2018 has been lots of things to lots of people. For the Prime Minister of the UK, Theresa May, for example, it was an opportunity to see just how terrible a job one could do and still remain employed – even going to the extent of deporting her own citizens for no reason other than the colour of their skin. And, while May’s corpse-like grip on power continues to hold – amid a world increasingly descending into chaos and catastrophic environmental breakdown – many writers have been feverishly attempting to finish their masterpieces before the world officially ends.
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 2019 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.
So, in addition to our list of places that are always open for submissions, as well as places to submit flash fiction, we are thoroughly chuffed to bring you this valuable writing resource you can use to get your writing into the right places.
Included below 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. The James Knudsen prize for fiction
US$1,000 in prize money awaits for writers of short stories no longer than 7,500 words in length. There’s a US$20 entry fee.
2. The Fresher Writing Prize
This year’s Fresher Writing Prize invites you to send in poems and short stories inspired by their theme of Peace.
There is an entry fee of £7 and a maximum word limit of 3000. Winners receive a £200 cash prize and feedback on their work.
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 14th 2019.
4. The Cambridge Short Story Prize
International short story competition with a £1750 prize fund. Submit short stories between 2000 – 3000 words. It costs £8 to enter and is free to residents of Bangladesh. Deadline is January 15th 2019.
5. Fiction Factory short story competition
All types of writing are welcome for this writing contest with prizes up to £150 for the winners. 3000 words max and a fee of £6 to enter.
6. 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.
7. Masters Review Winter Short Story Award
The Masters Review Winter Short Story Award is prize that recognises the best fiction from today’s emerging writers. The winning story will be awarded US$3000 and publication online. Second and third place stories will be awarded publication and US$300 and US$200 respectively.
There is an entry fee of US$20 and a maximum word count of 7000. Deadline for entries is January 31st 2019.
8. The Screw Turn Flash Fiction Contest
This contest seeks the finest work that incorporates the uncanny. Ghost stories are welcome, of course—but your submission may involve any paranormal or supernatural theme, as well as magic realism. What they’re looking for is superb writing, fresh perspectives, and maybe a few surprises.
The maximum word count is 1000 and there is a US$10 fee to enter for your chance to win US$500.
9. The Fantastica Prize
Fantastica invites Australian and New Zealand writers to submit science fiction manuscripts for consideration.
Manuscripts must be at least 30,000 words in length and a publishing contract will be offered to the winners along with $2000 in prize money. Deadline for entries is January 31st.
10. New Welsh Writing Awards 2019
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 fifth 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 4th February 2018.
11. Newcastle Short Story Award 2019
One for Australian writers. First prize is AU$2000. The deadline for submissions is 4th February 2018 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 2019 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.
13. Desperate Literature
The aim of the Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize is both to celebrate the best of new short fiction and to give winners the most visibility possible for their writing.
Max word count is 2000 and there is an entry fee of €20 to enter. Winners will receive €1000.
14. Spotlight Books Competition
Inventive. Hidden. Compelling. Unrecognised. Challenging. Unheard. Beautiful. Ambitious.
Creative Future, Myriad Editions and New Writing South seek the best poets and fiction writers from under-represented backgrounds—those who face barriers due to mental health, disability, identity or social circumstance.
Six writers will be selected and given one-to-one editorial support to shape their manuscript. The six writers will be published in individual small books with international distribution.
There is no fee to enter; winner received publication. Deadline for entries is 24th February 2019.
15. The Margery Allingham Short Story Competition
The Margery Allingham Short Story Competition is open until February 28, 2019.
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
16. 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 2019.
17. Scottish Arts Club Short Story Prize
First things first; you DO NOT have to be Scottish to enter this writing contest. Stories should be 2,000 words or less and may be on any topic.
There’s an entry fee of £10 and a maximum word limit of 2000. Winners receive £1000.
Deadline 28th February 2019.
18. An Axe to Grind Flash Fiction contest
Write a story in fewer than 1000 words for a chance to win US$200.
US$5 to enter. Deadline is 28th February 2019.
19. 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$25 fee to enter.
The deadline for entries is March 1st 2019.
20. Ginosko Literary Journal 2019 Flash Fiction contest
You can submit two pieces of flash fiction of no more than 800 words each to the Ginosko Flash Fiction Contest, which closes on the 1st March 2019.
