Short Story Competitions

Our 2023 short story competitions will be as follows:

Open theme: opens January 26th, 2023 – closes March 31st, 2023

Urban theme: opens June 1st, 2023 – closes July 31st, 2023

Rural theme: opens September 1st, 2023 – closes October 31st, 2023

Details for our open themed competition are listed below. As the name suggests, there are no restrictions on topic or content for this competition. It can be autobiographical, based on fact or a work of pure fiction. All we are after is a story well told. Entertain us! We are hoping to announce the winning stories by the end of April, 2023.

Word limit: No more than 5000 words. Please note, this will be strictly applied. In fact, it would be fantastic if you could use less words! The 5000 words are there IF YOU NEED THEM, but the last thing we want are stories that have been padded out to meet the word limit. We honestly don’t mind if your story is only 200 words, as long as it is well told.

Entry fee: The entry fee will be $10. Multiple entries are allowed but must be submitted separately and will also require a $10 fee. Members of our mailing list may submit multiple entries at the discounted rate of $5 per additional entry (first entry is still $10). Please note, all fees are listed in Australian dollars. While we are Australian based, we do welcome international entries as well. The payment portal for this competition will not open until January 26th, 2023. You will find it here.

Prize money: 1st prize – $200 + publication, 2nd prize – $100 + publication, 3rd prize – $50 + publication. Highly commended (two only) – $20 + publication. Commended (unlimited number) – publication only. All prize-winning stories will be published in an end of competition anthology with the authors receiving a free copy of the ebook. Estimated release date for the anthology will be mid-June, 2023. Please note, payments are listed in Australian dollars.

How to submit: Submission is via email to shortstories.unlimited@gmail.com

To make it as easy for us as possible, please follow these instructions –

Submit entry fee via payment portal

  1. Write ‘Open Story’ in the subject line of your email
  2. In the body of the email please list your full name, the country you come from (complete address is not necessary), the name of your story, the number of words contained in your story, and a pen name if you don’t want to publish under your own name.
  3. Attach a separate file containing your story. IMPORTANT: The file name must contain your story’s title plus the date it was sent. For example – Wildflowers sept 5. As it is a blind reading process this will help us identify who wrote which story at the conclusion of the judging.
  4. An RTF, Word or Open Office file is preferred. We would also prefer your story to be double spaced, with 0.5cm paragraph indentation. As judging is done by a ‘blind’ reading process, your name or address should not appear anywhere in your story file.
  5. If you are submitting multiple entries repeat steps 1 to 4 for each submission. Each submission will cost an additional $10 ($5 for mailing list members).

Stories must be previously unpublished and be your own work. This would encompass any form of self-publication including personal blogs and webpages. If your story is selected for inclusion in the end of competition anthology (eg. prize winners and commended entries) we ask that you do not submit your story to any other competition or publication until after our anthology has been released.

Winners will be announced late April 2023 and prize money distributed soon after. Please note, in competitions of this nature the judging is subjective. Missing out on a prize is not an indication that your writing is poor so do not be disheartened. Keep writing!

The judge’s decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. If insufficient entries are received to run a viable competition, all entry fees will be refunded in full.

8 thoughts on “Short Story Competitions

    1. Hi Mic. Most of the entries we receive are fairly conventional, but not all. We accept any form or genre, but the rules are the same for all. The story or poem must relate to the theme. Judging is of course subjective, but if a story catches our eye, then it is in the running regardless of style.

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    1. This page lists the dates and info for our short story competitions. The other page lists the dates and info for our poetry competitions. The dates for the short story and poetry comps do overlap but have different starting and finishing dates. Hope this helps.

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  1. I have two quick questions about the competition. Number one is would it count as having a ‘spring theme’ if it’s set in spring? And number two is my story is just a short one thats only 504 words is that ok?

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    1. Hi Jackie. If your story is set in spring, then, yes that counts. With regards to the word count, many of our prize winning entries have had words counts between 400 – 750.

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