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
 29.6.17

 

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

 


Updated
  29.6.17

 

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

 


Addad
29.6.17

 

Cinnamon Press Debut Collection Prize.  This annual contest from Welsh publisher Cinnamon Press is for poetry collections comprising 10 poems of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: Annually - end of November.
    Prizes: A publishing contract and 100 copies of the collection.
    Entry Fee: £12 for one collection, £22 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

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

 


Updated
  29.6.17

 

Cinnamon Press Short Story Prize.  This is for stories of between 2,000 and 4,000 words.
    Closing: Annually (end of May).
    Prize: 1st - One year’s mentoring/free place on a Ty’n y coed course. 2nd Pack of short story collections. 3rd - A year’s subscription to the book club. Winners and runners-up will be published in the Cinnamon Review of Short Fiction.
    Entry Fee: £12 (includes a free copy of the winners’ anthology).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

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 : A pulishing contract and 100 copies of the novel.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

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

 
     
  

                         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: £60 Waterstones 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
  1.7.17

 

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: 30.12.17.
    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.

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

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. Surplus entries automatically go into the next round.
    Prizes (in each round): £75, £25.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £5.50 for two, £8 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

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

 


Added
13.6.17

 

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

 


Added
17.6.16

 

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

 


Added
 2.8.17

 

Resurgence Poetry Prize.  This one from the Resurgence Trust with The Poetry School is billed as the world’s first major award for ecopoetry.  It is for poems of up to 54 lines which embrace ecological themes.  These ecopoems, if I may take a stab at clarifying the position, must in some way probe the relationship between human culture and the natural world, ‘thematically, linguistically, structurally or formally’.  Phew, that made me sweat.  Entries must be in English but can be in any dialect.
    Closing: 17.8.17.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000.
    Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
14.5.17

 

Val Wood Prize For Creative Writing 2017.  This freebie for writers aged 16 or over is for short stories in any genre on the theme of Freedom in Hull.  Hull is of course this year’s City of Culture, and it is where Valerie Wood’s historical romantic novels are set).  Entries should be limited to 2017 words.
    Closing: 19.8.17.
    Prizes: £200, £50, £25, £25.  The winner will be published on the Valerie Wood website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.7.17

 

Buzzwords Poetry Competition.  This contest from Buzzwords Poetry of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire is for poems of up to 70 lines.
    Closing: 26.8.17.
    Prizes: £600, £300, 5 x £50.  Gloucestershire Resident Prize - £200.
    Entry Fee: Postal - £4 for one, £10 for three.  Online - £4.35 for one, £8.70 for two, £11 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.7.17

 

Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition.  Two categories in this one from Oxford Brookes University: Open, and English as a Second Language.  If you are a young Internet user/texter who only seems to have English as a second language, then you should enter the Open category.  Whichever category you choose, your poem should run to no more than 50 lines.
    Closing: 28.8.17.
    Prizes (in each category): £1,000, £200.
    Entry Fee: £5 each for the first three, £4 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 2.8.17

 

Galley Beggar Short Fiction Competition.  This contest from Galley Beggar Press of Norwich is for stories of up to 6,000 words.  The Guardian has described Galley Beggar as ‘A tiny publisher with a cartload of guts.’  So now you know what they do to writers who don’t obey the rules.
    Closing: 27.8.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000 or 12 months of editorial support from the directors of Galley Beggar Press.  There are also prizes for various runner’s up.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 2.8.17

 

Willesden Herald Short Story Competition.  This contest from the online magazine Willesden Herald is for stories of up to 7,500 words on any theme.
    Closing: 31.8.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £300 and a mug.  2nd - £200 and a chump ... actually, you only get the money, and as for the mug, that’s a Willesden Hearld mug which for some reason the promters think is a big deal.  3rd - £100.  There are also seven awards of £75 for runners-up.  All winners will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £7.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 

 

 

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
14.3.17

 

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award.  This annual contest from Asthetica magazine is for Short fiction running to no more than 2,000 words and poetry of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.8.17.
    Prize (in each category): £1,000 plus other writing related prizes.  Finalists will be published in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual.
    Entry Fee : £18 for fiction, £12 for poetry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.7.17

 

International Literary Prize.  This contest from The University Centre Grimsby in association with Hammond House Publishing is for short stories of between 2,000 and 7,000 words on the theme of Eternal.  The theme is intended to be inspirational, not restrictive, they say.
    Closing: 31.8.17.
    Prizes : £600, £100, £50.  Shortlisted entries (25) will be published and there will be a televised awards ceremony.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.7.17

 

SLQ Poetry Competition.  This contest from Sentinel Literary Quarterly is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject.  Entry is open worldwide.
    Closing: 31.8.17.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50, 3 x £20 and 3 x £10.  Winners will be published in the mag (online).
    Entry Fee: £4 for one, £7 for two, £9 for three, £11 for four, £12 for five ... and so on.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.7.17

 

Scriptwriting Competition.  This inaugural script contest from Hammond House Publishing of Grimsby is for film, theatre, TV or radio scripts with a running time of 15 minutes.  These should be inspired by the theme of Eternal.
    Closing: 31.8.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 and recorded production before a live audience.  There will be a recorded rehearsed readings for the top six scripts.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
2.7.17

 

Melita Hume Poetry Prize.  Here’s one with good specs.  It’s the sixth contest from Eyewear Publishing Ltd.  As always, it’s for first full-length collections of poetry by writers of vision who are under the age of 36 and reside in the UK or Ireland, or have UK or Irish citizenship.  If you can see your way clear to writing your poems in English you will avoid displeasing the judges.
    Closing: 31.8.17.
    Prizes: £1,500 and publication by Eyewear.
    Entry Fee: An eye-watering £20.  Alas, I have now run out of eye puns and so I must go.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 2.8.17

 

Write Space Writing Competition.  This free contest from Vanda ’N’ Linda’s Write Space is for stories of up to 500 words inspired by the photograph on the competition page (writers Vanda Inman and Linda Lewis wearing sunglasses indoors in an effort to look cool ... when I do that I bump into the furniture).
    Closing: 31.8.17.
    Prizes: 1st - Your choice of a module from Vanda Inman’s Short Story Success writing course.  2nd - A critique of a short story of up to 2,000 words, or a copy of Linda Lewis’s book, The Writer’s Treasury of Ideas.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 

 

 

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

 


Added
11.6.17

 

SaveAs Writers - Love and Freindship Competition.  Here we have an international contest commemorating the 200th anniversary of the year of Jane Austen’s death.  It is for poems of up to 60 lines and stories running to no more than 3,500 words on any aspect of the author’s life and works.  ‘Love and Freindship’, incidentally, is the title of a story Austen wrote for her family when she was 14.  The spelling is hers, and it seems the error went uncorrected because she had her wordprocessor’s spellchecker switched off at the time.
    Closing: 31.8.17.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: Poetry - £3 each, £8 for three.  Short Story - £4 each, £10 for three.  Note that for online entries you are required to add a 50p admin fee per entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
24.3.17

 

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: 31.8.17.
    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
2.7.17

 

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: 31.8.17.
    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

 


Added
29.6.17

 

Scribble Article Competition.  This contest from Scribble magazine is for articles on the theme of My Writing Day. Articles should run to between 1,000 and 1,500 words.
    Closing: 31.8.17.
    Prizes : £50, £25, £15.  The winner will be published in the mag.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 

 

 

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

 


Updated
  1.8.17

 

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: 31.8.17.
    Prize: £50.
    Entry Fee: £1 plus the normal cost of sending a text message (no use asking me what that is).
    Website:
Click Here.

 


Added
 4.8.17

 

Planet Essay Competition.  Here is essay contest requiring between 1,500 and 2,000 words from writers under the age of 30.  Planet is a magazine based in Aberystwith.  It publishes writing mainly on Welsh topics, writing that is ‘in-depth yet sufficiently accessible for a non-specialist readership’.  They say they would welcome creative and unconventional ways of exploring the essay form, but thankfully this is not compulsory.
    Closing: 1.9.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £200 plus publication in the mag and other items.  Runners-up - A year’s subscription to the mag.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 2.7.17

 

HWA Dorothy Dunnett Short Story Award.  This competition from the Historical Writers’ Association is, not surprisingly, for historical stories.  These are defined for this contest as stories set at least 35 years in the past.  The theme and genre are both open.  Stories should run to no more than 3,500 words.
    Closing : 1.9.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £500, publication online and in Whispering Gallery, mentoring by an author and agent, and tickets to the HWA awards ceremony in London.  Runners-up - mentoring and tickets to the awards ceremony.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.6.17

