National Short Story Competition

First National Competition

This is held every year, entries accepted in February, and is open to all non-professional writers living in the UK. If you'd like more information, or want your e mail address to be included on our request for details list, please use our Contact Form.

The 2017 Competition
The first round of judging is now complete and listed below are the long listed entries in alphabetical order. Congratulations to all the writers who made it this far. More stories received the qualifying number of points than in last year's competition.

  • A Creature of Habit
  • A Cultured Palate
  • A Delicious Alchemy
  • A Dish Served Cold
  • A Dog's Dinner
  • A Feast Day
  • A Helping Hand
  • A Lesson in Olives
  • A Matter of Trust
  • A Meal to Remember
  • A Suspect Meeting
  • A Week in the Life of Mr Smith
  • Angel in the Diner
  • Another Lettuce Leaf
  • Barbecue
  • Beef Stew
  • Best Served Cold
  • Between the Ears
  • Bread
  • Broken Memories
  • Caf Dolce Vita
  • Charity
  • Chez Monsieur Sureau
  • Chicken Feed
  • Christmas Dinner
  • Come and Dine
  • Crossing the Breadline
  • Cutting it Fine
  • Eating Disorders
  • Eating Peaches in the Rain
  • Echoes through Time
  • Eddie
  • Evidence
  • Exceedingly Good Cakes
  • Fairy Cakes
  • First Date
  • Forbidden Fruit
  • Fully Inclusive
  • Growing
  • Having your Cake
  • Hope is a Bus
  • I Can Give You What You Need
  • I'm Not a Saint Yet
  • In the Supermarket
  • Just Try It
  • Kimchi and Soju
  • Life is Like Cake. Eat and Enjoy
  • Locked up at Christmas
  • Make Mine a Shandy
  • Memories
  • Mirror, Mirror in the Hall
  • Mission Nutrition
  • Non-Negotiable
  • One Man's Meat
  • One Too Many
  • Party On
  • Patty
  • Pauline takes Stanley to Lunch
  • Pink Squares, Yellow Squares
  • Pizza Delivery
  • Rabbit Pie
  • Reducing the Bride
  • Rhubarb and Custard
  • Right Place, Wrong Time
  • Roman Wall Blues
  • Saving Face
  • Setting Standards
  • Small Mercies
  • Some for Later
  • Someone is Frying Bacon
  • Something Dead Again
  • Stirring Memories
  • Sunday Best
  • Susan -- The Queen of Prick and Ping
  • Taking Time
  • Tea and Biscuits
  • The Anniversary Dinner
  • The Bookworm
  • The Colonel
  • The Great Hall
  • The Kiosk
  • The Last Supper by Maria Quick
  • The Last Supper by S. Taw
  • The Most Memorable Meal
  • Three Course Meal
  • Through Gritted Teeth
  • Through the Letterbox
  • To Die For
  • Turkey Supper
  • Twenty Pence Piece
  • Valentina's Date
  • Way to a Man's Heart
  • Well Done
  • Wet and Dry
  • Wetherby Pie
  • You Are What You Eat

In 2017, the NWC is celebrating its ninetieth birthday. We're very proud that the Club has reached this milestone and, as part of our year of celebration, we've made the theme for this year's competition food and/or drink. There are many ways to write on this subject and here are a few we've thought of.

A wedding, a birthday party or dinner, a first date, a barbeque, cocktails on the beach, room service at a hotel, drinks after work, drinking alone, girls' or boys' night out, hen or stag party, hunting or fishing, working at a bar or restaurant, food fads, diets, home cooking, chocoholics, alcoholics, who needs recipes?, cooking disaster, dinner party, poisoning (accidental or on purpose), going to a cookery class, museum display, childhood incidents, allergies ...

As we want to encourage new and less experienced writers to 'have a go', we'll give a few lines of feedback on each entry and, as this isn't a competition for professionals, please don't enter if you've earned 300 or more from short story writing up to and including 2016.

The story must contain no more than 2,000 words excluding the title.

There will be three main prizes - 200, 100 and 50 - plus five runners up prizes.

All writers will retain the copyright to their entry/entries and the top three stories will be published on the NWC website. Winners will also receive a small certificate with the judge's comments on the back.

Good luck and happy writing.

Helen Yendall

About our Judge

Helen Yendall writes short stories and serials for women's magazines and is a former Poet Laureate for Warwick. She's been placed in several short story competitions, has taught creative writing since 2008 and often runs flash fiction writing competitions on her blog:

Rules of Entry

(Please read carefully)

Short story up to 2,000 words (not including the title). Please don't exceed this limit as this could lead to your story being disqualified.


Postal Entries: 5 for one entry, 10 for two and 4 each for three or more entries. There is no limit to the number of entries you may submit but each one must be accompanied by its own entry form. Fees to be paid by cheque or postal order, made payable to 'Nottingham Writers' Club'. Please don't send cash.

Online Entries: 6 for one, 12 for two and 5 each for three or more. Fees to be paid by credit/debit card or PayPal. The additional 1 charge covers the cost of transaction fees and printing.

If you'd like to get a 2 discount per story, join the Nottingham Writers' Club as an Associate Member.

The competition opens for submissions of entries on 1st February 2017, with the last day for receipt being 28th February 2017.

  • The competition is for any resident of the United Kingdom who is over 18 years of age at the time of entry.
  • The work must be original and previously unpublished, and the copyright of the author.
  • All entrants must be non-professional writers. For the purpose of this competition, we define 'non-professional' as a writer who has earned less then 300 for short story writing up to and including 2016.
  • Entries must not have been previously published, self-published, and/or posted on any website, blog or online forum; broadcast, nor winning or placed (as in 2nd, 3rd runner up, etc.) in any other competition.
  • Copyright remains with the author; but the top three winners agree to their stories being published on the Nottingham Writers' Club website.

Entry Format

  • Entries must be in English, typed in an easy to read font size 12, double line spaced on one side of A4 paper, margins set to approximately 2.5 cm.
  • Pages must be numbered, have a footer showing the title, and be stapled together with a cover page showing only the title, pseudonym and word count (an example is at the bottom of this document).
  • All other information is to be given on the accompanying entry form. We ask for a pseudonym to ensure fairness in the judging process.

Entries will not be returned but shredded after the judge has made her decision so please make sure you keep a copy.

Postal entries: Send to NWC, c/o 29 Redwood Avenue, Wollaton, Nottingham, NG8 2SG, between 1st February and 28th February 2017. If insufficient postage is used, the NWC will not pay the difference. Please don't send recorded delivery as I'm not always in to sign for it.

Receipt of all entries will be acknowledged by email but if you prefer a postal confirmation you need to include a stamped, addressed postcard. Last year, several e mails weren't received so please check in your Junk file in case it's gone in there. The judge's decision is final and no individual correspondence can be entered into.

The winners will be notified by e mail and entrants will receive regular updates when the long list, short list and winners are on the website.

If you don't hear from us within seven days of sending your entry, please contact us by e mail or use the contact form on our website. Last year we had a few e mail addresses that didn't work and one envelope that arrived empty. Also, don't send entries to The Mechanics as we only hold meetings there and you may miss the entry deadline.

Online entries: can be submitted via our website between 1st February and 28th February 2017.

File type: doc, docx, odt, rtf or pdf. Size: less than 3MB.


Competition is now closed

Please keep checking back here for the latest news of the results.

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