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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. Some awards offer money, but if your interest is earning through writing, check out our blog on seven ways to earn money through writing.

 

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.
Disclaimer: Himalayan Writing Retreat has no affiliation with any of these contests or anthologies. We have solely collated a list as a reference guide for writers. In case of any queries, please write to the concerned organizers on the email ids provided on their sites directly. Team HWR will be unable to respond to any queries regarding your submissions to them.
  1. Write India (Contest Closed for 2020)

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 (Yet to announced for 2020)

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 (Contest Closed for 2020)

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


4. The Indian Short Story Content on Juggernaut (Contest Closed for 2020)

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 focused 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 (Yet to announced for 2020)

The KDP Pen to Publish Contest aims at recognizing 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 (Contest Closed for 2020)

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 subsidized entries at a rate of £6 per entry, which must be accompanied by an explanation of the entrant’s need for subsidized entry (up to 200 words). There is capacity for 25 subsidized 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 (Yet to announced for 2020)

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 (Contest Closed for 2020)

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 (Contest Closed for 2020)

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 (Contest Closed for 2020)

The International Bath Short Story Award, is organized 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
  • 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

13. The 2020 Watty awards

The Watty Awards are Wattpad’s annual celebration of the galvanizing, inventive, diverse voices that choose to share their stories on Wattpad every year.

  • Submission Guidelines: https://www.wattpad.com/837461662-the-2020-watty-awards-when-to-submit
  • Submission Fees :  NIL
  • Themes/ Genres accepted: All
  • Opening dates: July 13th, 2020
  • Closing Deadline: September 30th, 2020
  • Prizes: 55 winners will received the orange carpet treatment where they will be featured on Wattpad’s Hall of Fame, a consideration for the writer’s development program, promotion on the social media handles and also a chance to earn from your writing on Wattpad.
  • Literary Quotient : Excellent

14. The Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award

  • Submission Guidelines: https://www.uipress.uiowa.edu/authors/iowa-short-fiction.htm
  • Submission Fees: NIL
  • Themes/Genres accepted: All
  • Closing Deadline: September 30th, 2020
  • Prize: Award-winning manuscripts will be published by the University of Iowa Press under the Press’s standard contract.
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

15. The Iowa Prize for Literary Nonfiction

  • Submission Guidelines: https://www.uipress.uiowa.edu/authors/iowa-nonfiction.htm
  • Submission Fees: $10
  • Themes/Genres accepted: All
  • Closing Deadline: August 15th, 2020
  • Prize: Award-winning manuscripts will be published by the University of Iowa Press under the Press’s standard contract.
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

16. Lazuli Literary Group Writing Contest: 2020

  • Submission Guidelines: https://www.lazuliliterarygroup.com/contests.html
  • Submission Fees: $15
  • Themes/Genres accepted: Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays, philosophical ruminations, stageplays, fragments, chapters, and excerpts.
  • Closing Deadline: July 22nd, 2020
  • Prize: The winning entry will be published online in AZURE: A Journal of Literary Thought. An excerpt from this piece will appear on the contest page.
  • Literary Quotient: Medium

17. The Wordweaver’s 2020 Contest

The Wordweavers is an online magazine for short stories and poetry.

  • Submission Guidelines: https://www.wordweavers.in/
  • Submission Fees: The Contest is FREE is free for residents of South Asian countries (including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, Bhutan and Myanmar) and the African continent. Residents of all other countries can participate upon paying the entry fee of $3 for one entry and $ 1 for every extra entries, for each category.
  • Themes/Genres accepted: Short stories and poems
  • Closing Deadline: June 30th, 2020
  • Prize: Getting Published in Anthology.
  • Literary Quotient: Medium

18. An Asian Tapestry of Colours

This contest is inviting stories from writers from  Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, South Korea, China, Japan and India to share stories written for readers between 13 to 17 years old.

  • Submission Guidelines: https://asiantapestry.wordpress.com/
  • Submission Fees: NIL.
  • Themes/Genres accepted: All
  • Closing Deadline: July 31st, 2020
  • Prize: Getting Published in Anthology. Winners will also be paid.
  • Literary Quotient: Medium

19. Quarantine Contest in Juggernaut


20. Architectural Poetry Competition Series

  • Submission Guidelines: https://worldarchitecture.org/architecture-news/efeng/call-for-entries-architectural-poetry-competition-series-2nd-cycle.html
  • Submission Fees: Rs. 500
  • Themes/Genres accepted: Theme for the Series 1.0 in this cycle is Responsive Poems We respond to the world and weather. We respond to ourselves. We respond. We.
  • Closing Deadline: June 30th, 2020
  • Prize: Two winning entries, that is a citation and a special mention award shall be announced for all three categories – school-going, collegians, and Open. Besides this, all the entrants shall be sent E-Certificate attested by all the jurors and the winning entries shall be featured on several web architectural portals and will receive a goodie bag. Also, the best entries shall be complied in the form of a book with ISBN No. after the successful run of all the Series under this cycle.
  • Literary Quotient: Medium

 


21. Anthology Magazine Short Story Competition

Anthology Magazine Short Story Competition is open to original and previously unpublished short stories in the English language by a writer of any nationality, living anywhere in the world.

