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 70)

 


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.

 


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: 31.3.17, 30.6.17, 30.9.17.
    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
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
24.1.17

 

Writers Bureau Short Story Competition.  This annual contest is for stories of up to 2,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: 31.3.17.
    Prizes: £300, £200, £100, £50.  In addition all winners receive a Writers Bureau Course of their choice.  Winning stories will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.2.17

 

Print Express Children’s Short Story Competition .  This freebie requires children aged between 5 and 13 to write an original story of up to 500 words on any subject.  There are two age categories: 5 to 9, and 10 to 13.  A parent must submit the entry on the child’s behalf.
    Closing: 31.3.17.
    Prizes (in each category): £50 in book tokens for the winner and £175 in book tokens for the winner’s school.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry (only one per child).
    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
 1.3.17

 

Short Fiction Prize 2017.  This contest from the literary journal Short Fiction is for stories running to no more than 5,000 words.
    Closing: 31.3.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £500 plus online publication.  2nd - £100 plus online publication.  3rd - A place on the masterclass.
    Entry Fee: £7.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
19.2.17

 

RH Cunningham Memorial Short Story Competition .  This contest from Willowdown Books is  for stories of betweem 1,000 and 2,000 words which aim to open the reader’s eyes to the world we live in, or give a new perspective to past or present events, or reflect on personal or social journeys.
    Closing: 31.3.17.
    Prize: $100.  The winners and six runners-up will be published in a paperback anthology which will be available on Amazon by the end of the year.
    Entry Fee: £10 each, £15 for two, £17 for three.
    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 worthy 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
1.12.16

 

The Short Fiction Prize.  This one from Short Fiction, a literary journal from Plymouth University, is for stories running to no more than 6,000 words.
    Closing: 31.3.17.
    Prizes: £500, £100.  The 1st prize winner will be published in the journal.
    Entry Fee: £6.  Submit two for £10 and receive a free opy of the next issue of the journal.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.1.17

 

The Oh Zoe! Rising Talent Award.  This freebie from new children’s book publisher Oh Zoe! is for children’s picture books.  Your task is to supply the text.  The story should be suitable for personalisation, so it must make no assumptions about gender, age or ethnicity in the main (child) character.  The age range to aim for is 0-8.  The word limit is 1,500, although they say 1,000 words would be more typical for the 4-8 range, and 500 for 0-4.
    Closing: 31.3.17.
    Prize: £500.  Shortlisted entrants will be given the opportunity to publish their work through the Oh Zoe! website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
25.1.17

 

Henshaw Short Story Competition.  This regular contest from Henshaw Press of Northampton is for stores of up to 2,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: 31.3.17.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    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
19.2.17

 

Solution Loans Short Story Competition.  Lend me your ears for a moment while I tell you about this freebie from Solution Loans.  It is for uplifting stories of between 1,500 and 2,500 words in which someone gets a loan/fiance for a very specific purpose.
    Closing: 31.3.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £200.  Runners-up (3) - £50.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.3.17

 

Saltash Short Story Competition.  Here we have a new contest from the Saltash May Fair in Cornwall.  It is for stories with a theme of Community, this to be rendered in up to 1,000 words.  There are three categories: Adult (18+), Young Person (12-17), Child (12 or under).
    Closing: 31.3.17.
    Prizes (in each category): £100 in book tokens, an engraved trophy and a certificate.  Winners and runners-up will be published in an anthology.  Winners will be ‘performed’ at the Fair.
    Entry Fee: Adults - £5.  Young Person - £2.50.  Child - £1.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 6.3.17

 

Prima Love to Write Competition.  This contest from Mills & Boon and Prima magazine is for romance fiction aimed at the Mills & Boon Cherish or Medical Romance series.  To enter, you submit a story outline of between 500 and 1,000 words and a first chapter of between 3,000 and 5,000 words.
    Closing: 31.3.17.
    Prize: £500 and your book published by Mills & Boon.  The first chapter will also be published in Prima magazine.  You also get a one-to-one with a Mills & Boon editor and a package of books.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  1.3.17

 

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: 31.3.17.
    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
 1.2.17

 

Baen Fantasy Adventure Award.  This freebie from America is for fantasy stories running to no more than 8,000 words.  Any fantasy genre is welcome, but there are Do and Don’t lists that you would do well to peruse before entering (no angst-ridden teens pining over vampire lovers, but you will be relieved to learn that they have nothing against elves).
    Closing : 1.4.17 (12.01am EDT).
    Prizes: 1st - $500 worth of books, an engraved award thingy and publication on the website at industry standard rates.  2nd - $500 worth of books.  3rd - $300 worth of books.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 12.1.17

 

Wergle Flomp Humour Poetry Competition.  This contest from Winning Writers in the USA is for published or unpublished humorous poems of up to 250 lines.  Before entering, it is advisable to check some of the past winners and judge’s comments (in the Contest Archives), as here you will find information about things the judges frown upon.
    Closing: 1.4.17.
    Prizes: 1st - $1,000.  2nd - $250.  Runners-up (10) - $100.  The top 12 entries will be published online.
    Entry Fee : None - free to enter.  One entry per person.
    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
 1.2.17

 

Tethered by Letters Non-fiction Competition.  This contest from the American literary publication and resource organisation Tethered by Letters is for non-fiction running to between 1,000 and 7,500 words in any genre.
    Closing: 1.4.17.
    Prize: $500 and publication in F(r)iction, the TBL triannual print collection.  Note that they reserve the right not to award the prize if no entries are received which they consider worthy of publication.  Entry fees will not be refunded in this case (but this has not happened so far in their four-year publishing history).  They claim they must maintain the quality of the work they publish, but I don’t see how this is a valid excuse not awarding just the cash to the best entry received.
    Entry Fee: $10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.17

 

Pets Aplenty Writing Competition.  This freebie from Erewash Writers is for stories of between 500 and 600 words based on a pet or wild animal.  The tale is not to be told from the anmial’s viewpoint.  The judge is retired vet Malcolm Welshman who has been writing features and novels about animals and vets for many years.  In fact he is a vet-eran.
    Closing: 20.4.17.
    Prize: A signed copy of Malcolm Welshman’s novel Pets Aplenty, and publication on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.3.17

 

RA & Pin Drop Short Story Award.  This freebie from the Royal Academy of Art and Pin Drop Studios is for stories running to no more than 4,000 words.
    Closing: 23.4.17 (6pm).
    Prizes: If you are looking for gold coins to sift through your fingers as you mutter, ‘Mine, all mine!’ then you need to brace yourself for some major disappointment here.  This is all about prestige.  Yes, I know you can’t eat that or pay the rent with it or pose with it on social media with a smug look on your face, but the contest is free-to-enter - what do you expect?  The winning entry will be narrated by a special guest as part of the RA’s public event programme.  This narration will be recorded and will enter the audio archive held by the RA and Pin Drop.  The audio archive is described as ‘prestigious’.  It’s therefore something you can boast about.  Who needs money?
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
16.1.17

 

Bath Novel Award.  This contest is for unpublished or self-published novels in any genre, aimed at adults or young adults.  To enter you submit the first 5,000 words plus a one-page synopsis.  The judge is literary agent Laura Williams from Peters, Fraser & Dunlop.
    Closing: 24.4.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £2,000. Runner-up - A £500 voucher from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.3.17

 

Red Shed Open Poetry Competition.  This contest from Currock Press of Wakefield is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject.
    Closing: 29.4.17.
    Prizes: £100, £50.  Wakefield Postcode: £25.  There will be an awards event at the Mocca Moocho cafe in Wakefield.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £2 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 6.3.17

 

Harpers Bazaar Short Story Competition.  This annual contest from the famous glossy magazine Harper’s Bazaar is for stories of up to 3,000 words on the subject of The Anniversary.
    Closing: 30.4.17.
    Prize: No cash, I’m afraid, as that would be far too common.  What you get is publication in the magazine (a big deal on your cv) and a weekend stay at a luxury hotel.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.3.17

 

Ware Poets Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Ware Poets of Hertfordshire is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject.  There is a separate category for sonnets.
    Closing: 30.4.17.
    Prizes : £600, £300, £150.  Ware Sonnet Prize - £150.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £12 for four, £3 each thereafter.
    Entry Form and Details (pdf):
Click Here.

