The Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition 2017

Once again the Norwich Writers’ Circle is preparing to launch this year’s Olga Sinclair Open Short Fiction Competition.  This will be our third competition.

This year, entries must explore the theme of ‘strangers’.

Our adjudicator this year is historical novelist Ralph Jackman.


Word limit:  2,000

Entry fee: £8 per manuscript.  Entrants are welcome to submit multiple entries.  There is no limit to number of submissions, provided an entry fee has been paid for each.

 Deadline: 31st July 2017 for email entries, 17th July 2017 for postal entries.

International entries welcome.


  • 1st Place: £400
  • 2nd Place: £250
  • 3rd Place: £100

The top ten shortlisted authors will each receive a signed copy of Strangers: A History of Norwich’s Incomers, by local historian Frank Meeres (Norwich Heart, 2012), plus all ten shortlisted will be published in the Circle’s 2017 anthology.

We will be officially launching the competition at our gala at 7.30pm on Tuesday 18th April at Anteros Art Foundation on Fye Bridge Street, where we will be serving light refreshments.  Ralph Jackman, our adjudicator, will give offer some insight into what he is looking for in winning entries.

The results will be announced on Tuesday 17th October 2017.

You can find hints and tips here.





Submission Guidelines


Cover sheet:

Please attach a separate cover sheet with the following details:

  • Your full name
  • Story title
  • Word count
  • Your email address
  • Any telephone number(s) we can contact you on
  • Your full address

This is so we can contact you if you win.  It will not be passed onto third parties, but we might send you email updates on the competition or details of future competitions.  If you would rather not receive these emails, please let us know.

If you are sending your entry by email, the cover sheet should be a separate attachment to your story.  Please do not put this in the body of the email.  The document title should also be formatted as follows: [Story Title] Cover Sheet.

Each story you submit should have its own cover sheet.

If you are sending by post, it must be a separate sheet of paper placed at the front of the manuscript it relates to.



Manuscripts must be formatted as follows:

  • Double spaced
  • 12pt Times New Roman or Arial font
  • 3cm page margin
  • Paper size A4
  • It must not contain your name or anything that might identify you anywhere.
  • Your header or footer must contain a page number, formatted as page x of y and also the title of your story.  This will prevent mix-ups during administration and adjudication.


Email entries:

Emailed entries are preferred as they make administration easier.

Emailed submissions must be sent as an attachment.  Please do not put your story into the body of the email.  Any entries sent this way will be disqualified.

All file attachments MUST be formatted as a .doc or .rtf file.  PDFs will not be accepted.

Please email them to

Please also include your name, manuscript title, and Paypal reference (if applicable) in the subject.

If you are sending multiple entries, please send each as a separate email.


Postal entries:

Although emailed entries are preferred, if you are unable to do so please post them to:

Paul Taylor, 2 Briar Court, Norwich, Norfolk, NR5 8PR

Should your entry win, you will be required to email a digital copy to us.  Entries are not returned, ensure you keep a copy.

If you are sending multiple entries, they can be put them in the same envelope, but please ensure the correct cover sheet is in front of each manuscript.

Please ensure you pay the sufficient postage.


Terms and Conditions:


  • Entries must never have been published or self-published in any format, including but not limited to publication on any website, blog or online forum, or broadcast.
  • Entries must not be awaiting publication or self-publication in any format, including but not limited to publication on any website, blog or online forum, or broadcast.
  • Work must not have placed in any other competition, either as a winner (i.e 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place) nor have been shortlisted, longlisted or highly commended.
  • If you submit your entry to another competition while it is entered with us, you must notify us should it place and immediately withdraw your entry. You will not receive your entry fee back.
  • By submitting your entry, you are giving us permission for it to be included in our non-profit anthology should it win. You will retain the copyright to the story and be allowed to publish it elsewhere should you wish to after the results have been officially announced on 17th October 2017.
  • Entries submitted posthumously will not be eligible.
  • Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant and by submitting you are confirming that the work is your own. Any evidence to the contrary will result in immediate disqualification and any prize money paid will be reclaimed.
  • Entries received after the deadline will not be entered.
  • Each story submitted counts as an entry and must be paid for. There is no limit to the number of entries that can be submitted provided they are paid for.
  • If an entrant is found to have breeched any of the terms and conditions, their entry will be disqualified. Any fees paid will not be refunded.  If they have been given any prize money, it will be reclaimed.
  • All entries MUST be in English.
  • It is the sole responsibility of the entrant to report any cash prizes they win the in competition according to the tax laws that apply in their respective country and/or county/state/province.
  • Submission of work will be taken as a declaration that you (the entrant) understand all of the terms and conditions and agree to them all.



Payments can be made via PayPal to  Please use the name you are submitting your work under and your story title as a reference.

Cost is £8 per entry.  PayPal may confirm your payment to Alan Rosser, who is our Treasurer.

If you do not follow our guidelines, your entry may be disqualified.  A disqualified entry will not receive the entry fee back.

If you have any questions or are unsure of anything please do not hesitate to contact us:

Do you want to see what stories won last year?  You can read them in our 2016 anthology: