​​​​Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition

​​£1,000 first prize in the international short story competition, open to all over 18 by October 1 2018.​​

£500 first prize in the Isobel Lodge Award for unpublished writers born, living or studying in Scotland

Go to the Edinburgh International Award for Flash Fiction page

The 2018 Competition now open for entries and closes on 31 March 2018
Enter the 2018 Scottish Arts Club Short Story Awards

Prize increases to £1,000 in 2018

The Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition is open to writers worldwide, published and unpublished, aged over 18 years by 1 October 2018. Entries open on 1 November 2017 and close on 31 March 2018. The first prize from 2018 will be £1000 plus two runner-up awards of £100 each.

£500 Isobel Lodge Award for unpublished writers born, living or studying in Scotland. All qualified entrants to the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition may also be considered for this award which champions new Scottish writing. Read more

Stories entered for the competition should be 1,500 words or less and can be on any topic. The stories do not have to be associated with Scotland.

A team of dedicated readers assists the selection process with Alexander McCall Smith making the final selection of the winner and the runners-up. 

Unpublished writer, Iain MacDonald, scoops both major short story awards

The Gannet by Iain MacDonald
Edinburgh 15 October 2017 Unpublished author and drama teacher Iain MacDonald scooped both major prizes at the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Awards on Saturday 14 October. The thirty-one year old, who says he had never shown his work to anyone before except his partner, won the inaugural £500 Isobel Lodge Award for New Scottish Writing as well as the international £800 Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition, for his story, ' The Gannet' .  Originally from Thurso, he currently teaches at Linlithgow Academy just outside Edinburgh. 

Celebrated author and chair of the Scottish Arts Club short story judging panel, Alexander McCall Smith chose 'The Gannet' as his favourite among all the finalists, calling it 'atmospheric' and praising the 'clarity and the economy of the prose.'

The international short story competition attracted over 400 entries from 20 countries, including more than 270 entries from writers in Scotland and 230 who qualified for the Isobel Lodge Award as unpublished writers born, living or studying in Scotland. At the awards dinner, Short Story Director Sara Cameron McBean said, 'We always knew there was a possibility that an unpublished writer could win both of the awards but we did not anticipate this happening in the first year of the Isobel Lodge Award, or that this new award would capture the imaginations of so many excellent undiscovered writers in Scotland.' She added, 'Iain's win speaks loudly to all those writers in Scotland who have been hiding their work in a secret drawer. It is time to take the chance and share your work because who knows what can happen.'

Another unpublished writer, Stirling teacher Kendal Delany, won a £100 commendation for her remarkable story, ' Kept from the sea. '   A commendation was also won by university professor Peter Mallett who wrote Immortal Memory . Peter works in Kobe, Japan and flew in especially for the awards dinner, held at the Scottish Arts Club in Edinburgh. Other finalists included Jonathon Lee, who flew in from the USA for the evening,  Andrew Preskey from the Isle of Wight, Michael Gallagher from Glasgow and Susan Gray from Jedburgh. 

The Scottish Arts Club Members Prize was won by Tom Gordon for his compelling short story, 'Your life in their hands.'
Photos by George McBean from top
1: Iain MacDonald (centre) with his two awards, with Charles Scott, Chair of the Scottish Arts Club Charitable Trust and Sara Cameron McBean, Scottish Arts Cllub Short Story Director.
2: The 2017 finalists: from left Kendal Delany, Iain MacDonald, Susan Gray, Jonathon Lee, Michael Gallagher, Peter Mallett and Andrew Preskey.
3. Winner of the Club Member's Award, Tom Gordon.
4. The delicious convivial awards dinner at the Scottish Arts Club.

​​Previous winners of the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition

2016: M.A.G.D.A by Jennider West

 Jennifer West, author of 'M.A.G.D.A.', won the 2016 Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition. Jennifer's story was chosen by Alexander McCall Smith as the top story. He said it was 'highly amusing... and a very fine example of how the sting in the tail can make a short story memorable.' 
M.A.G.D.A. by Jennifer West

2015: The Tale of Penelope Cupcake by Ruth Howell

"Alexander McCall Smith said he chose Ruth Howell's story, The Tale of Penelope Cupcake as the winner of the 2015 Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition because "it is a very unusual short story which contains a wonderful element of surprise and delight."  
Read "The Tale of Penelope Cupcake"

2014: The Desperation Game by Sandra Ireland

Sandra Ireland's entertaining tale, The Desperation Game won for its insight, humour inventiveness and surprising twist.
Read "The Desperation Game"

2016 finalists

​​The Finalists

Two other finalists, Rosie Dodd, author of 'The Move' and Heather R. Reid who wrote 'Junk' took home commendation cheques of £100 each. All the finalists received a signed copy of an Alexander McCall Smith book and his poetry pamphlet, 'The heart of each of us.'  
The Move, by Rosie Dodd
Junk, by Heather F Reid
As Long as it Takes, by Susan Haigh
​​​Supported by the Scottish Arts Club
Lemonade, by Jane Swanson
Stardust and Stilton, by Margaret Wood