Here is a look at writing competitions I might enter during the coming month (so no poetry or competitions that are not open to UK writers, for example).
The Grindstone Novel Competition looks for the first 5,000 words of your novel, plus a synopsis. Entry is £16, and you could win £1,000 plus introductions to some people who might be helpful. The deadline is 1 April.
Nimrod is running the Katherine Ann Porter competition. Up to 7,500 words, $20 to enter, and a top prize of $2,000. Again, the deadline is 1 April.
The Missouri Review’s Perkoff Prize will take up to a sprawling 8,500 words on the theme of health or medicine. Entry is $15, first prize £1,000, and the deadline is 2 April.
The Masters Review is back, seeking manuscripts of up to 7,000 words for another anthology: entry is $20 and you can win $500 plus publication. Enter by 2 April.
The Brick Lane Bookshop has a word limit of 1,000 to 5,000 words. Entry is £10, first prize £1,000, and you have until 3 April.
The Evening Standard is running a free competition – and you only have to produce 1,000 words, on the theme of ‘belonging’. The downside is that there’s no money prize, but you get mentoring, publication in the Standard and participation in various events. The deadline is 12 April.
Desperate Literature is back, looking for up to 2,000 words. Entry is €20 and you can win €1,500 plus a week’s literary residence in a splendid Italian castle. The deadline is 16 April.
The First Pages competition requires the first 1,250 words of your book: it’s $20 to enter, with a prize of $2000, and you must get your entry in by 24 April.
The Australian Book Review’s Elizabeth Jolley Prize requires up to 5,000 words. Entry is A$30, the top prize is A$6,000, and the deadline is 24 April.
With the same deadline, we have the Bath Short Story Award with entry fee of £9 (I’d round it up if it were me). The word count must be under 2,200 and the prize is £1,200.
The we have the Bristol Short Story Prize, which accepts up to 4,000 words. The entry fee is… £9 (is this a thing?), and the top prize £1,000. The deadline is 26 April.
The Ghost Story’s Supernatural Fiction Award is not restricted to actual ghost stories. The word count can be as high as 10,000, it costs $20 to enter, and you can win $1,500 plus of course publication. The deadline is 30 April.
With the same deadline, the Letter Review Short Story competition accepts stories up to 3,000 words. Again it’s $20 to enter and the prize is $600.
Mirk Fantasy magazine is new and wants stories up to 2,500 words on the theme ‘Outsiders’. It’s £5 to enter and the prize is £100. Any kind of fantasy is acceptable, but their favourite is apparently epic or high fantasy. Deadline 30 April.
Finally, you can get the ‘early bird’ entry fee of €12 if your entry for the Anthology short story prize is in by 30 April. If you’re prepared to pay €18, you can have until the end of August. Maximum 1,500 words and the top prize is €1,000 plus publication and a year’s subscription.
If you enter any of these and win (or get anywhere), do let me know!
Here is a look at writing competitions I might enter which have deadlines in the coming month (so no poetry or flash, for example).
Not to be missed, the Alpine Fellowship seeks stories of up to 2,500 words on the theme of ‘Flourishing’. They interpret this word in a particular way, so I recommend reading what they say about it. It’s free to enter: first prize is £3,000, down from the massive £10,000 of previous years, but still generous, and it comes with an invitation to their August symposium in Fjällnäs, Sweden. The deadline is 1 March.
Not actually a competition, but with the same deadline, Guts Publishing is open for submissions of works at least 30,000 words long.
Is March 1 Guts Day? Because with the same deadline again we have the Gutsy Great Novelist competition, looking for Chapter One of your novel. This one costs $20 to enter, with a prize of $1,000.
The Fowey Festival competition has a deadline of 5 March, and seeks up to 1,500 words. It’s £10 to enter, with a £250 prize and the melancholy theme is ‘I’ll Never Be Young Again’.
Entries to the Tennessee Williams Short Story contest should have some link to the great author and be between 1,500 and 4,000 words. $10 to enter, a prize of $200, and the deadline is 11 March.
The BBC National Short Story Award is a big one, with a prize of £15,000 and your work published and broadcast. Entrants need a record of prior publication and self-publishing does not count. It’s free, however, and there’s a generous word count limit of 8,000. The deadline is 13 March.
The Perkoff Prize, from the Missouri Review, wants up to 8,500 words on health or medicine. It costs $15, the prize is $1,000, and the deadline is 15 March.
