Stiff Competition - the novel

Details

Writing Comps

   Writing Competitions UK (and Others)

Stiff Competition - the novel

Details


 
 

This is a comprehensive list of the most worthwhile (and genuine!) writing competitions currently available.  Genres include short story, flash fiction, novel, poetry, children’s, etc.  Most, but not all, are from the UK. All competitions on this site are carefully vetted.  Many are open worldwide.

     Bear in mind that contests with smaller prizes attract fewer entries and are therefore easier to win ... unless they are free to enter.

                                                                            -  Michael Shenton

 
  

Writing Competitions 2020 (currently 67)

 


Updated
27.4.19

 

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

 


Updated
27.4.19

 

Writers’ Forum Poetry Competition.  This monthly contest from the glossy magazine Writers’ Forum is for poems of up to 40 lines on any thme.
    Closing: Monthly.  Entries arriving too late for one month automatically go forward to the next.
    Prize : £100 and a Chambers dictionary.
    Entry Fee: £7 (includes a short critique).
    Comp Page:
WF Poetry Contest.

 


Updated
 27.4.19

 

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

 


Updated
27.4.19

 

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

 


Added
27.4.19

 

Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet Prize.  Entries for this open contest from Wales are invited from beginners and established poets. Submit 15 to 25 poems of up to 50 lines each.
    Closing: Annually - 31 March.
    Prizes (4): A publishing contract plus 30 copies of the pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Cinnamon Poetry.

 

 

 

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

 


Updated
 27.4.19

 

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

 


Added
27.4.19

 

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

 


Added
22.1.18

 

Flash 500 Competition.  This quarterly flash fiction contest, which offers higher prize money than many similar competitions, is for stories of up to 500 words on any theme.
    Closing : 30.6.20, 30.9.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £300.  2nd - £200.  3rd - £100.  Highly Commended - A copy of Bad Moon Rising.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £8 for two.
    Comp Page:
Flash 500 Story.

 
    
  

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

 


Updated
  6.7.20

 

Wordhound Children’s Writing Competition.  This international weekly freebie from Wordhound (which offers content writing, design and translation services) is open to children aged 12 and under, and is for funny, weird or otherwise unique creative writing based on a prompt on the website.  The prompt changes for each week’s contest.  Your entry can be up to 300 words.
    Closing: Last Thursday of each month.
    Prizes: Goodie bags and stationery, plus publication on the Wordhound blog.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Wordhound

 

 

 

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
23.6.20

 

George Floyd Short Story Competition.  This freebie from Nottingham Writers Studio is intended to be an annual event.  The promoters wish to encourage BAME writers as, they say, there are not enough of them being published.  But, they add, the contest is open to all.  However, you do have to enclose a photo of yourself with your entry, so I’m not sure it’s going to be a level playing field for those not in the BAME category.  Stories should run to no more than 5,000 words.  The competition page gives detailed info on the type of stories required.
    Closing: 14.8.20.
    Prizes: £250, £125, £75.  Other submissions may be published in the planned ‘Black Lives’ anthology, and if they are, their writers will each receive £30.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
NWS George Floyd

 


Added
20.6.20

 

Charroux Memoir Prize.  This contest from the Charroux Litfest in south west France is for short fiction of between 1,000 and 1,500 words, and poetry of up to 40 lines in any form.  The theme in both cases is Truths.  Your entry must be in English.
    Closing: 15.8.20.
    Prizes (in each category): £200, £100, £100.
    Entry Fees: Poetry - £5 for one, £7.50 for two, £10 for three, £12 for four.  Short Fiction - £8 for one, £14 for two, £20 for three.
    Comp Page:
Charroux LF

 


Added
8.6.20

 

Buzzwords Poetry Competition.  This one from the Buzzwords poetry group of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire is for poems of up to 70 lines.
    Closing: 22.8.20.
    Prizes: Open - £600, £300, 5 x £50.  Gloucestershire Prize (for Gloucestershire residents only) - £200.
    Entry Fee: Postal - £3 each, £10 for three.  Online - £4.35 each, £8.70 for two, £11 for three.
    Comp Page:
Buzzwords Poetry

