Submitting your work to competitions is a fantastic way to build your confidence as a writer. The process can help you improve your writing, connect with other writers and gain exposure as a writer.
Where can you submit your short stories? There are hundreds of awards and competitions available; take a look at some of the competitions we’ve listed below, which open at various times throughout the year. It’s important to note that each competition will have different submission requirements so be sure to check before you send off your work.
Keep reading to the end to find out how you can get expert guidance on writing and polishing your short story, so that it’s the best it can be when you submit.
- The Finchale Award for Short Fiction – Part of the Northern Writers’ Awards, this awards a single story of up to 1500 words, from published and unpublished writers based in the North of England, with £1000 and access to the Northern Writers’ Awards Network.
- Word Factory Northern Apprentice Award – Part of the Northern Writers’ Awards, this offers an unpublished writer based in the North of England £1000, mentoring and access to the Word Factory Northern Apprentice scheme.
- The BBC National Short Story Award – This is a prestigious award for short stories up to 8,000 words. The winner receives £15,000. The competition is open to UK residents.
- The Caine Prize for African Writing – This award is for short stories up to 10,000 words by African writers. The winner receives £10,000. The shortlisted stories are published in the AKO Caine Prize anthology.
- The Commonwealth Short Story Prize – This annual award is for unpublished short stories up to 5,000 words by writers from Commonwealth countries. The winner receives £5,000 and regional winners each receive £2,500.
- The Bridport Prize – This is a UK-based competition for short stories up to 5,000 words. The winner receives £5,000, with smaller prizes for runners-up and awards for highly commended entries.
- The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition – This is an annual competition for short stories up to 2,000 words. The winner receives £500 and a place on an Arvon writing course.
- The PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers – This is a prize for unpublished writers who have not yet published a book. The winner receives $12,000 and publication in PEN America. The prize recognizes 12 emerging writers each year for their debut short story published in a literary magazine, journal, or cultural website, and aims to support the launch of their careers as fiction writers.
- The American Short(er) Fiction Contest – This is an annual competition for previously unpublished short stories up to 6,000 words. The winner receives $1,000 and publication in American Short Fiction.
- The Raymond Carver Short Story Contest – This is an annual contest for short stories up to 6,000 words. The winner receives $2,500 and publication in Carve Magazine.
- The St. Lawrence Book Award – This is a prize for a short story collection, novella, or short novel. The winner receives $1,000 and publication with Black Lawrence Press.
- The Bath Short Story Award – This is a UK-based competition for short stories up to 2,200 words. The winner receives £1,200.
- Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize – This is a UK-based prize for entries of original short fiction between 1000 and 5000 words. The winner receives £1000, with further cash prizes for 2nd and 3rd places. 12 shortlisted entries are published in the latest anthology.
- Bristol Short Story Prize – This is an annual international writing competition open to all published and unpublished, UK and non-UK based writers. The winner receives £1,000, with 2nd place awarded £500 and 3rd prize £250. 17 further prizes of £100 are presented to the remaining shortlisted writers. All shortlisted writers receive 2 free copies of the anthology.
- Mslexia Short Story Prize – This prize is for unpublished short stories up to 3000 words from anyone who self-identifies as a woman. Prizes up to £3000, and publication in Mslexia magazine.