 

Overton Poetry Prize.  Here we have an annual contest from Loughorough University for sequences of poems running to no more than 300 words.
    Closing:  1.9.17.
    Prizes: The winning entry will be published as a chapbook by the university’s Lamplight Press.   The winner receives 50 copies of this.  Two runners-up will receive £50 each.
    Entry Fee: £12 per sequence of poetry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 7.1.17

 

Cheshire Prize for Literature.  This contest from the University of Chester is for a piece of writing for children (age range 7 to 14), either in prose or verse, the former having a word limit of 1,500, the latter a line limit of 100.  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: 1.9.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £2,000.  Additional prize money of £750 will be awarded, but the precise details were not revealed to me at the time of writing.  The best entries will be published.
    Entry Fee : None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.3.17

 

Making Waves Poetry Competition.  This contest from Falmouth Poetry Group is for spoken word poems.  These are to be entered on digital sound files with a duration of up to 200 seconds. The poem can be spoken by someone other than the writer if required and it is even possible although not obligatory to have other participants including musicians.  Well, it’s different.
    Closing: 3.9.17.
    Prizes: £600, £250, £150.
    Entry Fee: £6 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
23.5.17

 

Erewash Writers Open Short Story Competition.  This worldwide contest from Erewash Writers in Derbyshire is for stories of up to 2,500 words on any theme.
    Closing: 21.9.17.
    Prizes: £100, £60, £25, £15.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two, £2.50 thereafter.  A cash donation to charity will be made from any profits on entry fees.
    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
2.7.17

 

Kostas Olive Tree Writing Competition.  This contest in memory of Kosta, a former Royal Marine who died fighting ISIS in Northern Syria, aims to raise funds for good causes including UK based charities that help ex-servicemen and women with PTSD, and charities that support the rebuilding of Kurdish communities and Yezidi refugee camps in and around Syria.  Your story should be about someone who stands up for what they believe in.  The length should be between 1,200 and 1,500 words.
    Closing: 22.9.17.
    Prizes: £70, £30, £30.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
11.8.17

 

The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.  This lucrative International award, which is administered by the Society of Authors, is open only to published writers of prose fiction, drama or poetry.  To be eligible, you must have been published by an established publisher or established print magazine, or broadcast by an established radio station, in the UK or Ireland.  If you have negotiated that hurdle, send in a story of up to 6,000 words aimed at adults.
    Closing: 28.9.17 (6pm).
    Prizes: 1st - £30,000.  Runners-up (5) - £1,000.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.5.17

 

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 for a time 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: 29.9.17.
    Prize (in each category): £10,000.
    Entry Fee: £17.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.3.17

 

Tom Howard/John Margaret Reid Poetry Prize.  This regular visitor from the USA has now become two competitions in one - the Tom Howard Prize and the Margaret Reid Prize.  The former is for poems in any style, while the latter is for traditional verse as defined on the competition page.  In both cases the line limit is a very generous (some might say extravagant) 250.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes: Tom Howard Prize (any style) - $1,500.  Margaret Reid Prize (traditional verse) - $1,500.  In addition there will be ten Honourable Mention awards of $100.  The Dishonourable Mention awards have been dropped this year following several suicides.  I wrote that last bit on April 1st.
    Entry Fee: $12.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
 1.5.17

 

Bedford International 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: 30.9.17.
    Prizes (in each cetegory): £300, £150, £100.  In addition there is the Bedford Prize for local residents: Story - £100.  Poem - £100.
    Entry Fee: £6 each, £12 for three.  Net proceeds will be donated to charity.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
18.4.17

 

Fantastic Female Fable Competition.  This contest from Fantastic Books Publishing in Yorkshire is for stories of up to 2,000 words featuring strong, inspirational women.  The theme is Female Strength.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, five or more £3.50 each.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
22.6.17

 

SPM Publications Poetry Book Competition.  This contest from Sentinel Poetry Movement Publications is for full-length collections of poetry in any style and on any subject.  For the first stage of the competition you send in 20 pages of poetry from your full collection.  Note that for this initial stage you must submit your entry under a pen name (one you’ve made up for yourself, not Bic, etc).
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes: £300, £200, £100.  The three winners will also receive publishing contracts for their collections and 20 copies of their published book.
    Entry Fee: £25 per collection.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
2.7.17

 

Heatseeker Short Story Competition.  This contest from Booksandthecity.co.uk and Heat magazine is for women’s fiction of up to 2,500 words.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prize: Publication and a standard e-publishing contract with mainstream publisher Simon & Schuster.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
18.7.17

 

Henshaw Short Story Competition.  This regular contest from Henshaw Press of Northampton is for stories of up to 2,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    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
 4.8.17

 

Salopian Open Poetry Competition.  This contest from the Salopian Poetry Society in Telford, Shropshire, is for poems of up to 80 lines.  Allison Chisholm will be judging.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes: £150, £100, £30, 10 x £20.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £10 for four.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.7.17

 

Solution Loans Short Story Writing Competition.  This is the second of these free contests from Solution Loans.  It is for fictional stories with a length of between 1,000 and 2,000 words on the theme of Coins.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £200 and publication on the website.  Runners-up (3) - £50.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
15.5.17

 

Taking Flight Playwriting Competition and Festival.  This contest from Red Dragonfly Productions and Grist to the Mill Productions 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 to an hour, and no more than five 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: 1.10.17.
    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
18.4.17

 

NUHA Blogging Prize. Back for the seventh 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: 15.10.17 (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
21.7.17

 

Troubadour International Poetry Prize.  Time to roll out the old 'grounds for celebration’ pun again.  Yes, it’s the annual contest from Coffee-House Poetry, with its usual generous prizes.  And as usual, it’s for poems of up to 45 lines on any subject.  These lines, take note, must fit on an A4 or US letter size page, so you can forget about having lines that are 200 words long (and if you want to know why, here’s a clue - the judges will be reading all of the submitted poems).  The judges are Imitiaz Dharker and Michael Symmons Roberts.
    Closing: 16.10.17.
    Prizes: £2,000, £1,000, £500.  There are also numerous runners-up prizes.  Winners wll be invited to read at Coffee-House Poetry on prize night in November.
    Entry Fee: £6 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
19.7.17

 

Portobello Prize.  This prize for unpublished writers (unpublished in book form, that is) aims to showcase new voices in narrative non-fiction which reflects our times.  To enter, you send a comprehensive overview of the subject of your proposed book and say how the story will be told.  Also send a sample chapter and a biographical note.  The total submission should be between 10,000 and 14,000 words.  You can get tips on how to write a killer proposal from literary agent Sophie Lambert’s blog on the Foyles website, as specified on the competition page (Sophie Lambert is one of the judges).
    Closing: 16.10.17.
    Prize: Publication and a book deal with Portobello Books, representation by literary agents C+W, a publicity campaign and support from independent bookstore Foyles.
    Entry Fee: None.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
19.7.17

 

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
3.7.17

 

Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair 2018.  This international contest from southern Ireland has been described by an Irish newspaper as Dragon’s Den for writers.  The aim is to introduce up-and-coming novelists to publishers and literary agents.  Many top publishers and agents from Ireland and the UK have attended the Fair in the past, so this could be the opportunity you have been waiting for - or not.  To be eligible, you must not have had a novel published under an ISBN, and of course you must be able to attend the fair in person for the whole day on February 17, 2018.  If this sounds attractive and you are prepared to gamble a pretty thick wad of currency on your novel (entry fee plus travel and accommodation/tent), submit up to 5 chapters (around 10,000 words), plus a synopsis of up to 300 words.  Any genre is acceptable.
    Closing: 20.10.17.
    Prizes: Twelve shortlisted entrants will be invited to take part in the fair and will each have a stand where they can meet publishers and agents.  They will be invited to a How-to-Pitch-Your Novel seminar two weeks before the fair.  If you make it on to the longlist but not the shortlist, you will receive a critique on your novel from the judging panel (a critique?  For 50 euros I’d expect them to come and see me in person to apologise).
    Entry Fee: 50 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
3.7.17

 

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: 31.10.17.
    Prizes (in each category): £200, £100, £50.  Winning entries may be published in the anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5 for a single poem or short story.  You can enter three poems for £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 6.7.17

 

