Stiff Competition - the novel

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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 67)

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

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

 


Updated
  29.6.17

 

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

 


Addad
29.6.17

 

Cinnamon Press Debut Collection Prize.  This annual contest from Welsh publisher Cinnamon Press is for poetry collections comprising 10 poems of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: Annually - end of November.
    Prizes: A publishing contract and 100 copies of the collection.
    Entry Fee: £12 for one collection, £22 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

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

 


Updated
  29.6.17

 

Cinnamon Press Short Story Prize.  This is for stories of between 2,000 and 4,000 words.
    Closing: Annually (end of May).
    Prize: 1st - One year’s mentoring/free place on a Ty’n y coed course. 2nd Pack of short story collections. 3rd - A year’s subscription to the book club. Winners and runners-up will be published in the Cinnamon Review of Short Fiction.
    Entry Fee: £12 (includes a free copy of the winners’ anthology).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

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 : A pulishing contract and 100 copies of the novel.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

Telegraph ‘Just Back’ Travel writing Competition.  If you are just back from somewhere a shade more interesting than the local park, the Telegraph Online would like the gripping details in up to 500 words.  You can read previous winners on the website.  A ‘voyage’ across the Mersey is one of them - proving that you don’t have to write about anywhere exotic to scoop the prize.
    Closing: Monthly.
    Prize: £200 in your choice of currency.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
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: £60 Waterstones 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
  1.7.17

 

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: 30.12.17, 31.3.18.
    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.

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

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. Surplus entries automatically go into the next round.
    Prizes (in each round): £75, £25.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £5.50 for two, £8 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
 29.6.17

 

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
13.6.17

 

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

 


Added
17.6.16

 

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
 1.9.17

 

Retreat West Short Story Competition.  This freebie from Retreat West and Writers & Artists (of W&A Yearbook fame) is for stories of up to 1,000 words with a beach setting.
    Closing: 17.9.17.
    Prize: 1st - A place on Retreat West’s Plotting Retreat in West Bay, Dorset on 17th to 21st of November 2017.  The winner and two runners-up will received a copy of the Writers &Artists Yearbook and other W&A books, plus last year’s Retreat West Anthology. The winners will be published on the W&A website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  Note that you must register with the website before entering.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
23.5.17

 

Erewash Writers Open Short Story Competition.  This worldwide contest from Erewash Writers in Derbyshire is for stories of up to 2,500 words on any theme.
    Closing: 21.9.17.
    Prizes: £100, £60, £25, £15.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two, £2.50 thereafter.  A cash donation to charity will be made from any profits on entry fees.
    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
2.7.17

 

Kostas Olive Tree Writing Competition.  This contest in memory of Kosta, a former Royal Marine who died fighting ISIS in Northern Syria, aims to raise funds for good causes including UK based charities that help ex-servicemen and women with PTSD, and charities that support the rebuilding of Kurdish communities and Yezidi refugee camps in and around Syria.  Your story should be about someone who stands up for what they believe in.  The length should be between 1,200 and 1,500 words.
    Closing: 22.9.17.
    Prizes: £70, £30, £30.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
11.8.17

 

The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.  This lucrative International award, which is administered by the Society of Authors, 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, or broadcast by an established radio station, in the UK or Ireland.  If you have negotiated that hurdle, send in a story of up to 6,000 words aimed at adults.
    Closing: 28.9.17 (6pm).
    Prizes: 1st - £30,000.  Runners-up (5) - £1,000.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.5.17

 

Manchester Writing Competition.  This international contest from Manchester Writing School at the Manchester Metropolitan University celebrates ‘the substantial cultural and literary achievements of Manchester’ of which I am unable to give an example at this time.  My childhood memories of Manchester are centred around Moss Side where my father for a time ran a fast-food business (chip shop, as we called it back then).  I was kept locked in the cellar peeling spuds, with a 15-watt incandescent light bulb for company.  It was there in that creepy dungeon, while peering into the dark corners, that I developed my vivid imagination - not to mention my nervous twitches.  Culture?  Literature?  Be serious.  But times, I suppose, have changed.  So let us return to the competition, which is for poems and short stories.  To enter the Poetry Prize you submit a portfolio of three to five poems, these to consist of no more than 120 lines in total.  For the Fiction Prize the requirement is for a story running to no more than 2,500 words in any genre.
    Closing: 29.9.17.
    Prize (in each category): £10,000.
    Entry Fee: £17.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.9.17

 

Fiction Desk Flash Fiction Competition.  This contest from London-based publisher The Fiction Desk is for stories of between 250 and 1,000 words.
    Closing: 29.9.17.
    Prizes : £300, £100, £100.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £8 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Updated
 19.8.17

 

International Literary Prize.  This contest from The University Centre Grimsby in association with Hammond House Publishing is for short stories of between 2,000 and 7,000 words on the theme of Eternal.  The theme is intended to be inspirational, not restrictive, they say.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes : £600, £100, £50.  Shortlisted entries (25) will be published and there will be a televised awards ceremony.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 2.3.17

 

Tom Howard/John Margaret Reid Poetry Prize.  This regular visitor from the USA has now become two competitions in one - the Tom Howard Prize and the Margaret Reid Prize.  The former is for poems in any style, while the latter is for traditional verse as defined on the competition page.  In both cases the line limit is a very generous (some might say extravagant) 250.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes: Tom Howard Prize (any style) - $1,500.  Margaret Reid Prize (traditional verse) - $1,500.  In addition there will be ten Honourable Mention awards of $100.  The Dishonourable Mention awards have been dropped this year following several suicides.  I wrote that last bit on April 1st.
    Entry Fee: $12.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 

 

 

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
19.8.17

 

Hammond House International Poetry Prize 2017.  This annual contest from Hammond House Publishing in Grimsby is for poems of any length on the theme of Eternal.  You may in addition to your poem submit a short pamphlet of up to 7 of your other poems in support of your entry ‘to provide the judges with a context for your poem in relation to your wider body of work.’  Well, that’s a first.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes: £250, £50, £25.  The top 25 entries will be published.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.5.17

 

Bedford International Writing Competition.  This annual not-for-profit contest from Bedfordshire, home of the famous Shuttleworth Collection (old aeroplanes and cars) is for stories of up to 3,000 words and poems running to no more than 40 lines.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes (in each cetegory): £300, £150, £100.  In addition there is the Bedford Prize for local residents: Story - £100.  Poem - £100.
    Entry Fee: £6 each, £12 for three.  Net proceeds will be donated to charity.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
18.4.17

 

Fantastic Female Fable Competition.  This contest from Fantastic Books Publishing in Yorkshire is for stories of up to 2,000 words featuring strong, inspirational women.  The theme is Female Strength.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, five or more £3.50 each.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
22.6.17

 

SPM Publications Poetry Book Competition.  This contest from Sentinel Poetry Movement Publications is for full-length collections of poetry in any style and on any subject.  For the first stage of the competition you send in 20 pages of poetry from your full collection.  Note that for this initial stage you must submit your entry under a pen name (one you’ve made up for yourself, not Bic, etc).
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes: £300, £200, £100.  The three winners will also receive publishing contracts for their collections and 20 copies of their published book.
    Entry Fee: £25 per collection.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
2.7.17

 

Heatseeker Short Story Competition.  This contest from Booksandthecity.co.uk and Heat magazine is for women’s fiction of up to 2,500 words.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prize: Publication and a standard e-publishing contract with mainstream publisher Simon & Schuster.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
18.7.17

 

Henshaw Short Story Competition.  This regular contest from Henshaw Press of Northampton is for stories of up to 2,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Updated
 19.8.17

 

Scriptwriting Competition.  This inaugural script contest from Hammond House Publishing of Grimsby is for film, theatre, TV or radio scripts with a running time of 15 minutes.  These should be inspired by the theme of Eternal.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 and recorded production before a live audience.  There will be a recorded rehearsed readings for the top six scripts.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
28.8.17

 

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: 30.9.17.
    Prize: £15,000.  The best proposals will be published on the FT.com website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    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
 1.9.17

 

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: 30.9.17.
    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
 4.8.17

 

Salopian Open Poetry Competition.  This contest from the Salopian Poetry Society in Telford, Shropshire, is for poems of up to 80 lines.  Allison Chisholm will be judging.
    Closing : 30.9.17.
    Prizes: £150, £100, £30, 10 x £20.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £10 for four.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 1.7.17

 

Solution Loans Short Story Writing Competition.  This is the second of these free contests from Solution Loans.  It is for fictional stories with a length of between 1,000 and 2,000 words on the theme of Coins.
    Closing: 30.9.17.
    Prizes : 1st - £200 and publication on the website.  Runners-up (3) - £50.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Updated
  1.9.17

 

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: 1..17.
    Prize: £50.
    Entry Fee: £1 plus the normal cost of sending a text message (no use asking me what that is).
    Website:
Click Here.

