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Here is my picture of Jane Austen’s tiny writing desk at the Jane Austen House Museum at Chawton to inspire you.

Unagented writers yet to publish a full-length work could receive £1,500 an Arvon Course and mentoring in Spread the Word’s Life Writing Prize 2020. Send up to 5,000 words which may be a complete work or the beginning of a longer piece. In addition to the first prize, two highly commended writers will receive £500 and a mentor. The competition is free to enter, and the closing date February 3rd. Details: http://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/projects/life-writing-prize/   (Please refer to entry rules, since this writing must reflect ‘someone’s own life journey or references…and is not fiction.’)

Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition for a 2,00-word story. Free entry, but you must register on http://www.writersandartists.co.uk Prize: Arvon residential writing course worth £1,000, plus publication. Deadline 13 February. Details: http://www.writersand-artists.co.uk/competitions

Spotlight First Novel Competition for a one-page synopsis plus the first page of an unpublished novel. Prize: mentoring package and website showcase. Entry fee: £16. Closing date: 14 February. Details: http://www.adventuresinfiction.co.uk

National Flash Fiction Day Micro-fiction Competition Story: up to three unpublished flashes of 100 words. Deadline 15 February. Entry fee: £2; £3.75 for two; £5.25 for three. Prizes: £100; £50; £25. Details: http://www.nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/index.php/competition

CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition, for stories up to 3,500 word, fitting Margery Allingham’s definition of a mystery story*. Prizes: £500, two passes to CrimeFest. Entry Fee: £12. Closing date: 29 February. Details: http://www.thecwa.co.uk/ShortStory/rules.html (*Note: “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.”)

CWA Debut Dagger Award for crime novels. Submit 3,000 words, plus 1,000 word synopsis. Prizes: £500. Entry fee: £36. Closing date: 29 February. Details: http://www.thecwa.co.uk

Exeter Writers Short Story Competition. 3,000 words. Entry fee: £7. Prizes: £700; £250; £100, plus £100 prize for writers in Devon. Details: http://www.exeterwriters.org.uk/p/competitions.html

Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition for stories up to 2,000 words. Entry fee: £10. Prizes: £1,000; £500; £250; Deadline: 28 February. Details: http://www.storyawards.org

Fiction Factory Short Story Competition, maximum 3,000 words. (No children’s/YA stories) Entry fee: £6 (with optional critique £10). Prizes: £150; £50; £25; publication. Deadline 28 February. Details: fiction-factory.biz

Fish Flash Fiction Prize, maximum 300 words. Entry fee: 14 Euros for one; 8 Euros for subsequent entries. Prizes: 1,000 Euros; 300 Euros; online writing course; publication. Deadline 28 February. Details: http://www.fishpublishing.com/flash-fiction-contest.

Flash 500 Short Story Competition, 1,000-3,000 words. Prizes: £500; £200; £100. Entry fee: £7 for one story, £12 for two; £16 for three; £20 for four, plus optional critiques. Deadline: 28 February. Details: http://www.flash500.com

Kelpies Prizes for Writing and Illustration – Novel for children. Send the first five chapters plus synopsis: 11000-3000 words using a given sentence start. Writers must be Scottish and aged 18+. Prize: £1,000; mentoring; publishing contract with Floris Books; writing retreat or Picture Hooks 2020 Conference ticket.Deadline: 28 February. Details: discoverkelpies.co.uk

Please remember to check all details before entry in case we’ve misinterpreted or misread anything.

There’s plenty of potential here to let those imaginations run free – and I thought the Margery Allingham definition really helpful for almost all kinds of fiction writing…