December Roundup of Writing Competitions

By on Nov 27, 2015 in Writing Competitions |

Share On GoogleShare On FacebookShare On Twitter



With everyone busy celebrating the pagan midwinter buying frenzy, December was always going to be a dry month for competitions, but those few on offer are better than average.


The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition

This competition is one of the biggest on the calendar for children’s literature. Not only a huge prize, but publication to boot. It spans work aimed at children as young as 7 right up to gritty YA novels pitched at 18 year-olds.

Entry is not for the faint of heart as they will not accept email submissions. You will not only need to print a hard copy of your completed manuscript, you will also need to submit a covering letter explaining why you believe your novel would appeal to children, a one-page synopsis and (drum-roll) a per chapter outline covering all major events. You will also need one of those old-fashioned check book things with which to write out your entry fee.

Word limit: 30,000 – 80,000 words plus other entry requirements

Prizes: 1st – £10,000 plus publishing 

Entry fee: £15

Closing date: 18th December 2015

The winning entry will be published by Chicken House and will also be offered representation by a top literary agent. Every writer that makes the long-list will receive a reader’s report of their entry.



The Storgy 2015 Short Story Competition

I’m an unashamed fan of Storgy, the online magazine built around celebrating the short story as a contemporary artform. Any writer who takes short stories seriously should take this competition out for a glass of wine and an expensive candlelit dinner, followed by a night of unbridled keyboard bashing.

Word limit: 5000 words

Prizes: 1st – £500, 2 runners up £25 book vouchers

Entry fee: £5

Closing date: 30th December 2015

Judged by acclaimed short story writer and guru of the form Paul McVeigh. All winners will be published in the 2015 Storgy short story anthology. Winners will also receive a signed copy of Pauls debut novel ‘The Good Son’.



The Danahy Fiction Prize

This prize is organised and judged by the editors of Tampa Review, a biannual hardcover journal of contemporary literature and visual art. Annoyingly they a ‘small processing charge is added’ for the terrible inconvenience of online submissions. A bit quaint as they don’t charge any extra for a mailed submission and payment by cheque.

Word limit: 500 – 5000 words

Prizes: 1st – $1000

Entry fee: $20

Closing date: 31st December 2015

The winning entrant will have their work Publication in Tampa Review and receive a year’s subscription.



The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize

Magic Oxygen are publishers with very green credentials. To prove this every entrant to the competition will also have a tree planted for them and the GPS coordinates of its location sent to them via email. It’s a great prize with both a poetry and short story category. It’s also the first competition I’ve encountered using an animated infographic to showcase itself. A subject pretty close to my heart, if anyone has ever bothered to read my own bio. I’ve included the video because they went to all that effort and it’s great.



Short Story Category

Word limit: 4000 words

Prizes: 1st – £1000, 2nd – £300, 3rd – £100, plus 2 highly commended – £50

Entry fee: £5

Poetry Category

Word limit: 50 lines

Prizes: 1st – £1000, 2nd – £300, 3rd – £100, plus 2 highly commended – £50

Entry fee: £5

Closing date: 31st December 2015

The ten shortlisted entries from each category will be included in The Magic Oxygen Anthology.



Flash 500 Competition

I love this quarterly competition. It’s just there if I ever feel the need to bash out 500 words of flash fiction.  Okay, some more care should be taken than bashing. It’s a great competition that you don’t have to wait too long before it cycles round again.

Word limit: 500 words

Prizes: 1st – £300, 2nd – £200, 3rd – £100

Entry fee: £5

Closing date: 31st December 2015

The winning entry will also be published in Words With Jam, a online magazine for writers and publishers.



Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize

Sponsored by Darina Allen’s Ballymaleo Cookery School this is yet another prestige international prize organised by The Moth magazine. On top of it being one of the biggest prizes for poetry on the circuit, it is also one of the most flexible with no theme restrictions or line limit. Get your epic sagas dusted off.

Word limit: no line limit

Prizes: 1st – £10,000, three runners-up – €1000

Entry fee: €12

Closing date: 31st December 2015

This year’s judge is the US Poet Laureate Billy Cousins. All shortlisted poems will be published in The Moth in March 2016




%d bloggers like this: