Stiff Competition - the novel

Details

Writing Comps

   Writing Competitions UK (and Others)

Stiff Competition - the novel

Details


 
 

This is a comprehensive list of the most worthwhile (and genuine!) writing competitions currently available.  Genres include short story, flash fiction, novel, poetry, children’s, etc.  Most, but not all, are from the UK. All competitions on this site are carefully vetted.  Many are open worldwide.

     Bear in mind that contests with smaller prizes attract fewer entries and are therefore easier to win ... unless they are free to enter.

                                                                            -  Michael Shenton

 
  

UK Writing Competitions (currently 60)

 


Updated
16.2.21

 

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

 


Updated
16.2.21

 

Writers’ Forum Poetry Competition.  This monthly contest from the glossy magazine Writers’ Forum is for poems of up to 40 lines on any thme.
    Closing: Monthly.  Entries arriving too late for one month automatically go forward to the next.
    Prize: £100 and a Chambers dictionary.
    Entry Fee : £7 (includes a short critique).
    Comp Page:
WF Poetry Contest.

 


Updated
 27.4.19

 

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

 


Updated
27.4.19

 

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
27.4.19

 

Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet Prize.  Entries for this open contest from Wales are invited from beginners and established poets. Submit 15 to 25 poems of up to 50 lines each.
    Closing: Annually - 31 March.
    Prizes (4): A publishing contract plus 30 copies of the pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Cinnamon Poetry.

 

 

 

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

 


Updated
 27.4.19

 

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:
Scribble SSC .

 


Added
22.1.18

 

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: 30.6.22, 30.9.22.
    Prizes: 1st - £300.  2nd - £200.  3rd - £100.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £8 for two.
    Comp Page:
Flash 500 Story.

 


Updated
 8.3.22

 

Write Time Mature Stories Competition.  Here’s one for writers over the age of 60 who can turn their memories and reflections into stories of up to 1,500 words on any theme.
     Closing : Quarterly (30.6.22, 30.9.22, 31.12.22).
     Prizes: 1st £50.  Runners-up (2) - £25.  Winners will be published in an anthology and on the website.
     Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two.
     Comp Page:
Write Time

 
    
  

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

 


Added
9.5.21

 

Secret Attic Short Story Competitions.  This monthly freebie from Secret Attic Press is for stories of up to 1,500 words on any theme.
    Closing: End of each month.
    Prize  A £20 Amazon voucher and publication in the Secret Attic booklet.  Selected entries will also be published.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Secret Attic.

 


Updated
 9.5.21

 

Wordhound Children’s Writing Competition .  This international weekly freebie from Wordhound (which offers content writing, design and translation services) is open to children aged 12 and under, and is for funny, weird or otherwise unique creative writing based on a prompt on the website.  The prompt changes for each week’s contest.  Your entry can be up to 300 words.
    Closing: Last Thursday of each month.
    Prizes: Goodie bags and stationery, plus publication on the Wordhound blog.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Wordhound

 


Updated
 9.3.22

 

Cranked Anvil Short Story Competition.  Cranked Anvil Press from Morpeth in Northumberland is seeking entries of up to 1,500 words on any theme for its latest short story contest.
    Closing: Quarterly.
    Prizes: £150, £75, £30.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee : £5 for one, £8 for two, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Cranked Anvil Story

 


Updated
 9.3.22

 

Cranked Anvil Flash Fiction Competition.  Here’s another one from Cranked Anvil Press, this time for stories of up to 500 words on any theme.
    Closing Quarterly.
    Prizes: £150, £75, £30.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £8 for two, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Cranked Anvil Flash

 


Added
9.3.22

 

Cranked Anvil Prompt Competition.  And here’s a third one.  This time it’s for stories of between 700 and 1,000 words containing all the specified prompt elements.
    Closing: 10am on 1.7.22, 1.10.22.
    Prizes: £150, £75, £30.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee : £5 for one, £8 for two, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Cranked Anvil Prompt

 

 

 

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
9.7.22

 

