Stiff Competition - the novel

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Writing Comps

Current UK Writing Competitions

Stiff Competition - the novel

Details


 
 

     Despite having had hundreds of poems published I’ve never won a poetry competition, but that’s probably because I’ve only entered four.  However, I did once win a cash prize for a short story, and then I won the Peter Pook Humorous Novel Contest with Stiff Competition, a story that had previously been rejected by a top publisher for being too funny (see Comps Novel).  I therefore speak from experience when I say that winning literary competitions doesn’t always lead to fame.  But having a few such wins to boast about does you no harm when approaching editors or agents, so if you have dreams of a writing career, this could be the place to begin. Or maybe you just want to win some money.  Whatever your motives, the best advice I can offer is that you emulate my old friend Percy Vere, who reads, writes, reads, writes ad infinitum.

     Below is a list of the most interesting UK writing competitions I’ve seen recently.  I’ve done my best to vet them and eliminate the dodgy ones, but I can offer no guarantees.  Bear in mind that contests with smaller prizes attract fewer entries and are therefore easier to win.

 
  

UK Writing Competitions (currently 61)

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

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

 


Updated
  29.6.17

 

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

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

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

 


Added
27.1.15

 

Hour of Writes Competition.  To enter this new weekly peer-reviewed contest from Manchester you submit a piece of writing of any type you choose running to no more than 2,000 words. There is a different theme every week.
    Closing: 11pm every Friday.
    Prize: £50 (usually the minimum, they say; prize increases if more entries are received).
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
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
 29.6.17

 

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

 


Added
13.6.17

 

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

 


Added
22.1.18

 

Flash 500 Competition.  This quarterly flash fiction contest, which offers higher prize money than many similar competitions, is for stories of up to 500 words on any theme.
    Closing: 30.9.18, 31.12.18.
    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
16.1.18

 

Secret Attic Competitions.  Here are two free monthly contests from Secret Attic Press, one for short stories of up to 1,200 words, the other for poems running to no more than 28 lines.
    Closing: End of each month.
    Prizes (in each category): £10.  Best entries will be published in the monthly magazine.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    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
30.6.18

 

The Robert Graves Prize.  This contest from Roehampton Poetry Centre and Wimbledon BookFest is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject.  The judges are literary agent Peter Straus, and poet David Harsent, chair of the Poetry Centre.
    Closing: 15.8.18.
    Prizes: £1,000, £100, £100.  Winners will be published in Poem magazine.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Updated
 23.7.18

 

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: 15.8.18.
    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.

 


Updated
 23.7.18

 

PENfro Open Poetry Competition.  This contest from the PENfro Book Festival in Pembrokeshire is for poems of up to 40 lines on the theme of ‘The Year of the Sea’.  The judge is poet Kathy Miles.
    Closing: 15.8.18.
    Prizes: £300, £125, £75.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    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
22.7.18

 

Supernoval 8 Playwriting Competition.  This freebie from Bench Theatre is for one-act plays with a performance time of no more than 45 minutes. There will be a maximum of six actors, although they can each do more than one character (but don’t overdo this unless you’re aiming for comedy complete with a variety of silly hats, wigs and wonky moustaches).
    Closing: 17.8.18.
    Prizes: Kudos.  Winning plays will be performed during Bench Theatre’s Supernoval 8 Festival at the Spring Arts and Heritage Centre in Havant, Hampshire.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  You can submit up to four plays.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.6.18

 

Buzzwords Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Buzzwords Poetry of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire is for poems of up to 70 lines.  The judge, Graham Burchell, will read all entries.
    Closing: 25.8.18.
    Prizes: £600, £300, 5 x £50.  Gloucestershire Resident Prize - £200.
    Entry Fee: Postal - £4 for one, £10 for three.  Online - £4.35 for one, £8.70 for two, £11 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.8.18

 

