Stiff Competition - the novel

Details

Writing Comps

Current UK Writing Competitions

Stiff Competition - the novel

Details


 
 

     I’ve never won a poetry competition, mainly, I like to think, because I haven’t entered many (4), but I did once win a cash prize for a short story, and then of course I won the Peter Pook Humorous Novel Contest with Stiff Competition, a novel that had previously been rejected by a top publisher for being too funny (see Comps Novel).  I therefore speak from experience when I say that winning small, lesser-known competitions doesn’t lead to overnight fame.  But having a few such successes to boast about does you no harm when approaching editors or agents, so if you do have dreams of a writing career, this could be the place to begin. Or maybe you just want to win some money.  Whatever your motives, the only advice I can offer is to suggest you emulate my old friend Percy Vere, who reads, writes, reads, writes ad infinitum.

     Below is a list of the most interesting UK writing competitions I’ve found recently (entry is not necessarily limited to UK residents).

=> Bear in mind that contests with smaller prizes, and those where you have to write for details, attract fewer entries.  Such competitions are easier to win. 

 
  

UK Writing Competitions (currently (79)

 


Updated
  3.1.12

 

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

 


Updated
  3.1.12

 

Writers’ Forum Poetry Competition.  This monthly contest from the glossy magazine Writers’ Forum is for poems of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: Monthly.  Entries arriving too late for one month go forward to the next.
    Prizes: 1st - £100.  Runners-up - A Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £3 each thereafter.  Includes a free critique (sae required if entering by post).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 
  

Books to Improve Your Writing Skills  

 

Updated
 23.1.43

 

Flash 500 Humorous Verse Competition .  This one from the Flash 500 website is having the last laugh as it’s now in its fourth year.  Any kind of humorous verse is required, up to 32 lines.  I once wrote a humorous sonnet about my girlfriend’s nose.  I never saw her again.  Still, the sonnet was published, and that was all that mattered.
    Closing: 31.3.14, 30.6.14, 30.9.14, 31.12.14.
    Prizes: 1st £150 and publication in Words with Jam.  2nd - £100.  3rd - £50.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £2.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 9.1.12

 

Five Stop Story Competition.  This is for stories of up to 3,000 words on any subject or theme.
    Closing: End of each month.
    Prizes: Monthly - £50.  Top author in league table at end of year - £150.  Winners and runners-up will be published on the website.  They will also be published as an iPad and iPhone ap, whatever that means.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £7 for two, £8 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
3.11.10

 

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

 


Updated
  1.1.13

 

Cinnamon Press Poetry Collection Award.  Entries for ths one should comprise 10 poems of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: Bi-annually (end of June and November).
    Prize: £150 and your collection published.
    Entry Fee: £16 per batch of ten (includes a free copy of the winners’ anthology).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  1.1.13

 

Cinnamon Press Short Story Award.  This is for stories of between 2,000 and 4,000 words.
    Closing: Bi-annually (end of June and November).
    Prize: £150 and publication.
    Entry Fee: £16 (includes a free copy of the winners’ anthology).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  1.1.13

 

Cinnamon Press Novel/Novella Award.  To enter this you submit the first 10,000 words of your novel or novella.
    Closing: Bi-annually (end of June and November).
    Prize: £400 and your novella published.
    Entry Fee: £16.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
12.7.09

 

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

 


Added
 6.7.09

 

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

 


Added
17.7.10

 

     Thank you, Michael, for bothering to put your website together. Encouraged by your words I sent off a piece to the Daily Telegraph Travel Writing Competition but didn't win. Third time lucky, and after considerable honing and editing, I have just been informed by the deputy editor that my piece will be published this Saturday (17th July) and I have won £200.
     I am now inspired to go on to bigger things.
     Thanks again.                                                      -  Liz Cleere

 


Added
10.7.10

 

Bloomsbury 247tales Competition.  Here is a contest from the publishers of Harry Potter for tales of up to 247 words written by children between the ages of 8 and 16.
    Closing: Monthly.
    Prize: £75 worth of Bloomsbury children’s books, publication on the website and a framed copy of your story.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.3.10

 

Hi Michael,
     Just wanted to say thanks for working so hard on your fantastic site. It must take up loads of your time and energy to keep updating it with such enthusiasm and humour! I found it last year, and entered the Global Short Story competition. Although I didn't win, I was shortlisted for the August comp.  I then submitted a short story to the Bridge House Anthology which aimed to raise money for the Born Free Foundation. I remember you saying something like there is no prize money, but it will help your CV if you can say you are published in a book with Richard Adams, author of Watership Down, and a foreword by Virginia McKenna.
     Well guess what - I am! Well, in June anyway. The anthology is a collection of animal stories and is called Gentle Footprints.
     So thanks again, and a plug for charity - all readers of your site are kindly invited to buy a copy!                                             -  Mandy James

 


Updated
  27.6.10

 

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

 
     
  

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

 


Updated
  1.2.12

 

Global Short Story Competition.  This contest, which is supported by the Darlington Arts Centre in County Durham and renowned author Bill Bryson, is for stories of up to 2,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: End of each month.
    Prize: 1st - £100.  Runner-up £25.  After a year the monthly winners will be considered for an annual cash prize.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Website:
Click Here.

 


Added
 9.1.11

 

Hi there,
     I just want to say a BIG thank you from South Africa for your incredible website. It is so informative and detailed -- and this morning (on Christmas!) I just discovered that I’ve won First Prize for the Mona Schreiber competition - the details of which I found on your BRILLIANT website!  $500!  Thank you again!!
     Sincerely,  Sharon Rina de Villiers

 


Updated
  1.1.13

 

Camp Trip Writing Contest.  This recurring US contest is for camping related articles (minimum 200 words) in which you share your tips, tricks, advice, infomative experience, etc.  Note that your entry may appear on the website, so leave out the illegal stuff (such as what you were smoking round the campfire).
    Closing: Each time 100 entries have been received.  Then a new contest begins.  See website for latest count.
    Prizes: $100, $75, $25 - all in Visa Gift Cards.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
 12.1.12

 

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: 31.3.14, 30.6.14, 30.9.14, 31.12.14.
    Prizes: 1st - £300 and publication in Words With Jam.  2nd - £200.  3rd - £100.  Highly Commended - A copy of The Writer’s ABC Checklist.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £8 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.11.09

Updated
  12.4.11

 

Dear Michael,
     I just wanted to tell you
that I won first prize in the Charnwood Arts' miniWords Poetry Competition (£250), so thank you very much for that!
                                                                               -  Mary Whitsell
Hello Michael
     I've just won the Telegraph's 'Just Back' Travel Writing Competition, which I heard about on your site. Thank you yet again for providing this service to writers.
     It's a good thing I don't have to tell you about all the competitions I entered but didn't win, isn't it?  But all the rejections only make the wins that much sweeter!
                                                                                                  -   Mary Whitsell

 


Added
11.4.13

 

Phil Williams often promotes competitions through the blog of the Poetry Society’s Stoke Stanza website.  If you would like to check this out, Click Here.