 


Added
16.1.17

 

Hourglass Writing Competition.  This international contest from Hourglass Literary Magazine is for short stories, poems and essays on any subject.  These can be written in English, Latin or Cyrillic script.  Well, that’s different.  I think I’ll have a go at the Latin.  It’s been a long time since my school days but I never forget.  Veni, vedi, veci (I came, I saw, I played conkers).  See?  But enough of my linguistic expertise - back to the contest.  For the short stories there’s a word limit of 7,000 (minimum 700).  Poems can be up to 3,500 words but take my advice and don’t go all the way - it’s a long and dusty road littered with skeletons.  Essays must be between 1,000 and 9,000 words. 
    Closing: 30.4.16 (11.59pm US Central time).
    Prizes (in each category): $1,000 and a clepsydra (a device used for measuring time before the advent of the smartphone).  Other prizes - see website.  Winning entries will be published in the mag.  The writers of these will receive a free copy.
    Entry Fee: $15 (in the poetry category you can submit up to three poems for this).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
17.1.17

 

Ver Poets Open Competition .  Here is another familiar face in the competitions crowd.  It comes from a poetry group in St Albans.  Anything goes as far as the subject is concerned, but confine your efforts to 30 lines or fewer.
    Closing: 30.4.16.
    Prizes: £600, £300, £100.  Selected poems will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three, £2 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.1.17

 

Soundwork Audio Play Competition.  Here’s another contest from Soundwork and this time it’s for audio plays of up to 45 minutes duration on any theme.  The contest is open worldwide.
    Closing: 30.4.17.
    Prize: The winning play 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
 7.1.17

 

Crediton Short Story Competition.  This contest from Crediton in Devon has two categories: Adult (18+) and Young Adult (11-18).  The requirement is for stories on the subject of Echoes.  Adults have a 3,000 word limit while Young Adults are restricted to 1,000.
    Closing: 30.4.17.
    Prizes: Adult - £75, publication in Riptide (‘short stories with an undercurrent’) and a night at the Lamb Inn, Sandford, Devon.  Runner-up - £30.   Young Adult - £30 and a copy of Riptide vol. 6.  Runner-up - £10 and Riptide vol. 6.
    Entry Fee: Adult - £5.  Young Adult - £3.
    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
 1.1.17

 

Luna Press Flash Fiction Competition.  This contest from Luna Press in Edinburgh is for stories of up to 500 words in the science fiction, fantasy, and dark fantasy genres (and their sub-genres).
    Closing: 30.4.16.
    Prizes: Up to five winners will receive a share of the cash pot made up of the entry fees.  Winning stories will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £1.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 7.2.17

 

Poetry on the Lake Festival Competition.  This annual international contest from Italy, now in its seventeenth year, has three categories: Silver Wyvern, for poems of up to 40 lines on the theme of Metal (precious, base, metaphoric, etc).  Short (up to 10 lines, no theme), and Formal (up to 40 lines, no theme).  Carol Ann Duffy will be judging the Silver Wyvern category, while Kevin Bailey will be dealing with the others.
    Closing: 30.4.17.
    Prizes: Silver Wyvern: 1st - Trophy and 500 euros.  2nd - 200 euros.  3rd - 100 euros.  Formal and Short category winners each receive 100 euros.
    Entry Fee: Online - £10 for the first, £8 thereafter.  Postal - £8 for the first, £6 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
22.1.17

 

Bath Short Story Award.  Now in its fifth year, this international contest from Bath is for stories running to no more than 2,200 words on any subject.  The judge this year is Euan Thornycroft from literary agents A M Heath.
    Closing: 1.5.17.
    Prizes: £1,000, £200, £100.  Local Prize - £50.  Acorn Award for an unpublished writer - £50 worth of acorns.  Ah, I now see that it’s cash.
    Entry Fee: £8.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.11.16

 

Bristol Short Story Prize.  I once spent a whole day exploring Bristol in connection with a treasure hunt but the only thing I can remember about the place now (aside from the fact that the treasure was somewhere else) is that explorer and navigator John Cabot sailed from there, discovered Newfoundland and explored parts of North America before amy other European.  Alas, he failed to update his blog with the details, and now, hundreds of years later, academics are still arguing about it.  You see, what matters in the end is not the going there but the writing about it - and he could have done that without going there, using just his imagination.  Anyway, this competition - it’s for stories of up to 4,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: 3.5.17.
    Prizes: £1,000, £700, £400.  Runners-up (17) - £100.  Twenty stories will be published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 10.
    Entry Fee: £8.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.3.17

 

Printer Inks Poetry Competition.  Here’s a new freebie from Printer Inks.  Open to all ages, it’s for poems of up to 45 lines on the subject of New Beginnings.
    Closing: 5.5.17.
    Prize: £100 Amazon voucher.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.3.17

 

