Arts & Writing Professor Wu's Rulebook

40 Writing Competitions for 2022

Nothing in the Rulebook presents our annual list of creative writing competitions for 2022
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The heady days before lockdowns and Coronavirus seem a long time ago now. But while much has changed in the last two years, one thing has remained constant: our commitment to trying to pull together as many helpful tools, resources and guides to help creative folk fulfil their potential.

It is with this commitment in mind that we are thrilled to once again bring you our list of creative writing competitions from around the world, scheduled for the year ahead (2022).

So, in addition to our list of places that are always open for submissions, as well as places to submit flash fiction, and a long list of independent publishers you can submit your manuscripts to, 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!

We don’t know about you: but we’re feeling 2022.

1. The Margery Allingham Short Story Competition

The Margery Allingham Short Story Competition is open until 28th February, 2021.

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 2023 and a selection of Margery Allingham books.

Entry Fee: £12

2. 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 2022.

3. The Crime Writers Association – Debut Dagger award

The international competition is for the opening of a crime novel not exceeding 3,000 words and a synopsis of up to 1,500 words.

Winners receive £500 and consideration by Literary Agents.

There’s a £36 entry fee and deadline for entries is 28th February 2022.

4. The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing

The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing was created in 2016 to honour outstanding debut literary works by first-generation immigrants, awarded for fiction and nonfiction in alternating years.

The competition is organized by the Restless Books, an independent, non-profit publisher located in Brooklyn, New York.

Participants must be first-generation residents of their country. “First-generation” can refer either to people born in another country who relocated, or to residents of a country whose parents were born elsewhere.
The submission should address some combination of identity, the meeting of cultures and communities, immigration and migration, and today’s globalized society.

This year, the competition is open to fiction submissions.

Authors must not have previously published a book of fiction in English.

Fiction manuscripts must be a minimum of 45,000 words.

All submissions must be in English.

5. The Bridgend Writers Competition

Just in its second year, this story competition has a maximum word limit of 1800 words. The first submission will cost you £5, with an additional £2.50 cost for each submission after that.

First prize will receive £100, with second and third prizes receiving £50 and £30, respectively.

Deadline for submissions is 1st March 2022.

5. The Rialto’s Nature and Poetry Competition

The Rialto working in association with the RSPBBirdLife International and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative on this lovely offering that is sure to attract poets and nature lovers.

Poems are invited that deal with any aspect of nature and place – these terms will be given a wide interpretation by the judge Gillian Clarke. The closing date is 1st March 2021. There is a £7 submission fee and winning entries can receive between £250 to £1000 in prize money.

6. 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 4th March 2022.

7. Kenneth Brannagh Award for new drama writing

Most recently Oscar nominated for Belfast, acclaimed writer, actor, and director Kenneth Brannagh lends his name to this playwrighting competition.

Amateur playwrights world-wide are invited to submit unpublished one-act plays.

Three winning scripts will be selected for fully staged performances during the Fringe Festival in October. One of the three scripts will be chosen for the £500 prize, judged purely on the writing. Plays must be no longer than 30 minutes long.

Submission deadline March 5th 2022.

8. Evesham Festival of Words short story competition

All genres and styles of short fiction are welcome in this international competition.

Stories must be no more than 2500 words if you’re entering the adult contest (there are shorter word counts in the junior categories).

The winner receives £200 and the two runners up will also receive £100 and £75 for 2nd and 3rd placed stories.

Deadline for submissions is 11th March 2022 and there is a £5 fee to enter.

9. Nelligan Prize

International writing prize for writers of all stripes and nationalities. Deadline is March 14th, 2022 for submissions of 12,500 words or less. Entry fee is US$15 and first prize is US$2000.

10. The BBC Short Story Award

One of the most significant short story competitions in the UK, this prize is awarded yearly by the BBC. Entrants must have a prior record of publishing creative work in the UK. Stories up to 8,000 words are accepted, and may be submitted by the author or by their agent. Shortlisted stories are awarded a prize of £600.

This hotly contested competition is free to enter. The deadline for entries is 28th March 2022.

11. The George Floyd Short Story Competition

Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Nottingham Writers’ Studio launched the ‘George Floyd Short Story Competition’ in remembrance and in protest against his senseless death. We had over 150 excellent entries with the very best 27 being chosen for our anthology ‘Black Lives.’

