India’s Top Contests and Awards for Short stories

A story always begins with an idea followed by writing, lots of it. You write, you edit and then you write some more. A few sleepless nights of doubt followed by a few weeks of self-introspection leading to some chit-chat with friends and fellow writers. After a lot of self-criticism and reworking on the critique received, you manage to create something you are extremely proud of – a story that’s worthy of winning an award or two at least. 

After where to submit my work , the most asked question is which contests to send my work to. So, here’s a list of contests and awards in India where you can submit your work. While we know many famous ones like Booker Prize, Pulitzer, DSC South Asian but they are all for full length novels. Here, we have curated a list of contests and awards where you can send your short stories.

Simply put, winning an award is considered to be the ultimate recognition of one’s work. Irrespective of the genre one writes in, winning a contest and getting an award is public applause for one’s writing. While the ultimate goal might be a book, winning an award can help you credibility with a publisher / agent too.  Submitting short stories and getting accolades for it can help in creating a reader base and bring in some name and fame.

A few pointers before we share the list of contests and awards:

  • Please note, this list is exhaustive and will be updated regularly.
  • All the contests have a deadline which has been mentioned clearly along with submission guidelines.
  • While they accept all genres, incase of exceptions it has been highlighted.
  • All the below mentioned contests and awards accept submissions only in English. 
  • The list includes contests and awards which are based in India and which accept submissions from Indian residents. We might make another list in future which will include international contests and awards.
  • If there are any other awards you think we have missed upon, let us know and we will add them to this list.  

  1. Write India

Write India is an annual writing competition hosted by Times of India group. Every year they invite prominent authors who give writing prompts on the 7th of every month and participants have to write on those prompts. The winners are later published in an anthology. This contest is in its third year now. 

  • Submission Guidelines: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/books/writeindia/season3.cms
  • Submission Fees: NIL
  • Themes/ Genres accepted: Specific to the writing prompts announced by the Writer of the month
  • Closing Deadline: The entries for April prompt close on 30th May 2020.
  • Prize: Get published in the annual Write India anthology along with some prominent names which is launched in a star-studded ceremony held at Times Litfest every year.
  • No. of Prizes to be won: Every author will have 10 winners, each will get a certificate and a Parker pen set. Top 11-12 winners will be published in the anthology.
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

  1. Women’s Web 

The Orange Flower Awards by Women’s Web celebrates India’s leading voices. They recognise today’s digital creative superstars and how women are using the digital medium to tell their own stories, and those of others, paving the way for change at a broader level, making society more inclusive and bringing in creative innovation in the process. The winners for 2020 have been announced and soon they will open the windows for nominations for 2021. 

  • Submission Guidelines: https://www.womensweb.in/orange-flower-awards/
  • Submission Fees: NIL
  • Themes/ Genres accepted: You can submit your entries in different categories as mentioned on their site.
  • Closing Deadline: Yet to be announced.
  • Prize: Trophies and certificates.
  • No. of Prizes to be won:The categories change every year. For 2020, there were 24 winners in different categories ranging from Short Fiction to Fashion Blogging.
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent.

3. Indic Academy – Get Published contest

Indic Academy is hosting a contest where they are inviting submissions with interesting POVs from the Mahabharata. 


4. Juggernaut

A young but well respected publishing house, Juggernaut hosts regular writing contests on their website, the prize for which is a traditional publishing contract from Juggernaut team

  • Submission Guidelines: https://write.juggernaut.in/contest
  • Submission Fees: NIL
  • Themes and Genres accepted: How did you deal with your worst heartbreak? Write a personal essay on self-discovery and growth, heartbreak that took you to your lowest but helped you find the meaning of self-love.
  • Closing Deadline: 4th May, 2020
  • Prize: Top 10 entries get editorial feedback, top 3 win an exclusive publishing contract with Juggernaut books.
  • No of Prizes to be won:  10
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

5. Story Mirror

Founded in 2015, StoryMirror is a tech start-up focussed towards building a creative ecosystem that offers everyone a platform to launch themselves in the field of literature

Apart from hosting regular contests in various Indian regional languages, they also host awards like ‘Author of the year’, ‘Author of the Week’ and ‘Most admired Author’. 

  • Submission Guidelines: https://contest.storymirror.com/
  • Submission Guidelines: https://awards.storymirror.com/
  • Submission Fees: NIL
  • Themes/ Genres accepted: All ( Submissions accepted in English, Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Oriya, Marathi, Kannada and Malayalam)
  • Closing Deadline: Competition specific
  • Prize: Participants will receive certificates and will also be published on Story Mirror site.
  • No. of Prizes to be won: 3
  • Literary Quotient: Good

6. KDP Pen to Publish Awards

The KDP Pen to Publish Contest aims at recognising literary excellence among authors who publish original works in any genre in English, Hindi or Tamil languages on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) between a specified period by Amazon. Since its inception two years ago, it has managed to bring forth some prominent names in literary world.

The KDP Pen to Publish contest for 2020 is yet to be announced.

  • Submission Guidelines: https://www.amazon.in/b?node=15883391031
  • Submission Fees: NIL
  • Themes/ Genres accepted: All ( Submissions are accepted in English, Hindi and Tamil)
  • Closing Deadline: Yet to be announced
  • Prize: A Kindle, mentoring by top authors, your work stands a chance to be adapted by Prime Video and be the featured author on Amazon site.
  • No of Prizes to be won: 5 each across the 3 languages (English, Hindi and Tamil)
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

7. Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize

The Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize is supported by Queen Mary University of London, Routledge, and The Literary Consultancy and the prize supports new writers, with no limits on age, gender, nationality or background. 

