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 2019 (currently 64)

 


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 : 31.12.19, 31.3.20.
    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
18.11.19

 

HE Bates Short Story Competition.  Here’s a repeat of the annual contest in memory of Northamptonshire author HE Bates, writer of such works as The Darling Buds of May and Love for Lydia.  Entries should be stories of up to 2,000 words on any theme.
    Closing: 9.12.19.
    Prizes: £500, £200, £100.  Special Prize for Northamptonshire Writer - £100
    Entry Fee : £6 each, £10 for two.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
18.11.19

 

Nobrow Short Story Competition.  Write a fiction or creative non-fiction yarn of up to 3,000 words on the theme of The Censor and you could be thinking yourself ------- lucky, as the prize is up there with some of the best.  You can interpret the theme in any way you choose.
    Closing: 9.12.19.
    Prize: £2,000.  Up to 12 winning writers will be published in an anthology and will each receive a fee of £150.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Nobrow Censor .

 


Added
17.10.19

 

Kurious Short Story Competition.  Here’s a curious new contest from Curious Arts of Sheffield where I lived for a short time when I was four.  I can’t remember much about my time in Sheffield except for the curious incident of the whistling TV.  My mum had left me watching a children’s programme on our little black-and-white set while she popped out to the shops, and when the show was over the TV transmissions shut down for the afternoon, whereupon the TV began to emit an ominous high-pitched whining sound.  I thought it was going to explode, and when my mother returned she found me under the kitchen table with a colander on my head.  That was fact, but this contest is for fiction - up to 2,000 words on the theme of Curious.  Entry is open worldwide to over 16s.
    Closing: 12.12.19.
    Prize: £500.  Shortlisted entries will be published online and in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
12.11.19

 

BeAnimal Competition.  Don’t panic, you aren’t required to become a grunting, snuffling pig or anything ... which is a pity because it could be a lot of fun.  No, what they require for this freebie is an essay of between 500 and 1,000 words on one of the three themes detailed on the comp page.  You could for instance write an account of an experience in your life that brought you closer nature, such as that time you stepped in a cow pat or the memorable moment you disturbed a wasps’ nest.  Or you could write about your ideal utopia.  The third option is an informational piece on something we could all adopt to live a happier, healthier life.
    Closing: 16.12.19 (midnight IST).
    Prizes: There are three places to be won on Nature Experience Tours through the wilderness of India.  1st - Valley of Flowers, 16 days.  2nd - Himalayan Experience, 10 days.  3rd - The Gaia Experience, 5 days.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
BeAnimal.

 


Added
30.6.19

 

Black Spring Crime-Writing Prize 2019.  Here’s another competition with good specs from Eyewear Publishing (now the owner of Black Spring Press).  It is for full length crime novels with a minimum length of 50,000 words.  The promoters say they are looking for something fresh, something that breaks away from the genre’s stereotypes.  I wrote something like that for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger competition some years ago.  ‘Dare to be different!’ they’d said on the contest page.  So I did.  The novel reached the shortlist but got no further.  One of the judges said, ‘This writer will be good when he can decide which genre he’s writing for.’  So I would advise caution when being different and breaking away form the stereotypes.
    Closing: 19.12.19.
    Prizes: A $1,000 advance and publication by Black Spring Press.
    Entry Fee: $25.
    Comp Page:
BSC Prize

 


Added
20.10.19

 

Dreamquest One Poetry & Writing Competition.  Here’s the latest repeat of this regular contest from the USA.  It is for stories of up to five pages and poems running to no more than 30 lines.  Entries can be on any subject and in any style.
    Closing: 28.12 19.
    Prizes: Stories - $500, $250, $100.  Poetry - $250, $125, $50.
    Entry Fee: $12 online, $10 by post.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
19.9.19

 

Shepton Mallet Snowdrop Festival Poetry Competition.  Here’s one from Shepton Mallet in Somerset which, as I’m sure you know, is famed for its Snowdrop Festival.  Yes, they’re big on snowdrops in Shepton Mallet.  I believe they even serve snowdrop beer in the pub, along with snowdrop and chips - and so you won’t be surprised to learn that the theme of the contest is daffodils.  I jest of course.  It’s SNOWDROPS.  Alternatively you can aim your poetic raptures at James Allen, the snowdrop wizard who put Shepton Mallet on the map (see website for details), or you can take your inspiration from the comments of the judge, poet Jane Draycott.  In all cases your efforts should be limited to 30 lines.
    Closing: 31.12.19 (11pm).
    Prizes : Adults (18 and over) - £200, 12 to 17 - £70, 11 and under - £50. Shortlisted poems will be included in a booklet, a free copy of which will be given to the relevant poets.
    Entry Fee: Adults - £4 (maximum entry 5).  Other age categories free to enter (only one entry per person).
    Comp Page:
Snowdrop Poetry.

