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 2021 (currently 60)

 


Updated
16.2.21

 

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

 


Updated
16.2.21

 

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

 


Updated
 27.4.19

 

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

 


Updated
27.4.19

 

Hour of Writes Competition.  To enter this new weekly peer-reviewed contest from Manchester you submit a piece of writing of any type you choose running to no more than 2,000 words. There is a different theme every week.
    Closing: 11pm every Friday.
    Prize: £50 (usually the minimum, they say; prize increases if more entries are received).
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
27.4.19

 

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

 

 

 

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

 


Updated
 27.4.19

 

Scribble Quarterly Short Story Competition.  This quarterly contest from Scribble magazine is for stories in any genre and on any subject, running to no more than 3,000 words.  Winners are chosen by the magazine’s readers.
    Closing : Quarterly.
    Prizes: £75, £25, £15.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Scribble SSC .

 


Added
22.1.18

 

Flash 500 Competition.  This quarterly flash fiction contest, which offers higher prize money than many similar competitions, is for stories of up to 500 words on any theme.
    Closing: 30.6.21, 30.9.21.
    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.

 


Added
16.2.21

 

Write Time Mature Stories Competition.  Here’s one for writers over the age of 60 who can turn their memories and reflections into stories of up to 1,500 words on any theme.
     Closing: Monthly (30.6.21, 30.9.21, 31.12.21).
     Prizes: 1st £50.  Runners-up (2) - £25.  Winners will be published in an anthology and on the website.
     Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two.
     Comp Page:
Write Time

 
    
  

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

 


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

 


Added
1.12.20

 

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
1.4.21

 

Bath Short Story Award.  Now in its nineth year, this international contest from Bath is for stories running to no more than 2,200 words on any subject.  The judge this year is Nora Perkins from litarary agents Curtis Brown.
    Closing: 19.4.21.
    Prize: £1,200, £300, £100.  Acorn Award for an unpublished writer of fiction - £100.  Local Prize - £50 in book tokens.
    Entry Fee: £9.
    Comp Page:
Bath Story.

 


Added
8.4.21

 

Raconteur Feelings Hour Writing Competition.  The theme for this month’s story contest from Canadian e- and print magazine Raconteur is ‘Feelings’.  Not difficult normally, but in this case you have to confine your efforts to just 20 words.  The winners will be selected by a panel of the mag’s international readers who are themselves writers.
    Closing: 26.4.21 (11.59pm Eastern Time).
    Prizes: 1st - $100.  2nd and 3rd - One year’s e-mag subscription.
    Entry Fee: $3.  This covers one month’s subscription to the e-mag.  If you don’t want to enter any more of the monthly writing comps, you need to unsubscribe.
    Comp Page:
Raconteur

 


Added
9.4.21

 

F(r)iction Writing Competition.  This contest from America has four categories: Short Story (1,001 to 7,500 words), Poetry (up to three pages per poem), Flash Fiction (up to 1,000 words) and Creative Non-fiction (up to 6,000 words).
    Closing: 29.4.21.
    Prizes: Short Story - $1,000.  Flash Fiction - £300.  Poetry - $300.  Creative Non-Fiction - $500
    Entry Fees: Short Story and Creative Non-Fiction - $15.  Poetry and Flash Fiction - single entry $10, three-pack $12.
    Comp Page:
F(r)iction Comps .

 


Added
31.1.21

 

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 or given away.  There are also rules about script formatting, and unusually for novel manucripts, the requirement here is for single-spaced lines (read the rest on the website before entering).
    Closing: 30.4.21.
    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), and all finalists will receive a ‘Clive Trophy’.
   Entry Fee: $35.
    Comp Page:
Adventure Novel.

 

 

 

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
31.1.21

 

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: 30.4.21.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £10 for four.
    Comp Page:
Grey Hen.

 


Added
31.1.21

 

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 : 30.4.21.
    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
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
20.1.21

 

Prole Laureate Poetry Competition.  To enter this annual contest from Prole Books in Abergele you submit a poem of any length.  This can be in any style and on any subject.  They’re looking for work that engages, entertains and challenges.
    Closing: 30.4.21.
    Prize: 1st - £300 and publication in the Prole 32 (print journal).  Runners-up (2) - £75 and publication in Prole 32.
    Entry Fee: £3 for the first, £2 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Prole Laureate.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
2.12.20

 

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 : 30.4.21.
    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
23.3.21

 

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: 30.4.21.
    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.  All shortlisted stories will be digitally published in an anthology available in Worldreader’s open library.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Author of Tomorrow.

 


Added
28.2.21

 

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: 2.5.21.
    Prizes: The first prize winners in each category will receive £1,000 and a 5-night stay at the River Mill Writing Retreat.  Runners-up - £250.  Winners will be invited to read at the awards ceremony at the Belfast Book Festival 2021.
    Entry Fee: £6 for each submission of one story or 6 to 10 poems.
    Comp Page:
MC Awards.

 


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.

 


Added
16.3.21

 

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: 14.5.21.
    Prizes: Three collections will be published by Live Canon Press.
    Entry Fee: £12.
    Comp Page:
Canon Collection.

 

 

 

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
16.3.21

 

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: 21.5.21.
    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
22.3.21

 

City Academy Short Story Competition.  This contest is for stories of up to 4,000 words by previously unpublished writers.  Entrants will receive a series of 8 writing prompt emails designed to support them in their creative process.
    Closing: 25.5.21.
    Prize: £1,000 and a £300 City Academy voucher, plus publication on the website.  Runners-up (2) - A free writing course and publication on the website.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page:
City Academy.

 


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 covid-19 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

 

 

 

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
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
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.

 


Added
16.1.21

 

Michael Terence Publishing Short Story Competition.  Here’s a repeat of last year’s contest from Michael Terence Publishing of Oxford.  Now open to all authors worldwide, it is for fiction, science fiction and non-fiction (biography, memoir, etc) running to no more than 3,000 words.
    Closing: 31.5.21.  Opens for entries 1.2.21.
    Prize: £2021.
    Entry Fee: £5 if you enter by the end of February, then £7.
    Comp Page:
MTP Story Comp.

 

 

 

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
2.3.21

 

Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2021.  ‘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 (each poem to be submitted as a separate document).  Incidentally, ‘wasafiri’, in case your Kiswahili is a bit rusty, means ‘cultural traveller’.  The problem with cultural travelling is that these days you have to go into quarantine when you get back, to make sure you aren’t suffering from something called ‘cultural appropriation’.  Very nasty is that, apparently.
    Closing: 31.5.21 (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.

 


Added
31.1.21

 

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.  Local novelist Frances Liardet will be judging.
    Closing: 31.5.21.
    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 Story.

 


Added
31.1.21

 

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 : 31.5.21.  Opens for entries in February
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, £100.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
First Novel.

 


Added
2.4.21

 

Wigtown Poetry Prize.  This annual international contest from Wigtown in Scotland is for poems of up to 40 lines on any subject (although I would suggest NOT wigs - too obvious).  Entries can be in English or, for shy writers who prefer not to have too many readers, Scottish Gaelic or Scots.
    Closing: 31.5.21.
    Prizes: English - £1,500, £200.  Scottish Gaelic - £500, £200.  Scots - £500, £200.  Dumfries & Galloway Fresh Voice Award (submit 3 to 6 poems) - A package of professional support including mentoring and a retreat at Moniak Mhor Creative Writing Centre.  There is also the Alastair Reed Pamphlet Prize (submit 8 - 12 poems) to win 30 copies in pamphlet form.
    Entry Fee: Main Categories - £6.50 each, £17 for three ... and so on up to £53 for twelve.  Dumfries & Galloway Award - free.  Pamphlet Prize - £15.
    Comp Page:
Wigtown 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
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
28.2.21

 

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 previously published in book for by an established publisher.  If you fit the bill, submit a work of fiction of up to 2,000 words, or poetry of up to 42 lines.  The theme in both cases is Essential.  This, they say, is a creative prompt, not a requirement.  So not essential, then.  Confusing.
    Closing: 6.6.21.
    Prizes: (in each category): 1st - £100, a Chapter and Verse Mentorship, manuscript assessment and a chance to attend a TLC industry day, plus meet the professionals.  2nd - £75, a manuscript assessment, a six-week online writing course from Curtis Brown Creative or The Poetry School.   3rd - £50, a partial manuscript assessment, and a copy of Mslexia’s Indie Press Guide.  4th - a story or poem critique 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 (one entry per person in each category allowed).
    Comp Page:
Creative Future.

 


Added
28.2.21

 

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.  Award-winning poet Cathy Miles will be judging.
    Closing: 6.6.21.
    Prizes: £500, £250, £100.  Winners and 17 runners-up will be published online and in a future anthology.
    Entry Fee: £6.
    Comp Page:
Welsh Poetry

 

 

 

Hello Michael,
     Thanks for your very useful list of writing competitions. I have failed to win a prize in many of these, but have achieved some success with others, including winning first prize in a Henshaw short story competition in 2019. Incidentally I enjoy your witty comments.
     Best Wishes                                                         -  Fay Dickinson

 


Added
2.3.21

 

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 annual contest ia all about raising funds for an animal sanctuary in Kent.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines on the theme of Healing.
    Closing: 7.6.21.
    Prizes: 1st - A 25% share prie fund.  2nd - 10%.  3rd - 5%.  There are two further prizes of 5% of the prize fund, one being for a previously unpublished poet, the other for a poem on a rescue animal or an animal sanctuary and its work.
    Entry Fee: £5.  Fifty per cent of the proceeds will be used for the care of animals.
    Comp Page:
Sanctuary Comp.

 


Added
8.3.21

 

Canterbury Poet of the Year Competition.  It’s back again: the annual international poetry contest from Canterbury Festival.  As usual, it’s for poems of up to 60 lines.
    Closing: 11.6.21.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  People’s Choice - £25.  Best Read Poem - A bottle of sparkling wine (do not drink immediately, as you might be called upon to do an encore).  There will be an anthology of winners and shortlistees.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Canterbury Fest Poet.

 


Updated
31.3.21

 

Segora International Writing Competition.  Now in its 15th 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 10 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: 15.6.21.
    Prizes: Short stories - £300, £100, £50.  Poetry - £300, £100, £50.  Vignettes - £100.  Plays - £150, £50.
    Entry Fee: Stories - £8 for one, £14 for two, £20 for three.  Poems - £5 for the first, £2.50 thereafter.  Vignettes - £5 for the first, £2.50 thereafter.  Plays - £12.
    Comp Page:
PPP Comps

 


Added
9.2.21

 

George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition.  This contest from the Suffolk Poetry Society, a registered charity, is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject.  To enter, you will have to buy eligibilty by joining the Society unless you are already a member, or were born in Suffolk, or work or reside there, or have been educated there. To join the Society, see the entry form.
    Closing: 15.6.21.
    Prizes: £600, £300, £150.  Runners-up (2) - £75.  There will be an awards event at which winning and commended poets will be invited to read.  The poems will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £3.
    Comp Page:
Crabbe Poetry.

 

 

 

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

 


Added
1.4.21

 

Poetry London PrizePoetry London, a magazine with nationwide and international scope despite its title, is seeking poems of up to 80 lines on any subject and in any style.  This year’s judge is poet Malika Booker, who lectures in poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.
    Closing: 26.6.21.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000.  Winners will be published in the magazine.
    Entry Fee: £8 (£4 for subscribers).
    Comp Page:
Poetry London.

 


Added
15.2.21

 

Saki Short Story Competition.  This one from the Friends of Manning’s Pit is in honour of Hector Hugh Monro, otherwise known as the short story writer Saki, who spent his childhood in the North Devon village of Pilton and could see the fields of Manning’s Pit from his bedroom window.  Nowadays he would need to stand on a chair because there’s a housing estate in the way.  But Manning’s Pit lives on, and it has friends determined to keep it that way.  The contest is for stories of up to 3,000 words.  These should have a spark of wit (like Saki) and should be relevant to the countryside and its wildlife.  Finally, in answer to your inevitable question, ‘Who was this Manning the pit is named after?’ I have but one word: Google.
     Closing: 30.6.21.
     Prizes: £500, £200, £100.
     Entry Fee: £5 for one, £12 for three.
     Comp Page:
FMP Saki

 


Added
31.1.21

 

Moth Short Story Prize. This annual contest from Irish magazine The Moth is for stories of up to 5,000 words on any subject.  I should perhaps mention that the magazine is not devoted to the subject of moths, fascinating though these may be.  It is an arts and literature magazine.  Presumably the name is a reference to the way artists and writers are attracted to the light of recognition, only to beat their wings in vain against an invisible barrier until finally, broken and defeated, they slide down to the windowsill of despair.  You’d think the magazine people could have come up with something a bit more cheerful than that, wouldn’t you?
    Closing: 30.6.21.
    Prizes: 1st - 3,000 euros.  2nd - A week’s writing retreat at Circle of Misse in France, with a 250 euro travel stipend.  3rd - 1,000 euros.
    Entry Fee: 15 euros.
    Comp Page:
Moth Short Story.

