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, memoir, etc.  Most, but not all, are from the UK. All competitions on this site are carefully vetted.

     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

 
  

UK Writing Competitions (currently (66)

 


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:
Click Here.

 


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:
Click Here.

 


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:
Click Here.

 


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:
Click Here.

 


Added
17.6.16

 

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

 


Updated
 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:
Click Here.

 


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:
Click Here.

 
    
  

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

 


Added
1.6.19

 

Aurora Prize for Writing.  This contest from Writing East Midlands and the Society of Authors is for short fiction running to no more than 2,000 words and poetry of up to 60 lines.
    Closing: 26.6.19.
    Prizes (in each category): 1st - £500, plus feedback on a piece of work of your choice, and a year’s membership of the Society of Authors.  2nd - £150.  3rd - A one-day writing course of your choice from Writing School East Midlands.  Regional Prize (in each category): £100.
    Entry Fee: £9 for the first, £7 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Aurora Prize.

 


Added
 2.3.19

 

Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2019.  ‘Wasafiri’, according to the website, ‘is a literary magazine at the forefront of mapping new landscapes in international literature.’  Try saying that in Kiswahili, the language from which the magazine’s title comes.  Now, you are probably thinking that the magazine itself must hail from Africa, but this is not so.  It was born at the University of Kent in 1984, and as far as I know it has no African connection at all.  Nor, I might add, has the contest.  This has three categories (Poetry, Fiction, Life Writing) and is open to anyone anywhere in the world who has not published a complete book in their chosen category.  The word limit for the Fiction and Life Writing is 3,000.  In the poetry category, you can submit up to five poems for the same entry fee (use separate pages).  You can enter more than one category, but only once each.  Incidentally, ‘wasafiri’, in case your Kiswahili is a bit rusty, means ‘cultural traveller’.
    Closing: 28.6.19 (5pm).
    Prize (in each category): £300 and publication in the mag.
    Entry Fee: £6.  If you enter two separate categories it’s £10 and for three it’s £15.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.3.19

 

V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize.  This annual contest from the Royal Society of Literature aims to preserve V.S. Pritchett’s warmth of feeling and mastery of narrative.  It is for stories of between 2,000 and 4,000 words.  To enter you must be over 18 and reside in the UK, Commonwealth or Republic of Ireland.  Further, you must be available to attend a prize-giving event in Autumn this year.
    Closing: 28.6.19.
    Prize: £1,000 and publication is RSL Review and Prospect Magazine online.
    Entry Fee: £7.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.4.19

 

James White Award.  This annual freebie is for science fiction stories of between 2,000 and 6,000 words by non-professional writers.  It is supported by the publishers of Interzone, the UK’s leading science fiction magazine.
    Closing: 28.6.19.
    Prize: £200 and publication in Interzone.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
12.2.19

 

George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition.  This contest from the Suffolk Poetry Society, a registered charity, is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject.  To enter you need to have been born in Suffolk, or work or reside there, or have been educated there.  Alternatively you can buy eligibility by joining the Society (details on entry form).
    Closing: 29.6.19.
    Prizes: £600, £300, £150.  Runners-up (2) - £75.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 6.3.19

 

BCSA Writing Competition.  This annual contest from the British Czech and Slovac Association is for fact or fiction writing of between 1,500 and 2,000 words on the links between Britain and the Czech/Slovak Republics, or describing society in transition in the Republics since 1989.  Topics can include history, politics, the sciences, economics or the arts.  ‘1989’ (the year of the Velvet Revolution) is suggested as this year’s theme but it is not compulsory.  The contest is open to all.
    Closing: 30.6.19.
    Prizes: £400 plus free meal, £150.  The winner will be presented with his or her prize at the BCSA’s annual dinner in London.  The winning entries will be published in the British Czech and Slovak Review.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
10.3.19

 

