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

 
  

Writing Competitions 2020 (currently 61)

 


Updated
27.4.19

 

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
27.4.19

 

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
27.4.19

 

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

 


Added
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 : 31.3.20, 30.6.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £300.  2nd - £200.  3rd - £100.  Highly Commended - A copy of Bad Moon Rising.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £8 for two.
    Comp Page:
Flash 500 Story.

 
    
  

                         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
1.10.19

 

Drip Action Theatre Playwriting Competition.  The thing is the play in this one, suitable for the Arundel Festival Theatre Trail.  A play will be performed at a different venue in Arundel on each of the eight days of the Festival.  In the past, venues have included a restaurant, a jailhouse, a football club and a community hall.  Plays should have a performance time of 30 to 40 minutes, and the casting, props and effects should be practicable.  So no howling mob of thousands, no stampeding horses, no flying objects, people or animals ... unless these are seen only by one of the characters through a window, whereupon he or she says, ‘Blimey, there goes a flying shed/witch/camel!’
    Closing: 31.1.20.
    Prize: Each of the eight selected playwrights will receive a writer’s fee of £150.  The best play takes the top prize of £250.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter ... although it’s postal only, so you will have to buy something called a STAMP to go on an ENVELOPE (this is then inserted into a POST BOX after you have checked that there are no robins nesting in there).
    Comp Page:
Drip Action Play .

 


Updated
29.8.19

 

John Byrne Award.  This offering from Edinburgh, which is open to anyone aged over 16 living in Scotland, is an online exhibition and creative competition exploring personal and societal values.  All manner of creative work can be entered, but what we are interested in here is the prose and poetry.  For this you submit a single piece of work (anything from a novella to a short story, article, poem, etc) along with a question that summarises the thinking behind the work, and a short paragraph explaining why this question is important.  The question will appear as the title of your work on the website.  You can read some entries on there now.
    Closing: Final: 31.1.20 (quarterly rounds now closed).
    Prizes: Quarterly - £500.  Final - £7,500.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
J.B.Award.

 

 

 

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
14.5.19

 

The Ó Bhéal Five Words International Poetry Competition.  Here’s another Corker from Ireland.  Sorry couldn’t resist that.  I’ll start again.  This one from Cork in Ireland is for poems of up to 50 lines (including line breaks) which feature the five words given on the website for that week.  A shortlist of 12 poems will be selected after the final closing date next January, and the winner will be chosen from that.  Ó Bhéal, incidentally, is a weekly poetry event in Cork (and as you probably know, the word itself is Irish for ‘word of mouth’).
    Closing: Every Tuesday at noon until the last week of January 2020.
    Prize: 500 euros and an invitation to read at Ó Bhéal’s twelfth anniversary event in Ireland on 13.4.20, with travel expenses of 100 euro and B&B accommodation.
    Entry Fee: 5 euro.
    Comp Page:
Ó Bhéal Five Words.

 


Added
1.11.19

 

SLF Salariya Children’s Picture Book Prize.  This contest from Stratford Literary Festival and the Salariya Book Company is, as the title indicates, for children’s picture books.  The target age group is 0 to 5.  Submissions can be text only or words and illustrations.  The book should be 28 pages excluding end papers and covers.  The text should not rhyme.  Stipulations about the artwork can be found on the website.  To be eligible to enter you must be 16 or over and not have had a picture book published before (nor should you be represented by an agent).
    Closing: 31.1.20 (5.30pm).
    Prize: £1,000 and possible publication.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Salariya PBP.

 


Added
12.8.19

 

The Plough Poetry Prize.  Arr, it be that time again.  The Plough Prize is back for its umpteenth annual appearance.  It comes from the Plough Arts Centre in Torrington, Devon.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines in any style and on any subject.  The judge this year is  Greta Stoddart.
    Closing: 31.1.20.
    Prizes: I’m tempted to say ploughs, but I think I’ve done that one before.  The prizes are actually quite useful amounts of money: £1,000, £500, £250.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Plough PP.