In that same spirit of protest, we are proud to launch the next chapter. From November 26th 2021 to March 31st 2022 the second year of the competition will be taking stories of up to 5,000 words on the theme of ‘EARTH 2.0’

Global warming is the big issue of the day, disproportionately affecting developing nations. As the world heats up, the changing climate will likely be the greatest challenge future generations face; whether this be environmental, or socio-political (though the two seem to walk hand in hand…)  We can’t think of a worthier topic for writers to explore.

This competition is open to all as we welcome the experiences of advocates and allies as well as voices from the black community. Above all, we want to ensure in publishing the anthology we amplify, centre, and celebrate the voices and writings of BAME authors.

There is no fee to enter, and the maximum word count is 5,000.

12. 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. 2022 is the 13th year for the KNC award.

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 1st April 2022.

13. New Deal Writing Competition 2022

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 “In the Paddock” by William Dowling.

There is an entry fee of US$5 to enter and a maximum word limit of 10,000. Top prize receives US$200.

The deadline for entries is 1st April 2022 (the portal will open in March).

14. The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize

The theme for this year’s highly prestigious award is freedom.

There is no fee to enter and the winner will receive a £10,000 cash prize. A £3,000 cash prize will go to the second place, and £2,000 to the third place runner up. The winner and two runners up are invited to attend the symposium.

The deadline for this contest is 1st April 2022.

15. The Bath Short Story Award

An award for local, national and international writers. Closing date for submissions is 11th April, 2022. 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.

16. 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 for your first submission (and €10 thereafter). First prize receives €1500 and a week’s residency at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, a long-form manuscript assessment, and a consultation with a UK literary agent, while second and third places also receive €750 and there are other prizes available (check the website for details).

The deadline for submissions is 15th April 2022.

17. The Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize

The 2022 Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize is now open for submissions, with a deadline for entries of 19th April, 2022.

The prize is open to all UK residents for original short stories between 1000 and 5000 words and we’re looking for new, exciting and diverse voices in short fiction. There is no fee for entry.

First prize will receive £250. All of the longlisted stories will be published in the Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize anthology in Autumn 2022.

Longlisted stories will be read and judged by our panel: Anne Meadows, Huma Qureshi and Chris Wellbelove.

18. Newcastle Short Story Award 2021

One for Australian writers. First prize is AU$2000. The deadline for submissions is  25th April 2022 and the entry fee is AU$15. The maximum word limit is 2000 words, which includes both titles and any subheadings.

19. Adventure Writers Short Story Competition 2022

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 2022.

Adventure is out there!

20. Tadpole Press 100 word writing contest

As it says on the tin, this short and sweet writing contest has a word limit of 100 words. Writers of all ages from around the world can submit as many entries as you like, with an entry fee of US$10 per entry.

The theme for this year’s prize is The Power of Words, with first prize taking home US$1000, and some excellent prizes on offer for those who take home second and third place. More info on their website.

The deadline for entry is 30th April 2022.

21. The Bristol Short Story Prize

Entries are welcomed for unpublished stories written in English. The deadline for submissions is 4th May 2022 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. Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors

Fix, Grist’s solutions lab, invites you to submit a hope-filled climate fiction short story for our second annual contest, Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors.

Stories must be set anytime between today and the year 2200, and show a path to a clean, green, and just future. We especially want to read — and share — narratives that center solutions from the communities most impacted by climate change and stories that envision what a truly equitable, decolonized society could look like. In 3,000 to 5,000 words, show us the world you dream of building. 

The winning writer will be awarded $3,000, with the second- and third-place finalists receiving $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. An additional nine finalists will get $300 apiece. All winners and finalists will have their story published in an immersive collection on Fix’s website — each with its own original art — and will be celebrated in a public virtual event. 

The deadline for entry is 5th May 2022.

23. 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 6th May 2022.

24. 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 prize winners are published in their annual fall issue in October. Usual entry fee of US$17.

25. 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 and 2022 is no different; so make sure you submit by 31st May 2021.

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

26. Bath Novel Award

The Bath Novel Award 2018 is an international prize for unpublished and self-published novelists. The winner will receive £3000, 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 the end of May 2022.

There is an entry fee of £29 per novel (there are sponsored places available for writers on low incomes).

27. Fiction Factory First Chapter writing contest

The fine folk over at the Fiction Factory run a suite of great writing competitions throughout the year. If you have a novel that you’re sitting on; you also have a first chapter – and the FF folk want to read it.

The winning entry will be read by literary agent Joanna Swainson of the Hardman & Swainson Agency. Joanna is looking for originality and distinctive voices. For complex, larger-than-life characters and stories that will stay with the reader forever. Stories that surprise, and keep on surprising. As Joanna says, she will know what she’s looking for when she sees it!

The winner will also receive £500 – not bad, eh!

There is an entry fee of £18 per entry and the deadline is 31st May. Max word count is 5,000 words.

28. Michael Terrance Publishing – Short Story Award

The Michael Terence Short Story Competition is open to anyone over the age of 16, as long as the story is written in English.

Maximum word count is 3,000 words, and the closing date is 31st May, 2022.

There is an entry fee of £7 (£5 for entries submitted and paid for before February 28, 2022)

First Prize receives £1000, with runners up winning cash prizes, too.

29. 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 15th June 2022 and there is no entry fee. Maximum word counts of 2000 and prizes of up to US$4000 available.

30. The Moth Short Story Competition

The Moth Short Story Prize is an international prize, open to anyone from anywhere in the world as long as their story is original and previously unpublished. The winners are chosen by a single judge each year, who reads the stories anonymously. 

The Prize is open to anyone (over 16), as long as the work is original and previously unpublished. This year’s prize will be judged by Sarah Hall.

There is a word limit of 4,000.

The entry fee is €15 per story, with prizes including €3000, a week at the Circle of Misse plus a €250 stipend, and €1000.

The deadline for entries is 30th June 2022.

31. The HG Wells Short Story Competition

You may have heard of this feller called HG Wells. He’s inspired countless authors; and now he has a writing competition to get them excited, too (in fairness, this competition has been around for a little while, now).

The annual HG Wells Fiction Short Story Competition offers a £500 Senior and £1,000 Junior prize and free publication of all shortlisted entries in a quality, professionally published paperback anthology.

All entries must relate to the theme for this year’s Competition: MASK.

You can if you wish enter more than one story: please complete a separate entry for each story entered.

Your story can be set anywhere, feature any characters, and be written in any style. The length is 1,500 to 5,000 words. Entries must be in English.

The deadline for submissions to the HG Wells competition in 2021 is 12th July.

32. 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 €18 per entry and the deadline for submissions is 31st July 2021.

33. The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award

Renowned lit mag, Aesthetica, is looking for the best new writing talent. The £5,000 international literary prize is open to poetry and short fiction entries on any theme, celebrating innovation in content and form.

The deadline for entries is 31st August 2022.

Find out more information online.

34. Manchester Writing Competition

There are two prizes available in this annual award – one for fiction and one for poetry. Both competitions offer a £10,000 first prize. Deadline for entries is usually around mid-late September and the competition generally opens in February each year. 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 has usually been £17.50.

35. 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.

36. The SmokeLong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction

The SmokeLong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction (The Smokey) is a biennial competition that celebrates and compensates excellence in flash.

The SmokeLong gang will pay the grand prize winner $2000. Second place: $1000. Third place $500. Finalists: $100. All finalists and placers will be published in the special competition issue in December 2022.

Your story must be no more than 1000 words in length. Entry fees change (the sooner; the cheaper!), and the deadline for entries is 15th November 2022.

Brush up on some tips for writing smokelong fiction by reading this crackin’ article by Smokelong Quarterly’s own Christopher Allen right here on Nothing in the Rulebook.

37. 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 2022.

38. The Six Word Story Contest

A Six Word Wonder is a story, memoir, poem, or joke, told in only six words. Write a tiny bite-sized story in exactly six words. The winner is crowned the Six Word Wonder, receives a US$ 100 prize, and is published in an anthology of six word stories.

The ambition of the contest is to encourage everyone to experiment with the six word format, and hopefully discover fresh new stories, poems, memoirs, and jokes.

Entry is free. All entries will be credited to you if shared or published in future.

Shortlisted stories will also win the chance to be published in a future Six Word Wonder series book.

39. 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.

40. Austin Film Festival competitions

Austin Film Festival 2022 is offering a number of different writing contests for you to sink your teeth into. In well over two decades, 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


See a competition that we’ve missed? If you’d like to add a writing competition to our list then please feel free to contact us!

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