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 68)

 


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: 30.9.21.
    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 (30.9.21, 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.

 


Added
9.5.21

 

Secret Attic Short Story Competitions.  This monthly freebie from Secret Attic Press is for stories of up to 1,500 words on any theme.
    Closing: End of each month.
    Prize  A £20 Amazon voucher and publication in the Secret Attic booklet.  Selected entries will also be published.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Secret Attic.

 


Updated
 9.5.21

 

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

 


Added
25.6.21

 

Cranked Anvil Short Story Competition.  Cranked Anvil Press from Morpeth in Northumberland is seeking entries of up to 1,500 words on any theme for its latest short story contest.
    Closing: Quarterly.  Next: 31.10.21.
    Prizes: £150, £75, £30.
    Entry Fee: £5 for one, £8 for two, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Cranked Anvil Story

 


Added
25.6.21

 

Cranked Anvil Flash Fiction Competition.  And here’s another one from Cranked Anvil Press, this time for stories of up to 500 words on any theme.
    Closing Quarterly.  Next: 31.8.21, then 30.11.21.
    Prizes: £100, £25.
    Entry Fee: £3 for one, £5 for two.
    Comp Page:
Cranked Anvil Flash

 

 

 

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
2.5.21

 

Impress Prize.  This international contest from Impress Books at the University of Exeter aims to discover new writing talent, so it’s only open to those who have not had a book traditionally published.  It is for fiction and non-fiction books, for adults and YA (but not children).  To enter, you submit a book proposal of up to 1,000 words, a sample chapter of no more than 6,000 words, plus a synopsis of up to 1,000 words (see Entry Requirements on T&C page).
    Closing: 13.9.21.
    Prizes: £500, the possibility of a publishing contract with one of Untold Publishing’s imprints and a place at a writing retreat.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
Impress Prize.

 


Added
8.6.21

 

New Voices Competition.  This international contest from London-based mentoring service Adventures in Fiction requires you to submit the first page of your novel and a one-page synopsis.
    Closing: 14.9.21.
    Prizes: A start-up mentoring package (normally costing £550) which includes manuscript appraisal, a consultation and a development strategy.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
New Voices.

 


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
8.8.21

 

Love to Write Competition.  This freebie from Mills & Boon in partnership with Amber Rose Gill is for romance novels written by writers from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds.  To enter, you submit the first 5,000 words of your story, plus a synopsis and an author statement.
    Closing: 19.9.21.
    Prizes: A book contract with Mills & Boon (worth £2,000), plus £1,500 to support your writing.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
M&B Romance.

 


Added
1.8.21

 

Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition.  Two categories in this one from Oxford Brookes University: Open, and English as a Second Language.  If you are a young Internet user/texter who only seems to have English as a second language, then you should enter the Open category.  Whichever category you choose, your poem should run to no more than 50 lines.  It can be on any subject.
    Closing: 20.9.21 (11pm BST).
    Prizes (in each category): £1,000, £200.
    Entry Fee : £5 each for the first three, £4 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
OB Poetry Comp

 


Added
5.9.21

 

Dreamquest One Poetry & Writing Competition.  Here’s the latest repeat of this regular contest from the USA.  It is for poems running to no more than 30 lines, and fiction/nonfiction of up to five pages (short stories, essays, diary or journal entries, stage and screen plays, are all acceptable).  Entries can be on any subject and in any style.
    Closing : 22.9 21.
    Prizes: Stories - $500, $250, $100.  Poetry - $250, $125, $50.
    Entry Fee: $10 per story, $5 per poem.
    Comp Page:
Dreamquest.

 


Added
1.7.21

 

Beechmore Writing Competition.  For this international freebie from Beechmore Books (a stationery brand based in London) you submit a piece of fiction, nonfiction or poetry of up to 1,000 words on the theme of ‘perspective’.
    Closing: 25.9.21.
    Prizes: 1st - £200 plus a year’s supply of Beechmore journals (12 books).  2nd - £100 plus a six-month supply of Beechmore journals (6 books).
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Beechmore Writing

 


Added
8.8.21

 

TALF Flash Fiction Competition.  The theme of this contest from Thame Arts and Literature Festival is ‘The Prime of Life’ (in recognition of the 15th anniversary of the death of Muriel Spark who of course wrote The Prime of Miss Jean Brody).  You can deal with this theme in any genre and in any way you choose, although you are limited to 500 words.
    Closing: 25.9.21.
    Prizes (in book tokens): £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
TALF Flash

 


Added
1.6.21

 

Troubadour International Poetry Competition.  For this annual international contest, you submit a poem of no more than 45 lines.  The judges are John McAuliffe and Linda Gregerson.
    Closing: 27.9.21.
    Prizes: £2,000, £1,000, £500.
    Entry Fee: £5
    Comp Page:
Troubadour Poetry .

