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
  4.5.16

 

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

 


Updated
  4.5.16

 

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

 
  

Books to Improve Your Writing Skills  

 


Addad
30.4.16

 

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

 


Updated
 30.4.16

 

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

 


Updated
  29.4.16

 

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

 


Updated
 29.4.16

 

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

 

 

 

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

 


Added
12.7.09

 

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

 


Added
 6.7.09

 

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

 


Updated
  27.6.10

 

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

 
    
  

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

 


Updated
15.12.15

 

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

 


Added
27.1.15

 

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

 


Added
21.5.12

 

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

 


Updated
  1.4.16

 

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

 

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
 1.9.16

 

Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.  This lucrative award is open only to published writers of prose fiction, drama or poetry.  To be eligible, you must have been published by an established publisher or established print magazine.  If you have negotiated that hurdle, send in a story of up to 6,000 words aimed at adults.
    Closing: 29.9.16 (6pm).
    Prizes: 1st - £30,000.  Runners-up (5) - £1,000.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.5.16

 

Bedford Writing Competition.  Stories of up to 3,000 words and poems of up to 40 lines are required for this international contest whose net proceeds go to charity.
    Closing: 30.9.16.
    Prizes (in each category): £200, £100, £50.  Bedford Prize (best short story from Bedford entrant) - £50.  Shortlisted entries will be published in an e-book.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £10 for three.
    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
18.7.16

 

Caterpillar Short Story for Children Prize.  This themeless contest from Irish literary magazine The Moth is for stories of up to 1,500 words aimed at children aged 7 to 11.
    Closing: 30.9.16.
    Prizes: 1st - 500 euros and a two-week stay at The Moth Artists’ Residence.  2nd - 300 euros.  3rd - 200 euros.  Winning entries will appear in The Moth’s literary magazine for children, The Caterpillar.
    Entry Fee: 12 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
17.7.16

 

Salopian Open Poetry Competition.  This is the 40th of these annual international contests from the Salopian Poetry Society.  As usual, poems must be in English and run to no more than 42 lines.
    Closing: 30.9.16.
    Prizes: £150, £100, £50.  Runners-up (10) - £20.  Winners will also receive a copy of the winter issue of the Society’s magazine Salopeot which will contain the winning entries.  To celebrate the 40th anniversary additional prizes will be awarded by the magazine’s editor.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £10 for four.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.9.16

 

Stanley Spencer Poetry Competition.  This contest from the Cookham Festival in association with The Stanley Spencer Gallery and the University of Reading is for poems of up to 54 lines that in some way reflect Stanley Spencer’s life, work, influences, themes or beliefs.
    Closing: 30.9.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £2,500.  Runners-up (2) - £500.  Winners will be published in the Two Rivers Press anthology.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
20.1.13

 

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
17.5.16

 

Off  the Beaten Track Writing Competition.  This contest from the Senior Travel Expert website is for travel articles of up to 750 words about somewhere out of the way and not teeming with visitors.  The winner, say the promoters, will be the article judged likely to be most effective in persuading the website’s readers to emulate the travel experience.  If that’s blown your real-life story into the weeds, do not despair, as the contest is open to fiction as well as fact.  Just edit out the unfriendly locals, the misleading signposting, the days wandering lost in the wilderness, the kidnapping by strange moon-worshipping primatives and the rescue by armed police who accidentally shot you in the leg ... and presto, you could be on to a winner.
    Closing: 30.9.16.
    Prize : £100.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
12.7.16

 

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: 30.9.16.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.  Winners will be published on the website and optionally in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.9.16

 

FT/McKinsey Bracken Bower Prize.  Bearing in mind that this contest comes from the Financial Times, you won’t be surprised to learn that it has a business theme.  Your task, assuming you are under 35, is to write a proposal of up to 5,000 words for a forward-looking book about the challenges and opportunities for growth.  This is business growth we are talking about.  There is stuff on the comp page about future trends in business, finance and management .. all that sort of thing.  Along with the proposal you have to submit a biography that shows why you are qualified to write a book on this topic.  ‘I’m short of fifteen grand for a new car/deposit on a flat,’ won’t suffice, I’m afraid.  Well, there’s always a catch, isn’t there?
    Closing: 30.9.16.
    Prize: £15,000.  The best proposals will be published on the FT.com website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.8.16

 

Writing Times Children’s Competition.  This contest from online magazne Writing Times for stories (up to 1,500 words) and drawings is open to children aged between 5 and 12.  The theme is Holidays.
    Closing: 30.9.16.
    Prize: A book, and your entry published in the magazine.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.8.16

 

