Enter National Flash Fiction Day’s microfiction competition

Sweets by Judy DarleyNational Flash Fiction Day’s 100-word microfiction competition invites your submissions. Send something funny, something that resonates, is fresh and exciting, and leaves the judges lost for words.

The deadline is 15th February 2024. You’re invited to submit up to three flash fictions on any theme at no more than 100 words each. Titles aren’t included in the word count.

Last year’s winning micro was ‘All my lovers’ by Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar. Read it and the other winning tales here.

In 2022, Jan Kaneen won with her beautiful mini-tale ‘Just a Word to the Snowblind.’ Read it and the other winners here.

The microfiction competition prizes are:

  • £150 for first place
  • £100 for second place
  • £50 for third place

There are also seven awards of £20 for highly commended pieces. The winning and highly commended authors will be published in the National Flash Fiction Day 2024 anthology, and will receive a free print copy of this anthology.

This year’s judges are Sara Chansarkar, Jan Kaneen, David Rhymes and Alison Wassell.

Read more about the judges here.

By submitting work to the NFFD Microfiction Competition, you are agreeing to publication online and in the 2024 NFFD Anthology if your work is selected as a prizewinner or highly commended flash.

The submission fees for this year’s anthology is:

  • £2.00 for one (1) entry.
  • £3.75 for two (2) entries.
  • £5.25 for three (3) entries.

Find full details here, including details of the free entry scheme.

This year, National Flash Fiction Day is on Saturday 15th June. How will you celebrate?

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send me an email at JudyDarley (@) iCloud (dot) com.

Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition

Kalamazoo railway tracks by Judy DarleyWriters’ & Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition invites stories on the theme of ‘risk.’

Your entry must be no more than 2,000 words long.

The deadline for entries is midnight on 12th February 2024.

The winner of the competition – along with two runners-up – will be announced on the W&A blog pages in March 2023.

Entry is free, but don’t forget to register (also free) with the website www.writersandartists.co.uk before submitting your story.

This year’s judge is Kirsty Logan, the author of three novels, three story collections, a memoir, two chapbooks, a 10-hour audio play for Audible, and several collaborative projects with musicians and visual artists. Her books have won the Lambda, Polari, Saboteur, Scott and Gavin Wallace awards. Her work has been optioned for TV, adapted for stage, recorded for radio and podcasts, exhibited in galleries and distributed from a vintage Wurlitzer cigarette machine. She lives in Glasgow with her wife, baby and rescue dog.

Prizes of this writing contest

Find full details and competition rules at www.writersandartists.co.uk

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send me an email at JudyDarley (@) iCloud (dot) com.

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Enter the Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize 2023

Bud. Photo by Judy DarleyThe Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize 2024 invites entries from women over the age of 18 who have written a novel “that marries literary merit with unputdownability.”

Founded in 2010, by Professor Janet Todd OBE, the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize has seen many shortlisted and winning authors attaining literary success including securing publishing deals.

Sarah Harman won the 2023 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize with ‘All The Other Mothers Hate Me‘.

The 2022 winner of the Fiction Prize was Hannah Stapleton with her novel ‘Blue Tears’.

  • The deadline to submit as a low-income writer is 12 noon on Wednesday 7th February 2024
  • Deadline to submit a paid entry is 12 noon on Friday 9th February 2024.

The judges say they’re open to literary fiction and genre fiction, as well as to young adult fiction and children, providing they are primarily word-based.

Your submission must be previously unpublished, and you must not have had other full-length novels published. However, having short stories, poetry, non-fiction or picture books published previously does not exclude you.

To be considered, you need to submit the first 40 to 50 pages of the novel via the online form and a three to five-page synopsis of the remainder. You must not have agent representation at the time of submission.

If you accept agent representation after your submission and before the judging is complete, you will no longer be eligible to take part in the competition and your entry will be discounted.

The entry fee is £12. Sponsored entries for low income writers are available – simply tick the appropriate box on the entry form. You will need to provide proof of financial eligibility such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Disability Benefit, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, proof of being a full-time student, Housing Benefit or proof of being a full-time carer.

This year’s winner bags £1,500.00.

