Stiff Competition - the novel

Details

Writing Comps

Current UK Writing Competitions

Stiff Competition - the novel

Details


 
 

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

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

 
  

UK Writing Competitions (currently 69)

 


Updated
  4.5.16

 

Writers’ Forum Short Story Competition.  There is a new contest in each issue of this 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 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
  4.5.16

 

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

 


Addad
30.4.16

 

Cinnamon Press Debut Collection Prize.  This annual contest from Welsh publisher Cinnamon Press is for poems of up to 40 lines.  Your entry should consist of 10 poems.
    Closing: Annually - end of November.
    Prizes: £300 plus a publishing contract.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
 30.4.16

 

Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet Prizes.  Entries for ths one should comprise 15 to 25 poems of up to 50 lines each.
    Closing: Annually (end of March).
    Prizes: A publishing contract plus 30 copies of the pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  29.4.16

 

Cinnamon Press Short Story Award.  This is for stories of between 2,000 and 4,000 words.
    Closing: annually (end of May).
    Prize: £500, £100, £50, plus publication.
    Entry Fee: £12 (includes a free copy of the winners’ anthology).
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Updated
 29.4.16

 

Cinnamon Press Debut Novel/Novella Prize.  To enter this you submit the first 10,000 words of your novel or novella.
    Closing: Anually (end of July).
    Prize : £500 and a pulishing contract.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
12.7.09

 

WriteOnSite Writing Competition.  This, they say, could be described as literary open mic.  The competition opens at 5.30pm GMT every Saturday, at which point three themes are given.  You choose your theme, pay your entry fee and then write.  You have just 20 minutes to complete your story.  Three entries are then chosen to be read and judged by all the other entrants during the following week.  Only for the brave.
    Closing: Every Saturday.
    Prize: £40.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 6.7.09

 

Telegraph ‘Just Back’ Travel writing Competition.  If you are just back from somewhere a little 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 the currency of your choice.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  27.6.10

 

The Write Place Novel Competition.  This contest has now been cancelled by the promoters (The Write Place Creative Writing School) following my comments about the alleged value of the prize (publication) and the nature of the publishing firm (Pneuma Springs Publishing) supplying it.  Although the promoters are blaming me for ruining a worthwhile competition, I consider the cancellation to be their acceptance that my comments were spot on.
    Pneuma Springs Publishing offers services which are deemed by the book trade to be vanity publishing.  If anyone is unclear about the meaning and implications of this term, they should read the
free Occasional Paper on Vanity Publishing by the Society of Authors: Click Here.

 
    
  

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

 


Updated
15.12.15

 

Daggerville Games Writing Competition.  This monthly contest from Daggerville Games is for short pieces of writing (up to 250 words) on a different theme each month.  The theme for April - and I apologise if it is no longer April and I’ve not updated this - is ‘The Perfect Murder’. You have to ‘Like’ the firm on Facebook to enter, but other than this requirement to be free and easy with your affections, there is no cost.
    Closing: End of each month.
    Prize: $50 Amazon voucher.
    Entry Fee : None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
27.1.15

 

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

 


Added
21.5.12

 

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

 


Updated
  1.4.16

 

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: 30.6.17, 30.9.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £300 and publication in Words With Jam.  2nd - £200.  3rd - £100.  Highly Commended - A copy of The Writer’s ABC Checklist.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £8 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 31.3.15

 

Cultured Vultures Poem of the Week.  This one from American website Cultured Vultures (‘We eat your words’) is open to all comers and is for poems of any type.  To enter you submit three plus a short bio.
    Closing: Weekly.
    Prize: Publication on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
18.4.15

 

NAWG 100 Words CompetitionThis ongoing contest from the National Association of  Wig Growers - or possibly Writers’ Groups - is for tales of exactly 100 words.  Now, it will almost certainly turn out that some of you don’t understand the meaning of the word ‘exactly’, so let me explain that it is not 99 words or fewer, nor is it 101 words or more.  It’s bang on 100.
    Closing: Ongoing.  Each round ends when 100 entries have been accepted.
    Prizes (in each round): £75, £25.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £5.50 for two, £8 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
21.9.15

 

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

 


