Short story competitions 2022

[UPDATED 23/1/22] Happy New Year, happy new writing opportunities. January seems as good a time as any to plot world domnation through words. If nothing else, it can be useful to set deadlines in order to actually finish some the many drafts languishing in your files. And some competition organisers are so forward-thinking, you could be making a start on your entries for late-summer prizes if you like to be very efficient. The list of Irish and UK competitions below is very varied, some big, some more modest or niche, so I hope there will be something of interest for everyone.

As always, I will be regularly updating this post whenever new competition dates are confirmed, so do pop back, as I know many of you do. And as ever, please check out the smallprint before entering anything – don’t go blaming me if the prize consists of a writer’s retreat in Antartica. Best of luck!

  • The Tenth Annual Mogford Food & Drink Short Story Prize
  • Closing date: January 12 (12 midday)
  • Prizes: 1st place £10,000. Three runners up receive £250, and all shortlisted entrants will have their stories published on the Mogford Prize website and in booklets placed in The Oxford Collection’s five star hotels and restaurants in Oxford, UK
  • Judges: writer Michael Morpurgo and broadcaster Andi Oliver
  • Word limit: 2,500 words
  • Theme: as the prize name suggests, the story must feature food and/or drink in some significant way
  • Entry fee:  £15 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Bournemouth Writing Prize 2022
  • Closing date: January 16
  • Prizes: 1st place £500, plus feedback on a sample of your work (short story or a short extract from your novel) from a commissioning editor or agent and a professionally produced recording of your work for your website. Shortlisted writers will be considered for anthology publication
  • Judges: include literary agent Julia Silk and commissioning editor at Picador Ansa Khan Khattak
  • Word limit: 3,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £7 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Manchester Fiction Prize
  • Closing date: January 28 (5pm)
  • Prize: £10,000
  • Judges: writers Nicholas Royle, Simon Okotie and Hilaire
  • Word limit: 2,500 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £18 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Cúirt New Writing Prize 2022
  • Closing date: EXTENDED TO January 31 (5pm)
  • Prize: €500 and the opportunity to read at the Cúirt International Festival of Literature, which takes place in Galway, April 4-10
  • Judge: author Lisa McInerney
  • Word limit: 2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: €10 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Some subsidised entries available on application. Open internationally (though travel expenses will not be provided to attend the festival)
  • Writers’ & Artists’ Short Story Competition 2022
  • Closing date: February 11
  • Prize: a place on an Arvon residential writing course in the UK. The winning story will also be featured on the Writers’ & Artists’ website
  • Judge: yearbook editor Alysoun Owen
  • Word limit: 2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: free to enter, you just have to register for a free account on the Writer’ & Artists’ Yearbook site. One entry only, open internationally (though travel costs will not be provided)
  • ChipLitFest Short Story Competition 2022
  • Closing date: February 14
  • Prize: 1st place £500, 2nd place £100, 3rd place £50. The three winnng stories will be published on the Chipping Norton Literary Festival website (scheduled for April 21-24)
  • Judges: literary agent Yasmin Kane
  • Word limit: 5,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £5 for stories of up to 2,500 words. £8 for stories up to 5,000 words, mutiple entries permitted. Some sponsored free entries are available for low-income writers, on application. Open internationally
  • Crime Writers’ Association/Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition
  • Closing date: February 28 (6pm)
  • Prize: £500 plus two weekend passes to CrimeFest 2023 (ie next year) in Bristol, UK
  • Judges: doesn’t say
  • Word limit:  3,500 words
  • Theme: a mystery that fits into crime writer Allingham’s definition of what makes a great story: “The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly, a Crime, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.”
  • Entry fee: £12 per entry, mutiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Exeter Writers 13th Annual Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: February 28
  • Prizes: 1st place £700, 2nd place £250, 3rd place £100. There is also a £100 prize for the best entry by a Devon-based writer
  • Judges: doesn’t say
  • Word limit: 3,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £7 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • The Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: February 28
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000, 2nd place £500, 3rd place £250. There is also a £750 Isobel Lodge Award open to unpublished writers living or studying in Scotland. Publication will be offered to the authors of least twenty stories in the next anthology. The Scottish Arts Club will present one year free membership of the Club to the finalists, and they will also be given a page on the website to promote their work
  • Judges: chief judge is author Andrew O’Hagan
  • Word limit: 2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £10 per entry, multiple entries permitted. All proceeds are used to support the arts in Scotland. Open internationally
  • Flash 500 Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: February 28