Wells Festival of Literature Competitions.  Here we have a return of  the famous Wells Litfest and its various competitions: Poetry, Short Story, Book for Children, Young Poets.  I should mention before we go any further that we are talking about Wells in Somerset, not Wells in Norfolk which also has an annual litfest (I wouldn’t want you turning up at the wrong event to receive your prize or to berate the judges for not awarding you anything).  Anyway, back to business.  For the Poetry you are allowed up to 35 lines, while the Short Stories should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words.  For the Book for Children, which must be suitable for children aged 9+, you need to submit the first three chapters plus a synopsis brief enough to fit two sides of a page (and don’t use that microscopic font that’s only suitable for the small print in dodgy contracts).  If shortlisted, you will be asked to submit the rest of your story.  The Young Poets category (for budding bards aged between 16 and 22) requires poems of no more than 35 lines.  The Open Poetry judge is Simon Armitage.  Miriam Nash will be judging the Young Poets category, while Gill Lewis will choose the winning Book for Children.
    Closing: 30.6.19.
   Prizes: Open Poetry, Short Story, Book for Children (in each category) - £750, £300, £200.  Additional prizes: Wyvern Prize for a local short story entrant - £100.  Hilly Cansdale Local Prize (for poetry) - £100.  Book for Children Local Prize - £100.  Young Poets - £150, £75, £50.
    Entry Fee : Aduls categories - £6.  Young Poets - £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
20.3.19

 

Battered Moons Poetry Competition.  Part of the Poetry Swindon Festival and supported by Arts Council England, this contest is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject and in any style. The two judges, Zoe Brigley Thonpson and Cristina Navazo-Eguia Newton, will read all the entries.
    Closing: 30.6.19.
    Prizes: £700, £200, £100, 4 x £25.  Winners will be published in the Battered Moons pamphlet.  Losers will simply be battered (metaphorically speaking).  In addition, all prize-winners will be invited to read their poems at the above-mentioned Festival.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £4 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 7.6.19

 

Impress Prize.  This international contest from Impress Books at the University of Exeter aims to discover new writing talent, so it’s only open to those who have not had a book traditionally published.  It is for fiction and non-fiction books, for adults and YA (but not children).  To enter, you submit a sample chapter of no more than 6,000 words, plus a synopsis, a publishing rationale and an author biography (see Entry Requirements page).
    Closing: 30.6.19 (5pm).
    Prizes: £500 and possible publication by Impress Books.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
Impress Prize.

 


Added
 7.6.19

 

DR Who Short Trips Competition.  This freebie from The Big Finish is for Dr Who Short Trips adventures suitable for audio recording.  To enter, you send a one-page synopsis running to about 500 words.  There are various limitations as to what you can include in your story, so you should study the comp page carefully.  This also give links to some free Short Trips recordings that will enable you to get your eye - or rather your ear - in.
    Closing: 30.6.19.
    Prizes: A contract to deliver a 5,000-word Dr Who Short Trips story.  Payment will be the usual professional fee.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Dr W Trip.

 

 

 

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
15.6.19

 

Saltaire Festival Poetry Competition.  This freebie  from the Saltaire Festival is for poems of up to 40 lines on the theme of Textiles, Technology and Time in the village of Saltaire.
    Closing: 30.6.19 (5pm).
    Prizes: The winners and a guest will be invited to the official Saltaire Festival Programme Launch at the prestigious 1853 gallery in Saltaire.  Winners will be eligible to read their work at one of the Festival events.  Winning entries will be published on the website, featured on social media channels and promoted in the Saltaire Review.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
SFPC.

 


Added
11.4.19

 

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: 30.6.19.
    Prizes: £200, £75, £25.
    Entry Fee: £6.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.4.19

 

Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition.  For this international contest from the Munster Literature centre in Ireland you submit 16 to 23 pages of poetry.  The contest is open to published and unpublished poets but at least one of the winners will be unpublished (no chapbook or book published previously).  Poems can be in verse or prose.
    Closing: 30.6.19.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros and your manuscript published as a chapbook, with 25 free copies.  2nd - 500 euros and your manuscript published as above, with 25 free copies.  Winners will also be offered a reading and three nights’ accommodation at the 2020 Cork International Poetry Festival.
    Entry Fee: 25 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 9.2.19

 

Hastings Litfest Writing Competitions.  This one from the Hastings Literary Festival is for short stories of up to 1,500 words, poems of up to 40 lines and flash fiction of up to 500 words.  The theme is In Other Words (see Rules for a measure of enlightenment).
    Closing: 30.6.19.
    Prizes (in each category): £100, £50, £25.  Winners and highly commended entrants get a Litfest Trophy (which you can be casually polishing when the vistors arrive).  There will be an anthology featuring the top three entries from each cetegory.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
5.1.19

 

Sustainable Societies Stage Play Competition.  This contest from the University of Southampton is for stage plays with a performance time of between 75 minutes and 2 hours.  These should in some way touch upon ideas around building a sustainable society.  All genres are welcome.
    Closing: 30.6.19.
    Prizes:  £500, £100, £50.  Best student submission (18-25) - £50.
    Entry Fee : None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
14.4.19

