Professor Wu's Rulebook

48 Writing competitions for 2017


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!

  1. 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Submissions must be original and previously unpublished, no longer than 7500 words.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

  1. 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

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

7. Sweek Writing competition 

At the end of each year we take time to reflect upon our life and to make plans for the coming year. With a little bit of creativity you can transform your contemplations into an adventurous travel story, a thrilling mystery or epic love story. Give your real life story a fictional layer and write your 2017! You can submit a poem, short story, novel or ongoing serial of any length. There is also no restriction on genre. Impress our jury to win a Samsung Galaxy Tab or one of several giftcards worth €50. Publish your story on Sweek to participate.

There is no word limit as multiple forms are allowed (poems, short stories, novels, ongoing stories).

The deadline for submissions is 31st of January 2017.

8. 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.

9.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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. Haikus for the NHS poetry project

As the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) faces a “humanitarian crisis”, thousands of demonstrators are preparing to march on London in protest.

This poetry project and competition seeks to use the power of poetry as protest – specifically, the power of haiku as protest – to support the NHS.

Free to enter, the winning haikus will be printed and distributed liberally during the NHS demonstration in London. The winning poet will also receive a limited printed edition collection of their haikus, along with a £25 book voucher.

All haikus will be considered for publication online.

The deadline for entries for the competition is 20th February, although submissions received after that date will be considered for publication online.

14. 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.

    15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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

18. 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

19. 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.

20. Gemini Magazine Short Story Prize

Rules? Where you’re going you don’t need rules. Yes, that’s right; with the Gemini Magazine short story prize there are no specific rules for writers to follow. There is, however, a US$1,000 prize. The competition organisers are open to any subject or writing style. Or word count. They just want your most exciting work. This is their eighth annual short story contest. Second prize is US$100, with three honorable mentions at $25 each. The entry fee is US$5. Deadline: March 31, 2017.

21. Southport Writers Circle competitions 

One poetry and one short-story competition from Southport Writers Circle. Entry fees vary depending on category. First prize in each competition receives £150 – though subsequent prizes vary on category, too. You can enter directly online for £3.40 per story or poem.

The deadline for entries is 30th April 2017.

22. 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.

23. Page is Printed and Page to Stage writing competitions 

Page is Printed 2017:

Tacchi-Morris is back with its annual creative writing competition centred around the A4 page. The rules are simple. Submissions are invited in any genre – it could be a love letter, a short story, a poem, a court summons or a shopping list … the only rule is that your entry must be contained on just one side of A4. Deadline is Monday, May 1st and there is a £5 entry fee with up to £400 in prizes to be won. Full competition information can be found online. 

Page to Stage 2017:

Tacchi-Morris is offering writers the unique opportunity to develop their work for the stage. Play scripts and excerpts are invited from fledgling playwrights (no more than 20 pages in length, or 20 minutes in performance time) for the chance to win the opportunity to stage the work-in-progress at Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre on Wednesday 14 June. There will also be opportunity for the audience to feedback to the winning playwrights on the night. Deadline for entries is May 1st and there is a £5 fee per script, with three bursaries worth up to £100 available as prizes.

24. 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.

25. 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.

26. 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.

27. Bridport Prize 2017 

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).

Deadline is May 31st 2017.

Entry fees and prizes vary depending on category. Full information about this world-renowned competition can be found online.

28. 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

29. 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.

30. Miami Book Fair Novella Competition 

Submit your novellas (of between 17,000 – 40,000 words) to the Miami Book Fair/de Groot Prize. The winner will receive a US$6,000 cash award, publication by Melville House, a critically acclaimed independent press, an expense-paid (hotel, travel, per diem) trip to the Miami Book Fair after publication, and a chance to read/participate in programs at the fair. The two runners-up will each receive US$2,000, an expense-paid (hotel, travel, per diem) trip to the 2018 Miami Book Fair, and a chance to read/participate in programs at the Fair. The three winners work will be publicised in print and online media.

The deadline for submissions is June 15th 2017 and there is an entry fee of US$50.

31. Adventure Writers Competition 2017

This is an international competition now in its eighth year, and there is just one category: Adventure. The organisers accept traditionally published, e-published and manuscript novels. There is a US$1000 cash prize. A $25 entry fee is charged, and all proceeds go to promoting the contest, the finalists and the winner.  The deadline for entries is 30th June 2017.

Adventure is out there!

32. 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.

33. Ex Ophida Press Poetry Book Contest 

Ex Ophidia Press is a fine literary press, specialising in the publication of contemporary poetry and fiction in distinguished editions. The Press has now launched its second annual poetry book contest, which is open to all English language authors.

In addition to publication, the winning writer will receive US$1000 and 15 copies of their book.

The deadline for submissions is August 15 and there is a US$25 fee to enter.

More details available through Ex Ophida Press website.

34. Baum Book Prize 2017

One for indie authors. Henry and Cate Baum, founders of indie book companies Self-Publishing Review and Kwill Books, have set up a fund for one author to receive an entirely free book publication and marketing deal with Kwill Books starting in October 2017. This is to encourage talent in authors who do not have money to spend on marketing to see what they can achieve with a full-range publishing service and individual attention.

The competition organisers are looking for diverse and interesting fiction or non-fiction books of any genre including poetry and children’s books.

There is a reading fee of US$20 and the deadline for entries is 31st August 2017.

35. Omnestream Creative Writing Competition

There is a fine line between creativity and insanity, and when it comes to art, that line is often blurred. Omnestream Entertainment is looking for writers to paint a tale chronicling the dark side of art using a palette of suspense, horror, mystery or crime. The protagonist or antagonist must be an artist/creative immersed in the madness of creativity. The story can contain between 500-4000 words. All genres accepted. The winners will receive publication in the Out of Frame Anthologies Novel.

The deadline for entries is 31st August 2017 and there is a US$ fee.

36. 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.

37. 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.

38. 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.

39. 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.

40. 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.

41. 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.

42. 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.

43. The Bath Children’s Novel Award

A £2,000 international prize for emerging writers of novels for children or young adults. The shortlist is chosen by a team of junior judges aged from seven to seventeen with the winner chosen by literary agent Sallyanne Sweeney.Entry fee is £25. Submissions 5,000 words and the closing date is 19th November 2017.

44. Reflex Fiction Winter 2017 Flash Fiction Award

Reflex Fiction is a traditional flash fiction competition where entries are read and judged, a long-list created, winners selected, and prizes awarded. It is also a place to share and read fantastic flash fiction. Winner receives £1000 with second and third prizes worth £500 and £250, respectively. Entry fee is £7. The deadline for submissions to the Winter Flash Fiction contest is 20th November.

45. TCK Publishing’s Reader’s Choice Awards

TCK Publishing invites indie authors to join this year’s Readers Choice Book Awards contest. Self-published and indie authors may submit one (1) book in any of the given categories for FREE, which will then be reviewed by the TCK committee. The shortlist of books will then be open to the public to vote for their favourite book. Deadline for submissions is 10th December.

46. The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize

A great prize for both short story writers and poets. Accepting submissions of up to 4000 words of short fiction or 50 lines of poetry, MOLP will also plant a tree for every single entry we receive in Boré, Kenya and they’ll email you the GPS coordinates of it once the contest has closed and we’ve received confirmation of them from our Word Forest Coordinator.

Additionally, your entry will also help fund the construction of a much needed new classroom in the same community.

First prize receives £1000 and there is a cost of £5 per entry. The deadline for submissions is 31 December 2017.

47. 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.

The TBL Winter Contest is currently open for submissions.

48. 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).


  1. Thank you for that list! Would love to add one more to it:

    Write a Book, Rewrite Your Life Contest – Win $100 (no entry fee)

    According to common wisdom, we all have a book inside of us. In honor of our upcoming Rewrite Your Life workshop in San Francisco, we’re asking how you how your life would be better if you wrote your book Write a letter from your future self, maximum 300 words, describing how your life has changed now that you’ve written that book you’re meant to write.

    Include items such as describing:
    –a description of your book, including a title
    –the best part about having that book written
    –the kind of support you got to help you write the book
    –the ways your life has gotten better since you wrote the book

    Email that letter to us at before midnight CST on April 5, 2017. Your entry qualifies you for a chance to win $100 cash and $100 off your dream writing retreat! Full instructions available here:


  2. I love this list even though I am finding it out late. Just discovered your blog as well which is beautiful. still going through it but while i am here and if you haven’t written on it yet, would you mind doing an update on the competitions that are still open for the rest of the year?
    Thanks a lot


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