  • Prizes: 1st place £500, 2nd place £200, 3rd place £100
  • Judge: writer Wendy Clarke
  • Word limit: 1,000-3,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry details: £7 for one story, £12 for two, £16 for three, £20 for four. There is also an option to receive a critique for £25 per story. Open internationally
  • Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award 2022
  • Closing date: March 1
  • Prize: €1,000. This is the official short story competition for Listowel Writers’ Week, which takes place in Listowel, Co Kerry, June 1-5
  • Judge: writer Christine Dwyer Hickey
  • Word limit: 3,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: €10 per entry for postal entries (+€3 booking fee if submitted online), multiple entries permitted. They don’t mention whether this is open internationally
  • Du Maurier Festival Short Story Prize
  • Closing date: March 6
  • Prizes: 1st place £200, 2nd place £100. The official prizegiving will be at the Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature (May 6-14), which celebrates the life and work of Daphne du Maurier. The winning entries will be published on the website
  • Judge: doesn’t say
  • Word limit: 1,500 words
  • Theme: ‘Spring Picture’, inspired by the title of a lesser-known novel by du Maurier, published in 1944
  • Entry details: £10 per story, one entry only. Open internationally
  • Evesham Festival of Words Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: March 11 (5pm)
  • Prize: 1st place £200, 2nd place £100, 3rd place £75
  • Judge: author Simon Whaley
  • Word limit: 2,500 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £5 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally.
  • The Phare Magazine WriteWords Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: March 18
  • Prizes: 1st place £150 and an invitation to record the entry for the journal’s podcast. 2nd place £50. Both finalists, along with the runners-up and longlisted stories, will be published in the March edition of the magazine
  • Judges: doesn’t say
  • Word limit: 2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: early bird entry of £6 for one story, £10 for two until January 31. Thereafter £8 for one story, £14 for two. There are five free spots available for writers of restricted means, on application. Appears to be open internationally
  • Bath Short Story Award 2022
  • Closing date: April 11
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,200, 2nd place £300, 3rd place £100. There’s also the Acorn Award of £100 for a previously unpublished writer of fiction. The top twenty stories will be published in the annual print and digital anthology
  • Judge: writer Paul McVeigh
  • Word limit: 2,200 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £9 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Desperate Literature Prize for Short Fiction
  • Closing date: April 15
  • Prizes: 1st place €1,500, a week’s residency at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy, a consultation with literary agent  Charlotte Seymour from Johnson & Alcock in London and a manuscript assessment and follow-up meeting with a literary editor from The Literary Consultancy. Two runners-up will each win €750. One shortlisted writer will be offered a spot at the Tbilisi International Festival of Literature, Georgia, along with a ten-day residency at the Writers’ House of Georgia. A travel stipend of €400 will be provided. All shortlisted writers will be published in a limited-edition book, which will be launched at the Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize Salon, Madrid, Spain. They will also be published by one of Desperate Literature’s partner journals: Helter SkelterThe London Magazine, Open PenPrototypeHotelGorseKill Your Darlings or Minor Literature[s]. There will be opportunities for participation in prize salons at Desperate Literature, Madrid; Burley Fisher, London and Typewronger Books, Edinburgh, depending on Covid restrictions
  • Judges: writers Natasha Brown, Ottessa Moshfegh and Joanna Walsh, and literary translator Anton Hur
  • Word limit: 2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee:  €20 for the first entry, €10 for every further entry up to a max of five entries permitted. There are also some free and reduced-fee entries available for low-income writers, on application by April 1. Open internationally
  • Mairtin Crawford 5th Short Story Award
  • Closing date: May 1
  • Prizes: 1st place £500 and a five-night stay at The River Mill Writing Retreat in Co Down. Two runners-up will each receive £250
  • Judges: writers Lucy Caldwell and Rachael Kelly
  • Word limit: 2,500 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £6 per entry. Some free entries are available on application. Open to writers born in, citizens of or resident in Ireland and UK (note that this is a change from previous years)
  • 2022 Bristol Short Story Prize
  • Closing date: May 4
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000, 2nd place £500, 3rd place £250. Seventeen shortlisted writers will each receive £100. The twenty winning stories will be published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 15 and contributors will each receive two copies
  • Judges: literary agent Tom Drake-Lee, writer Irenosen Okojie and independent bookshop manager Jessica Taylor
  • Word limit: 4,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £9 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Some free entries available on application. Open internationally
  • 2022 Shooter Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: May 29 (opening for entries shortly)
