2020 Worldwide Writing Competitions

Fiction Factory short story competition 

All types of writing are welcome for this writing contest with prizes up to £150 for the winners. 3000 words max and a fee of £6enter

The Bath Short Story Award

An award for local, national and international writers. Closing date for submissions is April 20th, 2020. Short stories of up to 2200 words in all genres and styles are welcome – there is no minimum word limit. First prize receives £1000 and there is also a local prize for Bath residents, as well as The Acorn Award of £50 for unpublished writers of fiction. Entry fee is £8.

Adventure Writers Short Story Competition 2020

This is an international competition and there is just one category: Adventure. The organisers accept traditionally published, e-published and manuscript novels. There is a US$1000 cash prize. A $25 entry fee is charged, and all proceeds go to promoting the contest, the finalists and the winner.  The deadline for entries is 30th April 2020.

Adventure is out there!

The Bristol Short Story Prize

Entries are welcomed for unpublished stories written in English. The deadline for submissions is 20th April 2020 and stories can be on any theme or subject. Maximum length of 4000 words. An £8 entry fee and first prize is £1000. There are also 17 further prizes of £100 for all shortlisted writers.

Leapfrog Press Story Contest

Adult, young adult (YA) and middle grade (MG) novels, novellas, and short story collections are accepted. Minimum word count: 22,000. Individual stories in a collection may have been published in journals. Books that have been self-published will be considered “unpublished” if fewer than about 200 copies were printed.

We look for literary fiction and mainstream fiction, including science fiction. Generally we are less interested in strict genre fiction, but if a manuscript is good and grabs our attention, we don’t care what the genre is.

There is a US$33 fee to enter and you could win US$150 and publication of your finished manuscript. The deadline for entries is May 1st 2020.

Writer’s Digest Competition

The winner of this annual award will receive US$5000 and an interview in Writer’s Digest. There are a variety of different award categories so it’s best to check the website for details. Deadline is May 4th 2020.

 Raymond Carver Contest

The Raymond Carver Short Story Contest is one of the most renowned fiction contests in the world. Featuring prominent guest judges and offering US$1500 across five prizes, the contest delivers exciting new fiction from writers all over the world. The contest opens each year April 1 – May 15 and prizewinners are published in their annual fall issue in October. Usual entry fee of US$17.

Brick lane bookshop short story contest

This prize, run by Brick Lane Bookshop, is open to all UK residents for original short stories between 1,000 and 5,000 words. Its aim is to celebrate short stories and to give emerging writers encouragement and a little financial space to write. Winners are published in an anthology in addition to receiving prize money.

There’s a £1000 prize available and submissions close on May 15th 2020.

Lorian Hemingway Short Story Prize

Writers of short fiction may now enter the 2019 Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. The competition has a thirty-nine year history of literary excellence, and Lorian Hemingway and her small judging panel are dedicated to enthusiastically supporting the efforts and talent of writers of short fiction whose voices have yet to be heard.

Deadline is 15th May 2020. Max word count is 3500, entry fee is US$15 and a prize of US$2500 is available.

Smokelong Award for Flash Fiction

Smokelong was one of the original names for flash fiction (read a story in the amount of time it takes to smoke a cigarette), and Smokelong Quarterly are one of the all time literary big hitters in this field. So, their flash fiction competition is certainly one writers should have on their radar.

There is a grand prize of US$2000 on the table, with monetary prizes also available to all finalists – who’ll be published in the June edition of the journal.

There is a limit of 1000 words for entries of flash fiction submitted before the final deadline of May 24th. Submit up to two stories for a fee of US$13.50 before April 26th or US$15.50 thereafter.

Bridport Prize

International open competition founded in 1973. Four categories in poetry (max 42 lines); short story (max 5,000 words); flash fiction (max 250 words) and the Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award for a First Novel (max 8,000 words from opening chapters plus 300 word synopsis).

Deadline usually looms towards the end of May each year.

Entry fees and prizes vary depending on category. Full information about this world-renowned competition can be found online.

Bath Novel Award

The Bath Novel Award 2018 is an international prize for unpublished and self-published novelists. The winner will receive £2,500, with manuscript feedback and literary agent introductions for those shortlisted. In addition, the writer of the most promising longlisted novel will receive a free place on an online editing course with Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.

Submit your first 5000 words along with a one page synopsis by May 31st 2020.

There is an entry fee of £25.

Narrative Prize

The Narrative Prize is awarded annually for the best short story, novel excerpt, poem, one-act play, graphic story, or work of literary nonfiction published by a new or emerging writer in Narrative.

Deadline is mid June 2020 and there is no entry fee. Maximum word counts of 2000 and prizes of up to US$4000 available.

The Cambridge Short Story prize

Sister writing competition to the TSS flash fiction prize. Deadline is 15th June 2020 for submissions no longer than 3000 words. There is a prize of £1000 available to the winner.

Impress Books prize for new writing

This is a manuscript contest for unpublished writers. Winners receive a print and eBook publishing contact with Impress, as well as a £500 advance.

The deadline for entries is usually around the end of June each year.

