Roundup of August Writing Competitions

AugustAugust seems to be the time for flash fiction and poetry, though there are a few short fiction competitions to be entered before the month is up.

2015 The Exeter Flash Competition

From CreativeWritingMatters, a competition that squeezes down the envelope for flash fiction further than most with a 250 word limit. Make every one count. This is an international competition.

Word limit: 250 words

Prizes: 1st – £100, 2nd –£50

Entry fee: £4

Closing date: 31st August 2015

The winning stories will be published as part of an anthology and on the CreativeWritingMatters website.

Winners will be announced by the end of September.

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2015

This works out to be one of the more prestigious writing competitions for exposure, Aesthetica Magazine is well respected in the literary and publishing world. They have a category for short stories and a category for poetry. Unusually, they will accept pieces that have been previously published. This is an international competition.

Short Fiction category

Word limit: 2000 words

Prizes: 1st –£500 

Entry fee: £18

Poetry category

Word limit: 40 lines

Prizes: 1st –£500

Entry fee: £18

Closing date: 31st August 2015

The winners in each category will also “receive a selection of books from Vintage and Bloodaxe Books” as well as a one year subscription to Granta Magazine. The winning entries will be published in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology.

Aesthetica have a bizarre system for the entry fee that lists it as £15+VAT and calculates it depending upon the region you apply from. I tried it for both the UK and Ireland and got £3 tax added, then the United States and Australia which added no tax. This doesn’t appear to be either fair or transparent, but I’m no expert. It’s also one of the more expensive entry fees in the competitions I’ve encountered.

Luke Bitmead Writers’ Bursary Competition

This annual writers’ award was set up by Legend Press and the family of Luke Bitmead, the first novelist to be published at legend. The award is intended to help talented, but unpublished writers overcome personal circumstances that might be holding them back. The competition is for adult fiction and while there is nothing in the rules regarding genre, previously published winners all tended towards literary fiction. The bursary is open to international submissions.

Word limit: at least 50,000 words

Prizes: 1st – £2500

Entry fee: £10

Closing date: 1st August

The winner of the bursary prize will also win a publishing contract with Legend Press (who run the contest). The submission needs to be the first 3-4 chapters of the completed manuscript plus a one page synopsis. Additionally a 1-2 page personal statement is needed to inform the judges about the writer and the circumstances that would make the bursary particularly helpful.

‘I is Another’ Short Story Competition

This one from Holland Park Press is for stories of up to 2,000 words inspired by Arthur Rimbaud’s famous declaration, ‘Je est un autre’ (I is another).  To enter you are required to write a story in the first person. They do not accept autobiographical stories, but it should concern a subject close to the writer’s heart. They also state that “it should have a strong theme such as betrayal, sorrow, lust, jealousy or revenge”. It’s free to enter so there are no excuses here. I believe they will accept international entries

Word limit: 2000 words

Prizes: 1st –£200

Entry fee: free to enter

Closing date: 31st August 2015

The winner and runners-up will be published in the Holland Park Press online magazine. The judges will be Paul McVeigh and Laura Del-Rivo.

Hysteria Writing Competition

This annual contest from the Hysterectomy Association has three categories: short stories, flash fiction and poetry.  Entries can be in any genre except horror or erotica.  The promoters say they are not looking for stories or poems about hysterectomy but ones that will appeal to their website visitors who are mostly women aged between about 25 and 65.

Short Story Category

Word limit: 2000 words

Prizes: 1st –£400 

Entry fee: £5

Flash Fiction Category

Word limit: 250 words

Prizes: 1st –£200 

Entry fee: £3

Poetry Category

Word limit: 20 lines

Prizes: 1st –£200 

Entry fee: £3

Closing date: 31st August 2015

The winners and nine runners-up from each category will be published in the Hysteria 4 anthology.

Gemini Magazine Flash Fiction Contest

Gemini Magazine’s website may look like it’s stuck in the 90s, but don’t let that put you off, there’s some gems of short fiction and poetry on there. As I’ve said before some people see 1000 words as a short story rather than flash fiction, but it’s all just words in the end. This is a good competition with a good prize for the fee. Entries can be about any subject and they are open to genre fiction as well. I believe the competition is open Internationally.

Word limit: 1000 words

Prizes: 1st – $1000, 2nd – $100, four runners-up $25

Entry fee: $5

Closing date: 31st August 2015

All Six Finalists Will Be Published Online in the October 2015 Issue of Gemini.

National Literacy Trust Poetry Prize

The National Literacy Trust does so much great work to encourage literacy and promote a love of reading for children and adults in the UK. This competition calls for anyone 16 years or older to submit a short poem inspired by words, reading and literature. They are open to pretty much any form as long as it’s sixteen lines or less. As far as I can tell, this is an international competition.

Word limit: 16 lines

Prizes: 1st – An ipad.

Entry fee: £8

Closing date: 31st August 2015

The competition is run in association with Bloomsbury Publishing.

The winner will also receive £250 worth of Bloomsbury titles and their poem featured in a poster campaign in schools across the UK.

Literary Juice Magazine 2015 Poetry Contest

Literary Juice is a bimonthly online magazine that celebrates fresh and original writing.

The magazine accepts and publishes submissions of all forms of short fiction and poetry year round. It also runs this annual poetry competition. The good bit is that they are open to anything, any form, any genre, with no maximum or minimum number of lines. This is an international competition.

Word limit: words

Prizes: 1st – $150, 2nd – $50

Entry fee: $5 

Closing date: 31st August 2015

The $5 entry fee allows writers to submit up to five poems for consideration. Both the winning poem and the runner-up will be published in Literary Juice.


About Simon Cornish

Always a storyteller, both in words and visually, I have worked as a professional animator, scriptwriter and illustrator for most of my career. I’ve directed commercials, short films and plenty of dubious corporate miscellany. A number of my short films have been shown at festivals and I’ve produced a couple that have won awards. I have also created illustrations for industry magazines and children’s publications. Wanting to explore my writing in more depth I undertook an MA in Professional Writing at Falmouth University, graduating in 2011, and have been working on script and prose writing since.

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