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 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 : 31.3.21, 30.6.21.
    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.

 


Updated
  6.7.20

 

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

 

 

 

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
2.11.20

 

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: 13.1.21 (noon).  Opens for entries on 4.11.20.
    Prizes: 1st - £10,000.  The winning story will be read by an actor and uploaded to the StoryPlayer website.  Runners-up (3): £250 each.  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 be 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: £15.
    Comp Page:
Mogford Comp.

 


Added
23.8.20

 

Erewash Festive Fright Writing Competition.  This freebie from Derbyshire’s Erewash Writers is for short stories of up to 2,500 words, shorter stories of up to 500 words, and poems of up to 40 lines.  The theme is Festive Fright (so you could write about that horrific apparition you saw in the mirror the morning after the office party or similar).
    Closing: 14.1.21.
    Prizes: Short Story - £25 and publication on the website.  Shorter story and poem - £10 each.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Erewash Festive Fright

 

 

 

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

 


Added
9.11.20

 

Magma Poetry Competition.  Here’s another outing for a regular runner from the Carshalton-based poetry magazine Magma.  It has two categories: Judge’s Prize (for poems of 11 to 50 lines), and Editors’ Prize (poems of up to 10 lines).  This year’s judge is poet Theresa Lola.  It is not stated who the editors are.  The editorship rotates, they say.
    Closing: 15.1.21.
    Prizes (in each category): £1,000, £300, £150.  Winners will have their poems published in the magazine and will, along with commended poets, be invited to read at the prize-giving event.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £4 for the second, £3.50 thereafter.  It’s cheaper for subscribers.
    Comp Page:
Magma Poetry.

 


Added
1.8.20

 

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 judge for more guidance.
    Closing: 17.1.21.
    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
8.11.20

 

Nine Dots Prize.  Are you 18 or over and up to a bit of lateral thinking, thinking that tackles contemporary issues?  If so, your initial task this year in this lucrative annual contest is to produce a 3,000-word response to the question, ‘What does it mean to be young in an ageing world?’  To go with this you write an outline (up to 1,000 words) showing how you would expand your response into a book of between 25,000 and 40,000 words.  Along with your entry you need to include a Justification of up to 1,000 words regarding your previous experience in communicating effectively about evidence, and your ability to complete and submit the book by 2.1.22.  Well, for a hundred grand you didn’t expect if to be easy, did you?
    Closing: 18.1.21.
    Prize: $100,000 and a book deal from Cambridge University Press.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Nine Dots

 


Added
24.12.20

 

Edward Thomas Poetry Competition 2021.  This annual contest from the Edward Thomas Fellowship is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject.  Prize-winning poet Jane Draycott will be judging.
    Closing: 18.1.21.
    Prizes: £150, £75, £75.  There are also up to six Highly Commended prizes of £25.
    Entry Fee: £3 each.  Maximum entry three.
    Comp Page:
ETF Poetry.

 


Added
10.4.20

 

The Ó Bhéal Five Words International Poetry Competition.  Here’s another corker from Ireland. It’s from County Cork to be exact, and it’s for poems of up to 50 lines (including line breaks).  Entries must feature the five words given on the competition page 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 26.1.21.
    Prizes: 750 euros, 500 euros, 250 euros.  The three winners will be invited to read at Ó Bhéal’s anniversary event in Ireland on 12.4.21, with travel expenses of 100 euros and B&B accommodation.
    Entry Fee : 5 euros.
    Comp Page:
Ó Bhéal Five Words.

 


Added
1.8.20

 

Fish Short Memoir Competition. This annual contest from Fish Publishing in Ireland is for memoirs of up to 4,000 words.
    Closing: 31.1.21.
    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 2021.
    Entry Fee: 18 euros for the first, 10 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Fish Memoir.

 


Added
1.8.20

 

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: 31.1.21.
    Prize: £100.
    Entry Fee: £2 each or £5 for three.
    Comp Page:
LAA 100 Contest.

 

 

 

Hi Michael
     I spent a year or so reading all those comments on your website from people who, since consulting your list, seem have won just about every competition going. I read it and thought it must be too good to be true – but worth a try. Then, on my third submission, I have actually gone and won the Yeovil Literary Prize for Poetry. I am absolutely over the moon, unable to believe it, etc.  Thank you so much.
                                                                                   -   Andy Miller

 


Added
7.11.20

 

BHS Haiku Competition.  Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll be brief.  This contest from The British Haiku Society is for tanka and haibun as well as haiku.  That’s all I have to say.
    Closing: 31.1.21.
    Prizes (in each category): £125, £50.
    Entry Fee : £5.50 for three haiku, tanka or haibun.
    Comp Page:
Haiku Society

 


Added
7.11.20

 

Teignmouth Poetry Festival Open Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Devon is running again this year even though the Festival itself has fallen victim to the dreaded virus.  The contest is for poems of up to 36 lines on any subject.
    Closing: 31.1.21.
    Prizes: Open - £500, £250, £100.  Local (for Devon residents only) - £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: Online - £4.50 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.  Postal - £4 for the first, £3 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Teignmouth Poetry.

 


Added
1.12.20

 

SLQ Poetry Competition.  This regular international contest from Sentinel Literary Quarterly is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject.
    Closing: 31.1.21.
    Prizes: £250, £125, £75.  High Commendation (3) - £30.  Commendation (3) - £20.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £8 for two, £10 for three, £12 for four ... and so on.
    Comp Page:
SLQ Poetry

 


Added
2.12.20

 

Stringybark Open Short Story Competition.  Like a boomerang it’s back, and this time round the theme of this Australian contest from Stringybark Publishing is open (sort of).  Your story, which can run to as many as 1,500 words, can be on any subject but it must have a link, however tenuous, to Australia, and it must be for an audience aged 16 and above.
    Closing: 31.1.21 (11.59pm AEDT = 12.59pm GMT).
    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 Open SS

 

 

 

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
4.11.20

 

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 Rishi Dastidar, will read all the submissions.
    Closing: 31.1.21.
    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
27.10.20

 

Parracombe Short Story Prize 2020.  This new contest from Paracombe Community Trust in the hills of Exmoor National Park is for stories of up to 2,020 words on any subject.
    Closing: 31.1.21.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Parracombe

 


Added
12.10.20

 

The Cheshire Prize for Literature.  This year’s contest from the University of Chester and Storyhouse has four categories: Short Story (up to 1,500 words), Poetry (up to 100 lines), Children’s Literature (story or poem with length limits as above but aimed at 7 to 14 age group) and Plays (up to 15 minutes, suitable for theatre, TV or radio).   To be eligible to enter you need to have lived, studied or worked at some point in Cheshire, Wirral, Warrington or Halton.  Documentary evidence may be requested, they say, so if nobody made a documentary about you while you were there, I’m afraid you’ve had it ... although it’s possible I’ve misunderstood this requirement.
    Closing: 31.1.21.
    Prize (in each category): £500.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter. You can submit up to 2 entries if they’re in different categories.
    Comp Page:
Cheshire Prize.

 


Added
3.11.20

 

Over 90s Short Story Prize.  This freebie from the Grow Old Disgracefully website is open only to UK residents over the age of ninety.  It is for stories of up to 500 words on the theme of ‘Childhood Memories’
    Closing: 31.1.21.
    Prize: £200 and the story published online.  In addition, a tree will be planted near the winner’s home.  A similar prize will be awarded to an entrant living in a care home.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry (only one per person).
    Comp Page:
Over 90s Comp.

 


Added
8.1.21

 

New Genre Writing Contest.  This is an American competition for books in any genre.  The idea is that for the New Year you write something in what is for you a new genre.  Entries must be at least 20,000 words.  Ongoing and completed works are eligible.  Entries will be posted on the website.  Inkitt, they say, has 2 million users, so this is a chance to showcase your work.  The winner will be chosen by an algorithm based on reader engagement - a combination of likes, reads, reviews and shares.
    Closing: 31.1.21.
    Prizes: $500, $250, £100, plus exclusive book badges and social media features.
    Entry Fee : None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Inkit Comp

 


Added
25.12.20

 

Grindstone Crucible First Novel Award.  This free-to-enter contest from Grindstone Literary is for crime, mystery and thriller novels by unrepresented authors.  To enter you submit the first 5,000 words of your completed novel along with an ‘elevator pitch’ of up to 150 words. 
    Closing: 1.2.21.
    Prizes: The best 20 to 30 entries will go into a chapbook and this will be sent to a list of agents and agencies.  Each of the judges (agents) will request at least one full MS from the chapbook.
    Entry Fee: None, free entry.
    Comp Page:
Grindstone Crucible

 


Added
25.9.20

 

Elmbridge Literary Competition. Strike up the band! The R C Sherriff Trust and Elmbridge Council have decided to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Albert Hall, so of course the theme of this year’s contest is Albert.  No it isn’t.  It’s ‘Music’. 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: 5.2.21.
    Prizes: Adults 19+ (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 by publishers Samson Low.
    Entry Fee: Adults - £5. Under 18s - free.  Maximum of one poem and one story per person.
    Comp Page:
Elmbridge Literary.

