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 55)

 


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
1.3.20

 

Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize.  The Alpine Fellowship is a charity project of the German-based ‘Argosophia Stiftung’ ... which I’m sure needs no introduction from me.  The prize is international in scope.  It is awarded for the best piece of writing of up to 2,500 words on the theme of Forgiveness and Retribution, this being the topic of the Fellowship’s 2020 symposium later this year (click on ‘2020’ at the top of the competition page for further details). All genres are welcome.
    Closing: 1.4.20.
    Prize: £10,000, £3,000, £2,000.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Alpine Comp.

 


Added
1.3.20

 

Wergle Flomp Humour Poetry Competition.  This contest from Winning Writers in the USA is for published or unpublished humorous poems of up to 250 lines.  Before entering, it is advisable to check some of the past winners and judge’s comments (in the Contest Archives), as here you will find information about things the judges frown upon.
    Closing: 1.4.20.
    Prizes: 1st - $1,000 plus gift certificate.  2nd - $250.  Runners-up (10) - $100.  The top 12 entries will be published online.
    Entry Fee : None - free to enter.  One entry per person.
    Comp Page:
Wergle Flomp.

 


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
22.3.20

 

Everything Change Climate Fiction Contest.  This global competition from the Climate Futures initiative at Arizona State University in the USA is for eco fiction running to no more than 5,000 words in any genre.
    Closing: 15.4.20.
    Prizes: 1st - $1,000.  Runners-up (9) - $100.  There will be a digital anthology of winners.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Climate Fiction.

 


Added
3.2.20

 

Parsec SF/Fantasy/Horror Short Story Competition.  This freebie from Parsec in America is, as it says on the tin, for science fiction, fantasy or horror stories.  Entries should be no longer than 3,500 words.  The theme is Forging.  ‘This,’ say the promoters, ‘can be conveyed in the setting, plot, characters, dialogue ... the only limit is your imagination.’  Regardless of  how you convey it, the theme must be a key element in the story.  Parsec, incidentally, is Pittsburgh’s premier science fiction & fantasy organisation.  You learn something new every day.
    Closing: 15.4.20.
    Prizes: 1st - $200 and publication in the 2020 Confluence program book (and before you ask, Confluence is some sort of science fiction get-together).  2nd - $100.  3rd - $50.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  Two entries per person permitted.
    Comp Page:
Parsec SF Comp

 


Added
11.3.20

 

QuietManDave Prize.   Manchester Metropolitan University is seeking submissions of flash fiction and flash non-fiction for this international contest in memory of writer Dave Murray.  In both categories the word limit is 500.
    Closing: 17.4.20.
    Prizes (in each category): £1,000, £250, £50.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.3.20

 

Bath Short Story Award.  Now in its eighth year (they say seventh, but I’ve been listing it for eight years, so I’m sticking with my count), this international contest from Bath is for stories running to no more than 2,200 words on any subject.  The shortlist judge this year is Kate Johnson from the Mackenzie Wolf Literary Agency.
    Closing: 20.4.20.
    Prize: £1,200, £300, £100.  Acord Award for an unpublished writer of fiction - £100.  Local Prize - £50 in book tokens.
    Entry Fee: £8.
    Comp Page:
Bath Story .

 


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
2.2.20

 

The Mairtin Crawford Awards.  This contest from the Belfast Book Festival is for poems and stories by writers who have not yet had a full collection of stories or poems, or a novel, published.  In the poetry category, each submission should comprise between 3 and 5 poems of no more than 60 lines each.  Stories (one per submission) should not exceed 2,500 words.
    Closing: 29.4.20.
    Prizes: The winners in each category will receive £500.  Other prizes hae yet to be announced at the time of writing. Winners will be invited to read at the awards ceremony at the Belfast Book Festival 2020.
    Entry Fee: £6 for each submission of one story or 6 to 10 poems.
    Comp Page:
MC Awards.

