Stiff Competition - the novel

Details

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 66)

 


Updated
  4.5.16

 

Writers’ Forum Short Story Competition.  There is a new contest in each issue of this 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 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
  4.5.16

 

Writers’ Forum Poetry Competition.  This monthly contest from the glossy magazine Writers’ Forum is for poems of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: Monthly.  Entries arriving too late for one month 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.

 
  

Books to Improve Your Writing Skills  

 


Addad
30.4.16

 

Cinnamon Press Debut Collection Prize.  This annual contest from Welsh publisher Cinnamon Press is for poems of up to 40 lines.  Your entry should consist of 10 poems.
    Closing: Annually - end of November.
    Prizes: £300 plus a publishing contract.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
 30.4.16

 

Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet Prizes.  Entries for ths one should comprise 15 to 25 poems of up to 50 lines each.
    Closing: Annually (end of March).
    Prizes: A publishing contract plus 30 copies of the pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  29.4.16

 

Cinnamon Press Short Story Award.  This is for stories of between 2,000 and 4,000 words.
    Closing: annually (end of May).
    Prize: £500, £100, £50, plus publication.
    Entry Fee: £12 (includes a free copy of the winners’ anthology).
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Updated
 29.4.16

 

Cinnamon Press Debut Novel/Novella Prize.  To enter this you submit the first 10,000 words of your novel or novella.
    Closing: Anually (end of July).
    Prize : £500 and a pulishing contract.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    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
12.7.09

 

WriteOnSite Writing Competition.  This, they say, could be described as literary open mic.  The competition opens at 5.30pm GMT every Saturday, at which point three themes are given.  You choose your theme, pay your entry fee and then write.  You have just 20 minutes to complete your story.  Three entries are then chosen to be read and judged by all the other entrants during the following week.  Only for the brave.
    Closing: Every Saturday.
    Prize: £40.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 6.7.09

 

Telegraph ‘Just Back’ Travel writing Competition.  If you are just back from somewhere a little 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 the currency of your choice.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  27.6.10

 

The Write Place Novel Competition.  This contest has now been cancelled by the promoters (The Write Place Creative Writing School) following my comments about the alleged value of the prize (publication) and the nature of the publishing firm (Pneuma Springs Publishing) supplying it.  Although the promoters are blaming me for ruining a worthwhile competition, I consider the cancellation to be their acceptance that my comments were spot on.
    Pneuma Springs Publishing offers services which are deemed by the book trade to be vanity publishing.  If anyone is unclear about the meaning and implications of this term, they should read the
free Occasional Paper on Vanity Publishing by the Society of Authors: 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.

 


Updated
15.12.15

 

Daggerville Games Writing Competition.  This monthly contest from Daggerville Games is for short pieces of writing (up to 250 words) on a different theme each month.  The theme for April - and I apologise if it is no longer April and I’ve not updated this - is ‘The Perfect Murder’. You have to ‘Like’ the firm on Facebook to enter, but other than this requirement to be free and easy with your affections, there is no cost.
    Closing : End of each month.
    Prize: $50 Amazon voucher.
    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
21.5.12

 

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

 


Updated
  1.4.16

 

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: 30.9.16, 31.12.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £300 and publication in Words With Jam.  2nd - £200.  3rd - £100.  Highly Commended - A copy of The Writer’s ABC Checklist.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £8 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 31.3.15

 

Cultured Vultures Poem of the Week.  This one from American website Cultured Vultures (‘We eat your words’) is open to all comers and is for poems of any type.  To enter you submit three plus a short bio.
    Closing: Weekly.
    Prize: Publication on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
18.4.15

 

NAWG 100 Words CompetitionThis ongoing contest from the National Association of  Wig Growers - or possibly Writers’ Groups - is for tales of exactly 100 words.  Now, it will almost certainly turn out that some of you don’t understand the meaning of the word ‘exactly’, so let me explain that it is not 99 words or fewer, nor is it 101 words or more.  It’s bang on 100.
    Closing: Ongoing.  Each round ends when 100 entries have been accepted.
    Prizes (in each round): £75, £25.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £5.50 for two, £8 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
21.9.15

 

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
16.10.14

 

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
 1.5.16

 

