V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize

V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize

Name: V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize
Category: Short story
Word count: 2000 – 4000
Entry fee: £7.50 per entry. Free for low-income writers
Prize: £1,000
Closing date: July 3, 2020.

The Royal Society of Literature is delighted to announce the twenty-first V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize. This Prize for the best unpublished short story of the year was founded by the RSL at the beginning of the new millennium to commemorate the centenary of an author widely regarded as the finest English short-story writer of the 20th century, and to preserve a tradition encompassing Pritchett’s warmth of feeling and mastery of narrative.

The author of the winning entry will be awarded a prize of £1,000 and have their story published in Prospect online and in the RSL Review.  The V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize is administered by the Royal Society of Literature in association with Prospect magazine.


The closing date for entries to the V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize is Friday 3 July 2020 at midnight (BST).

Submission Guidelines:


  • Entrants must be resident in the UK, Republic of Ireland or Commonwealth (see list of countries here) and likely to be available for a prize-giving event in November 2020
  • Stories entered for the competition must not have been published previously (including online) or broadcast in any other medium
  • Multiple entries to this competition are permitted but must be submitted and paid for individually (the fee is £7.50 per entry to cover administration costs)
  • Entrants must be over 18 at the time of submission.

Entry Instructions 

Stories MUST:

  • be written in English
  • be between 2,000 and 4,000 words
  • be submitted as Microsoft Word or PDF documents with the author name (surname, first name) and short story title in the file name e.g. Wilde, Oscar – The Happy Prince
  • use Arial, 12pt, black-coloured font and use double-line spacing
  • have page numbers at the bottom right-hand side of each page
  • have the title of the story and word count at the top of the first page.

Stories MUST NOT:

  • include the name of the entrant, contact details or any identifying mark anywhere in the document
  • include photos or illustrations.

The Royal Society of Literature cannot undertake to make corrections or additions to submissions. You must request that your submission is opened for editing if you wish to make changes. Submission of an entry implies acceptance of these conditions and entry fees are non-refundable. The shortlist will be contacted in autumn. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Due to the volume of submissions received, we are not able to provide individual feedback. 

Please note that any entries that do not meet the requirements outlined above will not be accepted and the fee will not be refunded. No correspondence will be entered into regarding incorrect submissions.


Entries for low-income writers

The RSL is committed to increasing accessibility and supporting writers of all incomes. As such, they are offering 50 free entries to low-income writers based in the UK. 

To apply for a free entry to this year’s prize please e-mail [email protected] using the subject ‘Free VSP Entry Application’ and in the body of the email include your name, postcode and up to 200 words on why you are eligible for a free entry, along with supporting documentation as proof of financial eligibility such as: Jobseeker’s Allowance, Disability Benefit, Income Support; Working Tax Credit; proof of being a full-time student; Housing Benefit; proof of being a full-time carer. All details will be kept in the strictest confidence and have no bearing on your Prize entry. Applications with no supporting evidence will not be accepted. 

Applicants have until 5 pm on 19 June to apply for a free entry. However, it is advised you apply earlier as these entries are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. You will be informed by email as to whether you have been accepted and then given instructions on how to enter. Please do not send your story prior to this. Successful applicants will have until midnight on Friday 3 July (the same as the general entry deadline) to submit their story to the competition.

Please note, if successful you can only submit one free entry into the competition. Additional stories will need to be submitted via the general submission portal at the bottom of this page (£7.50 per entry).

Check other writing contests here


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