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 2019 (currently 64)

 


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 : 30.6.19, 30.9.19.
    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.

 


Added
 2.3.19

 

Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Ledbury in Wales is for poems of up to 40 lines.  It has three age categories: Adult (18 and over), Young People (12 to 17), and Children (11 and under).  The judge is Daljit Nagra.
    Closing: 18.7.19 (5pm).
    Prizes: Adults: 1st - £1,000 plus a residential writing course at Ty Newydd, the National Writers’ Centre for Wales.  2nd - £500.  3rd - £250.  The prizes for younger entrants were not given on the website when I checked, but last year they were as follows: 12-17 category - £100, £50, £25.  11 and under category - book tokens for £25, £15, £10.
    Entry Fees: Adults - £5.75 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.  Young People and Children get the first entry free, then pay £1.75 each for any additional entries.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.3.19

 

Winchester Poetry Prize .  This annual contest from the Winchester Poetry Festival aims to ‘surprise and delight,’ they say.  However, don’t try to surprise and delight them with a short story or a photo of your cat dancing in a tutu.  Stick to a poem of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.7.19.
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, £250.  Winners will be invited to read their entries at a special prize-giving event at Winchester Poetry Day on October 12.  Winning and commended poems will appear in an anthology.  There is also a prize for the best poem written by a Hampshire-based poet.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
WPP.

 


Added
 7.3.19

 

The Betjeman Poetry Prize.  This contest in honour of one of Britain’s most popular poets aims to foster creativity in young people.  Young people are apparently aged up to 13, this being the limit for the competition.  Old at 14, eh?  Too many crafty cigarettes behind the bike sheds, I reckon.  Entries should be on the theme of Place.  The place, say the promoters, could be your bedroom, the local park, a spooky building, somewhere imagined, etc.  They want to know what it means to you.  ‘It’s where I chill, innit?’ will not be sufficient.  There is no line or word limit.  The judges are accomplished poets Wendy Cope and her husband Lachlan Mackinnon.
    Closing: 31.7.19.
    Prizes: 1st - £500 for the winner and £5,000 for the English Department at the winner’s school, or the winner’s local library.  The winner and two runners-up will each receive four Eurostar tickets to Paris, Brussels or Lisle.  The runners-up also get £200.  There will be £50 each for Highly Commended entrants.  There is in addition a prize draw for teachers who manage to bully their classes into entering.  The top 50 poems will be printed in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.6.19

 

Exeter Litfest Short Story Competition.  This international contest from Exeter in Devon is for stories on any subject.  There are three age categories: Over 16, 16 and Under, and 8 and Under.  In the first two, the word limit is 1,000, while in the last it is 500.  Entries for the 8 and Under category may be handwritten.
    Closing: 31.7.19.
    Prizes: Over 16 - £100, £50.  16 and Under - £100, £50.  8 and Under - £25, £15.
    Entry Fee : £5 for the two older categories.  8 and Under - Free.
    Comp Page:
Exelitfest.

 


Added
 8.6.19

 

Indigo First Collection Poetry Competition.  To enter this contest from Indigo Dreams Publishing in Devon you submit 15 poetry pages of up to 40 lines each including breaks.  The competition is open to poets who have not had a full collection or pamphlet published.
    Closing: 31.7.19.
    Prizes: Two winners will have their debut collection published by Indigo Dreams.
    Entry Fee: £15 per block of poems.
    Comp Page:
IndigoFFC

 


Added
 2.7.19

 

TLM Poetry Competition 2019.  This international contest from the UK’s oldest literary journal, The London Magazine, is for poems of up to 40 lines on any theme.  They are looking for ‘fresh, diverse and innovative work’.  The magazine was first published in 1732, they say, and has hosted poetry from the likes of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.  On the strength of this they claim it is the country’s most prestigeous literary journal, but it hasn’t been graced by any of my immortal lines so I should take that claim with a pinch of salt (I’ve never sent them anything, but that’s no excuse).
    Closing: 31.7.19.
    Prizes: £500, £300, £200.  Winners will be published in the mag.
    Entry Fee: £10 for the first, £5 therefter.
    Comp Page:
TLM Poetry.