All shortlisted entrants will receive one-to-one consultation with an agent at Peter Fraser + Dunlop (subject to them not having an existing agent) who will offer editorial feedback as well as valuable publishing advice.

For full details, visit www.lucy.cam.ac.uk/fictionprizewww.fictionprize.co.uk, and make sure you follow the competition Terms and Conditions.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send me an email at JudyDarley (@) iCloud (dot) com.

Searchlight Writing for Children Awards chapter book contest

Brandon Hill, Bristol, child in tree by Judy Darley

The Searchlight Writing for Children Awards is launching an exciting new competition seeking the Best Chapter Book for children aged between five and eight years old

The closing date for entry is 1st February 2024.

Your entry can be from a stand-alone book or part of a series. All you need to submit is the first chapter and a short pitch that tells Searchlight what the book is about.

Winners will be chosen by Katie Blagden of The Bright Agency.

The top ten entries will feature in a Pitch Book of winning stories, which will be sent to an extensive list of literary agents and publishers who have requested it so will be paying close attention!

First prize = £350 +plus a one-to-one call with judge Katie Blagdon, who will be happy to share her expert viewpoint as a literary agent.

The entry fee is £12.

For full details, visit www.searchlightawards.co.uk.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send an email to judydarley (at) iCloud (dot) com.

Enter Ironclad Creative Short Story Competition Winter 2023

Dusk by Judy DarleyIronclad Creative CIC is seeking stories that respond in any way to the word ‘Dusk.’

The Ironclad Creative Short Story Competition is for both published and unpublished writers. They’re hungry for original writing in English and you can be from anywhere in the world.

Your story can be any genre and length up to 6k words.

However, they’re not accepting plays or poetry for this competition.
They says: “We’re looking for writers who have exciting voices and can move us.”
Deadline:
23:59 (GMT) on 16th November 2023
Entry Fee:
£6 per story
You could win:
  • The winning writer will be offered a prize of £100 and publication in the Ironclad Creative CIC anthology
  • The second place writer will be offered a prize of £50 and publication in their anthology
  • Two further shortlisted writers will be offered prizes of £25 each, and publication in the anthology
  • Up to 10 other longlisted writers will be offered publication in the anthology (depending on the length of the winning, second place and shortlisted stories).

If you’re submitting more than one story, you need to pay £6 per entry. Include your name and ONE title in the reference & email subject line. Then ensure you make clear in your email what the title of the multiple entries are AND state the total amount you paid via PayPal.

A small number of free places are available for low income writers. Please email michelle@ironcladcreative.org to request this but don’t send your work – if they have free entries left, they’ll let you know what to do.

Find full details here and make sure you’ve read the terms and conditions before entering.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send an email to judydarley(at)iCloud(dot)com.

Enter The Masters Review Award for New Writers

Lake Michigan beach.Photo by Judy DarleyThe Masters Review is inviting entries for its Summer Short Story Award for New Writers.

The deadline for submissions is 27th August 2023.

The winning story writer will receive $3,000, an agency review and publication online.

Second and third place finalists will be awarded publication, agency review and $300/$200 prizes respectively.

Participating agents include Nat Sobel from Sobel Weber, Victoria Cappello from The Bent Agency, Andrea Morrison from Writers House, Sarah Fuentes from United Talent Agency, Heather Schroder from Compass Talent, and Marin Takikawa from The Friedrich Agency.

This year’s guest judge is Jai Chakrabarti, author of A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness and A Play for the End of the World.

Crucial details

  • $20 entry fee
  • $3000 1st prize
  • $300 2nd prize
  • $200 3rd prize
  • Stories must be under 6,000 words in length
  • Previously unpublished stories only
  • Simultaneous and multiple submissions allowed
  • Emerging writers only; writers with book-length work published or under contract with a major press are ineligible. Authors with short story collections are free to submit unpublished work, as are writers with books published by indie presses)
  • Deadline: 27th August, 2023
  • No identifying information on your story

Find full details here.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send an email to judydarley (at) iCloud(dot)com.

Enter the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award

Arnos vale portal. Photo by Judy Darley. A natural formation of growing wood or vine that seems to hold a circle of light.