John O’Connor Short Story Competition 2018.  This is the third of these contests from The John O’Connor Writing School and Arts Festival in Northern Ireland.  It’s for stories of between 1,800 and 2,000 words.
    Closing: 28.8.18 (noon).
    Prizes: A bursary to attend the John O’Connor Writing School and Literary Arts Festival in Armagh (1st to 4th of November), plus £250 and a three-night stay in a 300-year-old mill in rural County Down.  A 300-year-old mill in November?  I’ve lived in places like that.  Take a couple of blankets and a hot water bottle.  I once went for a holiday in a converted barn.  I expected to find they’d installed all mod cons but all they’d done was fit a house door and chuck out some of the straw.  I asked for an early morning call and they threw in a cockerel.  But hey, this could be different.  It’s a writers’ retreat.  There could be furniture.
    Entry Fee: £10.  Only one entry per person.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.8.18

 

Torbay Open Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from the Torbay Festival of Poetry in Torquay is for poems of up to 50 lines.  The judge this year is poet Danielle Hope.
    Closing: 31.8.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000 plus a weekend at the poetry festival with accommodation and Festival Pass.  2nd - £300 plus Festival Pass.  3rd - £150 plus ticket for the Festival supper for two.  Shortlisted poets will be invited to read their entries at the Prizegiving event.  Winning poets will be invited to attend the Prizegiving Party.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £20 for five.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
22.7.18

 

RWI Short Story Competition.  This freebie from ReaderWriterLounge is for fiction and non-fiction stories ranging between 1,000 and 10,000 words.
    Closing: 31.8.18.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £20.  All submitted stories will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  You can enter up to five stories.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
19.6.18

 

Link Age Southwark Writing Competition.  Link Age Southwark is celebrating its 25th anniversary with this contest for poetry and short stories.  The theme is Friendship and/or Generations.  Entry is open to residents of the UK and Ireland only.
    Closing: 31.8.18.
    Prizes : Adult - £200, £150, £100.  Children - three prizes of book vouchers.
    Entry Fee: Adults (18+) - £5.  Children - Free.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.6.18

 

HWA Dorothy Dunnett Short Story Award.  This competition from the Historical Writers’ Association is, not surprisingly, for historical stories.  These are defined for this contest as stories set at least 35 years in the past.  The theme and genre are both open.  Stories should run to no more than 3,500 words.
    Closing: 31.8.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £500, publication online and in Whispering Gallery, mentoring by an author and agent, and tickets to the HWA awards ceremony in London.  Runners-up - mentoring and tickets to the awards ceremony.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 9.5.18

 

SaveAs Writers Gothic Writing Competition .  To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Save As Writers of Canterbury are running an international contest for poems and stories in the Gothic tradition.  They want you to chill them to the bone, they say.  You are allowed up to 60 lines to do this with poetry or 2,500 words with prose.  If that isn’t enough, get your monster costume on, go to Canterbury and jump out on them when the leave one of their meetings.
    Closing: 31.8.18.
    Prizes (in each category): £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: Poems - £3 each, £8 for three.  Stories - £4 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 2.8.18

 

Glimmer Train Competitions.  The American short story magazine Glimmer Train, which prides itself on publishing new and emerging writers as well as more established ones, will unfortunately be steaming into the sunset next year, but before then there are some useful competitions you can enter.  Currently there is the Very Short Fiction contest for stories ranging between 300 and 3,000 words, and the Fiction Open contest for stories of between 3,000 and 28,000 words.
    Closing: 31.8.18 (there is a one-week grace period after this, they say).
    Prizes: Very Short Fiction - $2,000.  Fiction Open - $3,000.
    Entry Fees: Very Short Fiction - $16.  Fiction Open - $21.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Hi
   
Before I discovered your website I’d never even thought of trying my luck in a writing competition. My stories were a very private part of my life, I was (and for the most of the time still am) very convinced that they are not good enough for the ‘outside world’.
     I don’t know what made me try - call it a crazy moment of self-confidence - but here I am the October winner of the Cazart short story competition. I haven’t felt so good about myself in months. It might not seem like a big deal to the world but for me it means everything. And it would not have happened if it wasn’t for your wonderful website.
     Thank You very much.                                         -  Dorota Nocun

 


Added
 1.3.18

 

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award.  This annual contest from Asthetica magazine is for Short fiction running to no more than 2,000 words and poetry of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.8.18.
    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
 2.3.18

 

