Writing Competitions List

Winning a writing competition is a fantastic way to get your novel, short story or poetry noticed by a wider audience.

It gives a great feeling of validation that you are on the right path and your hard work is worth it, whether you win a writing contest, get shortlisted, or even an honourable mention.

This writing competitions list will give you a huge number of competitions for authors to enter.

One of the things I love most about writing competitions is that it provides me with focus and motivation to not only write a story, but to edit it to my highest ability. Win or lose, I always gain some of my best work.

So my advice would be to simply pick a writing competition that you like the sound of and enter it. And to help you do that, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite writing contests, most of which are based in the UK. These generally run annually, have prestigious awards or great prizes, and most are open to international authors too.

Writing Contests List of Competitions
Good Luck!

If you’d like a few tips on how to win writing competitions, then have a look at my guide on How To Win Writing Competitions.

I’ve ordered the competitions by their usual closing date months, see individual websites for specific details:

January Writing Competitions

Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Closing date varies each year)
Prizes: 1st: £5,000, Regional winners £2,500 each
Entry fee: Free!
Looking for: Short stories from 2,000 to 5,000 words
Website: www.commonwealthwriters.org

Mogford Prize
Prizes: 1st: £10,000
Entry fee: £10
Looking for: Short stories up to 2,500 words about food
Website: www.mogfordprize.co.uk

February Writing Competitions

ChipLitFest Short Story Competition
Top 3 stories read by professional at the ChipLitFest awards evening in April.
Prizes: 1st: £500, 2nd: £100, 3rd: £50.
Entry Fee: £5 up to 3,000 words, £8 up to 5,000 words.
Looking for: Short stories up to 5,000 words
Website: www.chiplitfest.com

Flash Fiction Award
Prizes: 1st: £1,000, 2nd: £300, 3rd: £100. Two commendations £30 each.
50 long-listed entrants offered publication in end of year print and digital anthology.
Entry fee: £9.00 for one entry; £15.00 for two entries; £18.00 for three entries.
Looking for: Short Stories up to 300 words.
Website: www.bathflashfictionaward.com

Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Annual Short Story Competition
Prizes: Place on a retreat at Arvon Clockhouse.
Entry fee: Free!
Looking for: Stories up to 2,000 words on any theme.
Website: www.writersandartists.co.uk/competitions

The Desperate Literature Prize for Short Fiction
Prizes: €1,000 plus a week’s residency at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. A consultation with a US Literary Agent from Foundry Literary + Media. Plus: 2 x €250.
Entry fee: €20 for first entry, €10 for each further entry, maximum of five entries.
Looking for: Fiction short story up to 2,000 words.
Website: www.desperateliterature.com

Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition
Prizes: 1st: £1,000, 2nd: £500, 3rd: £250.
Entry fee: £10
Looking for: Short stories up to 2,000 words.
Website: www.storyawards.org/shortstoryaward

Exeter Writers Short Story Competition
Prizes: 1st: £700, 2nd: £250, 3rd: £100, plus £100 for a Devon writer.
Entry fee: £7
Looking for: Short stories up to 3,000 words, any genre and theme except
Website: www.exeterwriters.org.uk

Flash 500 Short Story Competition
Prizes: 1st: £500 plus a two-year Duotrope Gift Certificate, 2nd: £200, 3rd: £100
Entry fee: £7, £12 for two, £16 for three, £20 for four.
Looking for: Short stories between 1,000 and 3,000 words.
Website: www.flash500.com

Crime Writers Association Margery Allingham Short Story Competition
Prizes: £500
Entry fee: £12
Looking for: Short stories up to 3,500 words based on Margery Allingham’s definition of a mystery: “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.”
Website: www.thecwa.co.uk

Fish Flash Fiction Prize
Prizes: 1st: €1,000, 2nd: €300, 3rd: Online Writing Course with Fish. Top ten stories will be published in the FISH ANTHOLOGY 2019.
Entry fee: €14 (€8 subsequent entries).
Looking for: Short stories up to 300 words.
Website: www.fishpublishing.com/competition/flash-fiction-contest/


A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” — Richard Bach


March Writing Competitions

Bridgend Writers’ Circle Open Short Story Competition
Prizes: £100, £50, £30.
Entry fee: £5 for one, £7.50 for two.
Looking for: Stories between 1,500 and 1,800 words on any theme.E
Website: www.bridgendwriters.webplus.net

The White Review Short Story Prize
Prizes: £2,500 for the best piece of short fiction by a writer resident in Britain & Ireland who has yet to secure a publishing deal.
Entry fee: £15
Looking for: Short stories from 2,000 to 7,000 words
Website: www.thewhitereview.org

Neil Gunn Writing Competition
Prizes: 1st: £500, 2nd: £300 and 3rd: £200 in each category.
Entry fee: £8
Looking for: Short stories up to 2,500 words and poetry up to 40 lines, interpreting one of three quotes from Scottish writer Neil Gunn.
Website: www.highlifehighland.com/neilgunn