Twisted Stringybark Short Story Award.  From the land of the wombat and other sporting equipment, here’s an open-themed contest for stories running to no more than 1,500 words, aimed at readers over 18.  Stories must contain a twist at some point.  Also, they must in some way have a link to Australia, however tenuous.  As an example of what they mean by tenuous, the promoters mention having a character eat a Vegemite sandwich.  That’s Aussie humour for you.
    Closing: 14.8.22 (11.59pm AEST).
    Prizes (in Oz dollars): 1st - $350 + publication + ebook + paperback + choice of any two Stringybark anthologies.  2nd -  $250 + publication + ebook + paperback + any two Stringybark anthologies.  3rd - $125 + publication + ebook + paperback + any two Stringybark anthologies. Highly Commended (30) - $5 plus publication plus ebook.
    Entry Fee: $14 for one, $26 for two, $36 for three.
    Comp Page:
Stringybark Story

 


Added
1.8.22

 

Searchlight Awards Novel Opening Competition.  The novel in question must be aimed at children or young adults (7 to 18).  The opening should run to no more thsn 1,200 words.
    Closing: 22.8.22.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000.  In addition, along with other shortlisted entries, your story will be included in the Winners’ Collection which is sent to literary agents and publishers.  Also, your story and biography will be included in the Winners’ Gallery on the Searchlight website.  And an anthology will be published.
    Entry Fee: £14.
    Comp Page:
Searchlight Novel

 


Added
1.8.22

 

Searchlight Awards Children’s Picture Book Competition. You only need to supply the words for this one.  Five hundred, to be precise.
    Closing: 22.8.22.
    Prizes: 1st - £500 and your story included in the Winners’ Collection which is sent to literary agents and publishers.  Your story and biography will also be included in the Winners’ Gallery on the Searchlight website.  In addition it will be published in the Searchlight anthology.
    Entry Fee: £9.
    Comp Page:
Searchlight Picture Book

 


Added
1.7.22

 

Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition.  A welcome return for this annual contest from Ledbury in Wales.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines.  The judge this year is prizewinning poet Joelle Taylor (T.S Eliot Prize 2022).
    Closing: 24.8.22.
    Prize:  £1,000 plus a Arvon poetry course (residential or online).
    Entry Fees: £6.
    Comp Page:
Ledbury Poetry

 


Added
1.4.22

 

Buzzwords Poetry Competition.  Here’s one from the Buzzwords poetry group of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire.  It is for poems of up to 70 lines.
    Closing: 27.8.22.
    Prizes: Open - £600, £300, 5 x £50.  Gloucestershire Prize (for Gloucestershire residents only) - £200.
    Entry Fee: Postal - £4 each, £10 for three.  Online - £4.35 each, £8.70 for two, £11 for three.
    Comp Page:
Buzzwords Poetry

 


Added
15.7.22

 

Willesden Short Story Competition.  Open to anyone aged 18 or over living anywhere in the world, here’s a return of the well-known Willseden Herald Short Story contest.  The requirement is for original literary fiction of between 1,000 and 7,000 words.  On the website you can read some of the stories they’ve published in the past.
    Closing: 31.8.22.
    Prizes: 1st - £300 plus a one-off mug inscribed ‘Willesden Short Story Prize 2022.’  2nd - £200.  3rd - £100. Runners-up (7) - £50.  Winners will also receive a copy of the anthology when it is published (simultaneously in the UK and USA.).
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Willesden Story

 


Added
12.6.22

 

Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition.  Here we have a return of the annual international poetry contest from the Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland.  To enter, you submit 16 to 24 pages of poetry in English.
    Closing: 31.8.22.
    Prizes : 1,000 euros, 500 euros. Winners also receive chapbook publication with 25 complimentary copies.  In addition, both winners will be offered a reading at the Cork International Poetry Festival, with three nights’ accommodation.
    Entry Fee: 25 euros.
    Comp Page:
Fool Poetry.

 

 

 

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
8.3.22

 

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award.  This annual contest from Aesthetica Magazine is for Short fiction running to no more than 2,000 words and poetry of up to 40 lines.  Submissions can be on any subject, say the promoters, but they then more or less cancel that by adding that they are ‘particularly interested in works that reflect upon our ever changing world.’
    Closing: 31.8.22.
    Prize (in each category): £2,500 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:
Aesthetica Award.

