open on 1 november for the 2020 award.

The Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition is open to writers worldwide. You do not have to be Scottish to enter!

Alexander McCall Smith is the chief judge. He is assisted by a team of passionate and experienced readers in the early rounds, who work together in teams reviewing the stories. Each story that makes it to the final round of the competition has been reviewed about 40 times. 

Stories should be 2,000 words or fewer and may be on any topic. Alexander McCall Smith told us he is keen to see stories that are clever, upbeat, entertaining, or optimistic. This does not mean all stories must be like that. It is still possible that a strongly told tragic story will win Above all we want to encourage diversity.

2020 Prizes include:

  • First prize of £1,000, second prize £500, third prize £250 open to writers worldwide

  • £500 Isobel Lodge Award open to unpublished writers born, living or studying in Scotland.

  • The Scottish Arts Club will present one year free membership of the Club to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place and Isobel Lodge winners. Explore the Club and its many affiliations in other cities (Please note this offer does not apply to current or former members of the Scottish Arts Club.)

  • Dedicated page on our website for all finalists to promote their work and share insights about their writing life. Go to the Writers' Pages.

  • The Scottish Arts Club Member's Prize is awarded by our reader's panel to the top story entered by a member of the Scottish Arts Club.

The short-list of seven finalists will be published by 20 August 2020.  All six finalists will be contacted by phone or email by 20 August and invited to attend the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Awards Dinner to be held on Saturday 3 October 2020. For a limited period the stories of all seven finalists will be published on this website.

Finalists in the 2019 competition will be announced in August and the winner at the Scottish Arts Trust Story Awards Dinner on 5 October 2019


“From the romantic to the dystopian, from crime to magical realism, from laugh-out-loud stories to the tales that keep you thinking, this is a colourful collection from the first five years of the Scottish Arts Trust Story Awards.” Alexander McCall Smith

Publication in our next anthology is guaranteed for all finalists and offered to all other long-listed authors.