ACW Journalism Competition.  This contest from the Association of Christian Writers is for topical articles of up to 1,000 words.  Your aricle doesn’t necessarily have to have a Christian slant (see the advice on the comp page). 
    Closing: 31.8.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £25 book token.  2nd - £10 book token.  Winners will be published in Christian Writer , a magazine distrbuted to 800 ACW members.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £5 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.7.18

 

Children’s Society Creative Writing Competition.  This contest from registered charity The Children’s Society, and Viking Press (an imprint of Penguin Random House) is part of the society’s Seriously Awkward campaign for vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds.  It is for stories of up to 2,000 words on the theme of 16 and 17 year olds.  There is information on the website regarding what to write.  The contest has two age categories for entrants: 16 to 25, and 26 and over.  Bestselling author Emma Healey will be judging..
    Closing: 31.8.18.
    Prize: The winner in each age category will receive exclusive feedback from a top mainstream literary agency (Darley Anderson and David Higham Associates), plus writing goodies.  Runners-up will receive writing gifts.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Updated
  1.8.18

 

TXTLit Micro Story Competition.  For this contest you need a mobile phone.  Well, everyone’s got one, haven’t they?  No.  There’s still one person in the UK who hasn’t.  Me.  I don’t like phones of any sort.  I have one that plugs into the wall but I never answer it when it rings.  I think: ‘They’ll ring again if it’s important.’  They seldom do, and if they do I never answer it and they never ring again - which proves they were just time-wasters.  Now, I may seem to be rambling a bit here, but hey, what do you know, this turns out to be relevant because you mustn’t ramble in this competition.  Limit your stories to 154 characters (letters and spaces, not people), and while you’re about it, refrain from using abbreviated TXT gibberish, as this is not welcome.  At last - someone is fighting back on behalf of the English language!  There is a different theme each month.
    Closing: 31.8.18.
    Prize: Just the satisfaction of being the winner.
    Entry Fee: None.
    Website:
Click Here.

 


Added
 6.5.18

 

Cheshire Prize for Literature.  This contest from the University of Chester is for short stories running to no more than 1,500 words.  There is no theme.  To be eligible to enter you need to have lived, studied or worked at some point in Cheshire, Wirral, Warrington or Halton.  Documentary evidence may be requested, they say.  So if nobody made a documentary about you while you were there, I’m afraid you’ve had it ... although it’s possible I’ve misunderstood this requirement.
    Closing: 1.9.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £2,000.  Additional prize money of £750 will be awarded, but the precise details were not revealed to me at the time of writing.  The best entries will be published.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
14.7.18

 

Planet Essay Competition.  This is an essay contest requiring between 1,500 and 2,000 words from writers under the age of 30.  Planet is a magazine based in Aberystwith.  It publishes writing mainly on Welsh topics, writing that is ‘in-depth yet sufficiently accessible for a non-specialist readership’.  They say they would welcome creative and unconventional ways of exploring the essay form, but thankfully this is not compulsory.
    Closing: 1.9.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £200 plus publication in the mag and other items.  Runners-up - A year’s subscription to the mag.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.6.18

 

Franze Wright Prize for Poetry.  Here’s another contest with good specs from Eyewear Publishing.  It is for full collections of poetry.  Manuscripts should be between 48 and 120 pages.
    Closing: 6.9.18.
    Prize: $2,000 and publication by Eyewear Publishing.  The book will be distributed in the UK and USA.
    Entry Fee: $15.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.8.18

 

Harvill Secker Crime Writing Competition.  This one from publisher Harvill Secker and Bloody Scotland seeks a BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) crime writer.  To enter, send in the first 5,000 words of an unpublished crime novel plus a full plot outline.  Imagine the outcry if a promoter ran a competition for whites only!
    Closing: 9.9.18.
    Prize: A publishing contract with Harvill Secker and a £5,000 advance, plus mentoring sessions and an Arvon writing course.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page: Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.18

 

New Voices Novel 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: 14.9.18.
    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
14.7.18

 

Elmet Poetry Prize.  This contest from the Elmet Trust, an organisation which celebrates the life and work of Ted Hughes, is for poems written in response to Epiphany by Ted Hughes.  If you are not familiar with it, Google it (other search engines are available).
    Closing: 14.9.18.
    Prizes : £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 

 

 

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
14.7.18

 

