Winter-spring short story competition round-up

[UPDATED 6/12/18] The great thing about annual short story competitions is that they seem to loop back around in no time, so if you’ve had no luck one year you can soon try your hand again. Here’s a list of some interesting ones open for entries over the coming months. As ever, it isn’t a definitive compilation, just the ones that have caught my eye on the twittersphere. Good luck, fellow scribblers!


  • InkTears Short Story Contest
  • Closing date: November 30
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000, 2nd place £100, plus six highly commended stories will each win £25. If you’re an American citizen you’re in luck as there’s an extra prize of $250 awarded to the best entry from a US writer – this can be combined with any other prize except for the main winner’s prize. All eight stories will be published in the InkTears ezine and bios will be published on the website
  • Word limit: 1,000-3,500 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £7.50 per story, multiple stories permitted, open internationally


  • BookofKells2The Book of Kells Creative Competition
  • Closing date: November 30 (12 noon)
  • Prizes: 1st place individual €800, an invitation to the awards ceremony in Trinity College Dublin and certificate of merit (or €400 and VIP tour of Trinity if you enter as part of a school or group); runner-up wins €400, invitation to the awards ceremony and certificate. There are also poetry and art categories
  • Word limit: 3,500 words
  • Theme: animals of the Book of Kells. Stories can be fiction or non-fiction
  • Entry fee: free to enter, one entry only. I can’t see any restrictions in terms of who can enter


  • The London Magazine Short Story Competitions 2018
  • Closing date: November 30
  • Prizes: 1st place £500, 2nd place £300, 3rd place £200. The winning story will be published in a future print edition of The London Magazine. The two runners-up will be published on the website. Prize winners will also be invited to a reception in London in early 2019
  • Word limit: 2,500 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £10 per story, student entry £5 per story (entrants must submit their stories using a valid university email address). Multiple entries allowed, open internationally


  • Fish Publishing Short Story Prize
  • Closing date: November 30
  • Prizes: 1st place €3,000 plus a five-day short story workshop at the West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry, 2nd place €300 and a week’s stay at Anam Cara Writers’ Retreat on the Beara Peninsula, 3rd place €300. Seven honourable mentions will each receive €200. The top 10 stories will be published in the 2019 Fish Anthology
  • Word limit: 5,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: €20 for first story, €10 for subsequent entries. Open internationally


  • DoolinWritersWeekendDoolin Short Story Competition 2019
  • Closing date: December 1
  • Prizes: 1st place €1,000, and an invitation to read at Doolin Writers’ Weekend (January 25-27) in Co Clare. Accommodation and meals will be provided on the Friday night of the festival. The runner-up will win a weekend pass to Doolin Writers’ Weekend and a voucher for two nights’ B&B with evening meal at Hotel Doolin
  • Word limit: 1,000-3,000 words
  • Theme: none 
  • Entry fee: €10 per story, multiple entries permitted, open internationally


  • The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize
  • Closing date: December 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000, 2nd place £300, 3rd place £100, plus two Highly Commended stories will receive £50 each. For each entry received, a tree will be planted in Boré, Kenya. Additionally, the entry fees will also help fund the construction of a classroom in the same community via the newly formed charity The Word Forest Organisation
  • Word limit: 4,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £5 per story, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally


  • The Seventh Annual Mogford Food & Drink Short Story Prize
  • Closing date: January 7, 2019 (12 noon)
  • Prizes: 1st place £10,000. Three runners-up will receive £250 each
  • Word limit: 2,500 words
  • Theme: a short story centred around food and/or drink in some way
  • Entry fee: £10 per story. Open internationally



  • Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: February 13, 2019
  • Prize: a place on an Arvon  four- or six-day writing retreat at The Clockhouse in Shropshire. The winning story will be published on the W&A website
  • Word limit: 2,000 words
  • Theme: none 
  • Entry fee: free to enter, just make sure you’re registered on the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook website. One entry only permitted, open internationally


  • The Cambridge Short Story Prize 2018
  • Closing date:  January 15, 2019
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000, 2nd place £300, 3rd place £200. (There is also a prize of £250 for one entry from Bangladesh). All winners and shortlisted stories will be published in an anthology
  • Word limit: 2,000-3,000 words
  • Entry fee: £8 per story, multiple entries permitted (free for residents of Bangladesh). Open internationally


  • AlexanderMccallSmithThe Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition 2019
  • Closing date: February 28, 2019
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000; 2nd place £500; 3rd place £250. The winners will be published in an anthology, have a dedicated page on the website to promote their work and will receive one year’s free membership to the Scottish Arts Club; six finalists will receive signed copies of one of chief judge Alexander McCall Smith’s books
  • Word limit2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £10 per story, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally


  • Bath Short Story Award 2019 
  • Closing date: April 15
  • Prizes:  1st place £1,200, 2nd place £300, 3rd place £100, plus £100 for the Acorn Award (for an unpublished writer), and a £50 prize for the best local entry
  • Word limit:  2,200 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £8 per story, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally


  • Bristol Short Story Prize 2019
  • Closing date: May 1, 2019
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000, 2nd place £500, 3rd place £250. Prizes of £100 will be presented to 17 shortlisted writers. All 20 stories will be published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 12 and the contributors will receive two copies each
  • Word limit: 4,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £9 per story, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally


  • The Bridport Prize 2019
  • Closing date: May 31, 2019
  • Prizes: 1st place £5,000, 2nd place £1,000, 3rd place £500. Ten commended stories will win £100 each
  • Word limit: 5,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £10 per story, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally

If there are other competitions you think would make good additions, do please drop me a line, either in the comments section below or on Twitter @wordherding.





7 thoughts on “Winter-spring short story competition round-up

  1. Hi there, can you add The Bath Flash Fiction Award. Next round closing February 10th. Early bird discounts until 16th December. £1000 first prize. £300 second prize. £100 third prize. Two commended £30 each. Anthology publication for all 50 longlisted authors in 2019 anthology. Word limit 300 words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jude, this post is specifically for short story comps, but I’ll be doing another round up of flash fiction awards soon and I’ll be sure to include it. Thanks for letting me know and for reading 🙂


    1. Suzy, do you know, I didn’t even clock that it was by you! I love the symmetry and colours in that image. Actually, I’d be very interested in your opinion – StockSnap and Pixabay say there’s no need to credit photos from their databases, but I’m uncomfortable with that and always link back to the sites at least. But as one of the photographers, are you happy with that or should there be an individual photographer credit too? And I hope it’s a photo that is being used with your permission? Happy to attribute or remove as you wish.
      Hope you’re keeping well, Anne x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes, it is with permission. If it was from Stocksnap that will be my own account where I upload images. My complete list of public domain images are on Pexels… I really like Pexels, they’re very thoughtful towards the photographers. If you want to see all my pictures on there, I have a link to the page on my blog. They have some amazing photographers on there. I’d definitely recommend Pexels, Unsplash, Pixabay and Stocksnap, because all the images are uploaded by the photographers. There are a few other free image sites who get their images from those I’ve mentioned, perhaps not the best place to find images, just in case they’ve also got others from a wrong source. You don’t need to credit the photographers, but I have noticed a lot of WordPress bloggers do credit… perhaps because they’re a little worried the image might not belong to the photographer who posted it on the free image site. (that’s a rarity, but might happen occasionally… most of the sites I mentioned manage to delete those accounts pretty quickly.) At least that way, you can always say… “I got it from this site”, if there was ever a problem. I really don’t mind if I’m credited or not. When I first started sharing images on Flickr CC, I used to get bothered when websites didn’t credit me. I decided that was a stupid way to live life and went for the full public domain, which gives writers freedom to choose… I like that, and it’s liberating to not be so clingy to what I’ve created.

        I should write an article about it, I think there are many writers who are hesitant of using free images. But so many websites are using them now… seems to be the new way of photography use online. I’m sure Getty Images or Shutterstock are not amused! But serves them right for overcharging and paying photographers peanuts for their work… everything is changing, and I’m happy to be part of that. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d be interested in reading that article, Suzy. Coming from a publishing background, it feels wrong to me to use any images without properly crediting, and everything is so nebulous in the online world. Thanks for your feedback – I think I’ll credit individual photographers from now on and link back to them at StockSnap/Pixabay etc. Must check out Pexels and Unsplash now as well!


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