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 60)

 


Updated
  4.5.16

 

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

 


Updated
  4.5.16

 

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

 
  

Books to Improve Your Writing Skills  

 


Addad
30.4.16

 

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

 


Updated
 30.4.16

 

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

 


Updated
  29.4.16

 

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

 


Updated
 29.4.16

 

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

 

 

 

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

 


Added
12.7.09

 

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

 


Added
 6.7.09

 

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

 


Updated
  27.6.10

 

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

 
    
  

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

 


Updated
15.12.15

 

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

 


Added
27.1.15

 

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

 


Added
21.5.12

 

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

 


Updated
  1.4.16

 

Flash 500 Competition.  This quarterly flash fiction contest, which offers higher prize money than many similar competitions, is for stories of up to 500 words on any theme.
    Closing: 30.6.16, 30.9.16, 31.12.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £300 and publication in Words With Jam.  2nd - £200.  3rd - £100.  Highly Commended - A copy of The Writer’s ABC Checklist.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £8 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 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
 2.8.14

 

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

 


Added
15.4.16

 

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: 30.6.16.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
21.3.16

 

Wells Festival of Literature Writing Competition.  Here we go again with the famous Wells Litfest and its three competitions - Poetry, Short Story and Story for Children.  I should mention before we go any further that we are talking about Wells in Somerset, not Wells in Norfolk which also has an annual litfest (I wouldn’t want you turning up at the wrong event to receive your prize or to berate the judges for not awarding you anything).  Anyway, back to business.  For the poetry you are allowed up to 40 lines, while the Short Stories should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words.  For the story for children, which must be suitable for the age group 10 to 15, you need to submit the first three chapters or 30 pages (whichever is the shortest) plus a synopsis brief enough to fit two sides of a page (and don’t use that microscopic font that’s only suitable for the small print in dodgy contracts).
    Closing: 30.6.16.  Not open for online entries until April 1st.
    Prizes : Poetry, Short Story, Children’s (in each category) - £500, £200, £100.  Wyvern Prize for a local short story entrant - £100.  Hilly Cansdale Local Prize (for poetry) - £100.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
 1.1.16

 

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

 


Added
 2.3.16

 

The Moth International Short Story Prize.  Here’s another annual contest, this time from The Moth magazine in County Cavan, Ireland.  They learned their lesson a couple of years ago about having no word limit, so now it’s 6,000 words.
    Closing: 30.6.16.
    Prizes: 1st - 3,000 euros.  2nd - a week’s writing retreat at Circle of Misse in France with 250 euros and a set of wire cutters for travel (Late News: Sorry, they’ve had second thoughts about the wire cutters.  You’ll have to buy your own).  3rd - 1,000 euros.  The winning stories will be published in the mag.
    Entry Fee: 12 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
15.4.16

 

Battered Moons Poetry Competition.  Part of the Swindon Poetry 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: 30.6.16.
    Prizes: £700, £200, £100, and 4 @ £25.  Winners will appear in the Battered Moons pamphlet.  Losers will simply be battered (metaphorically speaking).
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page :
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.5.16

 

TLM Poetry Competition 2016.  This international contest from the UK’s oldest literary journal, The London Magazine, is for poems of up to 40 lines on any theme.  The magazine was first published in 1732, they say, and has hosted poetry from the likes of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.  On the strength of this they claim it is the country’s most prestigeous literary journal, but it hasn’t been graced by any of my immortal lines so I should take that claim with a pinch of salt (I’ve never sent them anything, but that’s no excuse).
    Closing: 30.6.16..
    Prizes: £300, £200, £150.  Winners will be published in the mag.
    Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £5 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
11.8.13

 

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

 


Added
 1.5.16

 

SPM International Poetry Book Competition.  This contest from Sentinel Poetry Movement is for full-length poetry collections on any subject, in English.  Initially you submit no more than 20 pages.  If you make it to the shortlist, you then have until September 30 to submit the rest of your collection.
    Closing : 30.6.16.
    Prizes: A standard publishing contract with SPM Publications, plus £300 (1st), £200 (2nd), £100 (3rd) and 20 copies of the book.
    Entry Fee: 25 (UK), £30 (rest of world).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Updated
  1.5.16

