short story writing competition

Short Story Prize

1st Prize £5,000 | 2nd Prize £1,000 | 3rd Prize £500

10 x £100 for Highly Commended


We welcome your short stories in any fictional genre and on any subject; stories with compelling characters, sparkling dialogue and strong, original voices. We are ready to be amazed by your ideas.

The short story competition is open to writers of any nationality from any country.

Word limit: 5,000 words maximum (no minimum). Title not included.

Entry fee: £10 for each short story submitted. You may enter as many stories as you wish.


What is the judge looking for?

I will be looking for stories that are strongly voiced, and that are not simply undernourished versions of authorial restraint. I would like to read stories with some humour in them. I do not mean comedy, although I do not rule out comic stories - would welcome them, in fact. If the stories address real world matters, so much the better. If they simultaneously take some risks, bend genres and contain even a glimmer of humour that would be yet better. 

I am hoping for stories that bring together character, theme, setting and whatever other craft element in actual scenes, rather than simply long meditations and pretty sentences. I also like pretty sentences. I thirst for characters that are unpredictable, surprising, maybe even loathsome, or perhaps entirely endearing. I crave, above all, stories written with urgency and earth shattering emotional honesty. The ring of truth, that’s it, that’s my bottom line”.
Monica Ali, 2018 Short Story Judge
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We know writers usually have multiple draft versions of their work. Please double check you have the correct version of your short story ready to upload. You won’t be able to substitute work once it has been submitted.

Postal Entry


1st £5,000
2nd £1,000
3rd £500

10 x £100 for Highly Commended

“Winning the Bridport has been a delight and an honour. Venerable and international, it is the prize writers long to win.  But I almost didn’t enter. ‘Cut Loose’, which emerged from the memory of a creaky little room at the top of a shed in Denver, a room seen once but never forgotten, was a story I thought readers might find too strange and uncomfortable. I dithered, then submitted it just hours before the deadline in May.

"On prize giving day, which was a glorious occasion, I spoke to contest readers,  judges, administrators... and was struck by how much care and rigour goes into the process of selection and how committed the prize is to supporting writers. The first prize win was tremendously affirming."

Wendy Brandmark (UK) winner, Short Story competition 2016

Judge 2018

Monica Ali

“I will be looking for stories that are strongly voiced, and that are not simply undernourished versions of authorial restraint."

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