23 Contests and Awards for Short stories in India

Contests and Awards for Short stories in India

Before we share the curated list of contests and awards for short stories in India, we want to share a bit about what prompted us to create this list.

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. Writing competitions are a good way of analyzing your writing skills. Participating in writing competitions also helps you build a great writer’s CV. This list of Contests and Awards for Short stories in India has been created to help writers achieve this.

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. That is the reason we encourage aspiring writers to participate in Contests and Awards for Short stories in India. 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.

So, here’s a list of Contests and Awards for Short stories 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 for Short stories in India where you can send your short stories.

A few pointers before we share the list of Contests and Awards for Short stories in India:

  • Please note, this list of Contests and Awards for Short stories in India is dynamic and will be updated regularly.
  • All the Contests and Awards for Short stories in India have a deadline that has been mentioned clearly along with submission guidelines.
  • While they accept all genres, in case of exceptions it has been highlighted.
  • All the below-mentioned Contests and Awards for Short stories in India accept submissions only in English.
  • The list includes Contests and Awards for Short stories in India that are based in India and which accept submissions from Indian residents. We might make another list in the future which will include international contests and awards.
  • If there are any other Contests and Awards for Short stories in India 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.

**Updated as on December 29th 2021**

Contests and Awards for Short Stories in India

Women’s Web 

The Orange Flower Awards by Women’s Web celebrates India’s leading voices. They recognize 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.

  • Submission Guidelines: Orange Flower Awards 2022
  • Submission Fees: NIL
  • Themes/ Genres accepted: You can submit your entries in different categories as mentioned on their site.
  • Closing Deadline: 3rd Jan 2022
  • 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

Novel Slices – Winter Excerpt Contest 2022

The Orange Flower Awards by Women’s Web celebrates India’s leading voices. They recognize 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.

  • Submission Guidelines: Contest – NOVEL SLICES
  • Submission Fees: $ 20
  • Themes/ Genres accepted: All novel genres welcome except for Children’s and Middle Grade. Excerpts should be approximately 4,000 to 6,000 words in length (do not send us your entire manuscript)
  • Closing Deadline: 10th Jan 2022
  • Prize: 6 winners will be published in the third issue of Novel Slices. Each winner will receive $175, a copy of the winning print issue, and prime literary agent & publisher exposure.
  • Literary Quotient: Medium

Story Mirror

Founded in 2015, StoryMirror is a tech start-up focused on 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’.

Contests and Awards for Short Stories in India

  • 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

KDP Pen to Publish Awards 

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.

Contests and Awards for Short Stories in India

 

  • No of Prizes to be won: 5 each across the 3 languages (English, Hindi and Tamil)
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

Fiction Factory First Chapter + Synopsis Competition 2022

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: First Chapter Competition May 2022 – Fiction Factory (fiction-factory.biz)
  • Submission Fees: Entry £15 ‘Early-Bird Special’ for entries received on or before 15th March 2022 / Entry + Optional Assessment £35.00
  • Themes/ Genres accepted: All genres will be accepted except Children’s and Young Adult Fiction.
  • Closing Deadline: 31st May 2022
  • Prize: First Prize: £500 – The winning entry will be read by literary agent Joanna Swainson of the Hardman & Swainson Agency. Joanna is looking for originality and distinctive voices. Winning entries will be published on their website, subject to the author’s permission.
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

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 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: Submission guidelines for 2022 will be announced soon.
  • 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 the main prize and 10 shortlisted winners.
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

Create the Future Writing Contest 2022

Create The Future is a small climate project with big ambitions.

They work to alleviate climate anxiety and enable behaviour change through climate optimism, creativity and empowerment, working with a range of people and organisations to change the narrative on the climate crisis to one of hope and imagination.

  • Submission Guidelines: Writing competition – Create the Future
  • Submission Fees: NIL
  • Themes/ Genres accepted: For the inaugural Create The Future competition, we’d like you to answer one or more of the following questions:

    “What happens if we do take action to protect the planet? What does a sustainable future look like to you? What happens when we dare to dream?”

    You can interpret these questions as loosely as you wish and explore it from any perspective. When assessing submissions, we will be looking for any of the following:

    • Fresh, new ways of thinking about and strengthening our connection to the rest of the living world
      For example, poems, creative essays or short stories about our connection to each other and the world around us
    • Bold, imaginative predictions or hopes for the future
      For example, solarpunk, utopian and speculative fiction. To get you started, think about a day in the life of someone your age in 100 years’ time. What are the most common jobs? How do you travel? What do you wear? Where do you shop? What does your town/city look like?
    • Stories that show us how we get from here to there
      For example, an imagined retrospective / letter to our generation from someone living in 50 / 100 years’ time
    • We are particularly keen to hear from voices that are not usually represented within the environmental movements, including but not limited to indigenous writers, writers of colour, writers from working class backgrounds, writers with disabilities, and other marginalised voices.
  • Closing Deadline: 13th February 2022
  • Prize: UK-based winners
    • First prize: £50 and 1x Delphis Eco Home bundle
    • Second prize: 1x Delphis Eco Kitchen bundle
    • 3rd prize: 1x Delphis Eco Bathroom bundle
    • International winners
      • First prize: £50
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

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 2022 Commonwealth Prize next year and the winners will be announced early 2023.

  • 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

Raymond Carver

Now in its 21st 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, 2022
  • 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

Contests and Awards for Short Stories in India


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: The focus of our 2022 issue is chopethe Singaporean practice of reserving a space, although of course stories on other themes will also be considered. We are looking for well-crafted literary fiction. To chope is to briefly mark a shared space as yours, to manage your own interests respectfully within the crowd, to get along while you get what you want (or some of it).
  • Closing Deadline: 31st December, 2021
  • Prize: Get published in The Best of South Asian Stories anthology
  • No. of Prizes to be won: 10
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

Bath Short Story Prize

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 worldwide 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: 11th April, 2022
  • 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

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: Mailed between August 1st to September 30th, 2022
  • Prize: Award-winning manuscripts will be published by the University of Iowa Press under the Press’s standard contract.
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

The Wordweaver’s 2022 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: Yet to be announced for 2022
  • Prize: Getting Published in Anthology.
  • Literary Quotient: Medium

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: short-story-award-submissions-open-anthology-magazine-2021
  • Submission Fees: Early Bird: 30 April 2022 – €10 per story
    Deadline: 31 August 2022 – €15 per story
  • Themes/Genres accepted: Stories submitted must be on the theme of ‘Courage’ and not exceed the maximum of 1,500 words. Writers can submit as many entries as they wish.
  • Closing Deadline: 31st August 2022
  • Prize: The winner will receive a €500 cash prize and the chance to see their work published in a future issue of Anthology. The winner will also receive a one-year subscription to Anthology magazine
  • Literary Quotient: Medium

Contests and Awards for Short Stories in India

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

Women’s Web as the name suggests is a site dedicated to encouraging 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.

  • Submission Guidelines: Muse Of The Month December 2021 With Ranjani Rao – Women’s Web: For Women Who Do (womensweb.in)
  • 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 2022 prompt is by 3 P.M of 14th July, 2022
  • 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

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: Dated – Penmancy
  • Submission Fees: NIL
  • Genres / Themes accepted: Fiction -Dated- “Imagine yourself as a witness to a history unfolding before your eyes.”
  • Closing Deadline: December 31st, 2022
  • Prize: Top three winners will receive the book “Selected Short Stories by Edgar Allen Poe.
  • Literary Quotient: Medium

Litmag Virginia Woolf Award for 2021

LitMag publishes an annual print journal as well as online exclusives.

  • Submission Guidelines: LitMag Submission Manager (submittable.com)
  • Submission Fees:$20
  • Genres/Themes accepted: Entries must be short stories between 3,000 and 8,000 words. Please use 12pt type, preferably Times New Roman, and submit your short story as either a Word doc or a PDF. Only previously unpublished short stories are eligible. Writers may submit multiple stories, each of which requires a separate submission. Submissions through Submittable only.  Notification: The contest will be judged by the editors of the magazine. The winning short stories and finalists will be announced publicly on our Web site and social media as well as by email to all contestants in May 2022.
  • Closing Deadline: December 31st, 2021
  • Prize: First Prize: $2,500, publication in LitMag and agency review by Nat Sobel of Sobel Weber Associates, Lisa Bankoff of Bankoff Collaborative, Erin Harris and Sonali Chanchani of Folio Literary Management, Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency, David Forrer of Inkwell Management, Monika Woods of Triangle House, and Emily Forland of Brandt & Hochman. Three finalists will receive $100 each. All finalists will be considered for possible agency review and publication.
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

The Lumiere Review Contest 2022

  • Submission Guidelines: Writing Contest – The Lumiere Review
  • Submission Fees: Free
  • Genres/Themes accepted: Both poems and prose (fiction, nonfiction) from all writers are acceptable
  • Closing Deadline: January 31st, 2022
  • Prize: We will choose one winner each for POETRY and PROSE. They will each receive a $100 prize, publication in our magazine, and our greatest admiration. We will also be shortlisting a few finalists in each category whose works will also be published. All selected work will be eligible for nominations in Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, Best Microfiction, The Pushcart Prize, and other nominations, given they are not previously published.
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

WOW! Women on Writing Quarterly Creative Non-fiction Contest

WOW! Women On Writing now hosts two quarterly contests: one for fiction writers and one for nonfiction writers.