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Raconteur Story Competition.  The challenge for this month’s contest from Canadian e- and print magazine Raconteur is to write a story running to just 12 words.  Submissions will be judged on readings, ratings and reviews.
    Closing: 26.8.20 (11.59pm Eastern Time).
    Prizes: 1st - $100.  2nd and 3rd - One year’s e-mag subscription.
    Entry Fee: $3.  This covers one month’s subscription to the e-mag.  If you don’t want to enter any more of the monthly writing comps, you need to unsubscribe.
    Comp Page:
Raconteur

 

 

 

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
4.7.20

 

Midsummer Mystery Contest.  This is an American competition which requires you to submit your completed mystery/suspense story of at least 7,500 words for posting on the website.  Inkitt, they say, has 2 million users, so this is a chance to showcase your work.  The winner will be chosen by an algorithm based on reader engagement - a combination of likes, reads, reviews and shares.
    Closing: 31.8.20.
    Prizes: $950 in total cash prizes, exclusive Inkit badges, and social media features.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Inkitt Mystery

 


Added
22.4.20

 

Save As  International Writing Competition.  This international contest from SaveAs Writers of Canterbury in Kent is for poetry of up to 60 lines and stories running to no more than 3,500 words.  The theme is ‘Post Apocalypse’.
    Closing: 31.8.20.
    Prizes (in each category): £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fees: Poetry - £3 each, £8 for three.  Stories - £4 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
SAW Apocalypse

 


Added
5.6.20

 

The Val Wood Prize 2020:.  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.  It is for stories of up to 2,000 words featuring a feel-good, optimistic theme. There is another category (The Yorkshire Prize) for residents of Yorkshire, with the theme of The Yorkshire Coast.  Again, the word limit is 2,000.
    Closing: 31.8.20 (5pm).
    Prizes: 1st - £100 and entry published on the website. Runners-up - £50, £25.  Yorkshire Prize - £100 and publication on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Val Wood Prize.

 


Added
2.5.20

 

Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition.  Here we have a return of the annual international poetry contest from the Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland.  To enter, you submit 16 to 24 pages of poetry in English.
    Closing: 31.8.20.
    Prizes: 1,000 euros, 500 euros. Winners also receive chapbook publication with 25 complimentary copies.  In addition, both winners will be offered a reading and 3 nights’ accommodation at the Cork International Poetry Festival.
    Entry Fee: 25 euros.
    Comp Page:
Fool Poetry.

 


Added
1.6.20

 

Exeter Story Prize.  To enter this annual contest from Creative Writing Matters of Exeter you submit a story of up to 5,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: 31.8.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £500.  2nd - £150..  3rd - £100.  Trisha Ashley Award - £200.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Exeter Novel.

 

 

 

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
21.6.20

 

Impress Prize.  This international contest from Impress Books at the University of Exeter aims to discover new writing talent, so it’s only open to those who have not had a book traditionally published.  It is for fiction and non-fiction books, for adults and YA (but not children).  To enter, you submit a book proposal of up to 1,000 words, a sample chapter of no more than 6,000 words, plus a synopsis of up to 1,000 words (see Entry Requirements on T&C page).
    Closing: 31.8.20.
    Prizes: £500, a publishing contract with one of Untold Publishing’s imprints and a place at a writing retreat.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
Impress Prize.

 


Added
26.5.20

 

MTP Short Story Competition.  Here’s a repeat of last year’s contest from Michael Terence Publishing of Oxford.  Now open to all authors worldwide, it is for fiction, science fiction and non-fiction (biography, memoir, etc) running to no more than 3,000 words.
    Closing: 31.8.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £500 plus an anual all-access Masterclass pass.  2nd - £300. 3rd - £200.  Winners will be published online and in a print and e-book anthology (the title of this will be taken from the top winning story).
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
MTP Story Comp.

