2021 Annual Short Story Competition

For Emerging Writers in New Zealand

The annual NZ Writers College Short Story Competition is held to acknowledge excellence in creative writing in the short story form.

The competition is open to any writer residing in New Zealand who is unpublished, or has been published fewer than four times.






Closing date:

30 September 2021

Longlist Announced:

26 October 2021

Winners Announced:

19 November 2021

Submissions and enquiries can be sent to Nichola Meyer:



  • First Prize: $ 1 000.00 and publication in an anthology of winning stories
  • Second Prize: $ 500.00 and publication in an anthology of winning stories
  • Third Prize: $ 250.00
The top three winners receive editorial comments on their submitted works.


  • We aim to support beginner writers. We only accept stories from writers who have never been published, or who have been published fewer than four times in any genre. This includes fiction and non-fiction, in any publication (for payment or otherwise). Journalists, copywriters or web writers must please not enter. People who made a living from writing at any point in their life (e.g. decades earlier) are also not eligible for entry. We make an exception for unpaid articles for community or work newsletters or blogs where the circulation is under 1000.
  • All submissions and enquiries can be sent to Nichola Meyer:
  • The competition is open to anyone living in New Zealand aged 16 and over.
  • Entrants must submit a story of maximum word count: 2000 words. Any entries exceeding the word count by 50 words will not be considered.
  • The 2021 theme is ‘Time after time’. Writers can interpret and represent the theme in any way they choose. Each story must include the phrase ‘Time after time’ somewhere in the story. Writers must produce their own title.
  • Only one story per entrant is allowed.
  • We only accept entries written in English.
  • The competition closes at midnight on 30 September 2021. The longlist will be published by 26 October, and the winners announced and displayed on our website on Friday 19 November 2021.
  • Prizewinners will be notified via email as well as on our web site; please ensure you supply a valid email address with your entry.
  • Prize money will be paid via electronic transfer.
  • Stories must not have been previously published. Entrants must own the copyright to the story submitted.
  • Writers retain copyright, but give permission for their work to be published on our website and in an anthology.
  • The judges’ decision is final; no disputes will be entered into.
  • If your entry has not been acknowledged within three working days, please contact us as your email may have got lost in transit.
  • NZ Writers College reserves the right to extend the competition deadline or cancel the competition should the entries not be of publishable quality or up to the required standard.

The Basics of Creative Writing Course

A rigorous training for both beginners and seasoned writers



  • Only e-mail submissions are acceptable. Stories must be copied and pasted into the body of the email, AND sent as a Word document attachment. Mark your entry clearly with the subject line: NZWC Annual Short Story Competition.  
  • Each story must have a unique title. Do not use the theme as your title.
  • Your email must state the title of your story, as well as your name. E.g. ‘Once Upon a Time’ – by John Smith
  • Your email must include the declaration: ‘I declare that I have been published in a mainstream print or online publication fewer than four times.’
  • State your word count in your email.
  • Do not include your name on any page of your story. All entries will be judged blind.
  • Use a font such as Arial or Times New Roman, size 12 or more. Use 1.5 or double spacing between lines. We prefer a clear line between paragraphs rather than indenting.
  • Make sure your story has been edited and polished according to tips and guidelines provided on our college site under “Writing Resources”, or on our webzine. Read these:


Tania Hutley

Tania Hutley started her literary career by writing short stories and has been a runner up in New Zealand’s two most prestigious short story competitions, the Katherine Mansfield Awards and the Sunday Star Times Short Story Competition. In 2010 she won the Page and Blackmore National Short Story Award.

After branching out into novel writing, she published two middle-grade chapter books for children. Then she wrote the Skin Hunter science fiction trilogy, and co-wrote The Trouble With Witches urban fantasy series. Under the pen name Talia Hunter, she has also published eleven contemporary romance and romantic comedy novels and even made the USA Today Bestsellers List.  

Though Tania started off with traditional publishers, she’s now enthusiastic about self-publishing and the control it gives to authors.

She was born in New Zealand, but has recently moved to Australia where she’s constantly amazed and not at all freaked out by the weird and wonderful critters. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her with a glass of wine, a good book, and a jumbo-sized can of bug spray.

