March Deadline Writing Competitions

competitions 677265Taken from this blog’s Competitions page, below are competitions closing next month. Below that are the regularly-held ones and other competition-related sites. I will be adding more to the Competitions page in the next few weeks so that’s always the best place to check but for now this is correct and plenty for you to be getting on with. Do let me know how you get on if you enter any of them (and / or if any of the details are incorrect)…

March deadline writing competitions
  • Children’sAcademy of Children’s WritersCrystal Magazine.
  • Flash FictionIndies Unlimited hosts a weekly 250-word max. prompt competition – see Indies Unlimited. Also see ‘Short stories’ below.
  • Flash Fiction: Weekly challenge on
  • Flash Fiction: Each month the Scottish Book Trust provides a prompt to get you started, but where the <50-word story goes from there is entirely up to you. Their favourite story will be published on their page and the writer will receive a lovely Novel Poster from The Literary Gift Company. You can submit your story in the body of an email or as an attachment and remember to include your full name with your entry. They also welcome entries in Gaelic or Scots.
  • Flash Fiction: Flashbang is now open to entries: Sponsored by CrimeFest. £2 entry fee. 150 words maximum. Deadline 1st March. First prize is two passes to CrimeFest. Shortlisted and winning stories published online. Full details are here.
  • Flash Fiction: Erewash has a free flash fiction competition. Deadline noon (UK time) 21st March. Full details here.
  • Flash Fiction: The Berkhampstead Writing Competition has a 31st March deadline.
  • Flash Fiction: The Flash 500 Fiction Competition, established 2009, is a quarterly open-themed competition for fiction up to 500 words has closing dates of 31st March, 30th June, 30th September and 31st December. Entry fee: £5 for one story, £8 for two stories. Prizes: £300 plus publication in Words with JAM, £100 and £50.
  • Flash Fiction: The NLG Flash Fiction Competition (that I am Head Judge of) is now open – see ‘June’ for full details.
  • Mixed: Winchester Writers’ Conference has opened their 17(!) mixed writing competitions (deadline 24th May). Details in their competitions brochure. £7 per entry if attending, £9 if not.
  • Mixed: Words for the Wounded (W4W) is a new charity that raises money via writing prizes and donations for the rehabilitation of wounded servicemen and women. All proceeds will be passed to projects such as Battle Back, funded by Help for Heroes, which uses sports rehabilitation to help wounded service personnel gain independence and confidence. W4W is launching its first writing prize on Armistice Day, November 11, and is calling for all non-writers, aspiring, and experienced writers to enter. Entries can be up to 400 words, written in poetry or prose, fiction or life story tale. Winners will receive a small cash prize and their entries will be published in the monthly writers’ magazine Writers’ Forum (writers-forum/com). Entry costs £4.50 and the deadline is March 11, winners will be announced on 6 June (D Day). Prizes £250, £100, £50. Oscar-winning screen writer and author Julian Fellowes and his wife Emma are among W4W’s patrons. Julian says: “Emma and I feel strongly that we must never forget the debt we all owe to these brave men and women. We are honoured to be involved in this wonderful charity.” Other patrons include Rt Hon Lord Ashdown, Lt. Col J. Dryburgh, authors Katie Fforde, Katherine McMahon, Louis de Bernieres, Sarah Challis and Mark Hodgson, Daisy Goodwin, paralympian Ann Wild OBE, Taryn Lee QC, artist Rowena Hampton, extreme sportsman  Hugh Williams Preece, Lt Ian Thornson and Founder/Director of the Winchester Writers’ Conference Barbara Large. For more information, see or follow us on Twitter @Words_4_Wounded.
  • Mixed: Christian magazine ‘Pockets‘ has a different theme per month.
  • (shorts & poetry).
  • Mixed (novels & short story collections): iWriteReadRate and Cornerstones Literary Consultancy ( are offering a monthly social competition to members of the community – see ‘Monthly’ towards the end of this page.
  • NovelsNovel Rocket runs an annual Launch Pad Contest: Boosting You Out of the Slush Pile. Entries will be accepted in all genres beginning mid-January. The deadline for submission is different for genre categories according to the following schedule. In each case, entries must be received by 11:59 PM EST on the 10th day of the month (April to September) listed on They also post a new writing-related article seven days a week, from author interviews to marketing discussions to articles about the craft of writing. NB. The entry fee is $45 so give this very careful consideration.
  • Novels: other March-deadline competitions include Dundee International Book Prize and The Next Big Author.
  • PlaywritingWindsor Fringe Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama. and (Verity Bargate Award).
  • Playwriting: Cambridge Theatre Challenge: Would you like to write a one act play for the stage and enter it in a competition where short listed plays are given full performance, judged by the audience, considered for publication and given a written assessment by a publishing company? The winning playwright will also receive a cash prize of £200. Every play will be read in its entirety by a minimum of two judges and entrants will receive two lots of feedback on request, at no extra charge! A shortlist of up to ten plays will be drawn up and posted on the Sky Blue website.  Local actors and a production team will be assembled by professional directors to rehearse the plays for performance at the Junction Theatre in Cambridge early July where the audience will vote for the winner. Closing date for submissions is 30th March. Plays must be submitted on line and full details can be found on our website
  • Poetry: The Writers’ Forum Poetry Competition is a monthly contest for poems of up to 40 lines. Closing: Monthly. Entries arriving too late (after the 15th) for one month go forward to the next. Prizes: 1st: £100. Runners-up: A Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Entry Fee: £5 each, £3 each thereafter. Includes a critique (sae required if entering by post). Comp Page:
