When we last published our list of upcoming writing competitions, Donald Trump had just been elected to the White House and we weren’t entirely sure if we’d make it all the way through 2017. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if you – like us – spent the year feverishly writing and submitting fiction and poetry to writing contests across the world, hoping to get some of your writing into the annals of humanity’s canon before the seemingly inevitable Trumpocalypse.
As things currently stand, however, we are still alive (we think), and so that means we’re rapidly hurtling toward another year and another suite of opportunities to get your writing out there and published.
For our part here at Nothing in the Rulebook, we’ll endeavour to ensure 2018 is filled with a multitude of writerly insights and discussion, and (just for you) we’ve compiled a list of upcoming writing competitions scheduled for the year ahead.
Included are details about word counts, deadlines and direct links to each event.
If you’d like to add a writing competition to our list then please feel free to contact us!
Your Writing Life competition
2000 word essay contest about any aspect of the writing life – including your own. Any topic is fair game, so long as it pertains to some aspect of writing.
The grand prize is US$1,000 and publication in the magazine, The Writer. However, every essay we receive will be considered for paid publication in the magazine.
Deadline for entries is January 1st 2018 and there is a submission fee of US$25 to enter.
2. Henshaw Press short story competition
Submissions for fictional short stories of up to 2000 words on any theme are sought by Henshaw Press for their 2017 competition.
First prize receives £100 – with monetary prizes also available for second and third placed winners. The deadline for entries is 10th January 2018.
3. Bath Novella in Flash award
Your novella-in-flash submission must be in between 6,000 and 18,000 words long. Individual flashes (or chapters) within the novella should not be more than 1000 words long.
£300 prize for the winner, two runner-up prizes of £100 plus publication in a one-volume three-novella collection. Each published author receives five copies.
Deadline for entries is January 29th 2018.
4. The Caine Prize for African Writing
For published African authors of fiction. Must be over 3000 words in length and written for adults. Advisable length for the stories is between 3000 and 10,000 words. There is a cash prize of £10,000 and works must be written in or translated into English.
Deadline for submissions is January 31st.
5. The Fiction Desk Ghost Story Competition 2017
Entry fee is £8 for ghost stories between 1000 and 7000 words in length. Though the website also runs competitions throughout the year for flash fiction stories. Deadline is Thursday, January 31st 2017 and first prize receives £500
6. Memoir Magazine #MeToo contest
The theme for the #MeToo Trigger Warning Nonfiction Essay Contest is Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse.
Sexual violence is a public health, human rights and social justice issue. So, here’s your chance to use your voice to Change the Culture. You are not alone. Memoir Magazine stands with you! Together we can shatter the silence and end sexual violence. Your essay may be humorous, sad, upsetting. It can be one paragraph long, or several pages. It’s all up to you, but most of all it should be your untold truth expressed in your unique voice.
Submissions can range in length from 100 to 7000 words. There is a US$12 entry fee and the winner receives US$500. Deadline for entries is January 31st.
7. New Welsh Writing Awards 2018
The New Welsh Writing Awards 2018, run by New Welsh Review in association with Aberystwyth University and AmeriCymru is open for entries.
Now in its fourth year, the Awards were set up to champion the best short-form writing in English
Each category winner will receive £1,000 cash, e-publication by New Welsh Review on their New Welsh Rarebyte imprint and a positive critique by leading literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown. Subsequent prizes include residential courses and weekend breaks.
Entries close at midnight on 2nd February 2018.
8. Newcastle Short Story Award 2018
One for Australian writers. First prize is AU$2000. The deadline for submissions is 5th February 2018 and the entry fee is AU$15. The maximum word limit is 2000 words, which includes both titles and any subheadings.
9. Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2018 Short Story Competition
First prize receives £500 and a place on an Arvon residential writing course of your choice, as well as publication of your story on the W&A website. Closing date for writing submissions is Tuesday February 13th 2017 and all submissions must be unpublished prose of 2000 words or fewer.
10. Everything change Climate Fiction competition 2018
The competition owners are looking for stories that illustrate, explore, or illuminate the impact of climate change on humanity and/or the Earth. They enthusiastically invite submissions in all genres of short fiction, including speculative, realistic, literary, experimental, hybrid forms, and more. Work will be selected and judged by Kim Stanley Robinson, The New York Times bestselling author of Shaman, the Mars trilogy, and New York 2140. The winning story will receive a US$1000 prize, and nine finalists will receive US$50 prizes. Selected work will be published in an anthology by the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative at Arizona State University.