 


Added
26.5.20

 

Hysteria Writing  Competition.  This freebie is open open to all writers of any age and nationality.  It is for entries in four catergories: Short Story up to 600 words, Flash Fiction up to 100 words, Poetry up to 12 lines, and Under-16s entering any of the aforementioned categories.
    Closing: 31.8.20.
    Prizes: £25 in each category. The winners and nine others will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry. Normally there is a charge but this has been waived due to the coronavirus pandemic.
    Comp Page:
Hysteria Writing

 


Added
6.5.20

 

Chalk Circle Short Story Competition.  This inaugural contest from the Chalk Circle writers’ Group in West Sussex is for stories of up to 2,000 words aimed at adults.
    Closing: 31.8.20.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  The best stories, they say, will either be published on the website or featured in their shorts anthology (the Circle’s range of summer wear, I believe).
    Entry Fee: £6.
    Comp Page:
Chalk Circle .

 


Added
2.2.20

 

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award.  This annual contest from Aesthetica Magazine is for Short fiction running to no more than 2,000 words and poetry of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.8.20.
    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:
Aesthetica Award.

 


Added
7.7.20

 

Edinburgh Flash Fiction Awards.  Here’s a quick one from the Scottish Arts Trust.  Open worldwide, it is for stories of up to 250 words on any subject.  There is an additional prize - the Golden Hare Award for hares - I mean writers - who live in Scotland.
    Closing: 31.8.20.
    Prizes: Edinburgh FF Award - 1st - A trophy and £600.  2nd - £300.  3rd - £150.  Golden Hare Award - A trophy and £300.  No entrant can win both awards.  Winners will be published in an anthology.  The top 20 writers will be invited to participate in something called a Flash bash in Edinburgh.
    Entry Fee: £6.
    Comp Page:
Edinburgh Flash

 

 

 

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

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Next Chapter Award.  This annual bursary (to win which you compete against others - so it’s a competition) comes courtesy of the Scottish Book Trust.  It is open only to emerging writers over 40 who are based in Scotland.  Genres include Poetry, Novel, Short Story, Narrative Non-Fiction and Children’s.  To apply, you submit a sample of your work and other written items as listed on the comp page.  The sample can be up to 2,500 words (short stories or an extract from a longer work plus a synopsis), or 140 lines of poetry.
    Closing: 2.9.20 (noon).
    Prize: £2,000.  The award is to allow you to focus on your work, they say, so I assume they expect you to stop wasting valuable writing time trying to earn a living.  If that’s the case, I think they need to add another zero to that amount.  But hey, in addition to the cash, you get nine months of mentoring from a writer or industry professional, a two week retreat at Moniack Mhor (a creative writing centre in the Highlands, with haggis for dinner every day or just once a week if you behave yourself), plus PR, performance and presentation training, plus the opportunity to showcase work to publishers and agents.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Next Chptr Award.

 


Added
7.7.20

 

Southam Bookfest Flash Fiction Competition.  Although the book festival has been postponed, the contest goes on.  Stories of up to 100 words Including the phrase ‘tripped over’ are invited.
    Closing: 4.9.20 (noon).
    Prizes: £50, £30, £20.
    Entry Fee : £2 each, £8 for six. The winning entry may be published in the Southern Advertiser.
    Comp Page:
Southam Bookfest

 


Added
17.6.20

 

Sustainable Societies Children’s Novel Competition.  This contest from the University of Southampton has two categories: Pre-school illustrated books aimed at children aged 2 to 6 (1,000 words max), and books aimed at Young Readers aged 7 to 11 (2,500 words max).  Stories should show a positive vision of what a sustainable society might look like (e.g.: everyone living in caves with no mod-cons, but enjoying it).  Alternatively, you could smuggle green solutions, policies/characters into an otherwise mainstream story.
    Closing: 14.9.20.
    Prizes:  Best Pre-school book - £200.  Best Young Readers book - £200.  The top entries will be read by a literary agent from Curtis Brown.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Green Stories

 


Added
17.6.20

 

New Voices Competition.  This international contest from London-based mentoring service Adventures in Fiction requires you to submit the first page of your novel and a one-page synopsis.
    Closing: 14.9.20.
    Prizes: A start-up mentoring package (normally costing £550) which includes manuscript appraisal, a consultation and a development strategy.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
New Voices.