  • Prizes: 1st place £400 and publication in the summer edition of Shooter Literary Magazine, 2nd place £100. Both stories will be published on the site
  • Judges: doesn’t say
  • Word limit: 5,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £7 for one entry, £10 for two, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Lucent Dreaming 2022 Short Story Prize
  • Closing date: May 31 (9pm UK time)
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000, publication in Lucent Dreaming magazine and limited-edition merchandise. 2nd place £250, publication in the magazine and merchandise. 3rd place £150 and merchandise. Highly commended and shortlisted stories will be considered for publication in the anthology and magazine, for which they will receive a contributor fee and free copy of the publication
  • Judges: doesn’t say
  • Word limit: 1,500-4,000 words
  • Theme: ‘Hope’. The guidelines state: ‘Not the sort that diminishes or belittles life’s struggles (toxic positivity), but rather stories that leave the reader with some feeling of hope, for the characters, their own lives, or the wider world’
  • Entry fee: £4 per entry, up to five entries permitted. Entries are free for low-income writers, there is no need to declare or prove your income threshold. Open internationally
  • Bridport Prize for Short Story
  • Closing date: May 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £5,000, an invitation to take part in the awards celebration and feedback from the judges and Bridport Prize professional partners. 2nd place £1,000, 3rd place £500, both with an invitation to the awards ceremony. Ten Highly Commended stories will be awarded £100 each. All the winning and highly commended pieces will be published in an anthology and entered into the Sunday Times Audible competition, top prize £30,000. Literary agency AM Heath will read all the shortlistees and consider representation
  • Judge: not yet revealed
  • Word limit: 5,000 words (no minimum requirement)
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £12 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Michael Terence Publishing Short Story Competition 2022
  • Closing date: May 31 (opens for submissions February 1)
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000 2nd place £500, 3rd place £250. Five runners-up will win £50. All prizewinning stories will be published in the MTP 2022 Anthology (print book and ebook). The anthology will take its title from the winning entry
  • Judges: doesn’t say
  • Word limit: 3,000 words (no minimum)
  • Theme: none (non-fiction is also allowed, ie memoir etc)
  • Entry fee:  early bird entry of £5 per entry till February 28, thereafter £7 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Yeovil Literary Prize for Short Story
  • Closing date: May 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £600, 2nd place £250, 3rd place £125
  • Judge: Nicholas Royle
  • Word limit: 2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee:  £8 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • 2022 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize
  • Closing date: June 30 (5pm)
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000 and publication in Wasafiri magazine. Shortlisted writers will have their work published on Wasafiri’s website. All fifteen shortlistees and winners will also be offered the Chapter and Verse or Free Reads mentoring scheme in partnership with The Literary Consultancy (dependent on eligibility), and a conversation with Nikesh Shukla of The Good Literary Agency to discuss their career progression
  • Judge: panel includes novelist Preti Taneja 
  • Word limit: 3,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £10 for one entry, £16 for two, multiple entries permitted. A limited number of subsidised entries is available at a rate of £6 per entry, on application. Open internationally
  • The HG Wells Short Story Competition 2022
  • Closing date: July 11 (not yet open for entries, and some details may change)
  • 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
  • Judges: doesn’t say
  • Word limit: 1,500-5,000 words
  • Theme: ‘Switch’
  • 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). Open internationally
  • Doris Gooderson Short Story Competition
  • Closing date: July 12
  • Prize: 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. Publication in the anthology, or on the website, is not guaranteed
  • Judges: doesn’t say
  • Word limit: 1,200 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: £5 per entry, multiple entries permitted (50% of any profits will be donated to the Severn Hospice). Open internationally
  • Anthology Magazine Short Story Competition 2022
  • Closing date: August 31
  • Prize: €500, publication in a future issue of Anthology magazine and a one-year subscription
  • Word limit: 1,500 words
  • Judges: doesn’t say
  • Theme: ‘Courage’
  • Entry fee: early bird entry of €10 per story by April 30, €15 per story thereafter, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2022
  • Closing date: August 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £2,500, publication in the Aesthetica creative writing anthology, a consultation with Redhammer Management, a selection of books from Vintage Books and a one-year print subscription to Granta magazine. The twenty shortlisted writers will be published in the anthology
  • Judges: quite a long list here
  • Word limit: 2,000 words
  • Theme: none
  • Entry fee: early bird entry of £9 during the month of January, £18 per entry thereafter, multiple entries permitted. 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

Photos: Republica/Pixabay; AbsolutVision/Pixabay; alfcermed/Pixabay

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