Theatre Cloud Creative Comedy Project.  This contest from Theatre Cloud is for comic writing  running to no more than 500 words in any format (opening of a sitcom, scene from a play, silly story, etc).  Your piece must explore one of the themes from the play Anita and Me, as specified on the website.
    Closing: 7.5.17 (5pm).
    Prizes: £300, £150, £50.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.12.16

 

Montreal International Poetry Prize.  This contest, which many of you will have guessed is from the land of the Mounties, is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject.
    Closing: 15.5.17.  Early entry deadline (for lower entry fee): 31.3.17.
    Prize: $20,000 (Canadian). There will be anthology publication for shortlisted entries, with a free copy going to each contributor.
    Entry Fee: $25 (Canadian) for the first, $15 thereafter.  Early entry fee: $20 for the first, $15 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.3.17

 

Sussex Chanctonbury Cup.  No, it’s not a horse race, it’s a poetry competition from Slipstream Poets.  You have to write a poem of up to 50 lines and then read it on the Downs with a jockey on your back (actually the reading is subject to confirmation).  The contest is aimed at poets living, working or studying in East Sussex, West Sussex or Brighton.  Under starter’s orders for the judging is Janet Sutherland.
    Closing: 15.5.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £150 and the Chanctonbury Cup (to be held for one year).  2nd - £100.  3rd - £50.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £3 thereafter.
    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
 1.3.17

 

SDPF Poetry Competition.  This contest from the South Downs Poetry Festival, now in its second year, is for poems of up to 50 lines.  The judge is Jackie Wills.
    Closing: 19.5.17.
    Prizes: £400, £150, £50.  Best poem by an unpublished poet - £100.  Best poem by a poet under the age of 20 - £100.   Best poem by a poet under the influence - £0.  Shorlistees will be invited to read at a public event in Lewes in June, but beware - if they don’t like you there, they burn an effigy of you.
    Entry Fee: £4.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.2.17

 

PDSA Animal Heroes Writing Competition.  This contest from the PDSA is open to under 16s only.  It is for stories of about 1,000 words based on the lines and notes supplied by Children’s writer Hilary Robinson.
    Closing: 25.5.16.
    Prizes: 1st - An Amazon Kindle, a set of signed books by Hilary Robinson and a VIP tour of one of the pet hospitals where the winner will meet Hilary, the vets, the nurses and the pet patients.  Runners-up (3) - A signed copy of Hilary’s latest book and a Pet Protectors goody bag.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.2.17

 

Pint-sized Plays Writing Competition.  Now in its tenth year, this contest, as the name implies, is for compact plays, that is to say plays with a running time of between five and ten minutes and featuring just 2 or 3 characters and only the furniture you’d normally find in a pub (so forget that three-in-a-bed scene you’ve always yearned to write).  Plays needn’t be set in a pub, but that’s where they will initially be performed.
    Closing: 31.5.17.
    Prizes: The six winning plays will be performed in pubs in Pembrokshire during Tenby Festival week, and, along with four runners-up, at a script slam.  Here the audience can vote for their favourite.  The performances will also be judged by a professional theatre director.  The winner will received the coveted Pint Pot while the runner-up gets the Half Pint Pot.  No coin is indicated, so this contest is all about the fame rather than the fortune.  Winning scripts may be considered for inclusion in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
16.3.17

 

Wundor Poetry Competition.  This inaugural contest from Wunder Editions of London is for poems of any length on the theme of Spring.  Entrants are encouraged to be as creative as possible with the theme.
    Closing: 31.5.17.
    Prizes: £500 and ‘strong consideration for publication’.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.3.17

 

Frome Festival Short Story Competition.  This annual contest from Froooom (as the eccentric locals like to pronounce it) is for stories of between 1,000 and 2,200 words.
    Closing: 31.5.17.
    Prizes: £400, £200, £100.  There is in addition a prize for a local author, defined as one living within 25 miles of the local library.  Damn - missed out by only 95 miles.
    Entry Fee: £8.
    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
 1.2.17

 