 


Added
1.7.20

 

Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition.  Two categories in this one from Oxford Brookes University: Open, and English as a Second Language.  If you are a young Internet user/texter who only seems to have English as a second language, then you should enter the Open category.  Whichever category you choose, your poem should run to no more than 50 lines.
    Closing: 14.9.20 (11pm).
    Prizes (in each category): £1,000, £200, £200.
    Entry Fee: £5 each for the first three, £4 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
OB Poetry Comp

 


Added
21.4.20

 

Query Letter Book Blurb Competition.  Here’s something a little different.  It comes from American website QueryLetter.com.  Your task is to write a back-cover blurb for a hypothetical novel.  You have up to 100 words to set the stage, introduce the characters and make readers want to find out more.  I’m thinking: ‘As Jim clung on to the frayed rope he’d grabbed as he slipped over the cliff while taking a selfie with the stranger who had now run off with his wallet, he wondered what would happen to his cute little poodle, currently shut in the kitchen back home, if the rope should happen to - aghhhh ...’   Of course, this is more a cliff-hanger than a blurb, but I’m sure you get the idea.
    Closing: 15.9.20 (noon US Eastern Time).
    Prize: $500.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Query Letter.

 


Added
4.4.20

 

Moth Nature Writing Prize. This inaugural contest from Irish magazine The Moth is for nature writing of up to 4,000 words.
    Closing: 15.9.20.
    Prize: 1,000 euros and a week at The Moth Retreat (don’t take any woollen garments).
    Entry Fee: 15 euros.
    Comp Page:
Moth Nature Writing.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
1.8.20

 

NAWG 100x100 Competition.  Here we have a repeat of the annual open-to-all flash fiction contest from the National Association of Writers’ Groups.  Stories should be exactly 100 words.  For important info on word counts, see the footnote on the 100x100 T&Cs page.
    Closing: 15.9.20 (noon).
    Prize: £100.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £5 for two.
    Comp Page:
NAWG Open.

 


Added
1.6.20

 

Prole Pamphlet Competition.  To enter this annual contest from Prole Books you submit 20 to 40 A5 pages of poetry in any style and on any subject.  They’re looking for work that engages, entertains and challenges.
    Closing: 16.9.20.
    Prize: £200 and 25 copies of the pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £12 for the first, £8 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Prole Pamphlet

 


Added
6.3.20

 

Manchester Writing Competition.  This international contest from Manchester Writing School at the Manchester Metropolitan University was originally inaugurated to celebrate ‘the substantial cultural and literary achievements of Manchester’, of which I am unable to give an example at this time.  My childhood memories of Manchester are centred around Moss Side where my father for a time ran a fast-food business (chip shop, as we called it back then).  I was kept locked in the cellar peeling spuds, with a 15-watt incandescent light bulb for company.  It was there in that creepy dungeon, while peering into the dark corners, that I developed my vivid imagination - not to mention my nervous twitches.  Culture?  Literature?  Be serious.  But times, I suppose, have changed.  So let us return to the competition, which is for poems and short stories.  To enter the Poetry category you submit a portfolio of three to five poems, these to consist of no more than 120 lines in total.  For the Fiction Prize the requirement is for a story running to no more than 2,500 words in any genre.
    Closing: 18.9.20 (5pm).
    Prize (in each category): £10,000.
    Entry Fee: £18.00.
    Comp Page:
MMU Writing Comp.

 


Added
2.7.20

 

Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair 2020.  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 12, 2021.  If this sounds attractive and you are prepared to gamble a pretty thick wad of currency (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, but the completed novel must be at least 55,000 words.
    Closing: 25.9.20.
    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: 55 euros.
    Comp Page:
Novel Fair:

 


Added
5.6.20

 

Troubadour International Poetry Competition.  For this annual international contest, you submit a poem of no more than 45 lines.  The judges are Mona Arshi and Mark Doty.
    Closing: 28.9.20.
    Prizes : £2,000, £1,000, £500.
    Entry Fee: £5
    Comp Page:
Troubadour Poetry.

