Short story competitions April-December

[UPDATED 25/7] I generally update my competition listings as I see new opportunities pop up, but I thought I’d do a new post because the last one was a while back. Quite a few competions have extended their deadlines or amended their prizes due to the Covid-19 crisis, so there may be a few things here that are still open for entries beyond the expected dates. Some have boosted their cash prizes in lieu of retreats, workshops etc, or changed the means of entry (eg. accepting online entries where they normally require postal ones).

Obviously, in such extraordinary times there is a possibility of some competitions changing the prizes on offer or even being cancelled if they’re attached to festivals, closer to the time, so do keep an eye on their websites for up-to-date information.

It’s hard to concentrate on anything at the moment, but I hope there will be something here that will light a fire for you and get you back to the keyboard if you’re finding it difficult to write. Best of luck, as always!

  • Bath Short Story Award 2020
  • Closing date: April 20
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,200, 2nd place £300, 3rd place £100. Shortlisted stories will be published in the BSSA anthology
  • Theme: none
  • Word limit: 2,200 words
  • Entry details: £8 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Bristol Short Story Prize 2020
  • Closing date: April 30
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000, 2nd place £500, 3rd place £250. 17 further prizes of £100 will be presented to the shortlisted writers
  • Theme: none
  • Word limit: 4,000 words
  • Entry details: £9 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Molly Keane Creative Writing Award 2020
  • Closing date: EXTENDED TO May 1 (12pm)
  • Prize: €500. Unlike previous years, this year’s winner is not required to attend the award ceremony, for obvious reasons
  • Theme: none
  • Word limit: 2,000 words
  • Entry details: free to enter, one entry only . Open to writers resident on the island of Ireland
  • Francis MacManus/RTE Short Story Competition 2020
  • Closing date: May 8 (5pm)
  • Prizes: 1st place €3,000, 2nd place €2,000, 3rd place €1,000. Seven shortlisted writers will receive €250 each, and all 10 short stories will be broadcast in a season of new writing on RTÉ Radio 1 in the autumn. The top three prizewinning stories will also be published on thejournal.ie
  • Word limit: 1,800-2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: free to enter, one entry only. Open to writers who are Irish nationals or resident in Ireland
  • Colm Tóibín International Short Story Award 2020
  • Closing date: EXTENDED TO May 13
  • Prizes: 1st place €700 and a crystal trophy, 2nd place €500, 3rd place €300
  • Theme: none
  • Word limit: 1,700-2,200 words
  • Entry details: €10 per entry, one entry only. Open internationally
  • Mairtín Crawford Short Story Award 2020
  • Closing date: EXTENDED TO May 13
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000 (this has been increased from the original purse of £500) and a 3-night stay at The River Mill writers’ retreat in Co Down. 2nd place £250
  • Theme: none
  • Word limit: 2,500 words
  • Entry details: £6 per entry, looks like one entry only permitted. Open internationally
  • Leicester Writes Short Story Prize
  • Closing date: EXTENDED TO May 20
  • Prizes: 1st place £100, 2nd place £50, 3rd place £25. A longlist of up to 20 stories will be published in an anthology
  • Theme: none
  • Word limit: 3,000 words
  • Entry details: £7 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Lucent Dreaming 2020 Short Story Contest
  • Closing date: May 30 (10pm)
  • Prizes: 1st place £100, publication on the Lucent Dreaming website and UK creative writing magazine, and free editing for a year. 2nd place £50, publication on the site and in the magazine. 3rd place £25 and publication on the website
  • Word limit: 2,000-7,500 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £4 per entry, up to five entries permitted. Entries are free for those from low-income backgrounds, from households earning £16,000 or less per year. There is no need to declare or prove your income threshold. Open internationally
  • The Bridport Prize for Short Story
  • Closing date: May 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £5,000 and an invitation to the awards lunch to read your story to the audience, chat to the judges, meet other writers, agents and take part in publicity. 2nd place £1,000, 3rd place £500, both with an invitation to the awards lunch. 10 Highly Commended stories will be awarded £100 each. All the winning and highly commended pieces will be published in the Bridport Prize anthology and entered into the Sunday Times Audible competition, top prize £30,000. Literary agent AM Heath will read all the shortlistees and consider representation
