Writing Competitions in the UK
Here is a list of short story competitions currently running in the UK. I advise that you confirm details either by writing to them or visiting their websites first before submitting anything as criteria can change from time to time.
Biscuit announces details of 2007 writing competition
Biscuit Publishing has announced details of its 2007 writing prize. The competition, which is open to all, has two categories – poetry and short stories – with two sets of prizes. Each category has on offer a £1,000 first prize, with second prizes of a week in a writer’s retreat at Talbot House, Flanders. There will also be a number of great mystery prizes for runners-up. For more information, see www.biscuitpublishing.com/comp/competitions. Deadline for entries is 1 October 2007.
Toowrite opens up prize for fiction writers
www.toowrite.com offers a regular £1,000 prize for writing true stories and is now accepting fictional short stories as well. Toowrite has also made some changes to the voting system, which now allows readers to vote for the stories they like best. Entry to Toowrite is free and every story is published on the website. The deadline for entries is 20 September 2007.
INTERNATIONAL PLAYWRITING COMPETITION
The International Playwriting Festival held by Croydon’s Warehouse Theatre is now 22 years old, and is unusual in that is held in two stages. The first is a competition to encourage writers from all over the world to submit their work for consideration, and the second is the festival itself, showcasing the selected plays. Entries for the competition are being accepted up until 30 June, in preparation for the festival on 24 & 25 November. For more information and to submit your play for the competition, visit www.warehousetheatre.co.uk.
NEW WRITING VENTURES 2007
Applications for this year’s New Writing Ventures scheme are now being accepted, with a prize of £3,000 on offer for the overall winner, plus year-long mentoring programmes with The Literary Consultancy. Two runners-up will also receive £1,000. New Writing Ventures is run by the New Writing Partnership and is open to unpublished writers of fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction. Previous winners and shortlisted writers have since been taken on by literary agents and/or signed significant book deals.
The fiction category will be judged by novelists Louise Doughty and Ardashir Vakil, plus literary editor of The Daily Mirror Henry Sutton. Poetry entries will be judged by poets Owen Sheers and Mimi Khalvati, with writer and literary editor of The Times Erica Wagner. The panel for the creative non-fiction category comprises writer/journalist Giles Foden, journalist/author Mark Cocker, and Vesna Goldsworthy, who is a writer and lecturer in English at University College London. The closing date for all three categories is Thursday 31 May, and the fee for each submission made is £12.50. For complete entry criteria and to download an entry form, see www.newwritingpartnership.org.uk/ventures.
WIN A PLACE ON A WRITING MASTERCLASS
To celebrate the success of Naomi Alderman’s debut novel, Disobedience (which won the Orange Award for New Writing in 2006), Penguin is running a competition to win places on a special writing masterclass. The class will be run by Naomi, along with “a top literary agent” and a Penguin commissioning editor, who will share their tips on how to get started, how to develop your characters and story, and – of course – how to get published. To be in with a chance, you have to send in an original 2,000 word story by 31 July. The address to send it to is: Disobedience Competition, Penguin General, Penguin Books, 80 Strand, London, WC2R 0RL. For more information, see www.penguin.co.uk/static/cs/uk/0/minisites/disobedience/competition.html.
CITY OF DERBY WRITING COMPETITIONS
The City of Derby Short Story and Poetry competitions are now calling for entries, which will be judged by Martin Goodman (short stories) and Jane Draycott (poetry). The first prize in each category is £350, with other cash prizes on offer for second and third prize winners. Stories submitted can be up to a maximum of 5,000 words, and poetry entries should be no more than 40 lines, though they can be on the subject of your choice. The fee for entries is £3 per submission, and the final deadline for sending your work is 31 May. The award ceremony will take place on 17 October, to coincide with the Derby biennial Festival of Words. To read the full submission criteria and find out how to enter, visit www.cityofderbywritingcompetition.org.uk.
Writers’ Billboard Bi-monthly writing competitions in various formats, including poetry. Website: www.writersbillboard.net.
Scribble Open Short Story Competition Length: up to 3000 words. Prizes of £75.00, £25.00, and £15.00, will be awarded for the best three stories in each issue. For other published stories, a complimentary copy will be given. Annual subscribers will also receive a credit voucher to the value of £4.00. Stories from non-subscribers are welcome but must be accompanied by the entry fee. Entry fee for the competitions is £3.00 (cheques payable to Park Publications). Free unlimited entry for subscribers. Scribble is published in March, July, October, and December. More details at www.parkpublications.co.uk/scribble.htm.