Submissions must be no more than 5000 words and the deadline for entries is 28th February 2018.
11. The Margery Allingham Short Story Competition
The Margery Allingham Short Story Competition is open until February 28, 2018.
Submit stories up to 3,500 words. Your story should fit into crime writer Margery’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.”
Prize: £500 plus two weekend passes to Crimefest 2019 and a selection of Margery Allingham books.
Entry Fee: £12
12. 1000 word writing challenge
1000 words on a set theme. £5 to enter for a chance to win £100. Deadline for entries is February 28th 2018.
13. The Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize
The Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize is a writing competition sponsored by the stage and radio series Selected Shorts.
Submissions must be no more than 750 words long and there is a US$25 fee to enter.
The deadline for entries is March 1st 2018.
14. Ginosko Literary Journal 2018 Flash Fiction contest
You can submit two pieces of flash fiction of no more than 800 words each to the Ginosko Flash Fiction Contest, which closes on the 1st March 2018.
Prizes include US$ 500 and publication on the Ginosko Literary Journal website.
The entry fee is US$ 5.
15. Bridgend Writing contest 2018
Stories on a theme of your own choice, between 1500 to 1800 words.
Winner receives £200.
The deadline for entries is March 1st 2018 and there is a £5 entry fee.
16. Nelligan Prize
International writing prize for writers of all stripes and nationalities. Deadline is March 14th, 2018 for submissions of 12,500 words or less. Entry fee is US$15 and first prize is US$2000.
17. Enizagam Journal writing competitions
Enizagam is a literary journal featuring poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and interviews by writers from all over the world.
They have launched their writing competitions for both fiction and poetry ahead of their 12th journal issue.
Winners will receive US$1000 and blurbs about their work from literary judges.
There is an entry fee of US$20 and the deadline for submissions is March 23rd 2018.
Further details about guidelines below.
Fiction submission guidelines: Fiction submissions should consist of one short story up to 4,000 words long. Entries may be in any literary style, and address any subject. We do not publish novel excerpts. Please expect a response within 4 weeks of the deadline.
Poetry submission guidelines: Poetry submissions may be up to ten pages long, with no more than one poem per page. Entries may be in any poetic form (including free verse), and address any subject. Please expect a response within 4 weeks of the deadline.
18. Audiojam playscript competition
This unique competition enables authors to create a lasting keepsake of their treasured work. All genres of plays are accepted and it doesn’t matter if your work has been previously published. Up to five plays will be accepted and produced in Audiojam’s studio and broadcast across the world to an existing listener base.
There is no entry fee. Winners will see their playscripts adapted t for audio, directed and produced with professional actors. Your play will also be promoted on Soundcloud and the Audiojam website.
Deadline for entries is March 31st 2018.
19. The Killer Nashville Claymore Award
Every year, the Killer Nashville Claymore Award assists new and rebranding English-language fiction authors get published, including possible agent representation, book advances, editor deals, and movie and television sales.
The contest is limited to only the first 50 double-spaced pages of unpublished English-language manuscripts containing elements of thriller, mystery, crime, or suspense NOT currently under contract.
The entry fee is US$40 and the deadline for submissions is April 1st 2018.
20. The Bath Short Story Award
An award for local, national and international writers. Closing date for submissions is April 23rd, 2018. Short stories of up to 2200 words in all genres and styles are welcome – there is no minimum word limit. First prize receives £1000 and there is also a local prize for Bath residents, as well as The Acorn Award of £50 for unpublished writers of fiction. Entry fee is £8.
21. The Bristol Short Story Prize
Entries are welcomed for unpublished stories written in English. The deadline for submissions is 1st May 2018 and stories can be on any theme or subject. Maximum length of 4000 words. An £8 entry fee and first prize is £1000. There are also 17 further prizes of £100 for all shortlisted writers.
22. Writer’s Digest Competition
The winner of this annual award will receive US$5000 and an interview in Writer’s Digest. There are a variety of different award categories so it’s best to check the website for details. Deadline is May 4th 2018.
23. LuneSpark Young Writer’s Short Story contest
LuneSpark are looking for talented young writers to submit their work for their 2018 short story contest.
Stories must be below 1650 words (they recommend 1500 as a standard).
There is a US$ 15 registration fee (plus an additional US$ 1.82 processing fee) and first prize will receive US$ 500.
The deadline for entries is May 4th 2018, although you need to register by April 28th.
24. Bridport Prize
International open competition founded in 1973. Four categories in poetry (max 42 lines); short story (max 5,000 words); flash fiction (max 250 words) and the Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award for a First Novel (max 8,000 words from opening chapters plus 300 word synopsis).
The 2018 competition will be launched on 22nd January. Deadline usually looms towards the end of May each year.
Entry fees and prizes vary depending on category. Full information about this world-renowned competition can be found online.
25. Smokelong Quarterly award for flash fiction
In honour of Smokelong Quarterly’s 15th Anniversary, this fantastic flash fiction magazine are transforming their general submissions queue into a contest submission portal.
Stories must be below 1000 words in length and not have been previously published.
The grand prize is US$ 1500. At least 14 finalists will receive a cash prize as well and publication in SmokeLong’s 15th-anniversary issue.
The competition will run from February 5th until May 20th 2018.
26. ‘The Wedding Gift’ writing competition
UK Solution Loans are running their annual short story competition this year. Inspired by the UK Royal Wedding, the theme of this year’s writing contest is ‘The Wedding Gift’.
The winner will receive £200 and publication on the Solution Loans website, with £50 and publication for three runners-up.
The competition is free to enter and submissions must be between 1500 – 2500 words in length.
The deadline for entries is May 31st, 2018.
27. Wundor short fiction contest 2018
Whether it takes you one page to tell your story or your manuscript is a little thicker, the fine folk at Wundor Editions would like to read it. The only stipulation is that the word count of your submission should be no greater than 45,000 words.
They are looking for short stories, pieces of flash fiction and novellas. The winner and two runners up will have an extract of their work published on the Wundor website. Their work will be strongly considered for publication in print, in which case a publishing contract will be offered.
The winner will also receive £500.
There is a £10 entry fee and the deadline for submissions is May 31st 2018.
28. The Brighton Prize
The Brighton Prize offers cash prizes for new short and flash fiction. If you’re a writer with a brilliant short story that will both challenge and excite the judges; this is for you.
Submissions are currently open for flash fiction up to 350 words, and short stories of 1-2000 words.
The winner of the short story prize will receive £500, and the winner of the flash fiction prize will receive £100.
There is an entry fee of £8 for short stories and £6 for flash fiction.
The deadline for submissions is 30th June.
29. To Hull and Back, writing competition 2018
To Hull And Back Short Story Competition is an annual short story contest with a humorous twist that celebrates the most imaginative and amazing short stories from writers all over the world.
First prize is £1000 and publication.
Max word count is 2500 and the deadline for entries is July 31st 2018.
The fee for entries is £11.
30. The Preservation Foundation’s 2018 contest for unpublished writers
The Preservation Foundation are a non-profit organisation aiming to “preserve the extraordinary stories of ‘ordinary’ people.”
Stories must be non-fiction in one of four categories: General, Biographical, Travel, and Animals. Submissions must be between 1000 – 10,000 words in length.
There are no entry fees and prizes of US$ 200 for winners, US$ 100 for runners-up, and US$ 50 for finalists in each category.
Deadline for entries is August 31st 2018.
31. Bare Fiction Magazine Short Story Competitions
Any style/genre of writing in a variety of forms, including short stories, flash fiction and poetry. An annual competition with submission deadline of October.
Short story submissions must be below 3000 words and the associated entry fee is £8. Winners of each category receive £500.
32. Early Works Press
Annual writing competition accepts entries of any style or genre. Winners are published in anthology containing 10 to 20 stories (length dependent). There is a £5 entry fee for stories up to 4000 words in length and £10 fee for stories up to 8000 words long. Deadline is October each year, though the publishers also run other competitions throughout the year, so it’s worth keeping an eye on their site for details.
33. PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
For American citizens with books published in the calendar year (or scheduled to be published) – no self-published books will be accepted. No submission fees, with a deadline of October.
34. Cinnamon Press Writing Competitions
Any style or genre of writing is eligible for their rolling competition deadlines, which fall throughout the year between September and July. Entry fees vary according to form of writing, such as poetry, novels, short stories and flash fiction.
