Writing Contests

Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Piles_of_French_novels_-_Google_Art_Project (2)

Vincent van Gogh

Below you’ll find a selection of writing competitions. I try to keep this list up to date, and these contests are annual so if over for this year will be active again next year. The link may be useful to help you plan ahead even if currently closed.

I add new links at the top and as contests close, I move them to the bottom until they open again.

Good luck!

Here are some tips on avoiding rejection from my own experience entering and having some success in writing contests.

Galley Beggar Short Story Prize: Closes 30 September. 6,000 word limit. 70 free entries available for low income writers.

London Short Story Prize: Closes 17 September, 2018. 5,000 word limit.

Writers Bureau Limerick Competition: Closes on 31 July, 2018.

Exeter Flash Competition: Closes 31 August, 2018. Word limit 750.

Exeter Story Prize: Closes 31 August, 2018. Additional award for humorous stories. 10,000 word limit.

Boulevard Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers: Closes 31 December, 2018. 8,000 word limit.

Zoetrope Short Fiction Contest: Closes 31 October, 2018.  5,000 word limit for short stories. Also runs a screenplay contest.

Bare Fiction Prize: Closes 31 October, 2018. 3,000 word limit for short stories. Flash fiction, word limit 500 and poetry, limit 40 lines.

Children’s Society Creative Writing Competition: Closes 31 August, 2018. As part of their Seriously Awkward campaign for vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds, craft a fictional story about this awkward age. Unpublished writers in two categories: 16 to 25 year olds and adults aged 26 and over. Word limit 2,000.

Cinnamon Press Debut Novel Prize: Closes 31 July, 2018. 10,000 words of the novel/novella or three short stories.

The Daily Mail Penguin Random House First Novel Competition: Closes 13 July, 2018. Open to anyone aged 16 or over who is a resident of the UK or Republic of Ireland and has not had a novel published before.

River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Book Contest: Closes 31 October, 2018. Manuscripts must be between 150-400 pages.

The Caledonia Novel Award: Closes 1 November, 2018. Edinburgh-based, international award for unpublished and self-published novelists. Initial entry: first 20 pages and 200-word synopsis. Novels must be at least 50,000 words in length.

Brexit in Poetry Competition: Closes 31 December, 2018. Holland Park Press. Poems must be in English and not exceed 50 lines.

Red Bike Press Short Fiction Contest: Closes 31 December, 2018.  (Early bird submission period is July 1-31; main submission period is August 1 through November 30; late submission period is December 1-31.) Short stories between 2,000 and 5,000 words.

Bath Children’s Novel Award: Closes 2 December, 2018. Annual international prize for emerging novelists. First 5,000 words plus one-page synopsis of (completed) novels written for children or teens.

John Steinbeck Award for Fiction: Closes 1 November, 2018. 5,000 word limit for short stories; also accepts non-fiction under 5,000 words and poetry.

WriteNow: Closes 9 July, 2018. WriteNow workshops are run by Penguin Random House with the goal of finding, mentoring, and publishing new writers from communities under-represented on the nation’s bookshelves.

Grist Competition 2018: Closes 15 July, 2018. Theme of “Trouble & Strife – a celebration of protest.” Short stories, 5,000 word limit; poetry 40 line limit.

Link Age Southwark Writing Competition:  Closes 31 August, 2018. Open only to UK and Ireland residents, both adults and children. Short stories between 250-1,000 words in length and poems up to 40 lines on the theme of friendship.

Bedford International Writing Competition: Closes 30 September, 2018. Short stories 3,000 word limit; poetry.

Flash Fiction 400: The TSS International Flash Fiction Competitions run every quarter.  Limit 400 words.

Mslexia Competitions: Closes 1 October, 2018. Flash fiction, children’s novel, novella, or short story.

Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition: Closes 31 July, 2018. 3,000 word limit.

Words by Water Short Story Competition:  Closes 15 July, 2018. Kinsale Literary Festival competition. 2,000 word limit.

Manchester Fiction Prize: Closes 14 September, 2018. Short stories, 2,500 word limit.

Manchester Poetry Prize: Closes 14 September, 2018.

The Moth Poetry Prize: Closes 31 December, 2018. One poem, any length.

Bath Flash Fiction Award and Bath Novella-in-Flash Award: Rolling deadlines. 300 word limit for flash.

Glimmer Train: Ongoing short story, very short fiction, and longer fiction contests or general submission for paid publication.

Grindstone Literary: Multiple deadlines. Includes Short Story, Novel, Poetry, Flash Fiction, and Micro Fiction.

Flash 500 Competition: Closes quarterly in 2018 on 31 March, 30 June, 30 September, and 31 December. 500 word limit.

The following contests are currently closed (I’ll move them up as they open)Old_Books_01

Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize: Opens for 2018 competition on 1 August. Closes 30 November, 2018.

Fish Publishing Short Story Prize: Closed for 2017. 5,000 word limit. Typical annual submission deadline is around November 30.

Doolin Writers’ Competition 2018: Closed for 2017. Typical annual submission deadline is around December 1. Short stories 1,000-3,000 words, flash fiction 500 word limit, poetry.

InkTears Short Story Contest: Closed for 2017. Typical annual submission deadline is around December 1. Between 1,000 and 3,500 words.

Farnham Short Story Competition: Closed for 2017. Unclear whether it’s annual and  will run in 2018. If it does, likely submission deadline is November 1, 2018. 1,000 word limit.

Ruth Rendell Short Story Prize: Closed for 2017. Typical annual submission is around December 22. 1,000 word limit.

Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition: Closed for 2017. Typical annual submission deadline is early December. Submit a full-length manuscript suitable for children or young adults between 7 and 18. Length between 30,000 and 80,000 words.