 


Added
2.7.22

 

Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition.  Two categories in this one from Oxford Brookes University: Open, and English as a Second Language.  If you are a young Internet user/texter who only seems to have English as a second language, then you should enter the Open category.  Whichever category you choose, your poem should run to no more than 50 lines.
    Closing: 31.8.22 (11pm).
    Prizes (in each category): £1,000, £200.
    Entry Fee : £5 each for the first three, £4 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
OB Poetry Comp

 


Added
6.5.22

 

Hysteria Writing  Competition.  This annual contest is open to all writers of any age and nationality.  It has three categories: Short Story up to 1,000 words, Flash Fiction up to 250 words, and Poetry up to 12 lines.  The theme this year is Peace.
    Closing: 31.8.22.
    Prizes (in each category): £300 and publication in Hysteria.  Nine runners-up will be published the mag.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Hysteria Writing

 


Added
1.6.22

 

Anansi Archive Writing Awards.  Here’s a freebie you might like to have a go at.  It comes from the Anansi Archive, a new writing community committed to supporting all levels of literary endeavour.  The contest has three categories: Poetry of up to 500 words, flash fiction of up to 500 words, and short fiction of up to 3,000 words.  There is no theme.
    Closing: 31.8.22.
    Prizes: Poetry and Flash Fiction - £20, £10.  Short Fiction - £50, £20.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Anansi Awards

 


Added
1.6.22

 

Edinburgh Flash Fiction Awards.  Here’s a quick one from the Scottish Arts Trust.  Open worldwide, it is for stories of up to 250 words on any subject.  There is an additional prize - the Golden Hare Award for writers over 16 who live or study in Scotland. Unfortunately the Silver Tortoise Award for writers who fail to complete their entries in time will not be running this year as no one entered last year.
    Closing: 31.8.22.
    Prizes: 1st £2,000 plus trophy.  2nd - £300.  3rd - £150.  Golden Hare Award - A trophy and £500.  No entrant can win both awards.  Winners will be published in an anthology.  The top 20 writers will be invited to participate in something called a Flash bash in Edinburgh.  I think that’s an impromptu punch-up.
    Entry Fee: £7.
    Comp Page:
Edinburgh Flash

 


Added
12.5.22

 

Exeter Story Prize.  To enter this annual international competition from Creative Writing Matters of Exeter you submit a story of up to 5,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: 31.8.22.
    Prizes: 1st - £500.  2nd - £250..  3rd - £150.  Trisha Ashley Award (for humorous, engaging and quirky stories) - £200.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Exeter Story.

 

 

 

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
1.6.22

 

City Academy Short Story Competition.  Stories told with wit, verve and style by previously unpublishd writers are invited for this contest from City Academy.  After registering for the competition you will receive a series of prompts that will ‘help you to complete the story you’ve always wanted to tell’.  Entries should run to no more than 4,000 words.  Any genre is acceptable.
     Closing: 5.9.22.
     Prize: £1,500 and a £300 City Academy voucher.  The winner will be published on the website with photo and interview.
     Entry Fee: £15
     Comp Page:
City Academy

 


Added
6.5.22

 

Blackness on Sea Poetry Prize.  Here’s a great freebie from The Lobster Pot pub in Blackness on Sea on the Firth of the Forth.  It closes on the seventh of the ninth.  Poems of genuine literary merit are required.  Entries will be posted on the website, anonymously, for all to see.  Poems should contain a mention, not necessarily complimentary, of The Lobster Pot pub and the village of Blackness on Sea.  The contest is open to all.
    Closing: 7.9.22.
    Prizes : 1st - £1,000 and a trophy shield.  2nd - £200 and trophy.
    Entry Fee: None - Free to enter.  Multiple entries permitted.
    Comp Page:
Blackness Poetry

 


Added
6.8.22

 

Wasafiri Essay Prize.  ‘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.  The mag was born at the University of Kent in 1984 and as far as I know it has no African connection.  Nor, I might add, has the contest, which aims to ‘discover, encourage and reward innovative, critical essays of an exemplary standard ...’ (i.e. well good) which 'constitute the most exciting academic work happening today’ (not boring) ‘by early career researchers from around the world.’  If you haven’t been put off by all that, submit between 5,000 and 8,000 words on a subject within the field  of international contemporary literature from 1965 onwards.  Incidentally, ‘wasafiri’, in case your Kiswahili is a bit rusty, means ‘cultural traveller’.
    Closing: 12.9.22 (5pm).
    Prize: £250 plus publication in the magazine online and in print, a mentoring conversation, and a year’s sub to the mag.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Wasafiri Essay

 


Added
2.7.22

 

New Voices Competition.  Here we have another international contest from London-based mentoring service Adventures in Fiction.  It requires you to submit the first page of your novel and a one-page synopsis.
    Closing: 14.9.22.
    Prizes: A start-up mentoring package (normally costing ovr £750) which includes manuscript appraisal, a consultation and a development strategy.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
New Voices.

