New year, new story! It’s time to dust off those short story ideas and enter some competitions in 2019. These opportunities are a great way to stretch your writing muscles and hone your craft. And who knows – you could win some cash for your words. If you’re looking to develop your skills and get an edge over the competition, check out our Short Story Essentials online course to get insider secrets and feedback from an experienced editor. Happy writing!
Presented by us, the Australian Writers’ Centre, this fun, fast – and best of all – FREE short story challenge blasts off on the first Friday of every month. Anyone in the world aged 17 years and older is able to take part. Not only do you get to try your hand at a new creative challenge each and every month, the winning story takes home $500 in cash!
Opens: 5pm (Sydney/Melbourne time) on the first Friday of the month
Closes: 55 hours later (midnight, Sunday)
Word limit: 500 words
Entry fee: FREE
Prize: The winner takes home AUD$500 each month, and the shortlisted favourites are published on our blog.
Join the Furious Fiction Fan Club to be notified as soon as each challenge goes live.
The Mogford Food and Drink Short Story Prize
This unique competition run by The Mogford Hotels and Restaurants Group is now in its seventh year and welcomes short stories from entrants worldwide, where food and drink is at the heart of the story.
Closes: 7 January 2019
Word limit: 2500 words
Entry fee: £10
Speculative Fiction/Fantasy Showcase
Kill Your Darlings are now accepting submissions for a selection of entertaining short stories that explore the varieties of the speculative fiction/fantasy genre.
Closes: 25 January 2019
Word limit: 2000-3000 words
Entry fee: You must be a KYD member (Memberships begin at AUD$17.50)
Prize: Publication in the Kill Your Darlings magazine. All contributors are paid.
Fiction Factory Short Story Competition
This UK-based competition is open to international entrants and has an open criteria (excluding children and young adult fiction).
Closes: 30 January 2019
Word limit: 3000 words
Entry fee: £6 (£8 including critique)
Prizes: £150 for first prize, £50 for second prize and £25 for third prize.
Nature Writing Prize 2019
Calling all nature writers! Nature Conservancy Australia is delighted to open their fifth biennial prize for essays that explore the relationship and interaction with some aspect of the Australian landscape. Open to Australian citizens and permanent residents.
Closes: 1 February 2019
Word limit: 3000-5000 words
Entry fee: $30
Prize: $5000 awarded to the winner and their essay will be published in Griffith Review.
Stockholm Writers Festival: First Pages Prize
The First Pages Prize is sponsored by The de Groot Foundation in partnership with the Stockholm Writers Festival, and is accepting submissions for the first 5 pages of a longer work of fiction, creative non-fiction or poetry. Open worldwide, the competition is for writers who are currently without an agent, whether previously published or unpublished. (Fun fact: Last year’s winner was an Australian writer, Adam McCulloch!) Entries must be unpublished, original and written in English.
Closes: 3 February 2019
Word limit: 1250 words (first five pages)
Entry fee: USD$25
Prizes: First prize of USD$1000, second prize of USD$750, third prize of USD$500. The first and second place winners will also be awarded a travel stipend to assist in getting to Stockholm Sweden and a Main Festival Pass for the Stockholm Writers Festival event.
Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award
Running for a second year due to its popularity, this competition is an open theme and awards short fiction collections up to 30,000 words in length.
Closes: 3 February 2019
Word limit: 30,000 words
Entry fee: AUD$25 for general submission, AUD$20 for concession submission
Prizes: AUD$3000 for the winner and $1000 each to the two runners up, additionally, all three winners will be digitally published worldwide as part of the Capsule Collections series.
Newcastle Short Story Award
This competition is open entry and open theme. So you’re free to get as creative as you like with your stories.
Closes: 4 February 2019
Word limit: 2000 words
Entry fee: AUD$16.50
Prizes: First prize of AUD$3000, second prize of AUD$1700 and third prize of AUD$1000, plus a range of highly commended cash prizes.
An Axe to Grind
This flash fiction competition is hosted by the Canadian Darling Axe website. Open to everyone and open theme, but only one entry per person.
Closes: 28 February 2019
Word limit: 1000 words or fewer
Entry fee: CAD$5
Prizes: CAD$200 (but all entry fees go towards the prize so this could be subject to growth!)
Architecture of Power Short Story Award
Independent publisher, GoArchitect, has started its first short story writing contest. The theme is ‘Architecture of Power’ and is centred around how our environments play a role in the theatre of current events. Stories may be fiction or non-fiction.
Closes: 28 February 2019
Word limit: 1500 words
Entry fee: US$24.99
Prizes: US$500 for the winner
The Sheila Malady Short Story Competition
Open to people of all ages and nationalities, the Shakespeare on the River group encourages the reimagining of Shakespearean classics with this year’s theme ‘Shakesfeare’.
Closes: 25 March 2019
Word limit: 2000 words
Entry fee: AUD$5
Prize: AUD$300, two tickets to The Taming of the Shrew Community Play and a handcrafted timer quill.
Peter Cowen 600-word Short Story Competition
Open to all ages and themes, writers are invited to submit entries for this short story competition, named after one of Western Australia’s most esteemed writers and academics.
Closes: 29 March 2019
Word limit: 600 words
Entry fee: AUD$10 each entry
Prize: AUD$200 first prize, AUD$100 second prize, AUD$50 third prize. Also AUD$50 for the Novice Writer Award and AUD$50 for Judges’ Encouragement Award for Youth (12-17 years).
Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction 2019
Now in its seventh year, the 2019 Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction is accepting entries of creative, insightful fiction that engage with the theme fragments. The competition is open to all women, female-identifying and non-binary writers.
Closes: 19 April 2019
Word limit: 200 words
Entry fee: AUD$10
Prize: AUD$1000 for first place, $500 for second place and $250 for third place.
Banjo Paterson Writing Awards
There are three categories for this Award: Short stories, contemporary poetry and ABC Central West Radio Children’s Writing Awards. Established in 1991, this Award aims to honour Banjo Paterson, and to foster writing with Australian content.
Closes: 26 April 2019
Word limit: 3000 words (short story), 200 lines (contemporary poetry) and 1000 words for children’s short stories / 30 lines for children’s poetry.
Entry fee: AUD$15 (short story) AUD$15 (contemporary poetry) AUD$5 (children’s award)
Prize: AUD$2000 first prize (short story), AUD$2000 first prize (contemporary poetry), AUD$200 first prize, AUD$100 second and third prize (children’s award)
Bristol Short Story Prize
This British competition is open to people of all nationalities over 16 years of age. Stories can be on any theme or subject and in any style (graphic, verse or genre-based). It’s open to all published and unpublished writers and you may enter as many times as you like.
Closes: 1 May 2019
Word limit: 4000 words
Entry fee: £9 per entry
Prizes: First prize of £1000, second prize £500, third prize £250 and £100 for the 17 other shortlisted writers. The main prize winner will also be published in Bristol 24/7 magazine in November 2019.
ServiceScape Short Story Award
With the freedom to write in any genre and about any theme – it’s a great opportunity for original and unpublished works of fiction and non-fiction. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age, plus it’s free to enter.
Closes: 30 November 2019
Word limit: 5000 words
Entry fee: Free
Prize: USD$1000 and publication on the ServiceScape blog.
Sutherland Shire Environment Centre Award 2019: Writing for the Environment
In honour of its beloved patron, Bob Walshe, the SSEC Board has launched this competition for young writers, to value the role and place of writing in shaping a sustainable world. The competition is open to Australian citizens aged 25 years or younger. The topic for 2019 is ‘Writing to Change the World’ and the Board is seeking fiction or non-fiction pieces that are creative, quirky and clear in purpose and audience.
Closes: 5 June 2019
Word limit: 1000 words
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $1000 for the winning entry
Audrey Daybook 2019 Short Story Prize
Audrey Daybook seeks to foster the art and practise of good old-fashioned story writing. Their inaugural prize will publish a different reader’s short story in each issue and they invite amateur, aspiring and accomplished writers to take part. Fictional stories must be inspired by one of the puzzle names in Audrey Daybook (peruse the current or previous issues, or check out the puzzle names on the website).
Round 1 closes: 6 February 2019
Round 2 closes: 10 April 2019
Round 3 closes: 12 June 2019
Round 4 closes: 7 August 2019
Word limit: 800-1000 words
Submit by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prize: Four stories will be shortlisted and published in Audrey Daybook (March to September issues). At the end of the year the Short Story Prize winner will receive $1000.
Short story competitions will continue to be added to this page throughout 2019.