 

 

 

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
 8.7.19

 

Ilkley Litfest Short Story Competition. Stories of between 1,000 and 2,000 words on any subject are sought for this annual contest from the Ilkley Literature Festival in West Yorkshire.  This year the Festival will be opened by Simon Armitage.
    Closing: 31.7.19 (11.30pm).
    Prize: £200.  The winner and runners-up will be invited to read at the Festival in October 2019.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Ilk Litfest Story

 


Added
 8.7.19

 

Walter Swan Poetry Competition.  This is the fourth of these annual contests from the Ilkley Literature Festival in West Yorkshire (which will be opened this year by new Poet Laureate Simon Armitage on October 4).  It is for poems of up to 30 lines on any subject.  Winners will be invited to read at the Festival.
    Closing: 31.7.19 (11.30pm).
    Prizes: Main - £200, £100, £75.  Entrants who are 18 to 25 will also be considered for the 18 - 25 subcategory prizes - £100, £75, £50.
    Entry Fee: £5 if you are over 25, £2.50 for if 18 to 25.
    Comp Page:
Ilk Litfest Poetry

 


Added
 7.7.19

 

Michael Terence Publishing Short Story Competition.  Here’s a repeat of last year’s contest from Michael Terence Publishing of Oxford.  Now open to all authors worldwide, it is for fiction, science fiction and non-fiction (biography, memoir, etc) running to no more than 3,000 words.
    Closing: 31.7.19.
    Prizes: £300, £200, £100.  Winners will be published online and in a print anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
MTP Story Comp.

 


Added
 2.5.19

 

WB Poetry Competition.  This contest from Writers Bureau is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject.
    Closing: 31.7.19.
    Prizes: £300, £200, £100.  All winners receive in addition a WB writing course of their choice.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
WB PC.

 


Added
 8.7.19

 

To Hull and Back Short Story Competition.  This international humorous writing contest from author Christopher Fielden is for stories of up to 2,500 words including the title.  Stories can be in any genre, but they must contain some element of humour.
    Closing: 31.7.19.
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, £250, 3 x £100, 14 x £50.  Winners and shortlistees will be published in the To Hull and Back Short Story Anthology.  This will feature author profiles and photos, and will be available in hard copy and as a Kindle download.  The front cover will bear a photo of the top winner, depicted riding a motorbike (this is traditional with these anthologies).  The winner gets a free copy, but first that copy is strapped to a Harley Davidson Fatboy motorcycle and filmed being ridden to Hull and back.  Why?  Well, to justify the competition title, of course.  Daft but different.  I like it.
    Entry Fee: £13 for one, £21 for two, £26 for three.
    Comp Page:
Hull and Back.

 


Added
 1.4.19

 

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019.  This one from the Poetry Society is said to be the UK’s largest poetry competition for writers between the ages of 11 and 17.  It certainly attracts a lot of entries.  Over 6,000 young people from across the world submitted their work last year.  Poems can be any length and on any subject, but they must be in English.  You can enter in British Sign Language if required, but you have to email the promoters for submission details.  Perhaps my brain is running on empty this morning but if you can put your request in an email, why can’t you put your poem in one?
    Closing: 31.7.19.
    Prizes: The top 15 winners will be invited to attend a week-long residential writing course at a prestigious Arvon Centre, or they will receive mentoring from a professional poet.  The top 15 poems will be published in a print anthology which is sent out to over 20,000 school libraries and poetry enthusiasts.  The 85 commended poets will have their entries published in an online anthology.  There will be an awards ceremony in London on National Poetry Day to which all 100 winners will be invited.  I’ve been to some of these events and there’s generally free booze, plus fellow poets can usually be relied upon to supply some weed (best not mention this to your parents).
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  You can enter more than one poem but they make it clear they don’t want you bunging in any old rubbish to make up the numbers (they put it more subtly than that, but that’s what they mean).
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.5.19

 

Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition.  This annual contest from the Munster Literature Centre in Ireland is for unpublished stories of up to 3,000 words on any subject.  The Munster Literature Centre, incidentally, is named after the town in southern Ireland where it is located, not the old American TV sitcom about a bunch of friendly monsters.
    Closing: 31.7.19.
    Prizes: 1st - 2,000 euros plus a week’s residency at Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat.  In addition, if you go to Cork to collect your prize, you will receive hotel accommodation, meals and drinks at the Cork International Short Story Festival (23-25 September 2019).  2nd - 500 euros.  Runners-up (4) - 250 euros.  All six winners will be published in the literary journal Southword.
    Entry Fee: 18 euros.
    Comp Page:
SOFSSC..

