News room: 10 Writing Competitions for the Autumn

10 Writing Competitions for the Autumn by Jessica Barrah

Now it’s officially Autumn, it’s time for our new season’s round up of writing competitions. All these competitions have deadlines before the New Year. There’s a good mix of contests here, for novels, short stories and poems – so hopefully something for everyone.

1. Caterpillar Short Story for Children Prize

Details: Write a short story aimed at children aged 7 to 11. The story can be up to 1,500 words on any theme.
Fee: €12.
Deadline: 30 September 2016.
Prizes: 1st – €500 and a two-week stay at The Moth Artists’ Residence. 2nd – €300. 3rd – €200. Winning entries will appear in The Moth’s literary magazine for children, The Caterpillar.

2. McKitterick Prize

Details: This contest from the Society of Authors is for a first novel, published or unpublished, by a writer over the age of forty. To enter, submit five copies of your published novel or 30 pages of your unpublished one. Published novels must have been published this year.
Fee: Free to enter.
Deadline: 31st October 2016.
Prizes: 1st – £4,000. Runner-up – £1,000.

3. Poetry Society National Poetry Competition

Details: This competition, with large cash prizes, is for previously unpublished single poems with a line limit of 40. Previous winners include current Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.
Fee: £6.50 for the first, £3.50 thereafter.
Deadline: 31st October 2016.
Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000. Runners-up (7) – £200. The top three winners will be published in Poetry Review.

4. The Caledonia Novel Award

Details:This international contest is open to unpublished and self-published debut novelists, for stories of at least 50,000 words in any adult or young adult genre. Email the first 20 pages of your novel followed by a 200 word synopsis. If longlisted you will need to submit the full manuscript by 9th November 2015. The judge is Richard Pike from literary agents Curtis Brown.
Deadline:1 November 2016.
Prizes: Prizes: 1st – £1,000. There is in addition a special prize for the best entry from the UK or Ireland of a place on a writing course a Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre.

5. Writeabridge Poetry Competition

Details: This competition is for poems of up to 40 lines on any theme, and aims to raise funds for the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre in the UK, and the Daughters For Life Foundation in Canada, One of the judges is Lemn Sissay MBE, official poet for the London Olympics.
Fee: £5 each, £10 for three.
Deadline: 12th November 2016.
Prizes: £300, £50. Winning poems will be published on the website.

6. Bath Children’s Novel Award

Details:This international contest, open to unpublished and self-published debut novelists, is for novels of any length in any middle grade or young adult genre. Email the first 3,000 words of your story followed by a one page synopsis. If longlisted you will be expected to submit the full manuscript in December 2016. The longlist is chosen by a panel of children and young adults. The shortlist judge is Julia Churchill from literary agents A.M. Heath.
Deadline: 20 November 2016.
Prizes: 1st – £2,000. There is in addition a special prize for one shortlistee of £500 vouchers from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.

7. Atlantis Short Story Competition.

Details: This competition is for stories of up to 2.500 words on any theme. Stories can be fiction or based on true events – and if you wish they can be jointly written by two people.
Fee: $10.
Deadline: 30th November 2016.
Prizes: 1st – $300, $100, $50. The three winners also receive in-depth feedback.

8. Fish Short Story Competition

Details: A short story competition for tales on any subject, of no more than 5,000 words.
Fee: For online entries €20 euros for the first, €10 for more entries. €22/€12 for postal entries.
Deadline: 30th November 2016.
Prizes: 1st – 3,000 euros (1,000 of which is for travel expenses to the anthology launch), plus a 5-day fiction writing workshop with Claire Keegan during the West Cork Literary Festival. 2nd – A week at the Anam Cara Writers’ & Artists’ Retreat in West Cork with 300 euros travel expenses. 3rd – 300 euros. Ten stories will be published in an anthology and the authors will receive five free copies plus an invitation to read at the launch during the West Cork Literary Festival in July.

9. The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition

Details: Your story should be suitable for a worldwide audience of children/young adults between the ages of 7 and 18 years, with a maximum of 80,000 words, and a suggested minimum of 30,000. Include a brief synopsis and a letter explaining the book’s appeal to children. See website for more submission details.
Fee: £15.
Deadline: 18 December 2016.
Prizes: A publishing contract with an advance of £10,000, plus representation by a top children’s literary agent.

10. Mearns Writers New Beginnings Short Story Competition

Details: An international contest for stories of between 1,000 and 3,000 words in any genre, with the theme of ‘New Beginnings’.
Fee: £7 for the first entry, £5 thereafter.
Deadline: 31st December 2016.
Prizes: 1st – £250. Runners-up (3) – £50. The winning story and those shortlisted will be published on the website.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on!

Further reading:

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Written by
Jessica Barrah
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Competitions, Writing, Contests, Deadlines, and Prizes