Enter the Fractured Lit monsters, mystery and mayhem prize

The team at Fractured Lit urge you to dig into the darkest recesses of your imagination to write stories of monsters, mystery and mayhem in 1,000 words or less that explore our humanity.

The deadline is 19th December 2021.

They say: “Using these genre themes, please remember that we’re searching for flash that investigates the mysteries of being human, the sorrow, and the joy of connecting to the diverse population around us. We want something new. Something that scares as much as it resonates; stories that help us discover the roots of desire and conflict, that shimmer on the page, that keep us reading, and wondering long after the last period on the page. Transport us from the here and now to a new land of discovery, a new way of being terrified, a new way of embracing all of the ways we show our humanness.”

A $20 reading fee allows you up to two stories of 1,000 words or fewer each per entry.

The competition prizes

The winner will receive $2000 and publication, while the 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive publication and $300 and $200, respectively. All entries will be considered for publication.

The judge is Amber Sparks, the author of four collections of short fiction, including And I Do Not Forgive You: Revenges and other Stories and The Unfinished World, and her fiction and essays have appeared in American Short Fiction, the Paris Review, Tin House, Granta, The Cut and elsewhere.

Find full details of how to enter here: fracturedlit.com/fractured-lit-monsters-mystery-and-mayhem-prize

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 SmokeLong’s Grand Micro Contest

MerryGoRound cr Judy DarleyUntil 16th May 2021 the SmokeLong editors invite you to submit your most powerful compressed work for them to consider inclusion in their June double issue. Authors of chosen micros are guaranteed $100, but you could win much more. In this competition you  have the opportunity to enter one, two, or up to four micros.

The Judging

All entries are read blind by the SmokeLong editors. You will probably receive a reply within two weeks if we have decided to pass on the story. If they take longer than two weeks, be encouraged. This means it’s likely that your story has made it through to the second round of judging.

Your story must be no more than 400 words long, not including the title. If you are entering two or more micros, submit all your entries in one document.

Entries must be written in English or accompanied by an English translation. The story will be judged on the English text as well as the word count of the English text. Translator and author will split the prize money equally.

Fiction, non-fiction, and hybrid narratives are considered. Though line between prose and poetry is often a blurry one especially in micro narratives, bear in mind that SmokeLong does not consider poetry.

All identifying information must be removed from your story, with your name and contact details included only in your cover letter.

Their final guideline is quite simple: write something you love.

The Prizes

Grand Prize: $1500
Second Place: $500
Third Place: $300
Finalists: $100
All placed stories will be published in the June 2021 issue of SmokeLong Quarterly.

A long list and a shortlist will be announced.

Entry Fees

$6 for one micro
$10 for two micros
$16 for up to four micros

Before you enter

I highly recommend that before submitting your words, you devote some time to reading the kind of stories SmokeLong publishes. The editors have a very specific tastes in micro tales – sharp edges polished thin enough to see sunlight through are definitely preferred.

Find the full guidelines and enter here: http://www.smokelong.com/the-smokelong-grand-micro-contest/

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.

Submit your words to the Wild Atlantic Writing Awards

Azorean views over the Atlantic by Judy DarleyIreland Writing Retreat and Wild Atlantic Writers invite you to submit flash fiction and creative non-fiction inspired by nature. The closing date is 10th December.

The Flash Fiction Award is open to all genres from sci-fi to crime, and romance to horror, providing nature features as a key element, “It could even be that a tree, plant, stone or other being or Nature in its multitude of expressions plays a key role in your story. ”

The maximum length is 500 words, not including the title.

The Creative Nonfiction Award offers a similar challenge, only instead of a fiction story it should take the form of memoir, personal essay, travelogue (even one about your hometown) or anything other true tale, providing nature plays significant role in your submission.

It must be no more than 500 words, not including the title.

For both competitions, the prize is 500 euros in cash.

A fee of 10 euro is required for each entry.

The closing date is 10th December.

Find the full rules and link to enter here.

Mslexia’s 2019 Fiction Awards

Mum's eye view cr Judy DarleyThis year, Mslexia Fiction Awards include their Short StoryAdult Novel and Flash Fiction competitions. The deadline for each is 30th September 2019.

Entry fees are £10 per short story, £25 per novel extract and £5 per flash fiction entry.

The winner of the Short Story competition will receive £3,000, plus the optional extras of a writing retreat at Moniack Mhor, and mentoring by an editor at Virago Press.

Three other finalists will each receive £100. All four winning stories will be published in the March 2020 issue of Mslexia.

Shortlisted entries will be judged by award-winning short story author, novelist and performer Irenosen Okojie.

The winner of the Adult Novel competition will receive £5,000 and the option of representatlon by agent Charlotte Robertson. Judges are novelist Louise Doughty, Nicola Holloway from BBC Radio 4, and Literary agent Charlotte Robertson.

The winner and four finalists will receive manuscript feedback and introductions to agents and editors at a special event held in London.

