Here are the writing competitions with deadlines in October that I might enter – so mainly short stories and novels, with no poetry or flash.
- The Jeffrey E. Smith contest wants stories up to 8,500 words: the entry fee is $25 and top prize is $5,000, with a deadline of 1 October.
- With the same deadline, the Grindstone International Novel Prize needs 25 pages of a complete novel plus a synopsis. Entry is £18, first prize is £1,000.
- Zoetrope wants literary stories up to 5,000 words. Entry is $30, the prize is $1,000, and again the deadline is 1 October.
- Galley Beggar Press offer £2,000 for stories up,to 6,000 words, with an entry fee of £10 – the deadline/ is 10 October.
- The Calvino Prize is for pieces in the magic realist spirit of Italo Calvino. Submit up to 25 pages by15 October with a fee of $25 for a top prize of $2,000. (I was a finalist last year, but I’ve got no inspiration this time round.)
- Black Spring want those strange, imperfect but promising pieces from your bottom drawer, of 40 to 1,000 pages. Entry is free, and the winner gets a publication contract.
- The Create the Future prize seeks writing about climate change of up to 2,000 words that addresses one of three questions they pose. Entry is free: the winner will be published online and (if in the UK) receive a ‘bundle’ of Delphis Eco cleaning products. Deadline 17 October.
- Omnidawn want fabulist stories – quite hefty ones, between 7,500 and 17,500 words. Entry is $18, and the winner gets $1,000 plus 100 copies of the printed version (a chapbook). What would I do with 100 copies? The deadline is 18 October.
- Beartooth Anthony is looking for your best Halloween campfire stories, of any length, the scarier the better. Entry is free, and the winner gets a really nice hammock. Enter by 22 October.
- This year the Dinesh Alirajah contest is looking for crime stories between 2,000 and 6,000 words. It’s free, and you could win £500. The deadline is 29 October.
All the rest have a deadline of 31 October.
- The Bedford competition is for stories up to 3,000 words and the top prize is £1,000. Entry is £7.50 or a bargain three goes for £15.
- Southport Writer’s Circle want 2,000 words. Entry is £3 and first prize is £150.
- Cranked Anvil look for a slim 1,500 words: entry is £5 and first prize £150.
- Finally, the Dillydoun International Fiction Prize offers $2,000 for a story up to a chunky 8,000 words: entry is $25.
- A late addition – the Fiction Factory competition has a maximum word count of 3,000 and a deadline of 31 October. Entry is £6 (discounts for multiple entries)
Good luck – if you get anywhere with these, do let me know!
Here are the writing competitions with deadlines in August that I might enter – though to be honest I have reservations about a couple.
- Grindstone wants stories of up to 3,000 words; the entry fee is £12 and the top prize is £500 – deadline 1 August.
- Then the mighty Costa competition is back. As always, there are two rounds. The judges pick three stories and then the public votes to decide the winner. The word limit is 4,000, and the top prize is £3,500 plus immense prestige. Best of all, it’s free to enter – but the deadline is 2 August, so we need to get moving.
- Future Folklore also offer free entry for stories up to 2,000 words, and offer a top prize of $400. The story must be ‘cli fi’ – fiction about climate change. My impression is that they’re looking more for optimistic views of how we might deal with the problems, rather than anything bleakly dystopic. We’ve got until 8 August.
- Gival want chunky sized stories – 5,000 to 15,000 words. Entry is $25 and the prize is $1,000, with a deadline of 8 August.
- Arena fantasy magazine asks for up to 3,000 words inspired by a picture (of a medieval army in action). Entry is £10, but the top prize is only £100, which doesn’t seem a very generous ratio.
- The VS Pritchett competition run by the Royal Society of Literature, no less, is for stories up to 4,000 words; entry is £8 and the prize is £1,000. The deadline is 20 August.
- The Val Wood prize has the theme ‘Now and Then’, intended to mark the end of lockdown and reflect times of positive change. Stories can be up to 2,000 words long, and it’s free to enter, with a prize of £100. The deadline is 28 August.
- The Masters Review asks for stories under 6,000 words. The entry fee is $20, the top prize $3,000, and the deadline is 30 August.
All the others have a deadline of 31 August.
- Aesthetica, that bastion of intellectual art and design, wants stories of up to 2,000 words. The entry fee is £18 and you could win £2,500 and a consultation with Redhammer Management (which I believe is Peter Cox of Litopia).
- Blue Mesa has a generous word limit of 6,000: entry is $12 and the prize is $500.
- The Exeter Story Prize has the same limit, and the same fee and prize, except in pounds instead of dollars; you’re allowed up to 5,000 words.
- NAWG wants stories up to 2,000 words, with an entry fee of £5 and a prize of £200.
- SaveAs, of Canterbury, allows up to 3,500 words, on the theme ‘horizons’ in honour of TS Eliot (no, I don’t really get it, either). Entry is £4 and the prize £200.
- Seven Hills asks for up to 3,000 words. The entry fee is $30 and first prize is $150 – an even meaner ratio than Arena’s! (Update – they increased the first prize to $300 and extended the deadline to the end of September.)
- Finally, if you have a whole collection of stories, running to between 130 and 180 pages, St Lawrence would like to see it. $27 is the fee and the prize is $1,000.