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 2021 (currently 58)

 


Updated
16.2.21

 

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
16.2.21

 

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
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: 30.6.21, 30.9.21.
    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.

 


Added
16.2.21

 

Write Time Mature Stories Competition.  Here’s one for writers over the age of 60 who can turn their memories and reflections into stories of up to 1,500 words on any theme.
     Closing: Monthly (30.6.21, 30.9.21, 31.12.21).
     Prizes: 1st £50.  Runners-up (2) - £25.  Winners will be published in an anthology and on the website.
     Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two.
     Comp Page:
Write Time

 
    
  

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

 


Added
9.5.21

 

Secret Attic Short Story Competitions.  This monthly freebie from Secret Attic Press is for stories of up to 1,500 words on any theme.
    Closing: End of each month.
    Prize  A £20 Amazon voucher and publication in the Secret Attic booklet.  Selected entries will also be published.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Secret Attic.

 


Updated
 9.5.21

 

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

 


Added
25.6.21

 

Cranked Anvil Short Story Competition.  Cranked Anvil Press from Morpeth in Northumberland is seeking entries of up to 1,500 words on any theme for its latest short story contest.
    Closing: Quarterly.  Next: 31.7.21, then 31.10.21.
    Prizes: £150, £75, £30.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £8 for two, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Cranked Anvil Story

 


Added
25.6.21

 

Cranked Anvil Flash Fiction Competition.  And here’s another one from Cranked Anvil Press, this time for stories of up to 500 words on any theme.
    Closing Quarterly.  Next: 31.8.21, then 30.11.21.
    Prizes: £100, £25.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two.
    Comp Page:
Cranked Anvil Flash

 

 

 

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
23.8.20

 

Erewash Open Short Story Competition.  This contest from Derbyshire-based Erewash Writers is for stories of up to 2,500 words on any theme.
    Closing: 22.7.21.
    Prizes: £100, £70, £30.  There are also some runners-up prizes of free entry to 2022 comps and a charitable donation.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two, £2.50 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Erewash Themeless

 


Added
20.4.21

 

WB Poetry Competition.  This recurring contest from Writers Bureau in Manchester is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject and in any form.
    Closing: 31.7.21.
    Prizes: £300, £200, £100.  Winners receive in addition a Writers Bureau course of their choice.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
WB Poetry.

 


Added
1.5.21

 

Seán O'Faoláin International Short Story Competition.  This annual international contest from the Munster Literature Centre in Southern Ireland is for stories of up to 3,000 words on any subject and in any style.
     Closing: 31.7.21 (open for entries 1.5.21).
     Prizes: 1st - 2,000 euros, a one-week residency at Anam Cara Retreat, and a featured reading at the Cork International Short Story Festival.  2nd - 500 euros.  3rd - 250 euros.  Winners will be published in Southword.
     Entry Fee: 18 euros.
     Comp Page:
Munster Story Comp

 

 

 

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

 


Added
1.4.21

 

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2021.  This annual freebie from The Poetry Society is said to be the UK’s largest poetry competition for writers between the ages of 11 and 17.  It certainly attracts a lot of entries.  Over 6,000 young people from across the world submitted their work last year.  Poems can be any length, in any style and on any subject, but they must be in English.
    Closing: 31.7.21.
    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 a prize-giving event in October, to which all 100 winners will be invited.  I’ve been to some of these events and there’s generally free booze, plus fellow poets can usually be relied upon to supply some weed (best not mention this to your parents).
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  You can enter more than one poem but they make it clear they don’t want you bunging in any old rubbish to make up the numbers (they put it more subtly than that, but that’s what they mean).
    Comp Page:
Foyle Young Poets.

 


Added
13.5.21

 

SLQ Poetry Competition.  This regular international contest from Sentinel Literary Quarterly is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject and in any style.
    Closing: 31.7.21.
    Prizes: 1st - £250.  2nd - £125.  3rd - £75.  Runners-up - 3 x £30, 3 x £20, 3 x paperback copy of SLQ mag.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £8 for two, £10 for three and so on.
    Comp Page:
SLQ Poetry.

 


Added
1.6.21

 

Winchester Poetry Prize.  This annual contest from the Winchester Poetry Festival is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject and in any style.  It is open to anyone aged 16 or over.
    Closing: 31.7.21.
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, £250.  Winners will be invited to read their entries at a special prize-giving event if no Covid-19 restrictions remain in place to prevent this.  Winning and commended poems will appear in an anthology.  There is also a prize for the best poem written by a Hampshire-based poet.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Winchester Fest .

 


Added
1.6.21

 

Olga Sinclair Prize.  This annual international contest from Norwich Writers’ Circle is for fiction of up to 2,000 words.  This year’s theme is Lost.
    Closing: 31.7.21.
    Prizes: £500, £250, £100.  Winners and other shortlistees will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £9 for the first, two or more, £7 each.
    Comp Page:
Olga Sinclair Prize.

 

Added
1.7.21

 

Highlands and Islands Short Story Competition.  This contest is for amateur writers only.  It has two categories: Short Story up to 2,000 words, and Flash Fiction up to 500 words.  In both cases there is no theme, and no link to Scotland is required.  Unusual story lines are positively encouraged, say the promoters.
    Closing: 31.7.21.
    Prizes (in each category): £200, £75, £50.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £12 for three, £18 for five.
    Comp Page:
Highland & Islands

 


Added
25.12.20

 

Grindstone Short Story Prize.  This contest, say the promoters, is for the bold, the brave and the downright daring.  It is for a piece of fiction in any genre for adults.  Entries should be between 1,000 and 3,000 words.
    Closing: 1.8.21.  Early bird deadline: submit before 1.5.21 and receive the results of your submission early plus a reduced entry fee.
    Prizes: £500, £200, 4 x £50.  The top 20 entries will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £10.  Early bird - £8.
    Comp Page:
Grindstone short Story

 

 

 

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
8.6.21

 

Scribble Article CompetitionScribble magazine’s annual article competition is for 1,000 to 1,500 words on the theme of My Writing Inspiration.  That’s actually your writing inspiration, not mine.
    Closing: 1.8.21.
    Prizes: £50, £25, £15.  The winning entry will be published in the autumn edition of Scribble.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Scribble Article.

 


Added
1.7.21

 

Briefly Write Poetry Prize.  This freebie from the Briefly Write website celebrates and rewards bold, succinct writing.  To this end, your entry should not exceed 10 lines.  In those ten lines, say the promoters, there should be innovatuive language and strong imagery.
    Closing: 8.8.21.
    Prizes: There is a prize fund of £50.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Briefly Write

 


Added
1.6.21

 

Sustainable Societies Radio Play/Series Competition.  This freebie from the University of Southampton is for radio plays or series.  All genres considered: comedy, drama, science-fiction, mystery, crime, etc.   You can enter a drama running to 45 minutes, or a 6 x 30 minute series, or 5 x 15 minute series.  Entries should in some way touch upon ideas around building a sustainable society.
    Closing: 26.8.21.
    Prize:  Scrip appraisal and treatment by the Literary Consultancy.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Sustainable

 


Added
24.6.21

 

The Val Wood Prize 2021: Now & Then.  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 which celebrate societal changes that have made the world a better place for communities or individuals.  There is another category (The Yorkshire Prize) for residents of Yorkshire, with the theme of The Good Old Days.  Again, the word limit is 2,000.
    Closing: 28.8.21 (5pm).
    Prizes: 1st - £100 and entry published on the website. Runners-up.  Yorkshire Prize - £100 and publication on the website.  There are two further prizes of £50 and £25 for runners-up.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Val Wood Prize.

 


Added
1.6.21

 

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.  The theme is Hope and Unity.
    Closing: 31.8.21.
    Prizes: £50 in each category.  The winners and nine others will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Hysteria Writing

 


Added
1.6.21

 

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: 31.8.21.
    Prizes: 1st - £500.  2nd - £150..  3rd - £100.  Trisha Ashley Award - £200.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Exeter Story.

 

 

 

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
31.1.21

 

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: 31.8.21.
    Prize (in each category): £2,500 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
1.5.21

 

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 : 31.8.21.  Not open for entries until 1.6.21.
    Prizes: Edinburgh FF Award - 1st - A trophy and £1,000.  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

 


Added
3.5.21

 

Save As Creative Writing Competition.  This annual 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 this year is ‘Horizons’.
    Closing: 31.8.21.
    Prizes (in each category): £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fees: Poetry - £3 each, £8 for three.  Stories - £4 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
SAW Horizons.

 


Added
1.5.21

 

NAWG Short Story and Poetry Competition.  Here we have an open-to-all contest from the National Association of Writers’ Groups.  It is for for short stories of up to 2,000 words (minimum 500), and poems of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.8.21.
    Prize: £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee : £5 each.  If entering poetry, you can submit three for £10.
    Comp Page:
NAWG Open.

 


Added
16.6.21

 

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: 31.8.21.
    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
2.5.21

 

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: 13.9.21.
    Prizes: £500, the possibility of a publishing contract with one of Untold Publishing’s imprints and a place at a writing retreat.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
Impress Prize.

