Tag Archives: Short Story Competitions


A short story by Jason Hopps

spaceship_thumbThe alien invasion came early on a Sunday morning. There was always something. He remembered it was a Sunday (and remembered it was early) because he was up well before sunrise that strange day, sweating and fretting over the big Macmillan report, which was due first thing on the Monday.  He’d been working on the presentation for weeks, months, had thought he’d finally put it to bed on the Friday, but late Friday he’d received an angry phone call from his angry boss who’d practically crucified him, who’d detailed the dozens of changes still needed and then hung up.

    So all Saturday, he was home at his desk. Early on the Sunday morning, he was there again, busily adjusting PowerPoint slides, the kettle whistling for him in the kitchen, when he was startled by screams and revving engines and barking dogs and then more screams and it went on like that for some time, louder and louder. He closed a door against it, guessed it was a domestic, or possibly a break-in down the block, and let it go, returned to the Macmillan report, mashed earplugs deep into his ears. He worked a little longer, struggling with it, until his internet connection went down, kaput. Only then did he leave his desk and step outside. Full Story >>



Closing date: 30th November 2013


These competitions are for original, previously unpublished poems and short stories in English Language, in any style, up to 50 lines long (poems) or 2000 words long (stories). Writers of all nationalities living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.


Prizes in each category: £500 (First), £250 (Second), £125 (Third) and £25 x 5 (High Commendation)


Judges: Roger Elkin (Poetry), David Caddy (Fiction)


Have you written a winning poem or story that can take one of the prizes in the £2000 prize pot?  Enter it today online or download an Entry Form at www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/sawc  


The Sentinel Annual Poetry Competition is now in its 4th year, the short story competition in its 2nd year. For information on fees, terms and conditions visit the web pages of the Sentinel Annual Writing Competitions (SAWC) www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/sawc


Organised by Sentinel Poetry Movement – the international community of writers and artists…since December 2002

– a style of Sentinel Writing & Publishing Company Ltd

Poetry & Short Story Competitions (June 2013) – Sentinel Literary Quarterly

The June 2013 poetry and short story competitions judged by Claire Askew and Brindley Hallam Dennis respectively will close on the 30th of June.


Details: These competitions are for original, previously unpublished poems up to 50 lines long and short stories up to 1,500 words long. Stories and poems may be on any subjects and in any style. Authors of all nationalities living in any part of the world are eligible to enter. The Sentinel Literary Quarterly competitions have been run successfully every 3 months since July 2009 (Poetry) and January 2010 (Short Stories).


Prize money in each category: £150 (first), £75 (2nd), £50 (3rd) and £10 x 3 (high commendation). The winning and commended poems and stories also receive first publication in Sentinel Literary Quarterly which appears in print, eBook and online. (See current issue at www.sentinelquarterly.com)


Entry Fees (Poetry): 4/1 poem, £7/2 poems, £9/3 poems, £11/4 poems, £12/5 poems, £16/7 poems, £22/10 poems.


Entry Fees (Short Stories): £5/1 story, £8/2 stories, £10/3 stories, £12/4 stories.


How to enter: You may enter online or by post. Enter online, save time and save on postage costs. Pay securely by PayPal and submit your work by e-mail, or print off entry forms at these locations:


Poetry: http://sentinelquarterly.com/competitions/poetry/

Short Stories: http://sentinelquarterly.com/competitions/short-stories/


Full details of the Sentinel Literary Quarterly writing competitions can be found at www.sentinelquarterly.com/competitions

If you have any questions regarding any aspect of our competitions please by all means ask Sandra Felix, the Competitions Secretary by writing to competitions@sentinelpoetry.org.uk


Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry & Short Story Competitions, closing date extended.

Happy New Year all.

Please note that the closing date for Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition judged by Noel Williams and Short Story Competition judged by Clare Girvan has been extended from 31st December, 2012 to 21st January, 2013. This is in response to messages from several of our supporters who believed that the closing date of 31st December was too close to our annual competitions which closed on the 30th of November, and they needed more time to enter competition-ready work. We agree, hence this three-week extension.

This means that the results will now be announced on the 28th of February 2013.