 


Added
2.4.22

 

Moth Nature Writing Prize. Now in its second year, this contest from Irish magazine The Moth is for nature writing of up to 4,000 words.
    Closing: 15.9.22.
    Prize: 1,000 euros and a week’s writing retreat at Circle of Mise in France.
    Entry Fee: 15 euros.
    Comp Page:
Moth Nature Writing.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
6.5.22

 

Troubador Poetry Prize .  A poem of up to 45 lines could give you grounds for celebration in this annual competition from Coffee House Poetry of London.  This year’s contest will be judged by Victoria Kennefick and Joshua Bennett.
    Closing: 26.9.22.
    Prizes: £2,000, £1,000, £500.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page :
Coffee House.

 


Added
12.3.22

 

Creative Writing Ink Short Story Competition.  The promoters of this contest from London are looking for stories of up to 3,000 words on any theme.  The judge is prize-winning writer and academic Kerry Hadley-Pryce.
    Closing: 30.9.22 (4pm).
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000, an online writing course and publication on the website.  Runners-up (2) - £200.
    Entry Fee: £9.
    Comp Page:
Creative Writing Ink

 


Added
14.7.22

 

The Henshaw Short Story Competition.  This recurring contest from Henshaw Press of Northampton is for stories running to no more than 2,000 words on any subject by writers aged over 16.  Separate to the competition, any writer aged under 12 can receive a free critique of a story of up to 2,000 words.  For details, click on the Young Writers link on the main page.  Writers aged 12 to 16 can get a critique for a nominal fee but must email Henshaw Press for details first.
    Closing: 30.9.22.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  Winners will be published on the website and in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £6.  Optional critique: £14.
    Comp Page:
Henshaw Story.

 


 Added
12.5.22

 

Crowvus Christmas Ghost Story.  This is the sixth of these annual ghost story contests from Scottish independent publisher Crowvus.  Spooky tales of up to 4,000 words are required.
    Closing: 30.9.22.
    Prizes: Adults - £100, £75, £50.  Children - £50 voucher.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two (two being the maximum permitted).  Children free.
    Comp Page:
Crowvus Story

 


Added
4.4.22

 

Hammond House International Writing Competitions.  This offering from Hammond House Publishing at University Centre Grimsby is for short stories of between 1,000 and 5,000 words, poems of up to 40 lines, scripts (theatre, radio, short film or TV) of up to 10 pages (approx. 10 minutes duration), and comedy (sketch: 4 sides of A4; stand-up: 2 sides of A4).  In all categories the theme is Changes (this is intended to be inspirational, not restrictive, they say).
    Closing: 30.9.22.
    Prizes: Short Story - £1,000, £100, £50.  Poetry - £500, £50, £20.  Script - £250.  Comedy - winning scripts performed at the 2023 Festival.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
HH Lit Prize

 


Added
6.8.22

 

Bridport Memoir Award.  The main categories of the famous Bridport Prize have closed for this year, but here’s an additional one, this time for memoirs.  Initially you submit 5,000 to 8,000 words plus a 300 word overview.  If longlisted they require a total of 15,000 words (including your original submission), and if shortlisted you will have to top that up to 30,000 words.
    Closing: 30.9.22.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,500 and a year’s mentoring by The Literary Consultancy.  You also get a meeting with someone from literary agents AM Heath, and an editor from John Murray.  Runners up - £750 and a full manuscript assessment by The Literary Consultancy.  Highly commended entrants received £150 and a manuscript assessment.
    Entry Fee: £24.
    Comp Page:
Bridport Memoir

 


Added
15.5.22

 

Tom Howard/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: 30.9.22
    Prizes: Tom Howard Prize (any style) - $3,000 + gift certificate.  Margaret Reid Prize (traditional verse) - $3,000 + gift certificate.  In addition there will be ten Honourable Mention awards of $200.  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:
TH & MR Poetry.

