The Bird’s Nest Books Short Story Competition 2017


Eligibility: Open to adults (aged 16 and over) living in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Peterborough. Stories must be the original work of the writer and be previously unpublished in any form.

Word Count: A maximum of 1000 words (excluding the title)

Theme/genre: There is no set theme or genre, but erotica and graphic horror cannot be accepted.

Entry Fee: £3.50 per entry

Closing Date: Midnight on Sunday September 3rd 2017. Entries received after this time will not be considered.

Submissions: Must be made via email to

Judges: Sue Welfare and Jon Lawrence

Results: Shortlisted entrants will be notified by Thursday 14th September. The winner will be announced on Monday 9th October.

Prize: The author of the winning entry will receive a cash prize of £75 and their story will be published in The Fens magazine.

The competition is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered. The standard was really high and the judges found it difficult to choose, but eventually decided that the winning story was ‘Real French Lavender’ by Jon Clynch. The story will be published in The Fens magazine, a lovely family run publication which is local to us. Thank you to them for taking part!

The judges are Norfolk-based authors Sue Welfare and Jon Lawrence.

You can still read the winning story from 2016, The Last Moa by Gemma Wells, here.

The competition rules are below, for information only.


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1. Write Your Story
Please read the full rules (below). Stories may only be submitted electronically, not on paper. Please submit your story as a Word document (.doc or .docx file) in Times New Roman 12pt or Arial 12pt and double spaced. Please put your name and the title at the beginning of the piece. When the writing is passed onto the judges, all names will be removed so that the writing can be judged anonymously.

2. Make Your Payment
Once your story is ready to submit MAKE YOUR PAYMENT FIRST here.


Payment will be processed through PayPal (you do not need a PayPal account). If you cannot pay online, or you do not wish to, we can accept payment via cheque made out to Bird’s Nest Books CIC and posted to Bird’s Nest Books, March Town Hall, Market Place, March, Cambs. PE15 9JF. We can also take payment in cash at our office in March. The office is not occupied every day – please email or phone 07388 821282 to make an appointment.

3. Send Your Story
Email it as an attachment to with SHORT STORY COMPETITION 2017 in the title of the email. Please state in the email your name, address and phone number, the date you made your payment and whether it was by cheque, in person at the office or via Paypal.

You will then receive an email acknowledgement of your submission.

Closing date for receipt of entries: Midnight (BST) 3rd September 2017.



Writing must be well-structured, coherent and grammatically correct. We will be looking out for original, engaging stories with an interesting plot and convincing characters.

Entries will be read and judged anonymously. A shortlist will be drawn up by the Bird’s Nest Books directors and announced on September 14th. The stories on the short list will be read by judges Sue Welfare and Jon Lawrence who will decide on the winning entry. The judges’ decision is final, and no correspondence regarding the judging can be entered into.

There will be a cash prize of £75 for the winner and the winning story will be published in the November issue of The Fens Magazine (, which is available in print and online. The winner will receive a copy of the magazine.



• The Short Story Competition is open to all published and unpublished writers living in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Lincolnshire or Peterborough. All entries should be in English.

• There is no specific theme for the 2017 Competition and entries may be in any genre or on any subject except erotica or graphic horror. The directors of Bird’s Nest Books and the judges reserve the right to reject any story which they feel falls into these categories. The winning story will be published in The Fens Magazine and must be suitable for that audience.

• Entries must be a maximum of 1000 words, excluding the title.

• Entries must be the original work of the entrant and must never have been published in any form, in print or online, including self publishing, in magazines, on websites, blogs and social media, or broadcast, or won any competitions previously. Any entry found to have been previously published, or plagiarised, will be disqualified.

• Authors may enter as many stories as they wish; each entry must be accompanied by the fee.

• Family members of the directors of Bird’s Nest Books or the judges are not eligible to enter.

• Entries will be judged anonymously.

• Entries must be submitted electronically. Entries on paper will not be accepted.

• Entries will only be accepted for judging if payment has been received.

• No corrections or alterations can be made after receipt of an entry.

• Please contact us by email ( at any time if you wish to withdraw your entry. No refund will be given for any withdrawn entries.

• The closing date for receipt of entries is midnight (BST) 3rd September 2017.

• Entry to the Competition implies an acceptance of the Bird’s Nest Books Short Story Competition Rules. Entries that fail to comply with the Rules may be disqualified.