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Writers' & Artists' Yearbook Short Story Competition

For published and aspiring writers alike - enter our free annual short story competition and be in with a chance of winning a place on one of Arvon's four- or six-day Clockhouse writing retreats, as well as seeing your story published on

To enter, all you have to do is submit a short story (for adults) of no more than 2,000 words. And that's it. Unlike previous years, there's no theme for you to base your story on; all you have to do is make sure you're registered with the website, the subject line of your email reads 'W&A Short Story Competition 2018' and you send it to

The closing date for entries is midnight on Tuesday 13th February, 2018. The winner of the competition - along with two runners-up - will be announced on the blog pages of this site in March 2018.

Don't forget to read the terms and conditions in full (below) before you enter. Please remember to register on before submitting your entry.

Good luck! 

This year's judge

Alysoun Owen is a publisher with over 20 years' experience as a commissioning editor and running her own publishing consultancy business. She has been the Editor of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook and the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook for five years and is a regular speaker on how to get published at literary festivals and writer events.

About Arvon

Arvon run week-long creative writing courses and retreats in countryside locations. Covering a diverse range of genres, from poetry and fiction to screenwriting and comedy, Arvon courses have provided inspiration to thousands of people at all stages of their writing lives. Grants are available to help with course fees. Find out more and book a course online at

Terms and conditions

These are the full terms and conditions for Writers' & Artists' Yearbook Short Story Competition 2018.

1. No purchase necessary, but entrants must be registered on

2. The competition is open to all ages, professions and nationalities, and you don’t have to reside in the UK to enter. 

3. All entries must be original and unpublished.

4. Writers may submit one entry only.

5. Winners will be notified at the email address stated in their entry. Sign-up for our newsletter here if you want to be notified about the winner or check back on You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook, where competition updates will also be posted.

6. Entries must be submitted via email to with the subject heading: "W&A Short Story Competition 2018"

Please include your email address and other contact details in the body of the email. Your entry can appear in the body of the email or as a Word/PDF attachment. As long as it’s clear and easy to read, we have no other formatting requirements.

7. Your entry must be submitted before midnight on Tuesday 13th February, 2018. Entries will not be accepted after this date.

8. By submitting, all entrants thereby grant The Bloomsbury Publishing Group the right to publish their entry on in the event of their work being shortlisted and/or winning the competition.

9. The Bloomsbury Publishing Group cannot accept responsibility for entries which are not received or which are received after the closing date due to technical failure or for any other reason.

10. Winners agree to participate in publicity events in connection with the competition.

11. The Bloomsbury Publishing Group and the winners may enter into agreements which will grant The Bloomsbury Publishing Group the publishing, broadcasting, serial and electronic rights in the shortlisted and winning entries.

12. The Bloomsbury Publishing Group reserves the right to change the rules of this competition without notice.

13. The winners of the competition will be notified in March 2018 and the winning entries published on

14. Prizes must be taken by 31st December 2018 and are subject to availability.

15. Bloomsbury are not responsible for travel costs to and from the writing retreat, so if you live outside of the UK, you will be responsible for your own travel costs. 

16. The winning prize cannot be exchanged for the monetary equivalent. 

17. The decision of the competition judges will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

18. Employees of The Bloomsbury Publishing Group, and members of their immediate family, are excluded from participating in the competition.

19. We may, from time to time, inform you of new books and special offers that we think will be of interest.

20. Please send direct competition queries to Any sent to will not be answered. 

Recent competitions




Retreat West Short Story Competition

Writers & Artists and Retreat West have teamed up for a free writing competition that offers you the chance to win a place on one of Retreat West’s incredible writing retreats. All you have to do is write a short story no longer than 1,000 words!


Writing Competition with Firewords Quarterly

Writers & Artists have joined forces with Firewords Quarterly to offer a free writing competition all based around a beautiful illustration courtesy of artist Maggie Chiang. Click here to find out more [THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED. PLEASE DO NOT ENTER]

Sonnet Writing Competition

On Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A Poets’ Celebration

2016 marks 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare, and to celebrate this important year we’ve come together with The Arden Shakespeare and the Royal Society of Literature to offer an exclusive competition, open to published and aspiring poets alike.



How to enter

On Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A Poets’ Celebration explores how our greatest poet still speaks to today’s foremost contemporary poets in new and surprising ways. With this in mind, we want you to take inspiration from Shakespeare, and pen your very own sonnet in response to a Shakespeare sonnet of your choice.

Please email your entry to The subject line of your email must be “Sonnets competition” in order to be considered, and please mention the name of the sonnet you have been inspired by within the body of your email.

All entrants must register on before submitting your entry.