 


Added
10.3.12

 

Hi Michael
     Back in autumn 2007, I took up writing, and your excellent site was a great help in finding competitions to enter. In 2008, my short story came second in the Yeovil Literary Prize and was read on BBC Radio Somerset. In 2010, I won the Words with Jam short story competition. I was also a runner up in nine other competitions along the way. As well as £500 in prize money, I also gained the encouragement I needed to keep writing, and now my debut novel, Earth Girl , will be published by HarperCollins Voyager imprint in August 2012. This is the first book in a trilogy, so I'm taking a break from competitions now, but I wanted to thank you for the help you've given me and other writers.
                                                                              -   Janet Edwards

 


Added
 7.4.13

 

Daggerville Games Writing Competition.  This monthly contest from Daggerville Games is for short pieces of writing (up to 250 words) on a different theme each month.  The theme for April - and I apologise if it is no longer April and I’ve forgotten to update this - is ‘The Perfect Murder’. You have to ‘Like’ the firm on Facebook to enter, but other than this requirement to be free and easy with your affections, there is no cost.
    Closing: End of each month.
    Prize: $50 Amazon voucher.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
25.4.13

 

The Poetry Competition.  This charitable contest in aid of Iain Rennie Hospice at Home is for poems of any length.  There is currently no theme but some weeks there will be.  Entries are displayed on the website and rated by the site’s visitors who will thereby decide the winners.  Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, as the name implies, helps people with terminal illness who wish to be cared for in their own homes.
    Closing: Weekly.
    Prizes: £25, £10.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £5 for two, £7 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
5.12.12

 

Dear Michael
     I regularly look at your website which is very helpful. I entered my novella 'Living Doll' in the Pageturner competition run by Contact Publlshing which you listed and it made the 10 shortlisted entries, being rated 6th overall. Not a big success but something! Many thanks for your website.
     Best wishes
                                                                            -  Suzanne Thorpe

 


Added
 1.9.13

 

Dark Tales Short Story Competition.  As you may gather from the name of the competition, this is not for the sort of cheerful 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 the lights out in case something is hiding in the wardrobe.  Your entry must be limited to 5,000 words.
    Closing: 30.11.13, 28.2.14, 31.5.14.
    Prizes: £250, £50, £25.  Winners will be published in Dark Tales.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
21.4.13

 

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

 


Added
 1.3.14

 

Spinetinglers Short Story Competition.  This international contest from Spinetinglers Publishing is for stories of up to 5,000 words suitable for making the reader’s spine ... well, I’m sure you can fill in the missing word.
    Closing: Monthly.
    Prizes : £100, £50 and 3 x £25.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
 1.3.14

 

Dark Places Story Competition.  This one from the online magazine Dark Places is for stories of between 1,000 and 5,000 words.  The magazine specialises in sci-fi and fantasy, a fact I mention in case you are wondering what sort of yarn to submit.  Stories must be error-free with correct grammar and punctuation.  Oh dear, if only you’d paid more attention in school.
    Closing: 15.6.14, 15.10.14, 15.2.15.
    Prize: 1st - £50.  2nd - a 3-month subscription to the automated editing service Grammarly, worth about £40.
    Entry Fee: £1.25.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
15.10.13

 

Hi Michael
      I love your website, and am completely indebted to it! I began writing poetry when I was 12, but it would appear I've become a lot better at it now at 16, since I’ve had a pretty good year thanks to your website - coming highly commended in a Poem Pigeon contest, runner-up in a Red Cross competition, and commended in the Foyle Poet’s Award (which made me jump up and down for...hmm...three weeks straight). None of which I would’ve ever known about without your website.
     Thank you so much.  You’ve made this young writer very happy!
                                                                               -  Daniella Cugini x

 


Added
19.3.14

 

Lady in the Loft Writing Competition.  This free contest with the theme of Dystopia (similar to dyspepsia but even less fun) is for stories running to no more than 3,000 words.
    Closing: 15.4.14.
    Prizes: 1st - £10 WH Smith voucher.  2nd & 3rd - £5 WH Smith voucher.  Winners will be published in an anthology at the end of the year.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.4.14

 

Sixfold Writing Competition.  More twofold than sixfold, this American contest from the online magazine Sixfold is for short stories and poems.  Sixfold is, they say, ‘a collaborative, democratic, completely writer-voted journal.’  Contributors vote to select the contest winners and all content of the mag.  Entries must be uploaded as pdf files.
    Closing: 23.4.14.
    Prizes: $1,000, $200, $100.  Highest voted manuscripts will be published in two separate issues.  There will be a paperback book available for the production cost of $10.
    Entry Fee: $3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.2.14

 

Create Your Perfect Crime Competition.   There’s a scene in the first draft of Arthur Conan Doyle’s first detective story in which Mrs Holmes says to Sherlock, ‘Are you taking me out to the theatre tonight for out anniversary?’  And Sherlock replies, ‘Elimentary, my dear.  What’s on?’  Fortunately for us all, Conan Doyle had a rethink and decided against lumbering the great detective with a nagging wife, and the rest, as they say, is a mystery.  Which brings me to this competition.  Gibson Games, makers of the detective board game 221b Baker Street want you to devise the perfect crime that even Sherlock Holmes wouild struggle to solve (you are of course required to supply the solution).  Your entry must not exceed 1,000 words.
    Closing: 25.4.14.
    Prizes: 1st - A luxury night for two at the famous Sherlock Park Plaza hotel in Baker Street, London.   The top ten entrants receive a copy of the 221b Baker Street board game.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.14

 

Poetic Republic Poetry Competition.  This is for poems on any subject running to no more than 42 lines.  The contest is judged by the participants through an anonymous peer review system.  An ebook containing 48 poems will be published and this will include a selection of the best or most interesting comments.
    Closing: 30.4.14.
    Prizes: Single Poem - £2,000.  Portfolio Prize - £1,000.
    Entry Fee: £7.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
26.3.12

 

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
 2.2.14

 

Ware Poets Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Hertfordshire is for poems of up to 50 lines o any subject.
    Closing: 30.4.14.
    Prizes: £600, £300, £150.  Ware Sonnet Prize - £150.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £12 for four, £3 each thereafter.
    Entry Form and Details (pdf):
Click Here.

 


Added
3.11.13

 

Bristol Short Story Prize 2014.  This annual international contest, bristoling with prizes as usual, is for stories of up to 4,000 words on any subject.  It is open to published and unpublished writers.  I went to Bristol on a treasure hunt once in search of a whalebone associated with the explorer John Cabot who was based there in the late 1400s.  The whalebone wasn’t the prize.  It was a clue, or rather it would have been if I hadn’t misinterpreted earlier clues and gone hopelessly wrong (the irrelevant Cabot whalebone was in the western entrance to St Mary Redcliffe church, a fact I’m confident you will one day find useful).  You have probably twigged by now that this is in no way relevant to the competition.  It’s just that I can’t think of anything else to say about Bristol, nice though it may be.  One of the contest judges, incidentally, is literary agent Rowan Lawton.
    Closing: 30.4.13.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000 plus a £150 Waterstone’s gift card.  2nd - £700 plus a £100 Waterstone’s gift card.  3rd - £400 plus a £100 Waterstone’s gift card.  Runners-up (17) - £100.  All 20 winners will be published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 7.
    Entry Fee: £8.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
18.11.13

 

Rubery Book Award.  This annual international contest is for independent and self published books, including ebooks.  To enter, you submit a copy of your published book.
    Closing: 30.4.14.
    Prizes: £1,000, £200, £75.  The best entry will be read by a top literary agent from MBA.
    Entry Fee: £35.  Yike.
    Comp Page :
Click Here.

 


Added
1.12.11

 

Hello Michael
     Thanks to your wonderful website I entered two short stories for the recent 'Writefrance' competition which (to my great surprise) I won!  £100 prize money and publication in a collection of winners’ stories in the new year.  Furthermore my second story was also chosen for a publication prize.  What a boost!  I'm now scribbling away and trawling through the other competitions in the hopes of repeating my success!
     Many Thanks
                                                                       -  Kerry Chiron. France

 


Added
1.12.13

 

Southport Writers’ Circle International Poetry Competition.  As a child I once lived just up the road from Southport.  It was a cultural void back then, often referred to as the poor man’s Blackpool.  Not any more.  These days, in addition to its renowned flower show (‘a horticultural hotbed’) it has a writers’ circle and an international poetry contest.  Some are now calling Blackpool the poor man’s Southport, although admittedly not many.  The contest requires poems of up to 40 lines.  Stephen Beattie will be judging.
    Closing: 30.4.14.
    Prizes: £150, £75, £25.  Humour Prize - £25.  Local Prize - £25.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £10 for four.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.12.13

 

Tom Howard/John H Reid Fiction & Essay Contest .  This annual contest from American website Winning Writers is for stories, essays or other works of prose running to no more than 6,000 words on any theme.  Previously published works are acceptable.
    Closing: 30.4.14.
    Prizes: Best Short Fiction - $1,000.  Best Essay - $1,000.  In addition there will be five Honourable Mentions in each category with prizes of $100 each.  The twelve winning entries will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: $16.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.3.14

 

A Ridiculous Short Story Competition.  This contest, which celebrates the publication of Heather King’s novel A Sense of the Ridiculous, is for stories of up to 1,500 words in any genre except horror.  Your story must begin with the sentence, ‘She did not need a looking glass to know she must look a fright.’  Has she applied her makeup in the dark?  Has she just been running her fingers over the stubble on her chin?  Or is there some other reason totally unconnected with my need to make jokes?  You decide.
    Closing: 30.4.14.
    Prizes: £50, £25, £15.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
9.10.11

 

Dear Michael
     Many thanks for your witty and informative listings. In 2012 I've won the Swanezine Poetry Prize, The Sampad 'Inspired by Tagore' Poetry Prize, the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Prize and one of the Malahat Review Monostich Poetry Prizes. Feel free to hate me. I will still love you.
     Best wishes and thanks again.
                                                                                    -  Cathy Bryant

 


Added
1.12.13

 

Ver Poets Open Poetry Competition.  Here is another familiar face in the competitions crowd.  It comes from a poetry group in St Albans.  Anything goes as far as the subject is concerned, but confine your efforts to 30 lines or fewer.
    Closing: 30.4.14.
    Prizes: £600, £300, £100.  Winning and selected poems will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three, £2 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  1.4.14

 

TXTLit Micro Story Competition.  For this contest you need a mobile phone.  Well, everyone’s got one, haven’t they?  No.  There’s still one person in the UK who hasn’t.  Me.  I don’t like phones of any sort.  I have one that plugs into the wall but I never answer it when it rings.  I think: ‘They’ll ring again if it’s important.’  They seldom do, and if they do I never answer it and they never ring again - which proves they were just time-wasters.  Now, I may seem to be rambling a bit here, but hey, what do you know, this turns out to be relevant because you mustn’t ramble in this competition.  Limit your stories to 154 characters (letters and spaces, not people), and while you’re about it, refrain from using abbreviated TXT gibberish, as this is not welcome.  At last - someone is fighting back on behalf of the English language!  There is a different theme each month.
    Closing: 30.4.14.
    Prize: £50.
    Entry Fee: £1 plus the normal cost of sending a text message (no use asking me what that is).
    Website:
Click Here.