 


Added
18.11.19

 

Wales Poetry Award.  Poetry Wales is seeking the best in international contemporary poetry for this new award sponsored by Aberystwyth University.  There is no theme.  Entries should run to no more than 70 lines.
    Closing: 31.12.19.
    Prizes: 1st - £100 and a Seren book bundle.  2nd - £50 and books.  3rd - £25 and books.
    Entry Fee: £5 each or free to UK extrants from low-income households (up to 16k p.a.) 
    Comp Page:
Wales Poetry

 

 

 

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
 2.7.19

 

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: 31.12.19.
    Prizes: 1st - 10,000 euros.  Runners-up (3) - 1,000 euros.
    Entry Fee: 12 euros.
    Comp Page:
Moth Poetry Comp .

 


Added
 2.8.19

 

Short Fantasy Horror Competition.  Here we have an international horror story contest from Fantastic Books Publishing of Elstronwick in East Yorkshire (Elstronwick ... aye, lad, it’s a grand old Yorkshire name, is that).  Your story, which must be between 1,500 and 2,000 words including the title and your name, should be inspired by the image on the comp page.  This features an old castle or somesuch on the shores of a lake, with snow-covered mountains in the background.
    Closing: 31.12.19.
    Prizes: 1st - £75.  2nd - £25.  3rd - A USB card containing two MP3 audiobooks of your choice from the Fantasatic Books Store.  4th - A USB card with one audiobook of your choice from the Store.  5th - An MP3 audiobook of your choice from the Store.  6th to 10th - various numbers of ebooks from the Fanstatic Books Store.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £12 for three.
    Comp Page:
Fantastic Horror.

 


Added
1.10.19

 

Exeter Novel Competition.  To enter this annual contest from Creative Writing Matters of Exeter you submit the first 10,000 words of your unpublished novel, this to include a synopsis of up to 500 words.
    Closing: 1.1.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £500 plus a trophy.  Runners-up (5) - £100 and a trophy. Broo Doherty of DHH Agency will be judging.
    Entry Fee: £18.
    Comp Page:
Exeter Novel.

 


Added
7.12.19

 

St Martins/Minotaur/MWA First Crime Novel Competition.  If you happen to have an unpublished debut novel featuring a serious crime, it could be just what The Mystery Writers of America in conjunction with St Martins Minotaur Books are looking for in this freebie contest.  Just be sure your story runs to a minimum of 60,000 words.
    Closing: 3.1.20 (11.59pm EST).
    Prize: A standard publishing contract with a $10,000 advance.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
MWA Minotaur.

 


Added
20.10.19

 

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: 6.1.20.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee : £6.  Optional critique: £12.
    Comp Page:
Henshaw Story.

 

 

 

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
1.9.19

 

Novella-in-Flash Award.  This unusual annual contest from Bristol is for novellas of between 6,000 and 18,000 words made up of individual flashes (or chapters) of up to 1,000 words each.  Further details are of course to be found on the website.  I did start to go through them once but I ran out of time and ended up with little additional insight. ‘Mysterious and tricky’ are two of the explanatory words I recall from one of the previous judges, so this is not for writers who need a literary road map to guide them every step of the way.  Check out the comments by this year’s jusdge for more guidance.
    Closing: 12.1.20.
    Prizes: £300, £100, £100.  Winners will be published in the novella collection and will each receive 5 copies.
    Entry Fee : £16.
    Comp Page:
Novella Flash.

 


Added
2.11.19

 

The Mogford Food & Drink Short Story Prize.  Serving up a short story with a food and drink theme could win you a serious tip in this annual contest from Mogford Hotels and Restaurants.  Just make sure you don’t over-egg the pudding by exceeding the word limit of 2,500.  Your entry, which can be fiction or fact, should be your own original work and unpublished.  You must submit this via the form on the website.  The contest is open worldwide, but entries must be in English.
    Closing: 13.1.20 (noon).
    Prizes: 1st - £10,000.  The 4 shortlisted entrants will be invited as Jeremy Mogford’s guests to the Mogford Party in one of the Mogford Hotels in Oxford where the winner will be announced.  Dinner will be included.  The menu is not specified, but we can assume it will not include pie and chips (so if that’s what you want, take your own).  Travel expenses will be paid.  It doesn’t get much better than this.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Mogford Comp.