Added
13.6.17

 

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

 


Added
17.6.16

 

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

 


Added
 1.5.17

 

The Short Story Prize 2017.  This contest for unpublished writers comes courtesy of the National Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury.  It is for fairy tales aimed at children aged 8 to 12.  Entries should be between 2,000 and 4,000 words and include a 350-word synopsis.  The idea is to re-imagine a fairy tale.
    Closing: 25.6.17.
    Prizes: Bloomsbury will publish the winning entries in an ebook which will be sold to raise money for The National Literacy Trust.  The selected writers will each receive £200.
    Entry Fee: £30.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.5.17

 

Creative Future Literary Awards.  Here we have a free contest for ‘under-represented’ writers living in the UK.  Now, being rejected by mainstream agents and publishers does not for the purpose of this competition qualify you as under-represented.  But there is a long list of things that will qualify you, including disability, substance abuse, homelessness, long term unemployment, being a carer and being over 65 - so it might be worth your while to check.  The contest is for poetry of up to 200 words and short fiction running to no more than 300 words.  The theme is ‘Important Nothings’.  Alas, I have searched in vain for a link on the website to ‘What The Hell Do You Mean By That?’, so I guess you will have to give it your own interpretation.
    Closing: 26.6.17 (5pm).
    Prizes (in each category): 1st - £200, a Chapter and Verse Mentorship and a ‘meet the professional’ consultation.  2nd - £150, an online writing course of your choice and a manuscript assessment from The Literary Consultancy.  3rd - £100 cash and £100 in vouchers for courses with your local writing development agency.  4th - £50 cash and a voucher for a course with Creative Future.  Runners-up (2) - A voucher for a workshop with Creative Future.  All winners will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
22.5.17

 

Erewash Writers Writing Competition.  This contest from Erewash Writers of Long Eaton in Derbyshire is for writing of any type on the theme of Books.  You are allowed up to 5,000 words but this will cost you more than if you limit your entry to 2,500 or 500.
    Closing: 29.6.17 (noon).
    Prizes: 1st - Publication on the website, a choice of book from the list on the website, and free entry into the Open Short Story Competition.  Five further winners will be published on the website and will be able to choose prize from the list.
    Entry Fee: Up to 500 words - £2.  Up to 2,500 words. - £3.  Up to 5,000 words - £6.  A cash donation to charity will be made from any profit from entry fees.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
29.3.14

 

Dear Michael, 
     Thank you for maintaining your informative and witty list of writing competitions.
     I entered loads of them last year and got precisely nowhere, but I ploughed on regardless and have just won second prize (£100) in the Flash 500 Humour Verse contest, which would suggest that your friend Percy Vere might be onto something.
                                                                             -  Melanie Branton

 


Added
22.5.17

 

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: 30.6.17.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros and your manuscript published as a chapbook, with 50 free copies.  2nd - 500 euros and your manuscript published as above, with 50 free copies.
    Entry Fee: 25 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.4.17

 

The Moth International Short Story Prize.  Here’s another annual contest, this time from The Moth magazine in County Cavan, Ireland.  They learned their lesson a couple of years ago about having no word limit, so now you’re limited to 6,000.
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prizes: 1st - 3,000 euros.  2nd - a week’s writing retreat at Circle of Misse in France with 250 euros.  3rd - 1,000 euros.  The winning stories will be published in the mag.
    Entry Fee: 12 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
18.4.17

 

Henshaw Short Story Competition.  This regular contest from Henshaw Press of Northampton is for stories of up to 2,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.3.14

 

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
 1.5.17

 

The Brighton Prize.  This annual contest from Rattle Tales Limited of Brighton in Sussex is for flash fiction of up to 350 words and short stories ranging between 1,000 and 2,000 words.
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prizes: Short Story - £1,000, 2 x £100.  Prize for writer resident in Sussex - £100 in book tokens.  Flash Fiction - £100, 2 x £50.
    Entry Fee: Short Stories - £8.  Flash Fiction - £6.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
13.3.17

 

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.
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prizes : £700, £200, £100, and 4 @ £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, £3.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.3.17

 

Prole Books Pamphlet Competition.  This poetry competiton from Prole Books of Abergele in Wales is for pamphlet collections of no more than 35 A5 pages.
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prize: £50 and 15 copeis of the pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £12.