Yeovil Literary Prize.  This is the 13th of these international contests from Yeovil, the literary capital of the West Country where even the sheep appreciate poetry.  There are four categories: Short Story, Poetry, Novel and Unrestricted.  The stories can run to 2,000 words, while the poems should be no more than 40 lines.  Novels have a limit of 15,000 words for the opening chapters and synopsis.  The final category is unusual in that it’s for anything you have written - as long as it has ‘the Wow! factor’ (they mean ‘Wow - that’s brilliant!’ rather than, ‘Wow - you’ve really plumbed the depths with that one!’).  Your entry could be a particularly creative tax return, a witty note to the milkman, or that hilariously scathing critique of your former best friend’s new novel, etc.
    Closing: 31.5.17.
    Prizes: Short Story - £500, £200, £100.  Poetry - £500, £200, £100.  Novel - £1,000, £250, £100.  Writing Without Restrictions - £100, £50, £30.  In addition there is the Western Gazette Best Local Writer Award for someone living in Dorset or Somerset.  It isn’t worth moving down there however as the prize is only £100.
    Entry Fee: Short Story - £7.  Poetry - £7 each, £10 for two, £12 for three.  Novel - £12 each.  Writing Without Restrictions - £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.17

 

Bridport Prize.  This international competition from the Bridport Arts Centre is one of the most prestigious writing contests in the British literary calendar.  Everyone in the trade whose mind is not addled by drugs has heard of it, and they will be impressed if you can claim to have won it.  The good news is that winning it is easy.  All you have to do is submit the best poem or short story, the former having no more than 42 lines, the latter running to no more than 5,000 words.  For those who find 5,000 words too tiring to write there is now a flash fiction category for stories of up to 250 words (if that’s too much, consider becoming a poet).  There is also a First Chapter Award (see separate listing below) for a novel opening of between 5,000 and 8,000 words, plus a 300-word synopsis.  Writers from beyond the veil should note that the Bridport rules forbid posthumous entries.  Shame: the awards ceremony would be so much more interesting with a couple of ghosts in attendance.
    Closing: 31.5.17.
    Prizes: In each of the main categories (Short Stories, Poems) - £5,000, £1,000, £500.  There are also ten runners-up prizes of £100.  These are called ‘supplementary prizes’ to make you feel less like an also-ran.  The Peggy Chapman Andrews First Novel Award: 1st - £1,000.  2nd - £500. Runners-up (3) £100.  Prizes in the Flash Fiction category are £1,000, £500, £250, plus three supplementary awards of £100.  There is in addition £100 for the highest placed writer from Dorset.  All winners will be invited to an awards ceremony in October at the Bridport Open Book Festival.  Winning entries are usually published in an anthology.
    Entry Fees: Poems - £9.  Short Stories - £10.  Novel - £20.  Flash Fiction - £8.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.17

 

The Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award.  This annual contest, which honours one of the founders of the Bridport Prize, is for novels by writers over 16 who are resident in the UK or R.o.I and who have not had a novel published (self-published excepted).  To enter, you submit the first chapters of your story (5,000 to 8,000 words), plus a synopsis of up to 300 words.  Three hundred words?  That’s more a blurb than a synopsis.  Deciding if you’ve got what it takes to be a winner will be Nathan Filer in conjunction with the Literary Consultancy.
    Closing: 31.5.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000 plus mentoring from the Literary Consultancy (Chapter and Verse Scheme) and possible publication of the completed novel.  2nd - £500.  Runners-up (3) - £100.  The first and second prize winners will be expected to attend the prizegiving.  Others on the shortlist will receive non-compulsory invitations.
    Entry Fee: £20.
    Comp Page:
Click Here

 


Added
21.3.17

 

SLQ Poetry Competition.  This regular runner from Sentinel Literary Quarterly is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject and in any style.
    Closing: 31.5.17.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50, 3 x £20 and 3 x £10. 
    Entry Fee: £4 for one, £7 for two, £9 for three, £11 for four, £12 for five.  Winner will be published in the mag.
    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
16.3.17

 

V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize 2017.  This annual contest from the Royal Society of Literature aims to preserve V.S. Pritchett’s warmth of feeling and mastery of narrative.  It is for stories of between 2,000 and 4,000 words.
    Closing: 14.6.17.
    Prize: £1,000 and publication is RSL Review and Prospect Magazine online.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.2.17

 

Segora Writing Competition.  This is the tenth of these contests from Poetry Prose and Plays, which is based in France.  It is for short stories of between 1,500 and 3,000 words, poems of up to 50 lines, one-act plays with a running time of 20 to 35 minutes, and vignettes of up to 300 words.  Not many vignette contests about these days.  This is because hardly anyone knows what a vignette is.  You do of course, and in fact you probably have a dozen or so already written.  For the rest, I’ll give by way of enlightenment a definition from Collins: ‘A short piece of writing that clearly expresses the typical characteristics of something or someone.’  You can read last year’s winners for all categories on the website.
    Closing : 15.6.17.
    Prizes: Short Stories and Poetry - £300, £50, £30.  Vignettes - £100, £10.  Play - £100.  Wnners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fees: Short Stories - £6 each, £11 for two, £15 for three.  Vignettes and Poems - £5 each for the first, £2.50 each thereafter.  Plays - £12.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
14.3.17