With the same deadline, Lorian Hemingway (granddaughter of Ernest and a notable writer herself) looks for up to 3,500 words. Entry is $15 if you’re quick or $20 later, and the prize is $1,500.
Also with a deadline of 15 March, Phoebe wants up to 5,000 words. Entry is $7 and top prize $500. The link goes to the Submittable page, scroll down for the relevant details.
All the rest have a deadline of 31 March.
The Deborah Rogers Foundation offers a big prize of £10,000 for a promising work in progress. Send 15 to 20,000 words of your manuscript so far. It’s free: the intention is to help give someone who is struggling the support they need to get their writing project delivered. You must reside in Britain, the Commonwealth, or Eire. As a comfortably retired person with plenty of opportunity to write, I probably won’t enter, but I hope they find a worthy winner.
The Clay Reynolds Prize from the Texas Review is a relatively rare opportunity for works in the novella form (20 to 50,000 words). Entry is $20, and you could win $500 plus publication.
The Crazy Cats are back with an Easter competition in which you must include swearing and/or insults: however, you are to use the names of pastries or chocolate as the offensive terms, you bunch of glazed croissants. Up to 2,500 words, £7.50 to enter and a prize of £70 (not huge but it would buy you a few pains au choc).
The focus is on experiences for the Long Covid anthology, which is free to enter. There will be no single winner, but selected accounts of the continued impact of the disease (up to 1,500 words) will be published and the authors will receive an honorarium.
That old warhorse the Henshaw prize is still plugging away, with the latest competition offering the usual £200 prize for stories up to 2,000 words: it’s £6 to enter and for a modest extra fee you can get feedback.
Finally, Pinch Literary Awards, from Memphis, wants up to 5,000 words. Entry is $20 and the prize is a nice $2,000.
Good luck if you enter any of these; if you get anywhere, please do let me know.
Here are the writing competitions I might enter with deadlines in February.
The Jim Baen prize is for positive stories about space exploration in the near future. Up to 8,000 words are required, it’s free and the winner gets an award, publication, and 8 cents per word on publication. The deadline is 1 February
Chiplitfest is back: entry is £8 for stories up to 2,500 words, or you can go as high as 5000 words if you pay £10. Enter by 5 February.
Stringybark needs stories with a link to Australia (but it could be as little as a jar of Vegemite on the counter). Up to 1.500 words: A$15 to enter and a prize of A$500. The deadline is 12 February.
The Writers and Artists Yearbook want up to 2.000 words and it’s free to enter! You could win a place on an Arvon course. Stories must be on the theme ‘Love’ Enter by 14 February (see where the theme comes from?).
Brink literary journal wants hybrid (or cross-genre) stories – but not avant garde experimental writing. Check the site for more explanation. It’s $22 to enter and the winner will be published in October. The deadline is 15 February.
The Mary McCarthy prize from Sarabande Press wants 150-200 pages. The entry fee is $29, with the top prize being $2,000 plus publication. Again, the deadline is 15 February.
NOWW (the Northern Ontario Writers’ Workshop) wants 2,000-3,500 words. It’s CA$10 to enter and top prize is CA$150. The deadline is 28 February.
Bridge House want up to 5,000 words on the theme ‘Gifted’: it’s free to enter, and the winner will be published and paid royalties. The deadline is 28 February.
The AWP awards cover competitions for four different forms: for me the most interesting are the short story collection and novel ones. Entries need to be book length, which for short stories means 150-300 pages and for novels at least 60,000 words. It costs $30 to enter each contest ($20 for members): the top prize appears to be $5,500 for short stories but a mere $2,500 for novels (?). The deadline is 28 February.
Finally with the same deadline Letter Review is looking for 1.000 to 3.000 words for a top prize of $600 ($20 entry fee)
Good luck – if you get anywhere with these, do let me know!
A selection of writing competitions I might enter during the coming month.
First, a few with deadlines on 1 November.
Globe Soup’s historical fiction challenge is interesting. £12 buys you a ticket, the colour of which determines the period in which the story (up to 4,000 words) must be set. Top prize is £1,000. Got my entry in already!
The Caledonia Novel Award is back. They want twenty pages of your novel plus a synopsis. Entry is £25 and you could win £1,500.
The. Commonwealth Short Story prize is free to enter, but offers £2,500 for regional winners and a grand prize of £5,000. You must be a citizen of a Commonwealth country: entries may be in English or in Bengali, Chinese, French, Greek, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Tamil or Turkish.
