Stiff Competition - the novel

Details

Writing Comps

   Writing Competitions UK (and Others)

Stiff Competition - the novel

Details


 
 

This is a comprehensive list of the most worthwhile (and genuine!) writing competitions currently available.  Genres include short story, flash fiction, novel, poetry, children’s, etc.  Most, but not all, are from the UK. All competitions on this site are carefully vetted.  Many are open worldwide.

     Bear in mind that contests with smaller prizes attract fewer entries and are therefore easier to win ... unless they are free to enter.

                                                                            -  Michael Shenton

 
  

Writing Competitions 2020 (currently 62)

 


Updated
27.4.19

 

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:
WF Story Comp.

 


Updated
27.4.19

 

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: £7 (includes a short critique).
    Comp Page:
WF Poetry Contest.

 


Updated
 27.4.19

 

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:
Tel Travel Comp.

 


Updated
27.4.19

 

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
27.4.19

 

Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet Prize.  Entries for this open contest from Wales are invited from beginners and established poets. Submit 15 to 25 poems of up to 50 lines each.
    Closing: Annually - 31 March.
    Prizes (4): A publishing contract plus 30 copies of the pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Cinnamon Poetry.

 

 

 

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
 27.4.19

 

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:
Scribble SSC .

 


Added
27.4.19

 

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 : 30.9.20, 30.12.20.
    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:
Flash 500 Story.

 
    
  

                         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
  6.7.20

 

Wordhound Children’s Writing Competition.  This international weekly freebie from Wordhound (which offers content writing, design and translation services) is open to children aged 12 and under, and is for funny, weird or otherwise unique creative writing based on a prompt on the website.  The prompt changes for each week’s contest.  Your entry can be up to 300 words.
    Closing: Last Thursday of each month.
    Prizes: Goodie bags and stationery, plus publication on the Wordhound blog.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Wordhound

 

 

 

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
23.7.20

 

Eyelands Book Awards.  This is the third of these international book award contests from literary magazine Eyelands and Strange Days Books in Greece.  There are two categories: Published Book and Unpublished Book.  Acceptable genres are Poetry, Novella, Short Story Collection, Novel, Children’s Book, Historical Fiction, Memoir, Graphic Novel.
    Closing: 20.10.20.
    Prizes: Unpublished Book - Translation into Greek and publication by Strange Days Books.  Published Book - a 5-day holiday in Athens, a special handmade ceramic and publication of extracts online and on the Eyelands website.  Runners-up (10) - Special handmade ceramics.  All winners receive a certificate, ideal for hanging on the wall where your visitors are sure to see it (i.e. next to the drinks cabinet).
    Entry Fee: $22 up to Sept 1st, then $30.
    Comp Page:
Eyelands Book

 


Added
1.7.20

 

Dinesh Allirajah Prize.  This freebie from Manchester’s Comma Press and the University of Central Lancashire is for stories of between 2,000 and 6,000 words on the theme of Home.  Along with your entry, you must submit a covering letter containing your name, address, email, contact number and story title (don’t be tempted to throw in a few gags in an effort to influence the judges: they’ll just think you’re trying to compensate for a lousy story).  If shortlisted, you will be expected to do your best to attend the prizegiving event in Leeds.
   Closing: 23.10.20.
    Prizes: £500.  Shortlisted entries will be featured in an ebook anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
DA Prize

 


Added
1.10.20

 

Raconteur Story Competition.  The challenge for this month’s contest from Canadian e- and print magazine Raconteur is to write a heartbreaking story running to just 10 words.  Submissions will be judged on readings, ratings and reviews.
    Closing: 26.10.20 (11.59pm Eastern Time).
    Prizes: 1st - $100.  2nd and 3rd - One year’s e-mag subscription.
    Entry Fee: $3.  This covers one month’s subscription to the e-mag.  If you don’t want to enter any more of the monthly writing comps, you need to unsubscribe.
    Comp Page:
Raconteur

 


Added
28.9.20

 