 

 

 

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
12.6.20

 

The Henshaw Short Story Competition.  This recurring contest from Henshaw Press of Northampton is for stories running to no more than 2,000 words on any subject.
    Closing: 30.9.20.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  Winners will be published on the website and in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £6.  Optional critique: £12.
    Comp Page:
Henshaw Story.

 


Added
24.6.20

 

Hammond House International Writing Competitions.  This offering from Hammond House Publishing at University Centre Grimsby, is for short stories of between 1,000 and 5,000 words, poems of up to 40 lines, and screenplays of up to 10 pages (approx. 10 minutes duration).  In all categories the theme is Survival (this is intended to be inspirational, not restrictive, they say).
    Closing: 30.9.20.
    Prizes: Short Story - £500, £100, £50.  Poetry - £100, £50, £20.  Screenplay - 1st - £100 and a trailer of the script.  Runners-up will receive a trailer of their script.  Shortlisted story and poetry entries will be published.  There will be a televised awards ceremony.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
HH Lit Prize

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Prize.  This regular visitor from the USA has now become two competitions in one - the Tom Howard Prize and the Margaret Reid Prize.  The former is for poems in any style, while the latter is for traditional verse as defined on the competition page.  In both cases the line limit is a very generous (some might say extravagant) 250.
    Closing: 30.9.20.
    Prizes: Tom Howard Prize (any style) - $£,000 + gift certificate.  Margaret Reid Prize (traditional verse) - $3,000 + gift certificate.  In addition there will be ten Honourable Mention awards of $200.  The Dishonourable Mention awards have been dropped this year following several suicides.  I wrote that last bit on April 1st.
    Entry Fee: $12.
    Comp Page:
TH & MR Poetry.

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Crowvus Christmas Ghost Story Competition.  This is the fourth of these ghost story contests from the far north of Scotland where the wind moans in the night like a lost soul.  As per last year, there is a word limit of 4,000.  As well as the adult category, there are two categories for children: aged 10 and under, and 11 to 16.  The word limit is the same.
    Closing: 30.9.20.
    Prizes: Adult category - £100, £75, £50.   Children (in each categoriy - a £50 one4all gift card.  All shortlisted stories may be published in an anthology and their writers will receive a free copy.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two.  Children - free entry.  No more than 2 stories per entrant.
    Comp Page:
Crow Ghost Story.

 


Added
25.6.20

 

Perito Prize 2020.  This international competition from Perito Ltd is for stories of between 1,000 and 2,000 words on the themes of inclusive environments, inclusion and accessibility - concepts which touch upon the lives of many people due to disability, discrimination, inaccessibility, social exclusion and more.  Entries will be judged on the originality of ideas, voicing what accessibility, inclusivity and inclusive design means to the entrant. Your story can be in writing or presented as a mini audio book.
    Closing: 1.10.20.
    Prize: £500.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Perito Prize

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Bath Flash Fiction Award.  This recurring international contest from Bristol is for short fiction of up to 300 words.  There is no set theme.  You are probably wondering about the contest’s name: why Bath?  Well, it’s like this: I have no idea.
    Closing: 11.10.20.
    Prizes: £1,000, £300, £100, 2 x £30.
    Entry Fee: £9 for one, £15 for two, £18 for three.
    Comp Page:
Bath Flash.

 


Added
23.7.20

 

Eyelands Book Awards.  This is the third of these international book award contests from literary magazine Eyelands and Strange Days Books in Greece.  There are two categories: Published Book and Unpublished Book.  Acceptable genres are Poetry, Novella, Short Story Collection, Novel, Children’s Book, Historical Fiction, Memoir, Graphic Novel.
    Closing: 20.10.20.
    Prizes: Unpublished Book - Translation into Greek and publication by Strange Days Books.  Published Book - a 5-day holiday in Athens, a special handmade ceramic and publication of extracts online and on the Eyelands website.  Runners-up (10) - Special handmade ceramics.  All winners receive a certificate, ideal for hanging on the wall where your visitors are sure to see it (i.e. next to the drinks cabinet).
    Entry Fee: $22 up to Sept 1st, then $30.
    Comp Page:
Eyelands Book

 


Added
1.7.20

 