 


Added
 1.7.19

 

Curtis Brown First Novel Prize.  To enter this inaugural competition from Curtis Brown and Curtis Brown Creative, you submit the first 10,000 words of your novel (finished or in progress) and a synopsis of 400 words.  Curtis Brown, in case you are for some odd reason not aware, is a mainstream London literary agency with a formidable track record in the literary world.  To be eligible for the contest you must not currently be represented by a literary agent and the novel, which must be unpublished (self-published doesn’t count), should be aimed at adults.
    Closing: 1.8.19.
    Prizes: 1st - £3,000 and representation by Curtis Brown.  Runner up -  A place on a three-month novel writing course at Curtis Brown Creative.  A further four shortlistees will be offered a place on a six-week online course.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
CB First Nov.

 


Added
 1.6.19

 

Charroux Memoir Prize.  This contest from the Charroux Litfest in south west France is for memoir poetry of up to 50 lines and memoir prose of between 1,500 and 3,000 words.
    Closing: 15.8.19.
    Prizes (in each category): £150, £50, £30.
    Entry Fees: Poetry - 5.50 euros for the first, 2.75 each thereafter.  Prose - 8 euros for one, 11.44 for two, 14.87 for three.
    Comp Page:
Charroux LF.

 


Added
29.6.19

 

Buzzwords Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Buzzwords Poetry of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire is for poems of up to 70 lines.
    Closing: 24.8.19.
    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:
Buzz Poetry Comp.

 


Added
 2.2.19

 

Sustainable Societies Novel Competition.  This contest from the University of Southampton is for full-length novels in any genre including children’s.  These should in some way touch upon ideas around building a sustainable society.  The top entries will be read by a literary agent from Curtis Brown.
    Closing: 31.8.19 (submissions details available from April).
    Prizes:  £500, £100, £50.  Best student submission (18-25) - £50.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    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
26.5.19

 

SaveAs Writers All Things Moon Competition.  This international contest from SaveAs Writers of Canterbury in Kent is for poetry of up to 60 lines and stories running to no more than 3,500 words.  The starry-eyed theme, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, is any aspect of humanity’s relationship with the cosmos.  So you could, for instance, write a jolly tale about mankind’s obsession with finding alien life and how this leads to our eventual destruction (suggested title: We Are Not Alone - Unfortunately).
    Closing: 31.8.19.
    Prizes (in each category): £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fees: Poetry - £3 each, £8 for three.  Stories - £4 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
SAW Moon.

 


Added
13.5.19

 

Prole Poetry Pamphlet Competition.  This annual contest from Prolebooks of Abergele in Wales is for pamphlet collections of up to 35 A5 pages.
    Closing: 31.8.19.
    Prize: £400 and 25 copies of the pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £12 for one, £20 for two.
    Comp Page:
PPPC.

 


Added
 2.3.19

 

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award.  Here’s another annual contest, this time from Aesthetica Magazine.  It is for short fiction running to no more than 2,000 words and poetry of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.8.19.
    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
28.6.19

 

Sustainable Societies Screenplay Competition.  Brought to you by the University of Southampton, this contest is for full-length film screenplays.  These should in some way touch upon ideas around building a sustainable society.  The length, assuming one minute per page, should be between 90 and 120 pages.
    Closing: ??.9.19 (exact closing date still to be announced when I checked on 28.6.19).
    Prizes:  £750, £100, £50.  Best student submission (18-25) - £50.  BBC Writers Room with read the top 5 scripts and follow up with any writers they think have promise.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
SusSoc Screnplay

 


Added
30.6.19

 

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: 2.9.19 (11pm).
    Prizes (in each category): £1,000, £200.
    Entry Fee : £5 each for the first three, £4 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
OB Poetry Comp

 


Added
 1.3.19

 

New Voices Competition.  This international contest from London-based mentoring service Adventures in Fiction requires you to submit the first page of your novel and a one-page synopsis.
    Closing: 14.9.19.
    Prizes: A start-up mentoring package (nomally costing £550) which includes manuscript appraisal, a consultation and a development strategy.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
NVC.

 


Added
 2.7.19

 

Danny Pyle Memorial Competition.  The Torbay Festival of Poetry in Torquay is offering this contest for humorous poems of up to 35 lines.  The judge is poet, painter actor and spoken word artiste Brenda Hutchings.
    Closing: 15.9.19.
    Prizes: 1st - £100, £50.  Shortlisted poets will be invited to read their entries at the Festival.  Winning poets will be invited to attend the Prizegiving.
    Entry Fee: £5 for two poems, £10 for five.
    Comp Page:
Torbay Poetry.