Buxton Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from the High Peaks, presented by Buxton Festival and the University of Derby, is for poems of up to 40 lines.  They say the theme is Hidden, but I had no trouble finding it.
    Closing: 26.8.16.
    Prizes: Open Category (18 and over) - £500, £250, £100.  Young People (12 - 17) and Children’s categories - book tokens.
    Entry Fee: Open Category (18 and over) - £5.  Young People and Children - free.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
 5.7.16

 

Torbay Open Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from the Torbay Festival of Poetry in Torquay is for poems of up to 50 lines.  The judge is prizewinning poet Sue Boyle.
    Closing: 28.8.16 (6pm).
    Prizes: 1st - £700 plus a weekend at the poetry festival with accommodation and Festival Pass.  2nd - £400 plus Festival Pass.  3rd - £200 plus ticket for the Festival supper for two.  Shortlisted poets will be invited to read their entries at the Prizegiving event.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £20 for five.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
18.7.16

 

Dragonfly Tea Short Story Competition.  This contest from Dragonfly Tea in partnership with the Henley Literary Festival has four categories, one for Adults, three for children.  Adults are required to brew up a story running to no more than 3,000 words on the theme of Discovery, while children (aged 4-7, 8-11, 12-15) must stir themselves and write a tale on the theme of Adventure, with a maximum of 500 words.
    Closing: 29.8.16.
    Prizes: Adults: £1,500, £750, £250.  Children: £50 in each age category, plus school vouchers.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.7.16

 

Exeter Flash Fiction Prize.  Your task here, say the promoters (Creative Writing Matters), is to amaze them with a small story of up to 250 words.  Now, there are different ways of creating amazement, some good, some bad.  I’d be inclined to aim for the former.
    Closing: 31.8.16.
    Prizes: £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.3.14

 

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
28.2.16

 

Poetry & Politics Poetry Competition.  This free contest from London publisher Holland Park Press is for poems of up to 50 lines on a political theme.  The poem can be international or national in scope, or  even something local to your city, town or village.
    Closing: 31.8.16.
    Prize : £200.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.4.16

 

Verbolatry Laugh-a-Riot Competition.  This comical contest comes from the Verbolatry newsletter which focuses on the lighter side of the writing life and is now celebrating its first birthday.  To enter you submit a humorous fiction or non-fiction essay of between 100 and 500 words.  The contest has two versions: Free and Paid-for.  The latter has the bigger prize and will  have fewer entries.  The former is ... well, free, and I hardly need say these freebies usually prove irresistible to the poverty-stricken or tight-fisted writer of whom there are too many to count.  The choice is yours.
    Closing: 31.8.16.
    Prizes: Free version - £50.  Paid-for version - £100.  The winners will be published in the newsletter.
    Entry Fee: Free version - None.  Paid-for version - £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.7.16

 

Hysteria Writing Competition.  This annual contest from the Hysterectomy Association is for short stories of up to 2,000 words, flash fiction of up to 250 words and poems of up to 20 lines written by women of any nationality.  Entries can be in any genre except horror or erotica.  The promoters say they are not looking for stories or poems about hysterectomy but ones that will appeal to their website visitors who are mostly women aged between about 25 and 65.
    Closing: 31.8.16.
    Prizes: Short Story - £150.  Flash Fiction - £75.  Poetry - £75.  Nine runners-up from each category will be published in an anthology and will receive a free copy.  I assume the winners will also appear in the anthology as in previous years, but this was not stated on the website when I checked.
    Entry Fees: Short Stories - £5.  Flash Fiction and Poetry - £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Updated
 25.7.16

 

Highlands & Islands Short Story Association Competition.  Stories of up to 2,500 words are required for this Scottish contest which is open worldwide.  Any theme, and there is an indication that unusual stories could find favour.  There is also a flash fiction category requiring stories of up to 500 words.
    Closing: 31.8.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £400.  Runners-up (2) - £50.  Flash Fiction - £150.
    Entry Fee: £6 each, £15 for three.  Flash Fiction - £3 each, £7 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
11.8.13

 

Hello Michael
     Just writing to let you know that my poem was "Highly Commended" in a Poem Pigeon contest I found on your site. This was pleasing to me, but what was even better was to become part of such a friendly, hospitable group. Every one is so supportive of and kind to each other. They put up some pretty good poems too.
     Best wishes
                                                                                  -  Penny Turner