 

TXTLit Micro Story Competition.  For this contest you need a mobile phone.  Well, everyone’s got one, haven’t they?  No.  There’s still one person in the UK who hasn’t.  Me.  I don’t like phones of any sort.  I have one that plugs into the wall but I never answer it when it rings.  I think: ‘They’ll ring again if it’s important.’  They seldom do, and if they do I never answer it and they never ring again - which proves they were just time-wasters.  Now, I may seem to be rambling a bit here, but hey, what do you know, this turns out to be relevant because you mustn’t ramble in this competition.  Limit your stories to 154 characters (letters and spaces, not people), and while you’re about it, refrain from using abbreviated TXT gibberish, as this is not welcome.  At last - someone is fighting back on behalf of the English language!  There is a different theme each month.
    Closing: 30.6.16.
    Prize: £50.
    Entry Fee: £1 plus the normal cost of sending a text message (no use asking me what that is).
    Website:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.6.16

 

Elmet Poetry Prize 2016.   This annual contest comes courtesy of The Elmet Trust which celebrates the life and work of the late Ted Hughes.  Your task is to write a poem in response to Ravens: The City, which can be found in Ted Hughes’s Collected Poems ... which can in turn be found in a bookshop or possibly a library where it will be gathering dust on a shelf behind the computers.
    Closing: 8.7.16.
    Prizes: £400, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: £5 each (you may enter a maximum of three).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.6.16

 

Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2016.  ‘Wasafiri ’, according to the website, ‘is a literary magazine at the forefront of mapping new landscapes in international literature.’  Try saying that in Kiswahili, the language from which the magazine’s title comes.  Now, you are probably thinking that the magazine itself must hail from Africa, but this is not so.  It was born at the University of Kent in 1984, and as far as I know it has no African connection at all.  Nor, I might add, has the contest.  This has three categories (Poetry, Fiction, Life Writing) and is open to anyone anywhere in the world who has not published a complete book in their chosen category.  The word limit for the Fiction and Life Writing is 3,000.  In the poetry category, you can submit up to five poems for the same entry fee.  You can enter more than one category, but only once each.  Incidentally, ‘wasafiri’, in case your Kiswahili is a bit rusty, means ‘cultural traveller’.
    Closing: 15.7.16 (5pm).
    Prize (in each category): £300 and publication in the mag.
    Entry Fee: £6.  If you enter two separate categories it’s £10 and for three it’s £15.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
3.12.12

 

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

 


Added
 1.4.16

 

PENfro First Chaper Competition.  This offering from the PENfro Book Festival in Pembrokeshire is for novel openings of up to 3,000 words by unpublished authors.  The work submitted must be for adults.  This includes teens, they say.  Adult at 13, eh?  They grow up fast in Wales.  They also have something against sci-fi and fantasy it seem, as these are not required in this competition.
    Closing: 15.7.16.
    Prizes: 1st - Your first chapter comprehensively reviewed by literary scout David Llwelyn who will work with you over several months to help you get your novel to a publishable standard.  He will also review your synopsis and covering letter (not required for the contest).  2nd and 3rd - Your first chapter reviewed by David Llwelyn (also your synopsis and covering letter).
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.5.16

 

HG Wells Short Story Competition.  This annual contest from the H.G.Wells Festival in Folkestone is for stories of between 1,500 and 5,000 words in any genre.  The theme is ‘Space’ and you can interpret this in its broadest sense.  If you can arrange to be 21 or under it will be to your advantage, as you can then qualify for a much bigger prize while at the same time entering for free.
   Closing: 17.7.16.
    Prizes: Adult - £250.  Junior (21 or under) - £1,000.  All shortlisted entries will be published in a  paperback anthology.
    Entry Fee: £10 if you are over 21.  Free if you are 21 or under.  If you are a student (with ID to prove it), it’s £5.  And if you are from outer space ... well, who knows?
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 8.3.16