 

 

 

Dear Mr Michael
    I discovered your website back in November, then, in January, finally had the guts to enter the Whidbey Writers’ Competition, with the 'lazy' way of judging entries: stopping reading once they found 'the one'. The January theme was Villains, and, guess what, I won.
    Thank goody-goody gumdrops for Prizemagic.
    Keep Smiling
                                                  
- Hannie Duncombe (The youngest ever Student Choice winner, at 13, thanks to you.)

 


Added
1.10.19

 

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.

 


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
21.3.20

 

Grey Hen Poetry Competition.  This contest from Grey Hen Press is for poems of up to 40 lines by woman who are prepared to admit to being over 60.  There is no theme.
    Closing: 30.4.20.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £10 for four.
    Comp Page:
Grey Hen.

 


Added
5.3.20

 

Tom Howard/John H Reid Fiction & Essay Contest.  This regular visitor from Winning Writers in the USA is two competitions in one.  The first is for fiction running to no more than 6,000 words, while the second requires factual essays, also with a limit of 6,000 words.
    Closing: 30.4.20.
    Prizes: Story - $3,000 plus $100 gift certificate.  Essay - $3,000 plus $100 gift certificate. Honourable Mentions (10) - $200.  The top 12 entries will be published online.
    Entry Fee: $20.
    Comp Page:
Tom H Comp .

 


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.

 

 

 

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
22.3.20

 

Rialto Nature & Place Poetry Competition.  Any aspect of nature and place is the theme of this contest from The Rialto in association with the RSPB, Birdlife International, and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative. The judge is multi-prizewinning poet Pascale Petit.
    Closing: 1.5.20.
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, £250.  There are additional prizes of a personal tour with Mark Cocker of his most cherished wildlife places in East Anglia.  The way things are going, this could turn out to be an online tour.
    Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Rialto Nature.

 


Added
27.3.20

 

NSI Writing Competition.  This international contest from educational charity Never Such Innocence, is open to young people between the ages of 9 and 18.  It is for poems, speeches, songs, or pieces of art covering the theme: ‘The Impact of Conflict on Communities’.  The conflict can be past or present, local, national or international. This is your chance to make you voice heard on this matter.  There are two bonus strands, one relating to the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, the other covering the contributions of Africa and the Caribbean during that conflict.
    Closing: 1.5.20 (extended from April 3rd due to the coronavirus crisis).
    Prizes: The main prize is simply to have your voice heard.  Entries will be put on some of the most important platforms in the world.  The bonus strand prizes vary from a slot on the Volksbund summer camp in Germany to visits to significant attractions in this country.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Innocence.

 


Added
11.3.20

 

Wilbur Smith Author of Tomorrow Award.  Here’s another international contest from the Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation.  Open only to writers aged 21 and under in three age categories, it is for short adventure stories with lengths as follows: Aged 16 to 21 -  1,500 to 5,000 words.  Aged 12 to 15 - 1,500 to 5,000 words.  Aged 11 and under - up to 500 words. 
    Closing: 5.5.20.
    Prizes: 16 - 21 - £1,000.  12 to 15 - £100 plus £150 for your school, library or charity of choice.  11 and under - £100 plus £150 for your school, library or charity of choice.  In addition, the three winners and seven others will receive a personal certificate and have their work digitally published in an anthology available in Worldreader’s open library.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
WS Tomorrow.

 


Added
7.2.20

 

Live Canon International Poetry Competition.  Have a shot at this one and you could soon be having a ball with a thousand pounds to spend.  All right, those are last year’s puns, but the competition is bang up to date (and that’s a new one, boom, boom).  Your poem can be any length, say the promoters, but frankly I don’t think they really mean that.  I reckon after the first 10,000 words you’re going to be struggling to keep even the most battle-hardened judge interested.
    Closing: 13.5.20.
    Prize: £1,000.  There is also £100 for the highest placed poet living, studying or working in the London Borough of Greenwich.  Fifty poems will be published in the 2020 anthology and 16 will be performed by the Live Canon Ensemble during the prize-giving event at Greenwich Theatre.
    Entry Fee: £6.50 for one, £12 for two, £16 for three, £20 for five, £35 for ten.
    Comp Page:
Live Canon.