 


Added
15.1.14

 

Dystopian Short Story Contest 2014.  This annual freebie from Almond Press is for dystopian stories of up to 5,000 words on the theme of Broken Worlds.  The promoters want you to show them what terrors the future holds in store for humanity.  Bush tucker trials for benefits claimants!  Everyone forced to have kids!  Jeremy Clarkson becomes Prime Minister!  Make it as horrifying as you like.
    Closing: 1.5.14.
    Prize: £100.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter (no more than 2 entries per person).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
27.9.13

 

The Travel Expert Writing Competition.  This contest from the new website Travelexpert.org.uk is, not surprisingly, for travel writing.  Entries can be factual articles or fictional stories.  They can even be poems.  But whatever they are, they must stop travelling at 1,500 words to conform with the rules.  You can write about any subject as long as it relates, however tenuously, to travel and presernts a real sense of the location in which it is set.
    Closing: 1.5.14.
    Prize: £50.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.3.14

 

ACW Stories for Children Competition .  This one from the Association of Christian Writers is for children’s stories of up to 1,000 words on the theme of Encouragement.  The children you should be aiming at are those in primary school years 3 - 6.  Stories need not be explicitly Christian but they must have a Christian worldview.
    Closing: 5.5.14.
    Prizes: £50, £25, £10.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £2 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.4.14

 

The Nick Darke Award 2014.  This annual visitor from Falmouth University embraces writing for stage, screen and radio.  Entries must have an environmental theme and follow one of the three disciplines: Stage Play, Screenplay, Radio Play.  To enter you submit a ‘pitch’ of 25 words or fewer, plus an outline of the story idea in 750 words suggesting character, plot and structure.  You also submit 20 script pages (from an existing or new piece), these to be representative of your work.  In addition you must email a short cv with your submission.  Oh, and don’t forget your contact details.  While you are throwing all this stuff into the bag you might be tempted to include your best receipe and a couple of gardening tips, but I think that might be going a bit too far.
    Closing: 14.5.14.
    Prize: £6,000.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.4.14

 

The Word Hut Short Story Competition.  This is the thirteenth contest from The Word Hut but it could still be lucky for you.  Open worldwide, it is for stories of up to 1,000 words on any theme and in any genre.
    Closing : 18.5.14.
    Prizes: £70, £35, £15.  Winners published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
23.3.14

 

Rhys Davies Short Story Competition.  This one from the Rhys Davies Trust is for writers born in Wales or currently living in Wales.  Jonah, who lived in a whale, would of course not be eligible due to a problem with the spelling.  In addition to the Adult category there is also an Under 21 category for which you have to be ... well, I expect you’ve already worked that one out.
    Closing: 16.5.14.
    Prizes: £2,000, £800, £400, 5 x £100.  Under 21: £1,000, £200.
    Entry Fee: £7.  Under 21 Prize - £4.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.3.14

 

MMU Novella Award 2014.  This one from Manchester Metropolitan University’s Cheshire Faculty is for novellas of between 20,000 and 40,000 words.
    Closing: 23.5.14.
    Prize: £1,000 and publication by Sandstone Press.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
12.4.14

 

Bookimbo Flash Fiction Booklet Competition.  To enter this one you use the online writing editor Bookimbo to create a booklet containing a collection of between four and eight of your flash fiction stories.  Each story should have fewer than 1,000 words.
    Closing: 22.5.14.
    Prize: 1st - £150, publication of your booklet (which will be available to buy on Amazon and Roastbooks) and 50 free copies.   Shortlisted entrants will receive three free printed copies of their booklet which will be available to buy on Roastbooks.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.4.14

 

Fiction Desk Ghost Story Competition.  Here’s a contest to raise your spirits.  It comes from The Fiction Desk, a firm which publishes a quarterly anthology of new short fiction.  The contest, as you have probably guessed, is for stories of the supernatural variety.  And if you are not to be haunted by failure, make sure yours is between 2,000 and 5,000 words.  Hang on, the lights have gone out.  I can hear the door creaking open ... footsteps.  The temperature has fallen.  A bony hand grips my arm.  A voice, cold and menacing, whispers, ‘Why?’  I turn to look into two fiery eyes.  ‘Why?’ I croak.  The grip on my arm tightens.  The voice drops an octave.  ‘Why didn’t you pay the blasted power bill?’
    Closing : 30.5.14.
    Prizes: 1st - £500.  Finalist prizes (5) - £100.  Winners will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £7.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
13.4.14

 

Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize.  This one from Liverpool Hope University, the Royal Court Theatre and the Liverpool Echo ... Liverpool Echo ... Liverpool Echo ... is for comedy plays with a cast of no more than eight actors.  Open to new and established playwrights aged over 18, the contest has two categories: Over 21 and Under 21.  Scripts should be full-length, giving the play a running time of over 80 minutes.
    Closing: 30.5.14 (5pm).
    Prizes. Over 21: 1st - £10,000.  Runners-up (2) - £1,500.  Under 21: 1st - £2,500.  Runners-up (2) - £500.  Winning plays will be considered for production by Royal Court Liverpool.
    Entry Fee: Over 21 - £20.  Under 21 - £15.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
22.1.14

 

Bridport Prize.  This international competition from the Bridport Arts Centre is one of the most prestigious writing contests in the British literary calendar.  Everyone in the trade whose mind is not addled by drugs has heard of it, and they will be impressed if you can claim to have won it.  The good news is that winning it is easy.  All you have to do is submit the best poem or short story, the former having no more than 42 lines, the latter running to no more than 5,000 words.   For those who find 5,000 words too tiring to write there is now a flash fiction category for stories of up to 250 words (if that’s too much, consider becoming a poet).  This year’s judges are Linda Lochhead (poems), Andrew Miller (short stories) and Tania Hershman (flash fiction).  Writers from beyond the veil should note that the Bridport rules forbid posthumous entries.  Shame: the awards ceremony would be so much more interesting with a couple of ghosts in attendance.
    Closing: 31.5.14.
    Prizes: In each of the main categories (Short Stories, Poems) - £5,000, £1,000, £500.  There are also ten runners-up prizes of £50.  These are called ‘supplementary prizes’ to make you feel less like an also-ran.  There is in addition a special prize of £100 and a perpetual trophy for the highest placed writer from Dorset.  Prizes in the Flash Fiction category are £1,000, £500, £250, plus three supplementary awards of £25.  All winners will be invited to an awards ceremony in October at the Bridport Open Book Festival.  Winning entries are usually published in an anthology.
    Entry Fees : Poems - £8.  Short Stories - £9.  Flash Fiction - £7.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.4.14