  • Poetry: The Flash 500 Humour Verse Competition, established in 2010, welcomes any form of humour verse will be accepted, from a limerick to a poem of 32 lines. This is also a quarterly competition with closing dates of 31st March, 30th June, 30th September and 31st December. Entry fee: £3 for the first poem, £2.50 for each poem thereafter. Prizes: £150 plus publication in Words with JAM, £100 and £50.
  • Poetry: other poetry competitions include Cardiff InternationalFish Prize for PoetryLiterature WalesMAGMichael Marks (pamphlets), Northern Writers’ AwardsWriting Magazine (WM: open to all theme: creative acrostic mini), (Three-in-One),
  • Screenwriting: Canada-based Wildsound run monthly screenwriting competitions.
  • Short stories: The Writers’ Forum Short Story Competition is a monthly no-theme contest for stories between 1,000 and 3,000 words. Closing: Monthly. Entries arriving too late (after the 15th) for one month go forward to the next. Prizes: £350, £150, £100 and publication in Writers’ Forum magazine (and possible anthology). Entry Fee: £3 per story for subscribers, £6 each non-subscribers. £5 extra for a critique (sae required if entering by post). Comp Page:
  • Short stories: Mslexia Women’s Short Story Competition. 1st prize £2,000. Closing date 18th
  • Short stories: Graffiti Magazine Short Story Competition Rules: *For crime stories* 1. Closing date March 16th2. Entries must be in English and be the writer’s own unpublished work. They must not be on offer for publication or entered in any other current competition; 3. Maximum length 1,500 words; 4. Each piece of work, with its title, must be in clear type on one side of A4 sheet(s). Details of the writer must not appear on this sheet; 5. The name and address of the writer and the titles of all entries should be typed on a separate sheet of A4 paper; 6. The prize-winner will be notified by post, if SAE provided, or by email if email address is provided; 7. Entries are only accepted by post. Please keep a copy of your work, as entries will not be returned; 8. The fee is £3 per story. Cheques / Postal Orders in sterling only, should be made payable to ‘Catchword Writing Group’; 9. All entries that arrive on time will be considered by the adjudicator, whose decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into concerning the result; 10. Competitors wishing to be informed of the results should enclose an SAE marked ‘Results’ or provide an email address. Send entries to: Graffiti Magazine Writing Competition, c/o 33 Sandford Leaze, Avening, Glos. GL8 8PB (UK). Prize: £25 The winning entry and up to five of the short listed stories will be published in Graffiti. For more information:
  • Short storiesHayley Sherman runs a monthly short story competition for submissions on any subject up to 2,000 words. The winners are published on the website, promoted online and receive a £10 First Writer voucher. All entrants are also considered for publication in The New Short Story Annual at the end of the year. Deadline 25th of the month. Heather Marie Schuldt runs a similar contest, although 500-750 words max., but with the same deadline.
  • Short storiesThresholds International Short Story Forum Feature Writing Competition. Free to enter, international, max 1500 words, 1st prize £500, closing date 27 March.
  • Short stories: The Bath Short Story Award opened for entries in October. This new international competition welcomes stories of up to 2,200 words on any theme or subject from published or unpublished writers. Prizes are as follows: 1st £500, 2nd £100, 3rd £50, and a local prize of £50. The competition closes March 30th. For further details see
  • Short storiesWriters’ Village runs a quarterly short story competition which attracts entrants worldwide. Click here for the rules… and every entrant receives invaluable critique! Their spring deadline is 31st March.
  • Short stories: The Yellow Room Spring Short Story Competition has a max 1,000 words, any theme, first prize £100, closing date 31 March.
  • Short stories: Stringybark Erotic Short Fiction Award. International, max 1800 words. Closing date 31 March. Find out more about the award here.
  • Short storiesLightship One-page Short Story Competition. Max 300 words. Closing date 31 March.
  • Short stories: Exeter Writers Short Story Competition. The first prize is £500, 2nd and 3rd are £250 and £100. There is also an additional prize of £100 for a writer living in Devon. Stories can be in any genre except for children, they can be up to 3,000 words and the entry fee is £5 per story. The closing date is 31st March.  Rules/entry form: or you can send a stamped self-addressed envelope (SAE) to Competition, 4 Albion Place, Exeter EX4 6LH.
  • Short stories: Short Fiction, The Visual Literary Journal. Annual Short Story Competition
    1st prize £500 plus publication, max 5,000 words. Closing date 31 March.
  • Short storiesThe Moth Magazine Short Story Prize. Judge Martina Evans, 1st prize €1,000 + publication, closing date 31 March.
  • Short stories: One of the UK’s largest and oldest writing groups, West Sussex Writers, is running its second national short story competition. With an open theme, generous word count and final judge, Pam Weaver. West Sussex Writers hopes to attract the cream of the UK’s short story writers. Max 3000 words. Closing date 31 March. 1st prize £200; 2nd prize £75; 3rd prize £50.
  • Short stories: Five Stop Story runs a quarterly short story competition (end March / June / September / December). Membership to the site is £25 but you get to enter up to five stories in each competition. Further details at
  • Short stories: Other March short story competitions include CalderdaleChapter One RomanticDark TalesExeter WritersFish Prize for Flash FictionGlimmer Train (different category each month), Meridian WritingMslexiaNorthern Writers’ AwardsRider HaggardWriting Magazine (WM: open to all open: 750-words max / subscriber-only theme: last line ‘Out she walked with a spring in her step.’), and Wyvern.