 


Added
1.9.19

 

Fish Short Memoir Competition. This annual contest from Fish Publishing in Ireland is for memoirs of up to 4,000 words.
    Closing: 31.1.20.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - A week on a writers’ retreat at Casa Ana at La Alpujarra in Spain, plus 300 euros.  3rd - 200 euros.  The best 10 entries will be published in the Fish Anthology 2020.
    Entry Fee: 17 euros for the first, 11 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Fish Memoir.

 


Added
1.11.19

 

Teignmouth Poetry Festival Open Poetry Competition.  The annual Teignmouth Poetry Festival is running again in 2020, giving you another opportunity to get the pronunciation right (Tinmuth).  It is for poems of up to 36 lines on any subject.  Poet Hannah Lowe will be judging.  There is also a local competition for postcodes TQ12, TQ14 and EX7, judged by Susan Taylor and Simon Williams.  Entries to the Open comp from the local postcodes will automatically be entered for the local prizes.  However, each poet can only win one prize.  The judges will read all eligible entries.
    Closing: 31.1.20.
    Prizes : Open Competition - £500, £250, £100.  Local - £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: Online - £4.50 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.  Postal - £4 for the first, £3 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
1.11.19

 

Prole Laureate Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Prole, a print magazine that publishes engaging, accessible, entertaining and challenging poetry and prose, is for poems on any subject and in any style.  There are no restrictions on length, although you might like to consider how far it is reasonable to expect the judge to wade through that 5,000-line epic of yours before letting out an anguished cry and writing something obscene on it.  As an occasional poetry judge, I can tell you the most I have ever managed before turning nasty is 100 lines.
    Closing: 31.1.20.
    Prizes: £200, £50, £50.  Winners will be published on the website and in Prole 30.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £2 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Prole Laureate.

 


Added
1.10.19

 

Kent & Sussex Poetry Society Open Competition.  This annual contest from Kent & Sussex Poetry Society is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject and in any style.  The judge, poet Carrie Etter, will read all the submissions.
    Closing: 31.1.20.
    Prizes: £1,000, £300, £100, 4 x £50.  Winners will be published in the society’s Poetry Folio.
    Entry Fee: £5 each.  Three or more £4 each.
    Comp Page:
K&S Poetry.

 


Added
3.9.19

 

Lancashire Authors’ Association Open Competition.  Appearing annually, this contest from Lancashire where I spent two happy years as a child  (I was there for three, but let’s not go into that) is for stories running to exactly 100 words excluding the title.  For those of you who adopt a flexible approach to our laguage allow me to warn you that in Lancashire they don’t.  Therefore the word ‘exactly’ will not be interpreted by the judges as meaning ‘give or take one or two’.
    Closing: 31.1.20.
    Prize: £150.
    Entry Fee: £2 each or £5 for three.
    Comp Page:
LAA 100 Contest.

 

 

 

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
2.1.20

 

Baen Memorial Short Story Award.  This freebie from American science fiction publisher Baen Books is for realistic science-based near-future space exploration stories soaring to no more than 8,000 words.  There are Do and Don’t lists that you would do well to peruse before entering if you want your chances to lift off (no fantastical elements, no galactic empires, UFO abductions, etc).
    Closing: 1.2.20 (12.01am U.S. Pacific Time).
    Prizes: 1st - Publication as the feature story on the Baen Books website at industry standard rates, an engraved award thingy, free entry into the 2020 International Space Development Conference, a year’s membership of the (American) National Space Society and a bundle of books and space merchandise.  Runners-up will receive books and merchandise as well as free entry into the aforementioned Space Development Conference.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Baen Award.

 


Added
7.12.19

 

Papatango New Writing Prize.  This playwriting contest from the Papatango Theatre Company is for full-length plays of at least 60 minutes performance time  (sixty minutes, they say, is at least 40 pages or 9,000 words).
    Closing: 2.2.20 (9pm).
    Prize: A 4-week production at Southwalk Playhouse after a period of development with Papatango, plus publication by Nick Hern Books, 10% royalities on gross box office, and a £6,500 commission to develop a follow-up play.  All entrants can opt to receive feedback.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Papatango.