To enter the competition now, please go to www.sentinelquarterly.com/competitions

SLQ Poetry and Short Story Competitions April 2012 Results

April 2012 Results

We are pleased to announce the results of the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry and Short Story Competitions for April 2012 judged by Miles Cain (poetry) and Kate Horsley (stories).


The 9 commended poems in no particular order are:

‘Justin’ – Christian Ward

‘Fleet’ – Simon Jackson

‘Mousetraps’ – Rosemary Kirk

‘Beneath the Bridge’ – Oz Hardwick

‘Queen’ – Terry Jones

‘Dictionaries’ – Terry Jones

‘Safe Journey’ – Eilidh Thomas

‘Hot Night’ – Diana Mason

The 3 highly commended poems in no particular order are:

‘Feeling the Wood of Father’s Bequeated Desk’ – E.K. Wall

‘Lamplight’ – David Jones

‘Snapshot’ – Valley Girl

Third Prize

‘Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait aged 63’ – Lynn Roberts

Second Prize

‘The Secret of Small Strawberries’ – Claire Cox

First Prize

‘Vinyl Junkie’ – Oz Hardwick

Sentinel Champions Subscription Giveaway

The poet that receives 1 year’s free subscription to Sentinel Champions magazine prefers not to publish his name online.


The 3 highly commended short stories are in no particular order:

‘Nature or Nurture’ – Charles Johnson

‘The Split Second’ – Fiona Barr

‘Guilt Sweets’ – Julia Lacey Brooke

Third Prize

‘Sand’ – Brindley Hallam Dennis

Second Prize

‘The Naked Fisherman’ – Leo Madigan

First Prize

‘Duopoly’ – Sarah Evans

Sentinel Champions Subscription Giveaway

The short story writer that receives 1 year’s free subscription to Sentinel Champions magazine is Christina Fulford

All the winning and commended poems and short stories above will be published in Sentinel Champions in November 2012.

Congratulations to all the winners.



  The Short Story Competition for this quarter is judged by Dr Kate Horsley, an award-winning author and Creative Writing lecturer at Lancaster University. Total prize fund of £305.00 plus publishing opportunity. Click here to enter competition now.   The Poetry … Continue reading

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Short Story Competition (January 2012)–Judge’s Report

david caddyMy critical criteria for evaluating the short stories submitted to the Competition consisted of assessing whether there was a grasp of the form and an attempt to say something. I was looking for structure, a clear developmental arc with its attendant desire to test a character and move the reader through literary effects. I was looking for a narrative voice that filtered relevant information and used detail to carry the narrative texture forward and made the reader see and feel beyond. I hoped for an implied story rather than a blob of writing without purpose.


Whilst the overall standard of writing was good, many pieces submitted had no story and were seriously under-developed. This is consistent with the current national state of short story writing. There are many people who do not have a clue what they are doing. There was a lot of structureless prose that could have been made more reader-friendly with some basic story telling craft. A lot of the writing was interesting without challenging the reader. The stories that were aware of the form shone through and held my attention. Other stories seemed random and ill-considered by comparison. A number of stories were unrealized in terms of length as well as structure. They sought to tell and had no story, no action, simply disorganized writing.


The best stories showed the reader and held attention through their narrative force and the gradual filtering of information leading to some form of resolution that forced the reader back to the beginning. The best stories drew the reader into the world and engaged with the reader. They made their world matter and have significance.


I selected Small Town Fever for the First Prize. This first person narrative is completely immersed in the experience of Marcie, who is on the run from her dangerous boyfriend, Jason. The unpredictable narrative moves back and forward and withholds information so that the reader wants to discover more. It is a volatile page-turner. The use of detail is strong throughout and reinforces the edgy, implied and unknown danger. The reader is taken on a journey and the underlying threat is beautifully sustained and understated. It is all implied rather than told and has a great ending.


The Second Prize story, The Difference, is a third person narrative concerning a 61 year-old Lecturer who becomes infatuated with a twenty three year old student. She is full of inner turmoil and becomes disorientated. She talks to herself and when hearing Berlioz, recalls the memory of her first affair with her Professor. She is a serial adulterer that has chosen a lifestyle without a family. Her past life and age catch up with her as it is revealed that the student is not interested in her. However, she is able to put the negatives to good use and writes a poem about being ‘over the hill’ and her unknown desire. A potential crisis is averted and the inner turmoil is put to good use. The story has a classic narrative structure and forces the reader back to the beginning.