The closing date is midnight on Monday 31st May, 2016. The winners of the competition will be announced on this site in June 2016.


The first, second and third-placed sonnets will all be published on alongside feedback from our esteemed judge, Ruth Padel. The writer behind the first prize entry will receive a beautiful leather-bound edition of Shakespeare’s Complete Works (RRP £99.99) and free membership to the Royal Society of Literature for a year, entitling them to:

  • Attend RSL events – over 20 each year – free of charge
  • Bring guests to events at a discount
  • Enjoy priority booking to RSL/Man Booker masterclasses with a 50% discount
  • Subscribe free to the bi-annual RSL Review
  • Attend the RSL summer party and AGM
  • Receive the RSL monthly e-newsletter

The winning entry will also have the honour of being published in the Royal Society of Literature Review.

N.B. If the poet of the winning entry does not live in the UK and is unable to take advantage of the benefits of a Royal Society of Literature membership then an alternative prize of £50-worth of Bloomsbury titles will be offered. 

Second and third prize entries will receive a copy of On Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A Poets’ Celebration, edited by Hannah Crawforth and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann and a gift edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

Our judge

Ruth Padel

Ruth Padel is a prize-winning British poet and author with close connections to Greece, music and conservation. Her ninth collection, Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth, on creativity, conflict and the Middle East, was short-listed for the T S Eliot Prize. Her prose works include a novel featuring wildlife in India and a book on tiger conservation. Awards include First Prize in the UK National Poetry Competition, a Cholmondeley Award from The Society of Authors, an Arts Council of England Writers’ Award and a British Council Darwin Now Award. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Member of the Bombay Natural History Society, and Council Member of the Zoological Society of London.


On Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A Poets’ Celebration brings together 30 of the world’s leading contemporary poets, writing in response to Shakespeare’s sonnets. Published in association with the Royal Society of Literature contributing poets include: Andrew Motion, Carol Ann Duffy, Gillian Clarke, Paul Muldoon, Ruth Padel, Simon Armitage, Roger McGough and Jo Shapcott. To purchase On Shakespeare's Sonnets: A Poets' Celebration visit

The Arden Shakespeare is an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. For over a hundred years, it has set the gold standard for editing and publication of Shakespeare’s plays. The list now also contains a broad range of critical studies for students and scholars providing fresh insight into the work and world of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, including the Springboard Shakespeare, Arden Early Modern Drama and Shakespeare Now! series.

The Royal Society of Literature, founded by George IV in 1820, celebrates and nurtures all that is best in British literature, past and present. We organise over twenty events a year; offer prizes, awards and grants to established and emerging writers; run Masterclasses with the Booker Prize Foundation; and manage a Schools Outreach Programme. At the heart of the RSL is its Fellowship, which encompasses the most distinguished authors working in the English language. We aim to build bridges between our Fellows and those who enjoy their work, so that their unique talents are shared as widely as possible. 

Killer Fiction – Crime & Thriller Competition

Crime and thriller writing

Writers & Artists are excited to announce a new competition dedicated exclusively to crime and thriller writing. Whether you have a polished manuscript sitting at home, have just completed your first draft or are only a few thousand words in, we want you to submit up to the first 2,000 words of your page-turner.  This is your chance to get your work in front of a literary agent and receive expert feedback to help you on your journey towards publication.

To enter the competition and be in with the chance of winning our brilliant prizes, all you have to do is enter up to the first 2,000 words of a crime/thriller manuscript (for adults) and email it to with "Killer fiction competition" as the subject line. 

We’re offering you the chance to win a pair of tickets to our upcoming Writing Crime & Thriller Fiction event on Saturday 19th September – with talks from literary agents, bestselling authors and creative writing tutors – the latest edition of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook and a book bundle including all four of Thomas Mogford’s Spike Sanguinetti mysteries, Close Call by Stella Rimington, the W&A Companion Guide to Novel Writing and the W&A Companion Guide to Crime and Thriller Writing. Most importantly, you’ll receive direct feedback from a literary agent on your work. Two runners-up will receive a copy of the W&A Companion Guide to Novel Writing and the W&A Companion Guide to Crime and Thriller Writing.

The closing date is midnight on Friday 31st July 2015. The winners of the competition will be announced on this site in August 2015.

Don't forget to read the full details, terms and conditions (below) before you enter. Please remember to register on before submitting your entry, or it will not be valid.

Good luck! 