  • Submission Guidelines: https://www.wasafiri.org/new-writing-prize/
  • Submission Fees: £10 for a single entry, £16 for a double entry. However, they offer a limited number of subsidised entries at a rate of £6 per entry, which must be accompanied by an explanation of the entrant’s need for subsidised entry (up to 200 words). There is capacity for 25 subsidised entries per month during the months that the prize is open (February-May 2020).
  • Themes/ Genres accepted: All
  • Closing Deadline: Monday 1 June 2020 (5pm BST)
  • Prize: The winners of each category (There are 3 categories currently – Fiction, Poetry and Life Writing) received a £1,000 cash prize and will be published by Wasafiri in print and online. They will also be offered the Chapter and Verse or Free Reads mentoring scheme in partnership with The Literary Consultancy (dependent on eligibility). Shortlisted writers will be published online with Wasafiri and may be eligible for Free Reads mentoring also.
  • No. of Prizes to be won: 3 for main prize and 10 shortlisted winners.
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

8. CommonWealth Short Story Prize

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words) in English. Regional winners each receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £5,000. Translated entries are also eligible, as are stories written in the original Bengali, Chinese, French, Greek, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Tamil and Turkish. 

The contest will open for the 2021 Commonwealth Prize later this year and the winners will be announced early next year.

  • Submission Guidelines: www.commonwealthwriters.org/our-projects/the-short-story/
  • Submission Fees: NIL
  • Themes/ Genres accepted: All
  • Closing Deadline: Yet to be announced
  • Prize:  The overall winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize will receive £5,000 and the remaining four regional winners £2,500. If the winning short story is a translation into English, the translator will receive additional prize money.
  • No of Prizes to be won: 5 regional winners and one overall winner
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

9. Dastaan Award 

The Dastaan Award has been set up by Ali Azfar Naqvi and Afia Aslam to support new writing and can be awarded to a writer based anywhere in the world. The recipient of the annual Dastaan Award is chosen independently by the award founders and does not indicate a preference on part of the DWL competition jury for any one of the top three stories. The previous winners have received funding from two benefactors to offer a PKR 50,000 cash prize for its annual short story competition. The 2020 contest is yet to be announced. 

  • Submission Guidelines: http://desiwriterslounge.net/contests/sscguidelines/
  • Submission Fees: NIL
  • Themes/ Genres accepted: All
  • Closing Deadline: To be announced soon
  • Prize: The previous winners have received funding from two benefactors to offer a PKR 50,000 cash prize for its annual short story competition
  • No. of Prizes to be won: 3
  • Literary Quotient: Good

10.Raymond Carver 

Now in its 20th year, the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest is one of the most renowned fiction contests in the world. Featuring prominent guest judges and offering $3000 across five prizes, the contest delivers exciting new fiction from writers all over the world. The contest winners are published in their annual fall issue in October.

  • Submission Guidelines: https://www.carvezine.com/raymond-carver-contest/#.U1ec2_mSwSa
  • Submission Fees: $17 online / $15 mailed.
  • Themes/ Genres accepted: No genre fiction (romance, horror, sci-fi); literary fiction only.
  • Closing Deadline: 15th May, 2020
  • Prize: $2000 (1st), $500 (2nd), $250 (3rd), and two $125 (Editor’s Choice) apart from being published in their annual fall issue in October. 
  • No. of Prizes to be won: 5
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent 

11. Kitaab – The Best of South Asian Stories

The Best of South Asian Stories is an annual contest held by Kitaab. The selected entries are published in an anthology of the same name. The TBASS series of anthologies  aims to celebrate the Asian short story as a constantly evolving, innovative and vibrant mode of literary expression.

(For fee waiver requests in case of financial difficulties, please write to them at kitaab.sg@gmail.com)

  • Themes/ Genres accepted: Climate change and migration but stories on other themes will be considered too
  • Closing Deadline: 30th  May, 2020
  • Prize: Get published in The Best of South Asian Stories anthology
  • No. of Prizes to be won: 10
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

12. Bath Short Story Prize

The International Bath Short Story Award, is organised by Jude Higgins, Jane Riekemann and Anna Schlesinger. And this year, 2020, award-winning short and short-short story writer, Alison Woodhouse, has joined the team. Launched in 2012 the BSSA has rapidly become established as one of the prominent short story competitions in the UK receiving over a thousand world-wide entries each year and producing a yearly anthology of short-listed and winning authors. 

  • Submission Guidelines: https://www.bathshortstoryaward.org/rules-2/
  • Submission Fees: There is no limit to the number of entries but there is a fee of £8 for each story submitted. 
  • Themes/ Genres accepted: Any genre
  • Closing Deadline: 20th April, 2020 (Entries for this year have been closed)
  • Prize: 1st £1200; 2nd £300; 3rd £100, with a local prize of £50 , for the best entry from any BA, BS, GL or SN postcode unplaced in the main competition. In addition there is The Acorn Award of £100 for the best entry from an unpublished writer, unplaced in the main competition. 
  • No. of Prizes to be won: 5
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

It’s time to sharpen your pencils and get working on those story-ideas floating in your mind! You never know which one might just bag the much-coveted tag of ‘award-winning’.


[ratings]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Open chat
Thank you for contacting Himalayan Writing Retreat! How can we help you today?