 


Added
8.11.19

 

Spread the Word Life Writing Prize.  This contest from Spread the Word in association with Goldsmith’s Writing Centre is open to new and emerging writers aged 18 or over.  As the name indicates, it is for life writing, which is defined for this contest as non-fiction writing about someone’s own life journey or experiences (see further explanations on the website).  Your entry doesn’t have to be entirely prose.  It can contain poetry, or it could be like a graphic novel with illustrations.  In all cases there is a word limit of 5,000.  Your entry may be a self-contained item or the first 5,000 words of a longer work.  The writing must be unpublished.  Check the rules to make sure you qualify as an ‘emerging’ writer for this contest.  Here you will find a list of things you can have had published.
    Closing: 3.2.20 (11am).
    Prizes: 1st - £1,500, an Arvon course, a 2-year membership to the Royal Society of Literature and an optional development meeting with an agent or editor.  Runners-up (2) - £500, two mentoring session and an optional development meeting with an agent or editor.  Winners will be published on the Spread the Word website and in the Prize booklet.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
SW Life Writing

 


Added
9.11.19

 

Elmbridge Literary Competition.  The RC Sherriff Trust has decided to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the sailing of The Mayflower, so of course the theme of the contest, which is for stories and poems, is seasickness.  No, I tell a lie - it’s ‘New World’.  As well as the Adult category (19+), there are various age categories for youngsters.  In the 5-7 age category, stories are limited to 500 words while poems should be no longer than 20 lines.  A word limit of 1,000 applies to stories in the 8-11 and 11-13 categories, while in the 14-18 and 19+ categories it’s 1,500.  Poems in categories other than the 5-7 age group can be up to 30 lines.  The contest is open worldwide.
    Closing: 7.2.20.
    Prizes: Adults (in each category) - £250, £150, £100.   Children - various amounts in book tokens as shown in the contest T&Cs.  The winning entries in all age categories will be published in a chapbook.
    Entry Fee: Adults - £5. Under 18s - free.  Maximum of one poem and one story per person.
    Comp Page:
Elmbridge Lit Comp.

 


Added
13.12.19

 

Voices Writing Competition.   With a theme of Dreams, this contest from Coram Voice (part of the Coram group of charities) is for all forms of creative writing, fact or fiction (stories, poems, raps, articles, etc) by writers aged 25 or under who are in care or who are care leavers (see T&Cs for definition).  There are four age categories: 4 to 10, 11 to 14, 15 to 17, 18 to 25.  In all categories there is a word limit of 500.
    Closing: 12.2.20.
    Prizes: (in each category) - £100, £50, £25 - all in Love-to-Shop vouchers.  All shortlistees will  receive a £10 book voucher.  Further prizes may be announced during the competition.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.  Only one per person.
    Comp Page:
Coram Voice.

 

 

 

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
10.11.19

 

W&A Yearbook Short Story Competition 2019.  This annual freebie from the venerable writers’ handbook Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, is for stories of up to 2,000 words aimed at adults.  There is no theme.  Take note that before emailing your entry, you have to register with the website.  Your entry will not be valid otherwise.
    Closing: 13.2.20.
    Prize: A place on one of Arvon’s residential writing courses, plus your story published on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
W&A Story.

 


Added
10.1.20

 

Valentines Poetry Competition.  Here we have a free-to-enter romantic poetry contest from Tree2mydoor, a firm which, as the name indicates, can deliver trees to your door.  You can enter your poem in writing or as a video clip (clips to be sent to their Grow Your Love YouTube channel).  Videos should be no longer than 60 seconds, while written poems can be up to 150 words.
    Closing: 14.2.20 (12 noon).  Opens for entries 1.2.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 in Tree2mydoor vouchers.  The first 50 customers who have had a poem published on the website will received a 50% discount on the item purchased (Valentine's order).
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Valentine Poem.

