Flash fiction competitions whose stories are included in FUEL
Bath Flash Fiction Award hosts two international flash fiction writing competitions; the Bath Flash Fiction Award, and the Bath Novella-in-Flash Award. The Flash Fiction Award has a 300-word limit and there are three rounds per year: March to June, July to October, and November to February. In addition to winning cash prizes, entrants have the opportunity to appear in our print and digital anthology collections, and also as single author novellas-in-flash. Our books are published by the award-winning small press Ad Hoc Fiction, and are available to buy from their own independent bookshop as well as worldwide from Amazon.
The Blue Frog is Flash Frog’s annual flash fiction prize. Each year the contest features a different theme based on what type of stories they wish they’d seen more of in the queue. The Blue Frog also has a different Guest Judge each year and awards a total of $700 in prize money as well as signed books and original art.
The Bridport Prize Flash Fiction Prize alumni includes Kit de Waal who won twice, returned as a judge and recently mentored our black writer residency. We run a bursary scheme for free entries to our international writing competition with no proof of income required. We want to discover new writers in Flash Fiction as well as Memoir, Novel, Short Story and Poetry. We are open to anyone writing in English from anywhere in the world. Now more than ever, words matter.
The Bristol Short Story Prize is an annual international competition based in Bristol, UK which is now in its 15th year. The competition is open to all writers and accepts submissions on any theme or subject and although there is a maximum word count, there is no minimum, and flash fictions often make it into the longlist and beyond. BSSP publishes an anthology every year which contains the top three prize winning stories plus the 17 other stories which were selected for the competition’s shortlist.
Cranked Anvil was established in 2012 and, since 2019, has been publishing short stories and flash fiction online and in print anthologies. They run various writing competitions; their flash fiction competition runs quarterly, and is open for submissions all year round. They also provide resources, exercises and advice for writers.
The Edinburgh Award for Flash Fiction is an annual £2,000 prize for writers worldwide and stories on any topic up to 250 words, run by the Scottish Arts Trust, alongside the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition.
The Federation of Scottish Writers flash fiction competition runs annually as part of a wider competition (there are five categories: open poetry, open short story, flash fiction, Scots and Scottish Gaelic) and the current word limit for flash fiction entries is 500 words.
The Fish Flash Fiction Prize is probably one of the shorter flash prizes, with its 300 word maximum. Originally the idea was to fit each flash on one page, and we called it the Fish One-Page Prize. They are quick (if not always easy) to read, and to be SO surprised, taken aback, shaken-up and entertained by so many of them made it all fun. And the Fish Anthology benefited from having them alongside the stories that could drift up to 5,000 words. I love all the forms in which we receive flashes, the joke, the twist, the mystery, the hanging cliff, the poem, and the rest of them. I love it when you get to the end and the meaning slowly washes over you and you have to read it again to confirm that yes, all of that was hidden in the text and like a truffle had just enough showing or smelling so that you got it subliminally. Magic!
Flash 500 started life in 2010 as a quarterly competition purely for writers of flash fiction. We believed then (and still do) that, because of how hard it is to encompass a complete story in so few words, flash fiction is one of the hardest forms in which to achieve success. Over the years the site has grown and now includes annual short story and novel categories.
FlashBack Fiction is an online journal dedicated to historical flash fiction, prose poetry and hybrid work. We decided to start this project after multiple conversations about where to find great historical flash fiction, and where to submit our own work. Our aim is to collect and celebrate shortform work — both traditional and experimental — that in some way engages with the historical. What ‘historical’ means we’re leaving up to our writers and readers; we look forward to the conversation. Flashback Fiction runs occasional competitions for themed flash fiction.
Flashbang was a flash fiction contest masterminded by Sarah Hilary to promote CrimeFest (an annual crime fiction convention held in Bristol). Contestants had to tell a compelling crime story in no more than 150 words. It ran from 2012 to 2017.
The Flash Fiction Festival celebrates the short-short-story worldwide, with both an in-person festival held annually in July and regular online festival days. Several flash fiction competitions are run during the festival.