 


Added
15.5.17

 

Taking Flight Playwriting Competition and Festival.  This contest from Red Dragonfly Productions and Grist to the Mill Productions 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 to an hour, and no more than five 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 : 1.10.17.
    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
18.4.17

 

NUHA Blogging Prize. Back for the seventh 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: 15.10.17 (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
21.7.17

 

Troubadour International Poetry Prize.  Time to roll out the old 'grounds for celebration’ pun again.  Yes, it’s the annual contest from Coffee-House Poetry, with its usual generous prizes.  And as usual, it’s for poems of up to 45 lines on any subject.  These lines, take note, must fit on an A4 or US letter size page, so you can forget about having lines that are 200 words long (and if you want to know why, here’s a clue - the judges will be reading all of the submitted poems).  The judges are Imitiaz Dharker and Michael Symmons Roberts.
    Closing: 16.10.17.
    Prizes: £2,000, £1,000, £500.  There are also numerous runners-up prizes.  Winners wll be invited to read at Coffee-House Poetry on prize night in November.
    Entry Fee: £6 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
19.7.17

 

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

 


Added
 4.9.17

 

London Short Story Prize.  To be eligible for this one from writer development agency Spread the Word you need a London postcode.  Having overcome that hurdle you need to have written a story of up to 5,000 words on any theme.  Simple.
    Closing: 9.10.17.
    Prize: £1,000 and publication in print and online.  The six top entries will be published in the London Short Story Prize Anthology.  All but the first prize winner will be paid for publication.
    Entry Fee: £6.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
3.7.17

 

Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair 2018.  This international contest from southern Ireland has been described by an Irish newspaper as Dragon’s Den for writers.  The aim is to introduce up-and-coming novelists to publishers and literary agents.  Many top publishers and agents from Ireland and the UK have attended the Fair in the past, so this could be the opportunity you have been waiting for - or not.  To be eligible, you must not have had a novel published under an ISBN, and of course you must be able to attend the fair in person for the whole day on February 17, 2018.  If this sounds attractive and you are prepared to gamble a pretty thick wad of currency on your novel (entry fee plus travel and accommodation/tent), submit up to 5 chapters (around 10,000 words), plus a synopsis of up to 300 words.  Any genre is acceptable.
    Closing: 20.10.17.
    Prizes: Twelve shortlisted entrants will be invited to take part in the fair and will each have a stand where they can meet publishers and agents.  They will be invited to a How-to-Pitch-Your Novel seminar two weeks before the fair.  If you make it on to the longlist but not the shortlist, you will receive a critique on your novel from the judging panel (a critique?  For 50 euros I’d expect them to come and see me in person to apologise).
    Entry Fee: 50 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
3.7.17

 

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: 31.10.17.
    Prizes (in each category): £200, £100, £50.  Winning entries may be published in the anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5 for a single poem or short story.  You can enter three poems for £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
29.8.17

 

Flambard Poetry Prize.  This annual contest from the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts is for the best group of five poems.  None of the five poems should exceed 40 lines.  There is no restriction as to style or subject.  To be eligible you must not yet have published a single-authored pamphlet or collection.
    Closing: 31.10.17.
    Prizes: £1,000, £250.
    Entry Fee: £5 per group of five poems.
    Comp Page :
Click Here.

 


Added
 6.7.17

 

Flash 500 Novel Opening Competition.  This annual contest, now in its fifth year, is for the opening chapter of a novel in any genre.  With this you are required to include a one-page synopsis of the rest of the story.
    Closing: 31.10.17.
    Prizes: £500, £200.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
27.8.17

 

Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2017.  To enter this poetry pamphlet contest from Indigo Dreams Publishing in Devon you submit up to 30 pages of poetry (36 lines max, including breaks).
    Closing: 31.10.17.
    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.

 

 

 

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
 1.9.17

 

Bare Fiction Prize 2017.  This contest from Bare Fiction magazine of Shrewsbury is for poems of up to 40 lines, short stories running to no more than 3,000 words, and flash fiction that reaches its conclusion in 500 words or fewer.   To avoid any misunderstandings I should perhaps mention that the magazine is not aimed at nudists and you do not therefore need to strip off to write your story ... although if it gets your creative juices flowing, don’t let me discourage you (unless you write while commuting).
    Closing: 31.10.17.
    Prizes (in each category): £500, £200, £100, 2 x £25.
    Entry Fees: Short story - £8, flash fiction - £6, poetry - £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.7.17

 

Dinesh Allirajah Prize.  This freebie from Comma Press in Manchester and the University of Central Lancashire is for stories of between 2,000 and 6,000 words on the theme of Café Stories.  You have to submit your story and a covering letter by email and then additionally send the story by post.  The reason for this is simple enough but I don’t know what it is.
    Closing: 31.10.17 (5pm).
    Prizes: £500.  Shortlisted entries will be featured in an ebook anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
3.7.17

