying that this valuable natural asset to the town is now under threat.  And so this contest aims to raise funds to help save it.  Your task is to write a poem of up to 40 lines about Manning’s Pit or a similar treasured and threatened piece of countryside near a town or village.
    Closing: 30.11.18.
    Prizes : £100, £30, £20.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
11.9.18

 

Wundor Editions Poetry Competition.  Wunder Editions are looking for diverse, disruptive and innovative writers to enter their latest poetry contest.  If you think this is just up your boulevard and you happen to be 16 or over, send in a poem on any subject running to as many words as you think you can get away with before the judge’s eyes glaze over.  This might not be as many as you would wish.  It could have been a long day.  A lot of waffle and padding might have flooded under the bridge.  The judge is turning mean.  And your poem is up next ...
    Closing: 30.11.18.
    Prize: £500.  The winner and two runners-up will be published on the website.  There is a possibility of publication in print as well.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £10 for six.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.7.18

 

Everything With Words Urban YA Competition.  This contest from new publisher Everything With Words is for first young adult novels of between 40,000 and 70,000 words, set in a real city in today’s multicultural Britain.  To enter you submit the completed novel plus a summary of up to 500 words.
    Closing: 30.11.18.
    Prize: £1,000 and possible publication of your novel.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
15.7.18

 

Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism.  This annual contest is for a piece of writing about new work in the arts.  You are limited to 800 words.
    Closing : 30.11.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £3,000 plus publication in the Observer.  Runners-up (2) - £500.  There will be an awards ceremony at the Guardian Media Group headquarters in London.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.8.18

 

Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from the Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland, is for poems of up to 40 lines in English on any subject.
    Closing: 30.11.18.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros, publication in Southword Journal, a week’s residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre and a trip to Cork to visit the Cork International Poetry Festival (with 4 night’s accommodation and up to 600 euros travel expenses).  2nd - 500 euros and publication in Southword Journal .  3rd - 250 euros and publication in Southword Journal.  Runners-up (10) - publication in Southword Journal and a fee of 30 euros.
    Entry Fee: 5 euros each, 20 euros for five.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Michael,
     I have been a follower of your excellent site for a few years, finally with some success.  I usually submit poetry but I have won 2nd Prize in the Eyelands Short Story competition - a piece of Greek pottery and copy of the Anthology containing my story.
     I hope the Anthology copy which I receive is not all GREEK TO ME like Mary Hodges copy last Year!
                                                                          -  Regards Fred McIlmoyle

 


Added
 1.1.18

 

New Media Writing Prize 2018.  This international contest from Bournemouth University is, as the name suggests, for new media.  The contest has been running annually for a few years now.  When it began in 2011 they explained new media thus: ‘It is the amalgamation of traditional media such as films, images, music and the written word, but with interactive features.’  As well as stories (fiction or non-fiction), the contest is for poems, novels, documentaries and transmedia work.  There are four categories: New Media Writing Prize, Unicorn Student Prize, Dot Award and the What’s New in Publishing Journalism Award.  All entries should be written specifically for delivery/viewing on a PC or Mac, the web, or a hand-held device such as an iPad, mobile phone or one of the latest electric nose-hair clippers with Internet connectivity.  To get a better idea of what the judges are looking for, you can access previous winners on the website.
    Closing: 30.11.18 (Noon).  Students have a later deadline (12pm on 14.12.18) as they seldom get up before noon and are bound to miss the first one.
    Prizes: The if:book New Media Writing Prize - £1,000.  Unicorn Student Prize - A three-month paid work placement at a leading e-learning company (Unicorn Trading) or £500 cash.  Dot Award - £500 and development support.  Journalism Award - £750.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
18.9.18

 