Dinesh Allirajah Prize.  This freebie from Manchester’s Comma Press and the University of Central Lancashire is for stories of between 2,000 and 6,000 words on the theme of Home.  Along with your entry, you must submit a covering letter containing your name, address, email, contact number and story title (don’t be tempted to throw in a few gags in an effort to influence the judges: they’ll just think you’re trying to compensate for a lousy story).  If shortlisted, you will be expected to do your best to attend the prizegiving event in Leeds.
   Closing: 23.10.20.
    Prizes: £500.  Shortlisted entries will be featured in an ebook anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
DA Prize

 


Added
1.6.20

 

Momaya Poetry Competition. This is the third poetry contest from Momaya Press of Bonn in Germany and Roxbury in the USA.  Open worldwide, it is intended to be an annual event.  The theme this year is ‘Touch’, and there is a word limit of 1,500.
    Closing: 30.10.20.
    Prizes: £70, £35, £20.  Winners along with up to 50 Honourable Mentions will be published in the Momaya Poetry Review.  The three winners will receive a free copy.
    Entry Fee: £7.
    Comp Page:
Momaya Poetry.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
2.7.20

 

Poetry Society National Poetry Competition.  In 1983 Carol Ann Duffy won this contest and 26 years later she became the Poet Laureate.  So if you’re hoping to become an overnight sensation, this is probably not the ideal starting point.  But there are compensations.  The top cash award is one of the best in the business, and the second prize isn’t bad either.  Your poem should run to no more than 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000.  Runners-up (7) - £200.
    Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
PSNPC.

 


Added
2.7.20

 

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: ‘Glass, China and Reputation are easily crack’d, and never well mended.’
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes: £750, £500.  Winners will be published on The Telegraph website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
BenFrankLit.

 


Added
2.5.20

 

Bedford Writing Competition.  This annual not-for-profit contest from Bedfordshire, home of the famous Shuttleworth Collection (old aeroplanes and cars) is for stories of up to 3,000 words and poems running to no more than 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes in each category (Poetry, Short Story, Young Writers): £500, £150, £100.  In addition there are special Seniors prizes £500, £150, and £100 for entrants aged 70 or over.  Then there is the Bedford Short Story Prize of £100 for a local resident.  Shortlisted and winning entries will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £6 each, £12 for three.  Full-time students: £4 each, £8 for three.  Net proceeds will be donated to charities helping coronavirus victims.
    Comp Page:
BWC.

 


Added
1.7.20

 

Melita Hume Poetry Prize.  This year’s Melita Hume poetry prize from Eyewear Publishing is, as usual, for first full-length collections by a poets aged 35 or under, resident in the UK or Ireland.  To enter, you submit between 48 and 100 pages.
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes : Publication with a £2,000 advance.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page:
Melita Hume Prize

 


Added
1.7.20

 

Black Spring Crime-writing Prize 2020.  Here’s another competition with good specs from Eyewear Publishing (now the owner of Black Spring Press).  It is for full length crime novels with a minimum length of 50,000 words.  The promoters say they are looking for something fresh, something that breaks away from the genre’s stereotypes.  I wrote something like that for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger competition some years ago.  ‘Dare to be different!’ they’d said on the contest page.  So I did.  The novel reached the shortlist but got no further.  One of the judges said, ‘This writer will be good when they can decide which genre they’re writing for.’  So I would advise caution when being different and breaking away form the stereotypes.
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes: A $1,000 advance and publication by Black Spring Press.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
BSC Crime Prize

 


Added
3.8.20

 

SLQ Poetry Competition.  This regular contest from Sentinel Literary Quarterly is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject and in any style.
    Closing: 31.10.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £250.  2nd - £100.  3rd - £50.  Runners-up - 3 x £30, 3 x £15, 3 x paperback copy of SLQ mag.  Prizewinning poems will be published in the mag in print and online.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £8 for two, £10 for three, and so on.
    Comp Page:
SLQ Poetry.