Merky Books New Writers’ Prize.  Merky Books, and imprint of Penguin Random House, is seeking entries from unpublished, under-represented writers in the age group 16 to 30 resident in the UK and Southern Ireland.  They want the ‘stories that are not being heard’.  Your entry can be Fiction, non-fiction or poetry.  For fiction and non-fiction, send a 1,500 word extract and a 200 word synopsis.  For poetry it’s a 500 word extract and 200 word synopsis.
    Closing: 30.10.20.
    Prizes: A book publishing contract with Merky Books.
    Entry Fee: None - Free entry.
    Comp Page:
Merky Books

 


Added
2.10.20

 

Freedom From Torture Poetry Competition.  Poems of any length and in any style on the theme of Resilience are required for this one from the charity Freedom From Torture.
    Closing: 31.10.20 (5pm).
    Prizes: The top poem will be performed by actor Samuel West on his Pandemic Poems radio show.  All winners will be able to film themselves performing their poem (or have it performed for them) and have it broadcast live at the virtual event on November 25 alongside other literary stars.  All winners will be promoted in the press and on social media in the run-up to the event.  In addition, winners will receive a selection of books from various publishers including Penguin and The Folio Society.
    Entry Fee : A £5 donation to the charity.
    Comp Page:
Freedom From Torture

 

 

 

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
1.10.20

 

The Ginkgo Prize.  This international contest is billed as the world’s biggest ecopoetry prize, and I’m quite prepared to accept that it might be, although I have to confess that I’ve done no research on the subject.  If you are running a bigger ecopoetry contest, by all means let me know.  In the meantime, let’s give this one the benefit of the doubt.  Your poem can be any length, so you have a licence to kill (bore ’em to death), but as one of the judges is Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, a particular favourite of mine, I hope you will exercise a measure of restraint.  As well as the main category, there is one for landscape poetry.
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000.  Landscape Poem - £500.
    Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £4 thereafter.  Entry into the Landscape Poem category is free if you’ve entered the main category.
    Comp Page:
Ginkgo Prize

 


Added
2.7.20

 

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.  Your poem should run to no more than 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000.  Runners-up (7) - £200.
    Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
PSNPC.

 


Added
2.7.20

 

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: ‘Glass, China and Reputation are easily crack’d, and never well mended.’
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes: £750, £500.  Winners will be published on The Telegraph website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
BenFrankLit.

 


Added
2.5.20

 

Bedford Writing Competition .  This annual not-for-profit contest from Bedfordshire, home of the famous Shuttleworth Collection (old aeroplanes and cars) is for stories of up to 3,000 words and poems running to no more than 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes in each category (Poetry, Short Story, Young Writers): £500, £150, £100.  In addition there are special Seniors prizes £500, £150, and £100 for entrants aged 70 or over.  Then there is the Bedford Short Story Prize of £100 for a local resident.  Shortlisted and winning entries will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £6 each, £12 for three.  Full-time students: £4 each, £8 for three.  Net proceeds will be donated to charities helping coronavirus victims.
    Comp Page:
BWC.

 


Added
30.9.20

 

Southport Writers’ Circle International Short Story Competition.  As a child I lived for a while just up the road from Southport.  It was a cultural backwater then, often referred to as the poor man’s Blackpool.  Not any more.  These days, in addition to its renowned flower show (‘a horticultural hotbed’) it has a writers’ circle and not one but two international literary contests.  Some are now calling Blackpool the poor man’s Southport, although admittedly not many.  The latest contest is for short stories of up to 2,000 words on any theme.  The judge is Ailsa Cox.
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes: £150, £80, £30.  Winners will be published online.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £10 for four.
    Comp Page :
SWC Story.

 

 

 

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
31.9.20

 

Wenlock Flash Fiction Competition.  This one from the Wenlock Olympian Society and Much Wenlock & District U3A ‘Writers on the Edge’ is for flash fiction of up to 1,000 words.  For the theme you have three options: ‘Five Rings’, ‘Winning’, ‘Gold is only a colour’.  All genres are welcome except children’s and young adult.
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes: £150, £50, £25.  Winners also receive a Wenlock Olympian Society medal (gold, silver or bronze).
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £8 for two, £12 for three.
    Comp Page:
Wenlock Flash

 


Added
5.8.20

 