  • Word limit: 5,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £12 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • 2020 Shooter Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: May 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £400 and publication in the winter edition of Shooter Literary Magazine, 2nd place £100. Both stories will be published on the site
  • Word limit: 5,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £7 for one entry, £10 for two, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • 2020 Frome Festival Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: May 31 (the festival has been cancelled but the competition will go ahead)
  • Prizes: 1st place £400, 2nd £200, 3rd £100
  • Word limit: 1,000-2,2000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £8 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • The Yeovil Literary Prize for Short Story
  • Closing date: May 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £500, 2nd £200, 3rd £100. Judged by Susan Sandon, managing director of Cornerstone, a division of Penguin Random House
  • Word limit: 2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £7 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Bloomsday Creative Writing Competition
  • Closing date: EXTENDED TO June 10
  • Prize: this competition is held by the Irish Embassy in Greece in collaboration with the Athens Centre and the Athens Insider, as part of their official Bloomsday celebrations. The prize includes €500, return flights to Greece or a stay at the Patrick & Joan Leigh Fermor House in Kardamyli, Greece, and publication in the Athens Insider print edition and online. Other prizes include an annual family pass to Attica Park, a stay in luxury Pelion Homes, afternoon tea at the Grande Bretagne Hotel, and vouchers for the James JoyceO’Connell’s and Molly Malone’s Irish pubs, all in Athens
  • Word limit: 1,500 words
  • Theme: a story that begins and ends in one single day, in tribute to James Joyce’s Ulysses
  • Entry fee: free to enter, does not specify how many entries are permitted. Open internationally
  • Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize: Short Story
  • Closing date: EXTENDED TO June 15 (5pm)
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000, publication by UK literary journal Wasafiri both in print and online, and an offer of the Chapter and Verse or Free Reads mentoring scheme in partnership with The Literary Consultancy (dependent on eligibility). Shortlisted writers will be published online with Wasafiri and may be eligible for Free Reads mentoring also
  • Word limit: 3,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee:  £10 for a one entry, £16 for two. A limited number of subsidised entries will be available at £6 per entry, which must be accompanied by an explanation of the entrant’s need for subsidised entry. 25 subsidised entries will be accepted per month during the months that the prize is open (February-May 2020). Open internationally
  • The Cambridge Short Story Prize 2020
  • Closing date: June 15
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000, 2nd £300, 3rd £200, and all remaining shortlisted will be awarded £50. The winning and shortlisted writers will be published online during 2020
  • Word limit: 2,500 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: early bird fee £8 until May 14, £9 thereafter, multiple entries permitted. There are also 20 free entries for those in economic hardship on a first come, first served basis. Open internationally
  • Writing Magazine Grand Prize
  • Closing date: June 30
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000 and publication  in the October Writing Magazine Competition Supplement, 2nd place £250, 3rd place £100, 4th place a WM Courses mini-critique, 5th place a twelve-month subscription to Writing Magazine
  • Word limit: 2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £15 per entry (£10 for subscribers), multiple entries permitted. Appears to be open internationally
  • The Moth Short Story Prize 2020
  • Closing date: June 30
  • Prizes: 1st place €3,000, 2nd €250 and a week-long stay at the Circle of Misse artists’ retreat in Missé, France, 3rd €1,000
  • Word limit: 5,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: €15 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • VS Pritchett Short Story Prize
  • Closing date: July 3
  • Prize: £1,000 and publication in Prospect magazine online and in the RSL (Royal Society of Literature) Review