 


Added
22.3.20

 

Rialto Open Pamphlet Competition.  Here we have another of The Rialto’s open pamphlet contests, and as usual you are required to submit 18 to 24 pages of poems.  These should be printed on single sides of A4 sheets, each poem starting on a new page and set in a 12 point font, with a maximum of 40 lines per page.  They don’t stipulate the colour of the paper, but I would advise white unless you want to look like a hopeless amateur.
    Closing: 15.5.20.
    Prize: Publication of the winning pamphlet, a launch reading and up to £200 travel expenses.
    Entry Fee: £24, or £18 if you are a Rialto subscriber.
    Comp Page:
Rialto Pamphlet .

 


Added
26.3.20

 

Stringybark Tales With a Twist Award.  Your tale for this contest from the land of the wombat can be set in any location, in the past, present or future, but it must have a twist in the tail.  It must also curtail at 1,500 words or fewer.
    Closing: 13.5.20 (11.59pm AEST).
    Prizes (in Oz dollars): 1st - $350 + publication + ebook + paperback + choice of any two Stringybark anthologies.  2nd -  $250 + publication + ebook + paperback + any two Stringybark anthologies.  3rd - $125 + publication + ebook + paperback + any two Stringybark anthologies. Highly Commended (30) - $5 plus publication plus ebook
    Entry Fee: $14 for one, $26 for two, $36 for three.
    Comp Page:
Stringybark Twist.

 

 

 

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
21.3.20

 

BLB Short Story Prize.  The competition promoters at Brick Lane Bookshop in London are looking for new, exciting and diverse voices.  If this sounds like you, and you are over 18 and resident in the UK, send in an original story of between 1,000 and 5,000 words.
    Closing: 15.5.20 (5pm).
    Prizes: £1,000, £250, £100.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
BLB Story.

 


Added
7.2.20

 

Live Canon Poetry Collection Competition.  There are two categories in this annual contest from Live Canon: First Collection, and Second and Subsequent collections.  To enter you submit at least 35 poems.
    Closing : 25.5.20.
    Prizes: Three collections will be published by Live Canon Press.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Canon Collection.

 


 

 

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.
    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
1.2.20

 

Frome Festival Short Story Competition.  This annual contest from Froooom (as the eccentric locals like to pronounce it) is for stories of between 1,000 and 2,200 words on any subject.  Novelist, journalist and broadcaster Bel Mooney will be judging.
    Closing: 31.5.20.
    Prizes: £400, £200, £100.  There are in addition prizes for local authors, defined as those living within 25 miles of the local library.  Damn - missed out by only 95 miles.
    Entry Fee: £8.
    Comp Page:
Frooom.

 

 

 

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
1.2.20

 

Bridport Prize.  This international competition from the Bridport Arts Centre is one of the most prestigious writing contests in the British literary calendar.  Everyone in the trade whose mind is not addled by drugs has heard of it, and they will be impressed if you can claim to have won it.  The good news is that winning it is easy.  All you have to do is submit the best poem or short story, the former having no more than 42 lines, the latter running to no more than 5,000 words.  For those who find 5,000 words too tiring to write, there is now a flash fiction category for stories of up to 250 words (if that’s too much, consider becoming a poet).  There is also a First Chapter Award (see separate listing below).  Writers from beyond the veil should note that the Bridport rules forbid posthumous entries.  Shame: the awards ceremony would be so much more interesting with a couple of ghosts in attendance.
    Closing: 31.5.20.
    Prizes: In each of the two main categories (Short Stories, Poems) - £5,000, £1,000, £500.  There are also ten runners-up prizes of £100.  Flash Fiction - £1,000, £500, £250.  There will be an awards ceremony at the Bridport Arts Centre in October.  Winning entries will be published in the anthology.
    Entry Fees: Poems - £10.  Short Stories - £12.  Flash Fiction - £9.
    Comp Page:
Bridport Prize.

