My poem ’Under and After All’ was longlisted for the Fish poetry prize! This is gratifying and surprising, because I hardly ever write poems. In this case I had a short story that was clearly a bit too strange and avant garde – so I thought, I’ll pare it down, chop up the lines, and call it a poem. If I were to write a poem, it would normally rhyme and stuff. There’s now a terrible temptation to get my old, failed stories out and make them into weird blank verse.
It’s here if you’re interested.
Here again is a look at writing competitions I might enter during the coming month (a personal selection, so no poetry or competitions not open to UK writers, for example – but competitions for old people are definitely in…)
- Fitzcarraldo Editions (for Europe and Africa – elsewhere, other publishers) have a novel prize contest which is free to enter (so far as I can see), but offers a top prize of $10,000 plus publication. For these purposes a novel can be as little as 30,000 words – but the deadline is 1 June
- Also closing on 1 June, the Salamander Fiction Prize requires up to 30 pages. Entry is $15, and the top prize is $1,000.
- Write by the Sea, based in Kilgore Quay, gives you a couple more days, with a deadline of 3 June. Maximum word count is 3,000, entry is €10. There are three categories: winners in two get €500, while the one judged overall winner gets €1,000. All three get a coveted trophy.
- You have until 13 June to enter the Aurora prize: entry is £9, the prize£500, and 2,000 words is the maximum.
- The splendid Stories Through the Ages competition is for ‘Baby Boomers plus’ – people born no later than1966. It’s $25 to enter and the prize is $500 – the best stories go into an anthology. The deadline is 15 June.
- The Howard Frank Mosher competition allows up to a full 8,000 words. Entry is $20, first prize $1,000, and the deadline is again 15 June.
- Not actually a competition as such, but Bureau Dispatch will pay $50 for stories up to 1,500 words. There is no fee (and there shouldn’t be). The deadline is 17 June.
- Leicester Writes is back with a maximum word count of 3,500, entry fee of £5, and prize of £175 – deadline 20 June.
All the rest have a deadline of 30 June.
- Write Time has another competition for us old folk – in this case, over 60s. The maximum word count is 1,500, entry is a modest £3 with a modest top prize of £50.
- The Moth wants up to 4,000 words for a prize of €3,000 (that’s more like it!). Entry is €15.
- The Wells Festival of Literature‘s prize is £750: entry is £6 and they’re looking for stories between 1 and 2 thousand words.
- The regular Henshaw competition is back with its prize of £200 for 2,000 words, with entry at £6.00. I don’t usually go for the paid feedback options offered by some contests, and some are expensive and unhelpful: but I’ve found Henshaw good value for money in that respect.
- The Boston Review accepts up to 4,000 words and offers a prize of $1,000 for a $20 entry fee: stories must be on the theme ‘Speculation’.
- Also with a theme, ‘Ink’, Blackwater Press has an entry fee of $5 and a prize of $150. Although this is a short story competition, there is apparently no limit on length. Perhaps don’t send your 180,000 word fantasy novel, though.
If you get anywhere with any of these, please do let me know!