F(r)iction magazine wants stories between 1,001 (not 1,000, please!) and 7,500 words: it costs $15 to enter and top prize is $1,000.
For the Nilsen First Novel prize, you need to send your complete ms. It’s $25 to enter and the prize is $2,000. Novellas and collections of linked short stories can also be entered.
The John Steinbeck Award from Reed magazine wants stories up to 5,000 words: for an entry fee of $20 you could win $1,000.
Then we have a number of competitions with later deadlines.
The current Liar’s League contest closes on 6 November and is free to enter. Winning stories will be read by an actor in the Phoenix pub, where the author will get free beer all night (this is the London event – I believe there are similar ones in other cities). Ken Towl, my esteemed colleague in a couple of writing groups, has won this three times, but is selflessly keen to encourage more competitors to have a go. This time round stories should be festive and on the theme of ‘hopes and fears’.
The Writer magazine wants up to 2,000 words: entry is $30, top prize $1,000 and the closing date is 8 November.
The Neilma Sidney prize allows up to 3,000 words on the subject of travel. Entry is $12 and first prize $5,000 (Australian dollars, I presume). The deadline is 14 November.
A Smokelong is a story of 1,500 words, just a bit longer than flash: however, the Smokelong Quarterly currently wants flash stories (no more than 1,000 words). Entry fees are a bit complex, but it’s basically $14: top prize is $2,500 and the deadline is 15 November.
The Barry Hannah Prize, from the Yalobusha Review, has an entry fee of $5 and a prize of $500. Entries can be up to 4,000 words and must be on the theme ‘Departures and Arrivals’: they want fiction that pushes the boundaries or is experimental in content or form. The deadline is 18 November.
Those sturdy folk the Wenlock Olympians are running their event again. £5 to enter, a prize of £150, up to 2,500 words, and a deadline of 23 November.
The rest all have a deadline of 30 November.
Banbury Writer’s Café want up to 1,500 words (a smokelong?): it’s free to enter and you could win £50. Entries must be inspired by one of the picture prompts they provide.
The Plaza Prizes actually specify that they want smokelongs. £14 for your first entry then £7 for extra goes: the prize is £1,000.
While we’re going short, let’s go really micro with Doug Weller’s Six Word Wonder contest. Free to enter, the form encourages multiple attempts, and you can win $100. Six words, no fee, win $100.
Finally, I’m dreaming of a green Christmas. The EcoSanta contest wants tales (1000 words) of St Nick going ecological. £5 to enter, win £100.
If you get somewhere with one of these, let me know!
A selection of writing competitions with deadlines in August that I might enter.
First, I got the deadline for the Reader Berlin contest wrong last time (unless they changed it surreptitiously…) it doesn’t close until 15 August.
Gival want longer stories of 5,000 to 15,000 words: entry is $25 and first prize $1,000: deadline 8 August
If you write SF, the NextGen Science competition offers a $200 prize, entry fee $20. Maximum length is 15 pages (I assume you’re not allowed to write in unspaced 8-point font on A3) and the competition closes on 15 August
The Masters Review (which always sounds a bit sinister to me) offers $3,000 for a story up to 6,000 words: entry is $20, deadline 28 August
Those nice people at Exisle Academy are offering a prize of training and resources valued at $2,000. The competition is free to enter and they want pieces up to 1,500 words on ‘the story I needed to have read’. Get your entry in by 28 August.
Etched Onyx are back, looking for stories up to 5,000 words with a prize of $500. The entry fee is $7.50 if you’re early, or $12.50 later, and the deadline is 28 August
All the rest have a deadline of 31 August
Aesthetica offers a prize of £2,500, for an entry fee of £12. The maximum word count is 3,000.
NAWG wants stories up to 2,000 words: entry is £5 and first prize is £200
The Willesden Herald, that august but largely imaginary newspaper, offers £300 for up to 7,000 words: entry is £5.
Anthology are looking for a brief 1,500 words at most, and offer a €500 prize. The theme is ‘courage’. Entry is €15
Hysteria have the theme ‘peace’. The top prize is £300 and entry £3: the maximum word count is a mere 1,000
Good luck if you enter any of these – if you get anywhere with them, do let me know.
Here’s another look at writing competitions I might enter during the coming month. I’m afraid the first three are right at the beginning of the month, so if you haven’t been working on them already (or have something in stock) you might need to move quickly. It’s usually OK to enter the same story for more than one competition (so long as you withdraw other entries if you win one) but check the details.