 


Added
9.8.21

 

Wild Nature Poetry Award 2021.  Here we have a new contest from Indigo Dreams Publishing.  It is for poems of up to 48 lines on the subject of cruel sports, or wildlife in general, or the natural world, or the environment.
    Closing : 30.9.21.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £75.  League Against Cruel Sports members will also be eligible for the League Prize of £75, and League goodie bag.  Winners will be published in an anthology (Voices for the Silent).
    Entry Fee: £5.  50% of entry fees will be donated to the League Against Cruel Sports.
    Comp Page:
Indigo Dreams.

 


Added
1.7.21

 

LWB Page 100  Competition .  For this unusual contest from Louise Walters Books you submit the 100th page (or nearest full page) of your unpublished novel or novella.
    Closing: 30.9.21.
    Prizes: 1st - A £50 book token, a full report on your novel or novella, and four LWB books.  Runners-up (2) - A mini report on your entry, £25 and four LWB books.
    Entry Fee: £7.
    Comp Page:
LWB Comp

 


Added
4.7.21

 

Ovacome Writing Competition .  Ovarian cancer support charity Ovacome is looking for stories of up to 2,000 words on the theme of Connected for this, its second creative writing contest.  Anyone over over the age of 18 can enter.  Stories do not have to be about ovarian cancer.  The finalists will be judged by Jenny Agutter and Stephen McGann, stars of the BBC’s Call the Midwife series.
    Closing: 30.9.21 (5pm).
    Prizes: 1st - £250.  2nd - £50 Waterstones voucher.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Ovacome Support.

 


Added
25.8.21

 

SPM Poetry Book Competition.  This international contest from Sentinel Poetry Movement is for full-length poetry collections (up to 86 A4 pages) on any theme and in any style.  To enter, you submit up to 20 pages initially.  If shortlisted you have until December 31 to submit the full collection.  The judge is Mandy Pannett.
    Closing: 30.9.21.
    Prizes: Each of the three winners will receive a publishing contract and one of the three cash prizes (£300, £200, £100).
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
Sentinel Book Comp

 


Added
28.8.21

 

Poetry Space Competition 2021.  Here’s a new contest from Poetry Space (an online platform for contemporary poetry from around the world) that requires poems of up to 40 lines on any subject.  You have to be over 16 to enter.  The judge is poet and creative writing tutor Rosie Jackson.
    Closing: 30.9.21.
    Prizes: £500, £250, £100.  Winners and 17 shortlisted poets receive book prizes and a copy of the competition anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Poetry Space

 

 

 

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

 


Added
1.6.21

 

Hammond House International Writing Competitions.  This offering from Hammond House Publishing at University Centre Grimsby, is for short stories of between 1,000 and 5,000 words, poems of up to 40 lines, and theatre, radio, film or TV scripts of up to 10 pages (approx. 10 minutes duration).  In all categories the theme is Stardust (this is intended to be inspirational, not restrictive, they say).  There is an additional category this year for Songwriting (lyrics or performed song).
    Closing: 30.9.21.
    Prizes: Short Story - £1,000, £100, £50.  Poetry - £500, £50, £20.  Script - £250.  Songriting - £100.  Shortlisted story and poetry entries will be published.  There will be a televised awards ceremony.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
HH Lit Prize

 


Added
1.5.21

 

Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair.  This international contest from southern Ireland has been described by an Irish newspaper as Dragon’s Den for writers.  The aim is to introduce up-and-coming novelists to publishers and literary agents.  Many top publishers and agents from Ireland and the UK have attended the Fair in the past, so this could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for - or not.  To be eligible, you must not have had a novel published under an ISBN, and of course you must be able to attend the fair in person on the 11th and 12th of February 2022.  If this sounds attractive and you are prepared to gamble a pretty thick wad of currency (entry fee plus travel and hotel accommodation/tent), submit up to 5 chapters (around 10,000 words), plus a synopsis of up to 300 words.  Any genre, but the completed novel must be at least 50,000 words.
    Closing: 30.9.21.  Opens for submissions on 1.9.21.
    Prizes: Twelve shortlisted entrants will be invited to take part in the fair and will each have a stand where they can meet publishers and agents. They will be invited to a How-to-Pitch-Your Novel seminar two weeks before the fair.  If you make it on to the longlist but not the shortlist, you will receive a critique on your novel from the judging panel.  A critique?  Considering the entry fee, I’d expect them to come and see me in person to apologise.
    Entry Fee: 55 euros.
    Comp Page:
Novel Fair:

 


Added
1.5.21

 

Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Prize.  This regular visitor from the USA has now become two competitions in one - the Tom Howard Prize and the Margaret Reid Prize.  The former is for poems in any style, while the latter is for traditional verse as defined on the competition page.  In both cases the line limit is a very generous (some might say extravagant) 250.
    Closing: 30.9.21.
    Prizes: Tom Howard Prize (any style) - $3,000 + gift certificate.  Margaret Reid Prize (traditional verse) - $3,000 + gift certificate.  In addition there will be ten Honourable Mention awards of $200.  The Dishonourable Mention awards have been dropped this year following several suicides.  I wrote that last bit on April 1st.  The top 12 entries will be published online.
    Entry Fee : $12.
    Comp Page:
TH & MR Poetry .

 


Added
16.6.21

 

International Short Tales Competition.  This lucrative freebie from the César Egido Serrano Foundation in Spain is not for the faint-hearted, as its previous outing resulted in over 43,000 entries from 172 countries.  Still, it will give you some serious boasting rights if you win, and you only have to rattle out a maximum of 100 words (which you can do in your lunch break between sandwiches, right?).  Even better, there is no entry fee. The contest will be judged by the participants.
    Closing: 30.9.21.
    Prizes: 1st - $20,000.  There are also two prizes of $2,000 in each of the languages in the contest (English, Spanish, Arabic and Hebrew).
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
CES Foundation Comp.

 


Added
15.7.21

 

The Henshaw Short Story Competition .  This recurring contest from Henshaw Press of Northampton is for stories running to no more than 2,000 words on any subject.  Separate from the competition, writers aged 16 or under can obtain a free critique on a story of up to 2,000 words.
    Closing: 30.9.21.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  Winners will be published on the website and in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £6.  Optional critique: £14.
    Comp Page:
Henshaw 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
2.8.21

 

Midsummer Mystery Contest.  This is an American competition which requires you to submit your completed mystery/suspense story of at least 7,500 words for posting on the website.  Inkitt, they say, has over 3 million users worldwide, 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: 30.9.21 (11.59pm PST).
    Prizes: $500, $250, $100.  Winners also receive exclusive Inkit badges, and social media features.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Inkitt Mystery

 


Added
15.7.21

 

Manchester Cathedral 600 Poetry Competition.  Believe it or not, it’s 600 years since the founding of the collegiate church that grew into the present-day Manchester Cathedral.  Seems like only yesterday.  To celebrate this great occasion, the cathedral is running a contest for poems of up to 15 lines.  You are probably wondering why it isn’t 600 lines.  I suspect it’s because the judges threatened to resign.  Poems should reflect, express or connect with the cathedral in some way.
They should be broadly religious or spiritual in nature, but should appeal to people who would not normally describe themselves as religious.  All faiths are welcome, they say, as well as poems from people struggling to discover a sense of the sacred.
    Closing: 30.9.21.
    Prizes: 10 x £100.  The winning poems will be published in a celebration booklet.
    Entry Fee: £6 for the first, £2 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
MCPC 600.

 


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
5.9.21

 

Joan Alice Prize for Poetry.  For this annual contest (formerly known as the Christopher Smart Prize) you submit a collection of poems in any style and on any subject.  The submission should run to between 48 and 120 pages.  You’ll note that I say ‘run’ rather than ‘plod’.  Don’t bung in a load of duds you’ve rescued from the recycle bin in a misguided effort to make yourself look more prolific than you are.
    Closing: 1.10.21.
    Prize : $2,000 and publication in the UK and USA.
    Entry Fee: $25.
    Comp Page:
Joan Alice Prize

 


Added
1.8.21

 

Perito Prize 2021.  This international competition from Perito Ltd is for stories of between 1,000 and 2,000 words on the themes of inclusive environments, inclusion and accessibility - concepts which touch upon the lives of many people due to disability, discrimination, inaccessibility, social exclusion and more.  Entries will be judged on the originality of ideas, voicing what accessibility, inclusivity and inclusive design means to the entrant. Your story can be in writing or presented as a mini audio book (with a written transcript to show that it conforms to the word count limits).
    Closing: 1.10.21.
    Prize: £500 and publication in an anthology and on the website.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page :
Perito Prize

 


Added
2.8.21

 

Bath Flash Fiction Award.  This recurring international contest from Bristol is for short fiction of up to 300 words.  There is no set theme.  You are probably wondering about the contest’s name: why Bath?  Well, it’s like this: I have no idea.
    Closing: 10.10.21.
    Prizes: £1,000, £300, £100, 2 x £30.
    Entry Fee: £9 for one, £15 for two, £18 for three.
    Comp Page:
Bath Flash.

 


Added
8.8.21

 

Dream Foundry Speculative Fiction Competition .  This freebie from the USA is for writers who are ‘relatively new’ to paid speculative fiction in English.  Your story should run to no more than 10,000 words.  It can be science-fiction, fantasy, weird fiction, etc.  I should be aimed at adults, but it must not contain gratuitous violence, sexual assault or abuse.
    Closing: 11.10.21.  Opens for entries 10.8.21.
    Prizes: $1,000, $500, $200.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Dream Foundry

 


Added
2.6.21

 

Best of the Bottom Drawer Global Writing Prize 2021.  Here’s an interesting freebie from Eyewear Publishing.  It is for any writing in any genre and style from anywhere in the world, up to 1,000 pages (minimum 40).  There’s a list on the website of the sort of things you could submit, but basically it’s anything that uses words (and optional images, so you could submit a graphic novel).
    Closing: 16.10.21.
    Prize: A publishing contract with an advance.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Bottom Drawer.

 


Added
1.8.21

 

Prole Pamphlet Competition.  To enter this annual contest from Prole Books you submit 20 to 40 A5 pages of poetry in any style and on any subject.  They’re looking for work that engages, entertains and challenges.
    Closing: 17.10.21.
    Prize: £200 and 25 copies of the pamphlet.
    Entry Fee: £12 for the first, £8 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Prole Pamphlet

 

 

 

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
7.6.21

 

Eyelands Book Awards.  This is the fourth of these international book award contests from literary magazine Eyelands and Strange Days Books in Greece.  There are two categories: Published Book and Unpublished Book.  Acceptable genres are Poetry, Novella, Short Story Collection, Novel, Children’s Book, Historical Fiction, Memoir, Graphic Novel.
    Closing: 20.10.21.
    Prizes: Unpublished Book - Translation into Greek and publication by Strange Days Books.  Published Book - a 5-day holiday in Athens, a special handmade ceramic and publication of extracts online and on the Eyelands website.  Runners-up (10) - Special handmade ceramics.  All winners receive a certificate, ideal for hanging on the wall where your visitors are sure to see it (i.e. next to the drinks cabinet).
    Entry Fee: $22 (20 euros) up to Sept 1st, then $30 (27 euros).
    Comp Page:
Eyelands Book

 


Added
1.8.21

 

Sussex Poetry Competition. To enter this contest which is being run in partnership with the University of Brighton, entrants must have links to Sussex (born, worked, lived or studied there).  The line limit is 40.  There is also a free-to-enter competition for students, and the promoters say there are usually not many entries for this.
    Closing: 24.10.21.
    Prizes: Main contest - £1,000, £250, Creative Tutorial.  Student - £150, £25, £25.  Winners will be invited to perform at the Sussex Poetry Festival.
    Entry Fee: £6 for the first, then £4.  Student category - free.
    Comp Page:
Sussex Poetry

 


Added
1.8.21

 

Dinesh Allirajah Prize.  This freebie from Manchester’s Comma Press and the University of Central Lancashire is for stories of between 2,000 and 6,000 words on the theme of Crime.  Along with your entry, you must submit a covering letter containing your name, address, email, contact number and story title (don’t be tempted to throw in a few gags in an effort to influence the judges: they’ll just think you’re trying to compensate for a lousy story).  If shortlisted, you will be expected to do your best to attend the prizegiving event.
    Closing: 29.10.21.
    Prizes: £500 and publication online by Northern Soul.  Shortlisted entries will be featured in an ebook anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
DA Prize

 

 

 

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
2.8.21

 

Foxes’ Retreat Free Writing Competition.  The writing in question should be 500 words in poetry prose or script on the theme of Other Worlds.  The contest is for humans rather than foxes, but if you identify as a fox and look like a fox, rest assured there is nothing in the rules that could lead to your disqualification.
    Closing: 30.10.21.
    Prize s: 1st - A one hour 1-to-1 Coaching for Writing session with Myszka.  2nd - A three-hour afternoon Writing Workshop place led by Myszka.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Foxes Retreat

 


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.
    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
1.6.21

 

Poetry Society National Poetry Competition.  In 1983 Carol Ann Duffy won this contest and 26 years later she became the Poet Laureate.  So if you’re hoping to become an overnight sensation, this is probably not the ideal starting point.  But there are compensations.  The top cash award is one of the best in the business, and the second prize isn’t bad either.  Your poem should run to no more than 40 lines.
    Closing: 31.10.21.
    Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000.  Runners-up (7) - £200.
    Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £4 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
PSNPC.

 


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.

 

 

 

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
19.8.21

 

Southport Writers’ Circle International Short Story Competition.  As a child I lived for a while just up the road from Southport.  It was a cultural backwater then, often referred to as the poor man’s Blackpool.  Not any more.  These days, in addition to its renowned flower show (‘a horticultural hotbed’) it has a writers’ circle and not one but two international literary contests.  Some are now calling Blackpool the poor man’s Southport, although admittedly not many.  The latest contest is for short stories of up to 2,000 words on any theme.  The judge is writer Spencer Lee.
    Closing: 31.10.21.
    Prizes: £150, £80, £30.  Winners will be published online.
    Entry Fee: £3 each, £10 for four.
    Comp Page:
SWC Story.

 


Added
2.6.21

 

Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize.  This contest, which is for fiction or non-fiction of between 1,000 and 1,500 words, is for young writers aged between 18 and 25 living in the UK.  Entries should interpret the following Benjamin Franklin quote for its relevance today: ‘Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as publick liberty, without freedom of speech.‘
    Closing: 31.10.21.
    Prizes: £750, £500.  Winners will be published on The Telegraph website.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
BenFrankLit.

 


Added
2.8.21

 

The Caledonia Novel Award.  This international competition from Edinburgh is open to unpublished and self-published debut novelists.  It is for stories of at least 50,000 words in any adult or young adult genre.  To enter, you email the first 20 pages of your novel (12-point type, double-spaced lines) followed by a 200 word synopsis.  If longlisted, you must submit the full manuscript by December 6.  Literary agent Alice Lutyens of Curtis Brown will be judging.
    Closing: 1.11.21.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,500.  There is in addition a special prize for the best entry from the British Isles and Ireland, comprising a place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre.  This is in the Scottish Highlands, possibly 14 miles from the nearest pub.  There will be no trains and quite likely no road.  You will therefore complete your journey on a donkey, accompanied by native guides and sherpas.  On the other hand the venue could be a five-star hotel with a superb road leading right up to the gate.  From a writer’s perspective I think the former would be preferable.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
Cal Novel Award.

 


Added
1.9.21

 

Young Walter Scott Prize.  Historical fiction - that’s what this one is all about, but it’s only for those who have no experience of history, by which I mean children and young adults (11 to 15, and 16 to 19).  Your story, which should be set before you were born, should run to between 800 and 2,000 words.  It can be in any form: prose, poetry, drama, fictional diaries, letters or reportage.  Entries must be made in hard copy, so you may need to seek advice from your parents about the intricacies of the postal service (those red boxes you’ve seen in the streets are not for litter).
    Closing: 1.11.21.
    Prizes (in each age category): A £500 travel and research grant to explore historical places in the UK, plus a two-day trip to the Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland.  Winners and runners-up will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: None - free entry.
    Comp Page:
Walter Scott Prize

 


Added
9.8.21

 

New Media Writing Prize 2021.  This international competition from Bournemouth University is, as the name suggests, for new media.  The contest, which is open to anyone of any age, has been running annually since 2010.  It is for fictional or non-fictional narrative, poem or other story form.  The promoters say the essence of new media writing for them is great storytelling which uses anything and everything that digital media has to offer, including interactivity.  All entries should be written specifically for delivery/viewing on a PC or Mac, the web, or a handheld device such as an iPad, mobile phone or one of the latest electric nose-hair clippers with Internet connectivity.  You can study previous winners in the website’s Archive section.
    Closing: 26.11.21 (Noon).  Students have a later deadline (noon on 17.12.21) as they seldom get up before noon and are bound to miss the first one.
    Prizes: if:book New Media Award - £1,000.  Writing Magazine Student Award - A year’s sub to Writing Magazine or a WM writing course.  The FIIP Digital Journalism Award - £500 and a year’s membership of FIIP.  The  Opening Up Award - £500.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
NMW Prize .

 


Added
9.8.21

 

East Riding Festival of Words Poetry Competition.  This one from the East Riding Wordfest in Yorkshire is for poems of up to 45 lines on the theme of ‘My Reasons to be Cheerful.’  Winners will be invited to read their poems at a special event.
    Closing: 27.11.21.
    Prizes: £500, £200, £150, 2 x £25.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page:
ERFW Poetry Comp:

 

 

 

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
1.6.21

 

Snapshot Press Book Awards.  This poetry contest from Snapshot Press of Ormskirk is for  book-length collections of between 60 and 100 haiku, tanka and other short poetry up to 25 lines including any blank lines (prose poems and haibun up to 200 words).  Poems must not have been previously published in a collection.
    Closing: 30.11.21.
    Prizes: Publication by Snapshot Press.
    Entry Fee: £20 per collection.
    Comp Page:
Snapshot Short Poetry.

 


Added
1.6.21

 

Bath Children's Novel Award. This annual international contest, which is open to unpublished and self-published emerging novelists writing for children or teens, is for novels of any length for children or young adults.  To enter, you send the first 5,000 words of your story plus a one-page synopsis.  The longlist is chosen by junior judges aged 7 to 17.
     Closing : 30.11.21.
     Prizes: 1st - £3,000.  The writer of the most promising longlisted novel will receive an online place on Edit Your Novel the Professional Way from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.  Shortlisted entrants will receive introductions to literary agents and feedback.
     Entry Fee: £28.
     Comp Page:
BCN Award.

 


Added
1.8.21

 

Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism.  This annual international contest from the Observer  newspaper is for reviews of new work in the arts.  Entries should be limited to 800 words.
    Closing: 30.11.21.
    Prizes: 1st - £3,000 plus publication in the Observer.  Runners-up (2) - £500.  There will be an awards ceremony at the Guardian Media Group headquarters in London.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
AB Arts Journalism

 


Added
1.9.21

 

WB Flash Fiction Competition.  Here we have another quick flash from Writers Bureau in Manchester.  Stories should be no longer than 500 words.
    Closing: 30.11.21.
    Prizes: £300, £200, £100.  Winners receive a Writers Bureau course of their choice.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
WB Flash.

 


Added
5.9.21

 

Cafe Writers Open Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from Cafe Writers of Norwich (where the Man in the Moon was keen to go, according to a report I read as a child) is for poems of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 30.11.21.
    Prizes: £1,000, £300, £200.  Runners-up (5) - £50.  Norfolk Prize (for a permanent Norfolk resident) - £100.
    Entry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three, £2 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Cafe Poetry.