 


Added
 4.4.16

 

The Terence Rattigan Society Award.  Here’s a great opportunity for playwrights to have their work assessed by some of the top names in the business.  The contest is for theatre plays with a running time of not less than 75 minutes, preferably with an interval and no more than six actors (doubling is allowed).  Among the judges will be David Suchet and Julian Fellowes.  You need to send an electronic and a printed copy of your play along with a list of characters, a description of the setting and a one-page summary of the action.
    Closing: 31.8.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £2,500 and guaranteed production in a professional theatre.  2nd - £1,000 and a public reading.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.  Two plays may be submitted.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
15.6.16

 

Writing Out of the HD Shadow.  This contest from the Scottish Huntingdon’s Association aims to raise awareness of the neurological condition Huntingdon’s Disease which has something of a low  profile at present.  With this aim in mind you write a drabbie (flash fiction) of up to 150 words.  The website has two examples that show what a drabbie about HD might look like.  Can’t say I like the name drabbie.  Gives the wrong impression.  Your story should of course be anything but drab.  Entry is open nationwide.
    Closing: 31.8.16.
    Prizes: Over 16 - £500, £300, £100.  Under 16 - £100, £50, £20.  Winners will also receive a framed copy of their entry signed by the judges, authors Alan Bissett and Michael Malone.
    Entry Fee : Over 16 - £5.  Under 16 - none, free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 6.5.16

 

Soundwork Monologue Competition.  Soundwork-uk is a not-for-profit website which makes audio recordings (plays, poems, stories, monologues) available to the listener free of charge.  To enter the contest you submit a monologue script of any length up to 15 minutes duration, on any subject.
    Closing: 31.8.16.
    Prize: Your monologue recorded by Soundwork and, along with your photo, placed on the site.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
25.8.16

 

Imaginary Worlds Poetry Competition.  To mark the bi-centenary of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem Kubla Khan, the Friends of Coleridge invite you to write a poem of up to 40 lines on the theme of Imagined Worlds.
    Closing: 31.8.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £500.  Runners-up (2) - £200.  Young Persons: 1st - £75, Runners-up (2) - £25.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Warning - Fake Google Email

As a lot of my visitors come via Google I’d like to mention an email phishing scam currently doing the rounds.  It warns that your Google account will be suspended unless you click on the link and confirm your details.  The website you will be taken to is a Google clone and the information you input will go straight into the hands of fraudsters who will then steal your identity, money, dog and just about everything else you own - except your debts (of which there will be plenty because they will take out loans in your name).

On the positive side, you will be able to write an article about the way your life has been ruined and have it published in your local paper, thus becoming a local celebrity.  Tough choice.

 


Added
18.7.16

 

Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition.  Here we have a two-category contest from Oxford Brookes University.  One category is open to all poets over the age of 18.  The other is for  poets over 18 who have English as a second language.  Note that merely writing as if you have English as a second language is not enough to qualify you: some documentary evidence will be required.
    Closing: 31.8.16.
    Prizes (in each category): £1,000, £200.
    Entry Fee: £5 each for the first three, £4 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  1.8.16

 

TXTLit Micro Story Competition .  For this contest you need a mobile phone.  Well, everyone’s got one, haven’t they?  No.  There’s still one person in the UK who hasn’t.  Me.  I don’t like phones of any sort.  I have one that plugs into the wall but I never answer it when it rings.  I think: ‘They’ll ring again if it’s important.’  They seldom do, and if they do I never answer it and they never ring again - which proves they were just time-wasters.  Now, I may seem to be rambling a bit here, but hey, what do you know, this turns out to be relevant because you mustn’t ramble in this competition.  Limit your stories to 154 characters (letters and spaces, not people), and while you’re about it, refrain from using abbreviated TXT gibberish, as this is not welcome.  At last - someone is fighting back on behalf of the English language!  There is a different theme each month.
    Closing: 1.8.16.
    Prize: £50.
    Entry Fee: £1 plus the normal cost of sending a text message (no use asking me what that is).
    Website:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Hi Michael
      I love your website, and am completely indebted to it! I began writing poetry when I was 12, but it would appear I've become a lot better at it now at 16, since I’ve had a pretty good year thanks to your website - coming highly commended in a Poem Pigeon contest, runner-up in a Red Cross competition, and commended in the Foyle Poet’s Award (which made me jump up and down for...hmm...three weeks straight). None of which I would’ve ever known about without your website.
     Thank you so much.  You’ve made this young writer very happy!
                                                                               -  Daniella Cugini x