Prizes include US$ 500 and publication on the Ginosko Literary Journal website.
The entry fee is US$ 5.
21. Bridgend Writing contest 2019
Stories on a theme of your own choice, between 1500 to 1800 words.
Winner receives £200.
The deadline for entries is March 1st 2019 and there is a £5 entry fee.
22. Eyelands 2nd International Flash Fiction Contest
The theme for this year’s Eyelands flash fiction prize is: Spring
The contest runs from January 10th through March 20th, 2019
First prize: A week holiday at Three Rock Writers resort οn the island of Crete
Other prize winners and shortlisted entries receive publication. There is an entry fee of €10.
23. Nelligan Prize
International writing prize for writers of all stripes and nationalities. Deadline is March 14th, 2019 for submissions of 12,500 words or less. Entry fee is US$15 and first prize is US$2000.
24. 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 2019.
25. New Deal Writing Competition 2019
The New Deal Writing Competition is a short story competition where the writer is asked to use a painting chosen by the staff of GVCA as inspiration for their short story.
This year’s painting is “Fountain, Central Park” by Jacques Zucker.
There is an entry fee of US$5 to enter and a maximum word limit of 10,000. Top prize receives US$200.
26. The Bath Short Story Award
An award for local, national and international writers. Closing date for submissions is April 15th, 2019. 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.
27. Momaya short story competition
Any subject and style is welcome for the annual Momaya Short Story Competition. While entries for the Momaya Competition.
Submit your short story (3,000 word limit) and entry fee of £12 /US$15 by 30 April 2019 in order to compete for prize money and publication in the Momaya Annual Review 2019.
28. Adventure Writers Short Story Competition 2019
This is an international competition 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 $25 entry fee is charged, and all proceeds go to promoting the contest, the finalists and the winner. The deadline for entries is 30th April 2019.
Adventure is out there!
29. Adventure Writers Writing Competition 2019
Adventure Writers are an international writing competition now in their ninth year, and have just one category: Adventure.
They accept traditionally published, epublished and manuscript novels. There is a US$ 1000 cash prize for the winners.
A US$25 entry fee is charged, and all proceeds go to promoting the contest, the finalists and the winner.
Deadline for entries is 30th April 2019.
30. The Bristol Short Story Prize
Entries are welcomed for unpublished stories written in English. The deadline for submissions is 1st May 2019 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.
31. 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 6th 2019.
32. Raymond Carver Contest
The Raymond Carver Short Story Contest is one of the most renowned fiction contests in the world. Featuring prominent guest judges and offering US$1500 across five prizes, the contest delivers exciting new fiction from writers all over the world. The contest opens each year April 1 – May 15 and prizewinners are published in their annual fall issue in October. Usual entry fee of US$17.
33. Lorian Hemingway Short Story Prize
Writers of short fiction may now enter the 2019 Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. The competition has a thirty-nine year history of literary excellence, and Lorian Hemingway and her small judging panel are dedicated to enthusiastically supporting the efforts and talent of writers of short fiction whose voices have yet to be heard.
Deadline is 15th May 2019. Max word count is 3500, entry fee is US$15 and a prize of US$2500 is available.
34. 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).
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.
35. Bath Novel Award
The Bath Novel Award 2018 is an international prize for unpublished and self-published novelists. The winner will receive £2,500, with manuscript feedback and literary agent introductions for those shortlisted. In addition, the writer of the most promising longlisted novel will receive a free place on an online editing course with Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.
Submit your first 5000 words along with a one page synopsis by 2nd June 2019.
There is an entry fee of £25.
36. Narrative Prize
The Narrative Prize is awarded annually for the best short story, novel excerpt, poem, one-act play, graphic story, or work of literary nonfiction published by a new or emerging writer in Narrative.
Deadline is mid June 2019 and there is no entry fee. Maximum word counts of 2000 and prizes of up to US$4000 available.
37. Impress Books prize for new writing
This is a manuscript contest for unpublished writers. Winners receive a print and eBook publishing contact with Impress, as well as a £500 advance.
The deadline for entries is usually around the end of June each year.
You need to submit 6000 words of your manuscript, along with a synopsis and publishing proposal, as well as an author bio.
38. William Van Wert Award for Fiction
US$1,000 and publication in Hidden River Review of Arts & Letters is offered to the best unpublished short story or novel excerpt.