Magic Oxygen Literary Prize: Closed for 2017. Typical annual submission deadline is December 31. Short stories up to 4,000 words; poetry up to 50 lines.

Mogford Short Story Prize: Closed for 2017. Typical annual submission deadline is the beginning of January. 2,500 word limit. Story must include food and drink.

Mississippi Review Prize: Closed for 2017. Typical annual submission deadline is the beginning of January.  Short stories and non-fiction 1,000-8,000 words. Poetry entries 3-5 poems totaling 10 pages or less.

Exeter Writers Short Story Competition: Closed for 2018. Typical annual closing date end of February. 3,000 word limit.

RNIB Writing Competition: Closed for 2018. The theme this year is “connections” in two categories, prose and poetry. 1,000 words of prose or 30 lines of poetry.

Kanturk Arts Festival Flash Fiction Competition: Closed for 2018. Must be inspired by the image in the link. 500 word limit.

The White Review Short Story Prize: Closed for 2018. Open to residents in Britain and Ireland who have yet to secure a publishing deal. Word limit between 2,000 and 7,000 words.

BBC National Short Story Award: Closed for 2018. Open to British citizens and UK residents who have a prior record of publication in creative writing in the UK. 8,000 word limit.

Fish Short Memoir Prize: Closed for 2018. 4,000 word limit.

Northern Writers’ Awards: Closed for 2018. Supports work-in-progress by new, emerging, and established writers across the North of England (must be based in the region).

DISQUIET Literary Prize: Closed for 2018. Fiction (short story or novel excerpt) 25-page limit, double-spaced; poetry.

2018 Climate Fiction Short Story Contest: Closed for 2018. 5,000 word limit. Any genre of short fiction, including speculative, realistic, literary, experimental, and hybrid forms.

Reader’s Digest 100-Word Story Competition: Closed for 2018. Only open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland.

Evesham Festival of Words Short Story Competition: Closed for 2018. Typical annual deadline is in March. Short stories; adults 2,500 word limit and 16 and under 1,000 word limit.

London Magazine Novel Writing Competition: Closed for 2018. Typical annual deadline is April 30. Literary fiction between 40,000 and 120,000 words.

Hysteria Writing Competition: Not running in 2018 and expected to open again on April 1, 2019. Women of any nationality can enter. Short story 2,000 word limit; flash fiction 250 word limit; poetry 20 line limit.

Short Fiction Prize Closed for 2018. Typical annual deadline is end of March. Short stories. 5,000 word limit.

Bath Novel Award: Closed for 2018. Typical annual deadline is April 30. Submit up to the first 5,000 words of your novel and a synopsis.

Bath Short Story Award: Closed for 2018. Typical annual deadline is in April. 2,200 word limit.

Bristol Short Story Prize: Closed for 2018. Typical annual deadline is end of April. 4,000 word limit.

The Grouse Grind Lit Prize for V. Short Forms: Closed for 2018. Typical annual deadline is May 15.  300 word limit.

Other Worlds Competition: Closed for 2018. Typical deadline is May 15, 2018. Short stories between 1,500 and 1,700 words.

Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition: Closed for 2018. Typical annual deadline is May 1. 3,500 word limit.

Smokelong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction: Closed for 2018. 1,000 word limit. Typical annual deadline is around May 20.

The Women’s Prize for Fiction First Chapter Competition 2018: Closed for 2018. First Chapter new writers competition, 800-1,000 words maximum. Typical annual deadline is in May.

Yeovil Literary Prize: Close for 2018. Four categories. Typical annual deadline ZMay 31. Novel, short story under 2,000 words, poetry up to 40 lines, and an unrestricted category.

BOA Short Fiction Prize: Closed for 2018. Page count: between 90 pages and 200 pages, double-spaced. Typical deadline May 31.

ABA Journal/Ross Writing Contest for Legal Short Fiction: Closed for 2018. Original works of fiction of no more than 5,000 words that illuminate the role of the law and/or lawyers in modern society. Typical annual deadline June 1.

Frome Festival Short Story Competition: Closed for 2018; typical deadline May 31. Short stories between 1,000 and 2,200 words.

Virginia Prize for Fiction: Closed. Opens in January 2019. Aurora Metro’s biennial prize to find new women fiction writers writing in English from around the world. Novels of any genre, unpublished in any form.

Bridport Prize: Closed for 2018. Typical annual deadline May 31. International contests for poems, short stories (5,000 word limit), and flash fiction (250 word limit). If you live in the UK or Ireland, you’re eligible for the novel competition.

The Brighton Prize: Closed for 2018. Flash fiction up to 350 words and short stories between 1,000 and 2,000 words. Typical annual deadline July 1.

The London Magazine Poetry Prize: Closed for 2018. Typical annual deadline June 30.  Looking for ‘diverse work which is not afraid to innovate and startle’. Up to 40 lines per poem.

Bluepencilagency First Novel Award: Closed for 2018. Open to unrepresented and unpublished authors for a novel in any adult fiction genre. Submit the first chapter of your novel or up to 5,000 words along with a 300 word synopsis and cover letter with details on your writing career. Typical annual deadline June 30.

The V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize: Closed for 2018. Entrants must be resident in the UK, Republic of Ireland, or Commonwealth. Story must be between 2,000 and 4,000 words. Typical annual deadline June 29.

First Novel Prize: Closed for 2018. Open to previously unpublished and independently published novelists. Minimum 50,000 words. Opens again in February 2019.

The Moth Short Story Prize: Closed for 2018. Typical annual deadline 30 June. Short stories, 5,000 word limit.

Dorset Fiction Award: Closed. Bi-annual short story competition. 999 word limit.

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