 


Added
8.10.19

 

Keats-Shelley Prize 2020.  Two categories in this annual contest from the Keats-Shelley Association: poems of up to 30 lines (one A4 page) on the theme of ‘Songbird’, and essays running to no more than 3,000 words on any aspect of the work and lives of Keats, Shelley and their circle.  The reason given for this year’s poetry theme is that 2020 is the 200th anniversary of the composition of Shelley’s To a Skylark and the first appearance in book form of Ode to a Nightingale by Keats.  They’ve missed out the 25th anniversary of my Goodbye to an Irritating Pigeon, written after I shot the little sod for disturbing me with its incessant cooing - an act which set me on a course of self-recrimination and drug abuse that continues to this day (still, the poem was good, and that’s the main thing, right?).
    Closing: 14.1.20.  Not open for entries until December.
    Prizes: Winners will share £5,000 in prize money.  Shortlisted entrants will be invited to attend the Awards Ceremony in London.
    Entry Fee: £10.  Poets can send up to two poems.
    Comp Page:
Keats-Shelley.

 


Added
8.10.19

 

The Young Romantics Prize.  Here’s a freebie from the Keats-Shelley Association for writers between the ages of 16 and 18.  It is for essays ranging between 750 and 1,000 words, and poems of up to 30 lines (one A4 page).  The poetry theme is ‘Songbird’, while for the essays you have a choice of  ‘The world should listen now as I was listening then,’ or the question, ‘How can the poetry of PB Shelley and/or John Keats help us in our current climate crisis?’
    Closing: 14.1.20.  Not open for entries until December.
    Prizes: A share of the total prize fund of £5,000.  Shortlisted entrants will be invited to attend the Awards Ceremony in London.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  Poets may send up to two poems.
    Comp Page:
Young Romantics.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
1.9.19

 

Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize.  This is the tenth of these contests from the Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge.  Sponsored by top London literary agents Peters Fraser Dunlop, it is open only to women over 21 who have not had a full-length novel published.  It is for novels which combine literary merit with ‘unputdownability’.  These can be literary or genre fiction, for adults, or novels for children (middle grade or aove, mainly word-baseds).  To enter, you submit the first 40 to 50 pages of your story, plus a synopsis of the remainder (3 to 5 pages), as specified in the T&Cs.
    Closing: 17.1.20 (noon).  Opens for entries on September 18, 2019.
    Prize: £1,500. The shortlisted entrants will receive a half-hour one-to-one consultation with an agent at Peters Fraser Dunlop.  They will also be invited to the prize-giving dinner at the College along with a bunch of book trade freeloaders such as editors, agents, publishers and journalists.  Each shortlistee will be able to bring a guest (I’d suggest a teetotaller with a car, as there will be free drinks and if my experience is anything to go by you will be consuming this in unwise quantities when that gormless individual sitting opposite you is named as the winner).
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.11.19

 

Stringybark Short Story Competition.  And now, from the land of the echidna, the boomerang and the forbidden rock in the middle of nowhere, here is the annual Stringybark story competition.  As usual, it is for tales of up to 1,500 words which have some link, however tenuous, to Australia.
    Closing: 19.1.20.
    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.

 


Added
25.11.19

 

Poets & Players Poetry Competition.  Here’s a new contest from Poets & Players, one of Manchester’s leading organisers of poetry and music events.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject.  The judge is award-winning poet Sinéad Morrissey.  She will be reading all the entries, although possibly not those with 41 lines or more as these will have been pounced upon by a cold-hearted sifter and consigned to oblivion (and serves you right too - I told you it was 40 lines max, but you thought they wouldn’t mind an extra bit in view of the brilliance of the writing).
    Closing: 21.1.20.
    Prizes: £600, £200, £100.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
P&P Poetry.

 


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: End of April, July and October.  Final: 31.1.20.
    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.

 


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
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
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.

 

 

 

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
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
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
25.10.19

 

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.

 


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
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  2019

                                                           Poem: Being a Writer

 


 

 

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