Guidelines for original short stories

Submissions for our short story competitions should be historical fiction according to our definition. They must be self-contained short stories, not first chapters of novels. The maximum length will vary according to the specific competition rules.

We do not acknowledge receipt of manuscripts, nor return manuscripts, nor enter into discussion about manuscripts. If you would like a critiquing service please consult our Writers’ Resources pages.

What kind of stories are we looking for? It’s hard to answer, and the next story may be the exception that proves the rule, but in general we are not looking for ‘genre’ stories. We are not looking for old-fashioned historicals (we love authors like Buchan, Sabatini and Conan Doyle, but don’t wish to publish pastiches of their styles). What we are looking for is storytelling ability in its broadest sense. We want to publish stories where the history is intimately researched but deftly conveyed, and, if possible, where it is integral to the plot. Our stories must advance and be resolved – in other words, must have a beginning, middle and end. Above all, the characters in our stories must be passionately engaged with their world, and with THIS particular moment in their lives.