November 2018’s best writing competitions


November is here. It’s a month when a lot of writing happens, thanks to NaNoWriMo. Whether you write novels, short stories, poetry or scripts, there are lots of great opportunities this month to give your work a boost.

We’ve brought together November’s best competitions and opportunities, open to writers based in the UK and internationally in a handy list below. You’ll find details of prizes, requirements, entry fees (some are free) and deadlines so you can decide which are the ones for you. Good luck!


National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

If you’re a novel writer, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and this could be a great incentive to get those words down. Will you join in and write 50,000 words in 30 days? It’s free to take part although you can make a donation or buy writing goodies if you want to support the work of this not-for-profit organisation that inspires writers around the world.

You’ll get access to a handy word-count tracker, regular tips/inspiration and will be surrounded by a community of people who could help to spur you on. Details here.

John Steinbeck Award for Fiction

The John Steinbeck Award for Fiction will recognise an exceptional short story with a prize of $1,000USD. To be eligible, submissions must be 5,000 words or fewer. The reading fee is $20 which includes a free copy of the latest edition of Reed Magazine. The deadline is 1st November. Contest submissions not selected for final judging may still be considered for publication in the magazine. Details here.

Gabriele Rico Challenge for Creative Nonfiction

Reed Magazine is looking for stand alone works of creative nonfiction such as personal essays or narratives but not scholarly papers or book reviews. All works should be stand-alone essays, not chapters of longer works. The editors will read all submissions of up to 5,000 words and the winner will be awarded $1,333USD. The fee is $20 and the deadline is 1st November. Details here.

FC2 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest

Submit a collection of short stories, one or more novellas, or a novel of any length to Fiction Collective Two’s Innovative Fiction Contest to be in with a chance of winning the top prize of $1,500 and publication by FC2, an imprint of the University of Alabama Press. Entries should be previously unpublished. There is a $25 submission fee. Entries close on 1st November. Details here.

Commonwealth Short Story Prize

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words) in English. Translated entries are also eligible. This prestigious competition aims to bring stories from new and emerging voices, often from countries with little or no publishing infrastructure, to the attention of an international audience.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is open to citizens of the Commonwealth countries across five regions: Africa; Asia; Canada and Europe; Caribbean and Pacific. Regional winners will receive £2,500 and the overall winner £5,000. It’s free to enter. The deadline is 1st November. Details here.

Caroline Aherne Comedy Bursary

This £5,000 bursary has been launched in the memory of the late Caroline Aherne and is designed to assist the development of an up-and-coming comic talent (writer/performer). You could get guidance from an experienced BBC commissioning editor and access to comedy training sessions with BBC Writersroom. If you can invent characters that make people laugh out loud and tease an audience to come back for more, this opportunity could be perfect for you. If you’re successful, you’ll get to perform at the Salford Sitcom Showcase in 2019. It’s free to submit and the deadline is 5th November. Details here.

Frontier Poetry Competition

As part of its international pursuit to recognise talented poets, Frontier Poetry wants to celebrate an outstanding piece of poetry with a $5,000USD reward. Ten finalists will also receive $100 each. All winners will be published by Frontier Poetry. It costs $20 to enter by 15th November. Details here.

Aeon Award Short Fiction Contest

Albedo One, a science fiction, fantasy and horror magazine is once again running the International Aeon Award Short Fiction Contest with a grand prize of €1,000. There’ll also be €200 for second place and €100 for third. The top three entries will be published in the magazine. You can submit short stories of up to 10,000 words in any speculative fiction genre – fantasy, science fiction, horror, anything in-between or unclassifiable. It costs €8.50 to enter and the deadline is 30th November. Details here.

Everything with Words Urban YA Competition

Independent children’s book publisher, Everything with Words, is on the hunt for a debut novel set in a multi-cultural British city. To be eligible, you must be living in the UK and your unpublished novel must be your first for a young adult audience. Your novel can be between 40,000 and 70,000 words. The winner will receive £1,000 and may also get a publishing contract. Submissions close on 30th November. There is no entry fee. Details here.

Fish Publishing Short Story Prize

Fish Publishing is inviting fiction of up to 5,000 words for its annual Short Story Prize. First prize is €3,000 plus a five-day, short-story workshop at the West Cork Literary Festival; second prize is a week’s stay at an Anam Cara Writers’ Retreat, third prize is €300 and each author getting an honourable mention will receive €200. All winners will be published in the 2019 Fish Anthology. It costs €20 to enter and you can also pay extra for a critique of your story. Submit by 30th November. Details here.

InkTears Short Story Contest

InkTears is back with another great, short story contest. Entries must be between 1,000 and 3,500 words, may be on any theme and it’s fine if your story has already been published elsewhere. The winner will be awarded £1,000. Each runner up will receive £100 and highly commended authors will get £25. You can enter from anywhere in the world but there’s a bonus prize of $250 for the best entry from a US writer. The fee is £7.50. Enter by 30th November. Details here.

ServiceScape Short Story Award

If you’re a short story writer looking for a fresh audience for your work, the ServiceScape Short Story Award could be the competition for you. Enter original, unpublished fiction of up to 5,000 words, in any genre and on any theme. The top prize is $1,000USD and publication online. It’s free to enter by 30th November. Details here.

Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition

The Munster Literature Centre runs the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition which is open to original, unpublished poems of up to 40 lines. Poems entered can be on any subject, in any style, by a writer of any nationality, living anywhere in the world.

The winner will be awarded €1,000; a week’s residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre; four nights’ accommodation and travel expenses (up to €600) to enable you to enjoy the Cork International Poetry Festival (19-23 March 2019) and publication in Southword Journal. Runners up will also receive cash prizes and publication. It costs €5 to enter a single poem, or €20 for a batch of five. All proceeds will enable this not-for-profit organisation to continue its work supporting writers and great writing. The deadline is 30th November. Details here.


That’s it for this month but do join us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss out on the new opportunities we share every week day. 

If you have a great competition or opportunity for writers coming up, do get in touch with us here. We publish the best every month on Literary Lightbox and promote even more on social media.

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    By: Literary Lightbox

    Literary Lightbox, founded by Loretta Milan, publishes great writing inspiration, opportunities and news. We feature New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling authors, emerging and indie authors too.

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