txtlit.co.uk - The UK's Easiest to Enter Writing Competitions

Example Story
Smash, grab. The hooded thief ran towards the busy high street where he would melt into the crowd. In his haste he didn’t look before crossing. Hit, run.
February 2015 Competition

February's competition theme is Last Chance. To enter, text the word STORY &  space and then your last chance story of 154 characters or less (giving 160 total) to 82085.

March 2015 Competition

We'll announce March's competition theme at the end of February. Come back to see what it will be and to check out the results for January's competition.


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Competition Results

Results are published Below. Make sure you check back regularly to get the latest competiton news and themes.

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Remember, whilst the act of entring the competitions is easy, writing a compelling story in just 154 characters takes some doing, but it's excellent writing practice and makes for good disciplined writing.

All competitions cost £1 per entry plus the cost of a standard text message from your mobile phone service provider.

April 2011 Competition: Theme - The Fool Print E-mail

Winning Entry:


We break out and fly out over the sea and nothing can hold me down. The spotlight bears down on me, my feathers swirl and I hear my father yell, 'Icarus!'


Congratulations to Cathal McGuigan who wins April's Txtlit competition with this entry. Cathal McGuigan Cathal, 22, studied Creative Writing as part of his English/Philosophy Degree in Belfast and has been publishing articles and entering competitions since, although he hopes to force himself to write more in the future. He is currently jobhunting and looking forward to starting an MA in Irish Studies this September. Having entered Txtlit for several months, Cathal has enjoyed the challenge and is glad to have (finally) cracked it. He believes that Txtlit is a great way for aspiring writers to get started. You can take a lok at Cathal's blog at http://thehorserodeinonme.wordpress.com/ 


There were no fools amongst the entrants for April; the overall standard was very high and we saw a lot more diversity in the story lines than we expected. It was interesting to see how you interpreted the theme and there were a few more than usual who utilised a contemporary message. See in particular the politically themed runner up story from Jeff Rowlands. The winner was chosen however for a superbly constructed story, which, although it re-tells a well known tale, really connects with the theme of The Fool. In using a known story, we are drawn between the words where we learn that not content with his freedom, Icarus becomes carried away with his new found ability to fly, and we are all too aware of his fate when he gets too close to the Sun. Cathal has done a great job here with a classic Txtlit combination of utilising information we already know to tell part of the story with a one word reveal at the very end. Classic stuff.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

His hand on my arm he said "You've shown wisdom with this coallition. You'll go down in history Nick." Me and Dave walked out to greet the media smiling.

By Jeff Rowlands  


Before setting off, he looked back. They called it a fool's errand. Worse, heresy. Then a round world rose up to meet him, at last. An explorer's heaven.

By Eilise Norris   


Everyone saw the fool at the center of the feast but no one could see the man with a fake smile. He made them laugh all night, they made him cry all day.

By Emma Blyth 



March Competition: Theme - The Fear Print E-mail

Winning Entry:


Leaping from the bridge over the ravine, she didn't care anymore. She plummeted in silence. Only when the bungee strap gripped her ankles did she scream. 


Well done to first time entrant Michael Carter from North Yorkshire, winner of March's Txtlit competition. Michael CarterMichael quit his full-time job as a university lecturer to make more time for writing, which consists mostly of drama. A member of Script Yorkshire, Michael currently has a fifteen-minute script (called A Peaceful Resolution) being produced at the Old Red Lion Theatre in London as part of REDfest. Over the past few months Michael has also been working to develop his prose writing and came across Txtlit when looking on the internet for opportunities for short story writers. Although Michael found entering the competition great fun and great writing excercise, he tells us that after reading the many excellent entries on the website, he sees Txtlit as a contemporary art form in its own right. Glad to see we're getting the message across!


It appears that many of you harbour a fear of spiders, as spider based stories dominated the entries for our March competition for which the theme was "The Fear". We chose Michael's story as the winner however because we liked the classic story construction and the original way that it portrays the theme. The scene is neatly set as we find our protaganist already throwing herself from the bridge; her lack of caring makes us consider what has brought her to such a dramatic action. All is revealed when we understand that it is actually a bungee jump, and as we reflect on the story we can imagine the fear that must be felt by anyone about to throw themselves from a bridge, bungee cord or not.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

We shrieked with laughter. My older sister was now 7 and we were playing with her new birthday toys. SLAM! We froze to the sound of footsteps. He was home.

By  Claire Logan 


Again, I hold back from submitting my manuscript.Yet, this reluctance to take the final leap, is due not to the fear of failure, but that of success!

By Loretta Hegarty   


And with a shove I permanently freed him of his fear of heights.

Awaiting Author's details   

February 2011 Competition: Theme - The Collector Print E-mail

Winning Entry:


He trapped the last of his collection inside. He was hardened to their cries and whimpers. They could only be let out after the flood, thought Noah. 


