News room: A Baker's Dozen of Autumn Writing Competitions

A Baker's Dozen of Autumn Writing Competitions by Jessica Barrah

The kids are back to school, students are starting university soon, and it’s time to get back to your writing desk. We’ve gathered together a collection of 13 competitions to see you up to the beginning of November. For some reason 31st October seems to be a particularly popular date for deadlines – no pun intended – but don’t let that scare you off.

1. Manchester Writing Competition

Details: A competition for poems and short stories with a very large prize. To enter the Poetry Prize submit a portfolio of three to five poems, of no more than 120 lines in total. For the Fiction Prize write up to 2,500 words in any genre.
Entry Fee: £17.50.
Deadline: 14th September 2018
Prizes: £10,000 in each category.

2. The Val Wood Prize 2018 : Women’s Writes

Details: An annual competition from the author, Valerie Wood. This year marks 100 years since woman won the right to vote -so stories should have a strong female protagonist, limited to 1,500 words. (Stories can be submitted regardless of author’s gender).
Entry Fee: Free
Deadline: 15th September 2018 (5pm).
Prizes: £100, £50, £25, £25.

3. Eyelands International Book Awards

Details: Submit your published or unpublished book – which must be all your own work. The categories include poetry, novel, novella, and short story collection.
Entry Fee: $30
Deadline: 20th October 2018 (midnight PST).
Prizes: Grand Prize (Published Books) – A 5-day holiday in Athens plus a handmade ceramic and online publication of excerpts of your book. Grand Prize (Unpublished Books) – Publication by Strange Days Books.

4. Troubadour International Poetry Prize

Details: An annual international contest from Coffee-House Poetry, for poems of up to 45 lines on any subject. The entry must fit on an A4 or US letter size page, and poems are judged this year by Daljit Nagra and Jo Shapcott.
Entry Fee: £6 for the first, £4 thereafter.
Deadline: 22nd October 2018
Prizes: 1st – £2,000. 2nd – £1,000. 3rd – A week long writing course at an Arvon centre of your choice. There are also numerous runners-up prizes. Winners will be invited to read with the judges at Coffee-House Poetry on prize night in November.

5. Dinesh Allirajah Prize

Details: A free contest from Comma Press and the University of Central Lancashire for stories of between 2,000 and 6,000 words on the theme of ‘Scent’.
Entry Fee: Free
Deadline: 26th October 2018
Prizes: £500. Shortlisted entries will be featured in an ebook anthology.

6. The Plough Poetry Prize

Details: A poetry competition for short poems of up to 10 lines (Short Poem) or up to 40 lines (Open Poem) in any style and on any subject. The judge this year is Pascale Petit.
Entry Fee: £5
Deadline: 31st October 2018
Prizes: £1,000, £500, £250.

7. Bare Fiction Prize 2018

Details:A competition for poems of up to 40 lines, short stories up to 3,000 words, and flash fiction with a word limit of 500.
Entry Fee: Short story – £8, flash fiction – £6, poetry – £5.
Deadline: 31st October 2018
Prizes: (in each category) £500, £200, £100, 2 x £25.

8. Glimmer Train New Writer Short Story Award

Details: A competition for new writers, (defined as ones who have not had any fiction appear in any print journal with a circulation of over 5,000). Submissions for this category, they say, are usually between 500 and 4,000 words, but they will accept anything up to 12,000.
Entry Fee: $18.
Deadline: 31st October 2018
Prizes: $2,500.

9. Kimberley Chambers Kickstart Prize

Details:To enter this novel-writing contest from mainstream publisher HarperCollins, top literary agents Peters, Fraser & Dunlop, and bestselling gangland crime novelist Kimberley Chambers, you submit the first three chapters of your unpublished novel plus a 500-word synopsis and a short paragraph about yourself and why you need a kickstart.
Entry Fee: Free
Deadline: 31st October 2018
Prizes: A £1,000 bursary to help with writing essentials. The winner will also receive an offer of representation from Peters, Fraser & Dunlop.

10. McKitterick Prize

Details: A competition from the Society of Authors is for a first novel aimed at adults. It can be published or unpublished but must be by a writer over the age of forty on December 31 this year. To enter, submit five copies of your published novel or one copy of up to 30 pages of your unpublished one. Published novels must have been published this year.
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: 31st October 2018
Prizes: 1st – £4,000. Runner-up – £1,000.

11.Poetry Society National Poetry Competition

Details:A very lucrative poetry competition – for poems with a limit of 40 lines.
Entry Fee: £7 for the first, £4 thereafter.
Deadline: 31st October 2018
Prizes: £5,000, £2,000, £1,000. Runners-up (7) – £200. The top three winners will be published in Poetry Review.

12. Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Details: A free competition from Commonweath Writers for unpublished short fiction of between 2,000 and 5,000 words aimed at adults. To be eligible, you have to be a citizen of a Commonwealth country, and your story can be written in English, Bengali, Chinese, Portuguese, Samoan, Tamil, Kiswahili or Malay.
Entry Fee: Free
Deadline: 1st November 2018
Prizes: 1st – £5,000. Regional winners (4) – £2,500.

13. The Caledonia Novel Award

Details: An international contest from Edinburgh open to unpublished and self-published debut novelists. It is 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 be expected to submit the full manuscript by 6.12.18. The judge is literary agent Victoria Hobbs, Director at AM Heath Literary Agency.
Entry Fee: £25
Deadline: 1st November 2018
Prizes: 1st – £1,000. There is in addition a special prize for the best entry from the British Isles and Ireland of a place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre.

Good luck if you enter any of these competitions, and do tell us how you get on!

Further reading:

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Written by
Jessica Barrah
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Writing, Authors, Books, Self-publishing, Competitions, Autumn, Contests, Writers, Stories, Poems, Poet, and Novel