 

The Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award.  This new contest, which honours one of the founders of the Bridport Prize, is for first novels by writers who have not had a novel published (self-publishing excepted) and who do not have a literary agent.  To enter, you submit the first chapters of your story (5,000 to 8,000 words), plus a synopsis of up to 300 words.  Three hundred words?  That’s more a blurb than a synopsis.  If you are longlisted you will not have time to celebrate as you will be expected to provide 15,000 words by July 25.  Shortlisted?  Forget that prize-acceptance speech you’ve been working on and get back to the story: you must submit 30,000 words or the completed novel by September 5.  Deciding if you’ve got what it takes to be a winner will be literary author Alison Moore who was once on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize.
    Closing: 31.5.14.
    Prize: £1,000 plus a critique by the judge, plus appraisal and mentoring by The Literary Consultancy.
    Entry Fee: £20.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.4.14

 

Roundel Poetry Competition.  This contest from Roundel Poetry in Tonbridge, Kent, is part of the Tonbridge Arts Festival.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines on any theme.  If they run the contest next next year I’ll be able to make a joke about it coming round again, but right now I’m stuck for anything else to say.
    Closing: 31.5.14.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
12.12.10

 

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
15.2.14

 

Frome Festival Short Story Competition.  This annual contest from Frooom (as the eccentric locals like to pronounce it) is for stories of between 1,000 and 2,200 words.  Winning stories will be read by a leading London literary agent and forwarded to IPC magazines. The rest will presumably be read by the cleaning lady and dropped in the bin.  Doing the judging this year is novelist Lesley Pearse.
    Closing: 31.5.14.
    Prizes: £300, £150, £75.  There is in addition a prize for a local author, defined as one living within 25 miles of the local library.  Damn - missing out by a mere 95 miles.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
12.4.14

 

Words With Jam First Page Competition.  This one from the Words With Jam ezine is for ‘the most captivating’ first page of a novel, the page running to no more than 400 words.  Author Oma Ross will be judging.
    Closing : 31.5.14.
    Prizes: £500, £100 £50.
    Entry Fee: £6 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.14

 

Yeovil Literary Prize.  This is the eleventh of these international contests from Yeovil, the literary capital of the West Country where even the sheep appreciate poetry.  I once read out some of my verses on a Yeovil sheep farm and the verdict was ‘Baaa!’ - which in sheepspeak means ‘brilliant’  I got some of my best reviews that day.  The contest has three categories: Short Story, Poetry, Novel.  The short stories can run to 2,000 words, while the poems should be no more than 40 lines.  Novels have a limit of 15,000 words for the opening chapters and synopsis.  Novelist Elizabeth Buchan, a and former fiction editor at Random House, will be judging the novels, while prizewinning poet Annie Freud will tackle the poetry.  Mavis Cheek, prizewinning novelist and short story writer, will assess the short stories.
    Closing: 31.5.14.
    Prizes: Short Story - £500, £200, £100.  Poetry - £500, £200, £100.  Novel - £1,000, £250, £100.  In addition there is the Western Gazette Best Local Writer Award for someone living in Dorset or Somerset.  It isn’t worth moving down there however as the prize is only £100 plus a trophy.
    Entry Fee: Short Story - £6.  Poetry - £6 each, £9 for two, £11 for three.  Novel - £11 each.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
15.2.14

 

Frogmore Poetry Prize 2014.  This annual contest is run by Frogmore Press which was founded in 1983 in the Frogmore tearooms in Folkestone.  Well, what else can you do in Folkestone?  I’ll tell you what: you can fall in the sea - a feat I managed at the age of 8.  Will I ever forget that day?  Unlikely, for I had the misfortune to be rescued by my two sisters.  ‘No, no - let me drown!’ I cried.  ‘I’ll never be able to face my mates again.’  But I had the ice cream money in my pocket and my pleas were ignored.  I later wrote a poem about the shame of it all but it would have been too long for this contest because it ran to 360 lines.  The line limit here is 40.
    Closing: 31.5.14.
    Prize: 1st - 250 guineas.  Classy.  You also get a two-year subscription to The Frogmore Papers.  2nd - 75 guineas and a year’s sub to the Papers.  3rd - 50 guineas and a year’s sub.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.3.12

 

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
 8.1.14

 

Pint-sized Plays Writing Competition.  Now in its sixth year, this contest, as the name implies, is for compact plays, that is plays with a running time of between five and ten minutes, and featuring just 2 or 3 characters and only the furniture you’d normally find in a pub (so forget that three-in-a-bed scene you’ve always yearned to write).
    Closing: 31.5.14.
    Prizes: The six winning plays will be performed in pubs throughout Pembrokshire and, along with four runners-up, at a script slam in Fishguard.  Here the audience can vote for their favourite and, if they are so inclined, throw fish at the rest (prior to being ejected from the premises).  The performances will also be judged by a professional theatre director.  There is a mention in the rules of two prizes: Best Script and Runner Up, plus a certificate for third place.  But no coin or silverware is indicated, so one must assume this contest is all about the fame rather than the fortune.  Winning scripts will be considered for inclusion in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
10.2.14

 

Wirral Festival of Firsts Open Poetry Competition.  This is the fourth of these contests from the Wirral Festival of Firsts, an arts festival which is held on Hoylake’s mile-long promenade in July.  Entries should stretch to no more than 40 lines.  Poet and playwright Colin Watts, Chair of Liverpool’s Dead Good Poets society, will be judging.
    Closing: 1.6.14.
    Prizes: £250, £75, £25.  Local Prize (for a Wirral poet) - £25.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page :
Click Here.