The Royal Society of Literature’s V.S.Pritchett prize is for stories of 2-4,000 words: the entry fee is £7.50 and the top prize is £1,000. The deadline is 1 July.
Cranked Anvil have an interesting prompt competition for a story between 750 and 1,000 words. The story must take place within a 24 hour time frame, weather must play a role, and it must include the words STOOL, CONSULT, and LANGUID. The fee is £5 and the prize £150. The deadline is 1 July, but if you’re too languid to take to your stool for that one, there’s also their regular short story contest, for which any story up to 1,500 words is OK. Fee and prize are the same, but you’ve got until 31 July.
The CAS competition seems to be very much the personal enterprise of Catherine Assheton-Stones, and good for her. The maximum word count is 4,000, the fee is £7, and the prize is £800. The deadline is 1 July, but the competition closes earlier if Catherine gets 230 entries, presumably the most she can read.
The Faversham Literary Festival Competition gives you a bit more time, with a deadline of 10 July. Maximum 1,500 words, fee of £8 and prize of £350. It’s judged by Nicholas Royle, who besides writing his own novels and stories, judges the big Manchester competition and edits the prestigious annual Best British Short Stories and more. Clearly a good person to impress.
The H.G.Wells prize is for stories between 1,500 and 5,000 words on the theme ‘switch’ with a fee of £10 and top prize of £500; the deadline is 11 July.
Literary Taxidermy is back, with its unique competition. Your story must use the first and last lines of a nominated work (a slightly bigger selection is offered this year). The word limit is 2,000, the top prize is $500 and the fee is $10: this year, you can opt to have part of the fee donated to a charity supporting Ukraine. The deadline is 11 July.
The Doris Gooderson prize, run by Wrekin Writers, is for stories up to 1,200 words in length. The entry fee is £5, the prize £200, and the deadline is 12 July.
All the others have a deadline of 31 July.
The Reader Berlin offers a three-week residency (guess where) as its first prize. Entry is €10 and you need up to 3,000 words on the theme ‘escape’.
Novel London competition asks for your first 3,000 words plus a synopsis. It costs £11 to enter and the top prize is £500.
The Seán O’Faoláin prize, part of Munster’s lively Literature Centre, is for stories up to 3,000 words, with an entry fee of €19 and prize of €3,000 plus a week at Anam Cara retreat.
I’m back (most of me) following my operation! Here is a look at writing competitions I might enter if I’ve got the energy during the coming month (so no poetry or competitions not open to UK writers, for example). Not a long list this time, but a couple of interesting ones.
• The Alpine Fellowship seeks stories of up to 2,500 words on the theme of ‘Freedom’. It’s also free to enter, but first prize is a massive £10,000 plus a trip to their annual symposium, so this is one you really want to go in for. There’s not much time, though, as the deadline is 1 April! • The prestigious Bath short story award is for stories up to 2,200 words, with a top prize of £1,200 and an entry fee of £9. The deadline is 11 April. • The Fabula competition allows you up to 6,000 words. The prize is $500 and entry is $10: stories must be in by 14 April. • Desperate Literature wants pieces up to 2,000 words and offers a prize of €1,500. Entry is €20 and the deadline is 15 April. • Writefluence wants stories about ‘Mr Rosewood’: they provide pictures of the jolly old gent but you are free to imagine the details – 2,000 to 2,500 words. The only prize is publication, but then the entry fee is only a modest 150 rupees (about £1.50). The deadline is 15 April. • The Brick Lane Bookshop is running its regular competition again, with a top prize of £1,000 and an entry fee of £10. You can go up to 5,000 words and you have until 19 April, but must be a UK resident. • Forever Endeavour want stories up to 3,000 words. Half the entry fee goes to Young Minds, a charity supporting young people’s mental health: the basic fee is £5 but you can pay £10 if you want to contribute more. The deadline is 25 April. • Anthology is looking for stories up to 1,500 words on the theme of ‘courage’. It costs €10 to enter and the prize is €500. The deadline is 30 April, or if you pay €15 you get a deadline of 31 August. • Also with a deadline of 30 April, The Ghost Story wants, well, guess what. Actually any story with a paranormal element is OK: it could even be magic realism, and they like stuff that pushes the boundaries. You can go up to 10,000 words for an entry fee of $20 and might win $1,500 • The Tom Howard/John H Reid contest is for stories up to 6,000 words. The entry fee is $20 and top prize a generous $3,000: the deadline is again 30 April.
Good luck if you enter any of these; if you are longlisted or win, please do let me know.