Flash 500 Novel Opening Competition.  This annual contest, now in its fifth year, is for the opening chapter of a novel in any genre.  With this you are required to include a one-page synopsis of the rest of the story.
    Closing: 31.10.17.
    Prizes: £500, £200.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 

 

 

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

 


Added
 2.7.17

 

Dinesh Allirajah Prize.  This freebie from Comma Press in Manchester and the University of Central Lancashire is for stories of between 2,000 and 6,000 words on the theme of Café Stories.  You have to submit your story and a covering letter by email and then additionally send the story by post.  The reason for this is simple enough but I don’t know what it is.
    Closing : 31.10.17 (5pm).
    Prizes: £500.  Shortlisted entries will be featured in an ebook anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
3.7.17

 

NAWG Novella Competition.  This open contest from NAWG is, as the name indicates, for novellas.  You are invited to send 5,000 words plus a synopsis.
    Closing: 31.10.17.
    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
 1.7.17

 

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: 31.10.17.
    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
15.5.17

 

The Caledonia Novel Award.  This international contest 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 followed by a 200 word synopsis.  If longlisted you will be expected to submit the full manuscript by 6.12.17.  The judge is literary agent Madeleine Milburn.
    Closing: 1.11.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000.  There is in addition a special prize for the best entry from the British Isles and Ireland of a place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre.  This is in the Scottish Highlands 14 miles from the nearest pub.  There will be no trains and possibly no road.  You will therefore complete your journey on a donkey, accompanied by native guides and sherpas.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
29.6.17

 

Scribble Annual Short Story Competition.  This contest from Scribble magazine if for stories of up to 3,000 words with the opening line: ‘The bicycle was in its usual place.’
    Closing: 1.11.17
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page
Click Here

 


Added
3.7.17

 

Amnesty International York - Short Story Competition.  The theme for this one is Borders, and you are required to explore it in a fictional story of no more than 1,700 words.
    Closing: 10.12.17.
    Prize: £50 and publication online.
    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
 2.8.17

 

Ruth Rendell Short Story Competition.  This regular contest from the charity InterAct Stroke Support is for stories of up to 1,000 words in any genre.  It is open to anyone aged over 16.  The charity arranges for readings to stroke patients in hospitals and elsewhere by trained actors.  The winner of the competition will be commissioned to write four further stories for InterAct Stroke Support over the course of one year.  Stories must of course be suitable to be read in the sensitive environment of a hospital.
    Closing: 22.12.17.
    Prize: £1,000.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
18.4.17

 

SciFan ‘Fire and Ice’ Competition.  Here’s another contest from Fantastic Books Publishing of Yorkshire.  They want you to get in touch with your dark side.  Eat a kitten.  Or perhaps not.  They are looking for your most-twisted dystopian stories with the theme of Fire and Ice.  The genre is science fiction or science fantasy or, if you can’t make your mind up, a blend of both (hence the name SciFan).  Just be aware that when you walk into that dark room in your mind you may never get out.
    Closing: 31.12.17.
    Prizes : £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, five or more £3.50 each.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
 2.8.17

 

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 10 lines (Short Poem) or up to 40 lines (Open Poem) in any style and on any subject.  The judge this year is Michael Symmons Roberts.
    Closing: 31.1.18.
    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
 2.8.17

 

Prole Laureate Competition.  This annual contest from Prole, a print magazine that publishes high quality, accessible poetry and prose, is for poems on any subject and in any style.  There are no restrictions on length, although you might like to consider how far it is reasonable to expect the judge to wade through that 5,000-line epic of yours before letting out an anguished cry and writing something obscene on it.  As an occasional poetry judge, the most I have ever managed before turning nasty is 100 lines.
    Closing: 31.1.18.
    Prizes: £200, £50, £50.  Winners will be published on the website and in Prole 25.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £2 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 6.7.17

 

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: 28.2.18.
    Prizes: £500, £200, £100.
    Entry Fee: £7 for one, £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

 
  

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

 
    
  

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

                                       The Typo Goblin

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

                                                                           
- Michael Shenton

 
  

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

 
        


Disclaimer

                                    
My Humorous             This is the Prizemagic website                   Poem:
      
Verse                Email comps@prizemagic.co.uk                Being a
    & Songs            Copyright:  Michael Shenton  2017             Writer

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