Young Walter Scott Prize.  Historical fiction - that’s what this one is all about, but it’s only for those who have no experience of history, by which I mean children and young adults (11 to 15, and 16 to 19).  The fiction can be in any form: prose, poetry, drama, fictional diaries, letters or reportage.  Entries must be made in hard copy, so you may need to seek advice from your parents about the intricacies of the postal service (those red boxes you’ve seen in the streets are not for litter).
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes (in each category): A £500 travel and research grant to explore historical places in the UK, plus a two-day trip to Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland.  Runners-up receive a £100 book token.  Winners and runners-up will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Walter Scott Prize

 


Added
3.8.20

 

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.
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £250.  2nd - £100.  3rd - £50.  Runners-up - 3 x £30, 3 x £15, 3 x paperback copy of SLQ mag.  Prizewinning poems will be published in the mag in print and online.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £8 for two, £10 for three, and so on.
    Comp Page:
SLQ Poetry.

 


Added
23.6.20

 

ACW Novel Competition.  To enter this contest from the Association of Christian Writers you submit the first chapter of your completed novel (2,000 words max excluding the title).  Any genre is acceptable, and stories do not need to have Christian content.  Shortlisted entrants will be asked to submit the whole work.
    Closing: 1.11.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 and an interview in Christian Writer.  Runners-up (2) - £10 book token and some publicity in Christian Writer.
    Entry Fee: £8 (£5 for members).
    Comp Page:
ACW Novel

 


Added
1.8.20

 

The Caledonia Novel Award.  This international competition from Edinburgh is open to unpublished and self-published debut novelists.  It 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 (lines to be double-spaced) followed by a 200 word synopsis.  If longlisted you will be expected to submit the full manuscript by 6.12.20.  The judge is Laura Williams, literary agent at Greene & Heaton Ltd.
    Closing: 1.11.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,500.  There is in addition a special prize for the best entry from the British Isles and Ireland, comprising a place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre.  This is in the Scottish Highlands, possibly 14 miles from the nearest pub.  There will be no trains and quite likely no road.  You will therefore complete your journey on a donkey, accompanied by native guides and sherpas.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
Cal Novel Award.

 


Added
1.9.20

 

Commonwealth Short Story Prize.  This freebie from Commonweath Writers is for unpublished short fiction of between 2,000 and 5,000 words aimed at adults.  To be eligible, you have to be a citizen of a Commonwealth country, aged 18 or over.  You can write your story in English, Bengali, Chinese, Portuguese, French, Greek, Samoan, Tamil, Kiswahili, Turkish or Malay.  However, don’t try writing it in all eleven - nobody likes a show-off.
    Closing: 1.11.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £5,000.  Regional winners (4) - £2,500.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry (only one per person).
    Comp Page:
CW Story

 


Added
23.8.20

 

Erewash Themed Writing Competition.  This freebie from Erewash Writers in Derbyshire is for poems of up to 40 lines or stories of up to 500 words inspired by the word ‘course’.  You can of course interpret this theme in any way you choose.
    Closing: 26.11.20.
    Prizes: £10 and publication on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Erewash Themed

 


Added
1.9.20

 

Wales Poetry Award.  Poetry Wales is seeking the best in international contemporary poetry for this new award sponsored by Aberystwyth University.  There is no theme.  Entries should run to no more than 70 lines.
    Closing: 27.11.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £250 and a place on the writing course of your choice at Literature Wales’ Ty Newydd Writing Centre, plus a Seren Book Bundle and publcation in Poetry Wales.  2nd - £50 and books, plus publication in the mag.  3rd - £25 and books and publication in the mag.
    Entry Fee: £5 each or free to UK entrants from low-income households (up to 16k p.a.) 
    Comp Page:
Wales Poetry

 

 

 

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
1.9.20

 

New Media Writing Prize 2020.  This international competition from Bournemouth University is, as the name suggests, for new media.  The contest, which is open to anyone of any age, 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, narrative games and transmedia work.  All entries should be written specifically for delivery/viewing on a PC or Mac, the web, or a handheld 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: 27.11.20 (Noon).  Students have a later deadline (noon on 18.12.20) as they seldom get up before noon and are bound to miss the first one.
    Prizes: £1,000.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
NMW Prize.

