Excelsior! Welcome all ye saviours of the written word! 2016 is almost over (thank goodness), and while we try to distract ourselves from the horrors of a year that culminated in the election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency, it is also important we look forward to a 2017 as we try to make sure it isn’t quite as terrible as the last one.
For our part, we’ll endeavour to ensure 2017 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!
- James Knudsen prize for fiction
The deadline for this year’s James Knudsen prize is 1st January 2017.
The winner of this year’s contest will receive US$1,000 and a year’s subscription to Bayou Magazine. Finalists will be named on the magazine’s website and all entries will be considered for publication.
Submissions must be original and previously unpublished, no longer than 7500 words.
There is a reading fee of US$20
- Exeter Novel Prize
Submissions are invited for the first 10,000 words (including synopsis) of a novel that has not been accepted for publication by a traditional publishing house. The competition is open to all authors who are currently without representation by a literary agent.
First prize for the award is £500 and a trophy. The entry fee is £18 and the deadline is 1st January 2017
- 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 2017.
- Furious Gazelle February writing contest
The Furious Gazelle are seeking short story submissions of no more than 7000 words around the theme of ‘February’ – anything you can connect to the month of February is on the table, whether that’s Black History, Cupids, Valentine’s Day or leap years.
The winner will receive US$50 and a book in the genre of their choosing. There is an entry fee of US$3 and entries must be submitted by 20th January 2017.
- 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.
- 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.
- Philosophy through fiction competition
Short stories that are eligible for this competition must be some form of speculative fiction (this includes, but is not limited to, science fiction, fantasy, horror, alternative history, or magical realism), and must explore one or more philosophical ideas. These can be implicit; there is no restriction on which philosophical ideas you explore.
The winner will receive US$500 and there is no entry fee. Submissions should be between 1000 and 7500 words, and be accompanied by a brief “food for thought” section of 500 words, where the author explains the philosophical ideas behind the piece.
The deadline for entries is 1st February 2017.
- American Short(er) Fiction Contest
Submissions of short fiction of no more than 1000 words are sought by American Short Fiction.
The winner will receive US$1,000 and there is an entry fee of US$17. The deadline for submissions is 1st February 2017.
9. Mercier Short Story Competition – one from an Irish Publisher
For writers of young adult or adult fiction. First prize is 1000 Euros and a publishing deal (including all editorial and cover design services).
Submissions must be between 10,000 – 12,000 words along with a 12000 word synopsis of the full novel, which cannot be more than 100,000 words.
The deadline for entries is 1st February 2017.
- Newcastle Short Story Award 2017
One for Australian writers. First prize is AU$2000. The deadline for submissions is 7th February 2017 and the entry fee is AU$15. The maximum word limit is 2000 words, which includes both titles and any subheadings.
- Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2016 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 Monday February 13th 2017 and all submissions must be unpublished prose of 2000 words or fewer.
12. Wundor Short Fiction Competition
The competition owners are looking for unusual pieces of fiction.
Whether you have a single piece of work, a collection of pieces or a brilliant novella on your hands, they would like to read it. The only stipulation is that the sum total word count of your submission should fall between 5,000 and 45,000 words.
The entry fee is £10 and and winner will receive £500.
The deadline is 28 February 2017.
13. Artificium Short Story Competition
What makes a winner? The judges are looking for accomplished writing, full of style and intelligence, demonstrating a passion for language. Intriguing plots and themes that captivate the reader and make them think. Any genre, as long as the quality of writing is high. Works must be written in English, and authors can be from any country.
Submissions must be less than 8000 words in length. There is a £5 entry fee and a prize of £300 for the winner. Deadline is 28th February 2017.
14. Exeter Writers Competition
Exeter Writers runs an annual short story competition. The competition began in 2009 and is very popular, receiving entries from all over the UK. The 2017 competition is OPEN for entries. Prizes are £500, £250, £100 for first, second and third placed submissions. There is also a local prize of £100 for the best Devon entry.
Deadline is February for stories no more than 3000 words in length, of any style or genre.
15. New Welsh Writing Awards 2017
The New Welsh Writing Awards 2017, run by New Welsh Review in association with Aberystwyth University and AmeriCymru is open for entries with two new categories, the Aberystwyth University Prize for Memoir and AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella.
Now in its third 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 1 March 2017
16. Ginosko Literary Journal 2017 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 2017.
Prizes include US$ 500 and publication on the Ginosko Literary Journal website.
The entry fee is US$ 5
17. Nelligan Prize
International writing prize for writers of all stripes and nationalities. Deadline is March 14th, 2017 for submissions of 12,500 words or less. Entry fee is US$15 and first prize is US$2000.
18. The Bath Short Story Award
An award for local, national and international writers. Closing date for submissions is May 1st, 2017. 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.
19. The Bristol Short Story Prize
Entries are welcomed for unpublished stories written in English. The deadline for submissions is 3rd May 2017 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.
20. Writer’s Digest Competition
The winner of this annual award will receive US$5000 and an interview in Writer’s Digest. There are a variety of different award categories so it’s best to check the website for details. Deadline is May 5th 2017.
21. Birds of a Feather Press Travel Writing Competition 2017
Birds of a Feather are looking for travel writing of 500-2,000 words. This is your chance to fill in the gaps of your favourite destination. Share what you’d wish you’d known before you arrived.
The Birds of a Feather Press Travel Writing Competition 2017 closes on May 31, 2017.
The winner will receive US$ 200. Ten runner-up prizes of US$ 10 each.
Free to enter.
22. Gertrude Stein Award in Fiction
All stories in English and fewer than 8,000 words long are eligible for this award.
Winners receive US$1000 and publication. There is a US$10 entry fee and the deadline is 1st June 2017
23. 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 10th June.
24. Young Lions Fiction Award
This award recognises ‘young authors’ – defined in the competition rules as anyone aged 35 or under. Submit any novel or short story published or scheduled to be published in the calendar year.
The deadline for submissions is August.
25. 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.
26. 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.
27. Bedford Writing Competition
Annual competition for writing of any style or genre. Winners are published on website and in an eBook, and they also receive a £200 prize.
Submissions have a maximum word count of 3000 words and the associated entry fee is £5. Deadline is September 2017, with the competition opening in May.
28. 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.
29. 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.
30. The Doris Gooderson Short Story Competition
Submissions welcomed for writing of any style or genre. Winners are published on the Wrekin Writers website and in the Wrekin Writers anthology. This annual competition offers a first prize of £150 for stories of no more than 1200 words. Entry fee is £3. Check the website for details around deadlines.
31. Manchester Writing Competition 2016
There are two prizes – one for fiction and one for poetry. Both competitions offer a £10,000 first prize. Deadline for entries is Friday September 23rd 2016. 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.
32. 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 for their competitions.
33. 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).