Have you ever dreamed of having a story or a poem published?
Not only is entering a story or poetry competition a lot of fun, it can also help to improve your writing technique.
Winning or being placed in a literary competition is also a great way to help you build up a respected CV if you want to become a published author or poet one day.
There are a vast number of National and International story and poetry competitions available for you to take part in. Here are a few suggestions for budding writers and poets over 16 years of age.
With categories for short stories, poems, flash fiction (very short stories) and novels, The Bridport Prize is one of the UK’s most respected competitions, with generous cash prizes. The closing date for entries is 31st May 2015. Details at: https://www.bridportprize.org.uk/
The Frome Festival Short Story Competition is for short stories between 1000-2200 words. Closing date is 1st May. Details at: http://www.fromeshortstorycompetition.co.uk/
Prima Magazine are giving you the opportunity to win a writing contract with Mills & Boon! All you need to do is 1,000-word synopsis and an 800-word first chapter of a new Flirty Fiction romantic novel by 31st March 2015. Details at: http://www.prima.co.uk/leisure/tv-and-books/prima-mills-and-boon-writing-competition
The HISSAC Annual Open Short Story Competition is for short stories up to 2500 words long. You could win a cash prize or a writer’s retreat. Closing date is 1st July 2015. Details at: http://www.hissac.co.uk/CompetitionDetails
The Virginia Prize for Fiction is for women over 18, who have written an unpublished novel. The prize is publication by Aurora metro Books. Closing date is 1st Sept 2015. Details at: http://aurorametro.org/Fictionprize.html
The Cinnamon Press Debut Poetry Collection Prize is for those poets who wish to try and get a whole set of poems published. You have to submit 10 poems, each of no more than 40 lines. The prizes include a publishing contract. Closing date is 1st Nov 2015. Details at: http://www.cinnamonpress.com/competitions/debut-poetry-collection-prize/
Remember when you enter any of these competitions to make sure you read all the rules. Check you have understood all the presentation guidelines, that you do not submit an entry that is too long or too short for the competition, and that you have entered the right story or poem to the correct place.
Dr Kathryn Bates is a graduate of archaeology and history. She has excavated across the world as an archaeologist, and tutored medieval history at Leicester University. She joined the administrative team at Oxford Open Learning twelve years ago. Alongside her distance learning work, Dr Bates is a bestselling novelist, and an itinerant creative writing tutor for primary school children.