 


Added
 1.3.16

 

The High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature.  This annual contest, which is open only to writers ages 18 or over with some connection to Cheshire, is for poems of up to 50 lines or collections of up to 100 lines.  It is supported by the University of Chester’s Department of English.  To be eligible you must have been born, work or have worked, live or have lived, study or have studied, in Cheshire.  If you lived there for just a fortnight while on holiday in Stockport, I’m afraid this doesn’t count, although you might be in line for a medal of some sort.
    Closing: 1.9.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £2,000.  Additional prize money of £750 will be awarded at the judges’ discretion.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
24.8.16

 

Cornwall Contemporary Poetry Festival Open Competition.  This contest from the Falmouth Poetry Group is for contemporary poems of up to 40 lines on any subject.  The judge is poet Alison Brackenbury.
    Closing: 3.9.16.
    Prizes: £600, £150, £50.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £3 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.4.16

 

Arkbound Writing Competition.  This contest from new-ish Bristol publisher Arkbound has three categories: Short Story, Article, and Visual Art.  The stories should run to 500-2,000 words and be about something that has inspired you or will inspire others.  Arkbound claims to ‘bridge the gap between vanity and contemporary publishers.’  It’s up to you to decide how solid the bridge is should you be invited to cross it.   Contests by vanity publishers are usually designed to reel in potential customers for publishing deals which involve the author paying ‘a share’ of the costs.  Just remember that you can’t buy literary success.  However, you can enter such competitions without getting involved in that ... as long as you aren’t the sort of writer whose common sense goes for a walk on the silly side at the first sign of flattery.
    Closing: 5.9.16.
    Prizes (in each category): £100, £50, £25.  Three runners-up in each category win £5.  All winners will received an embossed certificate.
    Entry Fee: £2.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.7.16

 

Live Canon International Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from the Live Canon Ensemble is for poems of any length and on any subject.
    Closing: 12.9.16.
    Prize: £1,000.  There is also a £100 award for a writer living, working or studying in the London Borough of Greenwich.  The 25 shortlisted poems will be published in an anthology and performed by the Live Canon Ensemble at the prize-giving event at Greenwich Theatre in London.
    Entry Fee: £6 each, £15 for three, £20 for five.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
19.8.16

 

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: 12.9.16, 9.1.17.
    Prizes: One winner each quarter will have his or her entry published in pamphlet form and will receive 20 free copies with the option to buy more at a discount.
    Entry Fee: £12 online.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
  1.8.16

 

Bump in the Night Ghost Story Competition.  You are asleep in bed when you are woken by a muffled thud.  One thought leaps into your mind: A burglar!  Your heart hammers on your ribs.  You untangle yourself from the heap of bedclothes on the floor and stagger to your feet.  You light a candle.  The candle blows out as you descend the stairs.  You search the house in the dark.  You trip over the cat.  You finish the search on hands and knees.  There is no one there.  The windows and doors are locked.  It must have been a ghost.  You return to bed and lie awake until dawn, shaking with fear.  The end.  If you can do better than that and confine your story to 3,000 words, Greenwich Writers have a contest for you.
    Closing: 15.9.16.
    Prize: £25 and a chance to feature in the Greenwich Writers’ Anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
 3.3.16

 

Manchester Writing Competition.  This international contest from Manchester Writing School at the Manchester Metropolitan University celebrates ‘the substantial cultural and literary achievements of Manchester’ of which I am unable to give an example at this time.  My childhood memories of Manchester are centred around Moss Side where my father ran a fast-food business (chip shop, as we called it back then).  I was kept locked in the cellar peeling spuds, with a 15-watt incandescent light bulb for company.  It was there in that creepy dungeon, while peering into the dark corners, that I developed my vivid imagination - not to mention my nervous twitches.  Culture?  Literature?  Be serious.  But times, I suppose, have changed.  So let us return to the competition, which is for poems and short stories.  To enter the Poetry Prize you submit a portfolio of three to five poems, these to consist of no more than 120 lines in total.  For the Fiction Prize the requirement is for a story running to no more than 2,500 words in any genre.
    Closing: 23.9.16.
    Prize (in each category):£10,000.
    Entry Fee: £17.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.10.14

