Best Commentator £250
The prize will be judged by the participants through an anonymous peer review process which will take place over 7 weeks following the 30th April deadline.
Participants read each other’s work in small groups of 7 stories in a three round process.
During judging, participants have access to groups of stories but stories are not published on the website.
From each group of 7 stories participants select their preferred 3 stories. Leaving feedback (commenting) is a requirement for preferred stories and optional for other stories. Draft comments may be saved for editing and later submission.
Commenting is a valuable part of the process but it is also fun and fascinating. We have set out some thoughts about comments which may be useful.
Participants can read comments left against their own stories after the judging has finished.
The eBook publication will include 14 to 21 stories. To be shortlisted or included in the publication entrants must have taken part in the first two rounds of judging.
The selection of stories for publication will be made by the contribution of all the participants.
Stories may be on any subject; length 750 to 3,000 words; previously unpublished work; £12 per story.
There is a maximum of one entry per person; this is to ensure the effectiveness of the judging process.
After submission, stories may be edited up to the final deadline for the submission of entries.
Last Year's Report
In the inaugural short story prize last year 192 writers took part from 19 countries.
We were nervous; would the process that had worked so well for poetry also work in the longer format of stories? Would people take the extra time that would be required to read their allocated stories?
As the process unfolded, this is a taster of what participants were saying:
As with the poetry prize, the event is primarily an opportunity to read and comment on each other’s work as a community, to learn from this process and to identify great new writing.
“I love the judging process; it’s thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding to read the work of other writers. Thank you very much and keep up the great work!”
“… so useful to read first entry stories that have patent flaws and errors in them… I’ve found this so much more useful than trying to glean from published stories what they've done right.”
“I am pleased and relieved that the democratic judging process has worked so well and so quickly in this new short story competition, as this 2nd stage has revealed many excellent stories…”
“I enjoyed the stories this round even more than during the first; they were more rounded, more thoroughly crafted. My preferences definitely tend towards simpler yet more unusual ones - stories that leave the path of normal narrative and entice the reader into the wild woods with them.”
Stage 3 (final stage):
“There were some excellent stories in this final shortlist - it was hard to decide on the top three. The Poetic Republic peer-judging process has real credibility - the final round contains high-quality, gripping and well-crafted stories.”
“The unique aspect is being part of a competition and actually seeing exactly what you're up against. No other writing competition shares its secrets in this way.”
See our homepage and our about page for further details of context in terms of philosophy, history and finance.