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Writing competitions and opportunities – October 2020

We’ve brought together October’s best writing competitions, contests and opportunities open to writers of short stories, flash fiction, poetry, novels, memoirs and nonfiction.

All the writing opportunities listed should be open to writers across the UK and most are open internationally too. We share details of prizes, requirements, eligibility, entry fees (some have free entry) and deadlines to help you choose the right ones for you.

Bath Flash Fiction Award

The Bath Flash Fiction Award is open to stories of up to 300 words and offers entrants the opportunity to be published in print and digital anthologies through Ad Hoc Fiction. 

Dream Foundry Short Story Contest

Emerging writers of speculative fiction are invited to enter the Dream Foundry Short Story Contest. Submit a single story of up to 10,000 words. The competition is open internationally and will be judged by Neil Clarke and SL Huang.

Eyelands Book Awards

The international, Eyelands Book Awards are open for submissions of books, short stories and poetry across five categories. This year’s judges are children’s book and graphic novelist, P.H.C. Marchesi, poet Andriana Minou and, novelist and memoirist, Gregory Papadoyiannis.

The Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction

Comma Press and the University of Central Lancashire are once again hosting the annual, Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction. The prize is open to writers based in the UK. Stores should be between 2,000 and 6,000 words and based on this year’s theme which is ‘home’.

Retreat West Short Story Prize

The latest competition from Retreat West, the Short Story Prize, is open to short fiction of between 1,500 and 3,000 words. The judge is award-winning author, Peter Jordan.

VanderMey Nonfiction Prize

Ruminate Magazine’s annual, VanderMey Nonfiction Prize is open to essays and short memoirs of up to 5,500 words. 

F(r)iction Literary Contest 

Submit short stories, flash fiction and poetry into F(r)iction’s autumn contest. The judges, Lev Grossman, Benjamin Woodard, and Rachel Mennies, are looking for pieces with strong narratives that push boundaries, take risks and force traditions and tastes to be questioned.

Short stories can be up to 7,500 words and flash fiction up to 1,000 words. Poetry submissions can include up to five poems of up to three pages each. 

Blue Light Books Prize

Indiana Review’s Blue Light Books Prize is open to poetry collections. Manuscriptions should be between 48 and 75 pages. The judge is Nandi Comer. 

Fishing Line Press Open Chapbook Competition

Fishing Line Press is inviting submissions of chapbook-length poetry submissions. Manuscripts should be between 16 and 38 pages. 

Flash 500 Novel Opening Chapter Competition 

If you have completed a novel with strong, credible characters and a page turning plot, enter it into the Flash 500 Novel Opening Chapter Competition which will be judged by Headline Publishing. Entries must be unpublished and up to 3,000 words.  

Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoetry 

The Ginkgo Prize for Eco Poetry is an international writing competition that is open to poetry of any length and form that engages with the climate crisis and ignites global conscience. The judges are UK Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and Jade Cuttle.

National Poetry Competition 

The Poetry Society’s prestigious, National Poetry Competition is open to unpublished poems of up to 40 lines. The judges are Neil Astley, Jonathan Edwards and Karen McCarthy Woolf.

Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Chapbook/Novelette Contest

Omnidawn runs a variety of competitions throughout each year and its latest, the Fabulist Fiction Chapbook/Novelette Contest, is inviting submissions of magic realism and literary forms of fantasy, science fiction, horror, fable, and myth from writers worldwide. Stories can be primarily realistic, with elements of non-realism, or entirely non-realistic. They may be between 7,500 and 17,500 words. The judge is Molly Gloss.

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