Stiff Competition - the novel

Details

Writing Comps

Current UK Writing Competitions

Stiff Competition - the novel

Details


 
 

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

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

 
  

UK Writing Competitions (currently 64)

 


Updated
 10.8.15

 

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
 10.8.15

 

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: £4 each, or £6 if you want a short critique (enclose sae for the critique if entering by post).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 
   

Books to Improve Your Writing Skills  

 


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
  17.9.14

 

Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet Prizes.  Entries for ths one should comprise 15 to 25 poems of up to 50 lines each.
    Closing: Annually (end of March).
    Prizes: 4 x £150 plus publishing contract.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
 17.9.14

 

Cinnamon Press Short Story Award.  This is for stories of between 2,000 and 5,000 words.
    Closing: annually (end of May).
    Prize: £700, £150, £50, plus publication.
    Entry Fee: £12 (includes a free copy of the winners’ anthology).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  17.9.14

 

Cinnamon Press Debut Novel/Novella Prize.  To enter this you submit the first 10,000 words of your novel or novella.
    Closing: Anually (end of July).
    Prize : £1,000 and a pulishing contract.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
12.7.09

 

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

 


Added
 6.7.09

 

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

 


Updated
  27.6.10

 

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

 
    
  

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

 


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

 


Updated
15.12.15

 

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

 


Added
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

 


Updated
 1.6.14

 

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: Monthly.
    Prize: £100.  Winner and shortlisted stories will be published in Dark Tales.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
29.3.14

 

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

 


Added
27.1.15

 

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

 


Added
21.5.12

 

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

 


Updated
  1.1.16

 

Flash 500 Competition.  This quarterly flash fiction contest, which offers higher prize money than many similar competitions, is for stories of up to 500 words on any theme.
    Closing: 31.3.16, 30.6.16, 30.9.16, 31.12.16.
    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
1.10.14

 

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

 


Added
 31.3.15

 

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

 


Added
18.4.15

 

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

 


Added
21.9.15

 

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

 


Added
17.6.15

 

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
  23.1.16

 

Less Than 100 Words Competition.  This new contest from Bacup in Lancashire is, as the name implies (or indeed states), for stories of fewer than 100 words.  There is a different ‘prompt’ for each of the (usually) weekly rounds.
    Closing: 5.2.16 (6pm).
    Prizes: 1st - £20.  Runner-up - Unspecified prize.
    Entry Fee: 99p (less than 100 pence, see?).  Buy two and get one free this week.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Warning - Fake Google Email

As a lot of my visitors come via Google I’d like to mention an email phishing scam currently doing the rounds.  It warns that your Google account will be suspended unless you click on the link and confirm your details.  The website you will be taken to is a Google clone and the information you input will go straight into the hands of fraudsters who will then steal your identity, money, dog and just about everything else you own - except your debts (of which there will be plenty because they will take out loans in your name).

On the positive side, you will be able to write an article about the way your life has been ruined and have it published in your local paper, thus becoming a local celebrity.  Tough choice.
 

 


Added
16.10.14

 

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

 


Added
 1.1.16

 

Artificium Short Story Competition.  This one from Artificium, a journal of new fiction and poetry, is for stories of between 2,000 and 8,000 words in any genre.
    Closing: 5.2.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £300.  Runners-up (1 - 4) - a share of £100.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5 for UK residents.  Overseas entrants - £6.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.1.16

 

Artificium In Brief Competition.  Here’s another contest from Artificium, the journal of new fiction and poetry.  It is, they say, for poetry, flash fiction and ‘anything else’, of between 500 and 1,000 words.  By ‘anything else’ I assume they mean any kind of writing, but I’m not sure they would welcome your shopping list or a page of self-pitying drivel from your diary, or a collection of your most vapid tweets ... but what do I know?
    Closing: 5.2.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £150.  Runners-up (1 - 4) - a share of £100.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5 for UK residents.  Overseas entrants - £6.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.11.15

 

Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize.  This is the sixth of these contests from the Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge.  Open only to women over 21 who have not had a full-length novel published (self-published doesn’t count), it is for novels which combine literary merit with ‘unputdownability’.  These can be literary or genre fiction, or novels for young adults or children.  One of the judges is author Dame Margaret Drabble. To enter you submit up to 50 pages of your story’s opening, plus a synopsis of the remainder (up to 10 pages), as specified in the T&Cs.
    Closing: 5.2.16.
    Prize: £1,500.  The shortlisted entrants will receive a consultation with one of the judges, literary agent Nelle Andrew.  They will also be invited to the prize-giving dinner at the College along with a bunch of book trade freeloaders such as editors, agents, publishers and journalists.  Each shortlistee will be able to bring a guest (I’d suggest a teetotaller with a car, as there will be free wine and if my experience is anything to go by you will be consuming this in unwise quantities when that gormless individual sitting opposite you is named as the winner).
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.10.15

 

Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition .  This annual freebie from Bloomsbury’s venerable Yearbook is for stories of up to 2,000 words on the theme of ‘ageing’.  You have to register for this contest before submitting your entry.
    Closing: 7.2.16 (this is according to the T&Cs and it should be taken as the correct date notwithstanding the fact that in the contest details it says 15.2.16).
    Prize: £500 plus a place on a residential Arvon writing course of your choice.  The winning story will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.8.14

 

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

 


Added
15.12.15

 

Erewash Writers - ‘Mum’ Themed Writing Competition .  This freebie from Erewash Writers is for any kind of writing up to 1,200 words on the theme of Mum. 
    Closing: 11.2.16.
    Prize: Choose an item from The Dorset Bag Lady plus a free entry into another Erewash comp.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
10.10.15

 

International Bath Flash Fiction Award.  This contest from Bristol is for short fiction of up to 300 words.  There is no set theme.  You are probably wondering about the contest’s name: why Bath?  Well, it’s like this: I don’t know.
    Closing: 14.2.16 (Midnight UTC).
    Prizes: £1,000, £300, £100.
    Entry Fee: £9 (Early Bird entries up to 13.12.15 - £7.50).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
27.11.15

 

British Banking Awards Review Competition.  Here’s a useful little freebie from  SmartMoneyPeople.com.  To enter you write an online review that says something interesting about your experience with a bank.  A word of warning: I think they’re looking for something positive - so put your knife back in its sheath.  The judges’ favourite review wins the money, and the banks get awards based on the reviews (Best Overall Bank, Most Recommended Bank, Best Customer Service, Best Credit Card).
    Closing: 19.2.16.
    Prize: £250.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
23.11.15

 

Reader’s Digest 100 Words Competition.  Back again for its sixth visit is this free contest from the well-known magazine Reader’s Digest.  At the risk of stating the obvious, it is for stories of 100 words (excluding the title).  You will note, I trust, that I didn’t include the words ‘up to’ in that statement.  Stories must be exactly 100 words.  Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘My story is so good the judges will overlook a couple of extra words.’  Oh, you deluded fool.  As a competition judge myself I can assure you that this ‘few extra words’ sin is the very thing judges pounce on in the first instance to reduce a daunting mountain of entries to a manageable mound.  And there will be a mountain of entries for this one, due to the excellent cash prizes plus publication in a famous magazine ... and of course that magic word ‘free’.  There are three categories, one for adults, two for children.
    Closing: 20.2.16.
    Prizes: (Adult category) 1st - £2,000.  Runners-up (2) - £200.  In the 12 to 18 category: 1st - A Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 and a Samsung Gear S watch, plus £150 for the winner’s school.  Runners-up (2) - £100.  Under 12s Category: A Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, plus £100 for the winner’s school.  Runners-up (2) - £75.  Winning entries in each category will be published in the mag.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.16

 

European Haiku Prize.  This international contest from the European Haiku Society is for haiku written in any language.  If your chosen language is not English or French however, you have to provide a translation in one of those languages.  If you don’t have the English or French, you could use an online translator ... although it’s possible your haiku will lose a little of it’s charm.  Note that if you enter by post you are required to supply five copies of your poem.  Winners will be published online, as will a selection of other entries, and there will be a printed anthology.
    Closing: 20.2.16.
    Prizes (3): A share of 1,300 euros, a diploma and a commemorative plaque.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  You can enter up to five times, which is to say five haiku.
    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
 1.2.16

 