Fish Short Story Competition.  If you are angling for a big prize, it’s worth trying your luck here in this international contest from Fish Publishing in southern Ireland.  The required bait is a short story on any subject.  To avoid a battering from the judges you must confine your tale to no more than 5,000 words.
    Closing: 30.11.18.
    Prizes: 1st - 3,000 euros (1,000 of which is for travel expenses to the anthology launch), plus a 5-day short story writing workshop during the West Cork Literary Festival.  2nd - A week at the Anam Cara Writers’ & Artists’ Retreat in West Cork with 300 euros travel expenses.  3rd - 300 euros.  Runners-up (7) - 200 euros.  Ten stories will be published in an anthology and the authors will receive five free copies plus an invitation to read at the launch during the West Cork Literary Festival in July.
    Entry Fee: For online entries it’s 20 euros for the first, 10 thereafter.  Add 2 euros for postal entries.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
1.10.18

 

Cafe Writers Open Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Cafe Writers of Norwich (where the Man in the Moon was keen to go, according to a report I read as a child) is for poems of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 30.11.18.
    Prizes: £1,000, £300, £200.  Runners-up (5) - £50.  Norfolk Prize (for a permanent Norfolk resident) - £100.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three, £2 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.10.18

 

Littoral Press Poetry Competition.  This contest is for full collections of nature, spiritual or environmental poetry.
    Closing: 30.11.18.
    Prize: Publication of your collection by Littoral Press as an A5 perfect-bound book with full colour covers and between 50 and 100 pages.  The winner will receive 50 free copies.
    Entry Fee: £20 per collection.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 

 

 

Hi Michael
     Love, love, love your site! But it should come with a word of warning to other would-be comp winners. Go straight to terms and condition page first. Just spent the last hour and a half crafting (skillfully obviously) a poem about bingo for one of the contests on your site, only to find that (unlucky for some, or rather - me) when I went to email it, it was for UK residents only! I went to dramatically raise my hand to my forehead saying `oh s**t!` when I knocked over my glass of wine on the desk. As I went to quickly mop up everything, I knocked my phone off the table where it now lies wet and immobilised.
     So, to re-evaluate: 1. Check terms and conditions. 2. Don`t make any sudden, dramatic hand movements. 3. Don`t place wine on same surface as computer. 4. Don`t place mobile phone on same surface as wine glass.  And finally, 5. Make sure there`s a spare bottle of wine in fridge when you go to drown your sorrows on your time-wasted, expensive, quiet sunday evening in.
                                                                            -  Susan from Dublin

 


Added
1.10.18

 

SLQ Poetry Competition.  This regular contest from Sentinel Literary Quarterly is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject and in any style.  Roger Elkin is the judge this time round.
    Closing: 30.11.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £250.  2nd - £100.  3rd - £50.  Runners-up - 3 x £30, 3 x £15.
    Entry Fee: £4 for one, £7 for two, £9 for three and so on.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.10.18

 

Bath Children's Novel Award. This annual international contest, which is open to unpublished and self-published debut novelists, is for novels of any length in any middle grade or young adult genre. To enter, you email the first 5,000 words of your story followed by a one page synopsis.  If longlisted you will be expected to submit the full manuscript in December 2018.  The longlist is chosen by a panel of children and young adults. The shortlist judge is Sallyanne Sweeney from Mulcahy Associates Literary Agency.
     Closing: 2.12.18.
     Prizes: 1st - £2,500.  Runners-up - The writer of the most promising longlisted novel will receive an online place on Learn to Edit Your Novel the Professional Way from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.  Shortlisted entrants will receive introductions to literary agents and feedback.
     Entry Fee: £25.
     Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.9.18

 

H.E.Bates Short Story Competition.  This annual contest in memory of the Nothamptonshire author of such works as The Darling Buds of May and Love for Lydia is for stories of up to 2,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: 3.12.18.
    Prizes: £500, £200, £100.
    Entry Fee: £6 for one, £10 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
12.10.18

 