  • Submission Guidelines: https://anthology-magazine.com/awards.html
  • Submission Fees: €15 per story
  • Themes/Genres accepted: Stories submitted must be on the theme of ‘Friendship’ and not exceed the maximum of 1,500 words. Writers can submit as many entries as they wish.
  • Closing Deadline: July 31st, 2020
  • Prize: The winner will receive a €300 cash prize and the chance to see their work published in a future issue of Anthology Magazine. Along with a two-night stay with one dinner at the iconic Montenotte Hotel in Cork City, a limited edition pen created to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Weir & Sons, a Waterford Crystal engraved trophy and a one year subscription to Anthology Magazine.
  • Literary Quotient: Medium

22. Muse of the Month- Short Story Contest by Women’s Web

Women’s Web as the name suggests is a site dedicated to encourage women to share their stories. Since 2014, Women’s Web hosts a monthly short story contest where each month they give out a cue, which in turn is based on a theme decided for the year. The participants are expected to write a short story based on the cue and submit it. Their theme for 2020 is quotes from global feminist women.

  • Submission Guidelines: https://www.womensweb.in/muse-of-the-month-2020/
  • Submission Fees: NIL. However the submission has to be uploaded after registering with Women’s Web. The registration is free.
  • Genre/Themes accepted: All but in accordance with the cue shared based on the theme of the year.
  • Closing deadline: Varies from month to month. Usually mid of the month. The last date to submit entries for the July 2020 prompt is by 3 P.M of 14th July, 2020.
  • Prize: The top 5 winners are published in mostly the last week of the month, Monday to Friday, and get an Amazon voucher as a prize. Furthermore, since 2016, all the winning stories of the year are automatically eligible to be chosen from, for the year end e-book that the Women’s Web team publishes and is released at the Orange Flower Awards.
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

23. Sharpen the Saw- Summary Writing Contest

Pencil App is a community based app to discover stories. You can share your stories and read some too. It is to help writers form a community.

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’.


24. eShe Short Story Writing Competition for Women

eShe is an independent women’s magazine and blog based in India and Canada that celebrates the extraordinary stories of women around the world.

  • Submission Guidelines: https://eshe.in/2020/09/02/short-story-contest/
  • Submission Fees: NIL
  • Genres/ Themes accepted: A life-changing experience (fiction)
  • Closing deadline: 11.59 pm on September 30, 2020
  • Prize: 20 winners will be published in a book of short stories by Embassy Books to be released in the first quarter of 2021. All winners will receive two copies of the published book + a merit certificate and notebook from eShe. Winners will be asked to sign a publishing contract.
  • Literary Quotient: Medium

25. Deepankar Khiwani Memorial Prize 2021 by TQT

 


26. Penmancy Contest for Short Stories

Penmancy is a global platform for passionate amateur and aspiring writers like you to showcase your work in the form of short stories, novellas, poems, plays, essays, writing tips and everything else related to the art of the written word

  • Submission Guidelines: https://penmancy.com/3-in-300/
  • Submission Fees: NIL
  • Genres / Themes accepted: Fiction – 3 people, 300 years. Three characters in a story that was set 300 years ago or happens 300 years from now (approximately).
  • Closing Deadline: September 15th, 2020
  • Prize: Top three winners will receive  the book “Plus Minus” by Neha Sharma
  • Literary Quotient : Medium

27. NAW Short Story Writing Competition – 2020

New Asian Writing (NAW) is a literary community dedicated to publishing quality fiction and non-fiction with an Asian theme.

  • Submission Guidelines: http://www.new-asian-writing.com/submission-guidelines/
  • Submission Fees: NIL
  • Genres/Themes accepted: Fiction [ All stories should be set in an Asian context or have an Asian theme. Either the stories should be set in an Asian country, should have at least one Asian citizen or some amount of Asian element.]
  • Closing Deadline: November 30th, 2020
  • Prize: One winner will be selected and will be offered the prize money ($1000) either through PayPal or via direct transfer. Two consolation prizes (Three books or an equivalent amount in home currency) will also be offered.
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

 


 

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5 Responses

  1. Quite exhaustive . Please keep me posted with the latest development. I blog at Speaking Tree and Word Press. And also contribute to Free Press Journal Mumbai.
    I have authored four books- The Matter of the Mind, Make The Mind Mount Kailasa and The Infinite Mind (coauthored) and NaMo303 Words to Victory.
    I belong to the Indian Railway Traffic Service and am currently posted as Principal Chief Operations Manager North Central Railway Prayagraj. Also I am faculty of the Art of Living. Normally I write on Mind Matters, Yoga ,Meditation, also on travelogues and personalities. I have also written some short stories. Can you please provide contacts in papers and magazines where I can contribute.

  2. Hey I saw a few more which you can add maybe

    Toto funds the arts award..I think they closed but they are old and can be in the list for next year

    Bombay Review awards, they have a submission fee but free for below 25. Also a paid contest for new Dalit Writing

    Sharing Stories the Facebook group has a best first book awatd. They have a website too now it is India based.

    1. Hey Rahul, thank you so much for sharing these with us! We will check them out and add to the list once we find relevant details.

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