 


Added
1.10.20

 

Hope Mill Theatre Playwriting Prize.  Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre has decided the play’s the thing despite the pesky pandemic, and they want you to have a go at writing it.  Make it a minimum of one hour long and you will have ticked one of the boxes.  Along with the play you will need to send a brief synopsis, a character list and a bio, this last being up to 300 words. 
    Closing: 27.11.20.
    Prize: £5,000 and full production of the play at Hope Mill Theatre in Autumn 2021 (by which time, the way things are going, there could be restrictions on how many people are allowed on stage at the same time ... one actor might have to play all the characters; in fact, that actor might have to play all the audience as well).
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Hope Mill Play

 


Added
29.9.20

 

East Riding Festival of Words Poetry Competition.  Stop Larkin’ about at the back there, this is serious.  Your task in this one from Philip Larkin country is to write a poem of up to 45 lines on the theme of ‘My companion, my best friend.’  There are two main categories: Adults, and Young Poets (for school age children).
    Closing: 28.11.20.
    Prizes: Collection HQ Prize - £500.  Philip Larkin Society Prize - £250.  East Riding Gold - £200.  East Riding Silver - £100.   Children:  East Riding Primary - £75, £50.  East Riding Secondary - £75, £50.  There are also some Highly Commended prizes of £25 in both categories.  Finally, there is a Prison Prize of a £100 voucher
    Entry Fee: Adults - £4.  Children - free.  Prisoners - free (quick - sound the alarm!).
    Comp Page:
E.Riding Poetry .

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Fish Short Story Competition.  Stories of up to 5,000 words are invited for this contest from Fish Publishing based in southern Ireland.
    Closing: 30.11.20.
    Prizes: 1st - 3,000 euros and a 5-day short story workshop at the West Cork Literary Festival.  2nd - A week’s residency at Anam Cara Writers’ retreat and 300 euros.  3rd - 300 euros.  Honourable Mentions (7) - 200 euros.  The top 10 stories will be published in the Fish Anthology 2021.
    Entry Fee : 20 euros for the first, 10 euros thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Fish Short Story.

 


Added
1.6.20

 

Snapshot Press Book Awards 2020.  This poetry contest from Snapshot Press of Ormskirk is for  book-length collections of between 60 and 100 haiku, tanka and other short poetry up to 25 lines including any blank lines (prose poems and haibun up to 200 words).  Poems must not have been previously published in a collection.
    Closing: 30.11.20.
    Prizes: Publication by Snapshot Press.
    Entry Fee: £20 per collection.
    Comp Page:
Snapshot Short Poetry.

 


Added
2.7.20

 

Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism.  This annual international  contest from the Observer  newspaper is for reviews of new work in the arts.  Entries should be limited to 800 words.
    Closing: 30.11.20.
    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:
AB Arts Journalism

 

 

 

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

 


 

 

Charles Causley International Poetry Prize.  A particularly interesting first prize in this one from the Causley Trust.  Even better, the judge is Bafta-nominated, international prize-winning writer and broadcaster Lemn Sissay MBE. Alas, he is unlikely to be reading your entry if it extends beyond 40 lines.  You have been warned.
    Closing: 30.11.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £2,000 and a one-week writing residency at Cyprus Well, Charles Causley’s former home in Launceston.  Runners up - £250, £100, 5 x £30.
    Entry Fee: £7.50 for the first, £5.50 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Causley Poetry .

 


 

 

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: 30.11.20.
    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:
Cafe Poetry.

 


Added
1.7.20

 

Melita Hume Poetry Prize.  This year’s Melita Hume poetry prize from Eyewear Publishing is, as usual, for first full-length collections by a poets aged 35 or under, resident in the UK or Ireland.  To enter, you submit between 48 and 100 pages.
    Closing: 30.11.20.
    Prizes: Publication with a £2,000 advance.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page:
Melita Hume Prize

 


Added
21.9.20

 

WB Flash Fiction Competition.  Here we have another quick flash from Writers Bureau in Manchester.  Stories should be no longer than 500 words.
    Closing: 30.11.20.
    Prizes: £300, £200, £100.  Winners receive a Writers Bureau course of their choice.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
WB Flash.

