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

 
  

UK Writing Competitions (currently 48)

 


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.  Here’s a quarterly flash fiction contest which offers higher prize money than many similar competitions. It is for stories of up to 500 words on any theme.
    Closing: Quarterly (end of March, June, September, December).
    Prizes: 1st - £300.  2nd - £200.  3rd - £100.  Winners will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5 each, £8 for two.
    Comp Page:
Flash 500 Story.

 
    
  

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

 


Added
21.1.24

 

MTP Short Story Competition.  Here we have 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: 31.5.24.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000.  2nd - £500.  3rd - £250.  Runners-up (5) - £50. Winners will be published online and in a print and e-book anthology (the title of this will be based on the title of the winning story).
    Entry Fee: £8.  Early Bird Entries (up to 29.2.24) - £6.
    Comp Page:
MTP Story Comp.

 


Added
26.1.24

 

Wirral Poetry Festival Open Poetry Competition.  Poems of up to 40 lines are invited for this long-running contest from the Wirral where Vikings once settled ... before being moved on by the council following complains of antisocial behaviour.
    Closing: 31.5.24.
    Prizes: Open - £250, 4 x £25.  Wirral Prizes - £100, 2 x £25
    Enry Fee: £4 each, £10 for three.
    Comp Page:
Wirral Poetry

 


Added
4.2.24

 

First Novel Prize 2024.  From Daniel Goldsmith Associates of London comes this annual international contest for first novels in any adult genre.  To enter you send in an extract from your novel plus a synopsis and your contact details.  The total submission must not exceed 5,000 words.  Extracts from self-published or independently published novels are admissible.
    Closing: 31.5.24.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,000.  Runner-up - £500.
    Entry Fee: £25.
    Comp Page:
First Novel.

 


Added
4.2.24

 

Frome Festival Short Story Competition.  Here it comes again - the annual contest from Froooom (as the locals like to pronounce it).  And as usual, it’s for stories of between 1,000 and 2,200 words.  There is no theme.
    Closing: 31.5.24.
    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: £6 up to March 31st, then £8.
    Comp Page:
Frooom Story.

 

 

 

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
2.9.23

 

Frogmore Poetry Prize.  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 as it ran to 360 lines.  The line limit here is 40.
    Closing: 31.5.24.
    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.  Shortlisted poets also get copies of selected Frogmore Press publications, plus publicaion in the mag.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page:
Frogmore PP

 


Added
7.12.23

 

Bath Novel Award .  This well-known international competition for unagented emerging novelists is celebrating its tenth anniversary with an increased prize fund of £10,000.  To enter you submit the first 5,000 words of your completed novel (minimum 50,000 words) aimed at adults or young adults.  Also required is a one-page synopsis.
    Closing: 31.5.24.
    Prizes :  1st - £5,000 and an exclusive trophy.  Shortlistees receive a compilation of Award readers’ comments on their entry, while all listees receive feedback on their opening pages.  One longlistee will also win a place on the online course, Edit Your Novel the Professional Way, from Professional Writing Academy and Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.
    Entry Fee: £29.99.
    Comp Page:
Bath Novel

 


Added
5.1.24

 

Black Orchid Novella Award.  This is the 18th of these annual mystery story contests from The Wolfepack (the official Nero Wolfe Literary Society) in the USA.  It is open worldwide.  To enter, you submit an original detective story of between 15,000 and 20,000 words in the traditional deductive style exemplified by Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series.  Your story should contain no sex or violence and, presumably, no fat-shaming.
    Closing: 31.5.24.
    Prize: $1,000 and publication in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine..
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
Nero Wolfe Novella

 


Added
1.2.24

 

Bridport Prize.  This famous 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) for a novel opening and synopsis.
    Closing: 31.5.24.
    Prizes: Short Stories, Poems - (in each category) £5,000, £1,000, £500, and ten @ £100.  Flash Fiction - £1,000, £500, £250, and five @ £100.  Winning entries will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fees: Poems - £12.  Short Stories - £14.  Flash Fiction - £11.
    Comp Page:
Bridport Prize.

