We hope you’ve all had a happy new year and that 2018 is treating you well. 2018 could be a prosperous year, for you have the chance to win the richest literary prize currently offered anywhere on this website.
Yes, the Online Writing Tips Short Fiction Prize is back for 2018, and the deadline has just been announced as midnight on May 31st (GMT). It’s free to enter and international entrants are welcome. There’s no theme, but to get an idea of what we’re looking for, check out the winning story from 2016 and the winning story from 2017. In 2018, first prize will again be a sumptuous £100, with £50 for second place, and £25 for third. All the submission information is available here – good luck!
We hope you’ve all had a great summer and are ready to do some serious writing. After an unprecedentedly profitable first two quarters of 2016, the OWT team were able to spend our vacation touring Greek islands on the Online Writing Tips yacht. The good news is that you too can live like this, by winning the richest literary prize currently offered anywhere on this website.
Yes, the Online Writing Tips Short Fiction Prize is back for 2017, and the deadline has just been announced as midnight on March 15th (GMT). It’s free to enter and international entrants are welcome. There’s no theme, but to get an idea of what we’re looking for, check out the runner up and winning story from 2016. In 2017, first prize will be a sumptuous £100, with £50 for second place, and £25 for third. All the submission information is available here – good luck!
This week’s featured market is an amazing opportunity all the way from Berlin. Don’t worry – you needn’t write in German. This is strictly for English-language stories of 1500-3500 words. The theme is “A Summer Night” and you have until midnight (CET) on May 31st. Best of all, it’s completely free to enter and there are some amazing prizes: first place wins publication in the summer print edition of EXBERLINER, €100, and a goodie bag. Two runners up will each receive publication on the EXBERLINER website, €50, and a goodie bag. And ten finalists will have their stories featured on The Reader Berlin showcase, and have the opportunity to perform their work live at a Reader Sunday Salon event in autumn. Please see here for full rules and submission details. Good luck!
When we launched the Online Writing Tips Short Fiction Competition, we didn’t think much about how we would judge the entries. We didn’t decide in advance on any particular process, and we didn’t discuss the values that would inform our judgements. We wrote in the submissions guidelines that we wanted the stories that would move us – stories that would make us laugh or cry or both. That seemed to pretty much cover it. Had someone pushed us for a further explanation we would probably have mumbled about fairness and objectivity, without realising how problematic – even impossible – those concepts are.
So we’ve made the process up as we’ve gone along, and we’re still unsure about the values that inform it. We’ve moved to a multi-judge system, employing four judges, two of whom read the stories ‘blind’, without access to the authors’ names or cover letters. The stories should stand on their own merit, right? Reputation and previous success – or, in the case of two of the longlisted authors, knowing the competition organisers – shouldn’t make any difference. And we’ve started using a points system: the judges rank the stories in order of preference, and then we add up the scores and put forward the stories with the lowest totals (no, we won’t reveal the scores). Such a quantitative process gives an impression of objectivity, and it stops me and Phil arguing indefinitely, but what if it’s a process that favours safe and competent stories over high-risk works of art? What if a story wins because everyone thought it was pretty good, while the pieces that most thrilled and excited each judge alienated the others? More…
The competition is closed, and the judging begins! Thank you to everyone who has submitted a story for our 2016 short fiction prize. We are thrilled – and a little overwhelmed – by the volume and range of submissions we’ve received. We have almost 150 eligible entries, with entries in almost every genre, sent from every continent – except, we think, Antarctica. It’s already evident that the standard is very high, with entries from a great mix of early-career authors and experienced, prize-winning writers. There is so much talent out there. We have ghost stories and love stories, magic-realism and fantasy, crime fiction and comedy. We have minimalist stories and lyrical stories. We have dirty-realist stories that present a slice of domestic life, and we have stories painted on broad canvases, in which whole societies are in peril.
Alas, we have only three prizes to award, so we apologise that there is no way we can give all entries the recognition that they deserve. Please know how grateful we are that you shared your work, and please remember that with so many strong pieces our choices will inevitably be subjective.
We had originally intended to announce a shortlist of ten stories and to choose the winners from those, but due to the volume of entries we now plan to make our selections in two stages. In the first instance our aim is to narrow the field to a longlist of 30 stories, and this will be announced on Monday 15th February. We will announce authors by their name (or pen name) but, so as not to hinder non-winning entrants’ chances of publishing their stories elsewhere, we will not publish story titles at this stage. Please be patient as we try to choose between so many excellent pieces of writing, and thank you again to everyone who entered. Finally, please look out for details of the 2017 prize submission call!