Winter Short Story Competition

Our Winter Short Story contest opened on December 1st 2018 – and closes on January 31st 2019. That’s plenty of time to get your stories polished and submitted. Judging will take place during February. We’ll have details of the judges nearer the time.

What are we looking for? Great writing certainly, original stories of course, and also something obvious but that’s not often stated – we’re looking for a good read. Like beauty, that can be in the eye of the beholder, but send us something to love, to remember, to talk about long after the competition is over and done with, like the remarkable Abandon in our Homes anthology which still resonates today. You could also take a look at a few more competition stories that we’ve liked, some shorter than others.

A few details of the winter contest:

  • Word count: more than 1500 and less than 5000. But we are not super-strict on that, a few over or under won’t disqualify a story, but don’t push the limits too far.
  • English: Yes, only stories written in English, whatever English you write. We welcome stories from anywhere in the world.
  • How to submit: Step 1) by paying the £10 entry fee via Paypal (click the link, you can use a credit card, you do not need a Paypal account). Step 2) by sending your story as an attachment to an email to The subject of the email should be ‘Winter Short Story” followed by the Paypal reference for your entry fee.
  • Theme: there is no theme, anything you like but please no pornography, racism, bigotry, sexism, abuse, although your characters could exhibit these traits. Sex is fine, but don’t step over the line. Sci-fi, horror, supernatural? Yes. Children’s stories or fan-fiction?  No, not for us. If in doubt, please email us with  your questions.
  • Old or new stories: old stories are fine, but like the new ones, please make sure they are polished.
  • Simultaneous submissions: yes, that’s fine, but let us know if the story is accepted elsewhere.
  • Multiple entries: yes, but send one at a time please and only your best.
  • Previously published: no, not in print or anywhere on the web. But if you’ve shown it to your friends that’s fine.
  • Format: by email attachment as a .doc or .docx or .odt only. Please Use 12 point Times New Roman font (or similar – boring but we like it) and double or 1.5 spacing. Page size should be A4 or Letter. Remove all comments and edit notes/change history. We recognise that some stories benefit from special spacing and use of fonts and emphasis (for example if your story includes a twitter or text exchange). That’s fine, but  use with care and only where essential.
  • anonymous jesus roca
    when we’re reading we don’t want to know who you are. photo credit: jesus roca

    Your name: Only in the email body, NOT in the document. Judging really is blind. Also your address and a brief bio (max 100 words) should be in the email body.

  • Prizes: 1st place – £100, two runners-up – £50 each (payable only by Paypal, no cash, no cheques, no bank transfers, no alternative prizes.) Entries or extracts of entries may be published in print or digitally or as part of future promotions for Askance.
  • Copyright: authors retain all copyright but give Askance first publication rights, both digital and print. If the story is subsequently published elsewhere we’d like a mention as first publishers.
  • Age limit: Over 18. No upper limit.

We are considering a new collection of short stories in print and e-book form in 2019. Always there are the economics, but also quality is a big factor, so no promises to print your great entries, but we’d love to if everything works out. We’ll keep you informed.

So get writing, or get those stories out of the digital attic and dust them down. We’re looking forward to reading all that you have to send us. And we read every story at least twice. If we’re about to reject it, we’ll read it again. In our recent Flash Fiction competition one about-to-be rejected story won a reprieve that way, not that we’ll tell you which one it was.