 

NAWG Novella Competition.  This open contest from NAWG is, as the name indicates, for novellas.  You are invited to send 5,000 words plus a synopsis.
    Closing: 31.10.17.
    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
 1.7.17

 

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: 31.10.17.
    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
15.5.17

 

The Caledonia Novel Award.  This international contest from Edinburgh is open to unpublished and self-published debut novelists.  It is for stories of at least 50,000 words in any adult or young adult genre.  To enter you email the first 20 pages of your novel followed by a 200 word synopsis.  If longlisted you will be expected to submit the full manuscript by 6.12.17.  The judge is literary agent Madeleine Milburn.
    Closing: 1.11.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000.  There is in addition a special prize for the best entry from the British Isles and Ireland of a place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre.  This is in the Scottish Highlands 14 miles from the nearest pub.  There will be no trains and possibly no road.  You will therefore complete your journey on a donkey, accompanied by native guides and sherpas.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
29.6.17

 

Scribble Annual Short Story Competition.  This contest from Scribble magazine if for stories of up to 3,000 words with the opening line: ‘The bicycle was in its usual place.’
    Closing: 1.11.17
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page
Click Here

 


Added
17 .9.17

 

Stringybark Malicious Mysteries Short Story Award.  Here we go with another contest from the land of the wombat.  Yes, Wales.  No, hang on, it’s Australia.  The requirement is for stories of up to 1.500 words with a mystery element and perhaps a sting in the tail.  The wombat, incidentally, is not a bat at all.  Now there’s  mystery for you.
    Closing: 5.11.17.
    Prizes: 1st - A$450, 2nd - A$250, 3rd - A$100.  Winners will be published in an anthology and will received, in addition to the cash, various Stringybark publications.
    Entry Fee: A$12 for one, A$22 for two, A$30 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 

 

 

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
17 .9.17

 

Words and Women Prose Competition.  This contest for women who are prepared to admit they are over 40 is for prose running to no more than 2,200 words on any theme.  Entries can be fictional stories in any genre, memoir, life writing, essays and creative non-fiction.
    Closing: 15.11.17.
    Prizes: National Prize - £1,000 and up to a month’s writing retreat at Church Cottage near Stratford-upon-Avon.  Regional Prize (East of England only) - £600 and a mentoring session.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
25.8.17

 

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 5,000 words of your story followed by a one page synopsis.  If longlisted you will be expected to submit the full manuscript in December 2017.  The longlist is chosen by a panel of children and young adults. The shortlist judge is Sallyanne Sweeney from Mulcahy Associates Literary Agency.
     Closing: 19.11.17.
     Prizes: 1st - £2,000.  There is in addition a special prize for one shortlistee of £500 vouchers from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.
     Entry Fee: £25.
     Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.9.17

 

New Media Writing Prize 2017.  This international contest from Bournemouth University is, as the name suggests, for new media.  The contest has been running annually for five years now.  In 2011 they explained new media thus: ‘It is the amalgamation of traditional media such as films, images, music and the written word, but with interactive features.’  As well as poetry, they want short stories, novels, documentaries.  All entries should be written specifically for delivery/viewing on a PC or Mac, the web, or a hand-held device such as an iPad, mobile phone or one of the latest electric nose-hair clippers with Internet connectivity.  To get an idea of what the judges are looking for, you can access previous winners on the website.  There are four categories: New Media Writing Prize, Unicorn Student Prize, Dot Award and Corkana Journalism Award.
    Closing: 24.11.17 (Noon).  Students have a later deadline (noon on 15.12.17) as they seldom get up before noon and are bound to miss the first one.
    Prizes: The if:book New Media Writing Prize - £1,000.  Unicorn Student Prize - A three-month paid work placement at a leading e-learning company (Unicorn Trading) or £500 cash.  Dot Award - £500.  Corkana Journalism Award (2) - £500.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
17 .9.17

 

Cafe Writers Open Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Cafe Writers of Norwich (where the Man in the Moon was keen to go, according to a report I read as a child) is for poems of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 30.11.17.
    Prizes: £1,000, £300, £200.  Runners-up (6) - £50.  Funniest Poem not winning another prize - £100.  Norfolk Prize (for a permanent Norfolk resident) - £100.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.9.17

 