This year's competition will be judged by literary agent Diana Beaumont. Diana has recently joined The Agency Group. She started agenting with Rupert Heath Literary Agency in 2011. Prior to this she was a senior commissioning editor at Transworld where she published numerous bestselling authors, after studying English at Oxford.  Diana was chosen as one of The Bookseller’s Rising Stars of 2012. Books she’s represented range from ground-breaking cookbook THE MEATLIQUOR CHRONICLES by Yianni Papoutsis and Scott Collins to Man Booker longlisted THE MARRYING OF CHANI KAUFMAN by Eve Harris. She is actively looking to build her crime list – especially psychological thrillers, thrillers and police procedurals with a strong protagonist and hook. Her clients in this area include Claire McGowan and Angela Clarke.

Writing Historical Fiction Competition


After a record number of entries, our annual Short Story Competition has drawn to a close.  But fear not! The Writers & Artists Team is not one to rest on its laurels!

This time around, we’re giving all writers of historical fiction the opportunity to grab our guest judge, Celia Brayfield, by the lapels. The task is simple...

Clearly evoke the time and place your historical piece is set within no more than 1,000 words.  

That means we don’t just want a title of “Hastings: 1066”. We want to get a sense of the world your protagonist is walking through. What’s happening? How are people dressed? What are they eating? How do they talk?  The winning entry will have succeeded in completely immersing us in their chosen period.

Your entry can be a standalone story or part of a larger piece you’re working on. And it CAN involve fantastical elements if you so wish, though it must still be set in the real world. So long as it’s unpublished and it’s set in the past then you’re eligible to enter.  Entries must be submitted via email to with the subject heading: 'Historical fiction competition'.  Best of luck!

Writing Historical Fiction

Come along to our Writing Historical Fiction Masterclass with Sarah Dunant and Celia Brayfield. Click here to find out more.

Competition deadlines:

Entries must be submitted by midnight (GMT) on Sunday 11th May.

A winner and two runners up will be announced on this website on Tuesday 27th May.


First prize: £150, a pair of tickets to visit Beamish Museum and a copy of Writing Historical Fiction: a Writers & Artists Companion

Runners up: £25 each and a copy of Writing Historical Fiction: a Writers & Artists Companion

At Beamish, the Living Museum of the North,  you can touch, taste, see, hear and smell history – it’s a real sense of your past. 

Flash Fiction competition 2013



Can you write a story in 200 words or less?

To celebrate the continuing rise of the short story and following on from the huge success of last year’s competition, Writers & Artists and Bloomsbury are delighted to announce another Flash Fiction challenge.

For this year’s competition, we’d simply like you to write a story of no more than 200 words based on the theme of ‘alienation’ and/or ‘the quest for belonging’.

And to tie in with this theme, we've asked Roshi Fernando, author of Homesick, to judge all of this year's entries.

The lucky winner will receive not only a bundle of all our short story collections published from this year and 2012, but also two tickets to see George Saunders discussing his new collection Tenth of December

Jon McGregor (IMPAC Award-winning author of Even the Dogs and If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things) will be chairing the event, which takes place on Wednesday 29 May.


1st prize: Bundle of short story collections plus two tickets for George Saunders and Jon McGregor’s event at the Southbank Centre
2nd prize: a signed copy of books by Jon McGregor, D W Wilson & Roshi Fernando
3rd prize: a signed copy of Roshi Fernando’s Homesick

Competition details:


Our competition will run from today and the closing date is before midnight on Monday 25 March. The winner will be announced on Monday 15 April.

To enter, please email your story of no more than 200 words to by Monday 25 March.

The subject line of your email should read ‘FLASH FICTION 2013’.

Travel fiction competition

As the temperature drops and the nights remain dark, we can safely say winter will linger for a while yet. Last summer’s holiday might seem like a distant memory, but reliving it could help you win a fantastic prize!

Thanks to Directline Holidays, we have a Kindle to give away. Perfect if you're a regular globetrotter; the Kindle fits into a pocket and can hold a staggering number of books.

To Enter

Please note that our Travel Fiction Short Story competition is now CLOSED. We are currently considering the entries - the winners and runners-up will be notified by Friday 15th March.

The physical location of your story can have a striking impact on the emotional landscape your characters navigate. The location of your story guides the mood and tone of your writing and can shape your characters' beliefs and behaviour.

We're challenging you to write a short story which brilliantly evokes a location of your choice. We're looking for lush description that amplifies the story, immerses us in another time or place, or renders a familiar location strange. We want to see characters that are wrought in the context of their location and we hope to find a short story with plenty of life, detail and imagination.

The story must be no more than 500 words and entries should be submitted to before midnight on 28 February 2013.


First prize: An Amazon Kindle e-book reader

Second prize: A copy of Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2013

About Directline Holidays

Directline Holidays are an online travel agent, which has been established since 1993, and specialises in package holidays to destinations all over the world including Egypt, Italy and the Caribbean.