Short Story Competition Now Open

The 2021 contest is now CLOSED. The winner will be announced and their short story published online on Saturday 26 June.

Feeling imaginative and yearning to put pen to paper?

Write a short story of up to 1,000 words for the 2021 Prescot Festival Short Story Competition, and a prize of £100 and publication could be yours.

The theme for this year’s contest is a quote from Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, one of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays:

“We know what we are, but not what we may be.”

You may use as your inspiration any aspect of the quote or any of the ideas in the related word cloud below. You don’t have to follow the theme slavishly—it’s a jumping-off point for your imagination, and you can interpret it in any way you like. Scroll down for the full rules (and please read carefully – we are doing things a little differently again this year).

Entry to the 2021 Prescot Festival Short Story Competition is FREE and open to non-professional writers of ALL AGES living in Merseyside and Halton.

The deadline is 28 May 2021, and there’s a £100 prize for the winner, so start writing!

2021 Prescot Festival Short Story Competition Full Rules

  1. To enter, you must live in one of the following six boroughs: Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Halton, Wirral or Liverpool. You must not have had a piece of fictional writing professionally published, ie, in return for payment. There are no age restrictions. Only one entry per person is allowed.
  2. The story you submit must be inspired in some way by the theme (see quote and word cloud). It is your choice how to interpret the theme. The story must be your own original work of fiction (no biography, poetry or nonfiction), unpublished, in English, and with no more than 1,000 words. There is no minimum word count.
  3. Type your story in size 12 font. You may include page numbers and the title of the story in the headers and/or footers, but you must NOT include your name or any identifying details, such as an address or email address, in the document itself, as it will be judged anonymously.
  4. Submit it via email to Include your name and contact details in the body of the message and the short story as an attachment in Word (.doc/.docx), ODT, RTF or PDF format only
  5. The closing date for the competition is Friday 28 May 2021. All entries must be received by then.
  6. A panel of judges will read the stories, whose writers remain anonymous, and decide a winner. The judges’ decision is final.
  7. The winner will receive a prize of £100, and their name will be announced online on Saturday 26 June.
  8. You retain full copyright of your story, but by submitting it, you give the Prescot Festival permission to republish it online and/or in print, naming you as author.

Click here to download the full competition details as a PDF.

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