30 Writing Competitions With Cash Prizes

30 FlashThis post is a cheat, partly because I’m exhausted after having thrown a surprise party for the wife’s 30th. But also because I happen to be in the midst of a significant bout of procrastination all because I am wallowing in a deep, deep pit of writerly self loathing.

So this week instead of my wordy bullshit, I bring you more writing competitions than you can shake a shakespearian cat at.

With any competition, it’s advisable to ensure you rake the rules of each one with your finest, slickest rule finding comb. I have not displayed the rules of any of these competitions, so if you don’t check, don’t expect to win.


1. Adult Fairytale Competition Entry fee £5, 2500-1700 words. Prizes £200 and magazine publication; £50 and magazine publication. Closes 14th October.

2. Bath Flash Fiction Award Entry fee £9, £4 for members, 300 word. Prizes: £1000, £300, £100. Closes 16th October

3. Stroud Book Festival Contemporary Writing Competition Entry fee FREE, 1500 words. Prizes: £100. Closes 21st October

4. Spine-Chilling Fiction Comp Entry fee £3.50, no more than 1000 words including the title. Prizes: £500; £300; £200; £100. Closes 31st October.

5. Esther Newton’s Writing Comp Extraordinaire  Entry fee FREE, up to 500 words. Prizes: £20 plus Esther’s book of short stories and publication on blog. For two runners up: Esther’s book plus publication on blog. Closes 31st October.

6. The London Magazine Short Story Competition. Entry free £5, up to 4000 words. Prizes: £500; £300; £200. Closes 31st October

7. NAWG mentioned in the continuous comp section, has two other competition categories closing on 31st October: Novella, 5000 words plus one page synopsis, and short story competition 500-2000 words.

 8. Novel Opening Chapter & Synopsis Competition – Entry fee £10, optional critique £25, first chapter and synopsis. Prizes: £500; £200. Closes 31st October.


9. Caledonia Novel Award Entry fee £20, first 20 pages, plus 200-word synopsis of a novel by an unpublished author. Prizes: £1000, writing course at Moniack Mhor, online publication of the winning extract. Closes 1st November.

10. 500 Word Flash Fiction Competition Entry fee £5, 500 words. Prizes:  Prizes £200 and magazine publication; £50 and magazine publication. Closes 14th November.

11. Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Entry fee $20, 1500 words. Prizes $3000. Closes 15th November.

12. Tell a Tale Entry fee FREE, 500 words. Prizes: £300. Closes 19th November.

13. Frightening First Line Contest Entry fee FREE, 31 words. Prizes: writing class of your choice. Closes 21st November.

14. WritersBureau Flash Fiction Entry fee £5, up to 500 words. Prizes: £300; £200; £100. Closes 30th November.

15. The Final Word! Entry fee £3.50, £1 goes to charity, last 100 words of a story. Prizes: £100 plus a bottle of personalised champagne, plus a FREE critique of up to 1,000 words. Closes 30th November.

16. 1000 Word Challenge Entry fee £5, 1000 words. Prizes: £100. Closes 30th

17. Fish Short Story Competition Entry fee €20 post, €22 online. Prizes: €3000 plus a week at Anam Cara Writer’s Retreat in West Cork plus €300 expenses for second, €300 for third. Closes 30th November.

18. UK Internation Novel Writing Competition Entry fee £12, first 5000 words. Prizes: £5000; £2000; £1000. Closes 30th November.


19. Celtic Mythology
Short Story Competition
 Entry fee $7, 4,000 words. Prizes: $500; $250; $100. Closes 10th December.

20. RW First Chapter Competition Entry fee £15. Prizes: review by literary agent Sam Copeland. Closes 11th December. They also have monthly themed comps, short story and flash comps.

21. Opening Up Digital Fiction Writing Competition Entry fee FREE, check the rules for entry types. Prizes: £300. Closes 15th December.

January 2017

22. Exeter Novel Prize Entry fee £18, first 10,000 words of an uncontracted novel plus synopsis. Prizes: £500; £75 x5. Closes 1st January.

23. Novella-in-Flash Award Entry fee £16, 18,000 words. Prizes: £300 and publication. Closes 17th January.

24. National Memory Day Creative Writing Competition  Entry fee £3, 1500 words. Prizes: £4000. Closes 20th January.

25. Bath Flash Fiction Novella in Flash Entry fee £16, 7000 – 18000 words. Prizes: £300′ 2x £100. Closes 31st January.

26. Fish Short Memoir Contest Entry fee €16, €18 postal, up to 4000 words. Prizes: €1000, publication in annual Fish Anthology and a week at Cash Ana Writers retreat in Andalusia and €300 expenses. Closes 31st January.

27. Plymouth Writer’s Group Open Comp Entry fee £5, up to 1500 words. Prizes: £250; £50; anthology publication. Closes 31st January.

28. Win £1000 Book Publishing Deal Entry fee £500, 60-100,000 words amongst other requirements. Prizes: £1000 plus book published in 2017. Closes 31st January.


29. Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2017 Short Story Competition Entry fee FREE, up to 2000 words. Prizes: A place on an Arvon course of the winners’ choice and online publication. Closes 13th February.

30. Fish Flash Fiction Competition Entry fee €14, €8 subsequent entries, 300 words. Prizes: Top ten stories published in the FISH ANTHOLOGY 2017. €1,000; online writing course with Fish. Closes 28th February.

AND A Few Bonus Continuous Comps

31. The NAWG ‘100’ Competition. Entry fee £3, £5.50 for two, £8 for three. Prizes: £75; £25 for every 100 entries – email entries to: comp-100@nawg.co.uk.

32. 101 Word Story Comp Entry fee FREE. (various competitions, with various closing dates and various prizes.)

33. #StoriesEverywhere Entry fee FREE, 140 characters. Prizes: free writing class of your choice. Closes monthly.

34. Less of a competition more of a one day writers retreat for those based in the UK, check out the writershq page of events, I really wana go to one, mostly because they’re all sweary and boozy, what’s not to love? So if anyone fancies it, drop me a line.

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August welcome


  1. Thanks,Sacha. The trick now is to sit down and write some fresh, vibrant new stories, rather than recycle the old tired ones, which have already collected a heap of rejections😝 But said rejections have put me in the same writerly funk as you, so… Note to myself: get motivated, get writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope your wife enjoyed her surprise party! How thoughtful you are. Thanks for the list of competitions. Now if you could only provide me with the time …


      1. I’m pleased she enjoyed it.
        For my hub’s 30th, I arranged for dinner with some friends at a restaurant, and hired a gorilla gram (someone dressed in a gorilla suit) to come and sing to him. (all sorts of silly grams were popular at the time, way back then). Sadly the gorilla turned up and sang his song before the guests, who were (un)fashionably late, arrived. Sooooo disappointing. But Hub was pleased the embarrassment was confined to immediate family (me and son). I was embarrassed we were the only ones there!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A very useful post. I’ve entered a few short story competitions already, and need to enter some more (one the book ios ready for publication).
    Thanks for putting these all together.
    Please wish Chloe a belated Happy Birthday from me. 🎂


  4. Sacha…thanks for this. I haven’t entered a contest in…ages. I’m doing mostly creative nonfiction these days. Do you have info and tips on CNF contests?


    1. You’re so welcome, hmmmm, I don’t write creative non-fiction, but my friend Debby does, perhaps she can advise? Let me get you the link to her website: http://dgkayewriter.com
      I wouldn’t want to give you bad advice, but the one thing I would say is that the same principles will apply in terms of needing conflict, a story arc and characters with depth, what’s really fiction or truth anyway?

      Liked by 1 person

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