Competitions and places to share your work

Opportunities currently open:

The David Nobbs Memorial Trust – 4th Annual Comedy Writing Competition – deadline 12th March 2021

BBC National Short Story Award – deadline 15th March 2021

Fitzcarraldo Editions/Mahler & Lewitt Studios Essay Prize – deadline 15th March 2021

The Plough Poetry Prize15th March 2021

Harper’s Bazaar Short Story Competition – 2200 words, submission deadline 15 March 2021.

The Rhys Davies Short Story Competition: up to 5000 words, submission deadline 22 March 2021.

A Writing Chance‘ – New Writing North is seeking writers of working-class and lower income backgrounds and especially welcomes ‘submissions from people who face intersecting challenges from historic under-representation in the media, including but not limited to those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic, disabled and/or any other historically marginalised backgrounds.’ Successful applicants receive a bursary of £1,500, one-to-one mentoring with an experienced writer or journalist, online workshops with the media partners and publication with byline (in print or online) by one of the media partners, including the Daily Mirror or New Statesman, or broadcast as a podcast. Application by submission of a 500-word piece of journalism, non-fiction or creative writing on the theme ‘Life in 2020-2021’. Deadline 26th March 2021.

Spread the Word – One More Chapter is an initiative by Harper Collins offering one-to-one feedback sessions to writers from a broad spread of groups currently under-represented in publishing. Application deadline 31st March 2021.

The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize1st April 2021

The Orwell Society Dystopian Fiction Short Story Prize for students attending British Universities – 1st April 2021.

Sky Arts RSL Writers Awards for artists of colour – mentoring opportunities for black British writers. Application deadline 30 April 2021.

Space Cat Press anthology – open for submissions of poetry, short stories, non-fiction and flash fiction on the themes of Aliens & Otherness. Deadline – 31st May 2021.

The Bridport Prize: poetry, short story, flash fiction, first novel – deadline 31st May 2021.

The Leicester Writes Short Story Prize 2021 – deadline 1st June 2021. There’s a £30 entry fee for this one but up to 20 shortlisted entries will appear in Dahlia Book’s prestigious annual anthology, fast becoming known for its quality of writing.

Hindsight anthology – submission deadline 1st June 2021. Publication seeking non-fiction stories of up to 2000 words from around the world documenting the experience of life during the Covid pandemic.

Present Tense Literary Magazine – Autumn/Winter edition submission deadline 30th June 2021. A new imprint seeking submissions of poetry, prose and flash fiction.

Sunspot Literary Journal: Open Call for Writers and Artists – deadline 31st October 2021

Other outlets:

People’s Friend Magazine accept short stories, fiction serials and poems from new and experienced writers and pay for those they use (£80 per story for writers new to them). They ask that writers read their magazine to get a feel for their target readership’s tastes and material be posted to them rather than emailed. You’ll find their guidelines here.

Mslexia Magazine for women writers stage annual competitions for poetry, fiction and memoir, with many of those short-listed going on to win themselves an agent. Further information here.

For those interested in poetry, Jim Bennett’s Poetry Kit Newsletter includes a monthly list of poetry competitions with forthcoming deadlines. You can sign up to receive it here.

Writers’ Forum Magazine run monthly competitions for flash fiction (500 words), short stories and poetry, with a range of entry fees which are reduced for subscribers to the magazine. Further information can be found here.