 

 

 

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
8.6.21

 

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: 14.9.21.
    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
4.4.21

 

Moth Nature Writing Prize. This international contest from Irish magazine The Moth is in its second year and is for nature writing (prose or poetry) of up to 4,000 words. Your entry should combine exceptional literary merit with an exploration of your relationship with the natural world.
    Closing: 15.9.21.
    Prize: 1,000 euros and a week at Circle of Misse in France.
    Entry Fee: 15 euros.
    Comp Page:
Moth Nature Writing.

 


Added
1.7.21

 

Beechmore Writing Competition.  For this international freebie from Beechmore Books (a stationery brand based in London) you submit a piece of fiction, nonfiction or poetry of up to 1,000 words on the theme of ‘perspective’.
    Closing: 25.9.21.
    Prizes: 1st - £200 plus a year’s supply of Beechmore journals (12 books).  2nd - £100 plus a six-month supply of Beechmore journals (6 books).
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Beechmore Writing

 


Added
1.6.21

 

Troubadour International Poetry Competition.  For this annual international contest, you submit a poem of no more than 45 lines.  The judges are John McAuliffe and Linda Gregerson.
    Closing: 27.9.21.
    Prizes: £2,000, £1,000, £500.
    Entry Fee: £5
    Comp Page:
Troubadour Poetry.

 


Added
1.7.21

 

LWB Page 100  Competition.  For this unusual contest from Louise Walters Books you submit the 100th page (or nearest full page) of your unpublished novel or novella.
    Closing: 30.9.21.
    Prizes: 1st - A £50 book token, a full report on your novel or novella, and four LWB books.  Runners-up (2) - A mini report on your entry, £25 and four LWB books.
    Entry Fee: £7.
    Comp Page:
LWB Comp

 


Added
4.7.21

 

Ovacome Writing Competition.  Ovarian cancer support charity Ovacome is looking for stories of up to 2,000 words on the theme of Connected for this, its second creative writing contest.  Anyone over over the age of 18 can enter.  Stories do not have to be about ovarian cancer.  The finalists will be judged by Jenny Agutter and Stephen McGann, stars of the BBC’s Call the Midwife series.
    Closing: 30.9.21 (5pm).
    Prizes: 1st - £250.  2nd - £50 Waterstones voucher.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Ovacome Support.

 

 

 

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
1.6.21

 

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 theatre, radio, film or TV scripts of up to 10 pages (approx. 10 minutes duration).  In all categories the theme is Stardust (this is intended to be inspirational, not restrictive, they say).  There is an additional category this year for Songwriting (lyrics or performed song).
    Closing: 30.9.21.
    Prizes: Short Story - £1,000, £100, £50.  Poetry - £500, £50, £20.  Script - £250.  Songriting - £100.  Shortlisted story and poetry entries will be published.  There will be a televised awards ceremony.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
HH Lit Prize

 


Added
1.5.21

 

Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair.  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 on the 11th and 12th of February 2022.  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 50,000 words.
    Closing: 30.9.21.  Opens for submissions on 1.9.21.
    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
1.5.21

 

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: 30.9.21.
    Prizes: Tom Howard Prize (any style) - $3,000 + 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.  The top 12 entries will be published online.
    Entry Fee : $12.
    Comp Page:
TH & MR Poetry .

 


Added
16.6.21

 

International Short Tales Competition.  This lucrative freebie from the César Egido Serrano Foundation in Spain is not for the faint-hearted, as its previous outing resulted in over 43,000 entries from 172 countries.  Still, it will give you some serious boasting rights if you win, and you only have to rattle out a maximum of 100 words (which you can do in your lunch break between sandwiches, right?).  Even better, there is no entry fee. The contest will be judged by the participants.
    Closing: 30.9.21.
    Prizes: 1st - $20,000.  There are also two prizes of $2,000 in each of the languages in the contest (English, Spanish, Arabic and Hebrew).
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
CES Foundation Comp.

 


Added
15.7.21

 

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.  Separate from the competition, writers aged 16 or under can obtain a free critique on a story of up to 2,000 words.
    Closing: 30.9.21.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  Winners will be published on the website and in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £6.  Optional critique: £14.
    Comp Page:
Henshaw Story.

 


Added
15.7.21

 

Manchester Cathedral 600 Poetry Competition.  Believe it or not, it’s 600 years since the founding of the collegiate church that grew into the present-day Manchester Cathedral.  Seems like only yesterday.  To celebrate this great occasion, the cathedral is running a contest for poems of up to 15 lines.  You are probably wondering why it isn’t 600 lines.  I suspect it’s because the judges threatened to resign.  Poems should reflect, express or connect with the cathedral in some way.
They should be broadly religious or spiritual in nature, but should appeal to people who would not normally describe themselves as religious.  All faiths are welcome, they say, as well as poems from people struggling to discover a sense of the sacred.
    Closing : 30.9.21.
    Prizes: 10 x £100.  The winning poems will be published in a celebration booklet.
    Entry Fee: £6 for the first, £2 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
MCPC 600.

