The University of Sunderland In Association With Waterstones Short Story Award, or the Sun Story Award for short, is a fantastic opportunity for writers of all experiences, ages, and locations. The award, which rewards the best in short fiction for both adults, writers aged 11 to 17, is an annual award which opens late autumn/early winter, and closes mid summer. The submitted stories are then whittled down into a longlist, and then a shortlist, and then eventually a winner and runners-up in all categories.

The award is currently split into four categories:

  • 11-17
  • 11-17 Regional*
  • Adult
  • Adult Regional*

Writers can enter as many stories as they wish (entry fee is per entry for Adult and Adult Regional categories). Writers from the region can enter either the Adult or Adult Regional category, or both.

The prizes on offer this year are:

  • All 1st place winners will receive in the region of £350
  • Selected stories will be published in a collected anthology, with writers receiving a complimentary copy

In addition, previous awards have been supported by Iron Press and charities such as the Sunderland Literacy Aid, and have been able to offer books as additional prizes. So please, start writing and preparing your entry, and if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch.

*Regional is defined as entries from those living, working, or studying in Country Durham, Northumberland, and Tyne and Wear.

The Rules

The Adult Categories

  • Word Count – 2500 words or less
  • Entry Fee – £5 (payment information below)
  • Previously Published Stories – no, all stories must be previously unpublished
  • Simultaneous Submissions – yes, but if a story is accepted elsewhere, please let us know so it can be withdrawn from consideration
  • Theme – none

The 11-17 Categories

  • Word Count – 1500 words or less
  • Entry Fee – none, these categories are free to enter
  • Previously Published Stories – no, all stories must be previously unpublished
  • Simultaneous Submissions – yes, but if a story is accepted elsewhere, please let us know so it can be withdrawn from consideration
  • Theme -none

This Year’s Judges

Guy Mankowski

Guy Mankowski is the author of novels The Intimates and Letters From Yelena (Legend Press) which was researched in the world of Russian ballet and adapted for the stage as a dance production. His third novel, How I Left The National Grid, was written as part of a PhD at Northumbria University. His most recent novel, An Honest Deceit, was a New Writing North Read Regional Title. 

Nicholas Royle

Nicholas Royle is the author of seven novels, two novellas and three volumes of short fiction​. He has edited twenty anthologies of short stories. Reader in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University and head judge of the Manchester Fiction Prize, he also runs Nightjar Press, publishing original short stories as signed, limited-edition chapbooks. He works as an editor for Salt Publishing