 

BFS Short Story Competition.  This annual contest from the British Fantasy Society is for previously unpublished stories running to no more than 5,000 words.  Entries should fit within the broad fantasy genre, defined for this contest as fantasy, SF, horror, supernatural, magic, fabulation, slipstream, etc, or any combination of these.
    Closing: 30.6.19.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 plus one year’s BFS membership,  2nd - £50 plus one year’s BFS membership.  3rd -£20.  The top three stories will be published in print in the magazine BFS Horizons.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.6.19

 

Manchester Cathedral Poetry Competition.  This contest from Manchester is for poems of up to 40 lines which are broadly religious or spiritual in nature.  These can be in any style or form.  They should appeal to people who would not normally describe themselves as religious.
    Closing: 30.6.19.
    Prizes: £500, £250, £150.  The top poem will be published in Cathedral News 2019.  Winners and seven runners-up will be invited to read their poems at the Manchester Literary Festival in October.  A competition anthology will be published.
    Entry Fee: £4.50 for the first, £2 each thereafter.  Profits go to the Booth Centre, a charity for the homeless.
    Comp Page:
MCPC.

 


Added
 1.4.19

 

PENFro Short Radio Drama Competition.  This contest from the PENfro Book Festival in Pembrokeshire is for radio dramas with a running time of between five and ten minutes.  Before you get started on a yarn with a cast of thousands, see the notes on the website re the number of characters.
    Closing: 1.7.19.
    Prizes: The top three dramas will be edited, performed live on stage at the festival, then recorded with music and FX and put on the website.  The winners will receive a CD of the final piece.  The top six dramas will receive a professional critique.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
21.2.19

 

Cheshire Prize for Literature Scriptwriting Competition.  This contest from the University of Chester is for plays for theatre, radio or TV.  These should have a running time of no more than 15 minutes and be set in one location, with no more than three actors, while ‘exploring the use of virtual social networking characters’ (whatever they are).  To enter the first stage, you submit a one-page treatment of 500 to 800 words - and if you don’t know what a treatment is, there are links on the site to useful guides.  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: 1.7.19.
    Prizes: The writers of the best 12 submissions will each receive £50 and be commissioned to produce a full playscript.  Four of these scripts will be chosen to be performed and judged at a live performance on 29.11.19 at Storyhouse.  The writers of the four will each receive a further £50
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
 1.4.19

 

PENfro Open Poetry Competition.  This contest from the PENfro Book Festival in Pembrokeshire is for poems of up to 40 lines on any theme.  The judge is poet Dr. Rhiannon Hooson.
    Closing: 1.7.19.
    Prizes (20): £25 plus publication in the anthology.
    Entry Fee : £4.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.4.19

 

PENfro Short Story Competition.  Here’s another contest from the PENfro Book Festival in Wales.  It is for stories of up to 2,500 words on any theme.
    Closing: 1.7.19.
    Prizes (12): £25 plus inclusion in an anthology published by Welsh publisher Parthian.
    Entry Fee : £8.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 8.6.19

 

Mere Literary Festival Poetry Competition .  This annual contest from Mere in Wiltshire is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject.
    Closing: 1.7.19.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50, and 3 x £15.  Winners may be published on the Festival website.
    Entry Fee: £4.50 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
MLF PC.

 


Added
22.3.19

 

Pennine Ink Flash Fiction Competition .  This contest from the Pennine Ink Writers Workshop of  Burnley in Lancashire is for stories of up to 500 words inspired by the photo on the comp page (a derelict single-decker bus with other junk that appears to have been dumped at a beauty spot).
   Closing: 7.7.19.
    Prize: 1st - £50 plus publication in the Pennine Ink magazine and a free copy.  Two runners-up will get a mention on the website.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
 5.4.19

 

Live Canon International Poetry Competition.  Have a shot at this one and you could soon be having a ball with a thousand pounds to spend.  All right, those are last year’s puns, but the competition is bang up to date (and that’s a new one, boom, boom).  Your poem can be any length, say the promoters, but frankly I don’t think they really mean that.  I reckon that after the first 10,000 words you’re going to be struggling to keep even the most battle-hardened judge interested.
    Closing: 8.7.19.
    Prize: £1,000.  There is also £100 for the highest placed poet living, studying or working in the London Borough of Greenwich.  Fifty poems will be published in the 2019 anthology and 20 will be performed by the Live Canon Ensemble during the prize-giving event at Greenwich Theatre.
    Entry Fee: £6.50 for one, £12 for two, £15 for three, £20 for five, £35 for ten.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 2.3.19