 


Added
 2.7.19

 

Manchester Writing Competition.  This international contest from Manchester Writing School at the Manchester Metropolitan University was originally inaugurated to celebrate ‘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 category 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: 20.9.19.
    Prize (in each category): £10,000.
    Entry Fee: £17.50.
    Comp Page:
MMU Writing Comp.

 

 

 

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
29.6.19

 

Hammond House International Writing Competitions.  This offering from Hammond House Publishing at University Centre Grimsby, is for short stories of between 2,000 and 5,000 words, poems of up to 40 lines, and screenplays of up to 10 pages (approx. 10 minutes duration).  In all categories the theme is Leaving (this is intended to be inspirational, not restrictive, they say).
    Closing: 20.9.19.
    Prizes: Short Story - £500, £100, £50.  Poetry - £100, £50, £25.  Screenplay - 1st - £100 and a trailer of the script.  Runners-up will receive a trailer of their script.  Shortlisted story and poetry entries (25) will be published in an anthology.  There will be a televised awards ceremony.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
HH Lit Prize

 


Added
13.7.19

 

The Val Wood Prize 2019: Love Letters.  This annual freebie from the website of author Valerie Wood (‘Hull’s answer to Catheine Cookson’), is open to anyone over the age of 16 regardless of gender.  Stories should be in the form of love letters.  You can have one or more letters in your tale.  Overall length should be limited to 1,500 words.
    Closing: 21.9.19 (5pm).
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25, £25.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
VWP Love Letters

 


Added
 1.7.19

 

Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair 2019.  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’ve 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 14, 2020.  If this sounds attractive and you are prepared to gamble a pretty thick wad of currency on your novel (entry fee plus travel and hotel accommodation/tent), submit up to 5 chapters (around 10,000 words), plus a synopsis of up to 300 words.  Any genre is acceptable.
    Closing : 27.9.19 (5pm).
    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?  Considering the entry fee, I’d expect them to come and see me in person to apologise.
    Entry Fee: 50 euros.
    Comp Page:
Novel Fair

 


Added
20.3.19

 

Soundwork-uk Monologue Competition.  This contest from Soundwork-uk is for monologues of up to 10 minutes suitable for audio broadcast.  The monologue may have been previously published.
    Closing: 30.9.19.
    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:
SW Mono

 

 

 

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
20.5.19

 

HWA Unpublished Novel Award.  This competition from the Historical Writers’ Association and Sharp Books is, not surprisingly, for historical fiction.  Historical is defined for this contest as stories set at least 35 years in the past.  The theme and genre are both open.  Novels should be between 40,000 and 100,000 words.  Include a synopsis of 500 to 1,000 words, plus a 200-word biography.
   Closing: 30.9.19.
    Prizes: 1st - £500 plus a publishing contract with Sharp Books.  Runners-up (2) - £100.
    Entry Fee: £20.  All entrants will be offered a consultation with the MD of Sharp Books.
    Comp Page:
HWASBA

 


Added
 7.6.19

 

The Caterpillar Story Prize.  Before you clutter up your mind with ideas for tales about caterpillars, let me just point out that the name of this annual contest is not intended to indicate the official subject, although if you wish to go that way, you are free to do so.  The only stipulations are that your story must be suitable for children aged 7 to 11, and it must be written by an adult and run to no more than 1,500 words.  The Caterpillar, incidentally, is a children’s magazine based in Southern Ireland.
    Closing: 30.9.19.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - A week’s retreat at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in County Monaghan, Ireland.
    Entry Fee: 12 euros.
    Comp Page:
Catmag Story .

 


Added
17.7.19

 

Crowvus Christmas Ghost Story Competition.  This is the third of these ghost story contests from the far north of Scotland where the wind moans in the night like a lost soul.  As per last year, there is a word limit of 4,000.  As well as the adult category, there are two categories for children: ages 10 and under, and 11 to 16.
    Closing: 30.9.19.
    Prizes: Adult category - the top three winners get a percentage of the entry fees as follows: 1st - 40%.  2nd - 20%.  3rd - 10%.  Children’s (in each categoriy - a £50 one4all gift card.  All shortlisted stories will be published in an anthology and their writers will receive a free copy.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two.  Children - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Crow Ghost Story.