Monthly Writers’ Forum Short Story Competition Any genre, but stories must be original and previously unpublished. Aim for a word count between 1,500 to 3,000. Stories may embrace crime, mystery, romance, sport, humour, fantasy, erotica or science-fiction. The competitions are held monthly and there is also £1,000 for the best short story of the year. Monthly prizes of £250 for the best story published and two prizes of £150 for runners up. All stories not selected for publication are returned to authors with a grid assessment. Text should be type-written or word-processed, printed in double spacing. Entries should be accompanied with a short biography and colour photograph of the writer. Please submit a saved copy of the ms on disk as a Rich Text File (RTF) or Microsoft Word 5.1a (for Apple Macintosh). Send complete ms and contact details to: Writers International Ltd, PO Box 3229, Bournemouth BH1 1ZS Tel: 01202 589828 Fax: 01202 587758 Website www.writers-forum.com.
Secret Attic – Need to flex those literary muscles? Enter their monthly short story competition. Entry is free and you can win a prize. The top twenty entries will be published in a printed booklet. Website: www.secretattic.com.
The Seventh Quark Runs three separate competitions, a Quarterly Story Prize (2000-4000 words), a Bi-Monthly Shorter Story Prize (under 2000 words), and the wild excitement of a regular simultaneously written Frantic Flash Competition. Please see details of dates and entry fees on the website www.7thquarkmagazine.com or email email@example.com.
Dark Tales Flash Fiction Ongoing contest with a deadline date of the first of the following months: September, November, January, March, May, July. For horror and speculative fiction. Maximum 500 words. First prize £25, second £5. Winner and runner-up – plus best shortlisted – published in Dark Tales magazine. Entry fee £1.25. See website for full details: www.darktales.co.uk.
Leaf Books Science Fiction and Fantasy Competition Closing date: 30th April 2007. Short stories in the genres of science fiction and/or fantasy. Word limit 6,000. Entry Fee: £5.00 per submission. Overall winner receives £200. Runner-up receives 10 Leaf Books. Other selected entrants will be granted publication in the anthology. Winners Announced: June 2007
Enter by post or online. More details at www.leafbooks.co.uk.
The Bridport Prize The annual international creative writing competition for poetry and short stories. The closing date for entries, which may be sent either by post or online, is 30th June. Bridport Prize is the biggest open creative writing competition in the English language. It has been the first step in the careers of many established poets and novelists. The prize money for 2007 totals £14,000. The judges this year are Tracy Chevalier for short stories and Don Paterson for poetry. Website: www.bridportprize.org.uk.
The Writers Bureau Poetry and Short Story Competitions First prize in each category is £1000, second prize £400, third prize £200, fourth prize £100, fifth prize 6 x £50. The entry fee for each poem or short story is £5.00 and the closing date for entries is 30th June 2007. For full details and an entry form to print off, or to enter online visit: www.writersbureau.com/competition.
Wrekin Writers 2007 Doris Gooderson Short Story Competition Maximum 1200 words. Entry fee: £3, or £10 for 4 entries. Prizes: £80, £40 and £20. Closing date: 14th July 2007. Rules and entry forms: www.wrekinwriters.co.uk. Alternatively, send SAE to: The Competition Secretary, 29 Christine Avenue, Wellington, Shropshire, TF1 2DX
The Scribble Themed Competition – 2007 Theme: ‘The Return’ (Please DO NOT use the theme as your title.)
Max Length: 3000 words. Prizes: £100.00. £50.00. £25.00. Entry Fee: £4.00 (cheques/postal orders to Park Publications). Free entry for annual subscribers. Closing Date: November 1st 2007. The winning story will appear in the winter 2007 issue of Scribble. Short-listed entries may also be considered for publication. Details: http://www.parkpublications.co.uk.
The bluechrome Short Story Collection Award Closing Date: 1st December 2007. Entry Fee: £15. Theme: Any subject or genre. Submit: Two Short Stories of between 2,000 and 5,000 words. Prize: The Winner will receive £250, plus an offer of a contract to have a collection of Ten of their Short Stories published by bluechrome. Additionally, they will receive fifty copies of their book once published. More details at http://www.bluechrome.co.uk.