 


Added
2.7.22

 

Olga Sinclair Prize.  This annual international contest from Norwich Writers’ Circle is for fiction of up to 2,000 words.  There is no theme this year.
    Closing: 30.9.22.
    Prizes: £500, £250, £100.  Winners and other shortlistees will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £9.
    Comp Page:
Olga Sinclair Prize.

 

 

 

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
13.3.22

 

Grindstone International Novel Prize.  This contest is open to unrepresented unpublished or self-published authors only.  It is for finished or part-finished novels of at least 50,000 words aimed at young adults or adults.  To enter, you submit the opening 5,000 words of your story (plus or minus 10% so you can end your submission at a natural break), and a synopsis running to about 300 words.
    Closing: 1.10.22.  There are two early bird closing dates: submit before 1.5.22 or 1.7.22 to receive the result of your submission early and pay a lower entry fee.
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, and 4 x £125.  Longlisted entries are forwarded to affiliated agents.    Entry Fee: Depending on when you submit, £16, £18 or £20.
    Comp Page:
Grindstone Novel.

 


Added
4.4.22

 

Perito Prize 2022.  Back again for another year is this international freebie from Perito Ltd.  It is for stories of between 1,000 and 2,000 words on the themes of inclusive environments, accessibility, diversity and inclusive design - concepts which touch upon the lives of many people due to disability, discrimination, inaccessibility, social exclusion and more.  Entries will be judged on the originality of ideas, voicing what accessibility, inclusivity and inclusive design means to the entrant.  Your story can be in writing or presented as a mini audio book.
    Closing: 1.10.22.
    Prize: £500.  The finalists and selected others will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Perito Prize

 


Added
2.7.22

 

Bath Flash Fiction Award.  This recurring international contest from Bristol is for short fiction of up to 300 words.  There is no set theme.  You are probably wondering about the contest’s name: why Bath?  Well, it’s like this: nobody knows.
    Closing: 9.10.22.
    Prizes: £1,000, £300, £100, 2 x £30.  50 longlisted entrants will be offered publication in the print and digital anthology.  Those who accept the offer receive a free print copy.
    Entry Fee: Up to August 14 - £7.50 for one, £12 for two, £18 for three.  Then £9, £15 and £18.
    Comp Page:
Bath Flash.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
21.6.22

 

Eyelands Book Awards.  This is the fifth of these international book award contests from literary magazine Eyelands and Strange Days Books in Greece.  There are two categories: Published Book and Unpublished Book.  Acceptable genres are Poetry, Novella, Short Story Collection, Novel, Children’s Book, Historical Fiction, Memoir, Graphic Novel.
    Closing: 20.10.22.
    Prizes: Unpublished Book - Translation into Greek and publication by Strange Days Books.  Published Book - a 5-day holiday in Athens, a special handmade ceramic and publication of extracts online and on the Eyelands website.  Runners-up (10) - A special handmade ceramic and a book.  All winners receive a certificate, ideal for hanging on the wall where your visitors are sure to see it (i.e. next to the drinks cabinet or the television).
    Entry Fee: 20 euros up to August 30, then 27 euros.
    Comp Page:
Eyelands Book Awards

 


Added
1.7.22

 

Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize.  This free contest, which is for fiction or non-fiction of between 1,000 and 1,500 words, is for young writers aged between 18 and 25 living in the UK.  Entries should interpret the following Benjamin Franklin quote for its relevance today: ‘The eyes of other people are the eyes that ruin us.  If all but myself were blind, I should want neither fine clothes, fine houses nor fine furniture.’
    Closing: 31.10.22.
    Prizes: £750, £500.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  One entry per person.
    Comp Page:
BenFrankLit.

 


Added
1.5.22

 

Bedford Writing Competition.  This annual not-for-profit contest from Bedfordshire, home of the famous Shuttleworth Collection (old aeroplanes and cars) is for stories of up to 3,000 words and poems running to no more than 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.10.22.
    Prizes in each category (Poetry, Short Story, Young Writers): £1,000, £200, £100.   In addition there is the Bedford Short Story & Poetry Prize of £100 (each category) for a local resident, and the  Cygnature Short Story & Poetry Prize for writers aged 25 or under - £100 (each category).  Shortlisted and winning entries will be published in an anthology (e-book and hardcopy).
    Entry Fee: £7.50 each, £15 for three.  Full-time students: £5 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
BWC.