 


Added
23.6.20

 

ACW Novel Competition.  To enter this contest from the Association of Christian Writers you submit the first chapter of your completed novel (2,000 words max excluding the title).  Any genre is acceptable, and stories do not need to have Christian content.  Shortlisted entrants will be asked to submit the whole work.
    Closing: 1.11.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 and an interview in Christian Writer.  Runners-up (2) - £10 book token and some publicity in Christian Writer.
    Entry Fee: £8 (£5 for members).
    Comp Page:
ACW Novel

 


Added
1.8.20

 

The Caledonia Novel Award.  This international competition from Edinburgh is open to unpublished and self-published debut novelists.  It is for stories of at least 50,000 words in any adult or young adult genre.  To enter, you email the first 20 pages of your novel (lines to be double-spaced) followed by a 200 word synopsis.  If longlisted you will be expected to submit the full manuscript by 6.12.20.  The judge is Laura Williams, literary agent at Greene & Heaton Ltd.
    Closing: 1.11.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,500.  There is in addition a special prize for the best entry from the British Isles and Ireland, comprising a place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre.  This is in the Scottish Highlands, possibly 14 miles from the nearest pub.  There will be no trains and quite likely no road.  You will therefore complete your journey on a donkey, accompanied by native guides and sherpas.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
Cal Novel Award.

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Fish Short Story Competition.  Stories of up to 5,000 words are invited for this contest from Fish Publishing based in southern Ireland.
    Closing : 30.11.20.
    Prizes: 1st - 3,000 euros and a 5-day short story workshop at the West Cork Literary Festival.  2nd - A week’s residency at Anam Cara Writers’ retreat and 300 euros.  3rd - 300 euros.  Honourable Mentions (7) - 200 euros.  The top 10 stories will be published in the Fish Anthology 2021.
    Entry Fee: 20 euros for the first, 10 euros thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Fish Short Story.

 


Added
1.6.20

 

Snapshot Press Book Awards 2020.  This poetry contest from Snapshot Press of Ormskirk is for  book-length collections of between 60 and 100 haiku, tanka and other short poetry up to 25 lines including any blank lines (prose poems and haibun up to 200 words).  Poems must not have been previously published in a collection.
    Closing: 30.11.20.
    Prizes: Publication by Snapshot Press.
    Entry Fee: £20 per collection.
    Comp Page:
Snapshot Short Poetry.

 


Added
2.7.20

 

Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism.  This annual international  contest from the Observer  newspaper is for reviews of new work in the arts.  Entries should be limited to 800 words.
    Closing: 30.11.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £3,000 plus publication in the Observer.  Runners-up (2) - £500.  There will be an awards ceremony at the Guardian Media Group headquarters in London.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
AB Arts Journalism

 

 

 

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
2.7.20

 

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: 30.11.20.
    Prizes: 1st - 2,000 euros, publication in Southword Journal, and a week’s residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, plus hotel and board at the Cork International Poetry Festival (March 2021).  2nd - 500 euros and publication in Southword Journal.  3rd - 250 euros and publication in Southword Journal.  Runners-up (10) - publication in Southword Journal and a fee of 50 euros.
    Entry Fee: 7 euros each, 30 euros for five.
    Comp Page:
Greg OD Poetry.

 


Added
1.6.20

 

Soundwork-uk Monologue Competition.  This international contest from Soundwork-uk is for monologues of up to 10 minutes suitable for audio broadcast.  The monologue may have been previously published.
    Closing: 30.11.20.
    Prize: The winning script will be produced and recorded in a studio with a professional actor.  The recording will be made available to an existing listener base and the world via the Soundwork-uk website and SoundCloud.  The winner’s photo will be included on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Soundwork

 


Added
2.7.20

 

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: 31.12.20.
    Prizes: 1st - 6,000 euros.  Runners-up (3) - 1,000 euros.  Commended (8) - 250 euros.
    Entry Fee: 15 euros.
    Comp Page:
Moth Poetry Comp.