 

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
24.8.16

 

Mere Literary Festival ‘Write in the Week’ Competition.  This the-quick-and-the-dead contest from  Mere in Wiltshire requires you to write a story of up to 350 words in less than a week.  Your story must include the phrase shown on the website from September 16.  Your entry has to be submitted by post, so you will need to allow two or three days for it to reach its destination, depending on the colour of your stamp.
    Closing: 24.9.16.
    Prizes: Adult - £60, £30, £15.  Juniors (16 and under) - 4 x £5
    Entry Fee: Adult - £2 for the first, £1 thereafter.  Juniors - Free.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.1.16

 

Erewash Writers Open Short Story Competition .  This worldwide contest from Erewash Writers of Derbyshire is for stories of up to 2,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: 29.9.16.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25, £15.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £2.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.5.16

 

Bedford Writing Competition.  Stories of up to 3,000 words and poems of up to 40 lines are required for this international contest whose net proceeds go to charity.
    Closing: 30.9.16.
    Prizes (in each category): £200, £100, £50.  Bedford Prize (best short story from Bedford entrant) - £50.  Shortlisted entries will be published in an e-book.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.11.15

 

Poco Loco Adult Writing Prize.  This contest from the online adult writing magazine Poco Loco is for erotic, ‘sexciting’ and pornographic stories of between 1,500 and 5,000 words.
    Closing: 30.9.16 (12.59pm).
    Prizes: 1st - £500.  Runners-up (5) - £100.  In addition, the authors of any stories published in the mag will be paid £20 per 1,000 words.
    Entry Fee: £10 (to subscribe to the mag and get one free entry, £10 per entry thereafter).
    Website:
Click Here (Adult Writing Prize link on left).

 


Added
18.7.16

 

Caterpillar Short Story for Children Prize.  This themeless contest from Irish literary magazine The Moth is for stories of up to 1,500 words aimed at children aged 7 to 11.
    Closing: 30.9.16.
    Prizes: 1st - 500 euros and a two-week stay at The Moth Artists’ Residence.  2nd - 300 euros.  3rd - 200 euros.  Winning entries will appear in The Moth’s literary magazine for children, The Caterpillar.
    Entry Fee: 12 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
17.7.16

 

Salopian Open Poetry Competition.  This is the 40th of these annual international contests from the Salopian Poetry Society.  As usual, poems must be in English and run to no more than 42 lines.
    Closing: 30.9.16.
    Prizes: £150, £100, £50.  Runners-up (10) - £20.  Winners will also receive a copy of the winter issue of the Society’s magazine Salopeot which will contain the winning entries.  To celebrate the 40th anniversary additional prizes will be awarded by the magazine’s editor.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £10 for four.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
20.1.13

 

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
17.5.16

 

Off  the Beaten Track Writing Competition.  This contest from the Senior Travel Expert website is for travel articles of up to 750 words about somewhere out of the way and not teeming with visitors.  The winner, say the promoters, will be the article judged likely to be most effective in persuading the website’s readers to emulate the travel experience.  If that’s blown your real-life story into the weeds, do not despair, as the contest is open to fiction as well as fact.  Just edit out the unfriendly locals, the misleading signposting, the days wandering lost in the wilderness, the kidnapping by strange moon-worshipping primatives and the rescue by armed police who accidentally shot you in the leg ... and presto, you could be on to a winner.
    Closing: 30.9.16.
    Prize : £100.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
12.7.16

 

Henshaw Short Story Competition.  This regular visitor from Henshaw Press of Northampton is for stories of up to 2,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: 30.9.16.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.  Winners will be published on the website and optionally in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.8.16

 

Writing Times Children’s Competition.  This contest from online magazne Writing Times for stories (up to 1,500 words) and drawings is open to children aged between 5 and 12.  The theme is Holidays.
    Closing: 30.9.16.
    Prize : A book, and your entry published in the magazine.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.8.16