 

Artificium Short Stories & Poetry Prizes.  This one from Artificium, a journal of new fiction and poetry, has two categories: Short Stories and In Brief.  The former is for stories of between 2,000 and 8,000 words in any genre.  The latter is for poetry, flash fiction and ‘anything else’, of between 500 and 1,000 words.  By ‘anything else’ I assume they mean any kind of writing, but I’m not sure they would welcome your shopping list or a page of self-pitying drivel from your diary, or a collection of your most vapid tweets ... but what do I know?
    Closing: 31.7.16.
    Prizes (in each category): 1st - £300.  Runners-up (1 - 4) - a share of £100.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £9 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
15.4.16

 

Sterts Theatre One-Act Play Competition.  This annual contest from Sterts Theatre in Cornwall  is for plays for up to four adult actors, with a running time of between 25 and 35 minutes.  Plays can be on any theme and set in any location but must be suitable for a low-ceilinged studio space (so no extremely tall characters or flying witches).  There is also a Cornish category for plays with a Cornish theme (written in English, because nobody in Cornwall speaks Cornish).  As always, read the guidelines.  You need to be 18 or over to enter.
    Closing: 31.7.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 plus performance of your play in Sterts Studio.  Runners-up (2) - £40 plus a staged reading of your play.  Play on a Cornish theme - £40 plus a staged reading.
    Entry Fee: £7.
    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
12.6.16

 

Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition.  This annual contest from the Munster Literature Centre in Ireland is for unpublished stories of up to 3,000 words on any subject.  The Munster Literature Centre, incidentally, is named after the town in southern Ireland where it is located, not the old American TV sitcom about a bunch of friendly monsters.
    Closing : 31.7.16.
    Prizes: 1st - 2,000 euros plus a week’s residency at Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat.  In addition, if you go to Cork to collect your prize, you will receive hotel accommodation, meals, drinks and VIP access to the literary stars at the Cork International Short Story Festival (7-11 September 2016).  2nd - 500 euros.  Runners-up (4) - 120 euros (payment for publication.  All six wnners will be published in the literary journal Southword.
    Entry Fee: 15 euros.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 2.6.16

 

Mother’s Milk Books Pamphlet Prize.  This is for short collections of poems in any style suitable for publication as a themed or unthemed pamphlet (20 to 30 poems on up to 36 pages).  The poems must be within the remit of Mother’s Milk Books, details of which are given on the comp page.  You initially submit 10 poems plus a one-paragraph bio and an outline.
    Closing: 31.7.16.
    Prize: Publication of your poems as a pamphlet by Mother’s Milk Books.
    Entry Fee: A purchase of £8 or above through the Mother’s Milk online store.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
10.4.16

 

Winchester Poetry Prize.  This contest from the Winchester Poetry festival aims to ‘surprise and delight,’ they say  However, don’t try to surprise and delight them with a short story or a photo of your cat dancing in a tutu.  Stick to a poem of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.7.16.
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, £250.  Winners will be invited to read their entries at the Festival on October 9.  Winning poems will appear in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.4.16

 

PENfro Open Poetry Competition.  This contest from the PENfro Book Festival in Pembrokeshire is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject and in any style.  Costa Award winning poet Jonathan Edwards, whose taste in poetry is broad-ranging, will be judging.  He will be reading all the entries, not just the longlist or shortlist.  Brave man.
    Closing: 31.7.16.
    Prizes: £300, £100, £75.  Writers of the top ten shortlisted poems will be invited to read their entries at a spoken word event at which Jonathan Edwards will also read and present the prizes.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

Warning - Fake Google Email

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

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

 


Added
16.3.16

 

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2016.  This one from the Poetry Society is said to be the UK’s largest poetry competition for writers between the ages of 11 and 17.  It certainly attracts a lot of entries.  Over 7,600 young people from across the world submitted their work last year.  Poems can be any length and on any subject.
    Closing: 31.7.16 (noon for online entries).
    Prizes: The top 15 winners will be invited to attend a week-long residential writing course at a prestigeous Arvon Centre, or they will receive mentoring from a professional poet.  The top 15 poems will be published in a print anthology which is sent out to over 24,000 schools and poetry enthusiasts.  The 85 commended poets will have their entries published in an online anthology.  There will be an awards ceremony in London on National Poetry Day.  I’ve been to some of these events and there’s usually free booze.  Fellow poets can usually be relied upon to supply some weed too.  Best not mention this to your parents.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  You can enter up to six poems but they make it clear they don’t want you bunging in any old rubbish to make up the numbers (they put it more subtly than that, but that’s what they mean).
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
15.6.16

 

WB Limerick Competition.  This contest from Writers Bureau is for limericks.  Not much more I can say really.
    Closing: 31.7.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 plus a Writers Bureau course.  Runners-up (2) - £50 plus a year’s membership to the Assiciation of Freelance Writers.
    Entry Fee: £5 for four limericks (or fewer if you can’t manage four), then £1 for each additional entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 5.6.16

 

Stringybark Times Past Short Story Award.  Here’s your chance to put your knowledge Australian history to good use.  What, don’t know anything about the early days of the land of the wombat?  Shame on you, you pommie X!@X@!.  Look it up on Wikiwhatsit.  Skip the stuff about Neighbours.  You need to go back a few years before that.  And then, having become an expert, spin a yarn based on some aspect of this in up to 1,500 words.  Add a 100-word epilogue and that’s it.
    Closing: 31.7.16.
    Prizes: 1st - A$400, 2nd - A$175, 3rd - A$100.  Winners will be published in an anthology and will received, in addition to the cash, various Stringybark publicatons.
    Entry Fee: A$12 for one, A$22 for two, A$30 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
19.6.16

 

The Betjeman Poetry Prize.  This contest in honour of one of Britain’s most popular poets aims to foster creativity in young people.  Young people are apparently between 10 and 13, these being the age limits for the competition.  Old at 14, eh?  Too many crafty cigaretttes behind the bike sheds, I reckon.  Entries should be on the theme of Place.  The place, say the promoters, ‘could be a country, a den at the end of the garden, Granny’s house or a hedge at the back of the school.’  They want to know what it means to you.  ‘It’s where I chill, innit?’ will not be sufficient.  There is no line or word limit. The judges are Carol Ann Duffy and Imtiaz Dharker.
    Closing: 31.7.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000 to be shared equally between the winner and his or her school or library.  The winner and two runners-up will each receive four Eurostar tickets to Paris, Brussels or Lisle.  There will in addition be £50 each for the runners-up, and book tokens for Highly Commended entrants.  There is also a prize for the teacher who manages to bully the most pupils into entering.  The top 50 poems will be printed in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
16.10.14

 

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

 


Added
 1.6.16

 

Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction prize.   This annual contest from Canadian literary magazine The Malahat Review, is for personal essay, memoir, narrative nonfiction, socal commentary, travel, historical accounts and biographies - ‘all enhanced by such elements as description, dramatic scenes, dialogue, and characterisation.’  The length should be between 2,000 and 3,000 words.
    Closing: 1.8.16.
    Prize: $1,000 (Canadian).
    Entry Fee:(outside North America): $45 for the first, $15 thereafter.  Dollars are US.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.6.16

 

Buzzwords Poetry Competition.  This contest from Buzzwords Poetry of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire is for poems of up to 70 lines.
    Closing: 7.8.16.
    Prizes: £600, £300, 5 x £50.  Gloucestershire Resident Prize - £200.
    Entry Fee: Postal - £4 for one, £10 for three.  Online - £4.35 for one, £8.70 for two, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
17.6.15

 

Hello again!
     Thanks for all you've done. I've had another two wins recently - Concrete Cow and UPLI - and I've actually had my book How to Win Writing Competitions accepted by a publisher! Your website gets a mention in it, of course.
     Best wishes,  Cathy Bryant

 


Added
 1.5.16

 