First Break Playwriting Competition.  This contest from the Oldham Coliseum Theatre is for scripts of up to 15 minutes with no more than four characters.  Theme: Untold Stories.  The script should ideally be based on a story or experience someone has shared with you.
    Closing: 22.2.16.
    Prizes: Four writers will be selected to have their work professionally debuted as rehearsed readings as part of the First Break New Writing Festival.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
39.1.16

 

BBC 500 Words 2016.  This annual contest from the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2 is open to children aged aged bwtween 5 nad 13.  If you are one of these, go for it, but be aware that it could start you on the road to a lifetime of rejection, heartbreak and poverty.  Your story, which must be your own original work, should run to no more than 500 words.  It should not contain any naughty words, not even if you heard Mummy and Daddy using them when they got the gas bill.  If you are planning to include any real people as characters, you should first ask your solicitor to explain the laws of libel.  Good luck.
    Closing: 25.2.16 (7pm).
    Prizes (in each of two age categories): 1st - Chris Evans’ height in books.  2nd - Alex Jones’ height in books.  3rd - your own height in books.  The top 50 shortlisted entries will earn for the writers 2 tickets to the final at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on May 27.
    Entry Fee : None - free entry (only one entry per person).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
31.8.15

 

Flash 500 Short Story Competition.  Stories in any genre running to between 1,000 and 3,000 words are required for this one from the Flash 500 website.
    Closing: 28.2.16.
    Prizes: £500, £200, £100.
    Entry Fee: £7 each, £12 for two, £16 for three, £20 for four.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.1.16

 

New Writer Showcase - La Nouvelle Espionage.  This contest from Comma Press of Manchester,  in conjunction with Creative Industries Trafford, is for unpublished writers only.  It is for stories that centre on espionage.  These should be between 2,000 and 6,000 words.  The promoters have some definite ideas on what they do and don’t want in this genre and you would do well to take careful note before submitting your entry.  You might also like to draw the curtains in case anyone is watching you from across the road.
    Closing: 29.2.16.
    Prizes: The best 15 stories will be published in an anthology (hardcopy and ebook), and the writers will be paid an unspecified amount for publication.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.16

 

Theatre 503 Playwriting Award.  This contest from Theatre 503 is for plays with a performance time of at least 60 minutes.  The contest is supported by the Richard Carne Trust, Curtis Brown Creative, Arts Council England and Nick Hern Books.
    Closing: 29.2.16.
    Prize: £6,000, guaranteed production of the play at Theatre 503 and script publication by Nick Hern Books.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    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
23.11.15

 

Nottingham Writers’ Club Short Story Competition.  This national contest from the Nottingham Writers’ Club is for stories of up to 2,000 words on the theme of Fire.  It is aimed at new and less experienced writers, defined on the website as those who have earned under £300 from short stories in 2015.  I can think of some very experienced ones who haven’t earned that much.  All entrants will receive a few lines of feedback.
    Closing: 29.2.16.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £10 for two, £4 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  4.2.16

 

Medical Science Fiction Competition.  This freebie from Science Fiction and the Medical Humanities at the University of Glasgow is for science fiction short stories and self-contained novel excerpts of up to 3,000 words on the subject of medicine, health and illness.
    Closing: 29.2.16 (extended from 31.1.16).
    Prizes: £300, £200, £150, £50.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter (up to 2 entries per person).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  1.2.16

 

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: 29.2.16.
    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
 1.2.16

 

The White Review Short Fiction Competition.  This contest from literary magazine The White Review is for stories of between 2,000 and 7,000 words.  The promoters are looking for stories that ‘explore and expand the possibilities of the short story form’.
    Closing: 1.3.16.
    Prize: £2,500.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.1.16

 

Edwin Morgan Award.  This highly lucrative contest is, alas, open only to poets born in Scotland or resident there for the last two years, or those with a Scottish parent.  If you own a set of bagpipes and can play them without ear plugs, or if you can eat haggis without a blindfold after reading the contents list, then you probably have Scottish blood but I’m afraid that will not be enough.  It gets worse, because you have to be no older than 30.  Still with me?  Then submit an unpublished collection of between 25 and 50 poems, or a published collection (published within the last two years) of at least 32 pages.  Poems must be in English, Scots or Gaelic, the last being accompanied by an English translation (thus defeating your original intention which was surely to make your work inaccessible to as many people as possible).
    Closing: 1.3.16 (5pm).
    Prizes: £20,000.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.11.15