 


Added
15.9.20

 

Littoral Press Poetry Collection Competition.  This contest is for full collections of nature, spiritual or environmental poetry.  If you don’t have enough of this type of verse for a full collection (50 to 100 A5 pages), you can include others as long as at least 50% is in the specified genre).
    Closing: 30.11.20.
    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 book will have an ISBN.  You will receive 50 copies.  You will be the sole distributor.  Should you sell your copies and require more, this can be arranged with Littoral Press, or you could have the book printed elsewhere as you retain all rights.
    Entry Fee: £20.
    Comp Page:
L.Press Poetry

 


Added
2.7.20

 

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: 30.11.20.
    Prizes: 1st - 2,000 euros, publication in Southword Journal, and a week’s residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, plus hotel and board at the Cork International Poetry Festival (March 2021).  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 50 euros.
    Entry Fee: 7 euros each, 30 euros for five.
    Comp Page:
Greg OD Poetry .

 


Added
1.6.20

 

Soundwork-uk Monologue Competition.  This international contest from Soundwork-uk is for monologues of up to 10 minutes suitable for audio broadcast.  The monologue may have been previously published.
    Closing: 30.11.20.
    Prize: The winning script will be produced and recorded in a studio with a professional actor.  The recording will be made available to an existing listener base and the world via the Soundwork-uk website and SoundCloud.  The winner’s photo will be included on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Soundwork

 


Added
11.9.20

 

The Latin Programme Poetry Prize.  Don’t panic - you don’t have to write in Latin if you don’t want to.  But you do have to take your inspiration from the Latin phrase: ‘de rerum natura’ (on the nature of things).  You have up to 40 lines to work that one out.  The Latin Programme, incidentally, is a registered charity with a mission to improve literacy in London state schools.  The contest judges are Deanna Rodger (writer, performer and facilitator), Blake Morrison (Professor of Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths college), and Ella Hickson (award-winning playwright).
    Closing: 1.12.20.
    Prize: £250.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Latin Programme

 


Updated
30.9.20

 

Black Spring Crime Writing Prize 2020.  Here’s another competition with good specs from Eyewear Publishing (now the owner of Black Spring Press).  It is for full length crime novels with a minimum length of 50,000 words.  The promoters say they are looking for something fresh, something that breaks away from the genre’s stereotypes.  I wrote something like that for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger competition some years ago.  ‘Dare to be different!’ they’d said on the contest page.  So I did.  The novel reached the shortlist but got no further.  One of the judges said, ‘This writer will be good when they can decide which genre they’re writing for.’  So I would advise caution when being different and breaking away from the stereotypes.
    Closing: 21.12.20.
    Prizes: A $1,000 advance and publication by Black Spring Press.
    Entry Fee: $25.
    Comp Page:
BSC Prize

 


Added
2.7.20

 

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: 31.12.20.
    Prizes: 1st - 6,000 euros.  Runners-up (3) - 1,000 euros.  Commended (8) - 250 euros.
    Entry Fee: 15 euros.
    Comp Page:
Moth Poetry Comp.

 


 

 

Christopher Smart Prize for Poetry.  For this one from Eyewear Publishing you submit a collection of poems in any style and on any subject.  The submission should run to between 48 and 120 pages.  You’ll note that I say ‘run’ rather than ‘plod’.  Don’t bung in a load of no-hopers in a misguided effort to make yourself look more prolific than you are.
    Closing: 31.12.20.
    Prize: $2,000 and publication in the UK and USA.
    Entry Fee: $25.
    Comp Page:
Chris Smart Prize

 

 

 

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
1.9.20

 

Exeter Novel Competition.  To enter this annual contest from Creative Writing Matters of Exeter you submit a total of 10,000 words, this being the opening section of your unpublished novel together with a synopsis of up to 500 words.  All genres are welcome except children’s.
    Closing: 1.1.21.
    Prizes : 1st - £500 plus a trophy.  Runners-up (5) - £100. Kate Nash of the Kate Nash Lirterary Agency will be judging.
    Entry Fee: £18.
    Comp Page:
Exeter Novel

 


Added
1.9.20

 