Writing Times Seniors Competition.  Here’s another contest from online magazine Writing Times.  This one is open to seniors aged 60 or over.  There are two categories: Poetry and Short Story, and in both cases the theme is Hobbies.  There is a word limit of 1,500.
    Closing: 30.9.16.
    Prizes: A book and publication in the magazine.
    Entry Fee: £1.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  1.9.16

 

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: 30.9.16.
    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
19.7.16

 

Resurgence Poetry Prize 2016.  Here’s an oddity - a poetry competition with a line limit of 54.  Maybe that’s a significant number in recycling, for the contest is billed as the world’s first major award for ecopoetry.  You will not be surprised to learn that entries should be on an ecological theme.  You might however be surprised to learn that the first prize is not a Bag For Life but money.
     Closing: 1.10.16.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1000.
    Entry Fee: £8 for the first, £3 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
  2.8.13

 

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

 


Added
 1.8.16

 

Red Dragonfly Playwriting Competition and Festival .  This contest from Red Dragonfly Productions and Grist to the Mill Produsctions is open to new and emerging British East Asian, South Asian and South East Asian writers aged over 18.  It is for family-friendly stage plays with a performance time of 30 minutes and no more than four actors (they can take more than one part if required).  There is no set theme.  In the first instance, you only need to submit a full description of your idea on one A4 page.
    Closing: 1.10.16.
    Prizes: £1,000 to each writer whose play is performed at the Festival.  Up to ten writers will be invited to a one-day workshop and from that, three will be chosen to have their plays produced and performed.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.4.16

 

Prolitzer Prize.  This annual contest from Prole, a print magazine that publishes high quality poetry and prose, is for fiction and creative non-fiction running to no more than 2,500 words.
    Closing: 1.10.16.
    Prizes: £200, £50, £50.  Winners will be published in the mag and on the website.
    Entry Fee: £4 for the first, £3 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.9.16

 

Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize 2016.  For this annual contest from Devon publisher Indigo Dreams you submit 10 poems of up to 36 lines each.
    Closing: 10.10.16.
    Prizes (2): A royalty publishing contract for a 52-page poetry collection, plus 25 free copies.
    Entry Fee: £20 per block of poems.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.9.16

 

Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2016.  To enter this poetry pamphlet contest from Indigo Dreams you submit up to 30 pages of poetry (36 lines max, including breaks).
    Closing: 14.10.16.
    Prizes: Two winners will each receive a royalty publishing contract with Indigo Dreams and will receive 20 free copies of their poetry pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £15 per block of poems.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
10.4.16

 

NUHA Blogging Prize. Back for the sixth year running is this international blogging competition from the NUHA foundation, a registered charity based in England.  The contest was established ‘as a platform to debate issues of education and development, and to provide an opportunity for authors to be published and to develop their self-confidence’.  It doesn’t matter if English is your first, second or third language ... you will be judged on the quality of your argument and the originality of your ideas.  There are three age categories: Adult, Youth and Young Writer.  Each category has a different writing task.  Entries will be posted on the website, and you can get your family and friends to vote for your entry and comment on it.  Well, you can try.
    Closing: 15.10.16 (midnight PST).
    Prizes: The prizes depend on sufficient entries being received.  Adult - (up to) $2,500, $1,200, $500.  Youth Prize - (up to) $1,000, $400, $150.  Young Writers - (up to) $250, $100, $50.  There is a possibility of matched prizes for teachers and schools ($1,000 and $250 - click text link on comp page for details).
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
19.8.16

 

NAWG Open Writing  Competition.  This annual contest from the National Association of Writers’ Groups has two categories: short story and poetry.  Stories should be between 500 and 2,000 words, while the poems should have no more than 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.10.16.
    Prizes (in each category): £250, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: £5 for a single poem or short story.  You can enter three poems for £10.
    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
19.8.16

 

NAWG Writing Competition.  This new open contest from NAWG is for novellas.  You are invited to send 5,000 words plus a synopsis.
    Closing: 31.10.16.
    Prizes: £300, £200, £100.  The prize money must be spent on book printing, although not necessarily on printing the work entered.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.9.16

 

‘The Journey’ Short Story Competition.  This contest from Ouen Press (the pronunciation is given on their home page but you will probably be no wiser) is for true travel tales that inspire and enlighten.  These should range between 3,000 and 10,000 words.  A medical check-up is advisable before submitting your work, as the rules forbid posthumous entries.
    Closing: 31.10.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £300.  Runners-up (2) - £100.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 7.7.16

 

Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize.  This contest, which is for fiction or non-fiction of between 1,000 and 1,500 words, is for young writers aged between 18 and 25 living in the UK.  Entries should interpret the following Benjamin Franklin quote for its relevance today: ‘Light often arises from a collision of opinions, as fire from flint and steel.’
    Closing: 31.10.16.
    Prizes: £750, £500.  Winners will be published on The Telegraph website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
16.9.16

 

McKitterick Prize .  This contest from the Society of Authors is for a first novel, published or unpublished, by a writer over the age of forty.  To enter, you submit five copies of your published novel or 30 pages of your unpublished one.  Published novels must have been published this year.
    Closing: 31.10.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £4,000.  Runner-up - £1,000.
    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
 1.6.16

 

Fire River Poets Open Poetry Competition.  This contest from Fire River Poets of Taunton in Somerset is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject.
    Closing: 31.10.16.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £75.
    Entry Fee: £4 for the first, £3 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here..

 


Added
24.3.16

 

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, as any novelist will tell you, is the easy bit.  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 include 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 one-page synopsis.
    Closing : 31.10.16.
    Prizes: £500, £200.
    Entry Fee: £10.  Optional critique: £25.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
19.6.16

 

Poetry Society National Poetry Competition.  In 1983 Carol Ann Duffy won this contest and 26 years later she became the Poet Laureate.  So if you’re hoping to become an overnight sensation, this is probably not the ideal starting point.  But there are compensations.  The top cash award is one of the best in the business, and the second prize isn’t bad either.  The thing that makes me uneasy about this one is that the entry form always asks for your ethnic background.  They say this is for statistical purposes only, but I still don’t think it belongs on a competition entry form.  However, I have no complaints about the line limit which is 40.
    Closing: 31.10.16.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000.  Runners-up (7) - £200.  The top three winners will be published in Poetry Review.
    Entry Fee: £6.50 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.
    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
 1.8.16

 

Oriel Davies Open Writing Competition.  This one from Oriel Davies Gallery (contemporary art) in Newtown, Wales, is for poems of up to 50 lines or prose of under 1,000 words, in English or Welsh.  The theme is Imaginary Worlds.  Entries must not have been previously published.  No name or address should appear on your manuscript.  This info should be on a separate page along with your phone number and email address, plus the title and first line of each item submitted.  Entries must be typed/printed on separate A4 sheets.
    Closing: 1.11.16.
    Prize (in each category): A £50 voucher to spend in Oriel Davies shop.  In case you can’t make it to the gallery in person to spend your voucher, the website shows numerous items available in the shop and it’s possible to buy over the phone.  Winning entries will be featured on the website and read to an audience in February 2017.  All shortlisted writers will be invited to participate in the readings.
    Entry Fee : £3 (cheques or postal orders payable to: Oriel Davies Gallery).
    Entry Address: Sheela Hughes, Oriel Davies Gallery, The Park, Newtown, Powys, SY16 2NZ.
    Website (no comp info):
Click Here.

 


Added
25.6.16

 

The Caledonia Novel Award.  This international contest from Edinburgh. which is open to unpublished and self-published debut novelists, is for stories of at least 50,000 words in any adult or young adult genre.  To enter you email the first 20 pages of your novel followed by a 200 word synopsis.  If longlisted you will be expected to submit the full manuscript by 9.11.16.  The judge is Richard Pike from literary agents Curtis Brown.
    Closing: 1.11.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000.  There is in addition a special prize for the best entry from the UK or Ireland of a place on a writing course a Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre.  This is in the Scottish Highlands 14 miles from Inverness.  There will be no trains and possibly no road.  You complete your journey on a donkey, accompanied by native guides and sherpas.
    Entry Fee: £20.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
24.9.16

 

Tethered by Letters Writing 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 of 750.  The promoters are looking for work that pushes the boundaries and takes risks in genre, plot and style.  Their motto is ‘Publish Weird’.  I don’t know how that goes in latin.
    Closing: 1.11.16 (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.
    Entry Fee: Stories - $15.  Poems and flash fiction - $8 each, three for $12.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.8.16

 

Writeabridge poetry Competition.  This international charitable contest, which aims to raise funds for the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre in the UK, and the Daughters For Life Foundation in Canada, is for poems of up to 40 lines on any theme.  The judges are Anjum Malik, scriptwriter, poet, performer and a Visiting Teaching Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University, and Lemn Sissay MBE, who amongst his other achievements was an official poet for the London Olympics.
    Closing: 12.11.16.
    Prizes : £300, £50.  Winning poems will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 
  

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

 


Added
 1.9.16

 