 


Added
10.11.19

 

FFF Poetry Pamphlet Competition.  To enter this offering from Frosted Fire Firsts, the publishing arm of the Cheltenham Poetry Festival, you submit 10 poems of up to 60 lines each.  If you win, you will be asked to supply more poems to fill a 32-page pamphlet.  Poems can have been previously published although not as a collection.  To be eligible you must not previously have had a pamphlet or a collection published by an independent publisher.
    Closing: 15.2.20.
    Prizes.  1st  (2): Your collection published.  You will receive 50 free copies and marketing support.
    Entry Fee : £10 up to December 31, then £12.
    Comp Page:
FFF Pamphlet.

 


Added
1.1.20

 

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: I have no idea.
    Closing: 16.2.20.
    Prizes: £1,000, £300, £100, 2 x £30.
    Entry Fee: £9 for one, £15 for two, £18 for three.
    Comp Page:
Bath Flash.

 


Added
8.10.19

 

Acumen International Poetry Competition.  The literary journal Acumen, which is based in South Devon, is seeking entries of up to 50 lines for its latest competition.  There is no theme.  Fortunately you can enter the contest by post.  This is fortunate because it seems online entries could be a problem due to the fact that the site is running something called Wordfence.  This blocked my access after I’d viewed just two pages.  The reason given was that I’d ‘exceeded the permitted limit for a human.’  I was going to get my robot friend to have a go but he was out doing the shopping.  For testing purposes, I went through the procedure required to pay for an emailed entry and was again blocked when I tried to put the £5 fee in the basket.  ‘Wait a few minutes and try again,’ said Wordfence, but I ran out of patience and had a little screaming session before going for a walk in the woods to calm down.
    Closing: 28.2.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000 plus a 5-year subscription to Acumen.  2nd - £400 and a 3-year sub.  3rd - £200 plus a 2-year sub.  Runners-up (6) - £25.  There is also a special prize of £100 for the best entry by a current subscriber.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £20 for five.
    Comp Page:
Acumen Poetry.

 


Added
1.9.19

 

Fish Flash Fiction Competition.  News Flash: It’s time for the annual Fish Publishing competition is for stories running to no more than 300 words.
    Closing: 28.2.20.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - 300 euros.  3nd - An online writing course with Fish.  The best 10 entries will be published in the Fish Anthology 2020.
    Entry Fee : 14 euros for the first, 8 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Fish Flash.

 


Added
7.12.19

 

Wild Poem Competition.  The theme for the 2020 Cheltenham Poetry Festival is Wild, and so you won’t be surprised to learn that this is the theme for the flagship contest.  Your poems can be as unruly and untamed as you like, they say, but I’m not sure they’d appreciate an unruly and untamed manuscript decorated with tomato sauce splotches and coffee cup stains, so I’d keep that tidy.
    Closing: 29.2.20.
    Prizes: £200, £75, £25.  Winners and shortlisted poets will be invited to the special prizegiving event in at the Festival in April 2020.
    Entry Fees: If submitted before 14.1.19 - £3 each, £10 for four.  After that, it’s £4 each, £14 for four.
    Comp Page:
Chelt Poetry.

 


Added
10.1.20

 

Flash 500 Short Story Competition .  This annual contest from the Flash 500 website is for short stories of up to 3,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: 29.2.20.
    Prizes: £500, £200, £100.
    Entry Fee: £7 for one, £12 for two, £16 for three, £20 for four.
    Comp Page:
F500 Short Story.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
1.10.19

 

Margery Allingham Short Story Competition.  Open to published and unpublished writers, this contest from the Crime Writers’ Association celebrates the author of the Albert Campion detective novels.  It is for stories of up to 3,500 words.  These must comply with Margery Allingham’s own definition of a mystery, which is basically as follows: a crime, a mystery, an enquiry and a conclusion, the conclusion providing reader satisfaction (so your investigator can’t end up thumping his/ her desk in frustration and muttering, ‘Damn - the bastard’s got away with it!’).
    Closing: 29.2.20 (6pm).
    Prize: £500 plus two weekend passes to Crimefest and a selection of Margery Allingham books.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
CWA Allingham.

 


Added
1.1.20

 

Slipstream Poets Open Poetry Competition .  Here we have a new contest from Slipstream Poets of West Sussex.  It has a line limit of 60 but no theme.  The judge is poet and writing tutor Jackie Wills.
    Closing: 29.2.20.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  There is also £25 for the best West Sussex entry.
    Entry Fee : £5 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Slipstream Poets.

 


Added
9.11.19

 

MTP Winter Short Story Competition.  This international contest from Michael Terence Publishing is for fiction, science-fiction and non-fiction (biography, memoir, true story) of up to 3,000 words.  Open to all authors worldwide.
    Closing: 29.2.20.  Opens for entries 1.12.19.
    Prizes : 1st - £400 and a trophy.  2nd - £300.  3rd - £200.  Winners will be published in an anthology (print and ebook) and on the website.  The title of the anthology will be based on the title of the top winning story.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
MTP Winter Story.

 


Added
2.10.19

 

The Poetry Business New Poets Prize.  If you can arrange to be between 17 and 24, you will be eligible to enter this pamphlet competition from publisher and writer development agency The Poetry Business.  The contest is for small collections of poems (12 pages).
    Closing: 1.3.20.
    Prizes: Four outstanding collections will be published in pamphlet form (extended versions of the winning manuscripts, with 20 to 24 pages), and the writers will receive  a year of support and mentoring from The Poetry Business.  Two of the winners will receive a place on an Arvon residential course.  There will also be publication in The North magazine and a masterclass with the contest judge.
    Entry Fee: £8.
    Comp Page:
PB New Poets.

 


Added
1.11.19

 

Bridgend Writers’ Circle Short Story Competition.  Stories of between 1,500 and 1,800 words from writers over 18 are required for this annual open contest from Bridgend in Wales.  There is no theme.  Entry is by post only, so the younger ones among you may need some advice from parents or even grandparents regarding envelopes, stamps and cheques.  Advice about manuscipt layout can be found in the rules.
    Closing: 1.3.20.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £30.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £7.50 for two.
    Comp Page:
Bridgend Poetry.

 


2.10.19

 

Christopher Tower Poetry Prize 2020 .  This annual contest from Christ Church, Oxford, is open to full- or part-time UK students between the ages of 16 and 18.  It is for poems of up to 48 lines.  This year’s theme is Trees.
    Closing: 2.3.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £3,000.  2nd - £1,500.  3rd - £500.  Runners-up (4) -£250.  The schools of the winners receive £250.  The top three winners will be offered  a place on the Tower Poetry summer school after their 18th birthday.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  One per person.
    Comp Page:
CT Poetry.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
2.11.19

 

Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama Writing.  This contest from the Windsor Fringe Festival is for one-act plays with a performance time of no more than 30 minutes, written by amateur playwrights.  Forget the cast of thousands - you are limited to six.
    Closing: 5.3.20.
    Prize: £500.  Three scripts will be selected for performance during the Fringe Festival.  One of these will be chosen as the cash prize winner, judged on the writing only.
    Entry Fee: £10 (only one entry per person).
    Comp Page:
Branagh Drama.

 


Added
19.9.19

 

Enfield Poets’ Poetry Competition.   Presented by Enfield Poets, who will be celebrating their twentieth anniversary next year, this contest is for poems of up to 50 lines on any theme.  You must be 16 or over to enter.  The judge is poet Ruth Padel, Professor of Poetry at King’s College London.
    Closing: 7.3.20.
    Prizes: £500, £250, £100.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Enfield Poets.

 


Added
2.12.19

 

Fowey Festival Short Story Competition.  Yes, it’s Fowey Festival time again, and it features a contest for stories for adults.  These should extend to no more than 1,500 words.  In honour of famous Fowey author Daphne du Maurier, the title for entries should be ‘Not After Midnight’.
    Closing: 16.3.20.
    Prizes: £100, £75.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page :
Fowey Fest.

 


Added
2.12.19

 

Evesham Festival of Words Short Story Competition.  This year’s contest for short stories on any subject has three categories, one for adults, two for juniors.  Adults (16+) have a word limit of 2,500 (minimum 500), while Juniors are restricted to a maximum of 1,000.  The junior age categories are 8-11 and 12-15.
    Closing: 20.3.20.
    Prizes : Adult - £150, £50, £30,  plus an engraved trophy for each winner.  Junior (in each category) - £30, £20, £10, all in book tokens, plus an engraved trophy and certificate for each winner.  The winning stories will appear on the website (with the author’s permission).
    Entry Fee: Adults - £5.  Juniors - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Evesham Fest.

 


Added
1.9.19

 

Fish Poetry Competition.  Poems of up to 300 words are invited for this contest from Fish Publishing based in southern Ireland.  Billy Collins will again be judging.
    Closing: 31.3.20.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros.  2nd - A week’s residency at Anam Cara Writers’ retreat.  3rd - 200 euros.  The top 10 poems will be published in the Fish Anthology 2020.
    Entry Fee : 14 euros, for the first, 8 euros thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Fish Poetry.

 

 

 

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
17.1.20

 

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.
    Closing: 3.3.20.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  Winners will be published on the website and in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £6.  Optional critique: £12.
    Comp Page:
Henshaw Story.

 


Added
20.1.20

 

Phoenix Writes Playwriting Competition.  Writers of any age living in the UK can enter this one from the Phoenix Theatre Company of Congleton in Cheshire. The requirement is for one-act plays with a running time of no more than 20 minutes.  You are asked to watch your language.  They are clearly not fond of the coarse stuff.
    Closing: 31.3.20.
    Prize: £150.  Five plays will be selected for performance at the Daneside Theatre, in Congleton, Cheshire.  The winner will be chosen by the audience.  The author of each finalist play will receive a pair of tickets for the performance.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Phoenix Writes.

 


Added
2.1.20

 

The Caterpillar Poetry Prize.  Before you clutter up your mind with ideas for poems about caterpillars, let me just point out that the name of this annual contest is not intended to indicate the official subject, although if you wish to go that way, you are free to do so.  The only stipulations are that your poem must be suitable for children aged 7 to 11, and it must be written by someone aged 16 or over.  It can be any length.  The Caterpillar, incidentally, is a children’s magazine based in Southern Ireland.
    Closing: 31.3.20.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros and publication in the mag.
    Entry Fee: 12 euros.
    Comp Page:
Catmag Poetry.

 


Added
15.9.19

 

Rubery Book Award.  This annual award is for books published by independent publishers or self-published.  There are various categories (see website).  To enter, send a hardcopy of your book by post or submit an ebook electronically.
    Closing: 31.3.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,500, and the book will be read by a top London literary agent.  Category winners (at least three) - £150.
    Entry Fee: £37.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
25.1.20

 

ACW Flash Fiction Competition. Short fiction of up to 300 words is required for this one from the Association of Christian Writers.  There is no theme, and all genres are welcome.
    Closing: 31.3.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £25 book token and publication in Christian Writer.  2nd - £10 book token.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £2 for the second. No more than 2 entries per person.
    Comp Page:
ACW Flash.

 


Added
7.1.20

 

Binstead Poetry Prize.  The annual South Downs Poetry Festival in conjunction with the Binstead Arts Festival is coming round again, and as usual it features a competition for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject.  This is open to all poets aged over 16.  There is also a Young Poets category for those aged 16 to 30 residing or studying in Hampshire, or West/ East Sussex.
    Closing: 14.4.20.
    Prizes: £250, £150, £50.  South Downs Young Poet’s Prize - £50.  Prizewinners will be invited to read their poems at a poetry evening during the Festival.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £4 thereafter.  If you are 16 to 30, the fee is £3 each.
    Comp Page:
Binstead Poetry.