 


Added
1.2.24

 

The Peggy Chapman-Andrews Novel 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, or are British citizens living overseas, or writers living in any of the 14 British Overseas Territories.  To be eligible you must not have 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: 31.5.24.
    Prizes: 1st - £1,500 plus mentoring from The Literary Consultancy, and a consultation with London literary agents AM Heath and Publisher Headline.  2nd - £750 plus full manuscript appraisal.  Runners-up (3) - £150 plus a 15,000-word manuscript appraisal.  The winning novel extracts will be published in the anthology.
    Entry Fee: £24.
    Comp Page:
Chapman-Andrews Award.

 


Added
1.2.24

 

Yeovil Literary Prize.  This is the 23rd of these annual international contests from Yeovil, the literary capital of the West Country where even the sheep appreciate poetry.  There are five categories: Short Story, Poetry, Novel, Children’s & YA Novel, and Unrestricted.  The short stories can run to 2,000 words, while poems should be no more than 40 lines.  Adult Novels have a limit of 10,000 words for the opening chapters and synopsis.  Children’s & YA entries should be no more than 3,000 (opening) words with a 500-word synopsis, and can include one illustration.  The final category is unusual in that it’s for anything you have written - as long as it has ‘the Wow! factor’ (they mean ‘Wow - that’s brilliant!’ rather than, ‘Wow - you’ve really plumbed the depths with that one!’).  Your entry could be a particularly creative tax return, a witty note to the milkman, or that hilariously scathing critique of your former best friend’s novel, etc.
    Closing: 31.5.24.
    Prizes: Short Story - £600, £250, £125.  Poetry - £600, £250, £125.  Novel - £1,250, £500, £125.  Children’s & YA Novel - £600, £250, £125.  Writing Without Restrictions - £250, £125, £75.  In addition there is the Western Gazette Best Local Writer Award for a shortlisted writer 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 - £8.  Poetry - £5.  Novel - £14.50.  Children’s & YA Novel - £12.50.  Writing Without Restrictions - £6.
    Comp Page:
Yeovil Lit Prize.

 


Added
2.4.24

 

The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition.  If you have an original idea, a fresh voice and a story children will love, you could be in luck because that’s just what the organisers of this contest are looking for.  They’re also looking for twenty quid from your pocket, but grit your teeth and think of the prize.  Your story should be suitable for a worldwide audience of children/young adults somewhere between the ages of 7 and 18 years.  Your manuscript can run to a suggested maximum of 80,000 words, and there is a suggested minimum of 30,000.  You have to include a page-long synopsis (as described on the website) and a page-long letter explaining the book’s appeal to children (e.g. ‘It’s about fluffy bunnies and adorable kittens - the hero likes to eat them.’).
    Closing: 1.6.24.
    Prize: 1st - A publishing contract with an advance of £10,000, plus representation by a top literary agent.  2nd - a publishing contract with a £7,500 advance.
    Entry Fee: £20.
    Comp Page:
Click Here.

 


Added
1.5.24

 

McLellan Poetry Competition.  Arran Theatre and Arts Trust is looking for poems of up to 90 lines in English for its latest poetry contest.  There is a separate contest for the best poems in the Scottish language.
    Closing: 2.6.24.
    Prizes: £1,000, £250.  Scots language contest: £1,000, £250.
    Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £5 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Arran Poem

 


Added
5.4.24

 

Bath Flash Fiction Award.  You could make some good money in a flash with this regular runner Bath.  Up to 300 words is all it takes to be in with a chance.
    Closing: 2.6.24.
    Prizes: £1,000, £300, £300, 2 x £30.  Fifty longlisted entrants will be offered publication in an anthology.  Those accepting will receive a free ciopy.
    Entry Fee: £7.50 for one, £12 for two, £10 for three.  There are reductions for entering early.
    Comp Page:
Bath Flash

 


Added
2.3.24

 

Canterbury Poet of the Year Competition.  It’s back again: the annual international poetry contest from Canterbury Festival.  As usual, it is for poems of up to 60 lines.  Shortlisted poets will be asked to read their work at the online awards evening (via Zoom) on October 5, but they can if they wish nominate someone else to do this, including one of the judges.
    Closing: 7.6.23.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  All longlisted entries (approximately 35) will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee : £5.
    Comp Page:
Canterbury Festival Comp

 

 

 

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
13.5.24

 