Ted Hughes Young Poets Award 2018.  This contest from the Elmet Trust, an organisation which celebrates the life and work of Ted Hughes, has three age categories: 6 to 10, 11 to 14 and 15 to 18.  The task is to write a poem in response to the final three lines of My Own True Family by Ted Hughes.  These are shown on the comp page.
     Closing: 14.9.18.
    Prizes (in each category): £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
19.7.18

 

The Val Wood Prize 2018 : Women’s Writes.  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.  This year the contest is celebrating 100 years since woman won the right to vote.  Stories should therefore have a strong female protagonist.  Other than that you are free to write about anything you wish.  Length should be limited to 1,500 words.
    Closing: 15.9.18 (5pm).
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25, £25.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.7.18

 

Magma Poetry Pamphlet Competition.  Here’s another contest from the poetry magazine Magma which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary next year.  It is for poetry collections of between 18 and 34 pages.
    Closing: 25.9.18.
    Prize: The winner’s pamphlet will be published and given a launch reading.  The winner and three others will have a poem published in Magma.
    Entry Fee: £22.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.8.18

 

Erewash Writers Open Short Story Competition.  This worldwide contest from Erewash Writers in Derbyshire is for stories of up to 2,500 words on any theme.
    Closing: 27.9.18.
    Prizes: £100, £70, £30.  Two highly commended writers will receive free entry into next year’s contest.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two, £2.50 thereafter.  There is an additional charge of £1 if making online payment.  A cash donation to charity will be made if there are enough entries.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.7.18

 

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 17, 2019.  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: 28.9.18 (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:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.5.18

 

Bedford International Writing Competition.  This annual not-for-profit contest from Bedfordshire, home of the famous Shuttleworth Collection (old aeroplanes and cars) is for stories of up to 3,000 words and poems running to no more than 40 lines.
    Closing: 30.9.18..
    Prizes (in each cetegory): £500, £150, £100.  In addition there is the Bedford Prize for local residents: £100 in each category.
    Entry Fee: £6 each, £12 for three.  Full-time students: £4 each, £8 for three.  Net proceeds will be donated to charity.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.6.18

 

Hammond House International Literary Prize.  This contest from Hammond House Publishing is for short stories of between 2,000 and 5,000 words, poems of any length, and screenplays of up to 10 pages (approx. 10 minutes duration).  In all categories the theme is Precious (this is intended to be inspirational, not restrictive, they say).
    Closing: 30.9.18.
    Prizes: Short Story - £500, £100, £50.  Poetry - £100, £50, £25.  Screenplay - 1st - £25 and the script professionally produced on film and submitted to the AESTHETICA Film Festival.  Runners-up will receive a short 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:
Click Here

 

 

 

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

 


Added
 3.7.18

 

Galley Beggar Short Story Prize.  This contest from Galley Beggar Press of Norwich is for stories of up to 6,000 words.  The Guardian has described Galley Beggar as ‘A tiny publisher with a cartload of guts.’  So now you know what they do to writers who don’t obey the rules.
    Closing: 30.9.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000 or 12 months of editorial support from the directors of Galley Beggar Press.  Shortlisted writers receive £150, while those on the longlist get £50 in book vouchers and a 4-book subscription to Galley Beggar Press.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
14.7.18

 

Caterpillar Story Prize 2018.  This themeless contest from children’s magazine The Caterpillar, the younger sibling of Irish literary magazine The Moth, is for stories of up to 1,500 words by adults, aimed at children aged 7 to 11.
    Closing: 30.9.18.
    Prize: 1,000 euros.
    Entry Fee: 12 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
15.7.18

 

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: 30.9.18.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50, 5 x £30.  Best Humorous Poem: £50.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £10 for four.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.8.18

 

National Memory Day Poetry Competition.  This year’s contest has two categories.  First there’s the National Memory Day Poetry Prize, sponsored by Literature Works.  Second there’s the Primary Carer Voice Prize sponsored by The Alzheimer’s Society.  This latter category is for writers with direct experience of caring for someone with memory loss.  In both cases the theme is ‘Memory’.  Poems should not exceed 40 lines.
    Closing: 5.10.18.
    Prizes (in each category): £700, £200, £100.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £2 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

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
10.4.18

 