 


Added
 1.4.17

 

Impress Prize.  This international contest from Impress Books at the University of Exeter aims to discover new writing talent.  It is for fiction and non-fiction books.  To enter you submit a sample chapter of no more than 6,000 words, plus a synopsis or contents list, an author biography, and various other information as specified on the Entry Requirements page.
    Closing: 30.6.17 (5pm).
    Prizes: A publishing contract with Impress Books.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
20.4.17

 

BFS Short Story Competition.  This contest from the British Fantasy Society is for stories of up to 5,000 words that fit within the broad fantasy genre.  This covers fantasy, science fantasy, horror, supernatural, fabulation, magic realism and others I’ve never even heard of (see comp page).  The judge is award-winning editor Allen Ashley.
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 plus BFS membership.  2nd - £50 plus BFS membership.  3rd - £20.  Winners will be published in BFS Horizons.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
28.5.17

 

BCSA Writing Competition.  This one 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.  Brexit is suggested as a theme but this is not compulsory.  The contest is open to all.
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prizes: £300, £100.  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.

 

 

 

Dear Michael
     I won this year's Cinnamon Press Short Story competition. I wouldn't have known about this excellent small publishing press without your listings site. I just wanted to share with you my success (but not the prize money, obvs).
     Best wishes,                                                         - Kerry Hood

 


Added
 1.6.17

 

TLM Poetry Competition 2017.  This international contest from the UK’s oldest literary journal, The London Magazine, is for poems of up to 40 lines on any theme.  The magazine was first published in 1732, they say, and has hosted poetry from the likes of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.  On the strength of this they claim it is the country’s most prestigeous literary journal, but it hasn’t been graced by any of my immortal lines so I should take that claim with a pinch of salt (I’ve never sent them anything, but that’s no excuse).
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prizes: £500, £300, £200.  Winners will be published in the mag.
    Entry Fee: £10 for the first, £5 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.4.17

 

Wells Festival of Literature Writing Competition .  Here we go again with the famous Wells Litfest and its three competitions - Poetry, Short Story and Book for Children.  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 40 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.
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prizes: Poetry, Short Story, Children’s (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.
    Entry Fee: £6.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  1.6.17

 

TXTLit Micro Story Competition.  For this contest you need a mobile phone.  Well, everyone’s got one, haven’t they?  No.  There’s still one person in the UK who hasn’t.  Me.  I don’t like phones of any sort.  I have one that plugs into the wall but I never answer it when it rings.  I think: ‘They’ll ring again if it’s important.’  They seldom do, and if they do I never answer it and they never ring again - which proves they were just time-wasters.  Now, I may seem to be rambling a bit here, but hey, what do you know, this turns out to be relevant because you mustn’t ramble in this competition.  Limit your stories to 154 characters (letters and spaces, not people), and while you’re about it, refrain from using abbreviated TXT gibberish, as this is not welcome.  At last - someone is fighting back on behalf of the English language!  There is a different theme each month.
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prize: £50.
    Entry Fee: £1 plus the normal cost of sending a text message (no use asking me what that is).
    Website:
Click Here.

 


Added
 28.5.17

 

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 (okay, even by my standards that’s a crummy pun, but I didn’t sleep well last night).  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: 1.7.17.
    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 2017 anthology, and 20 will be performed by the Live Canon Ensemble during the prize-giving event at Greenwich Theatre.
    Entry Fee: £6.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 12.1.17

 

Pennine Ink Short Story Competition.  This year’s contest from the Pennine Ink Writers’ Workshop in Burnley is for short stories of up to 500 words on the theme of  Chemistry.  You have to be 18 or over to enter, but you can be located anywhere in the world.
    Closing: 7.7.17.
    Prize: £50.  The winning entry will be published in Pennine Ink and on the website.
    Entry Fee : £3 for one, £5 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here:

 


Added
 30.4.17

 

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: 10.7.17.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 30.4.17

 