 

 

 

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
1.6.22

 

Young Walter Scott Prize.  Historical fiction - that’s what this one is all about, but it’s only for those who have no experience of history, by which I mean children and young adults (11 to 15, and 16 to 19).  The fiction (800 to 2,000 words) can be in any form: prose, poetry, drama, fictional diaries, letters or reportage.  It must be set in a time before the author was born, ‘in a time clearly different from the present’, and inspired by an actual historical even, place or person.  Entries must be made in hard copy, so you may need to seek advice from your parents about the intricacies of the postal service (those round red boxes you’ve seen in the streets are not for litter)..
    Closing: 31.10.22.
    Prizes (in each category): A £500 travel and research grant to explore historical places in the UK, plus a two-day trip to Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland.  Runners-up receive a £100 book token.  Winners and runners-up will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Walter Scott Prize

 


Added
30.7.22

 

SaveAs  International Writing Competition .  Here’s a repeat of the annual international contest from SaveAs Writers of Canterbury in Kent.  It is for poetry of up to 60 lines and stories running to no more than 3,500 words.  The theme this year is ‘Myth’.
    Closing: 31.10.22.
    Prizes (in each category): £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fees: Poetry - £3 each, £8 for three.  Stories - £4 each, £10 for three.  Take note that there is an additional admin charge of 75p per entry for online submissions.
    Comp Page:
SAW Myth

 


Added
2.7.22

 

National Poetry Competition.  Billed as one of the world’s most prestigious prizes for unpublished poems of up to 40 lines, this annual international contest from the Poetry Society really does carry some mighty cachet in literary circles.  And not just for poems of up to 40 lines: I’d say it beats contests for poems of any length.  Of course this means it gets a lot of entries and so it’s tougher to win than a tug-of-war with a pack of huskies, but you like a challenge, right?
    Closing: 31.10.22.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000.  Plus Commended prizes of £20 each.
    Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £5 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
NPC Comp

 


Added
24.7.22

 

Daily Mail First Novel Competition.  The good thing about having your novels rejected and your dreams tossed into the gutter like a greasy chip-wrapper is that you remain eligible for fabulous contests like this one which is only open to authors who have never had a book published.  Okay, it may be just another opportunity to see your best work swept away by a tsunami of indifference, but for a while, in your mind at least, you can be the winner and have the literary world at your feet.  Lucky you.  To enter, you send in the first 3,000 words of your story, plus a synopsis of up to 600 words.  All adult genres are accepted except science fiction, fantasy and horror.
    Closing: 1.11.22 (5.30pm).
    Prize: A £20,000 advance and representation by top literary agents Little, Brown (the winning novel will be published by their Sphere imprint).
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.  Only one per person.
    Comp Page:
Daily Mail FNC.

 


Added
15.7.22

 

Scribble Short Story CompetitionScribble magazine’s annual story competition is for tales of up to 3,000 words on the theme of Neighbours (that’s the people living close by rather than the Australian soap opera).
    Closing: 1.11.22.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Scribble Article.

 


Added
15.5.22

 

The Caledonia Novel Award 2023.  This annual international competition from Edinburgh is open to unpublished and self-published novelists.  It is for stories of at least 50,000 words in any adult or young adult genre.  To enter, you email the first 20 pages of your novel (lines to be double-spaced) followed by a 200 word synopsis.  If longlisted you will be expected to submit the full manuscript by 7.12.22.  The judge is Charlotte Seymour from literary agents Johnson & Alcock.
    Closing: 1.11.22.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,500.  There is in addition a special prize for the best entry from the British Isles and Ireland, comprising a place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre.  This is in the Scottish Highlands, possibly 14 miles from the nearest pub.  There will be no trains and quite likely no road.  You will therefore complete your journey on a donkey, accompanied by native guides and sherpas.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
Cal Novel Award.

