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Submissions open

27th Nov - 17th Jan 2021  

Open theme

Invitation for submissions of poetry, flash fiction

and short stories 


First Prize in each category - £100

Winners of each category will:

  • win £100

  • appear in our competition issue to launch on Friday February 5th 2021.

  • be invited to record their entry for our Podcast page

  • appear in our printed 2021 Anthology

  • invitation to take part in The Phare's WriteLines online writing retreat for free

  • take part in on-going publicity

Second Prize in each category - £50

Runners-up of each category will:

  • win £50

  • appear in our competition issue to launch on Friday February 5th 2021.

  • appear in our printed 2021 Anthology

  • take part in on-going publicity



WriteWords 20/21 Competition


Poetry – 40 lines max

Flash Fiction – 1000 words max

Short Story – 3000 words max



  1. Entrants must be 18 years or over.

  2. An entry can only be made by the work's individual author.

  3. Entries must not have been previously published in print or online, been broadcast or won a prize. 

  4. Entries can be on any theme or subject but must be written in English. Non-fiction and fiction/poetry written for young adults or children is not eligible.

  5. Simultaneous submissions are permitted. Should your fiction/poetry win a prize or be published elsewhere, please email so that we may remove your entry from the competition and refund your entry fee.

  6. Authors retain full worldwide copyright throughout.



  1. Entries should be typed in a plain legible font.  No indents for paragraphs or dialogue, just line breaks.

  2. Entries will be read and judged anonymously so please do not put your name, address, email, telephone number or any personally identifying information on any page. Entries that do not follow this criteria will be disqualified.

  3. If the piece has no title, then its first five words must be used as the title.

  4. The file name must be the title of your piece, punctuation removed. If your piece does not have a title, then the file name must be its first five words, punctuation removed.



  1. Enter via email to In the body of the email please write your PayPal ref number your name and a short 50 word bio.  In the subject header of the email state the name of your piece and whether it is poetry, flash fiction or a short story. We do not accept postal entries.

  2. Submissions open Friday 27th November 2020 and close 2359 hrs GMT on 17th January 2021

  3. No major corrections or alterations can be made after entries have been received.

  4. Entries are acknowledged via your PayPal receipt and by an automated email response from The Phare.


Submission Fee

£8 for one short story - £14 for two

£7 for one Flash fiction - £12 for two

£6 for one Poem - £10 for two


There will be five free submissions for writers of reduced means. Please email with details of your eligibility.

Submissions must be paid for via the PayPal buttons below. Payment can be made using your PayPal account or via Credit/Debit card option on the PayPal page.



  1. The prize for each competition (poetry, flash fiction and short story) is £100 winner, £50 runner-up plus extras - full details can be found here.

  2. Prizes will be paid through PayPal or direct bank transfer.

  3. An anonymous long-list of ten in each category will be announced on The Phare website on 24th Jan 2021

  4. All winners, runners-up and long-listed will be published in The Phare’s competition issue 5th February 2021

  5. No correspondence can be entered into. Judges’ decisions are final.

Meet the Judges

Philip Rush


Philip Rush lives in Stroud where he reads, and sometimes writes, poetry every day. His poems have featured in journals in UK, Ireland and USA, and have been anthologised by Carcanet and Bloodaxe publications.  He runs the poetry imprint Yew Tree Press

Mary-Jane Holmes

Flash Fiction

Mary-Jane has won the Bath Novella-in-Flash Prize, the Bridport Poetry prize, Dromineer, Reflex Fiction and Mslexia Flash Prize. In 2020, she was shortlisted for the Beverley International Prize. Mary-Jane’s debut poetry collection Heliotrope with Matches and Magnifying Glass is published by Pindrop Press. Her Novella-in Flash Don’t Tell the Bees will be published shortly by Ad Hoc Fiction. Her poetry pamphlet Dihedral is published by Live Canon in November. She was listed in the Biffy top fifty writers 2020.

Ken Elkes

Short Stories

K.M. Elkes is the author of the short fiction collection All That Is Between Us (Ad Hoc Fiction, 2019), which was shortlisted for a 2020 Saboteur Award. His short stories have won, or been placed, in international writing competitions including the Manchester Fiction Prize, Royal Society of Literature Award, Bath Short Story Award and the Bridport Prize. He was longlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award in 2019. His work has appeared in more than 30 literary anthologies and journals. He is a short story tutor for Comma Press and lives near Bristol, UK.

Pay your submission fee to enter 

Photography Submissions

We are open all year for general photography submissions. See here for more information.