Six short story and poetry competitions that are still open for submissions (2021)

(Updated January 2021)

Looking to hone your craft? These short story and poetry competitions are still open for submissions.

With hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland now looking for a way to occupy themselves during this difficult time, one such way is through writing short stories and brushing off their writing skills.

Many creative people have a penchant for writing and thankfully though we are living in strange times there are still short story competitions and awards that are taking submissions. It’s worth getting your creative hat on.

The Nine Dots Prize 2021 [Jan 18th]

The Nine Dots Prize is a prize for those looking to tackle contemporary societal issues. Entrants are asked to respond to a question in 3,000 words, with the winner receiving $100,000 to write a short book expanding on their ideas.

The question for 2020/21 is: What does it mean to be young in an ageing world?

Find out more about this short story competition here.

The Michael McLaverty Short Story Award [Jan 28th]

This Award is open to those who were born in, or are citizens of, or are a resident in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.

The prize for winning this award is £2,000; with £250 for each of the two runners-up. The winning story will be published with the two runners-up in a limited anthology.

Read all about this award here.

Fiction Factory Flash writing competition [Jan 31st]

All genres will be accepted except Children’s and Young Adult Fiction. No minimum word count but the story must not exceed 1,000 words.

Prizes include £150, £50 and £25 and the winning stories will be published on the Fiction Factory website and in a later anthology.

Find out more here.

The Debut Dagger Award 2021 [Feb 26th]

The submissions for this crime writing competition are judged by a panel of top crime editors and agents, and the shortlisted entries are presented to publishers and agents.

It’s open to anyone who has not had a full-length novel published by a traditional publisher and who at the time of the competition closing has not got a contract with a publisher or literary agent.

The piece must not exceed 3,000 words with a synopsis of up to 1,500 words.

Independently published authors, provided they fulfil the criteria above, are eligible to enter.

Discover how you can enter this competition here.

The CWA Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition 2021 [Feb 26th]

You have plenty of time to enter this competition which will close in February 2021. The international competition is open to all – both published and unpublished authors from all over the world – and is for short stories of up to 3,500 words.

The winner will receive a cash prize of £500 plus two weekend passes to CrimeFest 2021 and a selection of Margery Allingham-related books.

The story must not be previously published anywhere or shortlisted for this competition. Find out more about this short story competition here.

2021 International Rubery Book Award [Mar 31st]

2021 International Rubery Book Award is now open for authors who have self-published or independently published their books.

The winner for “Book of the Year” will receive £1500. There are no limits to the genre and they accept fiction, young adult, children’s, biographies, non-fiction, self-help, cookery, poetry, photography etc.

See how you can enter this competition here.

Looking for other things to browse? Check out our list of top Irish podcasts to listen to here or Irish short films to watch here.

I'm a freelance content creator and a journalist who has a strong desire to do as much as possible in the time I've got left on this planet. I got a taste for storytelling when I interned in Storyful many moons ago and since then have worked for places like WorldIrish (now Irish Central), and Lonely Planet. I am constantly curious.

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