4 Free-to-enter Writing Competitions


It’s official. The Costa Book Awards has opened up to submissions for short story entries. We have until Friday 2nd August to enter a short story of up to 4,000 words, that is, provided you live in the UK or Ireland and are over 18 years of age. This is almost a month before the submission deadline last year (which was 7th September), so don’t be caught out and get working on your entry now!

But, if you want a bit more time to polish off your short story for submission, why not try one of these upcoming free to enter competitions with deadlines a little later on in the year?

Jeremy Mogford Prize
Closing Date: 1st October 2013
The Oxford Literary Festival are seeking submissions for stories up to 2,500 words with the theme of food and drink. The 2013 award attracted over 400 entries from around the world and the £7,500 prize was granted to Emma Seaman for 
A Dish of Chocolate Ice Cream. You can read this winning entry here. Entries for the 2014 Prize must be submitted by email with the results announced in March 2014. 

 2013 Erewash Writers’ Group ‘Full Stop’ Story Competition
Closing Date: 7th November 2013 (noon)
The Erewash Writers’ Group say that their competitions “exist to encourage and reward writing”. They also use their competitions to raise money for charity. They have a free to enter competition for stories of up to 2,000 words that centres around the theme of ‘Full Stop’ – how you interpret this theme is up to you. The prizes for this competition are the ‘Teach Yourself’® guides on Creative Writing, Writing a Novel and Get Your Book Published.

They also have a paid entry competition closing on the 26th September with no theme for the 2,000 word maximum submission with cash prizes available. (They’ll also make a charitable donation to a cause of your choice if you win too!)

James White Award
Closing Date: 31st January 2014
This Science Fiction competition for original short stories of 6,000 words or less is for non-professional writers anywhere in the world. The Award is to commemorate one of Ireland’s top Science Fiction writers, James White, and began in 2000. The prize this year is £200 plus publication in the Science Fiction Magazine 
Interzone; therefore it would be wise to check out their guidelines and what they look out for.

You should also check out their Advice to Writers – even if you aren’t planning an entry there are some fantastic tips for short story writing from conception to submission.


I’m aiming to submit pieces for at least two of the ones mentioned in this post – most definitely Costa  – but I haven’t yet decided which other. They all have their own individual merits and challenges. But, the one thing I do know – an idea can never be captured too soon. So I’m off to get my thinking cap on…


10 responses to “4 Free-to-enter Writing Competitions

  1. Thank you for posting information about Erewash Writers’ Group competitions, Cat.

    Our current competition is open until Thursday 26th September. You still have time to enter either by post or email (£3 for one entry or £2.50 for two).

  2. It’s surprising how effective it can be leaving a story for a while. Just started re-editing last year’s Nano effort and what I thought at the time was a work of sheer genius now appears to be utter drivel. It’s like a work of J.K.Rowling. Seriously, it’s that bad.

  3. I’m tempted by the Interzone one as it’s a magazine I enjoy but occasionally has the odd story that’s so offensively bad that I know for certain I can do better!

    • Well then you HAVE to submit! I’ve never been big on Sci-Fi but last year’s Costa entry could well be rewritten to enter this one as it’s the right genre.
      Read it back today and pouted at all the improvements that could be made. Got plenty of time to attempt it, so no excuses – from either of us! 😉 Go for it. Nothing to lose. x

    • Thanks – I cheated a little and used my handy Writing Magazine to find most of the info. 😉
      You gonna give any of them a go?

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