Distill, build, end well

Gail Honeyman was shortlisted in our competition and went on to write Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, winning the Costa debut novel award. Our winning and highly commended UK based writers are entered into the BBC short story competition. That’s not all, literary agent A.M. Heath reads all the shortlist and considers representation. Long story short? You are 5,000 words away from success.

First prize: £5,000

One of the largest short story prizes, the winning story features in our anthology, so you will see your words in print, maybe for the first time. That’s not all. It opens up further opportunities where your story needs to have been published. You will be invited to our awards celebration and get insightful feedback from the judges and our professional partners. Finally, we will champion you not only as our winner but always as part of the Bridport Prize family.

Second prize: £1,000

Your story features in the Bridport Prize anthology, so you will see your words on the page forever more. It also means you are officially published and can pursue other opportunities. We hope you’ll join us for the awards celebration and recognition of your success.


Third prize: £500

Your short story is included in our anthology where you’ll see your words finally within the pages of a book. Being published now gives you access to other opportunities. Join our awards celebration and breathe in how your hard work is out there for all to see.

Highly Commended 10 x £100

Background Elements

The short story prize is open to writers of any nationality writing in English aged 16 and over at the time of the closing date.

Entries must be entirely your own work. Any evidence to the contrary will result in immediate disqualification.

Entries must not have been published, self-published, published on any website, blog or online forum, broadcast, have won or been placed (2nd, 3rd, runner up etc) in any other competition.

If your entry has been long-listed or shortlisted in other competitions, and provided it has not won a prize or been published, it is eligible.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed but will become ineligible should they win a prize elsewhere, be published or scheduled for future publication prior to the date of prize giving. Entry fees will not be refunded.

You must inform us immediately should your entry be published or win a prize elsewhere.

Entries submitted posthumously are not eligible.

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. IMPORTANT: All entries are judged anonymously. Please do not include your name, address, phone number, email, website, twitter handle etc on the document or in the file name as this will result in disqualification.


We disqualify entries if they are named or over the word limit. If you forget to add details – title or word count – your entry will NOT be disqualified.


Entries can be on any subject in any style or form. We do not recommend stories written for children. You can enter any number of short stories but please check you are submitting the correct version of your work before uploading as mistakes cannot be rectified later. If you find you have submitted the wrong version or have made a mistake in the work, you can withdraw it and resubmit a corrected version. Please note a further fee would be payable. Entries can be withdrawn by logging into your account. To see how to withdraw, please click here. Entry fees will not be refunded.


The deadline date for entries is 23:59 (UK time) on 31st May 2024. Postal entries postmarked 31st May but received later will be accepted.


Short story: 5000 words max. No minimum. Title not included in the word count.


  • Add the word count to the top right of the first page. The title is not included in the word count but if you include a Glossary of terms or expressions, this is included
  • Do not add cover or title pages
  • Use any font in 12pt
  • Double line spaced (ie: a blank line space between each line)
  • Number the pages in the centre at the bottom of the page
  • Save the file as a Microsoft Word document – .doc or .docx. We also accept file types .rtf, .pdf, .txt. Maximum allowed file size is 2Mb
  • The file name should be the title of the story only, typed exactly the same as on the document, for example: Pride and Prejudice
  • Do not include your name in the file title or it will be disqualified
  • Do not put Bridport entry / Bridport story entry etc in the file title
  • For untitled pieces, save the document with the first line of the story instead
  • For postal entries, staple or securely fasten the pages together with a strong paperclip


£14 per short story. There is no limit to the number of submissions.


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


Worldwide copyright of each entry remains with the author but the Bridport Prize has unrestricted rights to publish the winning and highly commended poems, short stories and flash fiction stories in the anthology and any relevant promotional material.

Results & Awards

Winners and highly commended writers will be notified by email in September. A prize-giving event will be held for these writers at Bridport Arts Centre, Dorset on Saturday 19th October 2024.


Postal entries: enclose a stamped, self addressed postcard marked ACKNOWLEDGEMENT if you require receipt of entry. Online entries are confirmed by email to your Submittable account on receipt of payment. Please check your spam folder as emails can land there. It is NOT possible to confirm receipt of entries by phone or email.


  • Carefully read the rules, entry requirements and eligibility before submission
  • Check you’re submitting the correct version of your piece
  • Check spam as our emails might land there
  • Get in touch with any questions well before the 31 May deadline. For all enquiries please email [email protected]


  • Worry if you omit the line count. You won’t be disqualified
  • Be alarmed if your entry confirmation email isn’t immediate. Log in and check your order history. All submitted entries are listed in date order
  • Get concerned if your postal entry fee hasn’t been taken. We open entries in batches and a delay is not unusual

Q: Can I make changes after submission?
A: No. If you want to submit a more recent version you have to enter again and pay the fee. You can withdraw your original entry by logging into your Submittable account. To see how to withdraw, please click here. To withdraw postal entries, please email [email protected]

Q: Do you accept email attachments?
A: No. You can only submit online or by post.

Q: An earlier version of my work was shortlisted in another competition but I’ve changed it. Can I submit it?
A: If the work was not published, you did not receive a cash prize and it has been altered, then yes it is eligible.

Q: My work was long listed in another competition and published in an online anthology. Can I submit it?
A: No. Previously published work is not eligible.

Q: My work was previously shortlisted in this competition. Can I re-submit it?
A: Yes.

Q: Are simultaneous submissions to other competitions allowed?
A: Yes, though if you submit your entry at the same time, it’s on the understanding you will immediately withdraw from the Bridport Prize if it wins elsewhere. Equally, if you win with us you should withdraw from any other competitions.

Q: How many pieces can I enter?
A: You can enter any number of pieces in each category.

Q: What about copyright?
A: Worldwide copyright remains with the author but we have unrestricted rights to first publish winning and highly commended poems, short stories and flash fiction in the 2024 anthology and we may use extracts for promotional material.

Q: Must entries be unpublished?
A: Yes.

Q: Does a short story on my blog count as publication?
A: Yes.

Q: Are translations allowed?

A: An author’s translation of their work into English is eligible but someone else’s translation of the work is not.

Q: My piece was previously published in another language. Can I submit it in translation?

A: Yes, providing amendments have been made to the original work and it was not published in the UK.

Q: How do you sort entries if they’re anonymous?

A: Postal entries are coded then matched to an entry form once the judges have made their decision. Online entries are automatically tagged with a number connected to personal details.

Q: Can I use a pen name?

A: Yes. But please submit your piece in your real name. When winners are selected we check what name you want to use.

Q: Can I send the same piece I entered in last year’s competition?

A: Yes.

Q: I accidentally included my details on the piece. Will it be disqualified?

A: Yes. You need to start over.

Q: Are entries returned after judging?

A: No. They are deleted or shredded.

Q: When are winners notified?

A: During September. The full results will be posted on the website and social media on Saturday 19th October 2024. The shortlists, novel long list and Judges’ Report with a list of the winners are available as downloads. All winning and shortlisted poetry, short story and flash fiction writers will be contacted during September.

Q: How do I get an entry form?

A: Download and print it from our website or email [email protected] to get one emailed or posted.

Q: What happens if I send my postal entry close to the deadline?

A: Entries postmarked on 31st May deadline date but arriving later will be accepted. Late entries are not.

Q: What if I forget to add a word count?

A: Don’t worry. We check if the work is shortlisted.

Ready to submit your entry?

The best short stories make the back of your neck tingle. They make you feel newly alive to the world. They suck you in fast.

Monica Ali, Judge 2018
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