Crysse Morrison Prize for Poetry.  Here’s a repeat of the poetry competition from the annual Frome Festival in Somerset.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines.
    Closing: 14.6.24.
    Prizes: 1st - £200.  2nd - £100.  3rd - £75.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Froom Poetry

 


Added
1.3.24

 

George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition.  This annual contest from the Suffolk Poetry Society, a registered charity, has been running since 1954.  It 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, Norfolk or Essex, or work or reside there, or have been educated there.  I don’t think it will be good enough if you merely identify as having been born in the area even though you were actually born in, say Glasgow, but these days you never know.
    Closing: 14.6.24.
    Prizes: £500, £250, £150.  Runners-up (2) - £100.  There will be an awards event at which winning and commended poems will be read, preferably by their authors.  The poems will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £4.
    Comp Page:
Crabbe Poetry.

 


Added
1.4.24

 

BCSA Writing Competition.  This annual free contest from the British Czech and Slovac Association is for fact or fiction prose of between 1,500 and 2,000 words on the links between Britain and the Czech/Slovak Republics, or describing society in those Republics since 1989.  ‘Discovering a New Country’ is suggested as this year’s theme but it is not compulsory (see comp page for more info about that theme if you’re thinkiing of using it).  The contest is open to all.
    Closing: 30.6.24.
    Prizes: £400, £150.  The winner will be presented with his or her prize at the BCSA’s annual dinner in London.  The winning entries will be published in the British Czech and Slovak Review.
    Entry Fee: None - free to enter.
    Comp Page:
BCSA Comp.

 


Added
6.2.24

 

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 Kathy Miles will be judging.
    Closing: 30.6.24.
    Prizes: £500, £250, £100.  Winners and 17 runners-up will be published in a future anthology.
    Entry Fee: £6.
    Comp Page:
Welsh Poetry.

 


Added
6.3.24

 

Wells Festival of Literature Competitions.  Here we have a return of the famous Wells Litfest and its various competitions: Poetry, Short Story, Book for Children, Young Poets.  I should mention before we go any further that we are talking about Wells in Somerset, not Wells in Norfolk which also has an annual litfest (I wouldn’t want you turning up at the wrong event to receive your prize or to berate the judges for not awarding you anything).  Anyway, back to business.  For the Poetry you are allowed up to 35 lines, while the Short Stories should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words.  For the Book for Children, which must be suitable for youngsters aged 7+ (includes YA), you need to submit the first two chapters (or first 20 pages, this being the maximum) plus a synopsis of up to 2 pages (and don’t use a microscopic font that’s only suitable for the small print in dodgy contracts).  If shortlisted, you may 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.
    Closing: 30.6.24.  Opens for entries 1.4.24.
    Prizes: Poetry - £1,000, £500, £250.  Short Story, Book for Children (in each category) - £750, £300, £200.  Young Poets - £200, £150, £100.  Additional prizes: Local Prize for poetry, short story - £100 in each category.  Book for Children Local Prize - £100.
    Entry Fee : Adult categories - £6.  Young Poets - £3.
    Comp Page:
Wells Litfest.

 


Added
1.4.24

 

Ware Poets Poetry Competition.  Ware Poets of Hertfordshire are running their annual contest again, and as before it is for poems of up to 50 lines on any subject.  There is a separate category for sonnets.  Winning poems are entered for the Forward Prize.
    Closing: 30.6.24.
    Prizes: £600, £300, £150.  Ware Sonnet Prize - £150.
    Entry Fee : £5 each, £13 for three and £4 each thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Ware Poets

 


Added
1.4.24

 

Moth Short Story Prize. Back again for another flutter around the street lamps is this annual contest from Irish magazine The Moth.  It is for stories of up to 3,000 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: 30.6.24.
    Prizes: 1st - 3,000 euros.  2nd - A week’s writing retreat at Circle of Misse in France, with an open travel stipend.  3rd - 1,000 euros.  The winning story will be published in the Irish Times while the 2nd and 3rd entries will be published in the Irish Times online.
    Entry Fee: 15 euros.
    Comp Page:
Moth Short Story.

 


Added
2.1.24

 

Farnham Flash Fiction Competition.  Here’s one from the Farnham Literary Festival in Surrey.  It is for stories of up to 500 words on any subject.
    Closing: 1.7.24.
    Prizes: £100, £25.  Best story featuring Farnham - £25.  Selected longlisted stories will be published in the competition anthology.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Farnham Flash

 


Added
2.5.24

 

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: 1.7.24.
    Prizes: 1st - £500, publication online and in Whispering Gallery, plus mentoring by an author and agent.  Two runners-up will be offered mentoring.  All shortlisted entries will be published in an ebook/print-on-demand edition via Amazon.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
HWA DD Story

 

 

 

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
7.4.24

 

Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize.  ‘Wasafiri’, according to the website, ‘is a literary magazine at the forefront of mapping new landscapes in international literature.’  Try saying that in Kiswahili, the language from which the magazine’s title comes.  Now, you are probably thinking that the magazine itself must hail from Africa, but this is not so.  It was born at the University of Kent in 1984, and as far as I know it has no African connection at all.  Nor, I might add, has the contest.  This has three categories (Poetry, Fiction, Life Writing) and is open to anyone anywhere in the world who has not published a complete book in their chosen category.  The word limit for the Fiction and Life Writing is 3,000.  In the poetry category, you can submit up to three poems (total words 3,000 max) for the same entry fee (start each poem on a separate page in the same document).  You can enter more than one category, but only once each.  Incidentally, ‘wasafiri’, in case your Kiswahili is a bit rusty, means ‘cultural traveller’.
    Closing: 1.7.24 (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.  Shortlisted entries will be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £12.  If you enter two separate categories it’s £16.
    Comp Page:
Wasafiri Prize.

 


Added
1.5.24

 

Hastings Book Festival Competitions.  Short stories and poetry are the order of the day here, the former having a word allowance of up to 2,500, the latter a line allowance of up to 40.
    Closing: 7.7.24 (10pm).
    Prizes (in each category): £250, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: £8.25 for one, £15 for two, £21 for three.
    Comp Page:
Hastings Litfest

 


Added
1.5.24

 

Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition.  A welcome return for this annual contest from Ledbury in Wales.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines.  The judge this year is prizewinning poet Philip Gross.
    Closing: 8.7.24.
    Prize:  1st - £1,000 and a week’s poetry course with Arvonplus an Arvon poetry course (residential or online).  2nd - £500. 3rd - £250.  Winners will be invited to perform their work at the Ledbury Festival in 2025.
    Entry Fees: £6.
    Comp Page:
Ledbury Poetry

 


Added
1.4.24

 

HG Wells Short Story Competition.  Here’s a welcome return for the annual contest from the H.G.Wells Festival in Folkestone.  As usual it is for stories of between 1,500 and 5,000 words in any genre.  The stated theme this year is ‘The Fool.’  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.  Now, 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: 8.7.24 (11pm BST).
    Prizes: Adult (22 or over) - £500.  Junior (21 or under) - £1,000.  All shortlisted entries will be published in a  paperback anthology and Kindle version.
    Entry Fee: £10 if you are over 21.  Free if you are 21 or under.  If you are a student who is over 21 (with ID to prove it), it’s £5.
    Comp Page:
HG Wells.

 


Added
1.4.24

 

Doris Gooderson Short Story Competition.  Here we have another annual contest, this time from Wrekin Writers of Shropshire.  Stories can be on any subject but must not exceed 1,200 words.  At least 50% of profits will be donated to Severn Hospice.
    Closing: 12.7.24.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Gooderson Story.

 


Added
1.5.24

 

Short Com TV Sitcom Writing Competition.  Got an idea for a sitcom?  Who hasn’t?  But if you think yours has got legs and can consistently produce the giggles, here’s an opportunity to do something with it.  Your script should be 23 to 30 pages and written in industry screenplay format.
    Closing: 12.7.24.
    Prizes: Scripts that make it onto the shortlist will be touted to the industry.  The overall winner will be offered annual membership on The British Comedy Guide Pro platform.
    Entry Fees: £15 to 24,4,24, then £20 to 9.6.24, then £25.  There are options for feedback, with additional fees.
    Comp Page:
Short Sitcom

 


Added
1.5.24

 

Leicester Writes Short Story Prize.  Original fiction of under 3,500 words is required for this international contest from independent publisher Dahlia Books of Leicester.
    Closing: 15.7.24.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £75.
    Entry Fee : £7 for one, £12 for two, £18 for three.
    Comp Page:
Leicester Writes

 


Added
1.5.24

 

Winchester Poetry Prize.  Back with a bang like a shot from a Winchester rifle is this annual contest from the Winchester Poetry Festival.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines.  Prizewinning poet Clare Shaw will be judging.
    Closing: 31.7.24..
    Prizes: £1,000, £500, £250.  Winners will be announced live at the Winchester Poetry Festival on Saturday, October 5, 2024.  Winning and commended poems will appear in an anthology which will be available on the day.  There is also a prize for the best poem written by a Hampshire-based poet.
    Entry Fee: £6 for the first, £5 thereafter.
    Comp Page:
Winchester Fest.

 


Added
1.5.24

 

Seán O'Faoláin International Short Story Competition.  Here’s another international contest from the Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland.  It is for stories up to 3,000 words on any subject and in any style.  Entries must be in English.
    Closing: 31.7.24.
    Prizes: 1st - 2,000 euros, a one week residency at Anam Cara Retreat, publication in Southword, and a featured reading at the Cork International Short Story Festival, with 4-night hotel stay and full board.  2nd - 500 euros and publication in Southword.  3rd - 250 euros and publication in Southword.
    Entry Fee: 19 euros.
    Comp Page:
Southword Story.

 


Added
1.5.24

 

Olga Sinclair Prize.  This annual international contest from Norwich Writers’ Circle is for fiction of up to 2,000 words.  The theme this year is Nature.
    Closing: 31.7.24.
    Prizes: £500, £250, £100.  Winners and other shortlistees will be published in an anthology.
    Entry Fee: £9.
    Comp Page:
Olga Sinclair Prize.

 


Added
2.5.24

 

Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry Translation.  This year’s contest has changed, with the Adult category now open worldwide, and additional categories added.  To enter, translate into English any poem from any language (60 lines max, extracts are accepted), then submit it together with a commentary of up to 300 words (see website for details) and the original poem.  There are other categories as well as Adult and Youth (one for schools, one for Teachers and one for poems celebrating Portuguese culture).  There is even a category for  BSL translations (you send in a link to a sign language video along with your entry).
    Closing: 31.7.24.
    Prizes: Adults - 1st - £1,000 and publication in Modern Poetry in Translation magazine.  2nd - £500.  3rd - £250.  All three winners will be published the Stephen Spender prize booklet, and there will be online publication for others.  The winning poem will be published in the print edition of Modern Poetry in Translation.  Youth Categories: 18 and Under - £100 each for three winners.  14 and Under - £75 each for three winners.
    Entry Fee: Adults - £10 for the first, £5 each for up to two more.  Entry is free if you are 18 or under.
    Comp Page:
Spender Prize.

 


Added
1.5.24

 

NAWG Open Competition.  Waking from hibernation is this annual contest from the National Association of Writers and Groups.  It is for poems of up to 40 lines and stories of between 500 and 2,000 words.  In both cases your efforts should be aimed at adults.
    Closing: 31.8.24.
    Prizes: £200, £100, £50.  Winning entries may be published on the website.
    Entry Fee: £5 each (story or poem).  In the poetry category, three poems can be entered for £10.
    Comp Page:
NAWG Open

 

 

 

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

 


Added
1.5.24

 

Oxford Poetry Prize.  Here’s another international contest from Oxford Poetry, the oldest dedicated poetry magazine in the UK (founded 1910).  It is for poems of up to 50 lines.
    Closing: 31.8.24 (midnight UTC).
    Prizes: £1,000, £200, £100.  The winner will be published in a print issue of Oxford Poetry and online.  Second and Third prize winners will be offered publication.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
Oxford Poetry

 


Added
1.5.24

 

Fool for Poetry Competition.  To enter this international chapbook competition from Munster Literature Centre in southern Ireland you submit 16 to 24 pages of your work.  The poems can have been published before but they must not have appeared together in a book.
    Closing: 31.8.24.  Opens for entries 1.6.24.
    Prizes (in euroes): 1,000, 500.  The two winners will be published in chapbook form by Southword Editions.  Each will receive 25 free copies of their book.
    Entry Fee: 25 euros.
    Comp Page:
Fool Poetry