Strokestown International Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from County Roscommon in Ireland is part of the Strokestown International Poetry Festival.  It is for poems of up to 70 lines on any subject and in any style.  There is also a contest for humour: The Percy French Prize for Witty Verse.  The line limit and entry fees are the same.  Finally, if for some reason you fancy writing a poem in Irish, this is catered for too (see website for details).
    Closing: 7.12.18.
    Prizes (Main Contest) 1st - 2,000 euros and a week’s residency at Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat.  2nd - 700 euros, 3rd - 500 euros.  Five additional poets will be invited to read and will each receive a 300 euro reading fee.  The eight shortlisted poems will be published in an anthology.  The Percy French Prize for Comic Verse has a first prize of 300 euros.  Seven shortlisted poets will be offered a reading fee of 100 euros.
    Entry Fee: 6 euros.  Pay for five and get one free.
    Comp Page:
Click here

 


Added
13.11.18

 

The Henshaw Short Story Competition.  This regular contest from Henshaw Press of Northampton is for stories running to no more than 2,000 words on any subject.
    Closing: 31.12.18.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
2.11.18

 

Magic Oxygen Literary Prize.  Here is a poetry and short story contest with a difference.  For every entry received, Magic Oxygen Publishing of Dorset will plant a tree in Kenya to create a ‘tropical word forest’.  And when the contest closes each entrant will receive the GPS co-ordinates of their tree.  It is not clear if you will have visiting rights or if you will be able to send your tree a card on its birthday, but you will certainly be able to feel good about helping to restore some of our planet’s lost greenery.  The contest is also funding the building of another new classroom at Kundeni Primary School next to the tropical word forest.  Poems should be limited to 50 lines while short stories can, if required, extend to 4,000 words.
    Closing: 31.12.18.
    Prizes (in each category): £1,000, £300, £100, and 2 x £50.
    Entry Fee : £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Dear Michael,
     I love your website and its pertinent personal comments re the comps.
     I entered the Alexander Cordell one some months ago, the mini saga, and was short-listed to win. It was a 600 mile round trip with two toddlers but we had a really wonderful weekend. My husband is self employed and works really long hours so it was great to drag him away and out into the countryside. The people were lovely, the whole event was fascinating, and I was thrilled to get two books and a book token. My little girl age 3 gets excited every time Wales is mentioned on the news now! The greatest thrill was hearing the Director of Visit Wales read out my story so reverently, and with evident enjoyment. The organisers were delighted with the world-wide entries.  I don’t write for money - just as well - but for the love of the medium and the message.
     Keep up the good work!                                         -  Julie Noble

 


Added
 1.8.18

 

Moth Poetry Prize. This annual contest from Irish magazine The Moth is for poems of any length and on any subject.  I should perhaps mention that the magazine is not devoted to the subject of moths, fascinating though these may be.  It is an arts and literature magazine.  Presumably the name is a reference to the way artists and writers are attracted to the light of recognition, only to beat their wings in vain against an invisible barrier until finally, broken and defeated, they slide down to the windowsill of despair.  You’d think the magazine people could have come up with something a bit more cheerful than that, wouldn’t you?
    Closing: 31.12.18.
    Prizes: 1st - 10,000 euros.  Runners-up (3) - 1,000 euros.
    Entry Fee: 12 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
17.6.18

 

Holland Park Press Poetry Competition.  Here is another contest from Holland Park Press of London.  It is for poems of up to 50 lines on the theme of Brexit.
    Closing : 31.12.18.
    Prize: £200.  The winner and runners-up will be published in the online magazine.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
11.11.18

 

Kent & Sussex Poetry Society Open Competition.  This annual contest from Kent & Sussex Poetry Society is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject and in any style.  The judge, poet Ruth O’Callaghan, will read all submissions.
    Closing: 31.1.19.
    Prizes: £1,000, £300, £100, 4 x £50.  Winners will be published in the society’s Poetry Folio.
    Entry Fee: £5 each.  Three or more £4 each.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.10.18

 

Exeter Novel Competition.  To enter this annual contest from Creative Writing Matters of Exeter you submit the first 10,000 words of your unpublished novel, this to include a synopsis of up to 500 words.
    Closing: 1.1.19.
    Prizes: 1st - £500 plus a trophy.  Runners-up (5) - £100 and a trophy. There will be an awards ceremony on 27.4.19 during which the final judge, Broo Doherty of DHH Agency, will present the trophies.
    Entry Fee: £18.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
2.11.18

 

