Top 10 Short Story Competitions in 2021: A Detailed Guide


For aspiring authors, short story competitions are a golden opportunity. They not only help writers display their talent and originality but also open doors to acknowledgment, publication, and even monetary awards. The year 2021 witnessed an upsurge in such competitions catering to diverse genres and styles. This article aims to be an all-inclusive guide to the most distinguished short story competitions in 2021.

A Snapshot of Short Story Competitions

Short story competitions are literary contests that emphasize brief fictional narratives. They are organized by a variety of entities such as publishing firms, literary magazines, and academic institutions. The guidelines for these competitions vary; some focus on specific genres like science fiction or mystery, while others accept any form of fiction.

The Perks of Participating in Short Story Competitions

Participation in short story competitions bestows numerous advantages. Primarily, it provides a platform for writers to present their work. It also grants the opportunity for writers to receive critical appraisal, which can play a key role in refining their skills. Emerging as winners or even finalists in these competitions can lead to publishing opportunities and cash prizes.

short story competitions

Spotlight on Prominent Short Story Competitions in 2021

The year 2021 saw a rise in short story competitions. Let’s delve into some of the most noteworthy ones:

1. The Bath Short Story Award

The Bath Short Story Award is a global short story competition welcoming entries from all corners of the world. The competition allows stories up to 2200 words across all genres.

2. The Bridport Prize

The Bridport Prize is considered one of the most esteemed short story competitions globally. It accepts stories up to 5000 words and offers substantial cash awards.

3. The Manchester Fiction Prize

The Manchester Fiction Prize is a significant international literary contest open to anyone aged 16 or above. The winner receives a generous cash award.

Strategies for Triumph in Short Story Competitions

Achieving success in short story competitions is not solely about writing prowess; it also demands strategy. Here are some tips for success:

1. Thoroughly Understand the Guidelines

Each competition has its unique set of rules. Understanding these rules thoroughly ensures your entry fulfills all the requirements.

2. Tailor Your Story to the Competition’s Needs

Different competitions seek different themes or genres. Ensure your story aligns with what they’re looking for.

3. Revise and Proofread Your Work

Prior to submission, ensure your work is edited and proofread thoroughly. Simple spelling or grammar errors can result in disqualification.

For more insights, refer to this comprehensive guide to winning Newberry Book Awards.


Short story competitions offer an excellent platform for authors to display their skills, receive feedback, and possibly earn recognition and rewards. With a plethora of competitions held in 2021, there is no dearth of opportunities for writers of all genres and styles. By following the tips provided in this guide, you can enhance your chances of succeeding in these competitions.

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