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The top short story competitions to enter

The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award’s pick of the most interesting upcoming short story competitions to enter up until the end of March

  • The Jane Austen 200 Short Story Competition
    Closing date: 28 February
    This short story competition marks the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death. The winner receives £1,000 (and the runner-up £500) for a story of no more than 2,017 words, responding to this quote from Mansfield Park: “Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.” The award-winning short story writers David Constantine and Claire Fuller will judge the competition.
    Entry fee: £5;

    Neil Gunn Writing Competition 2016-17
    Closing date: 3 March
    The Neil Gunn writing competition was set up in honour of the Scottish writer and critic. It’s looking for stories of no more than 2,500 words on the theme of knowledge, based on quotes taken from two of Gunn’s novels: “Wrong is a difficult word”; and: “Knowledge is high in the head, but the salmon of wisdom swims deep.” The prize money ranges from £500-£200. This year’s judge is the author Michel Faber, a former winner of the Neil Gunn Writing Competition.
    Entry fee: £8;

    The BBC National Short Story Award 2017
    Closing date: 6 March
    This prestigious competition is open to UK writers who have a history of publication in creative writing. It’s looking for entries of up to 8,000 words. The winner is awarded £15,000, with four shortlisted authors each receiving £600. Past winners include David Constantine, Sarah Hall, Lionel Shriver and KJ Orr. The bestselling author Joanna Trollope will chair the judging panel alongside Eimear McBride, Jon McGregor, Sunjeev Sahota and Di Speirs.Entry fee: free;

    Mslexia Women’s Short Story Competition
    Closing date: 20 March
    This competition, now in its ninth year, is open to women of any nationality from any country, and is looking for stories of 300-3,000 words. The top prize is £2,000, plus publication in Mslexia, with runners-up receiving £500, £250 and £100. This year’s judge is the author Deborah Levy. Entry fee: £10;

    The Short Fiction Prize 2017
    Closing date: 31 March
    The visual literary journal Short Fiction is looking for stories of up to 5,000 words on any theme or subject. First prize is £500, with one runner-up getting £100. Entry fee: £7;

    The Writers Bureau Annual Short Story
    Closing date: 31 March
    The Writers Bureau, who run online creative writing courses, are looking for short stories of up to 2,000 words, of any genre. Prizes range from £300-£50 and include a choice of Writers Bureau creative writing courses, worth £350. Entry fee: £5;

    Firstwriter International Short Story Contest
    Closing date: 1 April
    This contest is looking for stories of up to 3,000 words on any subject. The winner gets £200. Entry fee: £6.50;

    The RA & Pin Drop Short Story Award 2017
    Closing date: 23 April
    The award – a collaboration between the arts and culture studio Pin Drop and the Royal Academy of Arts – is open to everyone and free to enter, offering a platform to emerging and established short story writers. The judges are the studio’s founders, Simon Oldfield and Elizabeth Day, and the Royal Academy’s artistic director, Tim Marlow. Maximum word count: 4,000.
    Entry fee: free;