500-word Competition

Exciting news! BeaconLit is running a new 500-word (maximum) competition in collaboration with Morgen Bailey. Details below…

How it works:

  • There is a monthly deadline (see below) for entries, with the top three stories (from three different authors) from each month going through to the following May’s shortlist (of 33 entries), from which a final ten are picked (see ‘Prizes’ below).
  • You can enter (via the form below) as often as you like whenever you like but if you all enter in the final month (May, the eleventh / final round), you’ll have more competition. It doesn’t make any difference which month you enter because you won’t know who else is submitting that month. If you submit in July and you’re not in the top three then you could enter again (with a different story) in August (or any other month). You can enter as often as you like whenever you like. Do enter more than once as it gives you a better chance of going through to the shortlist.
  • If you are selected in a particular month, do keep entering because the best ten overall stories will be chosen to receive prizes. No author can win more than one prize so if an author has more than one story in the top 33 then the best story from that author will be selected with the eleventh story / author then being ‘promoted’.
  • If you are unsuccessful, i.e. not in the top three each month, then you still have the story to send elsewhere and you’ll only have to wait until the following month (detailed below) to find out.
  • If you are in the top three, then you will have to wait until the final results are announced July 2018. You can still of course mentioned your placement when submitting something else elsewhere.
  • Once the ten overall winners are announced, only the top two stories will be published so even if you are placed third to tenth, you can still submit your story elsewhere and can tell them you were in the top ten! The same goes if you are in the top 33 shortlist.
  • The results from each round will be announced on this blog and the literary festival’s website / blog with three ‘winners’ from each round going forward to the shortlist (of 33 authors / stories) which will be announced / judged the following June, and the final results announced at the following festival, i.e. July 2018.
  • Judge: Morgen Bailey is the judge for each round and the final shortlist judging. Her decision is final. 🙂
  • The top ten placed winners will be announced at the July literary festival, by one of the festival’s celebrity authors. See ‘Prizes’ below.

Deadlines / themes:

  • Round 1: First deadline: 31st July 2017 (theme = July), results announced 16th August
  • Round 2: Second deadline: 31st August (theme = August), results announced 8th September
  • Round 3: Third deadline: 30th September (theme = September), results announced 9th October
  • Round 4: Fourth deadline: 31st October (theme = October), results announced 1st November
  • Round 5: Fifth deadline: 30th November (theme = November), results announced 5th December
  • Round 6: Sixth deadline: 31st December (theme = December), results announced 18th January
  • Round 7: Seventh deadline: 31st January (theme = January), results announced 12th February
  • Round 8: Eighth deadline: 28th/29th February (theme = February), results announced 15th March
  • Round 9: Ninth deadline: 31st March (theme = March), results announced mid-April
  • Round 10: Tenth deadline: 30th April (theme = April), results announced mid-May
  • Round 11: Final (eleventh) deadline: 31st May (theme = May), results announced mid-June
  • The final judging will then take place in June and the ten winners (see ‘Prizes’ below) announced at the literary festival in July.
  • NB. Any stories not written to the relevant month’s theme with be disqualified with no money refunded. The theme can be any interpretation of the word, e.g. April and June could be women’s names or you can pick a festivity that takes place within a particular month, etc.


  • Fee: £2 per entry via PayPal (click on the ‘Buy Now’ link below)
  • no limit to number of entries but £2 per entry (form below, one entry / payment per form)
  • optional critique (by judge Morgen Bailey) on stories submitted at an additional £5 per story. The critique* will be sent after the relevant month’s results have been announced. *via Word attachment to an email – please advise if you don’t have Word

Prizes (there are ten prizes!):

  • First prize: £50 plus free entry to the following year’s literary festival (currently worth £25), plus publication on the festival’s website and blog
  • Second prize: £25 plus free entry to the following year’s literary festival (currently worth £25), plus publication on the festival’s website and blog
  • Eight further prizes of free entry to the following year’s literary festival (currently worth £25 each).


  • previously unpublished stories
  • no minimum word count but no more than 500 words excluding the title. Stories over 500 words will be disqualified without being read
  • the theme is the relevant ‘month’ (i.e. July for July’s deadline)
  • do not submit a future / past month’s entry in the incorrect month (i.e. May’s in July) or they will be disqualified, with no refund given, and you won’t be able to enter it in the correct month
  • no genre restrictions but must be fiction
  • open worldwide but written in English only
  • no age limit
  • please read your stories carefully as any spelling / careless mistakes will be marked down
  • only the first version of a submitted story will be accepted. Further ‘revisions’ will ignored
  • Fee: £2 per entry via PayPal (click on the ‘Buy Now’ link below)
  • no limit to number of entries but £2 per entry
  • optional £5 fee for critique via same PayPal link
  • no author will win more than one prize (ten prizes awarded)
  • the top two stories will be published on this blog and the main BeaconLit website. The other stories can be sent elsewhere immediately. The two winning stories can be re-used six months after publication. NB. You will need to tell the prospective market that the stories have already been published but winning / being placed is great for your cv
  • any other rule we think of.
If you have any general queries about the competition, please use the contact us page and we’ll get back to you. No correspondence regarding specific entries will be entered into with the judge.

NB. Once you’ve clicked on ‘Submit’ and you get the ‘Message sent’ message, please complete the payment below. You can go through this process as often as you like, paying £2 per story submitted (plus optional critique at £5 per story). We will let you know if there are any anomalies. If you suspect something has gone awry, you can use the contact us page and our competition administrator will get back to you.


Entry only (£2):



Entry plus critique (£7):