St Martins/Minotaur/MWA First Crime Novel Competition.  If you happen to have, or can arrange to have in the near future, an unpublished debut novel featuring a serious crime, it could be just what The Mystery Writers of America in conjunction with St Martins Minotaur Books are looking for in this freebie international contest.  Just be sure your story runs to a minimum of 60,000 words.  To be eligible, you must not have had a novel published in any genre (self-published doesn’t count, although you can’t enter a self-published story).  There will be an awards banquet in New York City in April 2021.
    Closing: 1.1.21 (11.59pm EST).
    Prize: A standard publishing contract with a $10,000 advance.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
MWA Minotaur .

 


Added
10.10.20

 

The Henshaw Short Story Competition.  This recurring contest from Henshaw Press of Northampton is for stories running to no more than 2,000 words on any subject.
    Closing: 6.1.21.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  Winners will be published on the website and in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £6.  Optional critique: £12.
    Comp Page:
Henshaw Story.

 


Added
23.8.20

 

Erewash Festive Fright Writing Competition.  This freebie from Derbyshire’s Erewash Writers is for short stories of up to 2,500 words, shorter stories of up to 500 words, and poems of up to 40 lines.  The theme is Festive Fright (so you could write about that horrific apparition you saw in the mirror the morning after the office party or similar).
    Closing: 14.1.21.
    Prizes: Short Story - £25 and publication on the website.  Shorter story and poem - £10 each.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Erewash Festive Fright

 

 

 

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
1.8.20

 

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 judge for more guidance.
    Closing: 17.1.21.
    Prizes: £300, £100, £100.  Winners will be published in the novella collection and will each receive 5 copies.
    Entry Fee : £16.
    Comp Page:
Novella Flash.

 


Added
10.4.20

 

The Ó Bhéal Five Words International Poetry Competition.  Here’s another corker from Ireland. It’s from County Cork to be exact, and it’s for poems of up to 50 lines (including line breaks).  Entries must feature the five words given on the competition page for that week.  A shortlist of 12 poems will be selected after the final closing date next January, and the winner will be chosen from that.  Ó Bhéal, incidentally, is a weekly poetry event in Cork (and as you probably know, the word itself is Irish for ‘word of mouth’).
    Closing: Every Tuesday at noon until 26.1.21.
    Prizes: 750 euros, 500 euros, 250 euros.  The three winners will be invited to read at Ó Bhéal’s anniversary event in Ireland on 12.4.21, with travel expenses of 100 euros and B&B accommodation.
    Entry Fee : 5 euros.
    Comp Page:
Ó Bhéal Five Words.

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Fish Short Memoir Competition. This annual contest from Fish Publishing in Ireland is for memoirs of up to 4,000 words.
    Closing: 31.1.21.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - A week on a writers’ retreat at Casa Ana at La Alpujarra in Spain, plus 300 euros.  3rd - 200 euros.  The best 10 entries will be published in the Fish Anthology 2021.
    Entry Fee: 18 euros for the first, 10 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Fish Memoir.

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Lancashire Authors’ Association Open Competition.  Appearing annually, this contest from Lancashire where I spent two happy years as a child  (I was there for three, but let’s not go into that) is for stories running to exactly 100 words excluding the title.  For those of you who adopt a flexible approach to our laguage allow me to warn you that in Lancashire they don’t.  Therefore the word ‘exactly’ will not be interpreted by the judges as meaning ‘give or take one or two’.
    Closing: 31.1.21.
    Prize: £100.
    Entry Fee: £2 each or £5 for three.
    Comp Page:
LAA 100 Contest.

 


Added
12.10.20

 

The Cheshire Prize for Literature.  This year’s contest from the University of Chester and Storyhouse has four categories: Short Story (up to 1,500 words), Poetry (up to 100 lines), Children’s Literature (story or poem with length limits as above but aimed at 7 to 14 age group) and Plays (up to 15 minutes, suitable for theatre, TV or radio).   To be eligible to enter you need to have lived, studied or worked at some point in Cheshire, Wirral, Warrington or Halton.  Documentary evidence may be requested, they say, so if nobody made a documentary about you while you were there, I’m afraid you’ve had it ... although it’s possible I’ve misunderstood this requirement.
    Closing: 31.1.21.
    Prize (in each category): £500.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter. You can submit up to 2 entries if they’re in different categories.
    Comp Page:
Cheshire Prize.

 


Added
25.9.20

 

Elmbridge Literary Competition. Strike up the band! The R C Sherriff Trust and Elmbridge Council have decided to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Albert Hall, so of course the theme of this year’s contest is Albert.  No it isn’t.  It’s ‘Music’. As well as the Adult category (19+), there are various age categories for youngsters.  In the 5-7 age category, stories are limited to 500 words while poems should be no longer than 20 lines.  A word limit of 1,000 applies to stories in the 8-11 and 11-13 categories, while in the 14-18 and 19+ categories it’s 1,500.  Poems in categories other than the 5-7 age group can be up to 30 lines.  The contest is open worldwide.
    Closing: 5.2.21.
    Prizes: Adults 19+ (in each category) - £250, £150, £100.  Children - various amounts in book tokens as shown in the contest T&Cs. The winning entries in all age categories will be published in a chapbook by publishers Samson Low.
    Entry Fee: Adults - £5. Under 18s - free.  Maximum of one poem and one story per person.
    Comp Page:
Elmbridge Literary.

 
  

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
1.9.20

 

W&A Yearbook Short Story Competition 2021.  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.  Take note that before emailing your entry, you have to register with the website.  Your entry will not be valid otherwise.
    Closing: 12.2.21.
    Prize: A place on one of Arvon’s residential writing courses, plus your story published on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
W&A Story.

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Fish Flash Fiction Competition.  News Flash: It’s time for the annual Fish Publishing competition is for stories running to no more than 300 words.
    Closing: 28.2.21.
    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 2021.
    Entry Fee: 14 euros for the first, 8 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Fish Flash.

 


 

 

Bridgend Writers’ Circle Short Story Competition.  Stories of between 1,500 and 1,800 words from writers over 18 are required for this annual open contest from Bridgend in Wales.  There is no theme.  Entry is by post only, so the younger ones among you may need some advice from parents or even grandparents regarding envelopes and stamps.  Advice about manuscipt layout can be found in the rules.
    Closing: 1.3.21.
    Prizes : £100, £50, £30.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £2.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Bridgend Comp .

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Fish Poetry Competition.  Poems of up to 300 words are invited for this contest from Fish Publishing based in southern Ireland.  Billy Collins will again be judging.
    Closing: 31.3.21.
    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 2021.
    Entry Fee: 14 euros, for the first, 8 euros thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Fish Poetry.

 


 

 

Rubery Book Award.  This annual international award is for books of all genres published by independent publishers or self-published.  To enter, send a hardcopy of your book by post or submit an ebook electronically (if submitting the latter, you will need to send a blurb as well, as a separate file - see contest FAQs).
    Closing: 31.3.21.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,500 and the book read by a top literary agent at MBA.  Category winners (at least three) - £150.
    Entry Fee: £37 or $60 (US).
    Comp Page:
Rubery Book.

 

 

 

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
23.8.20

 

Erewash Holiday Romance Competition.  This freebie from Erewash Writers in Derbyshire is for stories of up to 500 words and poems of up to 40 lines on the subject of your holiday romance (one you’ve had, one you’re still having, or one you’re hoping to have next time instead of the covid19 and 3-weeks in hospital you got this time.
    Closing: 27.5.21.
    Prize: £10 and publication on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to entry.
    Comp Page:
Erewash Romance

 


Added
23.8.20

 

Erewash Open Short Story Competition.  This contest from Derbyshire-based Erewash Writers is for stories of up to 2,500 words on any theme.
    Closing: 22.7.21.
    Prizes: £100, £70, £30.  There are also some runners-up prizes of free entry to 2022 comps and a charitable donation.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two, £2.50 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Erewash Themeless

 


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.

 

 

 

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 Verse  & Songs (sample)
     
                           T
his is the Prizemagic website
                           
Email comps@prizemagic.co.uk
                           Copyright:  Michael Shenton  2020

                                                           Poem: Being a Writer

 


 

 

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