 

Brittle Star Poetry and Short Fiction Competition.  This international contest from Brittle Star, a Peterborough-based not-for-profit literary magazine published twice a year in print, is for poems of up to 60 lines and stories of up to 2,000 words.  Poet George Szirtes will be judging the poetry while Man-Booker shortlisted author Alison Moore will tackle the stories.  Jacqueline Gabbitas, editor of Brittle Star, will be lending a hand.
    Closing: 1.3.16.
    Prizes (in each category): £250, £50, £25.  Winners will be published in the mag and invited to a prize-giving event in London.
    Entry Fee: £4.50 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.11.15

 

Margery Allingham Short Story Competition.  Open to published and unpublished writers, this contest from the Crime Writers’ Association celebrates the author of the Albert Campion detective novels.  It is for stories of up to 3,500 words.  These must comply with Margery Allingham’s own definition of a mystery, which is basically as follows: a crime, a mystery, an enquiry and a conclusion, the conclusion providing reader satisfaction (so your investigator can’t end up thumping his/ her desk in frustration and muttering, ‘Damn - the bastard’s got away with it!’).
    Closing: 1.3.16 (4pm).
    Prize: £1,000, plus full passes to Crimefest 2017.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.16

 

Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize.  This contest, which is supported by the Arts Council, is for the best proposal for a book-length essay (over 25,000 words) by an unpublished writer living in the UK or Ireland.  Proposals should run to no more than 5,000 words.
    Closing: 13.3.16.
    Prize: A £3,000, publication and a three-month writer’s residency at the Mahler and Lee Witt Studios in Spolero, Italy, to work on the book.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
16.1.16

 

ChipLitFest Short Story Competition.  This annual contest from the Chipping Norton Literary Festival is for stories of up to 3,000 words on any subject.  It is open worldwide to anyone over the age of 16.
    Closing: 15.3.16.
    Prizes: £500, £100, £50.  The top ten stories will have the opportunity to feature on pennyshorts.com, a website that makes short stories available for purchase.
    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
2.12.15

 

Templar Straid Collection Award.  This is for full length poetry collections.  Nothing much to add really, except send ‘em in if this is your thing and you can afford the entry fee.
    Closing: 21.3.16.
    Prize: Your work published as a full Straid Award Collection by Templar Poetry.
    Entry Fee: £20.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
13.9.15

 

Rubery Book Award.  This international contest is for published fiction and non-fiction books of most types.  These can be submitted by a publisher, or an author published by an independent publisher.  They can be self-published books and they can be ebooks.
    Closing: 31.3.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000, plus the wnning book will be read by a top London literary agent at MBA.  At least three category winners will each receive £100.
    Entry Fee: £35.  For struggling authors this will mean turning off the heating for a fortnight, but they can always wait until late March before entering as then the weather will be warmer.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.2.13

 

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
31.1.16

 

Henshaw Short Story Competition.  This regular visitor from Henshaw Press of Northampton is for stories of up to 2,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: 31.3.16.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.  Winners will be published on the website and optionally in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
10.1.16

 

Tethered by Letters F(r)iction Winter Literary Competition .  This international contest from Tethered by Letters, an American literary publication and resource organisation, has three categories: short story, poetry and flash fiction.  The stories should be between 1,000 and 7.500 words, while the poems can run to three pages.  Flash fiction has a word limit 750.  The promoters are looking for work that ‘takes risks in theme, content or aesthetic.’  Their motto is ‘Publish Weird’.  I don’t know how that goes in latin.
    Closing: 31.3.16 (midnight PST).
    Prizes: Stories - $1,000.  Poetry - $300.  Flash Fiction - $300.  Winners will be published in F(r)iction, a triannually-printed collection of literature and art.  All finalists in each category will receive professional edits on their submissions and will be considered for later publication.
    Entry Fee: Stories - $18.  Poems and flash fiction - $10 each, three for $15.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.11.15