You need to submit 6000 words of your manuscript, along with a synopsis and publishing proposal, as well as an author bio.

 The Sean O Faolain Short Story Prize

The competition is open to original, unpublished and unbroadcast short stories in the English language of 3,000 words or fewer. The story can be on any subject, in any style, by a writer of any nationality, living anywhere in the world. Translated work is not in the scope of this competition.

First Prize: €2,000, a week-long residency at Anam Cara Retreat and publication in the literary journal Southword.

There is a fee of €15 per entry and the deadline for submissions is 31st Jul

 Woven Tree Press annual literary competition

The Woven Tree Press hosts its annual literary competition, with this year’s category being fiction (including creative non-fiction), judged by award winning novelist Ann Beattie. Submissions must be no longer than 6000 words.

Winners receive cash prizes, with first place receiving a one-week stay in the organiser’s 1909 charming retreat house in the legendary Hamptons, New York.

Submissions for the contest open on August 15 and run until October 15 2020. There is an entry fee of US$25.

 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

For American citizens with books published in the calendar year (or scheduled to be published) – no self-published books will be accepted. No submission fees, with a deadline of October.

ServiceScape short story award

For this award, any genre or theme of short story is accepted. All applicants should submit their original unpublished work of short fiction or nonfiction, 5,000 words or fewer, to be considered. Along with receiving an award for $1,000.00 USD, the winner will have his or her short story featured within the ServiceScape blog, which reaches thousands of readers per month.

There is no entry fee and the deadline for entries is 30th November 2020.

 Manchester Writing Competition

There are two prizes – one for fiction and one for poetry. Both competitions offer a £10,000 first prize. Deadline for entries is September and the competition generally opens in February each year. The fiction prize will be awarded to the best short story of up to 2500 words, and is open to international writers aged 16 or over. The poetry prize will be given to the best portfolio of three to five poems (maximum length: 120 lines). The entry fee for each competition is £17.50.

 F(r)iction contest

Literary publisher and resource for writers Brink Literacy project (formerly Tethered By Letters) run this tri-annual publication, F(r)iction, – an art and literature imprint that is distributed around the world. It features short fiction, flash fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and even a selection of graphic stories. It also showcases amazing artwork.

First prize for the short story contest is US$1000 and there is an entry fee of US$18. The first prize for both the poetry and flash fiction contests is US$300 and there is a US$10 entry fee.

Visit the website for information about upcoming deadlines

 Reedsy Short Story Contest(s)

Every Friday, Reedsy kicks off a weekly short story contest by sending out a newsletter that includes five themed writing prompts. Subscribers have one week (until the following Friday) to submit a short story based on one of the prompts. The winner receives US$ 50 and publication on Reedsy’s Medium blog.

There is no entry fee.

Austin Film Festival competitions

Austin Film Festival 2018 is offering a number of different writing contests for you to sink your teeth into. In their 25th year, the Austin Film Festival (AFF) have helped many writers break into the industry of film and television.

AFF currently offer writing competition categories for screenplays, teleplays, short screenplays, digital series scripts, stage plays, and fiction podcast scripts.

Deadlines for the competitions vary, with some differences in entry fees depending on whether you enter before, early, regular, or late/final deadlines.

Prizes include cash awards and the opportunity to meet famous figures from the industry. Check out their website for information

You may submit poems on any theme, up to 250 lines each.

Entry fee: $15 per poem.

• The Tom Howard Prize: $3,000 for a poem in any style or genre.
• The Margaret Reid Prize: $3,000 for a poem that rhymes or has a traditional style.


The competition is organised by the Manchester Metropolitan University.

There are two prizes:
• £10,000 prize for the best short story of up to 2,500 words;
• £10,000 prize for the best portfolio of three to five poems.

The entry fee is £18.


The competition is for original, unpublished literary fiction up to 10,000 words. The story must be in English.

The entry fee is $17 online and $15 mailed.

• 1st prize: $2,000
• 2nd prize: $500
• 3rd prize: $250
• two editor’s choice prizes of $125


Entrants must be 16 years or over.

Entries can be on any theme or subject. Maximum length is 300 words.

There is a £9 entry fee for one submission, £15 for two submissions or £18 for three submissions.

• 1st prize: £1,000
• 2nd prize: £300
• 3rd prize: £100


The competition is open to anyone aged 11-17.

Your poems can be on any theme and any length. Poems must be written in English.

The competition is free to enter.

The top 15 winners will have their poems printed in the winners’ print anthology, 25,000 copies of which are distributed to school libraries and poetry enthusiasts.


The competition is open to anyone aged 16 or over.

Poems may be on any subject and in any form or style.

Entry fees: £5 for first poem and £4 for subsequent poems.

• 1st Prize: £1,000
• 2nd Prize: £500
• 3rd Prize: £250


The contest is open to writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry who have yet to publish or self-publish a book.

The entry fee is $24. The fee includes a 1-year subscription to Ploughshares.

The winning story, essay, and poems will be published in the Winter 2020-21 issue of Ploughshares. Each winning author will receive $2,000.


The Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize is a literary award for a first full-length book of poetry in the English language.

The entry fee is $25 per manuscript.

The prize carries a cash award of $5,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press as part of the Pitt Poetry Series.


The Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize is open for submissions in the categories of Fiction, Poetry, and Life Writing.

A single entry costs £10, two entries are £16.

The winners of each category received a £1,000 cash prize and will be published by Wasafiri in print and online.


Entries must be a single short story written in English. There is a word limit of 5,000.

The entry fee is €15 per story.

• 1st prize: €3,000
• 2nd prize: week-long writing retreat at Circle of Misse in France plus €250 for travel
• 3rd prize: €1,000


The competition is open to poets of any nationality writing in English.

You may submit up to four poems per entry.

The $25 USD entry fee is a one-year subscription to Rattle magazine.

The overall winner will receive a cash prize of $15,000 USD. Ten finalists will each receive $500 USD, and be eligible for the $5,000 USD Reader’s Choice Award.


The competition is open to anyone.

The length of each poem must not exceed 40 lines.

Entry fees (Adults): £5.75 for the first poem, £3.50 for each subsequent poem.

• First Prize: £1,000
• Second Prize: £500
• Third Prize: £250


The competition is organised by Poetry London magazine. Entries must be in English. The maximum length is 80 lines.

For Poetry London subscribers the entry fee is £4 per poem; for non-subscribers £8.

• 1st prize: £5,000
• 2nd prize: £2,000
• 3rd prize: £1,000


Essays may be submitted by anyone up to 25 years old. This year’s theme is “A Letter from Myself in 2030”.

The competition is free to enter.

1st prize winners will receive a cash prize of 100,000 Yen (approx. US $900) and will be invited to the award ceremony to be held in Tokyo.


The competition is open to anyone over the age of 18.

Flash fictions must be in English. Non-Anglo stories accompanied by an English translation will also be considered. Word limit: 1000.

Entry fees: from $13.50 to $15.50.

The grand prize winner will receive $2,000.


The competition is open to poets from any country.

All entries must be in English. Poems must each be no longer than 45 lines.

Entry fee: £5 per poem.

1st Prize: £2,000
2nd Prize: £1,000
3rd Prize: £500.


The competition is open to anyone.

Your story can be set anywhere, feature any characters, and be written in any style. This year’s theme is “Vision”.

There are no entry fees for those aged 21 years and under. Over 21s must pay an entry fee of £10 or £5 for those with student id.

There are two prizes:
• £1,000 for writers aged 21 and under
• £500 for writers aged 21 and over


The competition is open to all short story writers writing in English.

Entries must be a single story of between 2,000 to 5,000 words.

Entry fees: from AU$15 to AU$25.

• 1st prize: AU$6,000
• 2nd prize: AU$4,000
• 3rd prize: AU$2,500

The Bridport Prize 2020

The Bridport Prize is open to writers of any nationality writing in English, 16 years old and over.

The competition has four categories: poetry, short stories, flash fiction and novel.

Entry fees: from £9 to £20.

Over £19,000 in prize money.

The Nick Darke Award 2020

The competition is open to all writers resident in the UK and Europe aged 16 and over.

To enter the competition, you should submit a full stage play script (minimum of 45 minutes in length, no maximum) and a one-page synopsis about the play.

The competition is free to enter.

The winner will receive a cash prize of £6,000.

The Bath Novel Award 2020

The Bath Novel Award is a prize for unpublished, self-published and independently published writers worldwide.

Novels can be in any genre written for adult or young adult readers.

The entry fee is £28 per novel.

The winner will receive a cash prize of £3,000.

The 2020 Yeovil Literary Prize

The Yeovil Literary Prize is open to anyone over the age of 16.

There are four categories:
• Novel (1st prize: £1000)
• Short Story (1st prize: £500)
• Poetry (1st prize: £500)
• Writing Without Restrictions (1st prize: £200).

Entry fees: from £5 to £12.

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award
The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is an international competition open to anyone.
There are two categories: Poetry and Short Fiction.
Entry fees:
£12 for one Poetry entry and £18 for one Short Fiction entry.Prizes:
• £1,000 for the Poetry winner
• £1,000 for the Short Fiction winner
28th annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

You may submit stories and essays on any theme, up to 6,000 words each.

The entry fee is $20.

The winning story and essay will each receive $3,000. Ten Honorable Mentions will receive $200 each.


The QueryLetter.com Writing Contest
Can you write a blurb for a hypothetical book?



Cranked Anvil Short Story Competition

The Cranked Anvil Short Story Competition is a quarterly competition. Submit up to 1,500 words. Any theme or genre. You may submit up to three stories in each quarter. Closing dates are: 30th April 31st July 31st October 31st January Entry fees: £5 for the first story, £3 for the second, £2 for the third […]

The Writing Quarter Competition

The Writing Quarter Competition is a free to enter short story competition. The deadline is the last day of each month. Submit short stories of up to 3,000 words. Open theme. Monthly prize is AUD$30. The winning author will also be given the option to publish their story on the website. The competition is open to […]





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