International Short Story Competitions

Annually the Munster Literature Centre, publishers of Southword Journal, hosts two international short story competitions: the Séan Ó Faoláin Prize for a single short story and the Frank O’Connor Award for a collection of short stories.


TheWriterSM The deadline for submissions for the 2014 Séan Ó Faoláin Competition is 31 July, and is open to any unpublished work of short fiction in the English language. Winners will be published in a journal which has previously showcased Haruki Murakami, Colm Tóibín, Patrick Galvin, Richard Ford and Tania Hershman amongst many other respected literary figures. The winner of the first prize will receive €2,000 (approx $2760/£1640), publication in the literary journal Southword, AND a week-long residency at Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat. Second Prize is €500 and publication in Southword. Four other shortlisted entries will be selected for publication in Southword and receive a publication fee of €120. *Currency exchange amounts via, calculated April 2014.

The Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition is an annual short story competition dedicated to one of Ireland’s most accomplished story writers and theorists. If the winner comes to Cork to collect their prize, we will lavish them with hotel accommodation, meals, drinks and VIP access to the literary stars at the Cork International Short Story Festival (16 – 20 September 2014). This year’s judge is Joyce Russell, author of Bloodlines (Mercier Press) and was winner of the 2006 Seán Ó Faoláin Competition. More information, including submission guidelines, may be found on our website or via our Facebook page.


EPSON scanner ImageThe Munster Literature Centre is pleased to announce the SHORTLIST for the 2014 Frank O’Connor international Short Story Award (in alphabetical order by author surname below):

Young Skins by Colin Barrett (IRE)
All the Rage by A.L. Kennedy (UK)
Redeployment by Phil Klay (USA)
Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus (USA)
Bark by Lori Moore (USA)
The Isle of Youth by Laura Van Den Berg (USA)

This year’s judges are Matthew Sweeney (IRE), Alison MacLeod (UK/CAN) and Manuel Gonzales (USA). The longlist, published Monday 9 June, is also available to view.

The Cork City – Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award is an annual award of €25,000 and is currently the world’s richest prize for a short story collection. The award is in memory of the late Frank O’Connor, one of the world’s most renowned short story writers. The award, organised by the Munster Literature Centre and funded by Cork City Council, is presented in O’Connor’s hometown of Cork, Ireland, at the end of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival. The prize is awarded to the author of the book judged to be the best collection of stories published in English for the first time anywhere in the world in the twelve months between a first publication date of between July 1st of the prior year and June 30th of the current year. If a translated book wins, the purse is shared equally between the author and translator. More information, including submission guidelines, may be found on our website or via our Facebook page.


Writing Maps: May Contest and Box of Maps

Writing Maps Box SetWriting Maps, the illustrated posters with writing inspiration and story ideas, launches its 3rd monthly Writing Contest. The May contest coincides with the launch of the Writing Maps Box Set, and this month’s two winners will receive the box set, along with publication in A3, a new fold-out literary magazine to be published every six months. The first issue will appear in September 2014.

The challenge is to write a 150-word piece in response to the Prompt of the Month.  May’s Writing Maps Writing Contest opens 17 May 2014. Deadline is: 24 May 2014. Yes, we’re the quickest contest in town! Click here to visit the site for submission guidelines and the May prompt.

April’s prompt was inspired by the new Write Up Your Street: A Neighbourhood Writing Map. The prompt was: Write about something someone told you about your neighbourhood: a rumour, an urban myth, an event, a local hero/villain, a landmark or a building that’s no longer there. Tell the story in their voice or your own, or the voice of a fictional narrator. The winning entries were: Mark Bicton’s “Grave Robbers” and Francesca Brooks’ “I Came to Find You”.

Two Exciting New Story Competitions From Kingston University

1. Kingston Writing School Hilary Mantel International Short Story Competition

The twice Man Booker Prize winning author, Hilary Mantel, will be judge for this major new competition.

First Prize £3000 and two Runners Up Prizes of £500

5000 words maximum.

2. Kingston University Press Bonnie Greer Stories to Read Aloud Competition

Alongside the international short story competition, Kingston University Press are launching a competition for Kingston residents and workers, and writers associated with the university and the Writing School. The competition will celebrate stories that work when read aloud as well as on the page. The award-winning writer, critic and Chancellor of Kingston University, Bonnie Greer, will pick the winner from shortlisted writers reading out their work.

First Prize £1000 and two Runners Up Prizes of £250

2000 Words maximum

Both competitions are open for entries from May 1 to June 30.

Winning stories and shortlisted stories will be published in two competition anthologies, and winning writers will have the opportunity to have their work considered for publication by Kingston University Press.

Please visit here to find further details and to submit your stories.

Brittle Star Competition – Now enter online!

The entries to our very first short fiction and poetry competition are coming in thick and fast.

kids passing Brittle StarWe’ve had a number of inquiries from writers wanting to submit online (because their banks no longer issue chequebooks) and we’ve now found a way to do this. With this in mind, we’ve decided to extend the deadline to midnight 21st March. And we’ve put up a funky calendar to help count it down – never mind measuring our lives with coffee spoons, we’re measuring it with thick black numbers on a white background!

To enter online go to and follow the instructions (don’t forget to read the competition rules). You can pay by Paypal or by card.

You’re still more than welcome to enter by post; all you need to do is download the competition entry form, fill it in, add your work and send it off to us.

And remember, subscribers get their second entry free – so subscribe today! A huge Thank You from Brittle Star and lots of Good Luck to everyone who enters.

The Brighton Prize

Brighton prize
The Brighton Prize is a new annual short story prize run by Rattle Tales, Brighton’s interactive live literature night. They are looking for fresh interesting new writing that will keep the attention of a live audience and get them talking. The short stories must be between 1000 and 2000 words long and there is no restriction on subject or genre.

The Brighton Prize began with the aim of finding exciting, challenging new writers and to bring their work to the Brighton stage. The first prize is worth £400 and the two runners up are £50 each. The shortlist will be judged by two Brighton based authors. Bethan Roberts, author of The Pools, The Good Plain Cook, and Mother Island (out June 2014) and Laura Lockington, author of The Cornish Affair, Cupboard Love and Stargazy Pie. All three finalists will be invited to read their stories at Rattles Tales’s Brighton Festival Fringe show on May 14th. In addition the top ten shortlist will be offered publication in their anthology. The closing date is 1st April 2014 and the entry fee is £6. Visit for more details.