I’ve always been fascinated by doorways, wondering what or who lies through them. Old ones can really get my imagination seething… So why not hunt one down that fires YOUR imagination? Write a story. Open a door for your reader…

Val Wood Prize for Creative Writing 2018. To celebrate 100 years since women won the right to vote this year’s competition is entitled: Women’s Writes. Open to all genders over 16 years of age, entries should be in the form of a short story, with entrants free to write about whatever they wish, but each story must feature a strong female protaganist. The winner will receive £100 and their entry will be published on their website and shared via various social media outlets. The runner-up will receive £50 and there will be two commendations of £25. Max. word count is 1,500 and the deadline 15 September. Details: http://www.valeriewood.co.uk




Do you live in London? London Short Story Prize. Win a first prize of £1,000 in the annual competition from London writer development agency Spread the Word, which is designed to publish the best new stories coming from the capital. They are looking for unpublished stories up to 5,000 words and the winner will not only receive £1,000, but also have a meeting with an agent. Two runners-up will each receive £250 and a meeting with an editor. Highly commended entries will be published in the London Short Story Anthology 2018. Entry is £8 per story. Deadline 17 September. Details http://www.spreadtheword.org.uk

Mere Literary Festival Write in the Week timed Flash Fiction Competition. On a theme to be announced in 14 September, deadline 22 September. Prizes: £60, £30, £15. Entry fee £2, with £1 for each subsequent. Details: info@merelitfest.co.uk

Hammond House International Literary Prizes 2018, run by the University Centre, Grimsby, are open for entries on the theme: ‘precious‘. The 2018 Short Story Competition is for fiction between 2,00 and 5,000 words. The first prize is £500 and there are second and third prizes of £100 and £50. The top 25 entries will be published. The entry fee is £10. The 2018 Screenplay Competition is for ten-minute screenplays. The winner will receive £25 and their screenplay will be professionally produced and submitted to the Aesthetica film festival. Entry fee £10. The 2018 Poetry Prize is for a single poem, with prizes of £100, £50 and £25. Entry fee is £10 for each poem. Deadline is: 31 September. Details: http://www.hammondhousepublishing.com

Erewash Writers’ Open Short Story, for short stories up to 2,500 words. Prizes: £100, £70, £30. Entry fee: £3, £5 for two, £2.50 thereafter. Deadline 27 September. Details: erewashwriterscomps@hotmail.co.uk

The Imison Award for original radio plays by writers new to radio. Prizes: £2,000. Entry fee: £30. Deadline 29 September. Details: http://www.societyofauthors.org/imison-award

Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize 2018 for stories up to 6,000 words. Prizes: £1,000, or a year’s editorial support. Entry fee: £10. Deadline 28 September. Details: info@galleybeggar.co.uk

Bedford International Writing Competition for stories up to 3,000 words, and poems up to 40 lines, on any theme. Prizes: £300, £150, £100 in each category. Entry fee: £6, £12 for three. Deadline 30 September. Details: http://www.bedfordwritingcompetition.co.uk

Manchester Fiction Prize for short stories up to 2,500 words. Prizes: £10,000. Entry fee: £17.50 Deadline 14 September. (PLEASE NOTE: ON CHECKING THIS TODAY, I FIND THE DEADLINE HAS BEEN CHANGED FROM 29 SEPTEMBER!)  Details http://www.manchesterwritingcompetition.co.uk/fiction

Caterpillar Story for Children Prize. Short stories up to 2,000 words for children aged 7-11. Prizes: 500 Euros, plus a two-week stay at The Moth retreat; 300 Euros; 200 Euros. Entry fee: 12 Euros. Closing date 30 September. Details: enquiries@thecaterpillarmagazine.com

Chorley & District Writers’ Circle Annual Short Story Competition, for stories on the theme of natural justice. Prizes: £100, £50, £30. Entry fee: £5. Deadline 30 September. Details: http://www.chorleywriters.org.uk

Grindstone Literary Services Novel Prize for an opening chapter, maximum 3,000 words. Entry fee £20. Prizes: £1,000; £100; publication. Discount on Curtis Brown online writing course. Deadline 28 September. Details http://www.grindstoneliterary.com/competitions.

The 2019 International Beverly Prize for Literature is for an original, unpublished manuscript of fiction, non-fiction, drama, memoir or criticism. The winner will receive £500 and publication with Eyewear Publishing. The entry fee is £20 and the closing date 15 September. Website: https://store.eyewearpublishing.com/

My apologies for being a bit late with this list – blame editing fever. As always, I rely on you double-checking any competitions you’re interested in, since terms and conditions, or entry dates, can change at the last minute. See my note above, on the Manchester Fiction Prize. 

All that remains is for me to urge you to give something a try. And to remember Samuel Beckett’s famous words:

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.