Glimmer Train Family Matters Contest.  The American short story magazine Glimmer Train, which publishes new and emerging writers as well as more established ones, will unfortunately be steaming into the sunset in the second half of 2019, but before then there are some useful competitions you can enter.  This one is for stories about families in all configurations.  Most entries, they say, run from 500 to 5,000 words, but any length up to 12,000 words is acceptable.
    Closing: 2.1.19.
    Prize: $2,500.
    Entry Fee: $18.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
17.9.18

 

The Mogford Food & Drink Short Story Prize.  Serving up a short story with a food and drink theme could win you a serious tip in this annual contest from Mogford Hotels and Restaurants.  Just make sure you don’t over-egg the pudding by exceeding the word limit of 2,500.  Your entry, which can be fiction or fact, should be your own original work and unpublished.  You must submit this via the form on the website.  The contest is open worldwide, but entries must be in English.
    Closing: 7.1.19 (noon).  Entries only accepted from 5.11.18
    Prizes: 1st - £10,000.  The 4 shortlisted entrants will be invited as Jeremy Mogford’s guests to the Mogford Party in one of the Mogford Hotels in Oxford where the winner will be announced.  Dinner will be included.  The menu is not specified, but we can assume it will not include pie and chips (so if that’s what you want, take your own).  Travel expenses will be paid.  It doesn’t get much better than this.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
31.10.18

 

Shepton Mallet Poetry Competition.  This contest from the Shepton Mallet Snowdrop Festival is for poems of up to 30 lines on any aspect of snowdrops or the James Allen snowdrop story, or something inspired by the judge’s comments (see website for info).  ‘Let your imagination run riot,’ they say.  At this time of year I think I’m going to have to beat mine with a stick just to wake it up, but I’m sure yours will already be on its feet and raring to go.  There are three age categories: 18 and over, 12 to 17, and up to 11.
    Closing: 13.1.19.
    Prizes: 18 and over - £200.  12 to 17 - £70.  Up to 11 - £50.
    Entry Fee: Adults - £4.  Youngsters - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
11.11.18

 

Novella-in-Flash Award.  This unusual annual contest from Bristol is for novellas of between 6,000 and 18,000 words made up of individual flashes (or chapters) of up to 1,000 words each.  Further details are of course to be found on the website.  I did start to go through them once but I ran out of time and ended up with little additional insight. ‘Mysterious and tricky’ are two of the explanatory words I recall from one of the previous judges, so this is not for writers who need a literary road map to guide them every step of the way.  Check out the comments by this year’s jusdge for more guidance.
    Closing: 14.1.19.
    Prizes: £300, £100, £100.  Winners will be published in the novella collection and will each receive 5 copies.
    Entry Fee: £16.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
7.11.18

 

Nine Dots Prize .  This annual contest, sponsored by the Kadas Prize Foundation with support from Cambridge University Press, CRASH (Centre for Research in the Arts, Social sciences and Humanities) and the University of Cambridge, is for creative thinking about issues in contemporary society.  To enter, submit a 3,000 word response to this year’s question: ‘Is there still no place like home?’  Fiction is acceptable, but see the FAQs.  As the prize is a commission to write a short book on this theme, you should include an outline structure for the book, and a statement justifying your ability to write it in seven months.
    Closing: 21.1.19.
    Prize: $100,000 to write a book of between 25,000 and 40,000 words expanding your ideas.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
13.11.18

 

Edward Thomas Poetry Competition 2019.  This contest from the Edward Thomas Fellowship is for poems of any length.  They can be in any style and on any subject.  Prize-winning poet Jane Draycott will be judging.
    Closing: 28.1.19.
    Prizes: £150, £50, £50.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £10 for four.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
12.10.18

 