35. Manchester Writing Competition 2018
There are two prizes – one for fiction and one for poetry. Both competitions offer a £10,000 first prize. Deadline for entries is September 2018 and the competition will open in February 2018. The fiction prize will be awarded to the best short story of up to 2500 words, and is open to international writers aged 16 or over. The poetry prize will be given to the best portfolio of three to five poems (maximum length: 120 lines). The entry fee for each competition is £17.50.
36. Tethered by Letters F(r)iction contest
Literary publisher and resource for writers Tethered by Letters run this tri-annual publication, F(r)iction, – an art and literature imprint that is distributed around the world. It features short fiction, flash fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and even a selection of graphic stories. It also showcases amazing artwork.
First prize for the short story contest is US$1000 and there is an entry fee of US$18. The first prize for both the poetry and flash fiction contests is US$300 and there is a US$10 entry fee.
Visit the website for information about upcoming deadlines
37. The Short Story ‘Monthly 500’ Flash Fiction competition
The Short Story was established in 2015 and has quickly developed into an influential platform for short fiction. They champion short stories, flash fiction, and micro-fiction.
Every month, they invite submissions for their flash fiction competition, the winner of which receives publication on their website and £50.
The deadline for each month’s contest is midnight on the last day of each month.
There is an entry fee of £2.28 and entries must be no longer than 500 words (including title).
38. Reedsy Short Story Contest(s)
Every Friday, Reedsy kicks off a weekly short story contest by sending out a newsletter that includes five themed writing prompts. Subscribers have one week (until the following Friday) to submit a short story based on one of the prompts. The winner receives US$ 50 and publication on Reedsy’s Medium blog.
There is no entry fee.
39. Austin Film Festival competitions
Austin Film Festival 2018 is offering a number of different writing contests for you to sink your teeth into. In their 25th year, the Austin Film Festival (AFF) have helped many writers break into the industry of film and television.
AFF currently offer writing competition categories for screenplays, teleplays, short screenplays, digital series scripts, stage plays, and fiction podcast scripts.
Deadlines for the competitions vary, with some differences in entry fees depending on whether you enter before, early, regular, or late/final deadlines.
Prizes include cash awards and the opportunity to meet famous figures from the industry. Check out their website for information
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ENTRIES FOR 500 WORDS 2018 ARE NOW CLOSED.
In 2017 131,798 children entered the competition
Seven years ago, Chris Evans had a dream: to get children excited about reading and writing. All children, no matter what their ability. 500 Words is now one of the most successful story-writing competitions for kids in the world: Three quarters of a million children have written a story for us over the years!
It’s very simple. Entrants write an original story on any subject or theme in 500 Words or fewer and submit it online. If they win, their story will be read live on the radio by a superstar celebrity…like Julie Walters, Tom Hiddleston, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Jeremy Irons, or Sherlock himself – Benedict Cumberbatch. Each year, 10 million Radio 2 listeners hear, read and love these stories.
In 2017 131,798 children entered the competition and at the finale, on 16th June live from the Tower of London, we revealed the 6 winning stories from the 5-9 and 10-13 age categories.
Last year we had a magnificent extravaganza celebrating our fantastic 6 winners with a starry list of celebs including Sir Derek Jacobi, Jenny Agutter and David Walliams; reading the winners’ stories at the Tower of London. Also there were enchanting performances from sensational superstar Niall Horan, X-Factor alumni Olly Murs, and the amazing Anne Marie.
As well as rubbing shoulders with the world’s biggest celebrities and massive pop-stars our Bronze winners won their own height in books and the Silver winners the Duchess’ height in books. AND our Gold winners not only won Chris Evans’ height in books AND 500 books for their school, but winners were also surprised with a special illustrated copy of their story printed by royal bookbinders.
Plus, 500 Words were delighted to welcome back real-life royalty to the competition: Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, who returned in 2017 to support the competition as our Honorary Judge! At the finale at the Tower of London she presented the Gold winners with their medals and prizes. The HRH Duchess Of Cornwall was also part of the judging process where she read and debated the top 50 stories of the competition with our amazing author panel: Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Francesca Simon.
Thank you to all the children who entered the competition and to our brilliant judges across the country that helped to mark all the stories. In the words of the HRH Duchess Of Cornwall “Are you ready for an adventure?”
Please refer to the FAQ section if you have any questions.
You can use the teaching resources on our website all year round! We’ve got LOADS of fun assets under the ‘Learn’ section.