Theatre Cloud Tale of Two Cities Competition .  To mark the autumn 2016 theatre tour of Mike Poulton’s adaptaion of A Tale of Two Cities, Theatre Cloud is inviting you to write a story of up to 500 words on the theme of ‘Making change happen.’  The contest is open only to UK residents.  There will be a filmed reading of each shortlisted entry, and these readings will be available to watch online.
    Closing: 19.11.16 (6pm).
    Prizes: £300, £150.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
21.7.16

 

Bath Children's Novel Award. This international contest, which is open to unpublished and self-published debut novelists, is for novels of any length in any middle grade or young adult genre. To enter you email the first 3,000 words of your story followed by a one page synopsis.  If longlisted you will be expected to submit the full manuscript in December 2016.  The longlist is chosen by a panel of children and young adults. The shortlist judge is Julia Churchill from literary agents A.M. Heath.
     Closing: 20.11.16.
     Prizes: 1st - £2,000.  There is in addition a special prize for one shortlistee of £500 vouchers from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.
     Entry Fee: £22.
     Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
13.6.16

 

Atlantis Short Story Competition.  This annual international contest from the USA is for stories of up to 2.500 words on any theme.  Stories can be fiction or based on true events.  And they can be written by two people - so if you have a split personality here’s your chance to make a  name for yourselves.
    Closing: 30.11.16.
    Prizes : 1st - $300, $100, $50.  The three winners also receive in-depth feedback.
    Entry Fee: $10.
    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
24.9.16

 

Writers Bureau Flash Fiction Competition.  This contest from Writers Bureau requires stories of fewer than 500 words on any theme.  The title is not included in the word count.
    Closing: 30.11.16.
    Prizes: £300, £200, £100.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
19.8.16

 

Fish Short Story Competition.  If you are angling for a big prize, it’s worth trying your luck here in this international contest from Fish Publishing in southern Ireland.  The required bait is a short story on any subject.  To avoid a battering from the judges you must confine your tale to no more than 5,000 words.
    Closing : 30.11.16.
    Prizes: 1st - 3,000 euros (1,000 of which is for travel expenses to the anthology launch), plus a 5-day fiction writering workshop with Claire Keegan during the West Cork Literary Festival.  2nd - A week at the Anam Cara Writers’ & Artists’ Retreat in West Cork with 300 euros travel expenses.  3rd - 300 euros.  Ten stories will be published in an anthology and the authors will receive five free copies plus an invitation to read at the launch during the West Cork Literary Festival in July.
    Entry Fee: For online entries it’s 20 euros for the first, 10 thereafter.  Add 2 euros for postal entries.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.9.16

 

Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism.  This annual contest is for a piece of writing about new work in the arts.  You are limited to 1,500 words.
    Closing: 30.11.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £3,000 plus publication in the Observer.  Runners-up (2) - £500.  The winners will be commissioned to produce new writing about the arts for the Free Word Centre, who will award a European travel grant for research purposes.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 5.7.16

 

The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition.  If you have an original idea, a fresh voice and a story children will love, you could be in luck because that’s just what the organisers of this annual contest are looking for.  They’re also looking for fifteen quid from your pocket, but grit your teeth and think of the prize.  Your story should be suitable for a worldwide audience of children/young adults somewhere between the ages of 7 and 18 years.  Your manuscript can run to a maximum of 80,000 words, and there is a suggested minimum of 30,000.  You have to include a brief synopsis (as described on the website) and a letter explaining the book’s appeal to children (e.g. ‘It’s about fluffy bunnies and adorable kittens - the hero likes to eat them.’).
    Closing: 18.12.16.
    Prize: A publishing contract with an advance of £10,000, plus representation by a top children’s literary agent.
    Entry Fee: £15.  Luckily you no longer have to send your manuscript by post at colossal expense.  You can now enter online.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
22.5.16

 

Writing Times Short Story and Poetry Competition.  This contest from online literary magazine Writing Times is for stories of up to 7,000 words and poems of up to 80 lines on the theme of Relationships.
    Closing: 31.12.16.
    Prizes (in each category): £50 and the story published in the mag.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £1.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.9.16

 

Soundwork Short Story Competition.  Here’s another contest from Soundwork and as usual it’s for stories of up to 2,000 words on any theme.  The contest is open worldwide.
    Closing: 31.12.16.
    Prize: The winning story will be recorded and posted on the Soundwork-uk website along with a photo and details of the writer.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    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

 


Added
 9.8.16

 

Mearns Writers New Beginnings Short Story Competition.  This international contest from the Mearns Writers group in Aberdeenshire is for stories of between 1,000 and 3,000 words in any genre.  The theme, as you may have guessed, is New Beginnings.  Stories will of course need more than just beginnings.  They will need middlings and endings too.
    Closing: 31.12.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £250.  Runners-up (3) - £50.  The winning story and those shortlisted will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £5 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.7.16

 

Exeter Novel Competition.  To enter this annual contest from Creative Writing Matters of Exeter you submit the first 10,000 words of your novel, this to include a synopsis of up to 500 words.
    Closing: 1.1.17.
    Prizes : 1st - £500 plus a trophy.  Runners-up (5) - £75 and a trophy.
    Entry Fee: £18.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
19.8.16

 

Templar Poetry Pamphlet Awards.  For this quarterly contest from Templar Poetry you submit a selection of your work as a manuscript of between ten and twelve A4 single-sided pages.
    Closing: 9.1.17.
    Prizes: One winner each quarter will have his or her entry published in pamphlet form and will receive 20 free copies with the option to buy more at a discount.
    Entry Fee: £12 online.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
16.9.16

 

Notting Hill Editions Essay Prize.  This handsomely-rewarding biennial contest from Notting Hill Editions of Broadhembury in Devon (that’s a long way from Notting Hill) is for essays of between 2,000 and 8,000 words on any subject.  What would have been wrong with Broadhembury Editions, I wonder?  Hmm, well, I suppose Broadhembury doesn’t have the same exciting connotations as Notting Hill with its carnival and so forth.  And nobody has named a film after it ... yet.
    Closing: 9.1.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £20,000.  Runners-up (5) - £1,000.  The winning essays will be published in hardback by Notting Hill Editions.
    Entry Fee: £20.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
13.9.16

 

National Memory Day Creative Writing Competition.  This charitable contest from Literature Works is for poems of up to 100 lines and short stories running to no more than 1,500 words on the theme of Memories.  Winners will be announced on National Memory Day, May 18, 2017.
    Closing: 20.1.17 (5pm).
    Prizes: Best Poem - £4,000.  Best Short Story - £4,000.  Best Primary Carer Voice - £2,000.   Plymouth University Best Young Writer (15 - 18) - £2,000.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £2 thereafter.  Proceeds go to the Memory Cafe Poetry Project which helps people with memory loss.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.8.16

 

The Plough Poetry Prize.  Arr, it be that time again.  The Plough Prize is back for its umpteenth annual appearance.  It comes from the Plough Arts Centre in Torrington, Devon.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines in any style and on any subject.  The judge this year is Philip Gross.
    Closing: 31.1.17.
    Prizes: I’m tempted to say ploughs, but I think I’ve done that one before.  The prizes are actually quite useful amounts of money: £1,000, £500, £250.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.9.16

 

Fish Short Memoir Competition. This annual contest from Fish Publishing in Ireland is for memoirs of up to 4,000 words.
    Closing: 31.1.17.
    Prizes : 1,000 euros.  The best 10 entries will be published in the Fish Anthology.
    Entry Fee: 16 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.9.16

 

Fish Flash Fiction Competition.  This annual Fish competition is for stories running to no more than 300 words.
    Closing: 28.2.17.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - An online writing course with Fish.  The best 10 entries will be published in the Fish Anthology.  The writers will each receive five copies.
    Entry Fee: 14 euros.
    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
24.3.16

 

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.  Those of you who think no story is complete without a decent (or indecent) bedroom scene will be pleased to learn that adult material is acceptable here ‘providing the content fits the story and is not gratuitous’.  The rest of you will be relieved to learn that adult content is not compulsory.
    Closing: 28.2.17.
    Prizes: £500, £200, £100.
    Entry Fee: £7 each, £12 for two, £16 for three, £20 for four.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.9.16

 

Fish Poetry Competition.  Poems of up to 300 words are invited for this contest from Fish Publishing based in southern Ireland.  Jo Shapcott will be judging.
    Closing: 31.3.17.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - A week’s residency at Anam Cara Writers’ retreat.
    Entry Fee: 14 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 6.9.16

 

RuberyBook Award.  This international award is for self-published and independently published books of any type.  I emphasise that we are not talking about mere manuscripts here, but the actual end product book published at some point prior to submission.  Haven’t got a published book?  Well, you’ve got plenty of time to write one, get it published and send it in, because if you miss the deadline this time round, your entry will be put forward for the next award.
    Closing: 31.3.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,500 and your book read by a top London literary agent.  At least three category winners will each receive £150.
    Entry Fee: £35.  Nurse!  Someone just fainted.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
11.6.04

 

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

 


Added
 1.9.11

 

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

 
  

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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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