Entering a writing competition is a great way to get your novel some much needed attention. But not all competitions are created equal. It pays to spend some time searching out the best. Not all prose competitions are worth entering.
The ones I’ve chosen to feature here are a small selection of some of the most prestigious or interesting competitions I’ve come across.
Please be sure to check the websites for more information, submission requirements and deadlines.
Run by Bath Short Story Award and aiming to support and promote writers of novels looking for commercial publication. Win £1,000. *NEW*
Entry Fee: £15
Deadline: 28th February 2014
Submit: first 5,000 words and 1 page synopsis. Check website for full submission details and rules.
They are looking for an original manuscript with broad appeal, strong characters and market potential. Win £500 and two years support to complete your book. Opens on 1st January 2013.
Entry Fee: £20
Deadline: 28th February 2014
Submit: first three chapters, 1 page synopsis plus author biography. Check website for full submission details.
An award for debut novelists to achieve publication with Cinnamon Press plus £400. Four runners up get a full appraisal of their novel, and they sometimes commission other novels from the short-list. Announced in March 2013 (for November entries) and October 2013 (for June entries).
Entry Fee: £16
Deadlines: 30th November 2012 and 30th June 2013
Submit: first 10,000 words double spaced. Check website for full submission details.
Intended to encourage new, unpublished fiction. They are looking for genuine storytellers who entertain with drama, romance and great characters. Your novel must have an urban setting. The competition is held every two years and will next be awarded in 2014. The winner gets £1,000 but there’s no commitment to publication.
Entry Fee: £15
Deadline: 30th September 2013
Submit: first chapter (not more than 5,000 words) and synopsis (not more than 500 words), plus official submission form. Check website for full submission details.
Win expert mentoring from an acclaimed literary writer, a top literary agent and a commissioning editor. They will work with you over a year as you write your novel, your first chapter will be published in the Lightship Anthology, and if the novel turns out good enough, they might publish it.
Entry Fee: £15 (online); £20 (post)
Deadline: 30th June 2013
Submit: first chapter (not more than 5,000 words) and synopsis (not more than 400 words). Please check website for full submission details.
Win a publishing contract with Legend Press plus £2,500. For first time, non-published authors, especially those whose personal or financial circumstances are making it hard for them to focus on writing as a career. Your novel must be completed before entry.
Deadline: open for entries between 1st May and 2nd August 2013.
Submit: 3-4 sample chapters by email, plus 1 page synopsis and a personal statement. Check website for further details.
For first novels, published or unpublished, by writers over the age of 40. Win £4,000. Your novel must be complete before entry.
Deadline: 31st October 2013
Submit: For published novels send 4 copies of the book; for unpublished novels send the first 30 pages. Check website for full submission details.
Open to unpublished women novelists writing in any genre for adult readers. Your novel must be complete before entering and be at least 50,000 words. Next competition due sometime in 2014.
Entry Fee: £25
Deadline: 23rd September 2013.
Submit: first 5,000 words. Check website for full submission details.
Win a share of the £40,000 prize money, plus support to develop your work through the year. You must live in the North East of England to be eligible. There are several categories to choose between depending on whether you have been published previously or not. Due to open late 2013.
Entry Fee: Free
Deadline: 31st January 2014
Submit: up to 3,000 words, short synopsis, plus letter of application. See website for full details.
International writing competition judged by professional writers. The Betty Bolingbroke-Kent Award for novels provides a rare opportunity for aspiring novelists. First prize £1,000; 2nd prize £250; 3rd prize £100. Your entry must not have won or be under consideration in any other competition. Opens on 1st January 2013.
Entry Fee: £11
Deadline: 31st May 2013
Submit: synopsis and opening chapters (up to 15,000 words in total). Check website for full details.
Before entering any competition make sure you check their entry requirements and rules. If I’ve missed any good competitions from this list, please let me know in the comments below…
Please note: This is a list of competitions I have compiled from information available online. I have no connection to any of the companies. Any problems or queries should be directed to the companies concerned.