 

 

 

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
15.7.19

 

The Henshaw Short Story Competition.  This regular contest from Henshaw Press of Northampton is for stories running to no more than 2,000 words on any subject.
    Closing: 30.9.19.
    Prizes: £200, £75, £25.
    Entry Fee: £6.  Optional critique: £12.
    Comp Page:
Henshaw Prize.

 


Added
13.7.19

 

Tom Howard/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: 30.9.19.
    Prizes: Tom Howard Prize (any style) - $2,000 + gift certificate.  Margaret Reid Prize (traditional verse) - $2,000 + gift certificate.  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 :
TH & MR Poetry.

 


Added
 1.7.19

 

Salopian Open Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from the Salopian Poetry Society in Telford, Shropshire, is for poems of up to 80 lines.  Sir Michael Leighton will be this year’s judge.
    Closing: 30.9.19.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £55, 3 x £30.  Best Humorous Poem: £75.
    Entry Fee : £4 each, £12 for four, £15 for six.
    Comp Page:
Sal Poetry Comp

 


Added
21.6.19

 

STERTS One-Act Playwriting Competition.  Now in its eighth year, this international contest from STERTS Theatre in Cornwall is for one-act plays with a performance time of between 25 and 35 minutes.  Your play can have up to four  actors, all of whom should be adults.  The performance venue has a low ceiling, so no flying witches, cars, etc, and no trampolines.  I should avoid the jujitsu throws as well, as the victim’s feet might get tangled in the light fittings (mind you, if you’re aiming at comedy, this could work).
    Closing: 30.9.19.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 and your play produced on March 7, 2020, in Sterts Studio.  The runners-up will receive £40 and their play will be given a public reading.  There is also a £40 prize for a playwright who is under 30.
    Entry Fee: £8.
    Comp Page:
STERTS Play

 


Added
 2.5.19

 

NUHA Blogging Prize. Back for the ninth year running is this free 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: 12.10.19 (midnight PST.  In the UK, assume this to be 4pm BST). 
    Prizes: The prizes depend on sufficient entries being received.  Adult - (up to) $2,400, $1,200, $400.  Youth Prize - (up to) $900, $600, £400.  Young Writers - (up to) $250, $100, $50.  There is a possibility of matched prizes for teachers and schools.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
NUHA BP.

 

 

 

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
 1.4.19

 

Troubadour International Poetry Competition.  For this annual international contest, you submit a poem of no more than 45 lines on one A4 or US-Letter size page.  They don’t say so, but the usual form is to use only one side of the page ... so if your lines consist of, say 250 words each, you will have to have a rethink, you weird person.
    Closing: 21.10.19.
    Prizes: £2,000, £1,000, £500.
    Entry Fee: £6 (at the time of writing, the fees shown in the Rules did not tally with those in the payment boxes at the foot of the page, so I think the Rules were, and maybe still are, in need of an update - a fact I mention in case you are thinking of going retro and paying by cheque).
    Comp Page:
TRU Poetry.

 


Added
 1.7.19

 

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 Artificial Intelligence.  Along with your story you must submit a covering letter, as specified on the website.
    Closing: 25.10.19..
    Prizes: £500.  Shortlisted entries will be featured in an ebook anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
DA Prize

 


Added
 5.3.19

 

Momaya Poetry Competition. This is the second poetry contest from Momaya Press of Bonn in Germany and Roxbury in the USA.  Open worldwide, it is intended to be an annual event.  The theme this year is Masks, and there is a word limit of 1,500.
    Closing: 30.10.19.
    Prizes: £70, £35, £20.  Winners along with up to 50 Honourable Mentions will be published in the Momaya Poetry Review 2019.  The three winners will receive a free copy.
    Entry Fee: £7.
    Comp Page:
Mom PC.

 


Added
 1.5.19

 

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: 31.10.19.
    Prizes (in each cetegory): £500, £150, £100.  In addition there is the Bedford Short Story Prize of £100 for a local resident, and a young writers prize of £100 for entrants between 17 and 30.
    Entry Fee: £6 each, £12 for three.  Full-time students: £4 each, £8 for three.  Net proceeds will be donated to charity.
    Comp Page:
BWC.

