Cheltenham Writers’ Circle is launching its first open short story competition with cash prizes totalling £150 plus book tokens.  The theme, chosen to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, is ‘What You Will’ – in other words your creativity has no bounds..


Maximum word count is 2,000.

Opening date: 14 February 2016

Closing date: 30 June 2016

Judge: Helen Hollick, author of historical fiction and  ‘The Sea Witch Voyages’ and Managing Editor for the Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews.

Prizes:   £100 for the overall winner and £50 for the best entry with a GL postcode (the overall winner cannot take both prizes), plus a £15 book token for the runner up in each category, courtesy of The Suffolk Anthology bookshop, Cheltenham.

Entry fee: £2 per story, maximum 3 entries.

Stories entered for the competition should not have been published or have been winners in earlier competitions.

In entering the competition entrants give their  permission for Cheltenham Writers’ Circle to publish the winning stories and others of special merit in the Circle’s collection of writing, Hillside Voices. All rights remain with the author.


Submissions: can be made by email or post. Email:  Post: The Organiser, Cheltenham Prize,  2, Hayman Close, Cheltenham, GL53 9FD.  Postal entries should be on A4 paper, double spaced, in TWO copies.  Email entries should be on Word files attached to a cover email headed ‘Cheltenham Prize’. All entries must be in English.


Please submit a separate cover page with your name and contact details, including postal address, email and phone number, story title(s) and first line(s). Please ensure the story manuscript itself does not feature your name. If emailing, please send the cover sheet and your story as two separate files attached to the same email.


Payment is by cheque made out to ‘Cheltenham Writers’ Circle’ (please mark the back of the cheque ‘Cheltprize’ and add the name(s) of your story(ies)) to be sent by post to the Organiser at the above address. Send your cheque by post even if you send your entry by email and be sure to give details to enable the Organiser to marry up your payment with your story.

Any queries to


We hope you have fun writing your stories.


People sometimes ask what criteria the stories are judged by. These are fairly equal considerations:


1)      Originality

2)      Quality of writing; narrative drive, pace and flow, characterisation, plot, technique

3)      Quality of prose; grammar, spelling and punctuation.


We hope that’s helpful and look forward to receiving your entry


All the best,


Phil Jones – Chair, Cheltenham Writers’ Circle

Edward James –  Competition Organiser