Writing Competitions

The 2017 Writing Competitions will be announced in January, 2017.


The Best of 2016 is now on sale!

The Best of 2016 anthology of the first place winners and adjudications is now available to purchase for £7.95, including postage and packing. To purchase, please click on the following link:

Buy Now!


The 2016 winners are….



First Place
‘How a Baby is Made’ – Kass Boucher

Second Place
‘Cocktails and Carefree’ – Nicola Porrill

Third Place
‘Fairy Tale’ – Sally Davis

Highly Commended
‘Afterimage’ – Elizabeth Ezra
‘Sestina on Senescence’ – Marion Bond
‘Bethany the Reader’ – Sue Davies


Writing Can Be Murder


First Place
‘Eyes in the Park’ – Bridget Blankley

Second Place
‘An Unsuitable Corpse’ – Maureen Stenning

Third Place
‘Nomad’ – Gill Hollands

Highly Commended
‘Blackall Street’ – Michael Clarke
‘I Had Two Hours to Kill’ – Maya Pleris
‘Small Town, Lost Hours’ – Jenny Gaitskell




First Place
‘Touchstone – A Cancer Diary’ – Susmita Bhattacharya

Second Place
‘The Red Carnation’ – Ann Gorecki

Third Place
‘The Russian Princess’ – Wendy Breckon

Highly Commended
‘The Christmas Cots’ – Jilly Funnell
‘Stage Fright’ – Karen Silverthorne
‘Unacknowledged’ – Elisabeth Clark


Picture Book


First Place
‘Bears Can’t Do Magic’ – Katherine Penman

Second Place
‘The Greatest, Funniest, Happiest, Just a Little Bit Sad, Best Story Ever Told (with Explosions)’ – Sarah Coyle

Third Place
‘Miss Flamingo Does Flamenco’ – Regan Shaw

Highly Commended
‘Circus Granny’ – Kate Poels
‘Grandad’s Home’ – Jo Dearden
‘The Problem with John’ – Zoe Thomas

Funny Fiction


First Place
‘The Toilet of Destiny’ – Robert Brydges

Second Place
‘Lottie Klappers and the Ghoul Guides’ – Emma Green

Third Place
‘Cosmic Girl’ – Stacey Taylor

Highly Commended
‘Witch Out of Water’ – Elizabeth Ezra
‘Ringwald’ – Tim Ellis
‘Blaggard’s (Future Infamy Assured)’ – Katherine Wiseman

Skylark Soaring Stories


First Place
‘Lily Wicked’ – Lindsay McKrell

Second Place
‘Sticky Beaks’ – Ellie Lock

Third Place
‘Dabberlocks’ – Lisa Fryer

Highly Commended
‘The Point-Five Sister’ – Wendy White
‘Gratnell’ – Graine Milner
‘The Silversmith’s Boy’ – Claire Lake

Pitch a TV Drama


First Place
‘One of Their Own’ – Gillian Anton

Second Place
‘Strong & Souter’ – David Evans

Third Place
‘Riding It’ – Sarah Christou

Highly Commended
‘Accountable’ – Maya Hammarsal
‘So You Think You’re a Celebrity Chef’ – Caroline James
‘Team E H’ – L.W. Cloude


Flash Fiction


First Place
‘Earthquake’ – Walburga Appleseed

Second Place
‘Luke and Hannah and Me’ – Elisabeth Clark

Third Place
‘Happily Ever After’ – Stacey Taylor

Highly Commended
‘Dolores Feeds the Birds’ – Jane Foster
‘Big Norman’ – Peter Jennings
‘She’s Dead…Of Course’ – Helen Sandwell


First Three Pages of a Novel


First Place
‘Courier’ – Michael Leese

Second Place
‘A Voyage About My Heart’ – Louise Morrish

Third Place
‘Storm House’ – Mark Hibbett

Highly Commended
‘Seven Centuries of Sin’ – Alison Alexander
‘The Blob is Dead’ – Dany DuBois
‘The Sinful Mile’ – Jacqui Pack
‘Toxic Sea’ – Nicholas Pendriis
‘Whirligig’ – Richard Buxton
‘White Stock’ – Gill Thompson