 


Added
25.10.19

 

HPP Poetry Competition.  Back again for another visit is this poetry contest from Holland Park Press of London.  To enter, write a poem of up to 50 lines about a member or members of a royal family from anywhere in the world, covering any aspect of royalty. 
    Closing: 27.4.20.
    Prize: £200.  The winner and runners-up will be publshed in the online magazine.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
HPP Poetry.

 


Added
1.10.19

 

Momaya Short Story Competition.  Entries of up to 3,000 words are required for this annual international contest from Momaya Press of London.  Stories may be on any subject, although additional stories will be selected for publication in the Momaya Short Story Review if they fit the ‘Outsiders’ theme.
    Closing: 30.4.20
    Prizes: £110, £55, £25.  Winners along with seven Honourable Mentions will be published in the Momaya Short Story Review 2020.  Other entries placed in the top 30 may also be published if they fit the Outsiders theme.
    Entry Fee: £11.
    Comp Page:
Momaya Story.

 


Added
2.12.19

 

Ware Poets Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Ware Poets of Hertfordshire is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject.  There is a separate category for sonnets.
    Closing: 30.4.20.
    Prizes: £600, £300, £150.  Ware Sonnet Prize - £150.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £12 for four, £3 each thereafter.
    Entry Form and Details (pdf):
Ware20.

 

 

 

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
25.10.19

 

Soundwork Short Story Competition.  Sounds like a good idea to enter this one from Soundwork-uk if you want to hear your story read by a professional actor and made available to the public.  Stories should run to no more than 2,500 words.  Previously-published work is admissible.
    Closing: 30.4.20.
    Prize: Your story recorded by a professional actor and placed on Soundcloud and the Soundwork-uk website along with a photo.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Soundwork.

 


Added
25.11.19

 

Bristol Short Story Prize.  I once spent a whole day exploring Bristol while on a treasure hunt but the only thing I can remember about the place now (aside from the fact that the treasure was somewhere else) is that explorer and navigator John Cabot sailed from there, discovered Newfoundland and explored parts of North America before any other European.  Alas, he failed to update his blog with the details, and now, hundreds of years later, academics are still arguing about it.  You see, what matters in the end is not the going there but the writing about it - and he could have done that without going there, using just his imagination.  Anyway, back to this competition: it’s for stories of up to 4,000 words on any theme.  These can be in any style, including graphic, verse or genre-based (crime, sci-fi, fantasy, historical, romance, children’s, etc).
    Closing: 30.4.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000.  2nd - £500.  3rd - £250.  Runners-up (17) - £100.  There will be an additional prize of £100 for the highest placed story from a Bristol writer.  The twenty shortlisted stories will be published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 13, and the writers will each receive two free copies.
    Entry Fee: £9.
    Comp Page:
Bristol SSP.

 

 

 

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
25.11.19

 

Ver Poets Open Competition.  Here’s repeat of the annual contest from Ver Poets of St Albans in Hertfordshire.  It is for poems of up to 30 lines on any subject.  The judge is Jacqueline Saphra.
    Closing: 30.4.20.
    Prizes: £600, £300, £100.  Winning and selected poems will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three, £3 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Ver Poets.

 


Added
12.1.20

 

Adventure Writers Competition.  Sponsored by the Clive Cussler family and others, this international contest is for adventure novels of between 50,000 and 200,000 words.  Details of what qualifies as an adventure story for the purpose of this competition can be found on the website.  New as well as published novels can be entered, but in the case of the latter, there are rules about how many copies can have been sold.  It says on the website that this is the only contest they know of that focuses on adventure writing.  Just goes to show how badly informed you can be if you don't visit my pages regularly (I will as usual be listing the annual Wilbur Smith Adventure novel contest when it opens for entries later this month).
    Closing: 30.4.20.
    Prizes: 1st - $1,000.  Runners-up (2) - $500.  The three winners will be considered by Braveship Books for publication/promotion. The winners also get a free book trailer (whatever that is) by Sven Gillhoolie Publishing.  Ten others will receive a free editing sample of their entry, from Venator Media Services.  The three aforementioned firms are the other sponsors of the competition.
    Entry Fee: $35.
    Comp Page:
Adventure Story.