Writers Retreat Short Story Competition.  This is the first short story contest from Writer’s Retreat in Goole, East Yorkshire.  It is for stories of between 250 and 1,000 words on any subject.
    Closing: 30.1.19.   Early-bird entries (reduced fee): 17.12.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £200 and a free place on a Writer’s Retreat UK Lake District retreat.  2nd - £100 and a 50% discount on a Writer’s Retreat UK Lake District retreat.  3rd - £50 and 50% on a Writer’s Retreat UK Lake District retreat.  Runners-up (6) - £15.  The writers of a further 15 stories will be offered  a 50% discount on a Lake District retreat.  Winners and shortlistees will be published on the website and will included in the first Writer’s Retreat UK short story anthology.
    Entry Fee : £15.  Early-bird entries - £10 (up to 17.12.18).
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 

 

 

Hi Michael,
     Thank you for continuing to provide so much information on your blog. It’d be a good read just for some of your coments even if I hadn’t found it extremely helpful. I’ve had luck with a few of the competitions you’ve mentioned, including getting my first novel 'Escape to the Country' published a while back and more recently being placed in last month’s Spinetinglers competition.
                                                                                      -  Patsy Collins

 


Added
 1.1.18

 

Fish Short Memoir Competition. This annual contest from Fish Publishing in Ireland is for memoirs of up to 4,000 words.
    Closing: 31.1.19.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - A week on a writers’ retreat at Casa Ana at La Alpujarra in Spain, plus 300 euros.  The best 10 entries will be published in the Fish Anthology 2019.
    Entry Fee: 17 euros for the first, 11 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.10.18

 

Prole Laureate Competition.  This annual contest from Prole, a print magazine that publishes engaging, accessible, entertaining and challenging poetry and prose, is for poems on any subject and in any style.  There are no restrictions on length, although you might like to consider how far it is reasonable to expect the judge to wade through that 5,000-line epic of yours before letting out an anguished cry and writing something obscene on it.  As an occasional poetry judge, the most I have ever managed before turning nasty is 100 lines.
    Closing: 31.1.19.
    Prizes : £200, £50, £50.  Winners will be published on the website and in Prole 28.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £2 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
21.10.18

 

Drip Action Theatre Playwriting Competition.  This contest is for short plays suitable for the Arundel Festival Theatre Trail.  A play will be performed at a different venue in Arundel on each of the eight days of the Festival.  In the past, venues have included a restaurant, a jailhouse, a football club and a community hall.  Plays should have a performance time of 30 to 40 minutes, and the casting, props and effects should be practicable.  So no howling mob of thousands, no stampeding horses, no flying objects, people or animals ... unless these are seen only by one of the characters through a window, whereupon he or she says, ‘Blimey, there goes a flying shed/witch/camel!’
    Closing: 31.1.19.  Open for entries from November 2018.
    Prize: Each of the eight selected playwrights will receive a writer’s fee of £150.  The best play takes the top prize of £250.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.1.18

 

Salariya Picture Book Prize.  This contest from the Stratford Literary Festival and the Salariya Book Company Ltd aims to find the next big children’s author/illustrator.  Just to clarify, you don't have to be physically big to enter this.  You do however have to be over the age of 16, unagented and unpublished (self-published doesn’t count), and you must be based in the UK or Eire.  Can’t draw?  Not to worry.  Text only entries are acceptable, although you could if you wish team up with someone who can illustrate (must also be unagented and unpublished).  The book should run to no more than 28 pages and be suitable for children in the 0 to 5 age range.
    Closing: 31.1.19 (5.30pm).
    Prize: £1,000 plus career advice from a leading children’s book agent and publicity through the Stratford Literary Festival.  In the case of a collaborative entry, the prize is shared.
    Entry Fee : None - free entry (one entry per person).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
2.10.18

 

Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize.  This is the ninth of these contests from the Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge.  Sponsored by top London literary agents Peters Fraser Dunlop, it is open only to women over 21 who have not had a full-length novel published.  It is for novels which combine literary merit with ‘unputdownability’.  These can be literary or genre fiction, or novels for young adults or children.  To enter, you submit 40 to 50 consecutive pages of your story’s opening, plus a synopsis of the remainder (5 to 10 pages), as specified in the T&Cs.
    Closing: 8.2.19 (noon).
    Prize: £1,500. The shortlisted entrants will receive a half-hour one-to-one consultation with an agent at Peters Fraser Dunlop.  They will also be invited to the prize-giving dinner at the College along with a bunch of book trade freeloaders such as editors, agents, publishers and journalists.  Each shortlistee will be able to bring a guest (I’d suggest a teetotaller with a car, as there will be free drinks and if my experience is anything to go by you will be consuming this in unwise quantities when that gormless individual sitting opposite you is named as the winner).
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
11.11.18

