Monday, 5 July 2010


I've only entered two writing competitions - one, many, many years ago for the first and last page of a novel; and, secondly, this year's Crime Writers' Association's Debut Dagger Award for the first 3000 words of an unpublished crime novel in English.

I finished as an also-ran in both.

Although I did win a prize (Tugs in the Fog, an excellent poetry collection by Catalan poet Joan Margarit) in a competition run by Barcelona, INK (no relation!) and whom, by the way, are actively seeking contributions for the next issue.

When seeking the attention of editors and agents is an unending competition, why volunteer, and pay, for more stress?

Seems the only competitions worthwhile winning - the IMPAC, the Nobel, the Planeta Prize, the Man-Booker, the (U.K.) National Short-Story Prize and the Costa Book Awards, are those you, as a lowly writer, are ineligible to enter on your own behalf.

Having said that, there are a crop of less remunerative competitions, such as the Bridport Prize, and the (U.K.) Forward Poetry Prize which offer winners a certain level of cachet or prestige which could be used to jumpstart, or re-position a writer's career.

The promoters of competitions win far more than the winners - every time, guaranteed.

However, a competition worth winning, and one you may be interested in, is the Provincetown (Cape Cod) Fine Arts Work Center Writing Fellowship program. You can enter on your own behalf and the prize could be considered much more valuable, in terms of creative practice, than any of the big money prizes.

If you scroll down the sidebar you'll see I've opened up another section of links: WRITING COMPETITIONS, it's situated below MARKETS and above POTENTIALLY USEFUL ORGANISATIONS.

I'll add links to writing competition entry guidelines as and when I come across them.
If you know of any competitions you think should be listed please pass on a link.

And, if you're a competition winner, or runner-up, or a serial competition entrant, I'd be very keen to read of your experience. Did winning change your life? Did winning, or simply entering, a competition have any impact on your approach to writing?

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