News room: 10 New Writing Competitions for Summer 2020

10 New Writing Competitions for Summer 2020 by Jessica Barrah

Summer is coming, and although we’re mostly staying at home over what would normally be the book festival season, there are lots of competitions to keep you busy over the next weeks and months.

1. Wilbur Smith Author of Tomorrow Award

Details: A competition for young writers – so if you are over 21, then pass this on to a young person who might be looking for something to do during lockdown. It is for short adventure stories with the following lengths: Aged 16 to 21 – 1,500 to 5,000 words. Aged 12 to 15 – 1,500 to 5,000 words. Aged 11 and under – up to 500 words.
Entry Fee: Free to enter
Deadline: 5th May 2020
Prizes: 16 – 21 – £1,000. 12 to 15 – £100 plus £150 for your school, library or charity of choice. 11 and under – £100 plus £150 for your school, library or charity of choice. The three winners and seven others will receive a personal certificate and have their work digitally published in an anthology available in Worldreader’s open library.

2. Live Canon International Poetry Competition

Details: A competition for poems of any length, and on any subject.
Entry Fee: £6.50 for one, £12 for two, £16 for three, £20 for five, £35 for ten.
Deadline: 13 May 2020
Prizes: £1,000. There is also £100 for the highest placed poet living, studying or working in the London Borough of Greenwich. Fifty poems will be published in the 2020 anthology and 16 will be performed by the Live Canon Ensemble during the prize-giving event at Greenwich Theatre.

3. BLB Short Story Prize

Details: This competition from Brick Lane Bookshop in London is looking for new, exciting and diverse voices. If you are over 18 and resident in the UK, send in an original story of between 1,000 and 5,000 words.
Entry Fee: £10.
Deadline: 15th May 2020 (5pm)
Prizes: £1,000, £250, £100.

4. Frome Festival Short Story Competition

Details: A competition for stories of between 1,000 and 2,200 words on any subject. Novelist, journalist and broadcaster Bel Mooney will be judging.
Entry Fee: £8
Deadline: 31st May 2020
Prizes: £400, £200, £100. There are additional prizes for local authors, living within 25 miles of the local library.

5. Bridport Prize

Details:One of the most prestigious writing contests in the British literary calendar, for poems, short stories or flash fiction. Poems should run to no more than 42 lines, short stories no more than 5,000 words. Flash fiction has a limit of 250 words.
Entry Fee: Poems – £10. Short Stories – £12. Flash Fiction – £9
Deadline: 31st May 2020
Prizes: In each of the two main categories (Short Stories, Poems) – £5,000, £1,000, £500. There are also ten runners-up prizes of £100. Flash Fiction – £1,000, £500, £250. There will be an awards ceremony at the Bridport Arts Centre in October. Winning entries will be published in the anthology.

6. Yeovil Literary Prize

Details: A competition with four categories: Short Story, Poetry, Novel and Unrestricted. The stories can run to 2,000 words, while the poems should be no more than 40 lines. Novels have a limit of 15,000 words for the opening chapters and synopsis. The final category is for anything you have written – as long as it has ‘the Wow! factor’.
Entry Fee: Short Story – £7. Poetry – £7 each, £10 for two, £12 for three. Novel – £12 each. Writing Without Restrictions – £5.
Deadline: 31st May 2020
Prizes: Short Story – £500, £200, £100. Poetry – £500, £200, £100. Novel – £1,000, £250, £100. Writing Without Restrictions – £200, £100, £50.

7. Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2020

Details: A competition with three categories (Poetry, Fiction, Life Writing), open to anyone anywhere in the world who has not published a complete book in their chosen category. The word limit for the Fiction and Life Writing is 3,000. In the poetry category, you can submit up to three poems (total words 3,000 max) for the same entry fee (start each poem on a separate page in the same document). You may enter more than one category, but only once each.
Entry Fee: £10, or £16 if you enter two separate categories.
Deadline: 1st June 2020 (5pm)
Prizes(in each category): £1,000 and publication in their magazine. Winners will also be offered Chapter & Verse or Free Reads mentoring in partnership with The Literary Consultancy.

8. W&A Working Class Writers Prize

Details: To be eligible for this competition from Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook you have to consider yourself to be working class. You will also need to beuncontracted and unagented, over 18 and resident in the UK or RoI. Please register with the website before you enter. Submit the beginning of a work in progress (up to 2,000 words). Any genre is acceptable but it must appear as prose. Include a one-page synopsis of the whole work, and up to 200 words about your writing background and how you self-identify. They want to know ‘how this prize speaks to you’.
Entry Fee: Free to enter
Deadline: 15th June 2020
Prizes: £200, one year’s mentoring from the judge, a year’s subscription to the Society of Authors, and a copy of the W&A Yearbook.

9. Segora International Writing Competition

Details: This contest is for short stories in English of between 1,500 and 3,000 words, poems of up to 50 lines, one-act plays with a performance time of up to 35 minutes, and vignettes running to no more than 300 words. A vignette is ’a short piece of writing that clearly expresses the typical characteristics of something or someone.’ Read last year’s winners for all categories on the website.
Entry Fee: Stories – £8. Poems – £5. Vignettes – £5. Plays – £12.
Deadline: 15th June 2020
Prizes: Short stories – £300, £100, £50. Poetry – £300, £100, £50. Vignettes – £100. Plays – £150, £50.

10. The Moth Short Story Prize

Details: This annual contest from Irish magazine The Moth is for stories of up to 5,000 words on any subject.
Entry Fee: 15 Euros
Deadline: 30th June 2020
Prizes: 1st – 3,000 euros. 2nd – A week’s writing retreat at Circle of Misse in France, with a 250 euro travel stipend. 3rd – 1,000 euros.

At the time of writing, these competitions are going ahead, but please do check the competition websites in case of cancellations during this unusual period of time. Good luck, and do let us know how you get on!

Further reading:

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Written by
Jessica Barrah
Published on
Writing, Authors, Writers, Self-publishing, Publishing, Competitions, Contest, Prizes, and Summer