Creative writing tutor at the Writers College, Sonny Whitelaw

Sonny Whitelaw

Sonny Whitelaw has enjoyed a successful career as a writer for over 30 years. Her work as a photojournalist has appeared in dozens of international magazines,  including National Geographic.

She won a Draco Award for her first novel, The Rhesus Factor, and all eight of her novels, including five based on the television series Stargate, have been international bestsellers.

A qualified adult educator with an MA in Creative Writing, Sonny taught writing courses to adults and teenagers in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. In 2008, she moved with her teenage son to a small lifestyle property in Oxford, Canterbury.

When she’s not having an enormous amount of fun exploring the South Island, Sonny splits her time between researching and writing scientific reports, editing fiction and non-fiction manuscripts, and working on her own exciting young adult science fantasy series called The Runes of Creation. Find out more about this series on her website.

Sonny tutors the Write a Novel Course, the Literary Short and Flash Fiction Course and the Advanced Novel Writing Course.

Creative Writing Course tutor at NZ Writers College Andrew Salmon

Andrew Salomon

Andrew Salomon is an award-winning author. His debut novel Tokoloshe Song was shortlisted for the Terry Pratchett First Novel Award.

Additionally, his short fiction has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. He has also received the PEN Literary Award for African Fiction and the Short.Sharp.Stories Award.

Andrew is the author of the young adult thrillers The Chrysalis and Wonderbear. His latest novel is the dark fantasy thriller The Equilibrist. He completed an MA at the Institute for Archaeology at University College London. Some of his most memorable experiences have been at rock painting and engraving sites in subterranean caves and shelters across the world. These often find their way into his fiction.

Andrew tutors several courses at The Writers College, including the Write a Novel Course, the Advanced Novel Writing Course and the Advanced Short Story Writing Course.

The Literary Short and Flash Fiction Course

Learn how to write winning short stories

Download our Free Anthology

You can download our free anthology (by clicking the cover) that showcases the winning stories from the past eight years (2010-2018).


We will publish Vol.2 in 2023

Past Winners of the NZ Writers College Short Story Competition

We would like to acknowledge the past winners of our Short Story Competitions.


First Place: ‘Drainpipe’ by Akshata Rao

Runner-up: ‘let it be. waiho’ by Christopher Reed

Third place: ‘Paper Planes’ by Hannah Woolhouse


First Place: ‘Meat’ by Nicky Taylor

Runner-up: ‘The Long White Cloud’ by Toakahu Pere

Third place: ‘Truth-Telling’ by Nicola Bentley


First Place: ‘Crabs’ by Moira Lomas

Runner-up: ‘Golden’ by R. L. Jeffs

Third place: ‘Thunderstorm’ by Mary Francis


First Place: ‘White Boy Wonder’ by Victoria Louise Lawrence

Runner-up: ‘The Hole’ by Regan Drew Barsdell

Third place: ‘Alan Matsumoto’ by Paul M. Clark


First Place: ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ by Suzanne Main

Runner-up: ‘Moving Patterns’ by Nicholas Buck

Third place: ‘A Handful of Dust’ by Madeline Dew


First Place: ‘Aroha’ by Jeff Taylor

Runner-up: ‘Out to Sea’ by James MacTaggart

Third place: ‘Contractual Remedies’ by Barnaby McIntosh


First Place: ‘Norman’s Letter’ by Lizzie Nelson

Runner-up: ‘Being a Ghost’ by Abby Jackson

Third place: ‘Other People’s Lives’ by Ruth L. Jeffs


First Place: ‘The President, the Ski-Instructor and the Watermelon’ by Jade du Preez

Runner-up: ‘The Invisible Woman’ by Lizzie Nelson

Third place: ‘Not My Daughter’ by Monique Reymer


First Place: ‘The Barrier’ by Timothy McGiven

Runner-up: ‘A Certain Hardness’ by Collin Minnaar

Third place: ‘Gravity’ by Andy Evans


First Place: ‘Regrets’ by Aaron Ure

Runner-up: ‘The Effects of Cancellation’ by Sacha Norrie

Joint Third place: ‘Careless Driving’ by Stephanie Attwood, and ‘Milk and Two Sugars’ by David Hamilton


First Place: ‘Tell Me About the Love of Your Life’ by Feby Idrus

Runner-up: ‘Expunge’ by John Drennan

Third place: ‘The Bridge’ by Tony Wi