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award celebrates outstanding short fiction and poetry from around the world. The deadline for entering the award is 31st August 2023, making this the perfect time to get polishing your poetry and prose.

Prizes include publication within Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology plus £2,500 for the winner of each category. Winners will receive:

  • A Five-Day Course from Arvon (Poetry & Fiction Winners)
  • One year print subscription to Granta (Poetry & Fiction Winners)
  • One year digital subscription to Mslexia (Poetry & Fiction Winners)
  • Six-Week Writing Poetry Course from Curtis Brown Creative (Poetry Winner)
  • Full membership to The Poetry Society (Poetry Winner)
  • A Course from  the Poetry School (Poetry Winner)
  • One year print subscription to Poetry London (Poetry Winner)
  • Consultation with Redhammer Management (Fiction Winner)
  • Six-Week Writing  Short Stories Course from Curtis Brown Creative (Fiction Winner)Poetry entries should be no more than 40 lines.
    Fiction entries should be no more than 2,000 words long.

There’s no theme – just submit your finest story or poem offering your own unique window on a slice of the world!

Entry fees are £18 for short fiction and £12 for poetry.

For full details, visit aestheticamagazine.com/creative-writing-award/how-to-enter/

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send an email to judydarley (at) iCloud (dot) com.

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Submit your novel for the Virginia Prize For Fiction

Virginaia-woolfs-house-richmond-hogarth-press-begun-hereBlue PlaqueThe Virginia Prize for Fiction is open for submissions. Run by Aurora Metro, the Twickenham-based arts organisation, the competition is searching for the best new fiction by a woman writing in English. Finalists will receive editorial guidance and a conditional publishing deal from Aurora Metro Books with an advance and royalty payable for the publishing rights.

The deadline for standard entries is 1st August 2023, and costs £20.

The closing date for late entries is 31st October 3023 and costs £25.

The prize is open to any woman (over 18) around the world, writing in English. Your entry must be a completed, unpublished novels for adults or YA readers, of at least 45,000 words in length.

Longlisted writers will be contacted in January 2024. A special event to announce the finalists will be held in London.

The novel can be of any genre but cannot have been published or self-published before.

This biennial prize was launched in 2009 as a tribute to Virginia Woolf who wrote her first novel, The Voyage Out, while living an Hogarth House on Paradise Road in Richmond, where she and her husband Leonard also founded the Hogarth Press in 1917.

The prize’s founder, publisher Cheryl Robson, hopes that “by naming this prize in Virginia Woolf’s memory we will inspire women to find their voice and contribute to the pantheon of great women writers.”

The prize is open to any woman (over 18) around the world, writing in English. The novel can be of any genre but cannot have been published or self-published before. You must submit your entire completed novel to be eligible. The entry fee is £10 per manuscript.

For more information about the prize and to enter, click here.

Find out more about Virginia Woolf’s time in Richmond.

Enter The Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize

Terra Nostra Tropical plants cr Judy DarleyWasafari magazine invites submissions of Poetry, Fiction and Life Writing for The Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize.

The prize closes on 30th June 2023 at 5pm BST.

The prize supports writers who have not yet published a book-length work, with no limits on age, gender, nationality, or background. Winners of each category receive a £1,000 cash prize and will be published in Wasafiri’s print magazine. Shortlisted writers will have their work published on the Wasafiri website. All 15 shortlistees and winners will be offered the Chapter and Verse or Free Reads mentoring scheme in partnership with The Literary Consultancy (dependent on eligibility), and a conversation with Nikesh Shukla of The Good Literary Agency to discuss their career progression

The fee is £10 for a single entry and £16 for a double entry. No entry may be more than 3,000 words long.  

Subsidised entry is available for those who would otherwise be unable to enter the prize.  

Shortlisted entrants will be notified in early September

Find full details of how to enter at www.wasafiri.org.

About the judges

Leila Aboulela (fiction judge) is the first ever winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing. Nominated three times for the Orange Prize (now the Women’s Prize for Fiction), her novels include Bird Summons, The Kindness of Enemies, The Translator, a New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year,Minaret and Lyrics Alley, which was Fiction Winner of the Scottish Book Awards. Her short story collection Elsewhere, Home won the Saltire Fiction Book of the Year. Leila’s work has been translated into fifteen languages. Her sixth novel, River Spirit, set in Sudan in the lead up to the British invasion of 1898, is due for publication in March 2023. Leila grew up in Khartoum, Sudan and now lives in Aberdeen, Scotland. 

