Ilkley Literature Festival Short Story Competition 2019

Last year’s short story competition prize winners featured an eerie masterclass in ghostly tension, a guttural family story of absence and the unsaid, and a tale simultaneously bizarre comedy and heart-wrenching psychodrama.

What surprises, narrative invention and beautiful crafted voices will the 2019 competition bring?


1st Prize     £200

The winning author, plus runners up and commended will be invited to read at the Ilkley Literature Festival in October 2019.


The winner will be selected by a panel of judges, with the final decision being made by a head judge (a professional fiction writer, soon to be announced) and will be judged on literary merit, originality and readability.

In brief

  • Entries can be on any subject
  • Short stories should between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length
  • Closing date for receipt of entries: Wednesday 31 July 2019, 11.30pm
  • Prize winners will be notified by: Friday 27 September 2019


The entry fee is £5 per story (you can send as many entries as you like) payable online or by cheque made out to ‘Ilkley Literature Festival Ltd’.


How to Enter

The Short Story Competition has now closed for entries. Winners will be announced in October.

The competition will open again in spring 2020.


Terms & Conditions


The competition is open to anyone, including non-UK applicants (Ilkley Literature Festival is unable to offer any financial assistance for winners to attend the prizegiving), aged 18 years and over. Non-UK Residents are welcome to enter the competition but entries from overseas can only be submitted online. Please note, there is a separate short story competition for young people aged 12-18.

Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant and must never have been published, self-published, published on any website or online forum, broadcast nor won or been placed in any other competition (as at October 2019).

Entries submitted posthumously will not be eligible.


Worldwide copyright of each entry remains with the author, but by entering the competition the entrant agrees that Ilkley Literature Festival will have the unrestricted right to publish the winning poems and stories, (including those of the runners up), on the Festival website or as ‘posters’, postcards and/or celebratory pamphlets for display and distribution during the Festival and the entrant waives his/her rights in relation to such publication to the extent that he/she is able to do so.


The judges’ decision is final and no individual correspondence can be entered into.
Judges are unable to comment on individual entries.
Judging will be fair and unbiased. Experienced readers will assist the named judges in selecting the shortlists.
The organisers reserve the right to change the panel of judges without notice and not to award prizes if, in the opinion of the judges, such action is justified.


Prize winners will be notified by Friday 27 September 2019 and invited to receive their prize and read their work at Artistic License on Sunday 6 October.

The list of prize winners will be displayed on the website after 20 October 2019.

Please Note

Entry implies acceptance of all the above rules.
Failure to comply with the entry requirements will result in disqualification.