 


Added
29.2.24

 

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award.  The writing in question for this contest from Aesthetica Magazine is short fiction running to no more than 2,000 words, and poetry of up to 40 lines.  Submissions can be on any subject and may have been previously published.
    Closing: 31.8.24.
    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
1.5.24

 

New Voices First Novel Competition.  Here we have another international contest from London-based mentoring service Adventures in Fiction.  It requires you to submit the first page of your novel and a one-page synopsis.  The contest is aimed at writers who have completed at least 50 pages of their manuscript.
    Closing: 14.9.24.
    Prizes: A start-up mentoring package (normally costing ovr £750) which includes manuscript appraisal, a consultation and a development strategy.
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
New Voices.

 


Added
1.3.24

 

Hammond House International Writing Competitions.  This annual 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, scripts (theatre, radio, short film or TV) of up to 10 pages (approx. 10 minutes duration), and Songwriting in the form of just lyrics or complete songs.  In all categories the theme is Time.
    Closing: 30.9.24.
    Prizes: Short Story - £1,000, £100, £50.  Poetry - £250, £50, £25.  Script - £500.  Songwriting - £100 in each sub-category, plus the song will be played at the 2025 Literary Festival and released worldwide on the Hammond House record label.  All shortlisted entries in the Story and Poetry categories will be published in the anthology, as will the scriptwriting winners.  There will be a televised awards ceremony (so get your politically correct, virtue signalling acceptance speech ready - and don't forget to thank the train/taxi driver, etc, without whom you wouldn’t be there).
    Entry Fee: £10.
    Comp Page:
HH Lit Prize

 


Added
1.4.24

 

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: 30.9.24.  Opens for entries 15.4.24.
    Prizes: Tom Howard Prize (any style) - $3,500 + gift certificate.  Margaret Reid Prize (traditional verse) - $3,500 + gift certificate.  In addition there will be ten Honourable Mention awards of $300.  The Dishonourable Mention awards have been dropped this year following several suicides.  I wrote that last bit on April 1st.
    Entry Fee: $22 per submission (one submission can contain up to 3 poems).
    Comp Page:
TH & MR Poetry.

 


Added
1.5.24

 

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.
    Closing: 31.10.24.
    Prizes in each category (Poetry, Short Story): £1,500, £300, £200.  In addition there are special prizes for young writers and Bedford residents.  Shortlisted and winning entries will be published in an anthology (e-book and hardcopy).
    Entry Fee: £8.50 each, £17 for three.  Full-time students: £6 each, £12 for three.
    Comp Page:
BWC.

 


Added
1.5.24

 

Scribble Short Story CompetitionScribble magazine’s annual story competition is for tales of up to 3,000 words.  This year the theme is ‘GOING BACK.’
   Closing: 1.11.24.
    Prizes: £100, £50, £25.
    Entry Fee: £5.
    Comp Page:
Scribble Story.

 


Added
18.4.24

 

Bath Children's Novel Award.  This annual international contest, which is open to unpublished and self-published emerging authors, is for novels and chapter books of any length (but see recommendations) aimed at children or young adults.  It is also for picture books. To enter a novel or chapter book, you send the first 5,000 words plus a one-page synopsis.  For picture books, you submit up to three complete stories in the same document with short summaries of each story (without pictures).
     Closing: 30.11.24.
     Prizes: 1st - £5,000 and a Minerva trophy.  The writer of the most promising longlisted novel will receive an online place on Edit Your Novel the Professional Way from co-sponsors Professional Writing Academy and Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.  Shortlisted entrants will receive feedback on their work.
     Entry Fee: £29.99 (for picture books, this covers up to three stories in the same document).
     Comp Page:
BCN Award.

 


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

 
  

************************************************************************

 
 
 

*********************************************************************************
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/

 
       
        


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   My Humorous Verse, Songs, Etc (sample)
     
                           T
his is the Prizemagic website
                           
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                           Copyright:  Michael Shenton  2024

                                                           Poem: Being a Writer

 


                             Romantic Poetry by Michael Shenton (sample)
 

 

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