 


Added
 1.7.19

 

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: ‘Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.’
    Closing: 31.10.19.
    Prizes: £750, £500.  Winners will be published on The Telegraph website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
BenFrankLit

 


Added
 1.7.19

 

Story for Daniel Competition.  This contest in memory of Daniel Farbrace, a young boy who tragically died aged 21 months, aims to raise awareness of blood stem cell donation.  It is for flash fiction of up to 500 words with a joyous or hopeful theme.
    Closing: 31.10.19.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 and the story published on the website.  Runner-up - A bundle of writing-related goodies.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry (but you can make a donation if you wish).
    Comp Page:
Daniel Story

 

 

 

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
 2.7.19

 

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: 31.10.19.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000.  Runners-up (7) - £200.  The top three winners will be published in Poetry Review.
    Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
PSNPC.

 


Added
 1.6.19

 

Novel Opening Competition.  For this annual contest from the Flash 500 website you submit the first chapter of your novel, or just the first 3,000 words if the chapter is longer.  Add to this a one-page synopsis outlining the rest of the story.
    Closing: 31.10.19.
    Prizes: £500, £200.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
F500novel.

 


Added
10.7.19

 

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 followed by a 200 word synopsis.  If longlisted you will be expected to submit the full manuscript by 6.12.19.  The judge is Jenny Hewson from the Rogers, Coleridge & White Literary Agency.
    Closing: 1.11.19.
    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
17.6.19

 

Bath Children's Novel Award. This annual international contest, which is open to unpublished and self-published debut novelists, is for novels of any length for children or young adults. To enter, you email the first 5,000 words of your story followed by a one page synopsis.  The longlist is chosen by a panel of children and young adults. The shortlist judge is literary agent Lauren Gardner from Bell Lomax Moreton.
     Closing: 17.11.19.
     Prizes: 1st - £2,500.  The writer of the most promising longlisted novel will receive an online place on Learn to Edit Your Novel the Professional Way from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.  Shortlisted entrants will receive introductions to literary agents and feedback.
     Entry Fee: £25.
     Comp Page:
B C Novel.

 


Added
 1.7.19

 

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: 30.11.19.
    Prizes: 1st - 2,000 euros, publication in Southword Journal, and a week’s residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre.  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:
GregOD Poetry.

 

 

 

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
 1.7.19

 

Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism.  This annual contest is for a piece of writing about new work in the arts.  You are limited to 800 words.
    Closing: 30.11.19.
    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

 


Added
22.6.19

 

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.  The winner will be chosen by novelist Dame Margaret Drabble.
    Closing: 2.12.19.  Open for entries from August 1st.
    Prize: £1,000.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page:
RRSSC

 


Added
30.6.19

 

Black Spring Crime-Writing Prize 2019.  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 he can decide which genre he’s writing for.’  So I would advise caution when being different and breaking away form the stereotypes.
    Closing: 19.12.19.
    Prizes : A $1,000 advance and publication by Black Spring Press.
    Entry Fee: $25.
    Comp Page:
BSC Prize

 


Added
 2.7.19

 

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: 31.12.19.
    Prizes: 1st - 10,000 euros.  Runners-up (3) - 1,000 euros.
    Entry Fee: 12 euros.
    Comp Page:
Moth Poetry Comp .

 


Added
10.7.19

 

John Byrne Award.  This offering from Edinburgh, which is open to those aged 16 to 30 living in Scotland, is an online exhibition and creative competition exploring personal and societal values.  All manner of creative work can be entered, but what we are interested in here is the prose and poetry.  For this you submit a single piece of work (anything from a novella to a short story, article, poem, etc) along with a question that summarises the thinking behind the work, and a short paragraph explaining why this question is important.  The question will appear as the title of your work on the website.  You can read some entries on there now.
    Closing: End of each month until 31.1.20.
    Prizes: Monthly - £250.  Final - £2,500.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
J.B.Award.

 

 

 

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
14.5.19

 

The Ó Bhéal Five Words International Poetry Competition .  Here’s another Corker from Ireland.  Sorry couldn’t resist that.  I’ll start again.  This one from Cork in Ireland is for poems of up to 50 lines (including line breaks) which feature the five words given on the website 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 the last week of January 2020.
    Prize: 500 euros and an invitation to read at Ó Bhéal’s twelfth anniversary event in Ireland on 13.4.20, with travel expenses of 100 euro and B&B accommodation.
    Entry Fee: 5 euro.
    Comp Page:
Ó Bhéal Five Words.

 


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  2019

                                                           Poem: Being a Writer

 


 

 

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