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Top 12 Short Story Competitions To Enter Autumn 2020

Poster: sunshine bright orange background baring the slogan: Get Excited It's Competition Time

Here is a list of the top 12 short story competitions to enter this autumn 2020. In keeping with The Writing-Class Blog's mission statement, I have striven to find and include short story competitions that actively celebrate and promote diversity and under-represented minorities. In each instance, I've added a very brief description and highlighted the important bits, so to be read at a glance - prize, word length, entry fee, closing date. For more details on a specific competition and how to enter, click on the links and you'll be taken to each competition host's landing page.

Do remember to:

  • Look out for any eligibility restrictions.

  • Carefully read and adhere to the word all rules and guidelines.

  • Make a note of any competitions entered and winner announcement dates (where included) in order to keep track.

  • Observe the deadlines for each competition: a few are already approaching, so don't prevaricate.

So if you have a short story written and polished and ready to go, or indeed are tweaking a final draft, gird your loins and find your courage and head unto the literary breach, my friends.

And good luck!

For the 2020/21 Prize there are three tiers of awards: 

  • The WINNER of the 2020/21 Short Story Prize will receive a cash prize of £2000.

  • SHORTLISTED authors will each be awarded a cash prize of £200.

  • Each LONGLISTED author will receive £50 of bookshop vouchers, plus a 4-book subscription to Galley Beggar Press.

  • Entry costs £10 per story.

  • Max Words 6000

  • Closes September 30

The winner will be selected from this year’s submissions of original, unpublished short stories with LGBT content on the broad theme of “Saints and Sinners. Top stories will be published in an anthology from Bold Strokes Books.

  • Prize $500 and publication

  • Max Word 7000

  • Entry $20

  • Closes October 1

Entries can be on any theme or subject but must be original and written in English.

  • Prizes: £1000 first, £300 second, £100 third, two £30 commended

  • Max Words 3000

  • Entry: 1 x story £9,00, 2 x stories, £15.00, 3 x stories £18.00

  • Closes October 11

The winning writer will receive £500 and all 10 shortlisted authors will be featured in an ebook anthology which will be published by Comma Press and sold online.

  • Prize £500

  • Entry Free

  • Max Words 6000

  • Closes October 23

The contest is open to new, emerging, and established writers.

  • Winner Publication and $500 cash award. Plus, ten copies of the book. Prizes are awarded on publication.

  • Entry $15

  • Max Words Full Manuscript: 16 - 36 pages

  • Closes October 31

Each year a question or quote exploring Franklin’s relevance in our time is open for interpretation. The competition is exclusively for young writers, aged 18-25.

  • First prize of £750.

  • Second prize of £500.

  • Entry Free

  • Winning entries will be published on our website.

  • Max Words 1000 - 1500

  • Closes October 31

Original, unpublished short stories.

The winner will have the opportunity to attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and have their work published on CBC Books.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction. Regional winners each receive £2,500 and the opportunity to be published online by Granta magazine, and the overall winner receives £5,000. As well as English, stories are accepted in the Bengali, Chinese, French, Greek, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Tamil and Turkish languages. Translated entries from any language into English are also eligible. If the winning story is a translation, the translator receives additional prize money.

  • Entry Free

  • Max Words 2000 - 5000

  • Closes 1 November 2020

Awarding one of the richest purses among literary magazines, the John Steinbeck Award for Fiction recognizes exceptional works of fiction. Aesthetically, open to most styles and approaches, including experimental and literary. All works should be stand-alone short stories, not chapters of a longer work.

  • Prize $1000

  • Max Words 5,000

  • Entry $20.

  • Closes November 1

The contest accepts entries from these four categories:

  • FICTION: 3,000 words maximum

  • CREATIVE NONFICTION: 2,500 words maximum

  • May submit memoir, personal essay, and commentary

  • FLASH PROSE: 750 words maximum

POETRY: 3–5 pages maximum

No theme required.

Each category will have one first-place winner who will

  • Prize $250 cash and publication

  • Closes December 1

Supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation, and named after the late Neilma Gantner, this prize seeks excellent short fiction themed around the notion of ‘travel’; imaginative, creative and literary interpretations are strongly encouraged. This competition is open to all writers, nationally and internationally, at any stage of their writing career.

  • Max Words 3000

  • Prize $5000 first prize and be published in Overland’s first print issue for 2021. Two runners-up will each receive $750 and be published at Overland online to coincide with the release of the first print issue for 2021.

  • Closes November 16

  • Entry fee: $12 for subscribers and $20 for non-subscribers.

To enter, submit either:

  • 10 poems, up to 50 lines each; or

  • 2 short stories, up to 5,000 words each; or

  • up to the first 10,000 words of your novel (to the nearest sensible cut off point).

Individual poems or stories may have been published online or in magazines, provided the writer retains copyright.

  • Prize Publication by Cinnamon Press.

  • Entry £16

  • Closes October 31

For those who feel some trepidation or uncertainty or are lacking confidence and need some guidance on how to write a short story, you're welcome to follow my 3-part instructive blogposts.

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