Flash fiction competitions September-December

[Updated 4/11/20] This year has been so devoid of normal structure that it doesn’t feel like we could possibly be in Autumn already, and yet here we are. The new calender is measured in competition deadlines, so here is a fresh crop for your diary. And the flash fiction competitions below are largely quarterly ones, so even if you miss a deadline it won’t be long before the next one!

Best of luck, as always.

  • Mslexia Flash Fiction Competition 2020
  • Closing date: September 21
  • Prize: 1st place £500, and three finalists will each receive £50. All four winning stories will be published in the December 2020 issue of Mslexia magazine
  • Word limit: 300 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry details: £5 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open to women of any nationality from any country
  • Retreat West Themed Flash Fiction Competition
  • Closing date: September 27 (quarterly)
  • Prizes: 1st place £200. Two runners-up will win £100 each, and the three winning stories will be published on the Retreat West site
  • Theme: ‘Glass’, however you choose to interpret it. The theme for the winter competition is ‘Bridges’ (closing date December 29)
  • Word limit: 500 words
  • Entry fee: £8 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Allingham Festival Flash Fiction Competition
  • Closing date: September 28
  • Prize: 1st place €300. The winner will be invited to read their winning entry for an online awards ceremony as part of the Allingham Arts Festival, which will take place virtually from Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, November 4-8
  • Word limit: 700 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry details: €5 per entry, up to five entries permitted. Appears to be open internationally
  • Silver Apples Flash Fiction Competition
  • Closing date: September 28
  • Prize: determined by the number of entries. The prize pot starts at €100 and the winner gets that as well as most of the entry fee money (minus PayPal processing fees and mag fees of 30%. The top five stories will be published online by Silver Apples magazine
  • Word limit: 500 words
  • Theme: ‘Rebound’
  • Entry details: €5 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Lennox Robinson 100 Short Story Award 2020
  • Closing date: September 30
  • Prize: €100
  • Word limit: 100 words
  • Theme: the story must link to some aspect of the life or work of Irish playright Lennox Robinson
  • Entry details: free to enter, one entry only. Open internationally
  • Morgen Bailey 100-word Competition
  • Closing date: next deadline is September 30, though this is a monthly-run competition
  • Prizes: 1st place a choice of three online courses (or a 2,000-word free edit by UK editor, author and competition judge Morgen Bailey), 2nd place two courses (or a 1,500-word edit), 3rd place one course (or a 1,000-word edit). Up to three highly commended entrants per month win either a free entry coupon code to a entering writing competitions course or a free 1,000-word edit
  • Word limit: 100 words
  • Theme: different every month. For the month of September, it’s ‘The Swimming Pool’. Check the website for future themes
  • Entry details: free to enter, three flashes permitted. Open internationally
  • Flash 500 Flash Fiction Competition
  • Closing date: September 30 (but has rolling quarterly deadlines)
  • Prizes: 1st place £300, 2nd place £200, 3rd place £100
  • Theme: none
  • Word limit: 500 words
  • Entry fee: £5 for one story, £8 for two stories. Open internationally
  • Bath Flash Fiction Award
  • Closing date: October 11 (rolling competition held three times a year)
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000, 2nd place £300, 3rd place £100. Two commendations receive £30 each. 50 longlisted entrants are offered publication in the end-of-year print and digital anthology and receive a free copy
  • Theme: none
  • Word limit: 300 words
  • Entry fee: £9 for one entry, £15 for two, £18 for three. Open internationally
  • The Retreat West Flash Fiction Prize 2020
  • Closing date: October 25
  • Prizes: 1st place £350, 2nd place £200, 3rd place £100. Shortlisted writers will receive £15. All winning and shortlisted stories will be published in the annual Retreat West anthology
  • Theme: none
  • Word limit: 500 words
  • Entry fee: £8 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Wenlock Olympian Society Flash Fiction Competition 2020/2021
  • Closing date: October 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £150, 2nd £50, 3rd £25, plus Gold, Silver or Bronze Wenlock Olympian Society (WOS) medals, without having to move a muscle
  • Theme: inspired by one of the following phrases – ‘Five Rings’, ‘Winning’ or ‘Gold is Only a Colour’
  • Word limit: 1,000 words
  • Entry fee: £5 for one entry, £8 for two,  £12 for three. Open internationally
  • London Independent Story Prize (LISP): Flash Fiction
  • Closing date: November 29 (quarterly competition)
  • Prize: £100 and publication on the LISP website, as well as an interview with the winner
  • Theme: none
  • Word limit: 300 words
  • Entry fee: there’s a range of entry prices, from £6 early bird per entry to £9.50 extended entry fee, whatever that means. Check website for details. Open internationally
  • The Lunate 500
  • Closing date: November 15 (5pm UK time)
  • Prize: 1st place £200, 2nd £100, 3rd £50. A a shortlist of 15 stories will be revealed shortly after the closing date, and then there will be a countdown to the winner with daily publication of each of those stories by Lunate online literary journal from December 10 to 24
  • Theme: ‘Other People’
  • Word limit: 500 words
  • Entry fee: £5 per entry or two entries for £8. Open internationally
  • Retreat West Novelette-in-Flash Prize 2020
  • Closing date: November 29
  • Prizes: 1st place £150, 2nd £100, 3rd £50. All winning novelettes-in-flash will be published together in a collection by Retreat West Books as ebook and paperback. Winners will receive a copy of each
  • Theme: none
  • Word limit: 3,000-8,000 words, consisting of standalone flashes of max 500 words each
  • Entry fee: £14 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Reflex Fiction Winter 2020 Flash Fiction Competition
  • Closing date: November 30
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,200, 2nd place £600, 3rd place £300, 4th £150
  • Theme: none
  • Word limit: 180-360 words
  • Entry fee: choose your own entry fee system. The suggested entry fee is £7 per entry (£6 per entry for two, or £5 per entry for three or more), but if that’s prohibitive, just pay what you can afford. If you’d like to support a writer who can’t afford the full fee, there’s an option to donate towards other entrants. Open internationally
  • Wild Atlantic Writing Awards
  • Closing date: December 10
  • Prize: €500
  • Theme: ‘Nature’
  • Word limit: 500 words
  • Entry fee: €10 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Matchgirls Flash Fiction Competition 2020
  • Closing date: December 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £50 and publication on the Matchgirls Memorial site and co-organisers Pen to Print site. One runner-up will also have their story published
  • Theme: none stated, but the competition is being held to commemorate the first successful strike of women factory workers, at the Bryant and May’s match factory in Bow, East London in 1888, which led to improved, safer working conditions in factories
  • Word limit: 200 words
  • Entry fee: £2 donation per flash. I can’t find any restrictions on who can enter this UK competition, but maybe drop the organisers an email if you’d like to double-check before entering?

And if you want to make an early start on next year’s opportunities, there’s:

  • Bath Flash Fiction Novella-in-flash Award
  • Closing date: January 17, 2021
  • Prizes: 1st place £300, two runner-up prizes of £100. The three finalists will be published as individual novellas. All entries will be considered for publication. Each published author receives five copies.
  • Theme: none
  • Word limit: 6,000 to 18,000 word limit – each flash should not be more than about 1,000 words
  • Entry fee: £16 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally

Picture: Grae Dickason; Jan Mesaros; Cocoparisienne; Alexander Stein

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