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Novella-in-Flash Award.  This unusual annual contest from Bristol is for novellas of between 6,000 and 18,000 words made up of individual flashes (or chapters) of up to 1,000 words each.  Further details are of course to be found on the website.  I did start to go through them once but I ran out of time and ended up with little additional insight. ‘Mysterious and tricky’ are two of the explanatory words I recall from one of the previous judges, so this is not for writers who need a literary road map to guide them every step of the way.  Check out the comments by this year’s judge for more guidance.
    Closing: 17.1.21.
    Prizes: £300, £100, £100.  Winners will be published in the novella collection and will each receive 5 copies.
    Entry Fee: £16.
    Comp Page:
Novella Flash.

 


Added
10.4.20

 

The Ó Bhéal Five Words International Poetry Competition.  Here’s another corker from Ireland. It’s from County Cork to be exact, and it’s for poems of up to 50 lines (including line breaks).  Entries must feature the five words given on the competition page for that week.  A shortlist of 12 poems will be selected after the final closing date next January, and the winner will be chosen from that.  Ó Bhéal, incidentally, is a weekly poetry event in Cork (and as you probably know, the word itself is Irish for ‘word of mouth’).
    Closing : Every Tuesday at noon until 26.1.21.
    Prizes: 750 euros, 500 euros, 250 euros.  The three winners will be invited to read at Ó Bhéal’s anniversary event in Ireland on 12.4.21, with travel expenses of 100 euros and B&B accommodation.
    Entry Fee: 5 euros.
    Comp Page:
Ó Bhéal Five Words.

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Fish Short Memoir Competition. This annual contest from Fish Publishing in Ireland is for memoirs of up to 4,000 words.
    Closing: 31.1.21.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - A week on a writers’ retreat at Casa Ana at La Alpujarra in Spain, plus 300 euros.  3rd - 200 euros.  The best 10 entries will be published in the Fish Anthology 2021.
    Entry Fee: 18 euros for the first, 10 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Fish Memoir.

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Lancashire Authors’ Association Open Competition.  Appearing annually, this contest from Lancashire where I spent two happy years as a child  (I was there for three, but let’s not go into that) is for stories running to exactly 100 words excluding the title.  For those of you who adopt a flexible approach to our laguage allow me to warn you that in Lancashire they don’t.  Therefore the word ‘exactly’ will not be interpreted by the judges as meaning ‘give or take one or two’.
    Closing: 31.1.21.
    Prize: £100.
    Entry Fee: £2 each or £5 for three.
    Comp Page:
LAA 100 Contest.

 
  

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

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Fish Flash Fiction Competition.  News Flash: It’s time for the annual Fish Publishing competition is for stories running to no more than 300 words.
    Closing: 28.2.21.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - 300 euros.  3nd - An online writing course with Fish.  The best 10 entries will be published in the Fish Anthology 2021.
    Entry Fee: 14 euros for the first, 8 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Fish Flash.

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Fish Poetry Competition.  Poems of up to 300 words are invited for this contest from Fish Publishing based in southern Ireland.  Billy Collins will again be judging.
    Closing: 31.3.21.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - A week’s residency at Anam Cara Writers’ retreat.  3rd - 200 euros.  The top 10 poems will be published in the Fish Anthology 2021.
    Entry Fee: 14 euros, for the first, 8 euros thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Fish Poetry.

 


Added
1.6.20

 

Momaya Short Story Competition.  Entries of up to 3,000 words are required for this annual international contest from Momaya Press.  Stories may be on any subject, although additional stories will be selected for publication in the Momaya Short Story Review if they fit the ‘Harmony’ theme.
    Closing: 30.4.21
    Prizes: £110, £55, £25.  Winners along with seven Honourable Mentions will be published in the Momaya Short Story Review 2020.  Other entries placed in the top 30 may also be published if they fit the ‘Outsiders’ theme.
    Entry Fee: £11.
    Comp Page:
Momaya Story.

 


Added
11.6.04

 

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

 

 

 

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

 
  

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

 
    
  

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

                                       The Typo Goblin

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

                                                                           
- Michael Shenton

 
  

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

 
       


Disclaimer

   My Humorous Verse  & Songs (sample)
     
                           T
his is the Prizemagic website
                           
Email comps@prizemagic.co.uk
                           Copyright:  Michael Shenton  2020

                                                           Poem: Being a Writer

 


 

 

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