 

Writing Times Seniors Competition.  Here’s another contest from online magazine Writing Times.  This one is open to seniors aged 60 or over.  There are two categories: Poetry and Short Story, and in both cases the theme is Hobbies.  There is a word limit of 1,500.
    Closing: 30.9.16.
    Prizes: A book and publication in the magazine.
    Entry Fee: £1.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
19.7.16

 

Resurgence Poetry Prize 2016.  Here’s an oddity - a poetry competition with a line limit of 54.  Maybe that’s a significant number in recycling, for the contest is billed as the world’s first major award for ecopoetry.  You will not be surprised to learn that entries should be on an ecological theme.  You might however be surprised to learn that the first prize is not a Bag For Life but money.
     Closing: 1.10.16.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1000.
    Entry Fee: £8 for the first, £3 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
  2.8.13

 

Dear Michael
     I won this year's Cinnamon Press Short Story competition. I wouldn't have known about this excellent small publishing press without your listings site. I just wanted to share with you my success (but not the prize money, obvs).
     Best wishes,                                                         - Kerry Hood

 


Added
 1.8.16

 

Red Dragonfly Playwriting Competition and Festival .  This contest from Red Dragonfly Productions and Grist to the Mill Produsctions is open to new and emerging British East Asian, South Asian and South East Asian writers aged over 18.  It is for family-friendly stage plays with a performance time of 30 minutes and no more than four actors (they can take more than one part if required).  There is no set theme.  In the first instance, you only need to submit a full description of your idea on one A4 page.
    Closing: 1.10.16.
    Prizes: £1,000 to each writer whose play is performed at the Festival.  Up to ten writers will be invited to a one-day workshop and from that, three will be chosen to have their plays produced and performed.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.4.16

 

Prolitzer Prize.  This annual contest from Prole, a print magazine that publishes high quality poetry and prose, is for fiction and creative non-fiction running to no more than 2,500 words.
    Closing: 1.10.16.
    Prizes: £200, £50, £50.  Winners will be published in the mag and on the website.
    Entry Fee: £4 for the first, £3 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
10.4.16

 

NUHA Blogging Prize. Back for the sixth year running is this international blogging competition from the NUHA foundation, a registered charity based in England.  The contest was established ‘as a platform to debate issues of education and development, and to provide an opportunity for authors to be published and to develop their self-confidence’.   It doesn’t matter if English is your first, second or third language ... you will be judged on the quality of your argument and the originality of your ideas.  There are three age categories: Adult, Youth and Young Writer.  Each category has a different writing task.  Entries will be posted on the website, and you can get your family and friends to vote for your entry and comment on it.  Well, you can try.
    Closing: 15.10.16 (midnight PST).
    Prizes: The prizes depend on sufficient entries being received.  Adult - (up to) $2,500, $1,200, $500.  Youth Prize - (up to) $1,000, $400, $150.  Young Writers - (up to) $250, $100, $50.  There is a possibility of matched prizes for teachers and schools ($1,000 and $250 - click text link on comp page for details).
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
19.8.16

 

NAWG Open Writing  Competition.  This annual contest from the National Association of Writers’ Groups has two categories: short story and poetry.  Stories should be between 500 and 2,000 words, while the poems should have no more than 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.10.16.
    Prizes (in each category): £250, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: £5 for a single poem or short story.  You can enter three poems for £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
19.8.16

 

NAWG Writing Competition.  This new open contest from NAWG is for novellas.  You are invited to send 5,000 words plus a synopsis.
    Closing: 31.10.16.
    Prizes: £300, £200, £100.  The prize money must be spent on book printing, although not necessarily on printing the work entered.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 7.7.16

 

Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize.  This contest, which is for fiction or non-fiction of between 1,000 and 1,500 words, is for young writers aged between 18 and 25 living in the UK.  Entries should interpret the following Benjamin Franklin quote for its relevance today: ‘Light often arises from a collision of opinions, as fire from flint and steel.’
    Closing: 31.10.16.
    Prizes: £750, £500.  Winners will be published on The Telegraph website. 
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
21.9.13

 

Dear Michael
     I wanted to let you know that I was awarded second prize, and publication in an anthology, for my entry into the Cwrtnewydd Scribblers Short Story Comp 2013.
     Without your wonderful website, I would never have found out about this prize!
     Thanks so much!
                                                                                     - Russell Clegg

 


Added
 1.6.16

 

Fire River Poets Open Poetry Competition.  This contest from Fire River Poets of Taunton in Somerset is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject.
    Closing: 31.10.16.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £75.
    Entry Fee: £4 for the first, £3 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here..

