University of Sunderland in Association with Waterstones Short Story Award

“A short story is the ultimate close-up magic trick – a couple of thousand words to take you around the universe or break your heart.” – Neil Gaiman

Short Story Poster v2 (1)


The University of Sunderland are proud to launch their inaugural Sunderland Short Story Award in association with Waterstones. We’re looking for exceptional short stories that challenge the form and the reader. Prizes include £500 for the winner of the adults category and for all short-listed work will be judged by literary agent Susan Yearwood who is ‘looking forward to reading the entries for this exciting competition and to find new writers for SYLA.’ Work will also be considered by publisher Unthank Books for their Unthology series. New and experienced writers are welcome to submit to one of our 2 categories. The prize-ceremony will take place at Waterstones in Sunderland as part of the Sunderland English and Creative Writing festival. Thanks to ShortStops for letting us share news of our competition – we’re so excited to read all the entries. If you have any questions, please get in touch either here or via email – You can also sign up to our Facebook page for extra details, free short stories along the journey to our deadline and some writing advice!


Open for submissions: 25th January 2016
Deadline: 1st June 2016
Longlist: July 2016
Shortlist: September 2016

Adults: 1st prize £500 2nd prize £125 3rd prize £75
(17 and over) In addition to the prize money, all shortlisted entries will be read by London agent Susan Yearwood and publisher Unthank Books Outstanding work may be considered for Unthank’s unthology series.

Under 17s: 1st prize £200 2nd prize £75 3rd prize £30
(11-16) Winning entries will be published in a small pamphlet with non-profit copies available in the local Watersones.

The award ceremony will be held at the Sunderland Waterstones in late Oct /early Nov to coincide with the Sunderland Literature and Creative Writing Festival

Entry fee
Adults (over 17): £3
Under 16s: free
Please pay your fee here via our online store

Rules for entry
Adults: 2500 words (max), any theme. Multiple submissions welcomed!
Under 16s: 1500 words, any theme
All work must be emailed to by the deadline together with receipt of your fee payment, if applicable.