 


Added
16.12.13

 

Senior Travel Expert Writing Competition.  It doesn’t matter if you’re not a senior travel expert: as long as you are 18 or over and have been somewhere interesting, you can enter this contest.  It is for exciting, original travel writing of up to 1,000 words.
    Closing: 1.6.14.
    Prize: £100 preloaded on a currency card.  The winner will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee : None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
21.5.12

 

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

 


Added
20.2.14

 

All Wales Comic Verse Competition.  Now in its third year, this one from the Caerleon Festival claims to be Wales’ only English language comic verse contest.  A bold claim that no one has challenged.  To be eligible to enter, you must reside, work or study in Wales and be over 18.  Entries should be confined to 30 lines.  Successful finalists will be invited to read their work in the gardens of the Priory Hotel in Caerleon as part of the Literature on the Lawn event.  The performances will be taken into account when the judges decide the winner.
    Closing: 2.6.14.
    Prizes: £300, £200, £100.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.14

 

Segora Writing Competition.  This is the seventh of these contests from Poetry Prose and Plays, which is based in France.  It is for short stories of between 1,500 and 3,000 words, poems of up to 50 lines, and vignettes of up to 300 words.  Not many vignette contests about these days.  This is because hardly anyone knows what a vignette is.  You do, of course, and in fact you probably have a dozen or so already written.  For the rest, I’ll give by way of enlightenment a definition from Collins: ‘A short piece of writing that clearly expresses the typical characteristics of something or someone.’  You can read last year’s winners for all categories on the website.
    Closing: 15.6.14.
    Prizes: Short Stories and Poetry - £150, £50, £30.  Vignettes - £50, £10.
    Entry Fees: Short Stories - £5.50 each, £10 for two, £14 for three.  Vignettes and Poems - £4 each for the first, £2 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
12.4.14

 

Swansea Writers Short Story Competition.  This contest from Swansea & District Writers’ Circle is for stories of between 1,500 and 2,500 words with a First World War theme.  Stories can even be fantasy or dark-fantasy, they say.
    Closing: 16.6.14.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 plus £15 in book tokens and a year’s free membership of Swansea & District Writers’ Circle.  Runners-up (2) - £25 plus £5 in book tokens and a year’s free membership of the Circle.  The best stories will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £7.50 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.3.14

 

Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year Competition.  This international contest from the Canterbury Festival is for poems on any subject and in any style, with a length not exceeding 60 lines.  Shortlisted poets will be asked to read their poems at the Awards Evening in Canterbury on October 2, or to nominate someone else to do this.  The poets concerned will receive a free copy of the contest anthology.
    Closing: 20.6.14.
    Prizes: The winner will be named ‘Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year 2014’ and will receive £50 in book tokens and half a case of wine (the other half presumably having been consumed by the judges).  There will be £25 book tokens for the two runners-up, plus a bottle of sparkling wine for the ‘Best Read Poem’ and a £20 book token for the ‘People’s Choice’.  No doubt it will all be jolly good fun and well worth the effort, but I do think they could have offered the winner a trophy of some sort, something he or she could be casually cleaning when friends come to call.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.4.14

 

Eyelands International Short Story Competition.  This is the fourth of these international contests from Greece.  It is for unpublished stories of up to 2,500 words in any genre.  The theme this year is Time.  Entries must be in English, but if you happen to speak Greek, you’ll be able to discover what the Eyelands website is all about.  The rest of us can only wonder, as the contest pages alone are in English.
    Closing: 20.6.14.
    Prizes: The three winners will be published in two different anthologies, one in English, one in Greek.  They will receive a free copy of the book, plus a certificate and a Greek handmade ceramic from the collection of Omodamos Clayart, with whom (or which) I’m sure you will all be familiar.
    Entry Fee: 5 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 11.8.13

 

Hello Michael
     Just writing to let you know that my poem was "Highly Commended" in a Poem Pigeon contest I found on your site. This was pleasing to me, but what was even better was to become part of such a friendly, hospitable group. Every one is so supportive of and kind to each other. They put up some pretty good poems too.
     Best wishes
                                                                                  -  Penny Turner

 


Added
 1.3.14

 

Earlyworks Press Poetry Collection Competition.  The name says it all really.  It’s a contest for poetry collections run by Earlyworks Press (based in Hastings, and the only thing that springs to mind about that town is the famous saying, ‘Marry in Hastings, repent at leisure’).  Collections should run to no more than 3,000 words or ten pages.
    Closing: 30.6.14.
    Prize: A £100 advance and a royalty contract for a poetry collection to be published by Circaidy Gregory Press.  The winner’s collection will be edited by Mandy Pannett, poetry editor for Sentinel Literary Quarterly.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.3.14

 

While There’s Still Time Writing Competition.  This one from the National Council for Palliative Care (a registered charity) is for prose and poetry about putting things right before it’s too late, things that you might otherwise regret when you ‘face the final curtain’ (as they put it in the less-than-jolly press release).  See the contest page for further details.
    Closing: 30.6.14.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter (up to three entries).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
  6.4.14

 

TLM Poetry Competition 2014.  This contest from the UK’s oldest literary journal, The London Magazine, is for poems of up to 40 lines on any theme.  The magazine was first published in 1732, they say, and has hosted poetry from the likes of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.  On the strength of this they claim it is the country’s most prestigeous literary journal, but it hasn’t been graced by any of my stuff so I should take that claim with a pinch of salt (I’ve never sent them anything, but that’s no excuse).
    Closing: 30.6.14 (open for entries from May 1st).
    Prizes: 1st - £200 plus publication in the mag.  Runners-up - £150, £100, plus publication on the website.
    Entry Fee : £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
22.1.14

 

The Moth International Short Story Prize.  Here’s another annual contest, this time from The Moth magazine in County Cavan, Ireland.  They learned their lesson last year about having no word limit, so this year it’s 6,000 words.
    Closing: 30.6.14.
    Prizes: 1st - 3,000 euros.  2nd - 1,000 euros.  3rd - a week’s writing retreat at Circle of Misse in France (no air or ferry ticket - you have to swim).  The winning stories will be published in the mag.
    Entry Fee: 9 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
4.2.14

 

Writers’ Village International Short Fiction Competition.  This regular and increasingly lucrative contest from the Writers’ Village website is for fictional stories of up to 3,000 words on any subject and in any genre.  Internationally acclaimed author Lawrence Block is one of the judges.  Another is Dr John Yeoman, founder of Writers’ Village, who has so many letters after his name he has to have A4 business cards.  The third and final judge is creative writing teacher and author Jill Dawson.
    Closing: 30.6.14.
    Prizes: 1st - £3,000.  2nd - £500.  3rd - £250.  Runners-up (15) - £50.  Winners will have their work showcased online.  The top 50 entrants will receive a free critique ... even if they don’t want one.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.3.14

 