  • Word limit: 2,000-4,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £7.50 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open to writers resident in the UK, Republic of Ireland or Commonwealth (see list of countries here) and likely to be available for a prize-giving event in London in November 2020
  • The HG Wells Short Story Competition 2020
  • Closing date: July 6
  • Prizes: 1st place £500. All shortlisted stories will be published in an anthology. There is also a category called The Margaret and Reg Turnill Competition for Young Writers (under-21s), with a prize of £1,000
  • Word limit: 1,500-5,000 words
  • Theme: ‘Vision’
  • Entry fee: for entrants over 21, it’s £10 per story, or £5 for students with student ID, multiple entries permitted. Entry is free for writers under 21 (see above). Multiple entries permitted, open internationally
  • Write by the Sea/Kilmore Quay Short Story Competition 2020
  • Closing date: July 10 (the festival has been cancelled but the competition will go ahead)
  • Prizes: two category winners (there are also memoir and poetry categories) will receive €250 and the overall winner will receive €500. All three will receive a handcrafted trophy and have their winning entries published on the Write by the Sea Festival website
  • Word limit: 3,000 words
  • Theme: ‘Waves’
  • Entry fee: €10 per entry, or €25 for three entries (which can be in any or all of the three categories), multiple entries permitted. Appears to be open internationally
  • 2020 Doris Gooderson Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: July 15
  • Prizes: 1st place £200, 2nd place £100, 3rd place £50. The winning entries may be published in the next Wrekin Writers Anthology and on the Wrekin Writers website, though this is not guaranteed
  • Word limit: 1,300 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £5 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Michael Mullen Cancer Fund Short Story Competition 2020
  • Closing date: July 16
  • Prizes: 1st place €200, 2nd €50. Winners will be announced and prizes will be awarded at a special event in Naas Library as part of the 2020 Kildare Readers Festival (scheduled for October 1-20, but this is obviously open to change closer to the time depending on the Covid-19 situation). The winning entries in each competition will be published on the Michael Mullan Cancer Fund website and also on the Kildare Library and Arts Service website
  • Word limit: 2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: €15 per entry, multiple entries permitted. All entry fee money will go to the Michael Mullen Cancer Fund
  • Wild Atlantic Words Short Story Competition 2020
  • Closing date: July 31 (5pm)
  • Prizes: 1st place €500, 2nd €250. Winners will be selected by judge Lisa McInerney, and a reading and prize-giving ceremony is scheduled as part of the Wild Atlantic Words Festival in Castlebar, Co Mayo, in October (obviously this is subject to change)
  • Word limit: 3,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: €10 per entry, one entry only. Open to writers who are Irish or resident in Ireland
  • Anthology Magazine Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: July 31
  • Prize: €300 and publication in Anthology Magazine. The winner also receives a two-night stay with one dinner at the Montenotte Hotel in Cork city, a limited-edition pen created to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Weir & Sons, a Waterford Crystal engraved trophy and a year’s subscription to Anthology magazine
  • Word limit: 1,500 words
  • Theme: Friendship
  • Entry fee: €15 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • The George Floyd Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: August 14
  • Prizes: 1st place £250, 2nd £125, 3rd £75, Highly Recommended £30. Finalists will be published in an anthology entitled Black Lives, and will receive a year’s free membership to the Nottingham Writers’ Studio, regardless of locality
  • Word limit: 5,000 words (no minimum)
  • Theme: none specified, though the organisers say ‘With this anthology, we seek to capture not only stories of social justice that capture the mood, tone, and energy of the vital Black Lives Matter movement, but the entire gamut of BAME life experience, from social justice to comedies by black authors to romances with a predominantly Asian cast’
  • Entry fee: free to enter, one entry only. Open internationally to all writers
  • TU Dublin Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: August 19
  • Prizes: 1st place €500, 2nd €250, 3rd €150. The winning and shortlisted stories will be published in an anthology
  • Word limit: 1,500-2,000 words
  • Theme: none, though the anthology will be called Creation, Cosmos & Caboodle and the organisers are looking for strong stories that even loosely reflect this title.
  • Entry fee: free to enter, doesn’t say whether multiple entries are permitted. Open internationally
  • Benedict Kiely Short Story Competition 2020
  • Closing date: August 21
  • Prize: 1st place £300 and publication on The Irish Times Online, 2nd £100, 3rd £50. The three winning stories will also be published in a chapbook
  • Word limit: 2,500 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: early bird entries are £5 per story until August 1, thereafter £7 per entry. A maximum of two entries is allowed. Open internationally
  • Costa Short Story Award
  • Closing date: EXTENDED TO August 28 (5pm)
  • Prizes: 1st place £3,500, 2nd £1,000, 3rd £500. The three shortlisted stories will be published on the Costa Book Awards site in November and the winner will be decided by a public vote
  • Word limit: 4,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: free to enter, one entry only. Open to writers resident in UK or Ireland
  • 2020 Exeter Story Prize
  • Closing date: August 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £500, 2nd £150, 3rd £100. The Trisha Ashley Award £200
  • Word limit: 5,000 words
  • Theme: none, but the judge, Sunday Times bestselling author Trisha Ashley, has expressed an interest in ‘engaging and quirky’ stories 
  • Entry fee: £12 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Appears to be open internationally
  • Aesthetica Creative Writing Award
  • Closing date: August 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000, publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual 2020, a selection of books from Vintage and Bloodaxe Books, one-year print subscription to Granta and a consultation with Redhammer Management. 60 shortlisted entries will be published in the annual Aesthetica anthology
  • Word limit: 2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £18 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Manchester Fiction Prize 2020
  • Closing date: September 18 (5pm)
  • Prize: £10,000 (yes, seriously)
  • Word limit: 2,500 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £18 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Mslexia Short Story Competition 2020
  • Closing date: September 21
  • Prizes: 1st place £3,000, a week at an Arvon retreat and a mentoring session with an editor at Virago. Three finalists will each receive £100. All four winning stories will be published in the December 2020 issue of Mslexia magazine
  • Word limit: 300-3,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £10 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open to women of any nationality from any country
  • Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize 2020/2021
  • Closing date: September 30
  • Prizes: 1st place £2,000, shortlisted stories £200, longlisted stories £50 book vouchers, plus a subscription to Galley Beggar Press
  • Word limit:  6,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £10 per entry. There are 150 free entries available to writers on a low income, offered on a first come, first serve basis, and at the discretion of the directors. Open internationally
  • Perito Prize 2020
  • Closing date: October 1
  • Prizes: 1st place £500 and publication in a winners’ anthology. The story will also be uploaded to the Perito Prize section of the Perito Ltd website. Two runners up will receive a special mention and the pieces will be included in the anthology and uploaded to the website. The finalists will also have the option to participate in podcast/reading opportunities. The anthology will be available to buy from Amazon and all profits will be donated to an access and inclusion charity highlighted on the blog section of the Perito website
  • Word limit: 1,000-2,000 words
  • Theme: the story must incorporate the theme of accessibility
  • Entry fee: free to enter, one entry only. Open internationally

PS. If you’re new to writing and/or submitting, you might find a useful tip or two in my post 6 Things I’ve Learned About Entering Competitions

Photo: Rudy and Peter Skitterians/Pixabay

2 thoughts on “Short story competitions April-December

  1. Dear Ann,
    Fiction Factory here again. We would be grateful if, as in the past, you could list our Flash Fiction Competition, 2020.
    Here are the details:

    Fiction Factory Flash Fiction

    Maximum 1000 words

    Closing Date: 31st July, 2020

    Entry Fee: £5 (£8 for 2 stories, £12 for 3 stories)

    Prizes: £150 £50 and £25

    Further information is available on our website:

    http://www.fictionfactory.biz

    Many thanks and good luck,
    Sophie

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s