The unweekly herding: new year, new opportunities

Right now, it’s hard to imagine doing anything other than kicking aside wrapping paper, watching films in your pyjamas and having selection boxes for breakfast (or is that just me?), but soon – soon – the urge will return to do some work. Those stories taking up room on a hard drive need homes, and there’s a whole host of competitions out there that just might be the right place for them. Here are a few upcoming competitions worth considering once the goodies cupboard has been emptied.


One for the foodies

Do you have a story with the right ingredients for the Moggie Prize?

The Sixth Annual Mogford Food & Drink Short Story Prize is still open for entries, though you’d have to be quick as the closing date is January 3.

This is a unique competition in that stories have to involve food in a crucial way. If you do have something foodie-related it would be well worth entering as the first prize is a very tasty £10,000.

The maximum word count is 2,500, and there’s an entry fee of £10. All the details are here, and you can also read the previous winning entries to get an idea of what the judges look for.


…and for you spooky types

The Fiction Desk Ghost Story Competition is accepting submissions until January 31. Held annually, all shortlisted stories are published in an anthology. In addition, the winner is awarded £500, with two runners-up prizes of £250 and £100 respectively. Entry is £8 and stories can be anything between 1,000 and 7,000 words in length.


Something for the flashers

The Kanturk Arts Festival holds an annual Flash Fiction Competition, which is currently open for submissions. My writing group comrade Sinead Slattery was last year’s runner-up with a gorgeously nostalgic sKanturk-300x200 (1)tory. This year, the festival organisers are asking entrants to take this image (left) as their inspiration for a piece of 500 words maximum. There is no entry fee, while the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes are €200, €75 and €25 respectively. This year’s judge is Denyse Woods, who knows a thing or two about flash. The last day for entries is January 31.


Desperate for your work

Desperate Literature HQ, Madrid, Spain

Though I haven’t heard of it before, the Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize has a pretty amazing and unusually international prize. As well as €1,000, publication in three journals (I don’t understand that bit) and a week’s writing residency in Italy for the overall winner, there will also be an invitation to participate in a reading salon in both the Desperate Literature bookshop in Madrid and the Shakespeare & Co bookshop in Paris. Plus a consultation with a US literary agent. And that’s not even all of it, there are other bits and bobs that my fingers are too tired to type.

Two runners-up will receive £250, publication and an invitation to read at the salons. All of that perhaps explains the rather stiff entry fee of £20 per initial story (£10 thereafter if you choose to increase your odds). Entries should be a maximum of 2,000 words. The closing date has recently been extended to February 14.


Take the plunge with From the Well

Never particularly widely advertised, the 2018 From the Well Short Story Competition is now accepting entries. This competition is free to enter and is open internationally to writers with library registration in any country. Stories should be a maximum of 2,000 words, and the closing date is February 16.

The anthology gives 20 writers the opportunity to see their work in print, and last year four got to take part in public readings. The first prize is to have the title story in the anthology, a place on a five-day workshop of your choice at the West Cork Literary Festival and €250 towards accommodation. As last year’s winner, I can’t recommend it highly enough, and can say that everyone involved, from the librarians to the Arts Officer to the head judge Billy O’Callaghan are just lovely to deal with. Go for it!


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