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Thought for the day: you are NEVER going to thrill anybody with that novel unless you first put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, and either begin the book itself or exercise your writing muscles with a short story.

New Voices Competition for the first page of a novel plus a one-page synopsis by a new writer. Prize: mentoring package worth £750. Entry fee: £10. Closing date: 14 September. Details: http://www.adventuresinfiction.co.uk

Moth Nature Writing Prize for poetry, fiction or non-fiction exploring the writer’s relationship with the natural world. Prizes: 1,000 Euros and a week at the Moth Retreat. Entry fee: £15. Closing date: 15 September. Details: http://www.themothmagazine.com

The Manchester Prize for a portfolio of poetry (3-5, maximum 120 lines); short stories up to 2,500 words. Prizes: £10,000. Deadline 18 September. Details: http://www.2.mmu.ac.uk/writingcompetition/ (PLEASE NOTE THAT WHILE THESE DETAILS CAME FROM THE WRITING MAGAZINE COMPETITIONS GUIDE 2021, WE COULD NOT FIND CURRENT CONFIRMATION ON-LINE – SO PLEASE MAKE YOUR OWN CHECKS BEFORE ENTERING)

Val Wood Prize for short stories (up to 1,500 words) on the theme of ‘Now and Then’, featuring changes that have made the world a better place for individuals and communities. Prizes: £100, £50, 2 x £25, web publication. FREE ENTRY. Closing date 21 September. Details http://www.valeriewood.co.uk

Hammond House International Literary Prize for songwriting (lyrics and performed song), short stories (1,000-5,000 words), poems up to 40 lines and scripts, up to 10 pages for the theatre, radio or television, all on the theme of Stardust. Songwriting entry fee £10. Prize £100. Poetry entry fee £10, prizes £500, £50, £20, Short story entry fee £10. Prizes £1,000, £100, £50. Scriptwriting entry fee £10. Prize £250.

Mslexia Women’s Fiction Awards for Short Story, Flash Fiction, Novel, Monologue. Prizes: £10,000 prize pot. Novel winners and finalists go on to be published at the highest level. Winners and three finalists of both the Short Story and Flash Fiction categories will be published in Mslexia magazine. Novel entry is for unpublished novel by writer who has not previously published a novel. Entry fee: £12 for the Short Story, £6 for the Flash Fiction, £25 for the Novel. Closing date 20 September. Check full details: http://www.mslexia.co.uk

Ovacome Short Story Award, for stories up to 2,000 words on the theme ‘Connected’. Prizes: £500, £250, £50 Waterstones voucher. Entry fee: £5. Details: http://www.ovacome.org.uk

Galley Beggar Press Short Story Award for stories up to 6,000 words. Prizes: £2,00, £200 for shortlist. Entry fee: £10. Closing date: 30 September. Details: http://galleybeggar.co.uk

The Short Story Competition for stories between 1,000-5,000 words. Prizes: £500, £100. Entry fee: £8. Closing date: 30 September. Details: http://www.theshortstory.net

Crowvus Christmas Ghost Story for ‘spooky’ stories up to 4,000 words. Prizes: £100, £75, £50. Entry fee: £3, £5 for two. Closing date: 30 September. Details: http://www.crowvus.com/competition

Please, please double-check any entries before pressing that final button, just in case I’ve got something wrong or there have been last-minute changes to things like entry dates.

Postscript: winning a writing competition CAN get you published or be given an award and/or a cheque for your efforts. More than one member of ninevoices have succeeded in doing these things, so why not you?

Ninevoices Beta-reader, Skipper, insists that you have a go…