Competition opens in February 2019 and deadline for entries is 30th June 2019.
Any previously unpublished short story or novel excerpt of 25 pages or less is eligible to enter.
There is an entry fee os US$17 and winners receive full manuscript publication and US$1000.
39. The Brighton Prize
The Brighton Prize offers cash prizes for new short and flash fiction. If you’re a writer with a brilliant short story that will both challenge and excite the judges; this is for you.
Submissions are currently open for flash fiction up to 350 words, and short stories of 1-2000 words.
The winner of the short story prize will receive £500, and the winner of the flash fiction prize will receive £100.
There is an entry fee of £8 for short stories and £6 for flash fiction.
The deadline for submissions is 30th June.
40. LuneSpark Young Writer’s Short Story contest
LuneSpark are looking for talented young writers to submit their work for their 2018 short story contest.
Stories must be below 1650 words (they recommend 1500 as a standard).
There is a US$ 15 registration fee (plus an additional US$ 1.82 processing fee) and first prize will receive US$ 500.
The deadline for entries is July 31st 2019, although you’ll need to register before then (check out the website for details).
41. The Sean O Faolain Short Story Prize
The competition is open to original, unpublished and unbroadcast short stories in the English language of 3,000 words or fewer. The story can be on any subject, in any style, by a writer of any nationality, living anywhere in the world. Translated work is not in the scope of this competition.
First Prize: €2,000, a week-long residency at Anam Cara Retreat and publication in the literary journal Southword.
There is a fee of €15 per entry and the deadline for submissions is 31st July.
42. To Hull and Back, writing competition 2019
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 2019.
The fee for entries is £11.
43. The Preservation Foundation’s 2019 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 2019.
44. The Caterpillar Story Prize
The prize is for a story written by an adult for children (aged 7–11). The judges are looking for stories that will inspire, delight and move our young readers. The stories can be on any subject and in any style, as long as they are age appropriate, and the word limit is 1,500.
The 2019 competition will open from May 2019.
The winning story will receive €1,000 and appear in the winter issue of The Caterpillar.
Entry fee is €12 per story
The closing date is the end of September.
45. Greywood Arts Winter Writing Residency Award
Writers of poetry and any genre of fiction are invited to apply for this award, where two authors will be awarded cosy self-catering accommodation and private work space overlooking the Dissour River. Winning writers are invited to contribute to the summer 2020 issue of Crossing the Dissour, our online journal about creative process.
There’s a max word count of 3000 and a €12 fee to enter.
Deadline for entries is October 6th.
46. Woven Tree Press annual literary competition
The Woven Tree Press hosts its annual literary competition, with this year’s category being fiction (including creative non-fiction), judged by award winning novelist Ann Beattie. Submissions must be no longer than 6000 words.
Winners receive cash prizes, with first place receiving a one-week stay in the organiser’s 1909 charming retreat house in the legendary Hamptons, New York.
Submissions for the contest open on August 15 and run until October 15 2019. There is an entry fee of US$25.
47. 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.
48. 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.
49. 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.
50. ServiceScape short story award
For this award, any genre or theme of short story is accepted. All applicants should submit their original unpublished work of short fiction or nonfiction, 5,000 words or fewer, to be considered. Along with receiving an award for $1,000.00 USD, the winner will have his or her short story featured within the ServiceScape blog, which reaches thousands of readers per month.
There is no entry fee and the deadline for entries is 30th November 2019.
51. 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.
52. 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.
53. F(r)iction contest
Literary publisher and resource for writers Brink Literacy project (formerly 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$10 entry fee.
Visit the website for information about upcoming deadlines
54. The Short Story ‘Monthly 500’ Flash Fiction competition
The Short Story was established in 2015 and has quickly developed into an influential platform for short fiction. They champion short stories, flash fiction, and micro-fiction.
Every month, they invite submissions for their flash fiction competition, the winner of which receives publication on their website and £50.
The deadline for each month’s contest is midnight on the last day of each month.
There is an entry fee of £2.28 and entries must be no longer than 500 words (including title).
55. Reedsy Short Story Contest(s)
Every Friday, Reedsy kicks off a weekly short story contest by sending out a newsletter that includes five themed writing prompts. Subscribers have one week (until the following Friday) to submit a short story based on one of the prompts. The winner receives US$ 50 and publication on Reedsy’s Medium blog.
There is no entry fee.
56. 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