The Forge Literary Magazine is a passionate group of diverse, international writers. We share editorial duties, pay our contributors, and our tastes are wide-ranging and eclectic. We don’t believe money should be a barrier to access, so our flash contest (and our magazine) offers free submissions. Literary excellence is our only criteria. We believe in prompt responses, even for contests. We open on September 1st and publish the winning fiction and nonfiction pieces in November. The staff works together on an initial read, adding favourites to a longlist. Our editors reread and create a shortlist which goes back to our hardworking readers, who vote again. We’re a non-profit organisation, are all volunteers, and we love what we do. forgelitmag.com
Globe Soup run a variety of flash fiction competitions throughout the year. Some contests are designed to test particular writing skills and techniques, some feature unusual or challenging prompts, while others are completely open and a great way for writers to put their best short fiction forward in the hopes of winning a cash prize and seeing their story published on the Globe Soup website.
The Gloucestershire Writers’ Network was founded in the early 1990’s by Roger Drury and Jamila Gavin, author of award-winning children’s novel, Coram Boy, following an approach from Cheltenham Literature Festival to Gloucestershire Libraries Service to find ways of engaging with local authors and to extend the benefit of the Festival across Gloucestershire. The GWN ran a programme of workshops and readings, produced bi-monthly newsletters and collections of writers’ work, Gloucestershire Writes, which were loaned through the library service to the public. The Gloucestershire Writers’ Network competition event at the Literature Festival soon followed and has been a principal feature of the GWN’s work ever since. Over the years, many local writers have benefited from the links created by the GWN and from winning the competition—which has categories for poetry and prose—in developing their careers.
Hysteria is the annual women’s writing competition, originally run by the Hysterectomy Association (which closed in 2019). It features three categories: short stories, poetry and flash fiction, with differing word limits each year. 2023 will be the competition’s tenth year.
Gary Kaill and Hannah Clark founded Lunate while studying for their MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Writing School in 2019. They aimed to provide a new journal for writers who shared their taste for smart, well structured, creatively ambitious literature. Although Lunate no longer publishes Flash Fiction, the Lunate500 competition was a fabulous opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the genre with a series of talented judges who each helped shape the competition and made it something very special.
Mslexia is an award-winning magazine supported by Arts Council England. Its mission is to help women express themselves and get their writing noticed: in print, online and in performance. Mslexia was granted charitable status in 2019 in recognition of its work to fulfil this mission. Flash fiction was added as a new category to Mslexia’s annual writing competitions in 2016.
The first National Flash Fiction Day in the UK took place in 2012. Founded by Calum Kerr to promote flash fiction worldwide, it has taken place annually since then and is now directed by Ingrid Jendrzejewski and Diane Simmons. As part of the celebrations, the first Micro Fiction Competition in 2012 asked for unthemed flash fictions of 100 words or fewer and received hundreds of entries. The competition continues to thrive and receives entries from around the globe. It now awards cash prizes for First, Second and Third places, as well as seven Highly Commended. You can read all the winners since its inception on our website:
The New Flash Fiction Review was founded in 2014 by Meg Pokrass as a journal dedicated to the love of short but powerful writing. While the journal has fiction in the title, it’s never been too concerned with the lines between fiction and non-fiction, and in 2020 the journal added the Micro Life feature where CNF is included with Flash Fiction. NFFR has published stories in a variety of ways including special features or themes dedicated to topics like: Triptychs, Horoscopes, Holiday Noir, Love Stories, and others. In 2018, the journal hosted its first contest, at that time named the Anton Chekhov Prize. In 2021, the contest was renamed to the New Flash Fiction Prize. The contest offers the fun of having a guest editor, getting to celebrate writing in ways beyond publication, reading anonymously (which the editors enjoyed so much they added it to regular submissions as well) and the contest helps support journal expenses. The prize issues have included some of NFFR’s most memorable work.
The award-winning Northern Short Story Festival (NSSF) is the North’s only festival dedicated to celebrating and championing the short story. “NoShoSto” started in 2016, and was the brainchild of then Festival Director SJ Bradley. We aim to bring the best in short story writing to Leeds, to celebrate the many brilliant writers already in the region, and support the excellent independent presses which do great work nationwide. Our motto is “affordable, accessible, representative, locally run.” We are part of the Leeds Big Bookend and are funded by arts@leeds (2018-22) at Leeds City Council. Our Academy scheme is further supported by the Walter Swan Trust. We’ve had 3 Flash Fiction slams since 2016. They are always brilliant fun and bring out the competitive and performance spirit in the writers who take part. The audience love it too as they get to cheer on their favourite writers!
