Apparently it's competition season, or something. There are currently three big, reputable competitions that I know of open; get to work, because it's anybody's game. And when I say, 'anybody's game', what I mean is, 'anybody who's a really good writer'. Don't go scribbling teenage angst poetry on the back of a fag packet and send it in, because it won't win. Don't blame me, I'm only trying to save you a bit of hassle.
The Bridport Prize, which describes itself as "the richest OPEN prize", is being judged by AL Kennedy and has categories in short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. It closes on 30th June at midnight so get to work. No, June is not "ages away". It's a strong competition, so you might like to spend day and night obsessively writing and rewriting your work between now and then.
The Manchester Fiction Prize is also now open, under the direction of poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy. This is an extremely serious and literary competition so you will want to be serious and literary too. Again, the rewriting. It closes on Friday 11th August. So that gives you an extra five weeks over and above the Bridport Prize to spend day and night obsessively writing and rewriting your work.
Lightship Publishing is running a first chapter competition. The prize is bloody brilliant (a year's mentoring from Tibor Fischer, Simon Trewin of United Agents, and Alessandro Gallenzi of Alma Books). Lightship's patrons include Hilary Mantel and Sir Andrew Motion, oh my days, so get to work. The closing date is June 30th, please insert your own joke about writing and rewriting because I've used all mine up.
They Knew Mr Knight Dorothy Whipple
A Mercy Toni Morrison
Man In The Dark Paul Auster