NUHA Blogging Prize. Back for the eighth year running is this international blogging competition from the NUHA foundation, a registered charity based in England.  The contest was established ‘as a platform to debate issues of education and development, and to provide an opportunity for authors to be published and to develop their self-confidence’.  It doesn’t matter if English is your first, second or third language - you will be judged on the quality of your argument and the originality of your ideas.  There are three age categories: Adult, Youth and Young Writer.  Each category has a different writing task.  Entries will be posted on the website, and you can get your family and friends to vote for your entry and comment on it.  Well, you can try.
    Closing: 13.10.18 (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, $400, £150.  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:
Click Here.

 


Added
 7.7.18

 

Eyelands International Book Awards.  This contest from the literary magazine Eyelands based in Greece is, as the name indicates, for books.  You can submit a published book or an unpublished book, but in both cases it must be all your own work.  The categories include poetry, novel, novella, and short story collection.
    Closing: 20.10.18 (midnight PST).
    Prizes: Grand Prize (Published Books) - A 5-day holiday in Athens plus a handmade ceramic and online publication of excerpts of your book.  Grand Prize (Unpublished Books) - Publication by Strange Days Books.  There are additional prizes of handmade ceramics and certificates.
    Entry Fee: $30.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 6.5.18

 

Troubadour International Poetry Prize.  Time to roll out the old 'grounds for celebration’ pun again.  Yes, it’s the annual international contest from Coffee-House Poetry, with its usual generous prizes.  And as usual, it’s for poems of up to 45 lines on any subject.  These lines, take note, must fit on an A4 or US letter size page, so you can forget about having lines that are 200 words long (and if you want to know why, here’s a clue: the judges will be reading all of the submitted poems.  This year’s judges are Daljit Nagra and Jo Shapcott.
    Closing: 22.10.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £2,000.  2nd - £1,000.  3rd - A week long writing course at an Arvion centre of your choice.  There are also numerous runners-up prizes.  Winners wll be invited to read with the judges at Coffee-House Poetry on prize night in November.
    Entry Fee: £6 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 2.6.18

 

Dinesh Allirajah Prize.  This freebie from Manhester’s Comma Press and the University of Central Lancashire is for stories of between 2,000 and 6,000 words on the theme of Scent.  Along with your story you must submit a covering letter, as specified on the website.
    Closing: 26.10.18.
    Prizes: £500.  Shortlisted entries will be featured in an ebook anthology.
    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
 6.5.18

 

Momaya Poetry Competition. This is the first poetry contest from Momaya Press of London in the UK and Roxbury in the USA.  Open worldwide, it is intended to be an annual event.  The theme this year is Love and there is a word limit of 1,500.
    Closing: 30.10.18.
    Prizes: £70, £35, £20.  Winners along with up to 50 Honourable Mentions will be published in the Momaya Poetry Review 2018.  The three winners will receive a free copy.
    Entry Fee: £7.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
 1.7.18

 

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: ‘Let all man know thee, but no man know thee thoroughly.’
    Closing: 31.10.18.
    Prizes: £750, £500.  Winners will be published on The Telegraph website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
16.7.18

 

The Plough Poetry Prize.  Arr, it be that time again.  The Plough Prize is back for its umpteenth annual appearance.  It comes from the Plough Arts Centre in Torrington, Devon.  It is for poems of up to 10 lines (Short Poem) or up to 40 lines (Open Poem) in any style and on any subject.  The judge this year is Pascale Petit.
    Closing: 31.10.18.
    Prizes: I’m tempted to say ploughs, but I think I’ve done that one before.  The prizes are actually quite useful amounts of money: £1,000, £500, £250.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
16.7.18

 

Bare Fiction Prize 2018.  This contest from Bare Fiction magazine of Shrewsbury is for poems of up to 40 lines, short stories running to no more than 3,000 words, and flash fiction that reaches its conclusion in 500 words or fewer.  To avoid any misunderstandings, I should perhaps mention that the magazine is not aimed at nudists so you do not need to strip off to write your story ... although if it gets your creative juices flowing, don’t let me discourage you (unless you write while commuting).
    Closing: 31.10.18.
    Prizes (in each category): £500, £200, £100, 2 x £25.
    Entry Fees: Short story - £8, flash fiction - £6, poetry - £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 