 


Added
24.3.16

 

Flash 500 Novel Opening Competition.  You are probably thinking: ‘I can open a novel better than anyone - I’ve opened thousands in the library.’  Alas, this contest is a little more complicated than that.  It requires you to write a novel opening.  And that, as any novelist will tell you, is the easy bit.  You then have to write a one-page synopsis of the rest of the story.  Aggghhhh!  The more you think about that story, the more you’ll want to include in the synopsis.  Fifty pages won’t be enough.  And when it’s done and you’ve sent it off, you’ll be haunted by the belief that you left out the best bits.  Sweet dreams.  Your entry should run to no more than 3,000 words plus the one-page synopsis.
    Closing : 31.10.16.
    Prizes: £500, £200.
    Entry Fee: £10.  Optional critique: £25.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
19.6.16

 

Poetry Society National Poetry Competition.  In 1983 Carol Ann Duffy won this contest and 26 years later she became the Poet Laureate.  So if you’re hoping to become an overnight sensation, this is probably not the ideal starting point.  But there are compensations.  The top cash award is one of the best in the business, and the second prize isn’t bad either.  The thing that makes me uneasy about this one is that the entry form always asks for your ethnic background.  They say this is for statistical purposes only, but I still don’t think it belongs on a competition entry form.  However, I have no complaints about the line limit which is 40.
    Closing: 31.10.16.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000.  Runners-up (7) - £200.  The top three winners will be published in Poetry Review.
    Entry Fee: £6.50 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.2.13

 

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
 1.8.16

 

Oriel Davies Open Writing Competition.  This one from Oriel Davies Gallery (contemporary art) in Newtown, Wales, is for poems of up to 50 lines or prose of under 1,000 words, in English or Welsh.  The theme is Imaginary Worlds.  Entries must not have been previously published.  No name or address should appear on your manuscript.  This info should be on a separate page along with your phone number and email address, plus the title and first line of each item submitted.  Entries must be typed/printed on separate A4 sheets.
    Closing: 1.11.16.
    Prize (in each category): A £50 voucher to spend in Oriel Davies shop.  In case you can’t make it to the gallery in person to spend your voucher, the website shows numerous items available in the shop and it’s possible to buy over the phone.  Winning entries will be featured on the website and read to an audience in February 2017.  All shortlisted writers will be invited to participate in the readings.
    Entry Fee : £3 (cheques or postal orders payable to: Oriel Davies Gallery).
    Entry Address: Sheela Hughes, Oriel Davies Gallery, The Park, Newtown, Powys, SY16 2NZ.
    Website (no comp info):
Click Here.

 


Added
25.6.16

 

The Caledonia Novel Award.  This international contest from Edinburgh. which is open to unpublished and self-published debut novelists, is for stories of at least 50,000 words in any adult or young adult genre.  To enter you email the first 20 pages of your novel followed by a 200 word synopsis.  If longlisted you will be expected to submit the full manuscript by 9.11.16.  The judge is Richard Pike from literary agents Curtis Brown.
    Closing: 1.11.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000.  There is in addition a special prize for the best entry from the UK or Ireland of a place on a writing course a Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre.  This is in the Scottish Highlands 14 miles from Inverness.  There will be no trains and possibly no road.  You complete your journey on a donkey, accompanied by native guides and sherpas.
    Entry Fee: £20.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.8.16

 

Writeabridge poetry Competition.  This international charitable contest, which aims to raise funds for the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre in the UK, and the Daughters For Life Foundation in Canada, is for poems of up to 40 lines on any theme.  The judges are Anjum Malik, scriptwriter, poet, performer and a Visiting Teaching Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University, and Lemn Sissay MBE, who amongst his other achievements was an official poet for the London Olympics.
    Closing: 12.11.16.
    Prizes: £300, £50.  Winning poems will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £10 for three.
    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
21.7.16