 


Added
1.4.21

 

Wells Festival of Literature Competitions.  Here we have a return of  the famous Wells Litfest and its various competitions: Open 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 Open 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 to 16 years, you need to submit the first two chapters (or first 20 pages, this being the maximum) plus a synopsis brief enough to fit two pages (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 Owen Sheers, while Sally Bayley will be tackling the short stories.  Young Poets will have to impress Phoebe Stuckes.  Dr Joanne Nadin will choose the winning Book for Children.
    Closing: 30.6.21.
    Prizes: Open Poetry - £1,000, £500, £250.  Short Story, Book for Children (in each category) - £750, £300, £200.  Additional prizes: Wyvern Prize for a local short story entrant - £100.  Local Prize for poetry - £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
1.4.21

 

Love Books Writing Competition.  This freebie is sponsored by the Marlborough Literature Festival and English Literature at Bath Spa University.  To enter, you say why you love your favourite book, poem or play.  You can do this in writing with up to 750 words, or in a video running to no more than 4 minutes.  The judges will be looking for creative, passionate and engaging responses.  There are three age categories: 13 to 16, 17 to 19, and 20+.
    Closing: 30.6.21.
    Prizes (in each age category): £300, £100.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry (one per person).
    Comp Page:
Love Books.

 


Added
1.4.21

 

HWA Dorothy Dunnett Short Story Award.  This competition from the Historical Writers’ Association is, not surprisingly, for historical stories.  These are defined for this contest as stories set at least 35 years in the past.  The theme and genre are both open.  Stories should run to no more than 3,500 words.
    Closing: 1.7.21.
    Prizes: 1st - £500, publication online and in Whispering Gallery, mentoring by an author and agent, and tickets to the HWA awards ceremony in London.  Six shortlisted authors will be published in an e-book/ print-on-demand edition available from Amazon.  The authors will received two free copies and a £25 publication fee.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
HWA DD Story

 


Added
2.3.21

 

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 ‘Mask’.  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: 12.7.21.
    Prizes: Adult (over 21) - £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 Story.

 


Added
2.3.21

 

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 Anthony Anaxagorou.
    Closing: 15.7.21 (5pm).
    Prizes: Adults: £1,000, £500, £250.  Young People - £100, £50, £25.  Children - £25, £15, £10 - all in book tokens.  All winners will be invited to read at the 2022 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 Poetry Fest.

 


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
1.4.21

 

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2021.  This annual freebie from The Poetry Society is said to be the UK’s largest poetry competition for writers between the ages of 11 and 17.  It certainly attracts a lot of entries.  Over 6,000 young people from across the world submitted their work last year.  Poems can be any length, in any style and on any subject, but they must be in English.
    Closing: 31.7.21.
    Prizes: The top 15 winners will be invited to attend a week-long residential writing course at a prestigious Arvon Centre, or they will receive mentoring from a professional poet.  The top 15 poems will be published in a print anthology which is sent out to over 20,000 school libraries and poetry enthusiasts.  The 85 commended poets will have their entries published in an online anthology.  There will be a prize-giving event in October, to which all 100 winners will be invited.  I’ve been to some of these events and there’s generally free booze, plus fellow poets can usually be relied upon to supply some weed (best not mention this to your parents).
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.  You can enter more than one poem but they make it clear they don’t want you bunging in any old rubbish to make up the numbers (they put it more subtly than that, but that’s what they mean).
    Comp Page:
Foyle Young Poets.

 


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

 

 

 

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
31.1.21

 

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: 31.8.21.
    Prize (in each category): £2,500 plus other writing related prizes.  Finalists will be published in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual.
    Entry Fee: £18 for fiction, £12 for poetry.
    Comp Page:
Aesthetica Award.

 


Added
4.4.21

 

Moth Nature Writing Prize. This international contest from Irish magazine The Moth is in its second year and is for nature writing (prose or poetry) of up to 4,000 words. Your entry should combine exceptional literary merit with an exploration of your relationship with the natural world.
    Closing: 15.9.21.
    Prize: 1,000 euros and a week at Circle of Misse in France.
    Entry Fee: 15 euros.
    Comp Page:
Moth Nature Writing.

 


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
7.4.21

 

Bedford Writing Competition.  This annual not-for-profit contest from Bedfordshire, home of the famous Shuttleworth Collection (old aeroplanes and cars) is for stories of up to 3,000 words and poems running to no more than 40 lines.  Poet and novelist Patrick McGuinness will be judging the short stories, while the poetry will be judged by poet Anne Berkeley.
    Closing : 31.10.21.  Opens for entries 1.5.21.
    Prizes in each main category (Poetry, Short Story): £1,000, £200, £100.  There are in addition awards of £100 each in the Bedford Short Story Prize and the Bedford Poetry Prize, these being for local residents only.  Finally there are prizes for poetry writers and short story writers 25 and under (see website for details).  Shortlisted and winning entries will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £7.50 each, £15 for three.  Full-time students: £5 each, £10 for three.  Net proceeds will be used to help children ‘catch up’, and also to assist the King’s Arms Homeless project.
    Comp Page:
BWC.

 


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

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                           T
his is the Prizemagic website
                           
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                           Copyright:  Michael Shenton  2021

                                                           Poem: Being a Writer

 


 

 

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