Romantic Novelists' Association

February 2021: Competition Monthly

16 February 2021

Flexing our non-fiction muscles in competitions can be good practice for the blogs and interviews we undertake as authors.

Most of you reading this will spend much of your time inventing stories for a cast of fictional characters. Even if you’ve never written a true-life piece for a magazine or newspaper (and I know some of you have), there are times when you need to create some non-fiction. It could be for a blog, an interview or a quippy comment on Twitter or Facebook to promote yourself or your books. There’s a chance to flex those non-fiction muscles this month in several competitions below.

The Globe Soup competition is inviting pieces of travel writing. Most of us will have travelled to a lesser or greater degree (though admittedly, not at the moment!), so could probably offer something for this competition. The Storyhouse competition has to involve an encounter with a wild animal, which could be an interesting piece is you’ve had such an experience. The other two non-fiction competitions are asking for book length entries, one creative non-fiction and the other for a variety genres, including memoir and biography.

There’s a bit of fun added with the Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest, which is looking for bad opening sentences for a novel. The inspiration for this is from the famously overused opening, ‘It was a dark and stormy night’.  It’s free, so why not have a go?


Good luck everyone!


Click January 21 for posts detailing competitions closing in March.





Closing soon


Next Generation Indie Book Award

Theme: Indie books from independent authors and publishers worldwide, with 2019, 2020 or 2021 copyright date. Over 70 categories to choose from.

Prizes: Various, including £1,500 for best fiction book. More than 70 cash prizes. Exposure for books.

Closing date: 19 February 2021

Entry: US$75




Rolling Competitions


Writer’s Forum Short Story Contest

Theme: Open, 1,000 to 3,000 words

Prizes: £300 / £150 / £100

Closing date: Rolling

Entry: £6 / £3 for subscribers




April Competitions


Zone3 Creative Nonfiction Book Award

Theme: Creative nonfiction around 120 – 250 pages

Prizes: US$1,000 plus publication

Closing date: 1 April 2021

Entry: US$25



Kraken Book Prize for Middle Grade Fiction

Theme: Fiction for 8 – 12 year olds, 120 – 350 pages

Prizes: US$750 plus publication

Closing date: 6 April 2021

Entry: US$25



Globe Soup Travel Writing Competition

Theme: Nonfiction piece on travel, eg article, opinion piece, destination guide, etc.

Prizes: £1,000

Closing date: 13 April 2021

Entry: £5 early entry / £8 generally



The Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest

Theme: A bad opening sentence to a novel, preferably no longer than 60 words

Prizes: Small, but grand prize has been know to be as much as $US250

Closing date: 15 April 2021

Entry: Free – and make as many entries as you like



Panther Creek Award

Theme: Nonfiction, book length work of nonfiction eg creative nonfiction, memoir, biography, etc.

Prizes: US$1,000

Closing date: 15 April 2021

Entry: US$20



Writing Magazine Adventure Short Story Competition

Theme: Thrilling adventure, otherwise genre open. 1,500 – 1,700 words

Prizes: £100 / £25

Closing date: 15 April 2021

Entry: £6 / £4 for subscribers



The Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award

Theme: Any paranormal or supernatural theme, 1,500 – 10,000 words

Prizes: US$1,500 / 2 x $300 plus publication for all.

Closing date: 30 April 2021

Entry: Free



Yeovil Novel Prize

Theme: Open. Synopsis and opening chapters must by 15,000 words combined

Prizes: £1,200 / £300 / £125

Closing date: 30 April 2021

Entry: £14.50



Yeovil Short Story Prize

Theme: Open. 2,000 words max

Prizes: £600 / £250 / £125

Closing date: 30 April 2021

Entry: £8



Yeovil Writing Without Restriction Prize

Theme: Open – details in the rules

Prizes: £250 / £125 / £75

Closing date: 30 April 2021




Storyhouse Nonfiction Animal Stories

Theme: Factual account of an encounter, by the author, with wild animals (not a pet)

Prizes: US$200 / $100

Closing date: 30 April (claims to open 29 February, but presumably is 28 Feb or 1 March)

Entry: Free



Tom Howard / John H Reid Fiction and Essay Contest

Theme: Short work of fiction: open, 6,000 max / Short work of non-fiction: open, 6,000 max

Prizes: US$3,000 in each category / 10 x $200 in any category. Publication online for all

Closing date: 30 April 2021

Entry: US$20




May Competitions


Mairtin Crawford Award

Theme: Short story up to 2,500 words from a writer not yet published. (Also poetry)

Prizes: £1,000 / 2 x £250

Closing date: 2 May 2021

Entry: £6



Bristol Short Story Prize

Theme: Open, 4,000 words max

Prizes: £1,000 / £500 / £250 / 17 x £100. Publication for all in the anthology

Closing date: 5 May 2021

Entry: £9







Francesca Capaldi Burgess has been placed or shortlisted in a dozen competitions including Winchester Writers’ Conference, Retreat West, Meridian Writing, Wells Festival Book for Children, Writing Magazine and The People’s Friend serial competition. She’s had short stories published in magazines worldwide and several DC Thomson pocket novels. The first novel of her Valleys series, Heartbreak in the Valleys, has been nominated for a 2021 RoNA in the Historical Romantic Award section. Apart from the RNA, she’s also a member of the Society for Women Writers and Journalists. Francesca runs a writing blog with RNA member Elaine Roberts called Write Minds.