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Writing competitions and opportunities – September 2020

Writing competitions

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

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.

ASF Translation Awards

The American-Scandinavian Foundation awards prizes for outstanding translations of poetry, fiction, drama, or literary prose originally written by a Scandinavian author in a Nordic language. Translations must be in English and no longer than 50 pages if prose and 25 if poetry. 

The Coniston Prize

The annual, Coniston Prize recognises exceptional poems written by women. The judge is poet, Ada Limón, author of five books including The Carrying which won a National Books Critics Award. Submit three to six unpublished poems that are cohesive. They may, for example, be connected by imagery, style, subject matter, theme and/or voice. 

FishFood Magazine Short Story Contest

FishFood Magazine is an independent literary and arts publication featuring all forms of creative expression and talent. The magazine is accepting submissions for its first short story contest. Enter stories of up to 1,000 words on any theme. 

La Piccioletta Barca Arts Competition

La Piccioletta Barca is an arts magazine that aims to capture the essence of human thought. Its inaugural arts competition seekss works inspired the ‘antimatter’ mind map created by the editors. Writers can submit a piece of prose (fiction or non fiction) of up to 5,000 words or up to five poems (up to 300 lines in total). 

La Piccioletta Barca’s competition is also open to submissions of photography, visual art projects and musical pieces or a combination. The competition has an eclectic judging panel encompassing editors, a publisher, artist and translator.

National Centre for Writing Emerging Translator Mentorships

Founded in 2010, the Emerging Translator Mentorship programme aims to develop new literary translators with a focus on languages whose literature is currently under-represented in English translation.

Emerging translators are matched to experienced translators for a six-month period during which they will work on a practical translation project, developing craft through progress on the chosen text(s). View the languages included in this year’s programme here. The emerging translator need not live in the UK

To apply, submit a one-page project proposal, sample translation of up to 2,000 words of prose or 100 lines of poetry/dramatic text with the source text, covering letter and CV.

BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Competition

The BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Competition is a platform for emerging screenwriters to showcase their work and invites a variety of submissions each year. Applications are currently open for the TV Comedy category and are open to British citizens or writers who have been resident in the UK for over five years. 

To enter, you will need to submit a ten-page extract of your script as well as a supporting materials document which includes a short synopsis, treatment/outline, character breakdown, episode guide/storyline/sketch ideas and an introduction to your extract which sets the scene. 

Barthelme Prize for Short Prose

Gulf Coast, the literature and fine arts journal, is inviting entries of short prose for the Barthelme Prize. Submit up to three, unpublished pieces of prose poetry, flash fiction or a micro essay of up to 500 words. 

The Moth Nature Writing Prize

The Moth Nature Writing Prize encourages and celebrates the art of nature writing. Submit original, unpublished pieces of prose fiction, non fiction or poetry that captures your relationship with the natural world in up to 4,000 words.

The judge of this inaugural prize is Richard Mabey, a pioneering voice in contemporary nature writing. 

Robert Watson Literary Prize

The Greensboro Review is inviting submissions of short stories of up to 7,500 words and poetry of up to five pages into the Robert Watson Literary Prize. 

Manchester Writing Competition

The prestigious, Manchester Writing Competition is open for submissions of short stories (up to 2,500 words) and poetry (up to three to five poems covering no more than 120 lines). 

Mslexia Fiction and Memoir Competitions

Mslexia’s latest round of competitions is open to a variety of fiction and memoir pieces from writers who identify as women of any nationality. Enter flash fiction of up to 300 words, short stories of up to 3,000 words or up to 5,000 words of a manuscript for the children’s/young adult or memoir and life writing categories. 

Fractured Lit Micro Prize

Fractured, the online flash fiction magazine, is inviting entries into its latest Micro Prize. Submit up to three stories of up to 400 words that have not yet been published. 

Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2020

Submit up to 45 lines of poetry into Coffee-House Poetry’s latest Troubadour International Poetry Prize. Entries must be previously unpublished. 

Boulevard Nonficton Contest for Emerging Writers 

Boulevard magazine is inviting entries from emerging writers into its nonfiction contest. Submit works of up to 8,000 words. The judges are especially interested in pieces that are researched and/or reported as literary journalism or hybrid essays. 

C21 Drama Series Script Competition

The sixth C21 Drama Series Script Competition aims to uncover contemporary dramas. The judges are looking for post-2020 drama series scripts that will have international appeal. 

The writers of 21 shortlisted scripts will be chosen to present their work to the global drama business at Content London 2020 (which may be digital). The audience is set to include key commissioners from digital platforms including Amazon, Netflix and Hulu as well as broadcasters from ABC, BBC, C4, YLE and ZDF. Six scripts will be selected as finalists and then a winner chosen. 

Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize

The prestigious, Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize welcomes fiction of up to 6,000 words. The publisher’s directors will be joined by three judges this year including bookseller, writer and publisher Sam Fisher; the literary critic and editor, Catherine Taylor; and the acclaimed short story writer and novelist, Eley Williams. 

The Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award 

The autumn edition of The Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award is open for stories of between 1,500 and 10,000 words that involve any paranormal or supernatural theme as well as magic realism. The judges are looking for fine writing, fresh perspectives and supernatural surprises. 

The Lascaux Prizes

The Lascaux Review is inviting submissions of creative nonfiction and short stories into its latest competitions. Creative nonfiction may include memoirs, chronicles, personal essays, humorous perspectives, literary journalism based on anything the writer has witnessed, experienced, learned, or discovered. Short stories can be up to 10,000 words in any genre or style. Entries will be judged by the journal’s editors.

ScreenCraft TV Pilot Screenwriting Competition

The latest ScreenCraft competition is committed to finding great TV Pilots with a panel of top entertainment industry professionals. You can enter one-hour, half-hour, and short form pilots.

Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest

The 18th annual Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest, run by Winning Writers, is open to poems of up to 250 lines across two categories. 

The Tom Howard Contest is open to poems in any style and genre while the Margaret Reid Contest seeks poems that rhyme or have a traditional style. 

That’s it for this month but do join us on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter below to make sure you don’t miss out on new opportunities. 

Our weekly, inspirational newsletter comes out every Monday, helping you to get each week started with a creative boost.

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If you are running a great competition or are creating a wonderful opportunity for writers in the near future, do get in touch with us here. We publish the best every month on Lightbox Originals and promote even more on social media.

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