 


Added
1.9.21

 

Ruth Rendell Short Story Competition.  This regular contest from the charity InterAct Stroke Support is for stories of up to 1,000 words in any genre.  It is open to anyone aged over 16.  The charity arranges for readings to stroke patients in hospitals and elsewhere by trained actors.  The winner of the competition will be commissioned to write four further stories for InterAct Stroke Support over the course of one year.  Stories must of course be suitable to be read in the sensitive environment of a hospital.  The winner will be chosen by novelist Dame Margaret Drabble.
    Closing: 21.12.21.
    Prize: £1,000.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page:
Ruth Rendell Story

 


Added
3.9.21

 

Green Stories Novel Prize .  Apparently only about 10% of entrants in this annual contest submit work that qualifies as a green story.  Some have presumably submitted novels about little green men from another planet, while others have offered stories with a gardening or jealousy theme.  Needless to say their work has been consigned to the recycling bin.  Therefore it will pay you to study the info provided by the promoters regarding their idea of a green story (positive visions of a more sustainable society, or green solutions in an otherwise mainstream story).  Once you have grasped this, submit three chapters of your finished novel or work in progress.  One of the chapters must be the first.  The three together should run to between 4,000 and 10,000 words.  Include a synopsis of between 500 and 1,000 words. The competition is organised by the University of Southampton.
    Closing: 30.12.21.
    Prize:  £1,000, £500.
    Entry Fee: Entrants must show that they have read at least one of the books from the Green Stories project.
    Comp Page:
Green Stories

 


Added
2.8.21

 

Moth Poetry Prize. This annual international contest from Irish magazine The Moth is for poems of any length and on any subject.  I should perhaps mention that the magazine is not devoted to the subject of moths, fascinating though these may be.  It is an arts and literature magazine.  Presumably the name is a reference to the way artists and writers are attracted to the light of recognition only to beat their wings in vain against an invisible barrier until finally, broken and defeated, they slide down to the windowsill of despair.  You’d think the magazine people could have come up with something a bit more cheerful than that, wouldn’t you?
    Closing: 31.12.21.
    Prizes: 1st - 6,000 euros.  Runners-up (3) - 1,000 euros.  Commended (8) - 250 euros.
    Entry Fee: 15 euros.
    Comp Page:
Moth Poetry Comp.

 

 

 

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
5.9.21

 

Black Spring Crime-Writing Prize 2021.  Here’s another competition with good specs from Eyewear Publishing (now the owner of Black Spring Press).  It is for full length crime novels with a minimum length of 50,000 words.  The promoters say they are looking for something fresh, something that breaks away from the genre’s stereotypes.  I wrote something like that for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger competition some years ago.  ‘Dare to be different!’ they’d said on the contest page.  So I did.  The novel reached the shortlist but got no further.  One of the judges said, ‘This writer will be good when they can decide which genre they’re writing for.’  So I would advise caution when being different and breaking away from the stereotypes.
    Closing: 1.1.22.
    Prizes : A $1,000 advance and publication by Black Spring Press.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
BSC Crime Prize

 


Added
5.9.21

 

Melita Hume Poetry Prize.  This year’s Melita Hume poetry prize from Eyewear Publishing is, as usual, for first full-length collections by poets aged 35 or under, resident in the UK or Ireland.  To enter, you submit between 48 and 100 pages.
    Closing: 3.1.22.
    Prizes : Publication with a £1,000 advance.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page:
Melita Hume Prize

 


Added
4.7.21

 

The Nature Chronicles Prize.  As I haven’t got a suitable sound clip handy, I must ask you to imagine a fanfare of trumpets to introduce this new international contest with a juicy prize.  It is for contemporary nature writing of between 2,000 and 8,000 words.  The promoters mention challenging established notions of nature where necessary, and the ultimate aim of producing a book of works that vary in style but share a commitment to truth and fellow feeling.  Essays and standalone extracts from unpublished books, and diaries, are all acceptable.  There will be a prize-giving ceremony at the Kendal Mountain Literature Festival in November 2022.  I’ve never been to this festival, but I suspect climbing may be necessary, with sherpas, etc.  You have been warned.
    Closing: 15.1.22.
    Prizes: 1st - £10,000.  Runners-up (5) - £1,000.
    Entry Fee: £15.
    Comp Page:
Nature Chronicles

 


Added
2.8.21

 

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: 16.1.21.
    Prizes: £300, £100, £100.  Winners will be published in the novella collection.
    Entry Fee: £16.
    Comp Page:
Novella Flash.

 


Added
1.9.21

 

W&A Yearbook Short Story Competition 2022.  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: 11.2.22.
    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
1.8.21

 

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: 1.4.22 (opens for entries 16.8.21).
    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
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  2021

                                                           Poem: Being a Writer

 


 

 

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