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.
July 2015 Competition
July's compeition theme is "Out of Control". Who or what will be out of control in your story? Write it up in 154 characters or less, precede it with the word STORY & send it as a text to 82085
August 2015 Competition
August's competition theme will be announced at the end of July. Come back to see what it will be and to see the results of June'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 2013 Competition: Theme - Science Fiction Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

"Go! the Raybok's are attacking." Too late. The laser circled the infamous pattern of the hoof. Red hairs began to sprout. I was becoming one of them.

Science Fiction was the theme for our April Competition and Anna Logan from Salford, Manchester wins Anna Logan it with this entry. 29 year old Anna tells us she was surprised and excited when she found out she'd won. She has entered a few times in the past, but never got anywhere. Anna enjoys writing poems and short stories and she's a big fan of books, movies and music. She started taking creative writing classes a few months ago, so is really happy to see that they are paying off.


The number of entries we're getting for competitions has been going down lately, but the standards have definitely been going up. We had some great entries for our April Competition and there were plenty vying to make the shortlist; so our message to you all is please keep up the excellent work and keep entering. A win could be just around the corner. The choice of Anna Logan's entry as winner was heavily influenced by her bravery in her creativity. We don't know who or what the Raybok's are but it's a great alien sounding name, and we clearly know very early on that they are the baddies. As for the "infamous pattern of the hoof", well even Anna may not understand what this means, and she's the author. We certainly don't, but it's science fiction and whatever it is, it sounds scary and spells trouble. The assimilation element maybe isn't totally original, (think the Borg from Star Trek) but as we've said in critiques before, you sometimes need a shortcut, particularly when you've only got 154 characters.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

Thwarted and aghast, he set down the snapping flora, removed his spectacles and said "I owe you an apology, Tarquin. This may not be Earth, after all."

By Dave Harris  

The marksman lines up a shot. Justice had broken its back in the last world order. Here's how society survives. Penalties are paid, respect is maintained.

By Siobhan Kielty   


I am everything and nothing. I am the beginning and I will be the end.Though they celebrated the Higgs they do not know to look for me. I will be waiting.

By Erica Jo Kingsley 


And this entry from regular entrant Val Fish had us laughing out loud...  


A headless torso emerged from the craft, followed by a pair of arms, and legs, and finally a head. ' Do not be afraid,' a voice cried.' I come in pieces.'



March 2013 Competition: Theme - The Fight Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

She fought for togetherness, tirelessly proving her worth, with the fuel of love. Finally her prize emerged: the joy of Motherhood. The adoption battle.

Congratulations to Rebecca Stead from West Yorkshire who wins the March 2013 Txtlit competition Rebecca Steadwith this entry. The theme for the March competition was "The Fight". 19 year old Rebecca is currently studying English and Linguistics at The University of Leeds. She enjoys both reading and writing fiction, with the Txtlit competition being one of the first writing competitions she has entered (and won!). The short nature of flash fiction appealed to Rebecca as it didn't seem too overwhelming at first, however she soon realised the challenge of trying to write in an interesting and concise manner. Ulitimately, Rebecca would like to write fiction books for young people and teenagers, tackling real life issues; the first of which she is currently planning.


We were a little disappointed with the relatively low number of entries we received for the March competition. Perhaps the theme of "The Fight" was a little too prescriptive, but it's the tougher competition themes that give you the greatest opportunity to win as there are less entries to compete with. Rebecca Stead's entry was a great interpretation of the theme, telling the story of an individual's fight to become a mother. This can be a battle at the best of times, but Rebecca throws us the added twist that the protagonist is seeking motherhood through adoption. Rebecca has used some wonderful phrases in her story; soundbites almost, that manage to capture the optimism that our character must have. "Fighting for togetherness", "fuelled by love", we can really feel the emotion, and then finally she wins her prize giving us the added bonus of a happy ending.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

Off balance at the point of no return in a manic arm flailing pirouette; a panicked twist, a lurch, one final heave; skates back on ice. Avoided the fall!

By Michaela Barry

Starving fox saved by a meal of shrew, found strangled by the cold's cruel grip. Winter's bite is sometimes kind - an unlikely ally in the fight for life.

By Alexander Milne


One more breath, just one breath left. A deep sigh with a smile. The fight was over. The pain was now gone.

By Tobias Nicholls




February 2013 Competition: Theme - Water Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

They  continue their pitiful search of my salty depths by the shore. I won't give back my hard won prize. They should never have left me for dry land.

Jeff Rowlands from Cardiff wins the February 2013 Txtlit competition, themed "Water", with this entry. Jeff RowlandsJeff admits to being both shocked and delighted at winning. He has been writing on and off for a couple of years but this is his first competition win, having previously been a runner up almost two years ago in our April 2011 competition.  Jeff hopes that the win will encourage him to be more disciplined in his writing which so far has concentrated on flash fiction and short stories,  but he hopes to expand to other writing genres eventually.


The relatively loose theme of "water" for the February competition gave you plenty of scope for your stories, and we were pleased to see that many of you tried to be as creative as possible. A good number of you showed real promise in your ideas but your stories didn't quite have the construction to give them that dramatic edge or twist that makes a good Txtlit story so compelling.


In his winning entry, Jeff Rowlands chooses the Sea as his link to the theme of water. We know this through his description, even though he never actually uses the word. We particularly liked the way he personifies the sea, effectively making it the protagonist of his story and going as far as writing as the sea in the first person. Initially we feel an air of melancholy, or even evil as the sea almost mocks the 'pitiful' search for what we conclude to be a person lost beneath the waves in the 'salty depths'. This turns to a kind of justification in that the lost soul was the spoils of some kind of battle or conflict with dry land. Eerily, the story is tinged with an element of sadness and perhaps loneliness; almost a "That's what you deserve for leaving me!"A great concept.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

It was the water that killed me, not the heat. Parched rasp of the desert wind, drier than the sand itself, 'He killed me for a drink of water...'

By Stacey Murray   

Golden beams turned kaleidoscopic beneath cresting waves as he drifted from clear to inky blue; truthfully, things had gotten easier after he breathed in.

By Abla Seckley  


The water was warm on his toes, the smell of chemicals in the air. "Thirty two years," he whispered. "Got to learn sometime." He stepped into the pool.

By Matt Beames 




January 2013 Competition: Theme - The Debt Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

"My parents sold me," she replied flatly. I turned, got dressed and dropped her pay onto the bed. Mumbling a feeble thanks, I left. I never called again.

The Debt was the theme for our January 2013 competition, which was won with this entry by Jonathan ParrenoJonathan Parreno from Purley in Surrey. 23 year old Jonathan, a 2nd year undergraduate studying English Literature at Kings College London, tells us the he loves writing, particularly poetry. He is also the editor of a small magazine for his student hall. He entered the competition because he wanted to develop his prose style, and to learn how to be more efficient when writing. Jonathan notes that with such a tiny space to craft a story it really forced him to focus on what was being left unwritten as opposed to the words he actually wrote. (Something we discuss a lot with Txtlit competition entries) The subjects of Jonathan's prose writing tend to be the invisible elements of society and the hidden stories that shed light on how they managed to end up in such circumstances. Deep!


With the limited space that a Txtlit story affords, it's acceptable and arguably unavoidable, that some assumptions will have to be made. Notwithstanding, any such assumptions still need to be justifiable. In this story, we have to make the assumption that the protagonist has asked a question about how the speaker or speaker's family repaid a debt. By opening with dialogue and telling us that it is in reply, the author has effectively asked the question without wasting any precious character count. After the opening sentence, the remainder of the story is all about the consequences and effect that asking the question and receiving that answer has on the main character. It's probable that a feeling of shame is prevalent amongst men who use prostitutes, but after discovering how his 'service provider' has ended up in the situation she is in, the author does a great job of demonstrating just how ashamed the main character now feels. We can feel that there is no further eye contact, and any further communication is restricted to a mumble. You can visualise the protagonist’s head, bowed low. There's no twist or surprise here and the construction is another variation on how to write a captivating story in 154 characters or less.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

"Red. Sorry, sir." The desperate addict slumps again. "Always," he spits, "the casino always wins." A tear touches the canvas; it's time to tell the wife.

By Jack Roberts   

The stake was rough and heavy in her hand. "I can't," she said. "You must," he told her, his voice soft as night. "I let you live. Now please let me die."

By Matt Beames 


Certainly there was a score to settle-after all, she had stolen my husband! The question is though, how could i ever repay such a huge favour?

By Aileen Shirra from Cumbernauld 




December 2012 Competition: Theme - Finally Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Now he was dead and buried the truth had come out at last. There were hundreds others like her, all haunted by the memories. Finally they were believed.

Well done to Val Fish from Peterborough who wins our December competition with this entry. The theme for val fishDecember was "Finally". You may have seen Val's name before as she has been a runner up on several occaision but this is her first win. Val tells us that she finds creative writing very therapeutic and loves to write witty limericks,  hich are now and again published in the Daily Mail, along with her One Liners and Wordywise submissions. There is no financial reward for any of these and Val does it for pleasure and not for profit. She says it will be a pleasant change to receive a winning cheque. Val relishes the challenge of the Txtlit competitions and of fitting a story into such a short word limit. She uses her time sitting on the bus or train to construct and edit, and re-edit and re-edit until she is at last  satisfied with her effort. Well, Val it's paid off. You've 'finally' won!


We never really know what to expect when we set a competition theme. We may think we are steering entries towards a particular story style or type but because everyone's interpretation will potentially be different there are always a few surprises. With the theme set as 'Finally' the range of entries was very diverse but we still didn't really get anything like we expected. That's not a bad thing. In fact it's very refreshing. What we liked about Val Fish's story was the deep seated message. We can see the influence of recent revelations in Val's story but what she manages to hit on so well is the relief that the protaganist feels because others had come forward and now she is believed. We could really feel the frustration that someone might feel if there claims of what might be a very serious nature are dismissed as untruths. The use of the word 'finally' in the last sentence is perfectly placed and very powerful. Good work.

Other Shortlisted Entries:

It had been a long wait but it was finally happening. My heart skips a beat as he presses his cool lips to mine. "I now pronounce you husband and wife".

By Jade Ford   

Four mean, bloated, painful days late, her bloody monthly finally arrived and he had to stop bleating about his happy future family. Never. Gonna. Happen.

By  Claire Phillips


"No," she gasped finally.  Her eyes widened; fingers uncurled.  The pen rolled to the floor.  Their inheritance slipped away.

By Anthony Doolan from Chesterfield 




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