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 prize-winning poet Fiona Sampson MBE.
    Closing: 13.7.17 (5pm).
    Prizes: Adults: 1st - £1,000 plus a residential writing course at Ty Newydd, the National Writers’ Centre for Wales.  2nd - £500.  3rd - £250.   12-17 category - £100, £50, £25.  11 and under category - £25, £15, £10 (all in book tokens).
    Entry Fees: Adults - £5 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.  Young People and Children get the first entry free and pay £1.50 each for any subsequent entries.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.5.17

 

Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2017.  ‘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: 14.7.17 (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
 1.6.17

 

PENfro First Chaper Competition.  This offering from the PENfro Book Festival in Pembrokeshire is for novel openings of up to 3,000 words by unpublished authors.  The work submitted must be for adults.  This includes teens, they say.  Adult at 13, eh?  They grow up fast in Wales.  They also have something against sci-fi and fantasy it seems, as these are not required in this competition.
    Closing: 14.7.17.
    Prizes: 1st - Your first chapter comprehensively reviewed by literary scout David Llwelyn who will work with you over several months to help you get your novel to a publishable standard.  He will also review your synopsis and covering letter (not required for the contest).  2nd and 3rd - Your first chapter reviewed by David Llwelyn (also your synopsis and covering letter).
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 4.5.17

 

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 ‘Light’, but on the subject of how this is to be interpreted, there is no illumination.  I know some of you find the rules of these contests too tiresome to bother with, 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 is?  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: 16.7.17.
    Prizes: Adult - £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 (with ID to prove it), it’s £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.6.17

 

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.  These should contain an element of myth, folk tale or legend.  Before you get started on a yarn with a cast of thousands, see the notes on the website re the number of characters.
    Closing: 30.7.17.
    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
 1.10.14

 

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

 


Added
 1.6.17

 

Bradford on Avon Arts Festival Poetry Competition.  Here we have a poetry contest with a line limit of just 20 on the theme of Flights of Fancy.  Shortlisted poets will be invited to read their entries at prize-giving event at the festival.
    Closing: 30.7.17.
    Prizes : £500, £150, £100.  There are in addition prizes for local entrants.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.6.17

 

PENfro Open Poetry Competition.  This contest from the PENfro Book Festival in Pembrokeshire is for poems of up to 40 lines based loosely on a myth or legend.  The judge is poet, performer, educator and editor Susan Richardson.
    Closing: 30.7.17.
    Prizes: £300, £125, £75.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.6.17

 

Green Alphabet Writing Prize.  This contest from Flipside, the East Anglian literary and arts festival, is for inspirational writing about the environment.  This can be poetry or prose, the former having a line limit of 40, the latter a word limit of 500.  You have to choose a letter from the alphabet and use it in some way in your green piece of writing.  There are two categories: Adult and Under 16.  I bought a ‘bag for life’ five years ago and it’s still going strong.  However, over the years I’ve used a whole roll of duct tape patching it up.  Does that count as green?
    Closing: 31.7.17.
    Prizes: Adult: £500.  Under 16: £200.  Runners-up will receive Waterstones vouchers.
    Entry Fee: Adult - £3.  Under 16 - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Updated
 30.4.17

 

David Burland Poetry Prize 2017.  This international contest, now in its tenth year, is for poems of any length in any style.
    Closing: 31.7.17.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  Runners-up - a copy of Michel Francois and Friends .  The winning writers will have their work published in the anthology: Poetic Art.
    Entry Fee: £8 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.5.17

 

Sterts Theatre One-Act Play Competition.  This annual contest from Sterts Theatre in Cornwall  is for plays for up to four adult actors, with a running time of between 25 and 35 minutes.  Plays can be on any theme and set in any location but must be suitable for a low-ceilinged studio space (so no extremely tall characters or flying witches).  There is also a Cornish category for plays with a Cornish theme (written in English, because nobody in Cornwall speaks Cornish).  As always, read the guidelines.  You need to be 18 or over to enter.
    Closing: 31.7.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 plus performance of your play in Sterts Studio.  Runners-up (2) - unsecified prizes plus a rehearsed reading of your play.
    Entry Fee: £7.
    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
 30.4.17

 

Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition.  This annual contest from Norwich Writers is for stories of up to 2,000 words.
    Closing: 31.7.17 (email), 17.7.17 (postal).
    Prizes: 1st - £400, £250, £100.  The top ten shortlisted stories will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £8.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
14.5.17

 

WB Limerick Competition.  This contest from Writers Bureau is for limericks.  Not much more I can say really ... although your entry does have to be your own work.
    Closing: 31.7.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 plus a Writers Bureau course.  Runners-up (2) - £50 plus a year’s membership to the Association of Freelance Writers.
    Entry Fee: £5 for four limericks (or fewer if you can’t manage four), then £1 for each additional entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
 23.2.17

 

Gem Street: Dystopia Short Story Competition.  This international contest from Lobello Press of Tipperary in Ireland is for dystopian stories running to a maximum of 3,500 words.  Along with your entry, you will need to include a brief bio of up to 70 words.
    Closing: 14.7.17.
    Prizes (in euros): 500, 200, 100.  Finalists will receive a free copy of the contest anthology.
    Entry Fee: 7 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
 1.5.17

 

I Must Be Off Travel Writing Competition.  This recurring contest from the I Must Be Off website is for travel articles of up to 1,000 words about the place that changed you.  Like that visit to Megaluf when you got drunk and woke up with a penis tattooed on your forehead, and you now have to wear a balaclava every time you go out - not a good look for a woman.  Your entry can be informative, humorous, quirky or, as with my example, profound.  You can include up to three photos, but these are not obligatory.
    Closing: 31.7.17.
    Prizes (in euros): 200, 50, 50.  Proceeds from entry fees will be added to these amounts.  Top entries will be published on the website with the author’s permission.
    Entry Fee: Up to May 31, entry is free.  After that, it’s £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
23.5.17

 

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: 31.7.17.
    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, drinks and VIP access to the literary stars at the Cork International Short Story Festival (13-16 September 2017).  2nd - 500 euros.  Runners-up (4) - 120 euros.  All six winners will be published in the literary journal Southword.
    Entry Fee: 15 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.5.17

 

Winchester Poetry Prize.  This 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: 31.7.17.
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, £250.  Winners will be invited to read their entries at special prize-giving event at Winchester Poetry Day on October 14.  Winning and commended poems will appear in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
 2.4.17

 

Artificium Short Fiction & Poetry Prizes.  This one from Artificium, a journal of new fiction and poetry, has two categories: Short Story and Poetry.  The former is for stories of up to 4,000, while the latter has a line limit of 40.
    Closing: 31.7.17.
    Prizes (in each category): £350, £75, £50.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £9 for two, £12 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.5.17

 

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2017.  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 7,600 young people from across the world submitted their work last year.  Poems can be any length and on any subject.
    Closing: 31.7.17.
    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.  I’ve been to some of these events and there’s generally free booze.  Fellow poets can usually be relied upon to supply some weed too.  Best not mention this to your parents.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  You can enter up to six poems 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
14.5.17

 

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

 


Added
14.3.17

 

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

 

 

 

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

 


Added
11.6.17

 

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

 


Added
24.3.17

 

Soundwork Monologue Competition.  Soundwork-uk is a not-for-profit website which makes audio recordings (plays, poems, stories, monologues) available to the listener free of charge.  To enter the contest you submit a monologue script of any length up to 15 minutes duration, on any subject.
    Closing: 31.8.17.
    Prize: Your monologue recorded by Soundwork and, along with your photo, placed on the site.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.6.17

 

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

 


Added
 7.1.17

 

Cheshire Prize for Literature.  This contest from the University of Chester is for a piece of writing for children (age range 7 to 14), either in prose or verse, the former having a word limit of 1,500, the latter a line limit of 100.  To be eligible to enter you need to have lived, studied or worked at some point in Cheshire, Wirral, Warrington or Halton.  Documentary evidence may be requested, they say.  So if nobody made a documentary about you while you were there, I’m afraid you’ve had it ... although it’s possible I’ve misunderstood this requirement.
    Closing: 1.9.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £2,000.  Additional prize money of £750 will be awarded, but the precise details were not revealed to me at the time of writing.  The best entries will be published.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.3.17

 

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

 


Added
23.5.17

 

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

 

 

 

