500-word competition

I’m Writers’ Forum Magazine’s Competitive Edge columnist. If you’ve judged / entered competitions, click here.

*** I run a free monthly 100-word competition
where you can win my online courses or free editing & critique! ***

Exciting news! I am the judge of a new 500-word (maximum) competition run by a yearly literary festival BeaconLit near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. How it works:

  • There is a monthly deadline (see below) for entries, with the top three stories (from three different authors) from each month going through to the following May’s shortlist (of 33 entries), from which a final ten are picked (see ‘Prizes’ below).
  • You can enter as often as you like whenever you like but if you all enter in the final month (May, the eleventh / final round), you’ll have more competition. It doesn’t make any difference which month you enter because you won’t know who else is submitting that month. If you submit in July and you’re not in the top three then you could enter again (with a different story) in August (or any other month). You can enter as often as you like whenever you like. Do enter more than once as it gives you a better chance of going through to the shortlist.
  • If you are unsuccessful, i.e. not in the top three each month, then you still have the story to send elsewhere and you’ll only have to wait until the following month (detailed below) to find out.
  • Once the ten overall winners are announced, only the top two stories will be published so even if you are placed third to tenth, you can still submit your story elsewhere and can tell them you were in the top ten! The same goes if you are in the top 33 shortlist.
  • The results from each round will be announced on this blog and the literary festival’s website / blog with three ‘winners’ from each round going forward to the shortlist (of 33 authors / stories) which will be announced / judged the following June.
  • Entries via the page only. One entry per form.
  • Judge: Morgen Bailey (me!) is the judge for each round and the final shortlist judging. My decision is final. 🙂
  • The top ten placed winners will be announced at the July literary festival, by one of the festival’s celebrity authors. See ‘Prizes’ below.

Deadlines / themes:

  • Round 1: First deadline: 31st July 2017 (theme = July), results announced 16th August
  • Round 2: Second deadline: 31st August (theme = August), results announced 8th September
  • Round 3: Third deadline: 30th September (theme = September), results announced 9th October
  • Round 4: Fourth deadline: 31st October (theme = October), results announced 1st November
  • Round 5: Fifth deadline: 30th November (theme = November), results announced 5th December
  • Round 6: Sixth deadline: 31st December (theme = December), results announced 18th January
  • Round 7: Seventh deadline: 31st January (theme = January), results announced 12th February
  • Round 8: Eighth deadline: 28th/29th February (theme = February), results announced mid-March
  • Round 9: Ninth deadline: 31st March (theme = March), results announced mid-April
  • Round 10: Tenth deadline: 30th April (theme = April), results announced mid-May
  • Round 11: Final (eleventh) deadline: 31st May (theme = May), results announced mid-June
  • The final judging will then take place in June and the ten winners (see ‘Prizes’ below) announced at the literary festival in July.
  • NB. Any stories not written to the relevant month’s theme with be disqualified with no money refunded. The theme can be any interpretation of the word, e.g. April and June could be women’s names or you can pick a festivity that takes place within a particular month, etc.


  • Fee: £2 per entry via PayPal (link on the BeaconLit blog)
  • no limit to number of entries but £2 per entry
  • optional critique at £5 per story

Prizes (there are ten prizes!):

  • First prize: £50 plus free entry to the following year’s literary festival (currently worth £25), plus publication on the festival’s website and blog
  • Second prize: £25 plus free entry to the following year’s literary festival (currently worth £25), plus publication on the festival’s website and blog
  • Eight further prizes of free entry to the following year’s literary festival (currently worth £25 each).


  • previously unpublished stories
  • no minimum word count but no more than 500 words excluding the title. Stories over 500 words will be disqualified without being read
  • the theme is the relevant ‘month’ (i.e. July for July’s deadline)
  • do not submit a future / past month’s entry in the incorrect month (i.e. May’s in July) or they will be disqualified, with no refund given, and you won’t be able to enter it in the correct month
  • no genre restrictions but must be fiction
  • open worldwide but written in English only
  • no age limit
  • Entries via the (one entry per form).
  • Fee: £2 per entry via PayPal (link on the BeaconLit blog)
  • no limit to number of entries but £2 per entry.

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