the short story rules

OPEN FOR ENTRIES:  1 November 2018

CLOSING DATE: 28 February 2019

WORD LIMIT: 2,000 words

PRIZES:

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  • £500 Isobel Lodge Award open to unpublished writers born, living or studying in Scotland.

  • Scottish Arts Club Members Award - Trophy. 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.

  • All finalists - signed copies of an Alexander McCall Smith novel

  • All finalists – invitation to the Short Story Awards Dinner

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

  • Publication in our next anthology for all finalists.

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

ELIGIBILITY:  The Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition is open to all writers worldwide, published and unpublished, who are over 18 years by 1 September 2019. You do not have to be Scottish to enter the competition.

Simultaneous submission is permitted. Should your story win a prize or be published elsewhere, please let us know so that we may remove your entry from the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Awards. Stories entered for the competition should not have been previously published in any format, online or print, self-published or paid. 

The Isobel Lodge Award for New Scottish Writing is a special award within the competition that is only open to unpublished writers born, living or studying in Scotland on 1 January 2019. UNPUBLISHED means that the writer has never had a book-length work of fiction or short fictional story purchased by a commercial publisher or magazine.  If you have a work of fiction that has been published online or in print but were not paid for it by a publisher or competition you can qualify for the Isobel Lodge Award. Writers also qualify if they have self-published a work of fiction. Authors of commercially published non-fiction may also submit stories for the Isobel Lodge Award. If you have won a cash prize in a competition that included online or print publication you do not qualify for the Isobel Lodge Award.

The Scottish Arts Club Member's Award is open to all current members of the Scottish Arts Club.

TOPIC: Short stories entered for the competition may be on any topic. Stories do not have to be set in Scotland or on Scottish themes.

FEES: Every story submitted carries an entry fee of £10 payable as a donation to the Scottish Arts Club Charitable Trust via credit/debit card, PayPal or cheque. All entrants should carefully follow the guidelines on payment given on the "Enter the competition" page. Any questions about payment should be referred to SSASHORTS@LUCIDITY.LTD.UK .

FORMAT: All stories should be in English, double spaced, 12pt, in Microsoft Word or in a PDF format. If you experience difficulties in saving as a PDF or in Word please read these guidance notes.

  • The title of the story and page number should appear on every page. This should be inserted using the header format option.

  • The total number of words excluding the title should be listed at the end of the story. Stories that are one word over 2,000 words will be disqualified.

  • The competition is judged anonymously. The author must not be identifiable from anything in the story or included in the story pages. If your name appears anywhere in the story document (even on a separate title page) the story will be disqualified.

SUBMISSION: All stories must be submitted via the online entry form.  Stories that are sent in hard copy will be disqualified. Writers may submit as many stories as they like. 

RETURNS/CHANGES: No corrections can be made after submission, nor fees refunded after entry. If you wish to make changes to your story you may re-submit another version paying another £10 entry fee. No reimbursement will be made for stories that are disqualified for being inconsistent with the short story rules of entry.

COPYRIGHT: All stories submitted must be original, fictional, and entirely the author’s own work, and not infringe the copyright or any other rights of any third party and not be defamatory of any living person or corporate body. Entries must be in the entrant’s own name/names. Stories entered should be suitable for an adult audience but not unsuitable for a general audience when published on the Scottish Arts Club website. All stories by finalists that are published on our website will be credited. The author will retain copyright to their story. 

SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSION: Simultaneous submission is permitted. Should your story win a prize or be published elsewhere, please let us know so that we may remove your entry from the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition.

PUBLICATION: Stories by finalists may be included in the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Collection. Stories by the finalists will also be published on this website.

JUDGING: During the early phases of the competition, an experienced team of readers will read and assess all stories through successive rounds. Stories are gradually eliminated from the competition until the final round when the last 6 stories are assessed by Alexander McCall Smith.  (Stories reaching the final round will have been reviewed more than 40 times.)

The Scottish Arts Club Charitable Trust guarantees that judging will be anonymous, impartial and fair. The Judge’s decision is final. The Scottish Arts Club Charitable Trust cannot enter into discussion with any entrant on the judging process. We cannot provide feedback on individual stories

PUBLICITY: By entering this competition all writers agree that if they are among the finalists, their identity and town/country of residence may be released to the media and their stories may be published on the Scottish Arts Club website and in the anthology.

All finalists in the short story competition will be informed personally by email or by telephone by 20 August 2018. 

The winners of the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Award 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes cannot also win the Isobel Lodge Award of £500.

The awards will be presented on Saturday 28 September 2019 during the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Awards Dinner. All the finalists will be invited to attend the dinner. The dinner will be free for all finalists. Any guests of finalists will need to pay for their dinner and book in advance. Finalists will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation costs.