 


Added
1.2.20

 

The Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award.  This annual contest, which honours one of the founders of the Bridport Prize, is for novels by writers over 16 who are resident in the UK or R.o.I and who have not had a novel published (self-published excepted).  To enter, you submit the first chapters of your story (5,000 to 8,000 words), plus a synopsis of up to 300 words.  Three hundred words?  That’s more a blurb than a synopsis.  Warning: You need to have 15,000 words of the novel available at the longlist stage and 30,000 for the shortlist.
    Closing: 31.5.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,500 plus mentoring from The Literary Consultancy.  2nd - £750 plus manuscript assessment.  Runners-up (3) - £100.  Winners will be published in the anthology.
    Entry Fee: £20.
    Comp Page:
PCA Award.

 


Added
2.2.20

 

Yeovil Literary Prize.  This is the 15th of these international contests from Yeovil, the literary capital of the West Country where even the sheep appreciate poetry.  There are four categories: Short Story, Poetry, Novel and Unrestricted.  The stories can run to 2,000 words, while the poems should be no more than 40 lines.  Novels have a limit of 15,000 words for the opening chapters and synopsis.  The final category is unusual in that it’s for anything you have written - as long as it has ‘the Wow! factor’ (they mean ‘Wow - that’s brilliant!’ rather than, ‘Wow - you’ve really plumbed the depths with that one!’).  Your entry could be a particularly creative tax return, a witty note to the milkman, or that hilariously scathing critique of your former best friend’s novel, etc.
    Closing: 31.5.20.
    Prizes: Short Story - £500, £200, £100.  Poetry - £500, £200, £100.  Novel - £1,000, £250, £100.  Writing Without Restrictions - £200, £100, £50.  In addition there is the Western Gazette Best Local Writer Award for someone living in the Western Gazette distribution area (mainly Dorset and Somerset).  It isn’t worth moving down there however as the prize is only £100.
    Entry Fee: Short Story - £7.  Poetry - £7 each, £10 for two, £12 for three.  Novel - £12 each.  Writing Without Restrictions - £5.
    Comp Page:
Yeovil Lit Prize.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
6.3.20

 

Pint-sized Plays Writing Competition.  Now in its thirteenth year, this contest, as the name implies, is for compact plays, that is to say plays with a running time of between five and ten minutes and featuring just 2 or 3 characters and only the furniture you’d normally find in a pub and the props the actors can reasonably carry (so forget that three-in-a-bed scene you’ve always yearned to write).  Plays needn’t be set in a pub, but that’s where they will initially be performed.
    Closing: 31.5.20.
    Prizes: The six winning plays will be performed in pubs in Pembrokshire during Tenby Arts Festival week, and, along with four runners-up, at a script slam.  Here the audience can vote for their favourite.  The winner will receive the coveted Pint Pot while the runner-up gets the Half Pint Pot.  No coin is indicated, so this contest is all about the fame rather than the fortune.
    Entry Fee: £5.50.
    Comp Page:
Pint-Sized Plays.

 


Added
13.2.20

 

First Novel Prize .  This contest from Daniel Goldsmith Associates of London is for first novels of over 50,000 words in any adult genre.  To enter you send in the full manuscript plus a synopsis.  Self-published or independently published novels are admissable.
    Closing: 31.5.20.
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, £100.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
3.2.20

 

The Lord Whisky Sanctuary Fund Poetry Competition.  I’ll bet you didn’t know there was such a place as a sanctuary for whisky.  Well, amazingly ... there isn’t, although having seen someone mix cola with whisky, I think there should be.  But this contest ia all about raising funds for an animal sanctuary in Kent.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines with a connection to any of the following: The Natural World/ People And Animals/ Rescue Animals/ The Work of a Sanctuary.
    Closing: 31.5.20.
    Prizes: 1st - A 30% share of the prize fund.  2nd - 10%.  3rd - 5%.  There are two further prizes of 2.5% of the prize fund, one being for a previously unpublished poet.
    Entry Fee: £5.  Fifty per cent of the proceeds will be used for the care of animals.
    Comp Page:
Sanctuary Comp.

