Short Story Competition

three takahe



TAKE ACTION NOW. As expected the stories are rolling in – we are a popular competition. If you don’t enter you can’t possibly win! (we are clever but not that clever). Imagine the thrill if it is your well crafted, creative and compelling story that stands out. You have just enough time to re-read your work. TIP: If it bugs you it will bug someone else, trust yourself and make the change. Borrow ten dollars from the rainy day piggy-bank, fill out the entry form (printing clearly so I don’t have to keep asking my son to decipher the writing) and pop all in an envelope and post – bingo.

The very good news is that you have better odds of winning than if you spent the money on a lotto ticket.

All the very best for the competition.




  • Michael Botur

    March 30, 2016 at 8:48 pm Reply

    It’s a wonderful competition for a wonderful magazine – but I feel 2000w is a really restrictive word count. O. Henry-type stories are 1500-2000w but I would argue those are outmoded. Great short stories are often 4000-5000w. Take Raymond Carver’s ‘Cathedral’ for example, one of the most famous short stories ever – that is 6000w, believe it or not… Something to think about next competition time :o)

  • Jane Seaford

    March 31, 2016 at 3:44 pm Reply

    Thanks for your interesting comment, Michael. It’s true that there are many long short stories around. The wonderful Glimmer Train take submissions up to 12,000 words. Though there aren’t many that reach that high number. I would suggest, however, that the short short story is not outmoded. Stories of different lengths each have their own challenges for the writer and values for the reader. Any comments on that from other consumers of our website?
    There are a number of competitions, based in the UK, that have a 2000 word limit, for example the HE Bates, the Yeovil and the Wells Festival of Literature short story comps. Interestingly short listed and placed stories in competitions with high word limits can be well below this maximum.
    We have a number of reasons for setting our word limit to 2000. Here they are
    • It’s amazingly difficult to write a successful story in 2000 words or less. Asking for this hugely tests the skill of the entrants.
    • Conversely, too large a word limit can put off the fledgling writer – and we like to nurture these at takahe.
    • We have limited space in our magazine and aim to publish as many writers as we can. One 5000 or 6000 word winning story would reduce the number of pieces we could select. And if we were to also include the second placed story… even more reduction.
    • And then there are our judges. Unlike many competitions takahe does not usually make a short list to send on. Normally, the judges read them all. I don’t know how many would be prepared to process 100 or more stories when some, or even most, of them, would be 5000 or 6000 words long.
    Any more comments from any one else? It would be great to open this debate up. Thanks, again, Michael for starting it.

    Jane Seaford, Joint Fiction Editor, Takahe Magazine

    • Michael Botur

      April 4, 2016 at 10:02 am Reply

      I think all those reasons are valid, definitely. Perhaps if mags like Takahe wanted to facilitate longer stories in future, those stories could/should be hosted online, saving print space. Readers could look at a judge’s report on a short story competition, follow the URL and read longer stories on the net.

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