Club competitions

During the year we have nine competitions that all club members can enter. These are listed here. Some club competitions are similar to S.A.W. competitions, and you may wish to use the same entry for both.

Entry dates fall on club meeting nights, when the competition secretary is on hand to process the manuscripts. If you are unable to attend the meeting, you should e-mail a .pdf version of your entry, in advance, to Entries received after the entry date cannot take part in the competition.

To ensure complete anonymity in the competitions, each entrant provides a single word pseudonym, which must be different for each competition. Only the competition secretary knows the true names – the adjudicator is never aware who has written which entry.

Adjudicators are chosen for their skill and experience in the genre being judged, and are asked to provide feedback on each entry. Entering competitions is always a positive step to improving your writing, because your work will be independently reviewed.

Here are some general comments from past adjudicators:

‘All [entries] were on subjects which would be suitable for a woman’s magazine. While this is a market that is open to new writers, it’s worth remembering that it’s also a very competitive one, so your work should be of the highest standard. Presentation of your manuscript is very important…Lots of the stories started with interesting first lines and paragraphs to grab the reader’s attention and it’s important to remember that endings are important too, and should round everything off satisfactorily…’ Betty McKay, adjudicator for Woman’s Short Story category.

‘Thank you very much for allowing me to read your precious manuscripts for the Historical Novel competition. I enjoyed all of them very much and was delighted with the variety, originality and overall competency in writing historical fiction. Not one entry failed to deliver some kind of historical aspect and all of them were good enough that I could guess the period correctly…’ Rosemary Gemmell, adjudicator for Historical Novel category.

Going in for a variety of genres will benefit your writing and planning skills. Each competition has a deadline, and some have a theme. You might be unused to writing in some genres, but club competitions are an ideal way to try out new forms of expressing yourself. Some people are surprised to find they have an unexpected talent for drama or article writing, when they were convinced poetry was their genre.

The top three places in the competitions are awarded points, which accumulate throughout the year. If you enter every club competition, you gain extra points. A trophy is awarded to the person with the most points at the end of the year.

Please conform to the recommended length for each competition. For example, if the maximum states 1500 words, a 2000 word manuscript would be rejected, but a piece shorter than 1500 words would be acceptable. Do not stretch out a piece of writing just to get to the maximum length.

The number of words in your manuscript must be shown on the front page, rounding up to the nearest 50 words, and if you are a novice writer, (rules explaining this are in the welcome booklet), put NOVICE on the front page as well.

All competition rules are in the welcome booklet. If you are unsure about any of these, please contact the competition secretary, Jennifer West, at

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