 

Bath Flash Fiction Award.  This recurring international contest from Bristol is for short fiction of up to 300 words.  There is no set theme.  You are probably wondering about the contest’s name: why Bath?  Well, it’s like this: I have no idea.
    Closing : 10.2.18.
    Prizes: £1,000, £300, £100, 2 x £30.
    Entry Fee: £9 for one, £15 for two, £18 for three (early bird entries up to 16.12.18 - £7.50 for one, £12 for two).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
16.7.18

 

W&A Yearbook Short Story Competition 2019.  This annual freebie from the venerable writers’ handbook Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, is for stories of up to 2,000 words aimed at adults.  There is no theme this time round.
    Closing: 13.2.19.
    Prize: A place on one of Arvon’s Clockhouse writing retreats, plus your story published on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.1.18

 

Open House 2019.  This poetry contest from the long-running literary magazine The Interpreter’s House is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject.
    Closing: 28.2.19.  Not open for entries until 2.1.19
    Prizes: £500, £150, £75.
    Entry Fee: £1.75 each, £5 for three, £10 for six.  Winners will be published in the mag and in an Open House Competition pamphlet.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.1.18

 

Fish Flash Fiction Competition.  This annual Fish competition is for stories running to no more than 300 words.
    Closing: 28.2.19.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - 300 euros.  3nd - An online writing course with Fish.  The best 10 entries will be published in the Fish Anthology 2019.
    Entry Fee : 14 euros for the first, 8 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Dear Michael,
     Thank you for maintaining your informative and witty list of writing competitions.
     I entered loads of them last year and got precisely nowhere, but I ploughed on regardless and have just won second prize (£100) in the Flash 500 Humour Verse contest, which would suggest that your friend Percy Vere might be onto something.
                                                                             -  Melanie Branton

 


Added
17.9.18

 

Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine.  I used to think hippocrates were wooden containers used at the zoo for transporting large herbivores.  Of course I now know that Hippocrates was in fact a great medical poet, and this international contest is obviously being run in his honour.  Poems of up to 50 lines on a medical subject are required.  There are two categories, Open, and Health Professional.  Actually there’s a third category - Young Poets - but as it has a later closing date I’m listing it separately. 
    Closing: 14.2.19.
    Prizes (in each category): £1,000, £500, £250.  Winning poems will be published online and in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £7 online, £10 postal.
    Comp Page :
Click Here.

 


Added
1.10.18

 

The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition.  If you are an unpublished and unagented children’s novelist aged 18 or over and have an original idea, a fresh voice and a story children will love, you could be in luck because that’s just what the organisers of this annual international contest are looking for.  They’re also looking for eighteen quid from your pocket, but grit your teeth and think of the prize.  Your story should be suitable for a worldwide audience of children/young adults somewhere between the ages of 7 and 18 years.  Your manuscript can run to a maximum of 80,000 words, and there is a suggested minimum of 30,000.  You have to include a one-page synopsis (as described in the T&Cs) and a letter containing some info about yourself and explaining the book’s appeal to children (e.g. ‘It’s about fluffy bunnies and adorable kittens - the hero likes to eat them.’).
    Closing: 28.2.19.
    Prize: 1st - A publishing contract with an advance of £10,000, plus representation by a top children’s literary agent.  Chairman’s Choice -  A publishing contract with a £7,500 advance.
    Entry Fee: £18.  Luckily you no longer have to send your manuscript by post at colossal expense.  You can now enter online.  However, if you do happen to be the sort of writer  who likes to hear the sound of a printer gulping down gallons of overpriced ink, by all means print out your 350-page manuscript and heave it onto the scales at your local post office (UK entrants only for postal).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
7.10.18

 

Soundwork Short Story Competition.  This freebie from Soundwork-uk is for short stories of up to 2,500 words suitable for audio recording.  There is no set theme.  Stories that have been published elsewhere are eligible as are new creations.
    Closing: 28.2.19.
    Prize: The winning story will be recorded by a professional actor and placed on Soundcloud and the Soundwork-uk.co.uk website along with a photo of the author.
    Entry Fee : None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 

 

 

Hi
   
Before I discovered your website I’d never even thought of trying my luck in a writing competition. My stories were a very private part of my life, I was (and for the most of the time still am) very convinced that they are not good enough for the ‘outside world’.
     I don’t know what made me try - call it a crazy moment of self-confidence - but here I am the October winner of the Cazart short story competition. I haven’t felt so good about myself in months. It might not seem like a big deal to the world but for me it means everything. And it would not have happened if it wasn’t for your wonderful website.
     Thank You very much.                                         -  Dorota Nocun

 


Added
 2.11.18

 

Search for a Star Writing Competition.  This annual contest from Choc Lit Publishing and audiobook publisher Soundings is this year sponsored by Your Cat Magazine, and so you won’t be surprised to learn that entries must feature a creature of the feline variety.  The contest is for completed novels of between 60,000 and 100,000 words suitable for a female adult audience.  Your story could be a heart-stopping romance, thriller,  romcom, fantasy, historical, Christmas story, etc.  To be eligible to enter you have to be unpublished and not represented by an agent.  Manuscripts must be assessed by a professional assessment or editing service before submission.  A bit harsh that, not to say costly, but the contest has no entry fee as such.
    Closing: 28.2.10.
    Prize : A three-book deal for publication (ebook, paperback, audio CD) by Choc Lit Publishng and Soundings.  The winner and runners-up will be featured in Your Cat Magazine.
    Entry Fee: None.  Only one entty per person.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
17.9.18

 

Hippocrates Young Poets Prize for Poetry and Medicine.  This international contest is open to young poets of between 14 and 18.  Poems of up to 50 lines on a medical subject are required.
    Closing: 1.3.19.
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, £250.  Winning poems will be published online and in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £2 each,  £15 for ten.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
7.11.18

 

Neil Gunn Writing Competition .  This annual international contest from The Neil Gunn Trust and  High Life Highland Libraries has two categories for adults: Poetry and Short Story.  For the former there is a 40-line limit, while the latter has an allowance of up to 2,500 words.  Entries should be inspired by one of the following quotes from the works of Neil Gunn.  ‘Suddenly something came out of the land, some cool shiver of Spring.’ Or:  ‘... at last, all the pieces, the whole pattern.’  Entries, they say, can be in any variety of English or Scots, or a combination of both.  Any variety?  I think they’re asking for trouble there.  The contest also has categories exclusively for Highland Council schools, as detailed on the website.
    Closing: 8.3.19.
    Prizes (in each adult category): £500, £300, £200.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee : £8.  Only one entry per person per category.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.1.18

 

Poetry on the Lake Festival Competition.  This annual international contest from Italy, now in its eighteenth year, has two categories: Silver Wyvern, for poems of up to 42 lines, and Formal for traditional forms (sonnet, sestina, villanelle, etc) up to 42 lines).  There is no compulsory theme, but there is a separate prize for the best poem in either category that has the theme of ‘Spirit’ (interpret this as you wish).
    Closing: 31.3.19.
    Prizes: Silver Wyvern: 500 euros, 200 euros.  Formal category: 100 euros.  Best ‘spirit’ themed poem in any category - 100 euros.
    Entry Fee (online): £10 for the first, £8 thereafter.  Early bird entries (by 31.12.18) - £6 each.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.1.18

 