 


Added
25.12.20

 

Grindstone International Novel Prize.  This contest is open to unrepresented unpublished or self-published authors only.  It is for finished or part-finished novels aimed at young adults or adults.  To enter, you submit a synopsis (300 words) and the opening 3,000 words of your story (they allow a 10% margin so you can end your opening at a natural break).
    Closing: 1.10.21.  There are two early bird closing dates: submit before 1.4.21 or 2.7.21 to receive the result of your submission early and pay a lower entry fee.
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, and 4 x £100.  The top 20 entries go into a chapbook which will be sent to the literary agents listed on the comp page, all of whom have requested a copy.
    Entry Fee: Depending on when you submit, £16, £18 or £20.
    Comp Page:
Grindstone Novel.

 


Added
2.6.21

 

Best of the Bottom Drawer Global Writing Prize 2021.  Here’s an interesting freebie from Eyewear Publishing.  It is for any writing in any genre and style from anywhere in the world, up to 1,000 pages (minimum 40).  There’s a list on the website of the sort of things you could submit, but basically it’s anything that uses words (and optional images, so you could submit a graphic novel).
    Closing: 16.10.21.
    Prize: A publishing contract with an advance.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Bottom Drawer.

 

 

 

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
7.6.21

 

Eyelands Book Awards.  This is the fourth 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: 20.10.21.
    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 (20 euros) up to Sept 1st, then $30 (27 euros).
    Comp Page:
Eyelands Book

 


Added
7.4.21

 

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.  Poet and novelist Patrick McGuinness will be judging the short stories, while the poetry will be judged by poet Anne Berkeley.
    Closing: 31.10.21.
    Prizes in each main category (Poetry, Short Story): £1,000, £200, £100.  There are in addition awards of £100 each in the Bedford Short Story Prize and the Bedford Poetry Prize, these being for local residents only.  Finally there are prizes for poetry writers and short story writers 25 and under (see website for details).  Shortlisted and winning entries will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £7.50 each, £15 for three.  Full-time students: £5 each, £10 for three.  Net proceeds will be used to help children ‘catch up’, and also to assist the King’s Arms Homeless project.
    Comp Page:
BWC.

 


Added
1.6.21

 

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: 31.10.21.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000.  Runners-up (7) - £200.
    Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
PSNPC.

 


Added
2.12.20

 

Novel Opening Competition.  For this annual contest from the Flash 500 website you submit the first chapter of your novel, or just the first 3,000 words if the chapter is longer.  Add to this a one-page synopsis of up to 750 words outlining the rest of the story.
    Closing: 31.10.21.
    Prizes: £500, £200.
    Entry Fee: £10 for one, £18 for two, £26 for three.
    Comp Page:
F500novel.

 

 

 

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
2.6.21

 

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: ‘Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as publick liberty, without freedom of speech.‘
    Closing: 31.10.21.
    Prizes: £750, £500.  Winners will be published on The Telegraph website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
BenFrankLit.

 


Added
1.6.21

 

Snapshot Press Book Awards.  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: 30.11.21.
    Prizes: Publication by Snapshot Press.
    Entry Fee: £20 per collection.
    Comp Page:
Snapshot Short Poetry.

 


Added
1.6.21

 

Bath Children's Novel Award . This annual international contest, which is open to unpublished and self-published emerging novelists writing for children or teens, is for novels of any length for children or young adults.  To enter, you send the first 5,000 words of your story plus a one-page synopsis.  The longlist is chosen by junior judges aged 7 to 17.
     Closing: 30.11.21.
     Prizes: 1st - £3,000.  The writer of the most promising longlisted novel will receive an online place on Edit Your Novel the Professional Way from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.  Shortlisted entrants will receive introductions to literary agents and feedback.
     Entry Fee: £28.
     Comp Page:
BCN Award.

 


Added
4.7.21

 

The Nature Chronicles Prize.  As I haven’t got a suitable sound clip handy, I must ask you to imagine a fanfare of trumpets to introduce this new international contest with a juicy prize.  It is for contemporary nature writing of between 2,000 and 8,000 words.  The promoters mention challenging established notions of nature where necessary, and the ultimate aim of producing a book of works that vary in style but share a commitment to truth and fellow feeling.  Essays and standalone extracts from unpublished books, and diaries, are all acceptable.  There will be a prize-giving ceremony at the Kendal Mountain Literature Festival in November 2022.  I’ve never been to this festival, but I suspect climbing may be necessary, with sherpas, etc.  You have been warned.
    Closing: 15.1.22.
    Prizes: 1st - £10,000.  Runners-up (5) - £1,000.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page :
Nature Chronicles

 


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  2021

                                                           Poem: Being a Writer

 


 

 

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