St Hilda’s Oxford Crime & Humour Writers Conference Aug 2012 (part 1)

I spent yesterday and today at the St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford 19th (so I’ve missed 18 of them!) Crime Writers’ Conference, this year on the topic of humour in crime writing… crime and humour being my two favourite genres to write and read.

When my editor, Rachel, emailed me the details a few weeks ago I opened the attachment and smiled because not only was it a perfect topic but the final day fell on my 40-something <coughs> birthday I couldn’t resist (I wouldn’t have done anyway).

I had all good intentions of bringing you tonight the notes I created throughout the two days but they have more holes than Emmental so I shall work on them over the next few days and post them when there’s a gap (possibly as a 5a.m. flash after the series of Submission info.s have finished, so next Saturday morning)… which also gives me time to catch up with my 151 emails jumping up and down in my Inbox saying “pick me”.

So, as a taster, here’s the agenda for the weekend…

“Stop, you’re killing me” – humour in Crime Fiction!!

Marcia Talley: Comic Relief Or, What’s So Funny About Murder

Alan Bradley: The Undertaker’s Jest Book Or, I Want Some Red Roses for a Blue Lady

Barry Forshaw: Dark Laughter Hitchcock and his Writers

L.C. Tyler: Mayhem Magna the World of Colin Watson

Natasha Cooper: When You Stop Laughing, It’s Not a Bad Novel

Chris Ewan: Assembling the Team, Some Thoughts on Comic Caper Novels and the Gentleman Thief

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Sacred Cows are for Slaughtering

Val McDermid: What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?

Simon Brett: (After-Dinner Speaker)

Meeting with Sisters in Crime

Peter Lovesey: ‘Amazed Enquiry Sat on her Face’ and Other Embarrassments in Crime Fiction

Gillian Linscott: My Funny Friend the Comic Role of the Side-Kick

Ann Cleeves: Lost in Translation: Does Humour Travel.

As you can see, a great line-up! 🙂


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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.