Writers Bureau Flash Fiction Competition.  This contest from the Writers Bureau website is for stories of fewer than 500 words on any theme.
    Closing: 30.11.17.
    Prizes: £500, £200, £100.  In addition, the three winners receive a Writers Bureau course of their choice.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 8.9.17

 

Foreign Voices Poetry Competition.  This freebie from Holland Park Press is for poems of up to 50 lines on any aspect of migration.  The publishers don’t have to agree with your point of view, they say, but they want to be ‘touched in some way by your poem, inspired by its imagery.’
    Closing: 30.11.17.
    Prize: £200 and publication in the Holland Park Press online magazine.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
3.7.17

 

Amnesty International York - Short Story Competition.  The theme for this one is Borders, and you are required to explore it in a fictional story of no more than 1,700 words.
    Closing: 10.12.17.
    Prize: £50 and publication online.
    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
 2.8.17

 

Ruth Rendell Short Story Competition.  This regular contest from the charity InterAct Stroke Support is for stories of up to 1,000 words in any genre.  It is open to anyone aged over 16.  The charity arranges for readings to stroke patients in hospitals and elsewhere by trained actors.  The winner of the competition will be commissioned to write four further stories for InterAct Stroke Support over the course of one year.  Stories must of course be suitable to be read in the sensitive environment of a hospital.
    Closing: 22.12.17.
    Prize: £1,000.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
27.8.17

 

Taste Short Story Competition.  This freebie from Ouen Press (the pronunciation is given on their home page but you will probably be no wiser) is for gripping stories on the theme of ... I’m tempted to say ‘glue’ but in fact it’s Taste.  Stories should be between 3,000 and 10,000 words
    Closing: 31.12.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £300.  Runners-up (2)  - £100.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
18.4.17

 

SciFan ‘Fire and Ice’ Competition.  Here’s another contest from Fantastic Books Publishing of Yorkshire.  They want you to get in touch with your dark side.  Eat a kitten.  Or perhaps not.  They are looking for your most-twisted dystopian stories with the theme of Fire and Ice.  The genre is science fiction or science fantasy or, if you can’t make your mind up, a blend of both (hence the name SciFan).  Just be aware that when you walk into that dark room in your mind you may never get out.
    Closing: 31.12.17.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, five or more £3.50 each.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.9.17

 

Soundwork Short Story Competition.  Soundwork-uk is a not-for-profit website which makes audio recordings (plays, poems, stories, monologues) available to the listener free of charge.  To enter the contest you submit a story of 15 minutes duration on any subject.
    Closing: 31.12.17.
    Prizes: Your story recorded by Soundwork and, along with your photo, placed on the site.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 

 

 

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
20.8.17

 

Littoral Press Poetry Competition.  This contest is for full collections of nature/spiritual.environmental poetry.
    Closing: 31.12.17.
    Prizes (2): Publication of your collection by Littoral Press and 50 free copies.
    Entry Fee: £20 per collection.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
 2.8.17

 

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 10 lines (Short Poem) or up to 40 lines (Open Poem) in any style and on any subject.  The judge this year is Michael Symmons Roberts.
    Closing: 31.1.18.
    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
17 .9.17

 

The Ó Bhéal Five Words International Poetry Competition.  Here’s another Corker from Ireland.  Sorry couldn’t resist that.  I’ll start again.  This one from Cork in Ireland is for poems of up to 50 lines (including line breaks) which feature the five words given on the website for that week.  A shortlist of 12 will be selected after the final closing date next January, and the winner will be chosen from that.  Ó Bhéal, incidentally, is a weekly poetry event in Cork (and as you probably know, the word itself is Irish for ‘word of mouth’).
    Closing: Every Tuesday at noon until the last week of January 2018.
    Prize: 500 euros and an invitation to read at the Ó Bhéal’s event in Ireland, with travel expenses of 100 euro and B&B accommodation.
    Entry Fee: 5 euro.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

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
 2.8.17

 

Prole Laureate Competition.  This annual contest from Prole, a print magazine that publishes high quality, accessible poetry and prose, is for poems on any subject and in any style.  There are no restrictions on length, although you might like to consider how far it is reasonable to expect the judge to wade through that 5,000-line epic of yours before letting out an anguished cry and writing something obscene on it.  As an occasional poetry judge, the most I have ever managed before turning nasty is 100 lines.
    Closing: 31.1.18.
    Prizes: £200, £50, £50.  Winners will be published on the website and in Prole 25.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £2 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 6.7.17

 

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: 28.2.18.
    Prizes: £500, £200, £100.
    Entry Fee: £7 for one, £12 for two, £16 for three, £20 for four.
    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  2017             Writer

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