Dream Quest One Poetry and Writing Contest.  The requirement for this U.S. based contest is for poems of up to 30 lines and short stories of up to five pages, any style or theme.  Entry is open worldwide.
    Closing: 17.8.16.
    Prizes: Stories - $500, $250, $100.   Poetry - $250, $125, $50.  Winners will be published on the website unless the writers opt out.
    Entry Fee: Stories - $10 postal, $12 electronic.  Poetry - $5 postal, $7 electronic.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 1.5.16

 

Buxton Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from the High Peaks, presented by Buxton Festival and the University of Derby, is for poems of up to 40 lines.  They say the theme is Hidden, but I had no trouble finding it.
    Closing: 26.8.16.
    Prizes: Open Category (18 and over) - £500, £250, £100.  Young People (12 - 17) and Children’s categories - book tokens.
    Entry Fee: Open Category (18 and over) - £5.  Young People and Children - free.
    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
28.2.16

 

Poetry & Politics Poetry Competition.  This free contest from London publisher Holland Park Press is for poems of up to 50 lines on a political theme.  The poem can be international or national in scope, or  even something local to your city, town or village.
    Closing: 31.8.16.
    Prize : £200.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.4.16

 

Verbolatry Laugh-a-Riot Competition.  This comical contest comes from the Verbolatry newsletter which focuses on the lighter side of the writing life and is now celebrating its first birthday.  To enter you submit a humorous fiction or non-fiction essay of between 100 and 500 words.  The contest has two versions: Free and Paid-for.  The latter has the bigger prize and will  have fewer entries.  The former is ... well, free, and I hardly need say these freebies usually prove irresistible to the poverty-stricken or tight-fisted writer of whom there are too many to count.  The choice is yours.
    Closing: 31.8.16.
    Prizes: Free version - £50.  Paid-for version - £100.  The winners will be published in the newsletter.
    Entry Fee: Free version - None.  Paid-for version - £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 4.4.16

 

The Terence Rattigan Society Award.  Here’s a great opportunity for playwrights to have their work assessed by some of the top names in the business.  The contest is for theatre plays with a running time of not less than 75 minutes, preferably with an interval and no more than six actors (doubling is allowed).  Among the judges will be David Suchet and Julian Fellowes.  You need to send an electronic and a printed copy of your play along with a list of characters, a description of the setting and a one-page summary of the action.
    Closing: 31.8.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £2,500 and guaranteed production in a professional theatre.  2nd - £1,000 and a public reading.
    Entry Fee : None - free entry.  Two plays may be submitted.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
15.6.16

 

Writing Out of the HD Shadow.  This contest from the Scottish Huntingdon’s Association aims to raise awareness of the neurological condition Huntingdon’s Disease which has something of a low  profile at present.  With this aim in mind you write a drabbie (flash fiction) of up to 150 words.  The website has two examples that show what a drabbie about HD might look like.  Can’t say I like the name drabbie.  Gives the wrong impression.  Your story should of course be anything but drab.  Entry is open nationwide.
    Closing: 31.8.16.
    Prizes: Over 16 - £500, £300, £100.  Under 16 - £100, £50, £20.  Winners will also receive a framed copy of their entry signed by the judges, authors Alan Bissett and Michael Malone.
    Entry Fee: Over 16 - £5.  Under 16 - none, free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here .

 


Added
 6.5.16

 

Soundwork Monologue 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 monologue script of any length up to 15 minutes duration, on any subject.
    Closing: 31.8.16.
    Prize: Your monologue recorded by Soundwork and, along with your photo, placed on the site.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
 1.3.16

 

The High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature.  This annual contest, which is open only to writers ages 18 or over with some connection to Cheshire, is for poems of up to 50 lines or collections of up to 100 lines.  It is supported by the University of Chester’s Department of English.  To be eligible you must have been born, work or have worked, live or have lived, study or have studied, in Cheshire.  If you lived there for just a fortnight while on holiday in Stockport, I’m afraid this doesn’t count, although you might be in line for a medal of some sort.
    Closing: 1.9.16.
    Prizes: 1st - £2,000.  Additional prize money of £750 will be awarded at the judges’ discretion.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.4.16