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

 


Added
 1.5.17

 

Manchester Writing Competition.  This international contest from Manchester Writing School at the Manchester Metropolitan University celebrates ‘the substantial cultural and literary achievements of Manchester’ of which I am unable to give an example at this time.  My childhood memories of Manchester are centred around Moss Side where my father for a time ran a fast-food business (chip shop, as we called it back then).  I was kept locked in the cellar peeling spuds, with a 15-watt incandescent light bulb for company.  It was there in that creepy dungeon, while peering into the dark corners, that I developed my vivid imagination - not to mention my nervous twitches.  Culture?  Literature?  Be serious.  But times, I suppose, have changed.  So let us return to the competition, which is for poems and short stories.  To enter the Poetry Prize you submit a portfolio of three to five poems, these to consist of no more than 120 lines in total.  For the Fiction Prize the requirement is for a story running to no more than 2,500 words in any genre.
    Closing: 29.9.17.
    Prize (in each category): £10,000.
    Entry Fee: £17.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.3.17

 

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

 


Added
 1.5.17

 

Bedford International Writing Competition.  This annual not-for-profit contest from Bedfordshire, home of the famous Shuttleworth Collection (old aeroplanes and cars) is for stories of up to 3,000 words and poems running to no more than 40 lines.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes (in each cetegory): £300, £150, £100.  In addition there is the Bedford Prize for local residents: Story - £100.  Poem - £100.
    Entry Fee: £6 each, £12 for three.  Net proceeds will be donated to charity.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
18.4.17

 

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

 


Added
22.6.17

 

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

 

 

 

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
15.5.17

 

Taking Flight Playwriting Competition and Festival.  This contest from Red Dragonfly Productions and Grist to the Mill Productions is open to new and emerging British East Asian, South Asian and South East Asian writers aged over 18.  It is for family-friendly stage plays with a performance time of 30 minutes to an hour, and no more than five actors (they can take more than one part if required).  There is no set theme.  In the first instance, you only need to submit a full description of your idea on one A4 page.
    Closing: 1.10.17.
    Prizes: £1,000 to each writer whose play is performed at the Festival.  Up to ten writers will be invited to a one-day workshop and from that, three will be chosen to have their plays produced and performed.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
18.4.17

 

NUHA Blogging Prize. Back for the seventh year running is this international blogging competition from the NUHA foundation, a registered charity based in England.  The contest was established ‘as a platform to debate issues of education and development, and to provide an opportunity for authors to be published and to develop their self-confidence’.  It doesn’t matter if English is your first, second or third language ... you will be judged on the quality of your argument and the originality of your ideas.  There are three age categories: Adult, Youth and Young Writer.  Each category has a different writing task.  Entries will be posted on the website, and you can get your family and friends to vote for your entry and comment on it.  Well, you can try.
    Closing: 15.10.17 (midnight PST).
    Prizes: The prizes depend on sufficient entries being received.  Adult - (up to) $2,500, $1,200, $500.  Youth Prize - (up to) $1,000, $400, $150.  Young Writers - (up to) $250, $100, $50.  There is a possibility of matched prizes for teachers and schools ($1,000 and $250 - click text link on comp page for details).
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
15.5.17

 

The Caledonia Novel Award.  This international contest from Edinburgh is open to unpublished and self-published debut novelists.  It is for stories of at least 50,000 words in any adult or young adult genre.  To enter you email the first 20 pages of your novel followed by a 200 word synopsis.  If longlisted you will be expected to submit the full manuscript by 6.12.17.  The judge is literary agent Madeleine Milburn.
    Closing: 1.11.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000.  There is in addition a special prize for the best entry from the British Isles and Ireland of a place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre.  This is in the Scottish Highlands 14 miles from the nearest pub.  There will be no trains and possibly no road.  You will therefore complete your journey on a donkey, accompanied by native guides and sherpas.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
18.4.17

 

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

 


Added
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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>>>>>>>>>>>>>   Books for Writers - Improve your Skills   <<<<<<<<<<<<<

 
  

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

 
    
  

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

                                       The Typo Goblin

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

                                                                           
- Michael Shenton

 
  

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

 
        


Disclaimer

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

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