 

HG Wells Short Story Competition.  This annual contest from the H.G.Wells Festival in Folkestone is for stories of between 1,500 and 5,000 words in any genre.  The stated theme is ‘TIME in its broadest interpretation’.  I know some of you find the rules of these contests too tiresome to read, so I won’t try to badger you into looking at them in this instance.  However, I will just mention that there is something in there about double quotes.  Ooh, I wonder what that could be?  Finally, if you can arrange to be 21 or under it will be to your advantage, as you can then qualify for a much bigger prize while at the same time entering for free.
    Closing: 8.7.19.
    Prizes: Adult (22 or over) - £250.  Junior (21 or under) - £1,000.  All shortlisted entries will be published in a  paperback anthology.
    Entry Fee: £10 if you are over 21.  Free if you are 21 or under.  If you are a student who is over 21 (with ID to prove it), it’s £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
22.5.19

 

Show Me Yours - Sex Writing Competition .  The promoters of this contest are inviting works that ‘engage with the world of sex and desire in surprising, breathless and exciting ways.’  Entries can be short fiction of up to 1,000 words, nonfiction of up to 1,000 words, and poetry of up to 60 lines.  There is also a category for images.  There is unfortunately no category for smutty jokes, so I will not be trying any out here.
    Closing: 10.7.19.
    Prizes: Grand Prize - £300.  Highly Commended entries in each category will be awarded £50.  Winners and shortlisted entries will be published in the I’ll Show You Mine chapbook.
    Entry Fee: Free for the first one (optional second entry requires a donation). 
    Comp Page:
SMY.

 


Added
 2.2.19

 

Sustainable Societies Radio Play Competition.  This contest from the University of Southampton is for radio plays (drama/comedy series) with a performance time of 45 minutes or six x 30 minutes or 5 x 15 minutes.  These should in some way touch upon ideas around building a sustainable society.
    Closing: 12.7.19 (submissions accepted from April).
    Prizes:  £500, £100, £50.  Best student submission (18-25) - £50.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 2.3.19

 

Doris Gooderson Short Story Competition.  Here’s another annual contest, this time from Wrekin Writers of Shropshire.  Stories can be on any subject but must not exceed 1,200 words.
    Closing: 12.7.19.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
 8.6.19

 

Ambit Poetry Competition.  This contest from the well-known literary and art journal Ambit is for poems of up to 50 lines on the theme of Wild.  This magazine has been knocking around since before your grandfather was born, and I can remember submitting material to it back in my early days as a literary genius (before I gave it up to make a living).
    Closing: 15.7.19.
    Prizes: £500, £250, £100.  Winners will be published in Ambit.
    Entry Fee: £6.
    Comp Page:
APC.

 


Added
 8.2.19

 

Fitzcarraldo Editions Novel Prize.  This contest, which is supported by the Arts Council, is for unpublished novels of over 30,000 words by writers living in the UK or Ireland.  To enter you submit the complete novel plus a brief outline and a biographical note.  The judges will be looking for stories that ‘explore and expand the possibilities of the novel form, are innovative and imaginative in style and tackle subjects and themes relevant to the world we live in.’  Well, you didn’t expect it to be easy with such a big prize at stake, did you?
    Closing: 15.7.19.
    Prize: Publication with a £3,000 advance.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.6.19

 

Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition.  This annual contest from Norwich Writers’ Circle is for fiction of up to 2,000 word on the theme of Spooks.  You may incorporate the theme in any way you choose.
    Closing: 16.7.19.
    Prizes: £400, £250, £100.  Winners and other shortlistees will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £8.
    Comp Page:
Olga SSC.

 

 

 

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
 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:
Click Here.

 


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: Indigo
FCC.

 

 

 

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
 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
 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
 1.6.19

 

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
 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.  This annual contest from Aesthetica Magazine 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
 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:
Click Here.

 


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:
Click Here

 


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.

 

 

 

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
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.

 


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:
Click Here.

 


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:
Click Here.

 


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.

 

 

 

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
 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
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:
BCNA.

 


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
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             This is the Prizemagic website                   Poem:
      
Verse                Email comps@prizemagic.co.uk                Being a
    & Songs            Copyright:  Michael Shenton  2019             Writer

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