Hi Michael
     I spent a year or so reading all those comments on your website from people who, since consulting your list, seem have won just about every competition going. I read it and thought it must be too good to be true – but worth a try. Then, on my third submission, I have actually gone and won the Yeovil Literary Prize for Poetry. I am absolutely over the moon, unable to believe it, etc.  Thank you so much.
                                                                                   -   Andy Miller

 


Added
 2.3.14

 

Battered Moons Poetry Competition.  This one from Battered Moons is supported by Swindon Festival of Poetry and Arts Council England.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines.  The judges are poet David Morley and Cristina Newton, editor of the Battered Moons Poetry Pamphlet.
    Closing: 30.6.14.
    Prizes: £500, £300, £100, and 4 x £25.  There is also the possibility of joint prizes, they say, but it is not clear what sort of joints they are referring to.  Winners will be published in the Battered Moons Poetry Pamphlet 2014.  Losers will simply be battered (metaphorically speaking).
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.14

 

Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Ledbury in Wales is for poems of up to 40 lines.  It has three age categories: Adult (18 and over), Young People (12 to 17), and Children (11 and under).  The judge is Ian McMillan, presenter of Radio 3’s The Verb.
    Closing: 10.7.14.
    Prizes: Adults: 1st - £1,000 plus a residential writing course at Ty Newydd, the National Writers’ Centre for Wales.  2nd - £500.  3rd - £250.   12-17 category - £100, £50, £25.  11 and under category - £25, £15, £10 (all in book tokens).
    Entry Fees: Adults - £5 for the first, £3 thereafter.  Young People and Children get the first entry free and pay £1.50 each for any subsequent entries.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.4.14

 

Doris Gooderson Short Story Competition.  Here’s another annual contest, this time from Wrekin Writers of Shropshire.  Stories can be on any subject but must not exceed 1,200 words.  As per last year, profits will be donated to Severn Hospice.
    Closing: 14.7.14.
    Prizes: £150, £70, £40.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
10.2.14

 

New Guard Literary Review Competitions.  This one from the American literary magazine New Guard is for fiction and poetry.  The fiction can be flash fiction, or short story, or a novel excerpt if this functions as a stand-alone story.  In all cases the word limit is 5,000.  Poems (up to 3 per entry) can stretch to 150 lines each.  Wow - that’s something you don’t see every day.
    Closing: 14.7.14.
    Prizes (in each category): $1,000.
    Entry Fee: $15.
    Comp Page:
Click Here (then click on Submissions at top of page).

 


Added
 1.1.12

 

Hi Michael
     Just another Thank You. I have just had notification that my story got selected for the anthology following The Sheriff’s Prize for Literature competition. I went along to the awards night and had fun watching Tony Robinson reading out some of the best entries. To be asked to put my story into the anthology was the icing on the cake!
     Thanks again for the great site.
                                                                                      - Pat Davies

 


Added
12.3.14

 

Fylde Brighter Writers Circle Prize 2014.  I spent a couple of years of my childhood living on the Fylde coast, so I can tell you with confidence that this contest comes from Lankisheer (that reminds me, I must take my library book back).  The competition is for short stories, poems and flash fiction.  As well as cash, you can win a trophy to display in a prominent position where your guests surely can’t miss seeing it.  If they do, you can be polishing it next time they come, and if that doesn’t work, put the after-dinner mints in it.  Meanwhile back at the contest details: short stories should end after no more than 2,500 words, while poems are limied to 40 lines.  Flash fiction is confined to a maximum of 350 words.
    Closing: 19.7.14.
    Prizes: Short Stories - £200 plus trophy, £50, 3 x £25.  Poetry - £100 plus trophy, £50, 2 x £25.  Flash Fiction - £100 plus trophy, 3 x £25.  Winners will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fees:  Short Stories - £5 each, £10 for three.  Poems and Flash Fiction - £3 each, £5 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.4.14

 

Highlands & Islands Short Story Association Competition .  Stories of up to 2,500 words are required for this Scottish contest which is open worldwide.  Any theme, and there is an indication that unusual stories could find favour.
    Closing: 31.7.14.
    Prizes: 1st - £400 plus a writing retreat in Wales with breakfasts and dinners included (worth almost £600).  Runners-up (2) - £50.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £12 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.4.14

 

The John Betjeman Poetry Competition.  This contest in honour of one of Britain’s most popular poets aims, they say, to foster a love of poetry in young people.  Young people are apparently between 10 and 13, these being the age limits for the competition.  Old at 14, eh?  Too many crafty cigaretttes behind the bike sheds, I reckon.  Entries should be about local surroundings or any aspect of them (such as your house, street, local park, town/city, etc).  The idea behind this is to encourage ‘an understanding and appreciation of the importance of place’.  They want to know what it means to you.  ‘It’s where I live, innit?’ will not be sufficient.  The judge is Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales.
    Closing: 31.7.14.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000 to be shared between the winner and the English department of his/her school.  The winner and two runners-up will each receive four Eurostar tickets to Paris, Brussels or Lisle.  There will in addition be £100 each for the runners-up, an £50 in book tokens for Commended entries.  The prize-giving and reading of the winning poems will take place next to the John Betjeman statue on the concourse of St. Pancras International station, hopefully before the rush hour.
    Entry Fee : None - free to enter.  Only one entry per person.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.4.14

 

Dreamquest One Poetry and Writing Contest.  The requirement for this US contest is for poems of up to 30 lines and short stories of up to five pages, any style or theme.
    Closing: 31.7.14.
    Prizes: Stories - $500, $250, $100.   Poetry - $250, $125, $50.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: Stories - $10 postal, $12 electronic.  Poetry - $5 postal, $7 electronic.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
13.4.14

 

Wells Festival of Literature Writing Competition.  Here we go again with the famous Wells Litfest and its trio of competitions - Poetry, Short Story, Crime Novel.  I should mention before we go any further that we are talking about Wells in Somerset, not Wells in Norfolk which also has an annual litfest (I wouldn’t want you turning up at the wrong event to receive your prize or to berate the judges for not awarding you anything).  Anyway, back to business.  For the poetry you are allowed up to 40 lines.  Short Stories should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words.  For the Crime Novel category you submit a first chapter running to no more than 3,000 words, plus a synopsis of between 500 and 1,000 words.
    Closing: 31.7.14.
    Prizes: Poetry and Short Story (in each category) - £500, £200, £100.  Wyvern Prize for a local entrant - £100.  Crime Novel - £100 and the winning entry read by a major publisher and a leading agent.  This reading by publisher and agent may be bestowed also on a runner-up if the entry is exceptional.
    Entry Fees: Poetry and Short Story - £5.  Crime Novel - £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.11.11