The Third Prize went to The Lift, a third person narrative, about a young woman’s attraction for an older man. Angela has difficulty in judging men and the story explores her gut instincts. She is given a lift to Sunday Mass by Eion, who has a hint of danger and an implied past with women. They arrive at the Church, chat and drive back to his farmhouse. Her physical attraction to Eion is implied through the use of detail. The reader is drawn into their physical world of fingers, hands, legs and between the legs. The thrill for Angela of finding an independent and sexually attractive man is sustained through a rapid series of epiphanies that propel the action forward. It is all implied and evoked rather than stated and has a strong ending that allows the reader to see why Angela went in the direction that she did.


The Highly Commended stories included The first time, another adulteress woman story that has a strong developmental arc. Here the woman doubts her behaviour and recalls the loss of her virginity to a married man. She is caught in the repetition of her behavior and desires. The story reveals the physical side of wanting two men and the moral courage, despite worries of betrayal, to make a difficult choice. The story ends with her having both men on the same day. Again all the detail is physical and the reader has a strong sense that this is not a frivolous betrayal but a considered and clear choice. Living in Bleaney’s Room, a first person narrative, reads splendidly when read aloud and would work well on the radio. The narrator’s mutability is thoroughly caught in the voice and its cadences. The story resonates through its rich texture, use of detail and draws the reader into its distinct Welshness. It requires rereading as the texture is rich and sometimes covers the under-developed arc of the story, despite being well under the word limit. Pews For Thought impressed with its narrator’s characterization and the exposition of his contradictions.


Other notable stories are Luck Has Got Nothing To Do With It, a third person narrative, attempts to explore the notion of a luck in a socially dived school world, and Present Clarity, works well with its mostly implied desire of a young woman to become upwardly mobile through transgression. I also admired the innovative approach of Paul in Pictures. Anniversary, A Kind Of Heaven, A Small Cool Evening, The Lighthouse, My Loss and Perfect were all commendable efforts. Congratulations to all the writers.


David Caddy

Tears in the Fence | David Caddy’s Blog

The winning and highly commended stories from this competition will be published in Sentinel Champions magazine #11, August 2012. Subscribe to Sentinel Champions magazine.

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry and Short Story Competitions Results


Closing Date: 20th January 2012

We are giving away 2 annual subscriptions to our print competition magazine; Sentinel Champions.
One poet and one short story writer must win a year’s subscription. All you have to do is enter the competition as normal. All entrants to this quarter’s competition are automatically entered.

PRIZES: £150, £75, £50, AND £10 X 3 in each category + Publication in Sentinel Champions magazine.

Entry Fees: £3 per poem, £11 for 4 poems, £12 for 5 poems.
£4 per story, £10 for 3 stories & £12 for 4 stories.
Enter as many poems or stories as you wish.

Judges: David Caddy (Short Stories), Derek Adams (Poems)

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry & Short Story Competitions are held every 3 months and pays out £610.00 in Prize Money every quarter.

Enter online and pay securely with PayPal or download/print off Entry Forms (for Postal Entries) at www.sentinelquarterly.com/competitions


Jenny Donnison & Leo Madigan Win July 2011 Competitions

Sheffield poet Jenny Donnison struck a double in the July 2011 Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition judged by winning the First and Third Prizes with her poems “Starlings” and “Aestivation”. The Second Prize was won by Richard Halperin who writes … Continue reading

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry & Short Story Competitions (October 2011)

Todd Swift 1
Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (October 2011)
For poems on any subject in any style up to 40 lines long.
Closing Date: 20-September 2011
Judge: Todd Swift
Prizes: £150, £75, £50, £10 x 3.
Fees: £3 per poem. £12 for 5 poems.
Enter competition here >>

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Short Story Competition (October 2011)
For stories on any subject in any style up to 1500 words long.
Closing Date: 20-September 2011
Judge: Adnan Mahmutovic
Prizes: £150, £75, £50, £10 x 3.
Fees: £5 per story. £9 for 2 stories, and £12 for 3 stories.
Enter competition here >>