 


22.1.20

 

International Welsh Poetry Competition.  I know what you’re thinking: you’ll have to write a poem in Welsh for this one.  Not so, because there are only four poets in the entire world who write in Welsh, so the promoters are wisely asking for entries in English.  They’re also asking for no more than 50 lines. These lines can be in any style and on any subject.
    Closing: 31.5.20.  Opens for entries 1.2.20.
    Prizes: £500, £250, £100.  Winners and 17 runners-up will be published online and in a future anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5 (£6 PayPal).
    Comp Page:
Welsh Poetry.

 


Added
16.1.20

 

Creative Future Writers’ Award.  Creative Future is seeking poets and fiction writers from under-represented backgrounds, i.e. those who face barriers due to mental health, disability, identity or social circumstances (you might for instance be a carer).  See the entry page for a comprehensive list.  You also need to be over 18, resident in the UK and not published in book form, etc, by an established press/publisher.  If you fit the bill, submit a work of fiction of up to 2,000 words, or poetry of up to 42 liness.  The theme in both cases is Tomorrow.
    Closing: 31.5.20.
    Prizes: (in each category): 1st - £75, a Chapter and Verse Mentorship, manuscript assessment and a chance to attend a TLC industry day, plus meet the professionals, plus a copy the Creative Future guide Pitching to Agents.  2nd - £50, a manuscript assessment, a five-day writing retreat with full board, a copy of Pitching to Agents (prose) or Social Media Guide (poetry).  3rd - £25, a TLC manuscript assessment, and a copy of Mslexia’s Indie Press Guide.  4th - partial manuscript assessment and coaching, a year’s subscription to a writing magazine, and a copy of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook.
    There are also prizes for Highly Commended and Commended, and then there are ‘Joint prizes’, presumably so you can smoke away the blues after not winning the top prize ... oh, hang on, I think I’ve misunderstood that one.  It seems these prizes are something extra that all winners get jointly.  What a disappointment!.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Creative Future.

 


Added
25.1.20

 

Segora International Writing Competition.  Now in its 14th year, this contest from Poetry, Prose and Plays is for short stories of between 1,500 and 3,000 words, poems of up to 50 lines, one-act plays with a performance time of up to 35 minutes, and vignettes running to no more than 300 words.  Not many vignette contests about these days.  This is because hardly anyone knows what a vignette is.  You do of course, and in fact you probably have a dozen or so already written.  For the rest, I’ll give by way of enlightenment a definition from Collins: ‘A short piece of writing that clearly expresses the typical characteristics of something or someone.’  You can read last year’s winners for all categories on the website.  Although the promoters are based in France, entries should be in English.
    Closing: 15.6.20.
    Prizes: Short stories - £300, £100, £50.  Poetry - £300, £100, £50.  Vignettes - £100.  Plays - £150, £50.
    Entry Fee: Stories - £8.  Poems - £5.  Vignettes - £5.  Plays - £12.
    Comp Page:
Segora.

 


Added
2.12.19

 

Green Stories Stage Play Competition.  This contest from the University of Southampton is for stage plays of between 75 and 120 minutes duration which look at the ideas around sustainable societies.  Stories can be in any genre.  As an example, they say your story could be a thriller but the hero has a carbon credit card.  So presumably he wouldn’t be charging around in a souped-up super car but pedalling furiously on a bike, and the bullets in his gun would be biodegradable.  Or, they suggest, you could write a rom-com, but the heroine has a garden on her roof.  I can see a useful complication here: the object of her affections has no head for heights, so she has to choose between him and her organic onions.  The first page of your script should include a synopsis of up to 200 words, a list of characters and a description of the setting (see the guidelines).
    Closing: 30.6.20.
    Prizes: £500, £100, £50 .
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Green Stories.

 


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  2020

                                                           Poem: Being a Writer

 


 

 

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