 

                                  One less Pedestrian ...
Hi
     Just to let you know rather belatedly that I entered a number of prose competitions last year – all from your web site and had great fun trying a varied menu of different word lengths and genres. I won $500 in an essay writing competition in the Pedestrian magazine - entering despite your scathing comments. I got the money and bought a lovely new bike. The magazine then went bust so my entry wasn’t published - so yet to see my name in print but I have the bike so hey ho
.
                                                                                                      
-  Rosemary Barry

 


Added
16.2.14

 

Manchester Writing Competition.  This international contest from Manchester Writing School at the Manchester Metropolitan University celebrates ‘the substantial cultural and literary achievements of Manchester’ of which I am unable to give an example at this time.  My childhood memories of Manchester are centred around Moss Side where my father ran a fast-food business (chip shop, as we called it back then).  I was kept locked in the cellar peeling spuds, with a 15-watt incandescent light bulb for company.  It was there in that creepy dungeon, while peering into the dark corners, that I developed my vivid imagination - not to mention my nervous twitches.  Culture?  Literature?  Be serious.  But times, I suppose, have changed.  So let us return to the competition, which is for poems and short stories.  To enter the Poetry Prize you submit a portfolio of three to five poems, these to consist of no more than 120 lines in total.  For the Fiction Prize the requirement is for a story running to no more than 2,500 words in any genre.
    Closing: 29.8.14.
    Prize (in each category): £10,000.
    Entry Fee : £17.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.14

 

The High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature.  This annual contest, which is open only to writers with some connection to Cheshire, is for prose of up to 1.500 words and poems of up to 100 lines aimed at children aged between seven and fourteen.  It is administered by the University of Chester’s Department of English and funded by Bank of America.  To be eligible you must have been born, work or have worked, live or have lived, study or have studied, in Cheshire.  If you lived there for just a fortnight while on holiday in Stockport, I’m afraid this doesn’t count, although you might be in line for a medal of some sort.
    Closing: 1.9.14.
    Prizes: 1st - £2,000.  Additional prize money of £750 will be awarded at the judges’ discretion and the best entries will be published.
    Entry Fee : None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.4.14

 

Salopian Poetry Society Open Poetry Competition.  Here’s another annual contest from a poetry group in Shropshire. It is for poems of up to 42 lines.  The judge is poet Alison Chisholm.
    Closing: 12.9.14.
    Prizes: £200 £100, £50.  Runners-up (6) - £25.  All nine winners received a free copy of the magazine Salopeot , which will contain the winning entries.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £10 for four.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 6.1.14

 

Erewash Writers’ Group Open Short Story Competition.  This annual contest from Erewash Writers of Long Eaton in Derbyshire has two categories: Open and New Writer.  It is for stories of up to 2,000 words on any theme.  As usual, a charitable donation will be made from entry fees, the recipient being chosen by entrants.
    Closing: 18.9.14.
    Prizes: 1st - £100.  2nd - £50.  3rd - £25.  4th - £25.  Highly Commended (2) - Free entry to 2015 comp.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £5 for two, £2.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 21.9.13

 

Dear Michael
     I wanted to let you know that I was awarded second prize, and publication in an anthology, for my entry into the Cwrtnewydd Scribblers Short Story Comp 2013.
     Without your wonderful website, I would never have found out about this prize!
     Thanks so much!
                                                                                     - Russell Clegg

 


Added
1.4.14

 

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.  There is no limit on length in either competition.
    Closing: 30.9.14.
    Prizes: Tom Howard Prize (any style) - $1,000.  Margaret Reid Prize (traditional verse) - $1,000.  In addition there will be some Honourable Mention awards of $100.  The Dishonourable Mention awards have been dropped this year following several suicides.  I wrote that last bit on April 1st.
    Entry Fee: $16 for each entry of 1-2 poems.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 23.1.14

 

Flash 500 Novel Opening Competition.  You are probably thinking: ‘I can open a novel better than anyone - I’ve opened thousands in the library.’  Alas, this contest is a little more complicated than that.  It requires you to write a novel opening.  And that’s the easy bit, as any novelist will tell you.  You then have to write a one-page synopsis of the rest of the story.  Aggghhhh!  The more you think about that story, the more you’ll want to put in the synopsis.  Fifty pages won’t be enough.  And when it’s done and you’ve sent it off, you’ll be haunted by the belief that you left out the best bits.  Sweet dreams.  Your entry should run to no more than 3,000 words plus the synopsis.
    Closing: 31.10.14.
    Prizes: £500, £200.
    Entry Fee : £10.  Optional critique: £25.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.14

 

GKBC International Short Story Competition.  This bi-annual freebie is for stories of up to 2,000 words on the theme of crime.
    Closing: 31.12.14.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.  Winners will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 7.6.11

 

Hi Michael
     Just to say thanks to your website. I have won, not one, but two prizes! Having never entered a travel writing competition in my life before, I entered the Justback competition with the Telegraph, and won after a few attempts - working out what the travel editors liked.  I then came second in the British Guild of Travel Writers competition. Great site - keep up the good work.
                                                                                      -  Helen Moat

 


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.

 

 

 

Scribble Quarterly Short Story Competitions. This is run by short story magazine Scribble.  It is for stories on any subject, up to 3,000 words.
    Closing: Ongoing.
    Prizes: £75, £25, £15.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  3.1.12

 

Envoi International Poetry Competition.  This one, from the well-known though small magazine Envoi , is for poems up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 20th February each year.
    Prize: Poetry books to the value of £150, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: £3.00 per poem or 5 for £12.00.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.9.11

 

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

 
  

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

 
    
  

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

                                       The Typo Goblin

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

                                                                           
- Michael Shenton

 
  

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

 


Disclaimer

                                    
My Humorous            This is the Prizemagic website                   Poem:
      
Verse                 Email comps@prizemagic.co.uk               Being a
    & Songs            Copyright:  Michael Shenton  2014              Writer

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