 

Myriad Editions First Crime Competition.  For this one from Myriad Editions and West Dean College you submit up to 5,000 words plus a one-page synopsis of a work in progress.  This can be either a novel or a short story collection, but stories must be in the crime or thriller genre.
    Closing: 31.3.16.
    Prize: A one-week writing retreat at West Dean College near Chichester, plus detailed editorial feedback from the judges and six months’ mentoring from a Myriad author.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.1.16

 

Wergle Flomp Humour Poetry Competition.  This contest from Winning Writers in the USA is for published or unpublished humorous poems of up to 250 lines.  Before entering, it is advisable to check some of the past winners and judge’s comments (in the Contest Archives), as here you will find information about things the judges frown upon.
    Closing: 1.4.16.
    Prizes: 1st - $1,000.  2nd - $250.  Runners-up (10) - $100.
    Entry Fee : None - free to enter.  One entry per person.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
31.1.16

 

Limnisa Short Story Competition.  Limnisa, a creative writing centre on the idyllic Greek Island of Methana, seems like a great place to get your creative juices flowing - and you could be there if you win this free contest, although you will have to stump up for the travel costs unless you use your thumb.  The competition, which is open worldwide, is for stories of up to 3,000 words.
    Closing: 15.4.16.
    Prizes: 1st - One week Writers’ Retreat or Workshop in 2016 or 2017, with full-board accommondation in single room, at Limnisa in Greece with optional daily yoga sessions, literary evening, use of all Limnisa facilities (beach, bikes, library, etc).  Alternatively you can have five online sessions of personal tutoring.  2nd and 3rd - 50% discount on the Writers’ Retreat or Workshop.  Alternatively you can have an online session of personal turtoring or feedback on written work.  Runners-up - 25% discount for writer’s retreat or Workshop.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.1.16

 

Binsted Arts Poetry Competition.  This contest from Binsted Arts in West Sussex is for poems of up to 40 lines on the theme of ‘A Way Through The Woods’.  The judge is Maggie Sawkins, who won the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry 2013.
    Closing: 17.4.16.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.  Winners have the option of anthology publication.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £3 each thereafter.
    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
16.1.16

 

Crediton Short Story Competition.  This annual contest from the Crediton Food & Drink Festival in Devon is for short stories on the subject of Food.  These people are obsessed.  There are two categories: Adult (18+) and Young Adult (11 to 18).  The former has a word limit of 3,000, while the latter is restricted to 1,000.
    Closing: 24.4.16.
    Prizes: Adult - 1st: £50 plus a night at the Lamb Inn in Sandford, publication in Riptide (‘short stories with an undercurrent’) and free copes of Riptide (Vol. 1 - 11).  2nd: £20 in cash.  Young Adult - 1st: £30 (book voucher or cash) plus Riptide Volume 6.  2nd: £10 book token or cash, Riptide Vol. 6.  Winners will be announced at the Big Sunday Lunch at the Food & Drink Festtival.  Too bad if you’re on a diet.
    Entry Fee: Adults - £5.  Young Adults - £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
 1.1.16

 

Luna Press Short Story and Illustration Competition.  This return visitor from Luna Press in Edinburgh is for science fiction, fantasy and dark fantasy (and their sub-genres). Or, if you are one of those story chefs who like to throw in a dash of everything before bringing it to the boil and serving it up with a flourish, you might try a mixture of these.  Story entries should run to no more than 8,000 words.  If you want to have a go at drawing a suitable illustration for the front cover of the contest anthology, see the website for details.
    Closing: 30.4.16.
    Prizes: Story - £50.  Shortlisted entries will be published in the anthology.  Illustration - £50 and publication on the cover of the anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
 6.11.15

 

Bristol Short Story Prize.  I once spent a whole day exploring Bristol in connection with a treasure hunt but the only thing I can remember about the place now (aside from the fact that the treasure wasn’t there) is that explorer and navigator John Cabot sailed from there, discovered Newfoundland and explored parts of North America before amy other European.  Alas, he failed to update his blog with the details, and now, hundreds of years later, academics are still arguing about it.  You see, what matters in the end is not the going there but the writing about it - and he could have done that without going there, using just his imagination.  Anyway, this competition - it’s for stories of up to 4,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: 30.4.16.
    Prizes: £1,000, £700, £400.  Runners-up (17) - £100.  Twenty stories will be published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 9.
    Entry Fee: £8.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
 6.11.15