Bristol Short Story Prize

The Bristol Short Story Prize is an international writing competition based in Bristol, UK, which aims to publish great short stories and promote the stories and writers as much as possible.

  • Submission Guidelines: Bristol Short Story Prize | Short Story writing competition to promote great stories and writers (bristolprize.co.uk)
  • Submission Fees: £9 ( There are 250 free online entries available to those for whom the entry fee is a barrier to submitting to the 2022 Bristol Short Story Prize – for instance, those on low income or without paid employment. The free entries will be offered on a 50 per month basis with any remaining carried over to the following month. Those wishing to enter using the free entry option may do so via our online entry facility. There is one free entry available per person. No email request or any other method of application is necessary to use the free entry option. No distinction between free entries and those submitted paying the entry fee will be made during the reading and judging processes.
  • Genres or Themes Accepted: The maximum length of submissions is 4,000 words (does not include title), there is no minimum length. Stories can be on any theme or subject and are welcome in any style including graphic, verse or genre-based (Crime, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, Horror, Romance, Children’s etc.)
  • Closing Deadline: May 4th, 2022
  • Prize: Published in an anthology. Prizes for 2022 are: 1st prize-£1000, 2nd prize -£500, 3rd prize -£250. Each of the 17 remaining shortlisted writers will receive £100. An additional prize of £100, The Sansom Award, in recognition of the contribution to Bristol publishing of John and Angela Sansom, will be presented to the highest placed story by a Bristol writer. If no story by a Bristol writer is selected for the 2022 Bristol Short Story Prize longlist, Bristol Short Story Prize reserve the right not to present the Sansom Award. In the event of two or more stories by Bristol writers being selected for the 2022 Bristol Short Story Prize longlist, Angela Sansom will select the winner of The Sansom Award.
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

The Writing Quarter Short Story Prize 2022

  • Submission Guidelines: Competition – The Writing Quarter
  • Submission Fees:NIL
  • Genres/Themes accepted: The Writing Quarter runs a monthly free to enter short story competition. This is an ongoing monthly competition with the deadline being the last day of each month.
  • Closing Deadline: Last day of each month
  • Prize: $ 30
  • Literary Quotient: Medium

Unleash Press Anthology Contest 2022

  • Submission Guidelines: Unleash Press | Unleash Creatives
  • Submission Fees:$10
  • Genres/Themes accepted: Theme: Conversations- The conversation that changed everything…The first or last conversation… The conversation you wish you’d had before it was too late… Essays, fiction, drama, art, and poetry will be accepted. All interpretations of “conversations” are encouraged.
  • Closing Deadline: January 16th, 2022
  • Prize: All stories will be considered for the Editors’ Prize, which includes a custom illustration and print to accompany the winning piece, along with a $75 prize.
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent

Unleash Press Book Prize 2022

  • Submission Guidelines: Unleash Press | Unleash Creatives
  • Submission Fees:$35
  • Genres/Themes accepted: Novels, short story collections, and creative nonfiction manuscripts are accepted. Full-length, completed manuscripts only. Reprints are allowed if the author retains full rights to the manuscript.
  • Closing Deadline: January 5th, 2022
  • Prize:$1,000 advance and standard contract option to publish with Unleash Press.
  • Literary Quotient: Excellent
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12 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.

    1. Thanks. I am glad you found value. I am afraid we cannot provide any press contacts. Thanks!

  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.

  3. Hi,
    Thanks for all the information. But seems like they are all passé. Do you have the latest list with relevant submission dates?
    Thanks
    IshaB

  4. It’s good. There is a another magazine you must include. “Shabdodweep”. Shabdodweep is an international web magazine for all writers, artist, and photographers to publish their creative activities. Writing language is Bengali.

    In every month 2 times writing contest are going on. Participation is free of cost. Anyone who have writings in Bengali can submit their articles, poetry, story etc.

    Please add the magazine name in this list.

    Shabdodweep Web Magazine

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