Victoria Biram wins February's competition, themed "The Collector". Vikki has been writing Vikki Biramfor as long as she can remember, and recently completed an evening class at the City Lit in London which encouraged her to write more and start entering competitions. A runner up in the Txtlit January 2010 competition Vikki was delighted to rediscover the site this year. (Of course) Like many competition entrants Vikki finds that entering Txtlit competitions is very good exercise, bringing home the importance of every word and its consequence on  the piece as a whole, and has taken the lessons learned in word choice through to her longer pieces. 


Because we set the theme of our monthly competitions, it's inevitable that there will be some repetition of ideas across the entries we receive. For the February competiition however, we were amazed by the diversity of the stories and concepts. Whilst we had a few 'Grim Reaper collecting souls' type stories, the majority showed great originality, making the judging that much harder. We like Vicoria's entry though because she uses a technique we haven't seen for a while; using an element we are already aware of in order to tell part of the story. In this case it's Noah, who has been collecting pairs of animals on board his ark to save them from the flood. Whilst there is a suggestion of foul play in the build up, using Noah as a character combines the reveal with a mild twist. Cleverly done.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

The coins chinked in her pocket. She crossed another name off her list. Collection almost done, she approached another sad geek. "lunch money. Now."

By Lynne Thomas  


For children in Africa, she says, shaking her tin. I avoid her eyes, walk past and somewhere a child dies - but at least I have enough cash for a Big Mac.

By Brian James from Staffordshire  


He sat in the dark waiting excitedly. He knew he had to sleep but he wanted to see her. Lifting his pillow he poked the tooth that the fairy would collect

By Kate Carr  

January 2011: Theme - Science Fiction Print E-mail

Winning Entry:


And so, after destroying yet another planet - this time the once beautiful gem called Earth - the race of aliens known as humans moved on. 


Well done Katharine de Vall of London, winner of our first competition of 2011 for which the theme Katharine de Vallwas Science Fiction. A freelance advertising copywriter for  15 years, Katharine decided last year that it was time she did some writing of her own and so took a three day creative writing course at the London School of Journalism to help her get started. Katherine soon discovered that there are loads of writing competitions to enter but immediatley loved the concept of Txtlit when she discovered us online. Well, who can blame her?

Science Fiction as a competition theme always generates lots of entries, and we have had some excellent stories in the past with some brilliantly original ideas. Sometimes though, an original variation on an established idea can grab your attention and that's what happened with us this time round. The concept of humans destroying their own habitat certainly isn't a new one. It could even be argued that it is the current reality rather than fiction. The difference with Katharine's story however is that the destruction of the planet is portayed as a regular occurence and humans have a history of colonising planets, rendering them uninhabitable and then moving on. The story also has a neat construction; uncomplicated with a modest reveal at the end when we discover that it is actually humans we were being told about, even though we kind of new what was coming.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

Sympathy for the machine is this century's great weakness. These automatons are not alive, do not feel. I clamp the soft face in my hand and twist.

By Ross Stewart   


How quickly the human body repairs itself. Kai's new head even had the hair he'd lost since turning 120. But what point if just to re-join the war?

By Carolyn Thomas


She stands at the porthole until earth is a blurry speck, hand on her belly. He will be an old man when he lands, just like all the others she must grow.

By Kerenza Moore 


December 10 Competition: Theme - Money Print E-mail

Winning Entry:


The ransom was in a bag - her stepfather's  money. I kissed her, gave her the bag and let her go. It was going to be OK - he loves my daughter like I do. 


Brian James from Staffordshire wins December's Txtlit competition, the theme for which was 'Money'. Brian James Brian, who works full-time in local-government outsourcing hadn't really taken much notice of writing competitions before, let alone entered one. But, he came across Txtlit.co.uk and decided it looked like fun and so entered a story. We bet he's glad he made the effort as he'll soon be £50 better off. We're just happy to have introduced someone new to the genre.

This is a very clever story by Brian James which expertly tells us so much by reading between the lines. Clearly a ransom has been paid but it's not until we read the whole story that we understand the motivation behind it. The fact that the apparent kidnap victim is let go with the bag containing the ransom causes some confusion, but it all becomes clear when we understand the lengths that a father has gone to for the sake of his daughter's happiness and wellbeing. An interetsing interpretation of the Money theme too. Brian has clearly thought outside the box with this one. 

Other Shortlisted Entries:

As the cash-filled envelope dropped to the mat so did her hope. She had been praying he would want them both. 'Sorry' she wept, gently touching her belly.

By Karen Francis  


My stupid, rich parents! I told them I wanted money for my 18th. They got me a crappy picture of water lilies by someone called Claude. I torched it!

By Delphine Richards of Dryslwyn, Carmarthen 


Mother regarded our gift a curse. But as we watched the sixth and final ball roll down, she agreed some premonitions could be advantageous.

By Andrea Hayward of Bury St Edmunds 


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