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The Ironclad Creative Short Story Competition is for both published and unpublished writers.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.

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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Enter Frome Festival Short Story Competition

Frome rooftopsFrome Festival Short Story Competition welcomes submissions until 31st May 2023.

This small Somerset town of layered roofs is set roughly between Bath and Taunton has become a hive for writers, with the  annual festival featuring writing residencies throughout the small, characterful shops, and street performances seemingly on every corner.

The competition costs £8 to enter. You can purchase a detailed critique of your work for an additional payment of £47 per story.

Stories may be on any theme, but must be between 1,000 and 2,200 words in length, not including the title.

First prize is £400, second prize £200 and third prize £100, plus prizes for writers living within a 25-mile radius of Frome Library, in a bid to support and encourage local writers.

For inspiration, read the 2022 winning entries:

First Prize – Saying Goodbye to Laura by Nikki Copleston

Second Prize – Moonblind by Kieran Marsh

Third Prize – Buyer Beware by Fiona Anderson

The Frome Festival runs from Friday 7th-Sunday 16th July and is well worth visiting for its own charms, especially the incredible busking that takes place throughout the narrow streets.

For full details of the competitions, visit the competition website.

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.

Enter the Bristol Short Story Prize

Bristol hot air balloons cr Judy DarleyGot a story shuffling about inside your head? The Bristol Short Story Prize 2023 is open for entries. The closing date is 26th April 2023. Submissions can be up to a maximum length of 4,000 words.

Twenty shortlisted stories will be selected for publications in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 16.

The writing competition prizes

  • First prize is £1,000
  • Second prize is £500
  • Third prize is £250.
  • Each of the 17 remaining shortlisted writers will receive £100.

An additional prize of £100, The Sansom Award, in recognition of the contribution to Bristol publishing of John and Angela Sansom, will be presented to the highest placed story by a Bristol writer.

Entry costs £9 for each submission, but there are 250 free online entries available to those for whom the entry fee is a barrier to submitting.

The 2023 Judging Panel comprises Abi Fellows, a literary agent at TGLA working across both fiction and non-fiction for children and adults, Heather Marks, a creative producer, editor, and writer and part of the immersive change agency Words of Colour, and Daniel Ross, the co-owner and co-founder of independent bookshop Storysmith.

The 2022 Bristol Short Story Prize was won by Diana Powell for her story A Cure For All Our Ills. Sufiyaan Salam won second prize and Johanna Spiers won third prize.

An interview with Diana, where she talks in-depth about her triumph and her writing, is available here.

The 2021 Bristol Short Story Prize was won by Isidora Cortes-Monroy for her story Cake for the Disappeared. Amanda Ong won second prize and Sarah Tinsley was awarded third prize.

The 2020 Bristol Short Story Prize was won by Florida-based writer Stephen Narain.

The 2019 Bristol Short Story Prize was won by Sydney-based writer Cameron Stewart for his story Black Snow.

The 2018 Bristol Short Story Prize was won by Dizz Tate  for her story, Cowboy Boot. 2nd prize went to Chloe Wilson. You can read an interview with Dizz about her win, here. Chloe Wilson has been signed by literary agent Kate Johnson of the New York-based MacKenzie Wolf Literary Agency.

For full details or to enter, go to www.bristolprize.co.uk.

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

Enter the Bath Short Story Award 2023

Roman Baths pigeons by Judy DarleyThe annual Bath Short Story Award is open now for entries from aspiring and established writers worldwide.

The competition closes to entries on Monday, 24th April at midnight BST. You’re invited to submit stories up to a maximum of 2,200 words on any theme or subject.

This year, the competition is Farhana Shaikh, writer, teacher and Managing Editor of Dahlia Books UK independent publisher of regional and diverse fiction.

Each submission costs £9.

The Bath Short Story Award prizes

  • £1200, first prize
  • £300, second prize
  • £100, third prize
  • £100, the Acorn Award for an unpublished writer of fiction.
  • £50 in book vouchers for the local prize, donated by Mr B’s Emporium of Books.

All short listed stories will be published in our 2023 Bath Short Story Anthology

Find full details of how to enter here. Good luck!

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

Submit stories on a ‘clean vs green’ theme

Leaf & raindrops by Judy Darley
The Green Stories crew are inviting short stories on the theme of ‘clean vs green’ for their latest competition, closing to entries on 21st July.

First prize is £500. Entering is free.

The competition has been devised as a way of myth-busting: “Often when promoting waste reduction and reduction of high-energy activities, such as running hot water, we come up against health and safety issues. Some of these are valid, but many are misinformed.”

The judges are seeking engaging fictional stories that help readers understand how over-cleaning can mean that we kill our bodies’ ‘good’ bacteria through over-use of harsh cleaning products.

“Your challenge is to write a short story (between 1000 and 3000 words) that helps to raise awareness and shift attitudes, especially for those people who assume that the more detergent the better.”

You’ll also need to provide around 200 words on the thinking around your story and how it meets the criteria.

The Green Stories website has story briefs and suggestions to inspire you, as well as plenty of information to make sure you get the details rights.

Find full details here: www.greenstories.org.uk/upcoming-competitions/short-story-clean-vs-green/ 

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.

Enter a Bedtime Story Competition

Ted. By Judy Darley

The lovely folks at Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts, are inviting entries of bedtime stories for their competition, inspired by their current series of online Bedtime Stories performed by Dorset artist Michele O’Brien.

They say, “Not only do we think bedtime stories can be the best part of the day for lots of children but also for parents. As part of our ‘It’s All About You!’ #Lockdown themed creative engagement programme we are giving you the opportunity to be creative and write your very own Bedtime Story with the winning story performed by one of our associate artists from Black Cherry Theatre Company.”

There are no age restrictions and you may want to team up with your household and do this as a family project. Stories must be typed and no more than 2500 words

All you have to do is read and comply with the Conditions of Entry, give your story a title and submit it with your name, contact number, email address and social media handles to learning@lighthousepoole.co.uk by midnight on Tuesday 21st July 2020.  

Find full details here.

Entries can be on any subject relevant to a bedtime story and in any style or form and you can enter more than once if you wish.

Worldwide copyright of each entry remains with the author, but Lighthouse Poole has unrestricted rights to publish the winning stories and any extracts from the opening chapters along with any other relevant promotional material.  Lighthouse Poole will commission a Lighthouse Associate Artist to perform at least one of the winning stories which will be uploaded to its social media platforms and website.

Winners will be notified by email on or before 31 July 2020.

Good luck!

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.

Book review – What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi Sold as a short story collection, Helen Oyeyemi’s latest creation has more in common with a sort of atlas, or a street view of a world most of us only glimpse between the places we walk and the places we avoid, or are avoided by. Shadowy gardens where unthinkable things bloom, doors that only stay closed when locked, marshlands where the drowned form communities, puppetry schools where the living and the made blur and tangle – all these and more make up the richly imagined dreamscape these stories inhabit.

Helen Oyeyemi’s writing is gorgeously painterly and wryly, sometimes wickedly, funny. Passion ripples under the characters’ skin, and reminds us that boundaries and societal rules are often less natural than the yearnings that drive us. Contemporary fictions hinged on social media sit alongside dark fairytales that feel eons old, and characters swim from one tale to emerge as cameos in others. It further deepens the sense of entering a fully formed world where history and present blend, and nothing matters more than the characters’ own foibles. Continue reading

Share your work at a live literary event

Squat pen by Judy Darley

If you live in the UK’s South West you may be interested to learn of a literary event in Swindon seeking writers. Taking place from 7.30pm till late on Friday 26th January 2018, it offers the chance to share 1,500-2,000 words of your finest fiction.

“We are looking for six (or more) fabulous writer/performers to come along to The Squat Pen, our very first live reading event at ‘The Place’ in the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon,” says the event’s organiser and competition judge Stephen Tuffin. “Write between 1500-2000 words on the subject of your choice, or you can use the prompt ‘new beginnings, then send us your stories for the chance to be selected to read your story on stage and maybe, just maybe, be crowned the very first ever Squat Pen Rests Writing Competition Champion of the World.”

The shortlisted entrants will be invited to come along to perform their piece in front of a friendly audience of short story fans. The outright winner, as voted for by the audience, will be presented with a £50.00 cash prize.

Every finalist will be awarded a limited edition, Squat Pen Rests Writing Competition Finalist mug, as well as having their stories posted on the competition website.

The serious stuff

It costs £3 per story to enter. You can enter up to three stories per event.

Before entering, please ensure you are available to come along and read on Friday 26th January 2018

Each of the entrants will receive free entry, plus one complementary ticket.

Closing date: 19th January 2018. Successful entrants will be notified no later than 22nd January.

Find full details here.

Dragonfly Tea want your short stories

Tea plantation cr Judy DarleySeeking a boost for your short story writing? Dragonfly Tea have launched their 2017 short story competition in partnership with Henley Literary Festival.

invite you a short story on the theme of Journey, and submit it to their short story competition before 11:59pm (GMT) on Monday 31st July 2017. Your tale can’t be more than 3,000 words long; there is no minimum length.

There is also a children’s competition too, with categories for ages 4-7, 8-11 and 12-15. Tales in this section must be on the theme of adventure and must not be more than 500 words long, not including the title.

The the competitions are open to all non-professional fiction writers who are UK residents. In other words, you can only enter is you have never received a fee for your written work, be that fiction or non-fiction. Prize money received as a result of entering work into a competition is not considered a fee.

The competitions are free to enter.

Entries can be submitted via post or online via the online entry page of the Dragonfly Tea website.

Prizes

Main competition

  • 1st – £1500
  • 2nd – £750
  • 3rd – £250

Children’s Competition, in each category

  • £50 voucher for each winner plus £100 voucher for their school.

Finalists from all categories will be invited to the Henley Literary Festival on Sunday 8th October 2017 for a special awards ceremony and prize giving.

Find full details of these creative writing competitions.

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