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Autumn is a time for reading books by the fire, or on the banks of a lake in a National Trust garden. It is also a time for writers to spend more time writing their own books, poems or short stories.

To whet your appetites, here are a few competitions to enter in October. The list is a little earlier than usual because of several early October deadlines.

Grindstone International Novel Prize for finished and part-finished novels aimed at YA and adult audiences, of any genre. Authors must be unrepresented and not previously traditionally published. Entry fee: £20, with an optional £8 feedback supplement if you wish to receive feedback. Prizes: first, £1,000; runner-up £500; shortlist, 4 x £100. Closing date: 1 October. Details: https://grindstoneliterary.com/novel-prize

The Perito Prize for short stories between 1,000-2,000 words, on the specific themes of inclusion, access, diversity, inclusive design and inclusive environments. Prizes: £500 and publication. Free entry. Deadline 1 October. Details: http://www.weareperito.com/perito-prize.

The Imison Award for original radio plays by writers new to radio. Prizes: £3,000. Free entry. Closing date: 3 October. Details: http://www.societyofauthors.org/imisonaward

London Short Story Prize for stories up to 5,000 words by writers with London postcodes. Prizes: £1,000, 2 x £250. Entry fee: £10. Closing date: 7 October. Details: http://www.spreadtheword.org.uk

Retreat West Micro Fiction Competition for fiction of 100 words exactly, to a prompt posted on the website at the start of each month. Prizes: 50% of total entry fees. Entry fee: £4. Closing date: 8 October. Details: http://www.retreatwest.co.uk

Retreat West Prize: for short stories between 1,500-2,500 words, flash fiction, 150-500 words, and micro flash, up to 150 words. Prizes: £400, £250, £150, £20 each shortlisted for short stories; £350, £200, £100, £15 for flash; £200 #£100, £50, £10 for micro. Entry fee: £10 for short stories, £8 for flash, £5 for micro. Closing date: 31 October. Details: http://www.retreatwest.co.uk

The Bath Flash Fiction competition has a first prize of £1,000 for a piece of short fiction no longer than 300 words. There are second and third prizes of £300 and £100. Two commendations will each receive £30, and up to 50 longlisted authors are offered publication in the annual anthology. One entry costs £7.50; two costs £12, and three, £18. The deadline is 10 October. Details: https://bathflashfictionaward.com/

Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize 2021/2022 is inviting entries, with a £2,000 first prize. The winner receives £2,000 and each shortlisted author gets £200. Longlisted authors receive £50 of bookshop vouchers and a four-book subscription to Galley Beggar Press. Short fiction of any style can be entered, up to 6,000 words. Entry costs £10 per story. Closing date: 10 October. Details: http://www.galleybeggar.co.uk/prize

The Totally Free Best of the Bottom Drawer Global Writing Prize 2021 for “anything at all”, 40-1,000 manuscript pages. Prizes: advance and publication. Free entry. Closing date: 16 October. Details: https://store.eyewearpublishing.com

The current annual Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction has the theme ‘Crime stories’. The competition from Comma Press and The University of Central Lancashire is in honour of writer, lecturer and Comma Press founding board member, Dinesh Allirajah, who died in 2014. The winner will receive £500 and all ten shortlisted stories will be published in a Comma Press anthology. The winning entry will also be published online by Northern Soul. Each writer may enter one story of between 2,000 and 6,000 words. Deadline: 29 October. Details: https://commapress.co.uk/resources/prizes/

The next quarterly Cranked Anvil Short Story Competition is inviting entries, with prizes of £150, £75 and £30, and anthology publication. Stories can be on any theme, up to 1,500 words. Entry is £5 for one and £8 for two. Closing date: 31 October. Details: https://crankedanvil.co.uk/shortstory/

Bedford Competition for short stories up to 3,000 words, poems up to 40 lines, on any theme. Prizes in each category: £1,000, £200, £100. Entry fee: £7.50 or 3 for £15. Closing date: 31 October. Details: http://www.bedfordwritingcompetition.co.uk

Earlyworks Press Short Story, in two categories – up to 4,000 and up to 8,000 words. Prizes: £200; cash and books. Entry fee: £5 for up to 4,000 words; £10 for 4,000 to 8,000 words. Closing date 31 October. Details: http://www.earlyworkspress.co.uk

Fiction Factory Short Story for stories up to 3,000 words. Prizes: £300, £100, and £50. Entry fee: £6. Closing date: 31 October. Details: http://fiction-factory.biz

Flash 500 Novel Opening Chapter & Synopsis Competition. For an opening chapter no longer than 3,000 words, plus synopsis. Prizes: £500, £200. Entry fee: £10, £18 for two, £26 for 3. Closing date: 31 October. Details: http://www.flash500.com

National Flash Fiction Day Novella in Flash Competition. Novellas, 6,000-12,000 words, in individual flash blocks, maximum 1,000 words each. Prizes: £300, £100, £50. Entry fee: £14. Closing date: 31 October. Details: https://nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/index.php/competition/

There should be something for everyone there, so why not try your hand? Please remember to check all details before entry, in case of last-minute changes or cancellations.

(The autumnal photograph was taken last autumn at Sheffield Park, in Sussex)