competition rules

Please ensure you read the rules carefully before entering the competition

Entry implies acceptance of all the rules and failure to comply may result in disqualification

general   |   eligibility   |   fees   |   entry format   |    receipt of entry   |    results   

copyright    |   judging   |   prizes


Poems:  42 lines maximum, no minimum, the title is not included in the line count.  Lines between text/stanzas are not counted.

Short stories:  5000 words maximum, no minimum, the title is not included in the word count.

Flash fiction:  250 words maximum, no minimum, the title is not included in the word count.

All entries are judged anonymously:  do not include your name on the document.

All entries submitted can be on any subject, and written in any style or form. However, we do not recommend poems and stories written for children.

Entrants may enter any number of poems, flash fictions or short stories in each category.

Entrants may withdraw entries from the competition by notification in writing; entry fees will not be refunded.

PLEASE NOTE: Our entry instructions are for ease of administration and we prefer you to follow them. HOWEVER if you forget anything or add details (titles, word or line counts) in the wrong place, your entry will NOT be disqualified.

We only disqualify entries if they are named or if they are over the line / word count

The deadline date for entries is 12 midnight (UK time) on Wednesday 31st May 2017 (postal entries postmarked 31st May but received later will be accepted).



The Prize is open to writers of any nationality writing in English,  16 years old and over at the time of the closing date.

Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant and by submitting you are confirming that the work is your own. Any evidence to the contrary will result in immediate disqualification.

Entries must never have been published, self-published, published on any website, blog or online forum, broadcast nor winning or placed (as in 2nd, 3rd,, runner up etc) in any other competition.

If your entry has been longlisted or shortlisted in other competitions, and provided it has not won a prize or been published, then it is eligible for the Bridport Prize.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed but will become ineligible should they win a prize or be published prior to the prizegiving date; entry fees will not be refunded.  You must inform the Bridport Prize immediately should your entry be published or win a prize elsewhere.

Entries submitted posthumously will not be eligible.



£8 for each submitted flash fiction

£9 for each submitted poem

£10 for each submitted short story


Entry Format

Entries must be in English.

Postal entries must be typed; single sided, with pages numbered and securely fastened with a staple. Each entry to be on a new sheet.

Poems to be single-spaced and a line count noted at the top of the first page.

Short stories to be double-spaced and a word count noted at the top of the first page.

Flash fiction to be double-spaced and a word count noted at the top of the first page.

Entries must show no name, address or identifying marks other than the title.

The filename of online entries must be the title of the entry and it must be either a .doc, .docx, .rtf, .wps, .pdf or .txt file.

Entries are not returned, keep a copy.

Amendments cannot be made to entries after they have been submitted, nor substitutions made.  If entrants wish to correct errors they must submit a new entry, marked 'Final Version' on the title page, and enter again with payment of the entry fee.  No correspondence or discussion about amendments will be entered into.

Please ensure that you use the correct postage.  If insufficient postage is used, the Bridport Prize will not pay the additional postage required and the entry will be returned by the Post Office.

Detailed entry instructions 

Watch our video for a step-by-step guide to submitting your entry online.


Receipt of entry

Postal entries - enclose a stamped addressed postcard marked 'ACKNOWLEDGEMENT' if you require acknowledgement of receipt of your entry.

Online entries are confirmed by the email receipt of your payment to WorldPay or PayPal plus an email from the Bridport Prize.

It is not possible to confirm receipt of entries by phone or email.

Overseas entrants: please send an international reply coupon from your Post Office rather than stamps.



To receive the judges' reports (on winning entries only) and full results in October 2017 - enclose an A5 stamped addressed envelope marked 'RESULTS'.

Overseas entrants: please send an international reply coupon from your Post Office rather than stamps or check the website for list of winners after 17th October.

 Please note: due to the high volume of entries we are only able to contact those entrants who have won or been shortlisted in the competition each year. If you do not hear from us by mid September it means your entry has not been selected on this occasion. 


Worldwide copyright of each entry remains with the author, but the Bridport Prize will have the unrestricted right to publish the winning poems and stories, (including Highly Commendeds), in the annual anthology and any relevant promotional material.



The judges' decision is final and no individual correspondence can be entered into.

Judges are unable to comment on individual entries.

Judging is fair and unbiased. Experienced readers assist the named judges in selecting the shortlists.

The Bridport Prize reserves the right to change the panel of judges without notice.



The Bridport Prize will award the following prizes:

Poem: 1st prize  £5,000, 2nd prize  £1,000, 3rd prize  £500, Highly Commended  10 x £100

Short story: 1st prize  £5,000, 2nd prize  £1,000, 3rd prize  £500, Highly Commended  10 x £100

Flash fiction: 1st prize  £1,000, 2nd prize  £500, 3rd prize  £250, Highly Commended  3 x £100

Novel award: 1st prize £1,000 plus up to a year's mentoring from The Literary Consultancy through their Chapter & Verse menoring scheme, runner-up £500 plus full manuscript appraisal, 3 x shortlisted prizes of £100 plus 50 page manuscript appraisal. All five winners will be invited to a TLC Industry Day.


The Bridport Prize reserves the right to amend these rules where it is deemed necessary to do so.  Any changes to the rules will be posted on the Bridport Prize website.



back to the top

“The Bridport Prize had more than 3,500 short story entries, so getting the 'highly commended' award was fairly amazing.  The awards luncheon provided a fascinating opportunity to talk to readers, writers, agents, and the judge.  Altogether a wonderful experience--I'd encourage all aspiring writers to go for it”.

Kate Carne, (UK) Highly Commended, short story competition 2017

What now?

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates