‘Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,

Or what’s a heaven for?’

Chipping Norton Literary Festival Penny Shorts Short Story Competition. Short story, up to 2,500 words. Longer short story, up to 5,000 words. Entry fee: £5 (short story); £8 (longer short story). Prizes: £500; £100; £50. Plus publication on Penny Shorts. Details: http://www.chiplitfest.com/short-story-competition. Deadline 7 February.

Bath Flash Fiction closes on 11 February. There is a 300 word limit with prizes of: £300; £100; two commendations of £30 each. Entry is £9 for one; £15 for two.50 longlisted entrants will be offered publiction in their 2018 end of year print and digital anthology plus a free print copy.

CWA Debut Dagger are looking for the opening of a crime novel not exceeding 3,000 words, plus a synopsis of 500-1,000 words. The winner receives £500 while all shortlisted entrants get written feedback from the judges on their entries and get exposure to agents with an interest in crime writing. Entry is £36 and you must not have previously had a book published. Deadline 28 February. Details: thecwa.co.uk

The CWA also run the Margery Allingham Short Story Competition to find a story of up to 3,500 words which fits into legendary crime writer Margery’s definition of what makes a great story: ‘The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly, a Crime, A Mystery, an Enquiry and A Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.’ This is open to published and unpublished authors, but the story itself must not have been published previously. Prize is £500, plus two passes to Crimefest 2019. Entry is £12 per story. Deadline again is 28 February. Details: thecwa.co.uk

Nottingham Writers’ Club invites entries from non-professional writers for its National Short Story Competition 2018. They want a story of up to 2,000 words in which a season plays a major part. Entry fee:  £6 for one story, £12 for two and £5 for each of three or more on-line entries. Prizes are: £200; £100 and £50. Details: http://www.nottinghamwritersclub.org.uk

Are your children following in your footsteps? This competition is open to children aged 5-13 only, and is free. BBC Radio 2,500 Words Short Story Competition Flash Fiction max. 500 words. Details: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00rfvkl

Big on Ideas, but Short on Words? THE BIG IDEA COMPETITION is a joint initiative by The Blair Partnership and top UK children’s publisher Chicken House Books. So if you have a great idea, but don’t want to write it yourself, then this could be for you. The aim is ‘to find a great idea which will be written by a well-known children’s author, published by Chicken House Books and potentially developed for television, theatre or other media by The Blair Partnership. If domestic commitments mean you’re short on time, this could be the one for you – and get you noticed in the children’s publishing world. The idea should be presented in no more than 750 words. There is a £1,000 prize for the winner, who will be named on the published book alongside the author and paid an agreed royalty on every copy sold. There are also five runners-up prizes of £1,000 and these entries MAY also be taken up and turned into a book. Entry is free and the closing date 23 February. Details: http://thebigideacompetition.co.uk

Morgen’s Monthly 100-word Competition is for micro-fiction: 100 words exactly, excluding title. Themne: The Outskirts’. Entry is free and prizes consist of online creative writing courses or a full-edit critique. Details: morgenbailey.wordpress.com/100-word-free-monthly-competition

There are also, of course, competitions in Writing Magazine and in Writers’ Forum which are well worth entering. Members of ninevoices have been shortlisted in some of these – so be encouraged to consider submitting something. By clicking on ‘Writing‘ above you can see two stories entered by Tanya which achieved prizes and publication.

Please remember to check all details before entering, guys. Good luck!

The quote is from Robert Browning – and the picture is to remind us that you should always aim to punch above your weight…