Short Story


First Place
‘A Prayer to Serendipity’ – Helen Sandwell

Second Place
‘Like a Baer’s Pochard’ – Liz Andersen

Third Place
‘Maggie Breaks Cover’ – Ruth Towler

Highly Commended
‘Lemonade Day’ – Richard Buxton
‘A Fugue of Three Major Miracles’ – Nicola Keller
‘Last Train to Pwlheli’ – Philip Jones

Congratulations to the winners, runners up and to everyone who took part!


If you were unable to attend the Winners Announcement, please contact sara.gangai@winchester.ac.uk, who will arrange to send you your prize and/or certificate. All six in each competition receive a certificate.

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Young Writers’ Poetry Competition, judged by Isabel Rogers, Hampshire Poet 2016

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The theme this year was Wildlife and, as usual, the standard of writing by our young entrants was very high.  Congratulations to our winners, who have been contacted, and will be celebrated at an Awards Tea at the University of Winchester in June.

School Years 1 – 6
1st Place – Alex Hanks, The Elephant
2nd Place – Ellen Halliwell, Otter
3rd Place – Scott Granger, The creature I would like to meet

School Years 7-11
1st Place – Joe Bellion, Pheasant in the Paddock
2nd Place – India-Amethyst Thakrar, Elephants
3rd Place – Harry Smith, Planterra

In addition to the Awards Tea, the young poets will be published in The Best of 2016, an anthology of the first-place winners of the ten writing competitions and first, second and third-place winners of the Young Writers’ Poetry competition in each age group.

The eleven writing competitions are now closed. 
The short list of the remaining ten competitions will be posted on this website at 10:00 on Saturday, 18 June in the Stripe lobby, University of Winchester and shortly afterwards on our website. First, second and third place winners are announced at 18:30 on the same day in the Terrace Bar Lounge, University Centre, University of Winchester; this is open to the public and all are welcome.  The winners will be posted on this page of the website on Sunday 19 June by 11:00 am.

In addition to their prizes, first place winners will be published in the Festival anthology: The Best of 2016.



Entrants are invited to submit poems on any subject up to a maximum of 40 lines for each entry. Single spaced.

1st prize: £125 and The Echo Poetry Trophy
2nd prize: £75
3rd prize: £50

Adjudicator: Joan McGavin, Hampshire Poet 2014-2015

Sponsor: The Southern Daily Echo
Southern Daily Echo





Entrants are invited to submit the first 500 words of a short story or novel with a murder thriller theme.

1st prize: Books to the value of £60
2nd prize: Books to the value of £40
3rd prize: Books to the value of £20

Adjudicator: Lindsay Ashford, Author

Sponsor: P&G Wells Ltd., Booksellers





Entrants are invited to submit a memoir of up to 2500 words.  This may be a self-contained piece, or it may be the first chapter of a full-length memoir. Entrants are reminded that memoir is not the same as fact-based autobiography.  Memoir emphasises story.  It is subjective, distinctive and usually focuses on a specific theme or series of memories or even a single event in order to engage the reader and illuminate an aspect of ourselves.

1st prize: A copy of either the 2016 Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook or the 2016 Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook plus either attendance at one of the Writers’ & Artists’ one-day conferences or one of our popular ‘How to Hook an Agent’ lunches.  Full details at www.writersandartists.co.uk/events
2nd prize: A copy of either the 2016 Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook or the 2016 Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook plus £50 worth of other writing advice books selected from:  www.writersandartists.co.uk/store
3rd prize: A copy of the 2016 Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook AND the 2016 Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook

Adjudicator: Paul Dodgson

Sponsor: Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook

The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, updated and published annually by Bloomsbury, is the perfect guide to all aspects of the media and publishing worlds. It gives invaluable advice on how to prepare a submission and which agents and publishers to approach. Essential reading for all writers of journalism, fiction, non-fiction, poetry and screen plays.

‘The writers’ bible’, Susan Hill
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For readers aged 3-6
Entrants are invited to submit a text of no more than 600 words in prose or verse for children aged 3-6.  Only ONE entry per person allowed.

1st prize: Editorial meeting with the Little Tiger to discuss the winning submission, either in their offices in London or via telephone (travel not provided)
2nd prize: Book prizes
3rd prize: Book prizes

Adjudicators: Editorial Department, Little Tiger Press

Sponsor: Little Tiger Press Group





For readers aged 8-12
Entrants are invited to submit the opening chapter or section (maximum 1000 words) of a humorous work for children and a one-page synopsis of the remainder.

1st prize: Editorial meeting with Stripes Publishing to discuss the winning submission, either in their offices in London or via telephone (travel not provided)
2nd prize: Book prizes
3rd prize: Book prizes

Adjudicators: Editorial Department, Stripes Publishing

Sponsor: Little Tiger Press Group
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A brand-new competition sponsored by Skylark Literary for writers of middle grade and young adult fiction. Skylark are looking for an instantly intriguing concept coupled with a remarkable writing voice – find out more at www.skylark-literary.com.

Entrants are invited to submit the first 2000 words of a work of fiction for readers aged 8-12 OR 12+. Please specify the audience you are writing for and include a one-page synopsis of your story. Please give the word-count of the finished novel if complete. Double-spaced, not previously published.  Adjudications are not offered for this competition.

1st prize: One-to-one consultation with a literary agent at Skylark Literary on story development (based on the sample and synopsis entered) of at least one hour – either in person if the winner can travel easily to London or over the phone if not – plus £75 towards travel expenses (or to be kept by the winner if they don’t need to travel).
2nd prize: One-to-one telephone consultation on sample and synopsis of 30 minutes, plus £50.
3rd prize: One-to-one telephone consultation on sample and synopsis of 20 minutes, plus £25.

Three runners-up: One or two paragraphs of written feedback on their sample and synopsis.

Sponsor and adjudicator: Skylark Literary




Entrants are invited to submit a proposal for a television drama or comedy drama series on a single side of A4 in Times New Roman Size 12 font or similar.  As well as the proposal, the one page should also include the Series Title at the top of the page, and a One Line Pitch of no more than 25 words directly under the Series Title.

All drama or comedy drama genres welcome, but please note that submissions for sitcoms will NOT be considered.

1st prize: Final Draft 9 script and screenwriting software
2nd prize: Final Draft 9 script and screenwriting software
3rd prize: Final Draft 9 script and screenwriting software

Adjudicator: Julian Unthank, Screenwriter and Lecturer

Sponsor: Final Draft, Inc.
Final Draft logo.wpm

For over 20 years, Final Draft, Inc. has published Final Draft® software – the number-one selling screenwriting application in the world. Final Draft software paginates and formats your script to industry standards allowing the story to be the writer’s main focus. We also created the Big Break Contest – an annual screenwriting contest designed to launch careers now in its 15th year. The recently launched Final Draft Writer® and Final Draft Reader® mobile apps for iPad allow you to write, edit, read and annotate FDX files easily anywhere, anytime.



A flash fiction is a short, short story which does much more than its size would suggest. It shows a glimpse which implies a larger story, and every word works its hardest to bring meaning, plot, character and theme alive. In 500 words, send us a flash fiction which will intrigue, excite and entertain, and which will linger in the mind long after reading.

1st prize: Telephone consultation with Janklow & Nesbit to receive a detailed editorial report on the winning entry.
2nd prize: Book prizes
3rd prize: Book prizes

Adjudicator: Writer and Lecturer Carole Burns

Sponsor: Janklow & Nesbit UK





Entrants are invited to send the first three pages (12 pt. double-spaced) of their novel plus a 600 word max.synopsis. Any theme or period.

1st prize: Editorial meeting with Little, Brown to discuss the winning submission, either in their offices in London or via telephone (travel not provided)
2nd prize: Books to the value of £70
3rd prize: Books to the value of £30

Adjudicator: Anna Boatman, Little, Brown Book Group

Sponsor: Little, Brown Book Group
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Entrants are invited to submit quality short stories on any subject, theme or period (no children’s stories).  Length 1500 to 3000 words for each entry. Each entry must be a complete story.  Entries will be judged on their originality and excellent story-telling qualities.

1st Prize: Writing Magazine creative writing course (choose one of nine home study courses – with a value of £150-£180)
2nd Prize: Writing Magazine reading and critique service (choose from a synopsis and the first three chapters of a novel/three short stories OR three pieces of non-fiction. Maximum 9000 words)
3rd Prize: Writing Magazine reading and critique service (choose from a synopsis and the first three chapters of a novel/three short stories OR three pieces of non-fiction. Maximum 9000 words)

Adjudicator: The Chandlers Ford Writers

Sponsor: Writing Magazine




11   YOUNG WRITERS’ POETRY                                                                     

This year’s theme is ‘Wildlife’. Entrants are invited to send poems about wildlife of no more than 30 lines.  You might choose to write about an animal you’d love to meet, or one you hope to avoid. Perhaps you’ve cared for an unusual or endangered species, or maybe the word takes you to a ‘wild’ place… Use your imagination and experiment with words, using sound, shape and meaning to create something new.

Two Categories:  School Years 1–6 and School Years 7-11.

Each of the categories offers prizes of National Book Tokens for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners and a framed certificate.  Prizes will be awarded at an awards tea on 25 June 2016 in Winchester.

Adjudicator:           Isabel Rogers, Hampshire Poet 2016

Sponsors:              Kyoto Kitchen, Winchester and Tesco
Kyoto-Kitchen-logo (2)


Download a Young Writers’ Poetry Competition Flyer and Entry Form


Entry Conditions:  Competition Information, Rules, and Terms and Conditions:

The closing date for all competition entries is Friday, 13th May, 2016. Entries must be received by this date for inclusion in the competition.

Competition fees: £8 per entry, additional £5 per entry for adjudication – NB Skylark Soaring Stories and Young Writers’ Poetry do NOT offer adjudications.

Previous Publication:  All entries must be original, previously unpublished, in English, written by one author, and not have won an award in any previous competition.  Self-published entries are acceptable.

Format:  Entries must be typed, 12pt font, double-spaced (poetry single spaced), with the writer’s pseudonym on the bottom right-hand corner of every page.  Do not include your real name on the manuscript.

Changes to Entries:  Once an entry has been submitted, it cannot be modified in any way.  Please ensure that your entry is in its final form before submitting.

Competition Entry Cancellation:  No refunds can be given for the cancellation of a competition entry.

Copyright:  Copyright of all works submitted for competitions remains with the author.

Number of Entries Allowed: Entrants may submit up to five entries for each competition, except for Picture Book, in which only one entry per person is permitted. Multiple entries to the Picture Book competition by the same person will result in all entries being disqualified.

Festival speakers may not enter the competitions.

Original manuscripts WILL NOT be returned. Please keep a copy of your submission.  If you pay for an adjudication, you will receive your adjudication only either by email or by post by 6 July, 2016.

Judging Decisions:  The decisions of the adjudicators are final and the adjudicators reserve the right to withhold awards if no entry reaches an appropriate standard.

The first place winning entry of each competition will be published in The Best of 2016. Winners must send their unaltered manuscript in electronic format within 10 days following the Festival to Sara.Gangai@winchester.ac.uk. The editor reserves the right to limit the number of words and to correct manuscripts in accordance with the format, house style and quality standard of The Best of 2016.