 

 

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

 


Added
 1.8.18

 

Kimberley Chambers Kickstart Prize.  To enter this novel-writing contest from mainstream publisher HarperCollins, top literary agents Peters, Fraser & Dunlop, and bestselling gangland crime novelist Kimberley Chambers, you submit the first three chapters of your unpublished novel plus a 500-word synopsis and a short paragraph about yourself and why you need a kickstart.
    Closing: 31.10.18.
    Prize: A £1,000 bursary to help with writing essentials (they suggest a laptop, I suggest coffee, alcohol, counselling).  The winner will also receive an offer of representation from Peters, Fraser & Dunlop.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.8.18

 

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: 31.10.18.
    Prizes: 1st - £100.  Runner-up - A bundle of goodies including a Retreat West Bronze Membership and a writing critique.
    Entry Fee: None, but you can make a donation if you so desire.
    Comp Page :
Click Here

 


Added
 1.8.18

 

NAWG Open Writing Competition.  This annual contest from the National Association of Writers’ Groups has two categories: short story and poetry.  Stories should be between 500 and 2,000 words, while the poems should have no more than 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.10.18.
    Prizes (in each category): £200, £100, £50.  Winning entries may be published in the anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5 for a single poem or short story.  You can enter three poems for £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.8.18

 

NAWG Novella Competition.  This open contest from NAWG is, as the name indicates, for novellas.  You are invited to send 5,000 words plus a synopsis.
    Closing: 31.10.18.
    Prizes: £300, £200, £100.  The prize money must be spent on book printing, although not necessarily on printing the work entered.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
22.1.18

 

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: 31.10.18.
    Prizes: £500, £200.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.7.18

 

Everything With Words Urban YA Competition.  This contest from new publisher Everything With Words is for first young adult novels of between 40,000 and 70,000 words, set in a real city in today’s multicultural Britain.  To enter you submit the completed novel plus a summary of up to 500 words.
    Closing: 30.11.18.
    Prize: £1,000 and possible publication of your novel.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
15.7.18

 

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: 30.11.18.
    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:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.8.18

 

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: 30.11.18.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros, publication in Southword Journal, a week’s residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre and a trip to Cork to visit the Cork International Poetry Festival (with 4 night’s accommodation and up to 600 euros travel expenses).  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 30 euros.
    Entry Fee: 5 euros each, 20 euros for five.
    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
 1.8.18

 

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: 31.12.18.
    Prizes: 1st - 10,000 euros.  Runners-up (3) - 1,000 euros.
    Entry Fee: 12 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
17.6.18

 

Holland Park Press Poetry Competition.  Here is another contest from Holland Park Press of London.  It is for poems of up to 50 lines on the theme of Brexit.
    Closing : 31.12.18.
    Prize: £200.  The winner and runners-up will be published in the online magazine.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
16.7.18

 

W&A Yearbook Short Story Competition 2019.  This annual freebie from the venerable writers’ handbook Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, is for stories of up to 2,000 words aimed at adults.  There is no theme this time round.
    Closing: 13.2.19.
    Prize: A place on one of Arvon’s Clockhouse writing retreats, plus your story published on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
11.6.04

 

L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Competition.  This US contest is open worldwide and is for short stories of up to 17,000 words.  They should be science fiction, fantasy or horror with fantastic elements.
    Closing: Quarterly.
    Prizes: $1,000, $750, $500.
    Entry Fee: None.
    Website:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.9.11

 

Dear Michael
     Just to say a big ‘Thank You’ for your work on the website. I have been selected for publication in the Mirador competition which ran last year and have been awarded 3rd place in the Stringybark Speculative Fiction competition. To be published twice is like a dream for me, which the information found on your site made possible. Thanks again.
                                                                                    -   Pat Davies

 
  

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

 
    
  

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

                                       The Typo Goblin

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

                                                                           
- Michael Shenton

 
  

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

 
       


Disclaimer

                                    
My Humorous             This is the Prizemagic website                   Poem:
      
Verse                Email comps@prizemagic.co.uk                Being a
    & Songs            Copyright:  Michael Shenton  2018             Writer

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