 

Arkbound Writing Competition.  This contest from new-ish Bristol publisher Arkbound has three categories: Short Story, Article, and Visual Art.  The stories should run to 500-2,000 words and be about something that has inspired you or will inspire others.  Arkbound claims to ‘bridge the gap between vanity and contemporary publishers.’  It’s up to you to decide how solid the bridge is should you be invited to cross it.   Contests by vanity publishers are usually designed to reel in potential customers for publishing deals which involve the author paying ‘a share’ of the costs.  Just remember that you can’t buy literary success.  However, you can enter such competitions without getting involved in that ... as long as you aren’t the sort of writer whose common sense goes for a walk on the silly side at the first sign of flattery.
    Closing: 5.9.16.
    Prizes (in each category): £100, £50, £25.  Three runners-up in each category win £5.  All winners will received an embossed certificate.
    Entry Fee: £2.50.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
 3.3.16

 

Manchester Writing Competition.  This international contest from Manchester Writing School at the Manchester Metropolitan University celebrates ‘the substantial cultural and literary achievements of Manchester’ of which I am unable to give an example at this time.  My childhood memories of Manchester are centred around Moss Side where my father ran a fast-food business (chip shop, as we called it back then).  I was kept locked in the cellar peeling spuds, with a 15-watt incandescent light bulb for company.  It was there in that creepy dungeon, while peering into the dark corners, that I developed my vivid imagination - not to mention my nervous twitches.  Culture?  Literature?  Be serious.  But times, I suppose, have changed.  So let us return to the competition, which is for poems and short stories.  To enter the Poetry Prize you submit a portfolio of three to five poems, these to consist of no more than 120 lines in total.  For the Fiction Prize the requirement is for a story running to no more than 2,500 words in any genre.
    Closing: 23.9.16.
    Prize (in each category):£10,000.
    Entry Fee: £17.50.
    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
 1.1.16

 

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

 


Added
 1.5.16

 

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

 


Added
 1.11.15

 

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

 


Added
20.1.13

 

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

 


Added
17.5.16

 

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

 


Added
 2.4.16

 

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

 


Added
21.9.13

 

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

 


Added
10.4.16

 

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

 


Added
 1.6.16

 

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

 


Added
24.3.16

 

Flash 500 Novel Opening Competition.  You are probably thinking: ‘I can open a novel better than anyone - I’ve opened thousands in the library.’  Alas, this contest is a little more complicated than that.  It requires you to write a novel opening.  And that, as any novelist will tell you, is the easy bit.  You then have to write a one-page synopsis of the rest of the story.  Aggghhhh!  The more you think about that story, the more you’ll want to include in the synopsis.  Fifty pages won’t be enough.  And when it’s done and you’ve sent it off, you’ll be haunted by the belief that you left out the best bits.  Sweet dreams.  Your entry should run to no more than 3,000 words plus the one-page synopsis.
    Closing: 31.10.16.
    Prizes: £500, £200.
    Entry Fee: £10.  Optional critique: £25.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
19.6.16

 

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

 


Added
25.6.16

 

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

 


Added
13.6.16

 

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

 


Added
22.5.16

 

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

 


Added
29.3.14

 

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

 


Added
24.3.16

 

Flash 500 Short Story Competition.  Stories in any genre running to between 1,000 and 3,000 words are required for this one from the Flash 500 website.  Those of you who think no story is complete without a decent (or indecent) bedroom scene will be pleased to learn that adult material is acceptable here ‘providing the content fits the story and is not gratuitous’.  The rest of you will be relieved to learn that adult content is not compulsory.
    Closing: 28.2.17.
    Prizes: £500, £200, £100.
    Entry Fee: £7 each, £12 for two, £16 for three, £20 for four.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
11.6.04

 

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

 


Added
 1.9.11

 

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

 
  

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

 
    
  

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

                                       The Typo Goblin

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

                                                                           
- Michael Shenton

 
  

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

 
        


Disclaimer

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

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