BBC National Short Story Award
Prizes: Award of £15,000 for the winner, £600 for four further shortlisted stories.
Entry fee: Not stated.
Looking for: Stories with a maximum of 8,000 words. One entry per author.
Website: www.bbc.co.uk

Harpers Bazaar Short Story Competition
Prizes: In 2018 it was a two-night stay at Brownber Hall, Yorkshire, and the chance to see their work published.
Entry fee: Free!
Looking for: Short stories up to 2,500 words on a specific theme.
Website: www.harpersbazaar.com

Fowey Festival Short Story Competition
Prizes: 1st: £100, 2nd: £75
Entry fee: £5
Looking for: Short stories up to 1,500 words on a specific theme.
Websitewww.foweyfestival.com 

Eyelands International Flash Fiction Contest
Prizes: 1st: Usually a holiday, gift certificate and publication. Shortlisted stories get publication in their anthology.
Entry fee: 10€
Looking for: Up to 500 words on a specific theme.
Website: www.eyelands.gr

Evesham Festival of Words Short Story Competition
Prizes: 1st: £150, 2nd: £30
Entry fee: £5
Looking for: Short stories on any theme up to 2,500 words.
Website: www.eveshamfestivalofwords.org

Limnisa Short Story Competition
Prizes: 1st prize is a one week, all inclusive, writers’ retreat.
Entry fee: Free!
Looking for: Short stories up to 1,500 words. Must be original, unpublished work of fiction in English, on a specific theme.
Website: www.limnisa.com

Writers’ HQ Flash Quarterly Competition
Prizes: 1st place: 12 months Writers’ HQ membership + 3 one-day writing retreats, 2nd place: 6 months Writers’ HQ membership + 3 one-day writing retreats, 3rd place: 3 months Writers’ HQ membership + 3 one-day writing retreats.
Entry fee: Free!
Looking for: Flash fiction up to 500 words.
Website: www.writershq.co.uk

Writers Bureau Annual Short Story Competition
Prizes: 1st: £300, 2nd: £200, 3rd: £100, 4th: £50. All winners receive a Writers Bureau Course of their choice.
Entry fee: £5
Looking for: Short stories up to 2,000 words.
Website: https://www.wbcompetition.com/index.html

The Henshaw Competition
Prizes: 1st: £200, 2nd: £75, 3rd: £25. Winning stories published on the Henshawpress website. Commended stories offered the opportunity of inclusion in their anthology.
Entry fee: £6. Optional critiques a further £12.
Looking for: A short story on any subject up to 2000 words.
Website: www.henshawpress.co.uk


“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” ― Terry Pratchett


April Writing Competitions

Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize
Prizes: 1st: £10,000, 2nd: £3,000, 3rd: £2,000
Entry fee: Free!
Looking for: Short stories up to 2500 words on specific theme. One entry per person. Text must not have been published, self-published or accepted for publication in print or online, or have won or been placed in another competition at any time. All genres permitted.
Website: www.alpinefellowship.com

Edge Hill Short Story Prize
Prizes: 1st: £10,000 plus £1,000 Readers’ Prize
Entry fee: Free!
Looking for: Single-author short story collections published in previous year.
Website: www.edgehill.ac.uk

Leicester Writes Short Story Prize
Prizes: 1st: £100 and bundle of books, 2nd: £50 and books, 3rd: books.
Entry fee: £7. Max three entries per person. Writers submitting from within Leicestershire can submit for a discounted fee of £3.
Looking for: Short stories up to 3,000 words
Website: www.leicesterwrites.co.uk

Bath Short Story Award
Prizes: 1st: £1200, 2nd: £300, 3rd: £100 third prize, plus £100 for the Acorn Award (for an unpublished writer), £50  for the local prize.
Entry fee: £8
Looking for: Short stories up to 2,200 words, in any style and on any subject Websitewww.bathshortstoryaward.org

ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize
Prizes: 1st: Aus$5,000, 2nd: Aus$3,000, 3rd: Aus$2,000, plus 3 commended stories will share the remaining Aus$2,500 in prize money.
Entry fee: Aus$25
Looking for: Short stories between 2,000 and 5,000 words.
Website: www.australianbookreview.com.au

Shooter Short Story Competition
Prizes: 1st: £500 and publication, 2nd: £100 plus publication.
Entry fee: £7 (or £10 for two stories).
Looking for: Stories may be any theme or genre, and any length up to 5,000 words.
Website: www.shooterlitmag.com

Momaya Press Short Story Competition
Prizes: 1st: £110, 2nd: £55, 3rd: £25, winners and shortlisted authors will be published.
Entry fee: £11
Looking for: Short stories up to 3,000 words on a specific theme.
Website: www.momayapress.com

