The unweekly herding: a list of short story competitions 2018

[UPDATED June 28]

Keeping up with short story competition deadlines is a full-time occupation, and I don’t know how many things I’ve intended to enter only to forget about them until the day of/after. So I’ve decided to compile a calendar of everything I know so far that’s coming up this year. I will endeavour to update it occasionally as the year progresses.

These are listed by closing date rather than any ranking of importance; I’ll leave that kind of judgement call up to you. All competitions are open internationally unless otherwise stated. And while I’m very rarely wrong on any matter (ask my husband, he’ll vouch for me there, I’m sure – ahem), do read all the fine print for yourself before entering:

  • The Leicester Writes Short Story Prize 2018
  • Closing date: April 2
  • Prizes: 1st prize £100 and a bundle of books, 2nd prize £50 and a bundle of books, 3rd prize a bundle of books (something tells me they have a lot of books). A longlist of up to 20 stories will be published in an anthology
  • Limit: 3,000 words, no minimum
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £7

 

 

  • 2018 Shooter Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: April 15
  • Prizes: 1st prize £500 plus publication in the summer issue of Shooter literary magazine. One runner-up will receive £100 and publication
  • Limit: 5,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £7 (£10 for two entries)

 

  • Bath Short Story Award 2018
  • Closing date: April 23
  • Prizes: 1st prize £1,200, 2nd prize £300, 3rd prize £100, plus £100 for the Acorn Award for an unpublished writer. Winners and shortlisted stories will be published in an anthology
  • Limit: 2,200 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £8 per story, multiple entries allowed

 

  • bristol-2372825_1280Bristol Short Story Prize 2018
  • Closing date: May 1
  • Prizes: 1st prize £1,000, 2nd prize £700, 3rd prize £400. Each of the 17 remaining shortlisted writers will receive £100 and all 20 stories will be published in an anthology
  • Limit: 4,000 words, no set minimum
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £8 per story, multiple entries permitted

 

  • The Mairtín Crawford Short Story Award
  • Closing date: May 1
  • Prize: the winner will receive a six-month professional mentorship, with further prizes tbc. They will also be invited to read at the Belfast Book Festival in June. There will be a shortlist of 10
  • Limit: 2,500 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £5, one story only permitted (interesting aside, you may enter stories that have already been published and/or won a prize. The only restriction is that you have not had a collection or novel published)

 

  • The Bridport Prize
  • Closing date: May 31
  • Prizes: 1st prize £5,000, 2nd prize £1,000, 3rd prize £500. Plus £100 each for 10 commended stories
  • Limit: 5,000 words, no set minimum (there’s also a flash fiction category, incidentally)
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £10 per story, multiple entries permitted

 

  • Francis MacManus Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: June 8
  • Prizes: 1st prize €3,000, 2nd prize €2,000, 3rd prize €1,000. The winning stories and a shortlist of 7 will be broadcast on RTE Radio 1. The three winning stories will also be published in thejournal.ie
  • Limit: 1,800-2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: free to enter (the competition is open to people over 18 years of age who are Irish or resident in Ireland)

 

  • Dorset Fiction Award
  • Closing date: June 9
  • Prize: £500 plus publication in annual anthology. 9 shortlisted stories will be published in the anthology
  • Limit: 1,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £7, multiple entries permitted

 

  • RTE Guide/Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: June 15
  • Prize: details are always sketchy on this one. The prize is usually publication in the RTE Guide and a framed layout of the story for the winner. In previous years, an excellent day-long seminar on the publishing industry has been held for the longlisted writers, but this seems to have been dropped in the past year or two
  • Limit: 2,000 words max
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: free to enter, one entry only permitted (it’s unclear whether international entries are accepted, but you could email rteguidepenguin2018@gmail.com for more details if you’re outside Ireland)

 

  • VS Pritchett Short Story Prize
  • Closing date: June 29
  • Prize: £1,000 and the winning story will be published in Prospect online and in the Royal Society of Literature Review
  • Limit: 2,000-4,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £7.50 per story, multiple entries permitted (entrants must be resident in the UK, Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth)

 

  • The Moth International Short Story Prize
  • Closing date: June 30
  • Prizes: 1st prize €3,000, 2nd prize a week-long writing retreat at Circle of Misse in France plus €250 travel stipend, 3rd prize €1,000. The winning stories will be published in the Autumn 2018 issue of The Moth
  • Word limit: 5,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: €12 per story, multiple entries permitted

 

  • pexels-photo-89425.jpegThe Brighton Prize
  • Closing date: July 1
  • Prize: 1st prize £1,000. £100 each for 2 runners-up (there is also a flash fiction category)
  • Word limit: 1,000-2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £8 per story, multiple entries permitted

 

  • Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2018
  • Closing date: July 13
  • Prize:  the winner will be published by Wasafiri and receive a cash prize (website doesn’t say how much). They will also be offered the Chapter and Verse or Free Reads mentoring scheme in partnership with The Literary Consultancy (dependent on eligibility)
  • Limit: 3,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee:  £6 per story, up to three stories allowed

 

 