 

 

 

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
1.12.20

 

Papatango New Writing Prize.  This annual playwriting contest from the Papatango Theatre Company is, for this year only, for plays that will work in an audio format (normally they would be for performance in theatres).  Performance time should be 25 to 50 minutes which, they say, roughly equates to 25 to 50 pages.  The link to the Submission Form has been camouflaged to fool the enemy, but I can reveal that it is in the Formatting section of the Entry Requirements page.
    Closing: 7.2.21.
    Prizes: Three winners will each receive £2,000.  The scrips will be produced as audio plays and published digitally by Nick Hern Books.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Papatango

 


Added
5.11.20

 

Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize.  This is the eleventh 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, resident in the UK or Ireland, 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 above, mainly word-based).  To enter, you submit 40 to 50 consecutive pages of your story’s opening, plus a synopsis of 3 to 5 pages.
    Closing: 12.2.21 (noon).
    Prize: £1,500. The shortlisted entrants will receive a 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:
Lucy Novel.

 


Added
1.9.20

 

W&A Yearbook Short Story Competition 2021.  This annual freebie from the venerable writers’ handbook Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, is for stories of up to 2,000 words aimed at adults.  There is no theme.  Take note that before emailing your entry, you have to register with the website.  Your entry will not be valid otherwise.
    Closing: 12.2.21.
    Prize: A place on one of Arvon’s residential writing courses, plus your story published on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
W&A Story.

 


Added
8.11.20

 

Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine.  I used to think hippocrates were wooden containers used at the zoo for transporting large herbivores.  Of course I now know that Hippocrates was in fact a great medical poet, and this international contest is obviously being run in his honour.  Poems of up to 50 lines on a medical subject are required.  There are two categories, Open, and Health Professional.  Actually there’s a third category - Young Poets - but as it has a later closing date I’m listing it separately.
    Closing: 14.2.21.
    Prizes (in each category): £1,000, £500, £250.  Winning poems will be published online and in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £7 online, £10 postal.
    Comp Page:
Hippocrates Poetry

 


Added
1.12.20

 

Brotherton Poetry Prize.  This international contest from the University of Leeds Poetry Centre is for poets who have not yet had a full collection published.  To enter, you submit up to five poems with a combined line count of up to 200.  Winners and shortlisted poems will be published in an anthology.  One of the judges is up-and-coming poet Simon Armitage.
    Closing: 22.2.21.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000 and the opportunity to develop your creative practice with the University of Leeds Poetry Centre.  Runners-up (4) - £200.  All shortlisted poets will receive £150 for travel expenses to attend the competition announcement.
    Entry Fee: £10 per five poems.
    Comp Page:
Brotherton Prize.

 


Added
22.10.20

 

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.  You can enter by email or post.
    Closing: 26.2.21 (6pm).
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000 plus a 5-year subscription to Acumen.  2nd - £400 and a 3-year sub.  3rd - £200 plus a 2-year sub.  Runners-up (6) - £25.  There is also a special prize of £100 for the best entry by a current subscriber.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £20 for five.
    Comp Page:
Acumen Poetry.

 


Added
2.11.20

 

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: 26.2.21 (6pm).
    Prize: £500 plus two weekend passes to Crimefest.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Allingham Story

 


Added
1.8.20

 

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: 28.2.21.
    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 2021.
    Entry Fee: 14 euros for the first, 8 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Fish Flash.

 


Added
29.12.20

 

Slipstream Poets Open Poetry Competition.  Here we have a new contest from Slipstream Poets of West Sussex.  It has a line limit of 60 but no theme.  The judge is poet Wendy Klein.
    Closing: 28.2.21.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  There is also £25 for the best West Sussex entry.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Slipstream Poets.

 


Added
12.1.21

 

Scottish Arts Club Short Story Award.  This annual international contest from Edinburgh is for stories of up to 2,000 words.  There is no set theme.
    Closing: 28.2.21.
    Prize: £1,000, £500, £250.  There is also an award of £750 for the best entry by an unpublished writer born, living or studying in Scotland.  Winners also receive one year’s free membership of the Club.  The top 20 entries will be published in an anthology. All finalists get a dedicated page on the website to promote their work.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
SAC Story Award.

 

 

 

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
5.1.21

 

P&P Poetry Competition.  There is no theme this time round for this regular contest from Poets & Players of Manchester.  Poets have up to 40 lines to play with.
    Closing: 1.3.21.
    Prize: £600, £200, £100.
    Entry Fee: £4 for one, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Poets & Players

 


Added
8.11.20

 

Hippocrates Young Poets Prize for Poetry and Medicine .  This international contest is open to young poets of between 14 and 18.  Poems of up to 50 lines on a medical subject are required.
    Closing: 1.3.21.
    Prize: £500.  Winning poems will be published online and in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page :
Hippocrates Young Poets.

 


Updated
7.12.20

 

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.  Entries used to be postal only, but they can now be made online, so the younger ones among you will no longer need advice from parents or grandparents regarding envelopes and stamps.  Advice about manuscipt layout can be found in the rules.
    Closing: 1.3.21.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £30.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £2.50 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Bridgend Comp.

 


Added
2.11.20

 

Fowey Festival Short Story Competition.  If, due to the strain of lockdown or some other trauma, you are writing or thinking of writing a story with the theme of Breaking Point, then the organisers of this contest from Cornwall are waiting to read it.  Entries should be no more than 1,500 words.
    Closing: 7.3.21.  Opens for entries on 7.12.20.
    Prizes: £100, £75.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Fowey Story

 


Added
7.11.20

 

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: 19.3.21 (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, a writing mentor and an optional meeting with an agent.  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
1.8.20

 

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: 31.3.21.
    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 2021.
    Entry Fee : 14 euros, for the first, 8 euros thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Fish Poetry.

 

 

 

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

 


 

 

Rubery Book Award.  This annual international award is for books of all genres published by independent publishers or self-published.  To enter, send a hardcopy of your book by post or submit an ebook electronically (if submitting the latter, you will need to send a blurb as well, as a separate file - see contest FAQs).
    Closing: 31.3.21.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,500 and the book read by a top literary agent at MBA.  Category winners (at least three) - £150.
    Entry Fee: £37 or $60 (US).
    Comp Page:
Rubery Book.

 


Added
2.12.20

 

The Caterpillar Poetry Prize.  Before you clutter up your mind with ideas for poems about caterpillars, let me just point out that the name of this annual contest is not intended to indicate the official subject, although if you wish to go that way, you are free to do so.  The only stipulations are that your poem must be suitable for children aged 7 to 11, and it must be written by someone aged 16 or over.  It can be any length.  The Caterpillar, incidentally, is a children’s magazine based in Southern Ireland.  The contest judge this year is Michael Morpurgo.
    Closing: 31.3.21.
    Prizes: 1st - 1,000 euros and publication in the mag.
    Entry Fee: 14 euros.
    Comp Page:
Catmag Poetry

 


Added
2.1.21

 

Wergle Flomp Humour Poetry Competition.  This annual freebie 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: 1.4.21.
    Prizes: 1st - $2,000 plus a gift certificate.  2nd - $500.  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
13.12.20

 

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.
    Closing : 6.4.21.
    Prizes: £300, £150, £50.  All being well, prizewinners will be invited to a prizegiving event in June in Binstead.
    Entry Fee: £5 for the first, £4 thereafter.  If you are 16 to 30, the fee is £3 each.
    Comp Page:
Binstead Poetry.

 


Added
1.12.20

 

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 ‘Still Waters, Deep Thoughts’.  ‘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: 15.4.21.  Opens for entries 1.1.21.
    Prizes: 1st - $200 and publication in the 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 S/F Story

 


Added
31.10.20

 

Ver Poets Open Competition.  Here’s a 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 this year is André Mangeot.
    Closing: 30.4.21.
    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
2.11.20

 

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: 30.4.21.
    Prizes: £600, £300, £150.  Ware Sonnet Prize - £150.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Entry Form and Details (pdf):
Ware Poets Comp

 


Added
10.12.20

 

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, horror, historical, romance, children’s, etc).
    Closing: 5.5.21.
    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 14, and the writers will each receive two free copies.
    Entry Fee: £9.
    Comp Page:
Bristol SSP.

 

 

 

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
23.8.20

 

Erewash Holiday Romance Competition.  This freebie from Erewash Writers in Derbyshire is for stories of up to 500 words and poems of up to 40 lines on the subject of your holiday romance (one you’ve had, one you’re still having, or one you’re hoping to have next time instead of the covid19 and 3-weeks in hospital you got this time.
    Closing: 27.5.21.
    Prize: £10 and publication on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to entry.
    Comp Page:
Erewash Romance

 


Added
2.11.20

 

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) for a novel opening of between 5,000 and 8,000 words, plus a 300-word synopsis.  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: 31.5.21.
    Prizes: Short Stories, Poems (in each category) - £5,000, £1,000, £500, and ten @ £100.  Flash Fiction - £1,000, £500, £250, and three @ £100..   The Peggy Chapman Andrews First Novel Award: £1,000, £500. Runners-up (10) £100.  Winning entries will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fees: Poems - £10.  Short Stories - £12.  Novel - £20.  Flash Fiction - £9.
    Comp Page:
Bridport Prize .

 


Added
2.11.20

 

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: 31.5.21.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,500 plus mentoring from The Literary Consultancy.  2nd - £750 plus manuscript assessment.  Runners-up (3) - £100.
    Entry Fee: £20.
    Comp Page:
Chapman-Andrews Award.

 


Added
2.12.20

 

Yeovil Literary Prize.  This is the 20th of these annual 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: 31.5.21.  Opens for entries 1.1.21
    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.

 


Added
5.12.20

 

Frogmore Poetry Prize 2021.  This annual contest is run by Frogmore Press which was founded in 1983 in the Frogmore tearooms in Folkestone.  Well, what else can you do in Folkestone?  I’ll tell you what: you can fall in the sea, a feat I managed at the age of 8.  Will I ever forget that day?  Unlikely, for I had the misfortune to be rescued by my two sisters.  ‘No, no - let me drown!’ I cried.  ‘I’ll never be able to face my mates again.’  But I had the ice cream money in my pocket and so my pleas were ignored.  I later wrote a poem about the shame of it all but it would have been too long for this contest because it ran to 360 lines.  The line limit here is 40.
    Closing: 31.5.20.
    Prize: 1st - 250 guineas.  Classy.  You also get a two-year subscription to The Frogmore Papers.  2nd - 75 guineas and a year’s subscription.  3rd - 50 guineas and a year’s subscription.  All shortlisted poems will be published in The Frogmore Papers.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page:
Frogmore PP.

 

 

 

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
27.10.20

 

Farnham Flash Fiction Competition.  Here’s one from the Farnham Fringe Festival in Surrey (the Surrey With the Fringe on Top).  It is for stories of up to 500 words on any subject.
    Closing: 4.6.21.
    Prizes: £75, £25, £25.  Winners will be published.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Farnham Flash

 


Added
23.8.20

 

Erewash Open Short Story Competition.  This contest from Derbyshire-based Erewash Writers is for stories of up to 2,500 words on any theme.
    Closing: 22.7.21.
    Prizes: £100, £70, £30.  There are also some runners-up prizes of free entry to 2022 comps and a charitable donation.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two, £2.50 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Erewash Themeless

 


Added
25.12.20

 

Grindstone Short Story Prize.  This contest, say the promoters, is for the bold, the brave and the downright daring.  It is for a piece of fiction in any genre for adults.  Entries should be between 1,000 and 3,000 words.
    Closing: 1.8.21.  Early bird deadline: submit before 1.5.21 and receive the results of your submission early plus a reduced entry fee.
    Prizes: £500, £200, 4 x £50.  The top 20 entries will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £10.  Early bird - £8.
    Comp Page:
Grindstone short Story

 


Added
25.12.20

 

Grindstone International Novel Prize.  This contest is open to unrepresented unpublished or self-published authors only.  It is for finished or part-finished novels aimed at young adults or adults.  To enter, you submit a synopsis (300 words) and the opening 3,000 words of your story (they allow a 10% margin so you can end your opening at a natural break).
    Closing: 1.10.21.  There are two early bird closing dates: submit before 1.4.21 or 2.7.21 to receive the result of your submission early and pay a lower entry fee.
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, and 4 x £100.  The top 20 entries go into a chapbook which will be sent to the literary agents listed on the comp page, all of whom have requested a copy.
    Entry Fee: Depending on when you submit, £16, £18 or £20.
    Comp Page:
Grindstone Novel.

 


Added
2.12.20

 

Novel Opening Competition.  For this annual contest from the Flash 500 website you submit the first chapter of your novel, or just the first 3,000 words if the chapter is longer.  Add to this a one-page synopsis of up to 750 words outlining the rest of the story.
    Closing : 31.10.21.
    Prizes: £500, £200.
    Entry Fee: £10 for one, £18 for two, £26 for three.
    Comp Page:
F500novel .

 


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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