 

Ware Poets Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Ware Poets of Hertfordshire is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject.  There is a separate category for sonnets.
    Closing: 30.4.16.
    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
 8.1.16

 

Soundwork-UK Audio Playscript Competition.  Here we have a contest for playscripts suitable for audio recording.  The play’s duration should be no more than 45 minutes.
    Closing: 30.4.16.
    Prizes: Your play recorded and produced in collaboration with Soundwork-uk.co.uk and placed on the website and Soundcloud, along with your details and a photo of you presuably looking like a playwright (i.e. with a slightly worried expression, as if half expecting a rabid critic to leap out of nowhere and savage you at any moment).
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.16

 

Far Horizons Award For Poetry.  This contest from The Malahat Review, one of Canada’s leading literary magazines, is for poems of up to 60 lines on any subject.  It is open only to poets who have not yet had their work published in book form (definition of a book in this instance is 48 pages or more).
    Closing: 1.5.16.
    Prize: $1,000 (canadian).
    Entry Fee (outside North America): $35 for the first, $15 thereafter.  Dollars are US.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 4.11.15

 

Frogmore Poetry Prize 2016.  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: 31.5.16.
    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
 2.2.16

 

David Burland Poetry Prize 2016.  This international contest, now in its tenth year, is for poems of any length in any style.
    Closing: 31.5.16.
    Prizes: £500, £200, £100.  Runners-up - £25.  The winning writers will have their work published in the anthology: Poetic Art.
    Entry Fee: £9 for the first, £5 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.2.16

 

Yeovil Literary Prize.  This is the twelfth of these international contests from Yeovil, the literary capital of the West Country where even the sheep appreciate poetry.  There are four categories: Short Story, Poetry, Novel and Unrestricted.  The 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.  The final category is unusual in that it’s for anything you have written - as long as it has ‘the Wow! factor’ (they mean ‘Wow - that’s brilliant!’ rather than, ‘Wow - you’ve really plumbed the depths with that one!’).  Your entry could be a particularly creative tax return, a witty note to the milkman, or that hilariously scathing critique of your former best friend’s new novel, etc.
    Closing: 31.5.16.
    Prizes: Short Story - £500, £200, £100.  Poetry - £500, £200, £100.  Novel - £1,000, £250, £100.  Writing Without Restrictions - £100, £50, £30.  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.
    Entry Fee: Short Story - £6.  Poetry - £6 each, £9 for two, £11 for three.  Novel - £11 each.  Writing Without Restrictions - £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
 1.1.16

 

Erewash Writers - New Writer Competition.  Here’s one for new writers only.  It is for stories of up to 3,000 words.
    Closing: 30.6.16.
    Prize : £40 and free Erewash comp entry, plus online publication.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £2.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

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
 1.1.16

 

Erewash Writers Open Short Story Competition.  This worldwide contest from Erewash Writers of Derbyshire is for stories of up to 2,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: 29.9.16.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25, £15.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £2.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.11.15

 

Poco Loco Adult Writing Prize.  This contest from the online adult writing magazine Poco Loco is for erotic, ‘sexciting’ and pornographic stories of between 1,500 and 5,000 words.
    Closing: 30.9.16 (12.59pm).
    Prizes: 1st - £500.  Runners-up (5) - £100.  In addition, the authors of any stories published in the mag will be paid £20 per 1,000 words.
    Entry Fee: £10 (to subscribe to the mag and get one free entry, £10 per entry thereafter).
    Website:
Click Here (Adult Writing Prize link on left).

 


Added
11.6.04

 

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

 


Added
 1.9.11

 

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

 
  

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

 
    
  

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

                                       The Typo Goblin

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

                                                                           
- Michael Shenton

 
  

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

 
        


Disclaimer

                                    
My Humorous             This is the Prizemagic website                   Poem:
      
Verse                Email comps@prizemagic.co.uk                Being a
    & Songs            Copyright:  Michael Shenton  2016             Writer

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