 


Added
2.7.22

 

Snapshot Press Book Awards 2022.  This poetry contest from Snapshot Press of Ormskirk is for  book-length collections of between 60 and 100 haiku, tanka and other short poetry up to 25 lines including any blank lines (prose poems and haibun up to 200 words).  Poems must not have been previously published in a collection.
    Closing: 30.11.22.
    Prizes: Publication by Snapshot Press.
    Entry Fee: £20 per collection.
    Comp Page:
Snapshot Short Poetry.

 


Added
2.7.22

 

Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism.  This annual international  contest from the Observer  newspaper is for reviews of new work in the arts.  Entries should be limited to 800 words.
    Closing: 30.11.22.
    Prizes: 1st - £3,000 plus publication in the Observer.  Runners-up (2) - £500.  There will be an awards ceremony in London (usually at the Guardian Media Group headquarters).
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
AB Arts Journalism

 


Added
21.7.22

 

EcoSanta Short Story Competition.  Green Stories in partnership with Ecologisers (Young People’s Anti-Litter and Environmental Charity) are inviting stories of up to 1,000 words for this international competition.  Your story should show how EcoSanta becomes the Children’s Ecological Champion in everyone’s mind.  Perhaps, for instance, he only gives the children toys made from sustainable wood.  He used to do that when I was a boy.  I got a wooden football one year and broke two toes when I kicked it.  You can find further details about the theme on the comp page.
    Closing: 30.11.22.
    Prize: £100.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
EcoSanta

 

 

 

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
2.6.22

 

Bath Children's Novel Award. This annual international contest, which is open to unpublished and self-published emerging novelists writing for children or teens, is for novels of any length for children or young adults.  It is also for picture books.  To enter a novel, you send the first 5,000 words plus a one-page synopsis.  For picture books, you submit the complete story.
     Closing: 30.11.22.
     Prizes: 1st - £3,000.  The writer of the most promising longlisted novel will receive an online place on Edit Your Novel the Professional Way from co-sponsors Professional Writing Academy and Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.  Shortlisted entrants will receive feedback on their work.
     Entry Fee : £29 (in the case of picture books, this covers two stories).
     Comp Page:
BCN Award.

 


Added
1.8.22

 

Orna Ross Green Stories Novel Prize.  Here’s another contest from the University of Southampton.  It is for completed or part-completed green stories aimed at adults, running to between 50,000 and 100,000 words.  To enter, you submit three chapters (between 4,000 and 10,000 words), these to include the first chapter, another chapter that best shows the novel’s green credentials, and a third chapter (preferably the final one).  In addition you need to include a synopsis of between 500 and 1,000 words.  You can submit other chapters if necessary to make your entry up to the minimum 4,000 words.  The contest page contains an explanation of the sort of stories the judges will be looking for.
    Closing: 1.12.22.
    Prizes :  £1,000, £500.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Orna Ross Novel

 


Added
2.7.22

 

Moth Poetry Prize. This annual contest from Irish magazine The Moth is for poems of any length and on any subject.  I should perhaps mention that the magazine is not devoted to the subject of moths, fascinating though these may be.  It is an arts and literature magazine.  Presumably the name is a reference to the way artists and writers are attracted to the light of recognition only to beat their wings in vain against an invisible barrier until finally, broken and defeated, they slide down to the windowsill of despair.  You’d think the magazine people could have come up with something a bit more cheerful than that, wouldn’t you?
    Closing: 31.12.22.
    Prizes: 1st - 6,000 euros.  Runners-up (3) - 1,000 euros.  Commended (8) - 250 euros.
    Entry Fee: 15 euros.
    Comp Page:
Moth Poetry Comp.

 


Added
2.7.22

 

Bath Novella-in-Flash Award.  In answer to your question, a novella-in-flash is a series of flash fiction stories which together make up a novella (with each flash no longer than about 1,000 words).  You are allowed between 6,000 and 18,000 words to accomplish this amazing feat
    Closing: 15.1.23.
    Prizes: £300, £100, £100.  The winner and two runners-up will be published as individual novellas.  Each published author receives five copies.
    Entry Fee: £16.
    Comp Page:
Bath Novella

 


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.

 

 

 

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 Verse  & Songs (sample)
     
                           T
his is the Prizemagic website
                           
Email comps@prizemagic.co.uk
                           Copyright:  Michael Shenton  2022

                                                           Poem: Being a Writer

 


 

 

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