The Plaza Short Story Prize (5000 words)

The Plaza Short Story Prize (5000 words)

Judged by Vanessa Onwuemezi

1st prize: £1000. 2nd prize: £300. 3rd prize: £100

5000 words max

Our second Short Story competition this year, with a maximum word-count of 5,000 words, is going to be judged by Vanessa Onwuemezi.

Vanessa is a writer and poet living in London. Her short story ‘Green Afternoon’ was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2022. She is the winner of The White Review short story prize 2019 and her work has appeared in literary and art magazines, including Granta, frieze and Prototype. Her debut short story collection, Dark Neighbourhood, was published by Fitzcarraldo Editions in 2021 and was named one of The Guardian‘s best books of 2021. It was shortlisted for both the Republic of Consciousness Prize and the Edge Hill Prize in 2022.

Dark Neighbourhood is a collection grounded in her wide-ranging interests: the rich history of Yoruba and Afro-Cuban religions, mythology and art; the visual arts; avant-garde and postmodern literature and poetry, as well as the reality bending narrative traditions of folk-tales.

Vanessa is very interested in expanding the reach of the prose form through collaboration. She has produced the accompanying exhibition texts for artists Kira Freije, Mouthing the living, undetected, on breeze or breath, Soft Opening, London 2019; Alex Stone, INTERVENTION I, London 2018; Lauren Keeley, Lanes and Lanes, Frutta Gallery, London 2018. She’d like to discover some new talents, so whoever you are and wherever you are in the world – why not send her your short story, and see if you can win the prize. Someone will. That’s a raging certainty.

“What a great prize! Really looking forward to reading some amazing stories.”

Vanessa Onwuemezi

The Prizes

First Prize: £1000

Second Prize: £300

Third Place: £100

Top 10

The 10 shortlisted entries will be published in The Plaza Prizes Anthology 2, which will be launched at our awards ceremony, 2024.

Terms and Conditions



  • Deadline: 30th April 2024
  • Writers can enter any number of times. (£15.00. Subsequent entry: £7.50)
  • Short stories can be in any style or form, but must be in English, and written for adults.
  • Entries must be submitted online. No email submissions. In exceptional circumstances, postal entry may be accepted, as long as a cheque made out for the correct entry fee is sent to The Plaza Prizes Ltd. (Postal address is on Contact Form.)
  • Enter the correct version of your work. If you make a mistake, entry fees will not be refunded. (You will have to enter again.)


Read the rules carefully before entering the competition. Entry implies acceptance of all the rules and failure to comply will result in disqualification.

All entries are judged anonymously. Please do not include your name, address, phone number, email, website, twitter handle etc on the document or in the file name or it will be disqualified.

Entries will be disqualified if they are over the word limit, and there will be no refund.

Entries must be entirely your own work.

Entries must NOT have been traditionally published in book or magazine form. Work that has been self-published or published on a website, blog, online forum or online literary journal IS eligible for entry.

Entries must NOT have won in any other competition. If your entry was long-listed or shortlisted in other competitions it IS eligible.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed but if an entry wins a prize elsewhere, is published or scheduled for future publication, prior to the date of prize giving, you must inform us to withdraw immediately. Entry fees will not be refunded.


Maximum 5,000 words.


£15.00 per Short Story. (Subsequent entry: £7.50)

Entries must be submitted online via Submittable. No email submissions.


  • Entries must be typed in 12 pt. font, 1.5 or double-spaced, with numbered pages and the Short Story’s title on every page in the top-right corner. Save as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or PDF file with the title as the file name. Do not include your name in the file name as this will lead to disqualification.
  • Max 2MB file. Include the word count for the Short Story, top right, first page.
  • Do not add cover pages.
  • No illustrated work.


The judges’ decision is final. No individual correspondence can be entered into. Judges are unable to comment on individual entries. The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to change the judge without notice.


Copyright remains with the author, but The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to publish extracts from any of the 10 shortlisted short stories for publicity purposes.

Results & Awards

The Short Story 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize-winners will be announced on the website and social media in July 2024. The 10 short-listed entries will be published in The Plaza Prizes Anthology 2, which will be launched at our inaugural awards ceremony in October 2024.

Bursary Scheme

In 2023-2024, we will again be offering 100 FREE ENTRY BURSARIES across all our competitions to writers on low incomes, and from underrepresented groups. You can apply for a bursary if low income, class, race, age, gender, sexuality, caring responsibilities, location, disability, or mental and physical health affects your writing. We want to encourage equality to discover quality new writing from diverse voices. Click here to apply for our Bursary Scheme.


The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to amend the rules where it deems necessary. Any changes to the rules will be posted on our website.

If you have a query about eligibility, please contact: hello@theplazaprizes.com

Enter by pressing the big orange button below.