The Oxford Flash Fiction Prize is a new international competition with a mission to discover The Greats in flash fiction from all around the world. It inspires and develops writing talent by providing motivation, opportunity for all, and international recognition. Oxford has inspired some of the greatest creative writers and poets in the world, and we’re here to expand its legacy into flash fiction. Founded in Oxford in 2021 as a Community Interest Company, the Oxford Flash Fiction Prize is dedicated to encouraging new voices from all backgrounds by finding new approaches to how competitions are run. We are committed to proactively tackling social inequalities and barriers, celebrating flash fiction, and encouraging new voices. Competitions have the power to inspire, encourage, and elevate writers wherever they are on their journey.
The QuietManDave Prize celebrates short-form writing and the life of someone who loved to experience new places, art and events and write about them. The Prize was established in memory of Dave Murray, who entertained and informed many through his quietmandave blog, and is organised by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Writing and Theatre schools. Dave embraced writing relatively late in life but did so with a passion, and the Prize seeks to enable and promote new writing, offering awards and runner-up prizes for Flash Fiction and Flash Non-Fiction. The QuietManDave Prize has been supported through the generosity of family and friends of Dave.
The Reflex Fiction Flash Fiction Competition was a quarterly international flash fiction competition for stories between 180 and 360 words run by independent publisher, Reflex Press, until 2022.
Retreat West has been running flash fiction competitions for 10 years. In that time, it has published hundreds of stories online and in the anthologies from the annual Retreat West Prize. It also hosts weekly flash writing sessions, Friday Flashing, on Zoom; provides online and email flash fiction courses; and generally loves all things flash fiction!
Shoreline of Infinity is based in Edinburgh, Scotland and we publish an award winning science fiction magazine, featuring stories, poems, art and non-fiction. It’s a print and digital publication, released 4 times a year, and we have readers and contributors from all over the world. Every summer we announce a flash fiction competition for our readers, and the top three stories are published in the winter issue, and the winning story is read by a professional actor at a live and online event. The competition is themed – this year’s was: my Pet. Next year’s? Wait and see!
Small Wonder Festival is a festival dedicated to short-form writing. Held annually at Charleston in East Sussex, the festival often holds a flash fiction slam.
SmokeLong Quarterly was established in 2003 by Dave Clapper. Past editors-in-chief have been Randall Brown and Tara Laskowski. The current editor-in-chief is Christopher Allen. We are dedicated to bringing the best flash narratives to the web quarterly, whether written by widely published authors or those new to the craft. The term “smoke-long” comes anecdotally from the Chinese, who noted that reading a piece of flash takes about the same length of time as smoking a cigarette. SmokeLong Quarterly does not condone smoking, but we do enthusiastically condone reading flash when you have a few minutes. SmokeLong runs a two biennial competitions: the SmokeLong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction (The Smokey) for stories up to 1000 words, and SmokeLong’s Grand Micro Contest (The Mikey), for microfiction up to 400 words.
The Strands International Flash Fiction Competition is a competition for stories between 300 and 1000 words that is run six times a year by Strands, an independent group of artists and writers from across the world.
WritersandArtists.co.uk is the go-to resource for writers and illustrators. As the online extension of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, you can register for free and gain access to hundreds of expert advice articles and inspirational author interviews, a lively online community, events and editorial services for every stage of your creative journey. We offer varied writing competitions that are free to enter and we have a yearly bursary scheme and encourage all writers to apply for an event or editing service. We’ve ran successful flash fiction contests and our annual short story competition and the Working-Class Writers’ Prize are yearly staples.
Each month, Writers Forum magazine helps thousands of new and aspiring writers to achieve their dreams. It’s packed with up-to-date market information, advice from experts in the publishing industry and inspiring stories and tips from fellow authors and writers. We also feature interactive reader workshops in fiction and poetry so you can see at first hand how to improve and successfully target your own writing.Our monthly writing contests for fiction, poems and flash writing are world-famous, awarding cash and prizes each issue, plus publication in the magazine. The flash fiction competition has a different theme each month.
Writers’ HQ has been helping writers finish their stories since 2012. What started as two friends making time and space to write has grown into the most word-slinging, tea-drinking, story-writing, biscuit-dunking, procrastination-busting, support-giving writing community around, with thousands of writers getting their words onto paper and into the world. The Writers’ HQ Flash Quarterly Competition and From LGBTQ+ WIth Love Contest published over 30 beautiful pieces of flash fiction from around the world. WHQ is also the home of Flash Face Off – a weekly flash fiction incubator that has produced hundreds of published and prize-winning stories from the Writers’ HQ community.