 

Bath Children's Novel Award. This 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 3,000 words of your story followed by a one page synopsis.  If longlisted you will be expected to submit the full manuscript in December 2016.  The longlist is chosen by a panel of children and young adults. The shortlist judge is Julia Churchill from literary agents A.M. Heath.
     Closing: 20.11.16.
     Prizes: 1st - £2,000.  There is in addition a special prize for one shortlistee of £500 vouchers from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.
     Entry Fee: £22.
     Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
13.6.16

 

Atlantis Short Story Competition.  This annual international contest from the USA is for stories of up to 2.500 words on any theme.  Stories can be fiction or based on true events.  And they can be written by two people - so if you have a split personality here’s your chance to make a  name for yourselves.
    Closing: 30.11.16.
    Prizes : 1st - $300, $100, $50.  The three winners also receive in-depth feedback.
    Entry Fee: $10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
19.8.16

 

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: 30.11.16.
    Prizes: 1st - 3,000 euros (1,000 of which is for travel expenses to the anthology launch), plus a 5-day fiction writering workshop with Claire Keegan 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.  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
 5.7.16

 

The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition .  If you 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 contest are looking for.  They’re also looking for fifteen 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 brief synopsis (as described on the website) and a letter explaining the book’s appeal to children (e.g. ‘It’s about fluffy bunnies and adorable kittens - the hero likes to eat them.’).
    Closing: 18.12.16.
    Prize: A publishing contract with an advance of £10,000, plus representation by a top children’s literary agent.
    Entry Fee: £15.  Luckily you no longer have to send your manuscript by post at colossal expense.  You can now enter online.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
22.5.16

 

Writing Times Short Story and Poetry Competition.  This contest from online literary magazine Writing Times is for stories of up to 7,000 words and poems of up to 80 lines on the theme of Relationships.
    Closing: 31.12.16.
    Prizes (in each category): £50 and the story published in the mag.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £1.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
17.6.15

 

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

 


Added
 9.8.16

 

Mearns Writers New Beginnings Short Story Competition.  This international contest from the Mearns Writers group in Aberdeenshire is for stories of between 1,000 and 3,000 words in any genre.  The theme, as you may have guessed, is New Beginnings.  Stories will of course need more than just beginnings.  They will need middlings and endings too.
    Closing: 31.12.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £250.  Runners-up (3) - £50.  The winning story and those shortlisted will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £5 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.7.16

 

Exeter Novel Competition.  To enter this annual contest from Creative Writing Matters of Exeter you submit the first 10,000 words of your novel, this to include a synopsis of up to 500 words.
    Closing: 1.1.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £500 plus a trophy.  Runners-up (5) - £75 and a trophy.
    Entry Fee: £18.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.8.16

 

The Plough Poetry Prize.  Arr, it be that time again.  The Plough Prize is back for its umpteenth annual appearance.  It comes from the Plough Arts Centre in Torrington, Devon.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines in any style and on any subject.  The judge this year is Philip Gross.
    Closing: 31.1.17.
    Prizes: I’m tempted to say ploughs, but I think I’ve done that one before.  The prizes are actually quite useful amounts of money: £1,000, £500, £250.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
29.3.14

 

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
24.3.16

 

Flash 500 Short Story Competition.  Stories in any genre running to between 1,000 and 3,000 words are required for this one from the Flash 500 website.  Those of you who think no story is complete without a decent (or indecent) bedroom scene will be pleased to learn that adult material is acceptable here ‘providing the content fits the story and is not gratuitous’.  The rest of you will be relieved to learn that adult content is not compulsory.
    Closing: 28.2.17.
    Prizes: £500, £200, £100.
    Entry Fee: £7 each, £12 for two, £16 for three, £20 for four.
    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

 
  

************************************************************************

 
  

>>>>>>>>>>>>>   Books for Writers - Improve your Skills   <<<<<<<<<<<<<

 
  

************************************************************************

 
 
 

*********************************************************************************
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  2016             Writer

British Arts - a website for the arts in the UKBritish Arts Logo

____________________________________________________________________________
 

HOME

Comps Novel

Be a Winner

Skill Comps

Writing Comps

Treasure Hunt

Visitors:

hit
counter