Diana Evans (Chair) is the author of the novels A House for Alice, Ordinary People, The Wonder and 26a, which was the inaugural winner of the Orange Award for New Writers. Ordinary People won the 2019 South Bank Sky Arts Award for Literature and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Rathbones Folio Prize and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. She also publishes stories, essays and criticism, is associate lecturer in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. 

Raised on the North Peckham estate in South London, Caleb Femi (poetry judge) is a poet and director. His debut collection, Poor, was published in 2020 by Penguin Press. He has written and directed short films for the BBC, Channel 4, Bottega Veneta and Louis Vuitton. A former Young People’s Laureate, Caleb won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection (2021) and has been shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize (2021), and longlisted for the Jhalak Prize (2021). He has been featured in the Dazed 100 list of the next generation shaping youth culture. 

Aanchal Malhotra (life writing judge) is a writer and oral historian from New Delhi. She is the co-founder of the Museum of Material Memory, and the author of two critically acclaimed books, Remnants of Partition and In the Language of Remembering, that explore the human history and generational impact of the 1947 Partition. Her work has won the Council for Museum Anthropology Book Award, and been shortlisted for the British Academy Book Prize, the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar, Hindu Lit for Life Non Fiction Prize, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize and the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize. Her newest work is a debut novel titled The Book of Everlasting Things. 

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at judydarley (at) iCloud (dot) com.

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Wells Festival of Literature competitions

City of Wells cr Judy Darley

Wells Festival of Literature takes place from 27th October to 4th November 2023, but before that they hold their annual writing competitions, with entries accepted until 30th June 2023.

The categories are open poetry, short stories, poetry and children’s books, as well as poetry by anyone aged 16-22 inclusive.

The Open Poetry Competition

The fee for each separate entry is £6. Each poem must be under 36 lines long, and may be on any subject.

First Prize is £1,000. Second prizes is £500. Third prize is £250. There’s also a £100 prize for a local poet.

The judge is William Sieghart, founder of the Forward Prizes, the UK’s biggest poetry prizes. William also instigated National Poetry Day which is now celebrated in the UK every October.

The Short Story Competition

The fee for each separate entry is £6. Stories should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length. They can be on any subject.

First Prize is £750. Second prize is £300. Third prize is £200. There’s a £100 prize for a local writer.

The judge is Claire Fuller, an author whose much anticipated fifth novel The Memory of Animals was published in April this year and her fourth, Unsettled Ground, won the Costa Novel Award 2021 and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Book for Children Competition

The fee for each separate entry is £6. The competition will judge writing for children, age 7 and up. This includes writing for young adults

You’ll need to submit either the first two chapters or first twenty pages, whichever is the shortest, together with the synopsis of up to two pages.

First Prize is £750. Second prize is £300. Third prize is £200. There’s a £100 prize for a local writer.

The judge is Rachel Hamilton, a part-time literary agent, a lecturer in Creative Writing and the author of six books. Rachel’s experience includes editing and mentoring and, as a literary consultant, she loves helping authors refine their manuscripts and find their voice. She holds a first-class degree in English Literature & Language, as well as Creative Writing qualifications from St Martin’s College and London School of Journalism.

The Young Poets Competition

The fee for each separate entry is £3. Each poem must be under 36 lines long, and may be on any subject.

First Prize is £150. Second prizes is £75. Third prize is £50. All three prize-winners also get a year’s subscription to the Poetry Society.

The judge is Deanna Rodger, Deanna won the UK Poetry Slam when she was 18. She curates spoken word events, facilitates workshops, writes commissions, and mentors. Most recently, her reimagined version of Kipling’s If was read by Serena Williams on BBC Sport.

The closing date for all entries is 30th June 2023. Prizes for all four competitions will be presented on Monday 30th October 2023 during the Festival.

Find the full rules and details of how to enter.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at judydarley (at) iCloud (dot) com

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