Earlyworks Press Poetry Competition
Prizes: 1st: £100, 2nd: £25, 3rd: £5, for each poem on the website.
Entry fee: £4 per poem, £16 for up to six entries.
Looking for:  Poems up to 40 lines.
Website: www.earlyworkspress.co.uk

May Writing Competitions

Bristol Short Story Prize
Prizes: 1st: £1,000, 2nd: £500, 3rd: £250. 17 prizes of £100 for shortlisted authors. All shortlisted writers will receive 2 free copies of the anthology.
Entry fee: £9
Looking for: Stories up to 4,000 words on any theme or subject and in any style, including graphic, verse or genre-based.
Website: www.bristolprize.co.uk

Frome Festival Short Story Competition
Prizes: 1st: £400, 2nd: £200, 3rd: £100, plus additional prizes for local entries.
Entry fee: £8. Multiple entries permitted.
Looking for: Short stories from 1,000 to 2,200 words on any theme.
Website: www.fromeshortstorycompetition.co.uk

Bridport Prize
Prizes: Novels: 1st: £1,000, 2nd: £500, 3 Shortlisted authors receive £100. Poems: 1st: £5,000, 2nd: £1,000, 3rd: £500, 10 x £100 for highly commended. Short Stories: 1st: £5,000, 2nd: £1,000, 3rd: £500. Flash Fiction: 1st: £1,000, 2nd: £500, 3rd: £250.
Entry fee: Various.
Looking for: Short stories up to 4,000 words. Novels, Poetry and Flash Fiction.
Website: www.bridportprize.org.uk

June Writing Competitions

Bath Novel Award
Prizes: 1st: £2,500
Entry fee: £25
Looking for: First 5,000 words of a manuscript of at least 50,000 words.
Website: www.bathnovelaward.co.uk


“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.” — Ray Bradbury


July Writing Competitions

The To Hull And Back Humorous Short Story Competition
Prizes: 1st: £1,000 and some random bits, 2nd: £500, 3rd: £250, 3 x Highly Commended £100, 14 x Shortlisted: £50. All short listed writers published in their anthology.
Entry fee: Early bird: £11 for one story, £18 for two stories and £22 for three stories. Then £13 for one story, £21 for two stories and £26 for three stories.
Looking for: Short stories up to 2,500 words. No limitation on style or genre, but must contain some element of humour.
Website: www.christopherfielden.com

London Magazine Poem Competition
Prizes: £500
Entry fee: £10
Looking for: Poetry up to 40 lines
Website: www.thelondonmagazine.org

August Writing Competitions

Sean O’Faolain Prize
Prizes: 1st: €2,000
Entry fee: €18
Looking for: Short stories up to 3,000 words
Website: www.munsterlit.ie

September Writing Competitions

Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize
Prizes: 1st: £1,000 or one year’s editorial support, plus smaller prizes
Entry Fee: £10
Looking for: Short stories
Website: www.galleybeggar.co.uk

Manchester Writing Competition
Prizes: 1st: £10,000 in each category
Entry Fee: £17.50
Looking for: Short stories up to 2,500 words. A portfolio of 3 to 5 poems up to a maximum of 120 lines.
Website: www.mmu.ac.uk

October Writing Competitions

Bare Fiction Competitions
Prizes: 1st: £500
Entry fee: £5-£8
Looking for: Short stories up to 3,000 words, Poems up to 40 lines, Flash Fiction up to 500 words.
Website: www.barefictionmagazine.co.uk

November Writing Competitions

London Magazine Short Story Competition
Prizes: 1st: £500
Entry fee: £10
Looking for: Short stories
Website: www.thelondonmagazine.org

December Writing Competitions

Magic Oxygen Literary Competition
Prizes: 1st: £1000
Entry fee: £5
Looking for: Short stories up to 4,000 words and poetry up to 50 lines
Website: www.magicoxygen.co.uk

Moth Magazine Competition
Prizes: 1st: €10,000 Poem / €3,000 Short Story
Entry fee: €15
Looking for: Short stories up to 5,000 words and poetry
Website: www.themothmagazine.com

RSL Ondaatje Prize
Prizes: 1st: £10,000
Entry fee: Free!
Looking for: Short fiction, non-fiction or poetry evoking the spirit of a place
Website: www.rsliterature.org

V.S. Pratchett Short Story Prize
Prizes: 1st: £1,000
Entry fee: Free!
Looking for: Short stories
Website: www.rsliterature.org


aaron-mullins-author-writer-books-crime-mystery-smallAaron Mullins is an award winning, internationally published psychologist. He started Birdtree Books Publishing where he worked as Editor-in-Chief, gaining media recognition and partnering with World Reader Charity before moving on to new ventures. He also taught academic writing at Coventry University. As a fiction author he’s known for exploring the darker side of psychology in his work. He also creates business guides for entrepreneurs and writing guides for fellow authors.