SWC Annual Open Short Story Competition 2020

First prize: £150      Second prize: £80     Third prize: £30

Closing date: 31st October 2020


Chief Judge: Professor Ailsa Cox

Ailsa Cox is the world’s first Professor of Short Fiction. Her own fiction is published in various magazines and anthologies, most recently The Mechanics’ Institute Review and Confingo. Her collection, The Real Louise, was published by Headland Press in 2009. She has taught Creative Writing for many years, most recently at Edge Hill University, where she founded the Edge Hill Prize for a published short-story collection. Her book Writing Short Stories has been used by new and experienced writers all over the world. She is also a short-story critic, with publications including her book Alice Munro, and studies of other writers from Katherine Mansfield to Malcolm Lowry and Jon McGregor. Born in the West Midlands, she has spent all her adult life in North West England.

Full Rules:

  • Your entry should be an unpublished, original story on any theme of up to 2000 words (previous publication includes via internet or independent press).
  • Do not put your name or any other identifying information on your story but do give it a suitable title. Titles should be both appropriate and interesting.
  • There is no set theme or style for the competition, other than the above.
  • Entries in English please (minor dialect allowable).
  • You do not need an entry form. Send us a separate cover sheet  with each entry’s title, word count, your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address.
  • For internet entries, put above details in body of email but also please include PayPal ref. number OR put the story(ies) names in the comments box when paying. Also please use basic formatting in any of .doc, .docx, rich text or .odf file types when attaching your entry file to the email. Any sidebars, headers, footers or unusual layouts may result in your electronic entry being rejected. Please do not use .pages files unless you have no other alternative.
  • No individual correspondence will be entered into regarding receipt of works/payments. Please do not send any confirmational material or use Recorded Delivery.
  • Once your entry has been submitted, any entrant contacting the judges for any reason deemed to be an attempt to circumvent the judging process is liable to be disqualified.
  • If entering by post, please include an SAE if you wish to receive a print of the results/judges report (if available) when the competition is finished. For email entries, please note clearly in the body of the mail that you would like to receive the results.
  • Winners will be informed in Dec 2020/ Jan 2021, results will be published on this site thereafter. There may be a delay publishing results and/or winning stories depending on circumstances and permissions, so please exercise patience.
  • Winning stories may be published on this site for 12 months with permission of original author.

Optional – Paper saving single-spaced entries encouraged.

  • The fee is £3.00 for each story, or £10 for 4.  You can pay by cheque or postal order made out to Southport Writers’ Circle. (E-entries have a processing fee.)

Send postal entries to:

60 Dinorwic Rd,




Online entries available HERE

Southport Writers' Circle