Fish Poetry Competition.  Poems of up to 300 words are invited for this contest from Fish Publishing based in southern Ireland.  Billy Collins will be judging.
    Closing: 31.3.19.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - A week’s residency at Anam Cara Writers’ retreat.  3rd - 200 euros.  The top 10 poems will be published in the Fish Anthology 2019.
    Entry Fee: 14 euros, for the first, 8 euros thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Hi Michael
     I spent a year or so reading all those comments on your website from people who, since consulting your list, seem have won just about every competition going. I read it and thought it must be too good to be true – but worth a try. Then, on my third submission, I have actually gone and won the Yeovil Literary Prize for Poetry. I am absolutely over the moon, unable to believe it, etc.  Thank you so much.
                                                                                   -   Andy Miller

 


Added
11.9.18

 

Rubery Book Award.  This annual award is for books published by independent publishers or self-published.  There are various categories (see website).  To enter, send a hardcopy of your book by post or submit an ebook electronically.
    Closing: 31.3.19.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,500, and the book will be read by a top London literary agent.  Category winners - £150.
    Entry Fee: £37.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.10.18

 

Wergle Flomp Humour Poetry Competition.  This contest from Winning Writers in the USA is for published or unpublished humorous poems of up to 250 lines.  Before entering, it is advisable to check some of the past winners and judge’s comments (in the Contest Archives), as here you will find information about things the judges frown upon.
    Closing: 1.4.19.
    Prizes: 1st - $1,000 plus gift certificate.  2nd - $250.  Runners-up (10) - $100.  The top 12 entries will be published online.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  One entry per person.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
20.8.18

 

Sustainable Societies Competition.  This contest from the University of Southampton is for stage plays with a performance time of between one-and-a-quarter and two hours.  These should in some way touch upon ideas around building a sustainable society.  All genres are welcome.
    Closing: 17.6.19.
    Prizes: £100 each in three ages categories, plus an extra £200 for the overall winner.  All top-rated scripts will be read by production company Live Your Values with a view to putting on a production in 2020 with a community-based theatre group.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
11.6.04

 

L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Competition.  This US contest is open worldwide and is for short stories of up to 17,000 words.  They should be science fiction, fantasy or horror with fantastic elements.
    Closing: Quarterly.
    Prizes: $1,000, $750, $500.
    Entry Fee: None.
    Website:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.9.11

 

Dear Michael
     Just to say a big ‘Thank You’ for your work on the website. I have been selected for publication in the Mirador competition which ran last year and have been awarded 3rd place in the Stringybark Speculative Fiction competition. To be published twice is like a dream for me, which the information found on your site made possible. Thanks again.
                                                                                    -   Pat Davies

 
  

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Notes: Unless otherwise stated in the rules, all poetry should be single-spaced.  The rest should be double-spaced (which is to say, double spacing between the lines, not the words!).  It is sometimes the case that your name shouldn’t appear on the manuscript.  Again, check the rules.  If you put your name on there after being told not to, you’re out.  Don’t use coloured paper or fancy fonts, and don’t send your manuscript done up like the Queen’s dinner menu with a fancy gold-tooled leather cover.  These things merely announce that you have no confidence in your submission or, worse, that you think the judges are shallow enough to judge on appearance rather than content.  Plain white A4 80gsm paper is the stuff to use, with plain black typing or print.  Write on one side of the sheet only (unless asked to put your address on the back).

 
    
  

            Before you start writing, allow me to introduce you to an old friend

                                       The Typo Goblin

           
I am the Typo Goblin, my heart is made of flint,
            My role in life is simply this: to keep you out of print.
            I sneak into your manuscript and do my fiendish work,
           Adding errors guaranteed to make you look a berk.
           And then I cast the ‘Careless’ spell: you say, ‘Ah, what the heck!’
           And pop your script into the post without that final check.
           At length some hapless editor receives your golden wit,
           And after reading fifty words he writes it off as ... unpublishable.

                                                                           
- Michael Shenton

 
  

Finally, as you sift through the remnants of your shattered dreams and wonder if it’s worth going on ... www.samaritans.co.uk/

 
       


Disclaimer

                                    
My Humorous             This is the Prizemagic website                   Poem:
      
Verse                Email comps@prizemagic.co.uk                Being a
    & Songs            Copyright:  Michael Shenton  2018             Writer

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