  • Write by the Sea Short Story Competition 2018
  • Closing date: July 26
  • Prize:  An independent panel of judges will pick one winner in each of three competition categories (short story, memoir, poetry), and one of the three will be selected as the overall winner. Each category winner will be invited to the Write by the Sea Festival in Kilmore Quay, Wexford, (which runs September 28-30) and will be given two day-passes worth €80, allowing two people free entry to the various workshops, talks, interviews and other events. They will be presented with an inscribed trophy and will read their winning works as part of the festival. Winning entries will also be recorded for the RTE Radio 1 maritime programme Seascapes at a later date. The overall winner will also receive a voucher sponsored by The Coast Hotels & Resorts, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare Strand, Co Wexford, for a two-night stay with one dinner for two people in one of their Wexford hotels.
  • Word limit: 2,000 words
  • Theme: Coastline
  • Entry fee: €10/£8, multiple entries allowed

 

  • Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Prize 2018
  • Closing date: July 31
  • Prizes: 1st prize €2,000, a week-long residency at Anam Cara Retreat in west Cork and publication in the Southword literary journal. 2nd prize €500 and publication in Southword. The 4 shortlisted entries will also be published and each receive a publication fee of €120
  • Word limit: 3,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: €15

 

  • 2018 Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Competition
  • Closing date: August 8
  • Prizes: 1st prize €300. The winner in the short story category has the opportunity to win a further €400 as they are pitted against the winner in the poetry category, one of whom will be crowned overall New Writer of the Year (crown not supplied, more’s the pity). The Over The Edge New Writer of The Year will read at the Over The Edge: Open Readings in Galway City Library at the end of the yearTuras Press will read, without commitment to publish, a manuscript of short stories submitted to them by the winner in the fiction category. The overall winner will also receive a hamper of books from Kenny’s Bookshop, Galway. 
  • Limit: 3,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: €10 for one story. The fee for multiple entries is €7.50 per entry, e.g. two entries will cost €15, three entries €22.50 and so on

 

  • IT Tallaght Short Story Competition 2018
  • Closing date: August 13 (opens July 2)
  • Prizes: 1st prize €500, 2nd €250, 3rd €150. The winners and shortlisted stories may be published in an anthology
  • Limit: 1,500-2,000 words
  • Theme: the organisers have asked for ‘strong’ stories with the loose theme of ‘Stand Fast!’, which will be the title in the event of an anthology
  • Entry fee: free to enter. Not clear as yet whether the competition is open to international entries. All should be revealed when it opens for submissions on July 2

 

  • Aesthetica Creative Writing Award
  • Closing date: August 31
  • Prizes: 1st prize £1,000, publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual, a consultation with literary agency Redhammer Management, a subscription to Granta and books courtesy of Bloodaxe Books and Vintage Books. Shortlisted stories will be published in the annual
  • Word limit: 2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £18 per story, multiple entries permitted (work that has already been published elsewhere is accepted)

 

  • Colm Tóibín Short Story Award
  • Closing date: September 1 (competition opens for entries July 1)
  • Prizes:  1st prize €1,000, 2nd prize €500, 3rd prize €300
  • Word limit: 1,800-2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: €10, one entry only permitted

 

  • Mslexia Women’s Fiction Awards 2018:  Short Story Competition 
  • Closing date: October 1
  • Prizes: 1st prize £5,000 plus two optional extras: a week’s writing retreat at Gladstone’s Library in north Wales, and a day with an editor at Virago Press. 3 other finalists will each receive £100. All 4 winning stories will be published in the March 2019 issue of Mslexia. (There are also flash fiction, novella and children’s book categories)
  • Word limit: 300-3,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £10

 

  • The Retreat West Short Story Prize
  • Closing date: October 28
  • Prizes: 1st prize £400, 2nd prize £250, 3rd prize £150,  shortlisted stories £20. All winning and shortlisted stories will be published in the annual anthology
  • Word limit: 1,500-5,000 words
  • Theme: none 
  • Entry fee: £10 per story, multiple entries permitted

 

As always, this is not a definitive list. Nonetheless, if you can think of other competitions that would make good additions, do please drop me a line, either in the comments section below or on Twitter @wordherding.

Lastly, here’s an interesting interview in The Sunday Times with Tessa Hadley about what makes a winning short story. Good luck all!

 

Photos: Pexels

2 thoughts on “The unweekly herding: a list of short story competitions 2018

  1. Here’s another contest for you!

    The Roswell Award for short science fiction by adults (18+) from across the globe is an international competition presented by the Light Bringer Project and Sci-Fest L.A. Past submissions have come from dozens of countries including Malawi, Ethiopia, Singapore, Brazil, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Australia, India, Pakistan, England, America, Kazakhstan, and others. Four to six finalists are chosen and their stories are read by celebrity guests on stage at LitFest Pasadena in May. First, second, and third place prizes, as well as certificates, are awarded to both finalists and the honorable mentions at the reading. Artemis Journal and Hollywood NOW will also present the Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award for the best feminist themed science fiction story
    • Open to adults (18+) worldwide.
    • Stories must be original, unpublished, and 1,500 words or fewer.
    • One submission per author. No fee to submit.
    • Deadline: Monday, Jan. 28, 2019 at 11:59pm PST.
    Prizes: First – $500; Second – $250; Third – $100; and Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award – Dual publication in Artemis Journal and Hollywood NOW site plus $100

    Details and entry info: http://www.lightbringerproject.org/science-fiction-contests/
    (A related contest for teens, The Tomorrow Prize, is open exclusively to high school students in Los Angeles County, California. Information is available on the same page.)

    Liked by 1 person

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