 


Added
2.2.20

 

Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2020.  ‘Wasafiri’, according to the website, ‘is a literary magazine at the forefront of mapping new landscapes in international literature.’  Try saying that in Kiswahili, the language from which the magazine’s title comes.  Now, you are probably thinking that the magazine itself must hail from Africa, but this is not so.  It was born at the University of Kent in 1984, and as far as I know it has no African connection at all.  Nor, I might add, has the contest.  This has three categories (Poetry, Fiction, Life Writing) and is open to anyone anywhere in the world who has not published a complete book in their chosen category.  The word limit for the Fiction and Life Writing is 3,000.  In the poetry category, you can submit up to three poems (total words 3,000 max) for the same entry fee (start each poem on a separate page in the same document).  You can enter more than one category, but only once each.  Incidentally, ‘wasafiri’, in case your Kiswahili is a bit rusty, means ‘cultural traveller’.
    Closing: 1.6.20 (5pm).
    Prize (in each category): £1,000 and publication in the mag.  Winners will also be offered Chapter & Verse or Free Reads mentoring in partnership with The Literary Consultancy.
    Entry Fee: £10.  If you enter two separate categories it’s £16.
    Comp Page:
Wasafiri Prize.

 

 

 

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
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
1.3.20

 

Troubador Poetry Prize.  A poem of up to 45 lines could give you grounds for celebration in this annual competition from Coffee House Poetry of London.  The contest will be judged by Mona Arshi and Mark Doty.  Note that your poem must fit on one A4 page.
    Closing: 22.6.20.
    Prizes: £2,000, £1,000, £500.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Coffee House.

 


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
10.3.20

 

Wells Festival of Literature Competitions.  Here we have a return of  the famous Wells Litfest and its various competitions: Poetry, Short Story, Book for Children, Young Poets.  I should mention before we go any further that we are talking about Wells in Somerset, not Wells in Norfolk which also has an annual litfest (I wouldn’t want you turning up at the wrong event to receive your prize or to berate the judges for not awarding you anything).  Anyway, back to business.  For the Poetry you are allowed up to 35 lines, while the Short Stories should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words.  For the Book for Children, which must be suitable for children aged 7+ (middle grade or teenage), you need to submit the first three chapters (or first 30 pages, this being the maximum) plus a synopsis brief enough to fit two sides of a page (and don’t use that microscopic font that’s only suitable for the small print in dodgy contracts).  If shortlisted, you will be asked to submit the rest of your story.  The Young Poets category (for budding bards aged between 16 and 22) requires poems of no more than 35 lines.  Judging the Open Poetry contest will be Jo Shapcott, while Duncan Minshull will be tackling the short stories.  Young Poets will have to impress Adukwei Bully.  Fleur Hitchcock will choose the winning Book for Children.
    Closing: 30.6.20.  Opens for entries April 1st, 2020.
    Prizes: Open Poetry - £1,000, £500, £250; Local - £100.  Short Story, Book for Children (in each category) - £750, £300, £200.  Additional prizes: Wyvern Prize for a local short story entrant - £100.  Book for Children Local Prize - £100.  Young Poets - £150, £75, £50.
    Entry Fee: Adults categories - £6.  Young Poets - £3.
    Comp Page:
Wells Litfest.

 


Added
4.3.20

 

Fitzcarraldo Editions Novel Prize.  This new biennial award, a collaboration between publishers Fitzcarraldo Editions, Giramondo and New Directions, is for unpublished literary novels of over 30,000 words by writers living in Europe and Africa.  To enter, you submit the complete novel plus a brief outline and a biographical note. The judges will be looking for stories that ‘explore and expand the possibilities of the form, and which are innovative and imaginative in style.’  Well, you didn’t expect it to be easy with such a big prize at stake, did you?
    Closing: 1.7.20. Opens for entries April 1st, 2020.
    Prize: Publication and a $10,000 advance.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
FEN Prize.