The first prize in the Flash Fiction competition is £500. The winner will be picked by Katy Fish.

Three other flash fiction finalists will each receive £50. All four winning stories will be published in the March 2020 issue of Mslexia.

Find full details at www.mslexia.co.uk. Good luck!

A new inclusive nature-writing prize

Tiny snail cr Judy DarleyThe Nan Shepherd Prize is accepting submissions until 10th September 2019. This new competition launched by Canongate aims to find the next major voice in nature writing. It intends not only to celebrate nature writing but provide an inclusive platform for new and emerging nature writers from underrepresented backgrounds.

The competition has been established in memory of Nan Shepherd. The organisers say:  “While her classic of nature writing The Living Mountain took three decades to first find a publisher, today the book is recognised as a masterpiece and Nan is inspiring a new generation of writers. We felt that a prize named after her was a fitting way to honour her legacy.”

The winner of The Nan Shepherd Prize for Nature Writing will receive a book deal with Canongate, including editorial mentoring and an advance of £10,000, as well as the option of literary representation with Jenny Brown Associates.

During the submissions period, the Canongate team will publish resources intended to demystify the publishing process.

The competition judges are Amy Liptrot, Chitra Ramaswamy, Jenny Brown and Nick Barley.

Applications are open to previously unpublished writers based in the UK and Ireland, who consider themselves underrepresented in nature writing, whether through ethnicity, disability, class, sex, gender, sexuality or any other circumstances. This means that entrants must not have published full-length books of fiction or non-fiction (including children’s books) with a trade publisher. Full details of eligibility and how to submit can be found here.

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.

Become a food critic

Osteria-del-Savio-casoncelli-pic by-Judy-Darley

Love food and love writing about it? You might be ripe for a writing competition with a difference. The Sunday Times has launched the AA Gill Award, a new award for unpublished writers on food in honour of AA Gill, the legendary restaurant reviewer (I’ll not forget him likening the flavour of mushrooms to the odour of sheets after sex), who died in 2016.

The aim of the award, launched in association with the Society of Editors, is to offer a launch pad to previously unknown writers aged over 21 and based in the UK.

All entries must take the form of a review. Amateur critics who have published their own unpaid work on websites are welcome, but not employed food writers.

The deadline for submissions is 17 April 2019.

Entries must be between 1,000 and 1,200 words, the length of Gill’s restaurant reviews. The winner will receive a prize of £5,000 and the winning review will be published in The Dish, the food section of The Sunday Times Magazine. Two runners-up will receive a prize of £500 and £250 respectively and will be invited to the awards ceremony in June 2019.

Entrants are welcome to submit a short supporting statement about themselves of no more than 150 words, but judges will focus solely on the submitted article. The judges’ decisions will be final. Only the winners and runners-up will be contacted. By submitting an article, you’re expressing your permission for The Sunday Times and the Society of Editors to publish your entry in print and on their websites at no fee.

Entries must be sent to aagill.award@sunday-times.co.uk. Include your name, date of birth and postal address. as well as a contact telephone number and email address.

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(at)iCloud(dot)com.

Enter the Poetry on the Lake Competition

Carzano harbour cr Judy DarleyThere’s still time to enter the Poetry on the Lake Competition with a closing date of 31st March 2019.

There are two categories:

Silver Wyvern (max 42 lines), which will be judged by singer, songwriter and broadcaster Paul Henry, and can be on any theme and in any form.
Formal (max 40 lines) is for traditional poetic forms only, such as sonnet, sestina, or villanelle, but can be on any topic.

Prizes range from €100 to €500.

I love how much more inclusive the world of writing competitions is becoming, with optional fees to allow lower-income talents to enter! In this case, all fees are classed as donations to the competition costs, organisation and events of Poetry on the Lake, so while there’s a suggested amount, they add: “If you genuinely can’t afford the fee, send one poem for nothing. Those who can, please donate generously.”

Find full details at www.poetryonthelake.org.

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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Why use existing words when you can create your own?

Tulip cr Judy DarleyMaking up words has always been an irresistible temptation for prolific writers – Lewis Carroll was a master of the craft, and Shakespeare wasn’t too shabby either.

Encouraging you to give into to your word-spawning urges, English PEN and Arvon have teamed up to give you a chance to win a place on an Arvon creative writing week (including travel) with the Making Up Words competition.

All you need to do is write a poem of up to 14 lines or a piece of flash fiction of up to 100 words, with a title that is a made-up word.

Made-Up Words is part of europolyglot, an English PEN festival of events, workshops, night classes and roundtables that celebrates multilingualism and active ageing in the UK, in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the United Kingdom.

Submit your entry in the body of an email to competition@englishpen.org by midnight on Friday 29 March 2013. The competition will be judged by writer and performer Femi Martin (pictured left), who has some inspiration to offer here.

For more information and full terms and conditions please visit the competition page on English Pen’s website here.