 

Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year Competition .  Poems of up to 60 lines are required for this annual offering from the Canterbury Festival.  The contest is refreshingly different thanks to the broad spectrum of verse forms it invites: limerick, ballad, hiaku, ode - and in case your favourite is not actually specified, it is covered by the word ‘whatever!’
    Closing: 19.6.17.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  There are also prizes for People’s Choice (£25) and Best Read Poem (bottle of sparkling wine).  Longlisted entries will be published in an anthology.  Shortlisted poets will be invited to read at the adjudication event on National Poetry Day.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
13.3.17

 

McLellan Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from the Arran Theatre and Arts Trust on the Isle of Arran is part of the McLellan Arts Festival.  It is for poems of up to 80 lines on any subject.  The judge is Maura Dooley who, amongst other things, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
    Closing: 21.6.17.
    Prizes: £1000, £300, £100, and 6 @ £25.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first. £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page :
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.3.14

 

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

 


Added
13.3.17

 

Battered Moons Poetry Competition.  Part of the Poetry Swindon Festival and supported by Arts Council England, this contest is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject and in any style.
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prizes: £700, £200, £100, and 4 @ £25.  Winners will be published in the Battered Moons pamphlet.  Losers will simply be battered (metaphorically speaking).  In addition, all prize-winners will be invited to read their poems at the above-mentioned Festival.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.3.17

 

Prole Books Pamphlet Competition.  This poetry competiton from Prole Books of Abergele in Wales is for pamphlet collections of no more than 35 A5 pages.
    Closing: 30.6.17.
    Prize: £50 and 15 copeis of the pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £12.

 


Added
 12.1.17

 

Pennine Ink Short Story Competition.  This year’s contest from the Pennine Ink Writers’ Workshop in Burnley is for short stories of up to 500 words on the theme of  Chemistry.  You have to be 18 or over to enter, but you can be located anywhere in the world.
    Closing: 7.7.17.
    Prize: £50.  The winning entry will be published in Pennine Ink and on the website.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here:

 


Added
 23.2.17

 

Gem Street: Dystopia Short Story Competition.  This international contest from Lobello Press of Tipperary in Ireland is for dystopian stories running to a maximum of 3,500 words.  Along with your entry, you will need to include a brief bio of up to 70 words.
    Closing: 14.7.17.
    Prizes (in euros): 500, 200, 100.  Finalists will receive a free copy of the contest anthology.
    Entry Fee: 7 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
14.3.17

 

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award.  This annual contest from Asthetica magazine is for Short fiction running to no more than 2,000 words and poetry of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.8.17.
    Prize (in each category): £1,000 plus other writing related prizes.  Finalists will be published in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual.
    Entry Fee: £18 for fiction, £12 for poetry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 7.1.17

 

Cheshire Prize for Literature.  This contest from the University of Chester is for a piece of writing for children (age range 7 to 14), either in prose or verse, the former having a word limit of 1,500, the latter a line limit of 100.  To be eligible to enter you need to have lived, studied or worked at some point in Cheshire, Wirral, Warrington or Halton.  Documentary evidence may be requested, they say.  So if nobody made a documentary about you while you were there, I’m afraid you’ve had it ... although it’s possible I’ve misunderstood this requirement.
    Closing: 1.9.17.
    Prizes: 1st - £2,000.  Additional prize money of £750 will be awarded, but the precise details were not revealed to me at the time of writing.  The best entries will be published.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.3.17

 

Making Waves Poetry Competition.  This contest from Falmouth Poetry Group is for spoken word poems.  These are to be entered on digital sound files with a duration of up to 200 seconds. The poem can be spoken by someone other than the writer if required and it is even possible although not obligatory to have other participants including musicians.  Well, it’s different.
    Closing: 3.9.17.
    Prizes: £600, £250, £150.
    Entry Fee: £6 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    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
 2.3.17

 

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.

 


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/

 
        


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    & Songs            Copyright:  Michael Shenton  2017             Writer

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