 


Added
26.3.20

 

PENfro Poetry Competition 2020.  This contest from the PENfro Book Festival team in Pembrokeshire is for poems of up to 40 lines on the green theme of ‘Loving the Earth’.  The judge, Adam Horovitz, will read all entries.
    Closing: 1.7.20.
    Prizes: £300, £100.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
PENfro 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
31.3.20

 

Pennine Ink Flash Fiction Competition.  This year’s contest from the Pennine Ink Writers Workshop of  Burnley in Lancashire is for stories of up to 500 words inspired by the photo on the comp page (railway lines stretching into the distance).
    Closing: 1.7.20.
    Prize: £50 plus publication in the Pennine Ink magazine and a free copy.  Two runners-up will get a mention the website.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two.
    Comp Page:
Pennine Ink.

 


Added
3.2.20

 

HG Wells Short Story Competition.  This annual contest from the H.G.Wells Festival in Folkestone is for stories of between 1,500 and 5,000 words in any genre.  The stated theme is ‘Vision’.  I know some of you find the rules of these contests too tiresome to read, so I won’t try to badger you into looking at them in this instance.  However, I will just mention that there is something in there about double quotes.  Ooh, I wonder what that could be?  Finally, if you can arrange to be 21 or under it will be to your advantage, as you can then qualify for a much bigger prize while at the same time entering for free.
    Closing: 6.7.20.
    Prizes: Adult (22 or over) - £500.  Junior (21 or under) - £1,000.  All shortlisted entries will be published in a  paperback anthology.
    Entry Fee: £10 if you are over 21.  Free if you are 21 or under.  If you are a student who is over 21 (with ID to prove it), it’s £5.
    Comp Page:
HG Wells.

 


Added
13.2.20

 

Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Ledbury in Wales is for poems of up to 40 lines.  It has three age categories: Adult (18 and over), Young People (12 to 17), and Children (under 12).  The judge is prizewinning poet Liz Berry.
    Closing: 16.7.20 (5pm).
    Prizes: Adults: 1st - £1,000 plus a residential writing course at Ty Newydd, the National Writers’ Centre for Wales.  2nd - £500.  3rd - £250.  The prizes for younger entrants were not given on the website when I checked.  All winners will be invited to read at the 2021 Festival.
    Entry Fees: Adults - £5.75 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.  Young People and Children get the first entry free, then pay £1.75 each for any additional entries.
    Comp Page:
Ledbury Fest.

 

 

 

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
2.2.20

 

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award.  This annual contest from Aesthetica Magazine is for Short fiction running to no more than 2,000 words and poetry of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.8.20.
    Prize (in each category): £1,000 plus other writing related prizes.  Finalists will be published in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual.
    Entry Fee: £18 for fiction, £12 for poetry.
    Comp Page:
Aesthetica Award.

 


Added
6.3.20

 

Manchester Writing Competition.  This international contest from Manchester Writing School at the Manchester Metropolitan University was originally inaugurated to celebrate ‘the substantial cultural and literary achievements of Manchester’, of which I am unable to give an example at this time.  My childhood memories of Manchester are centred around Moss Side where my father for a time ran a fast-food business (chip shop, as we called it back then).  I was kept locked in the cellar peeling spuds, with a 15-watt incandescent light bulb for company.  It was there in that creepy dungeon, while peering into the dark corners, that I developed my vivid imagination - not to mention my nervous twitches.  Culture?  Literature?  Be serious.  But times, I suppose, have changed.  So let us return to the competition, which is for poems and short stories.  To enter the Poetry category you submit a portfolio of three to five poems, these to consist of no more than 120 lines in total.  For the Fiction Prize the requirement is for a story running to no more than 2,500 words in any genre.
    Closing: 18.9.20 (5pm).
    Prize (in each category): £10,000.
    Entry Fee: £18.00.
    Comp Page:
MMU Writing Comp.

 


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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