HNS London 12 Short Story Award

Competition Rules

Closing date for receipt of entries: Friday 31st August 2012 at 5pm GMT
Maximum 2500 words (no minimum). Historical short stories set no later than 1960. Open theme.


The competition shall be open to all delegates of the Historical Novel Society Conference 2012, in London, excluding the competition judges and principal Conference organizers.
Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant and must not at any time have been published, self-published, broadcast, or published online on any website or forum (save for a closed forum), or have won or been placed in any other competition.

Theme and length

Each entry must comprise a complete short story (and not be in the form of a poem or script). Entrants may write on any theme, though only those stories in which the substantive action takes place no later than 1960 will be considered. Time-slip and historical thrillers/detective short stories are admissible. Fantasy and Steam-punk are not admissible on this occasion. Entries must not exceed 2,500 words each.


All entries must be submitted by email to: storyaward(at)
Please ensure you provide your entry as a Word document (.doc file) with the filename being made up of the story title alone.
Please do not put your name on the document or within the filename.
Online payment must be made via Paypal on the same day the entry is submitted. Payment by cheque must clear before the closing date of the competition on 31st August. Only paid-for entries will be considered.


The entry fee shall be £5 per story (entrants may submit more than one story each up to a maximum of three). Fees shall be payable in sterling by Paypal via the link on the on the HNSLondon12 Short Story Award page, or by cheque made payable to the Historical Novel Society and sent to the address shown on our Conference Booking page.

Entry format

  • Entries must be in English, typed in a Word (.doc) file, formatted for A4 paper, one side only, with pages numbered.
  • Each entry must be contained within a separate Word document and a Paypal payment for the total of all entries submitted on the same day. Cheque payment for the total of all entries must clear by 15 August 2012.
  • Entries must be double-line spaced and include a word count at the top of the first page.
  • The title and the entrant’s HNSLondon12 PayPal Transaction ID (or bank sort code in the case of payment by cheque) must also appear at the top of each page.
  • Manuscripts must show no name, address or other identifying marks apart from the entrant’s HNSLondon12 PayPal Transaction ID (or bank sort code in the case of payment by cheque)
  • Entries will not be returned, so please keep a copy.
  • No corrections can be made after receipt, nor fees refunded.

Receipt of entry

An automatic email confirmation will be sent to the address from which the submission was made. No other correspondence will be entered into.


Worldwide copyright in each entry will remain with the author.


The judges’ decision shall be final and no debate or correspondence will be entered into. Judges will be unable to comment on individual entries. Judging will be fair and unbiased and made without reference to the entrant’s identity.

The top three stories and best overall will be selected by Gillian Green, editorial director for commercial fiction at Ebury Press, and Jonathan Pegg, of the Jonathan Pegg Literary Agency.

All stories will be read and considered in the first instance by Carol McGrath and Ouida Taaffe. They will select a long-list of ten stories and look for, amongst other things, skill in:

  • Deft use of historical research
  • Characterization
  • Concision
  • Readability
  • Voice

Work must be presented professionally, formatted according to the competition rules and spell-checked.


The winner will be awarded the HNS London12 Short Story Cup and receive a prize of £100. The Cup will remain the property of Historical Novel Society, and must be returned not later than Friday 20 January 2013. The second and third placed entrants will each receive certificates.

Prize winners and prize giving

The long list will be displayed on the HNS Conference website on or around 15 September 2012. The short list will be announced and prizes will be awarded during the prize-giving ceremony at the Conference. With the author’s consent, the winning story will be published on the Conference website after the prize-giving.

Entry constitutes acceptance of all the rules. Failure to comply with the entry requirements will result in disqualification.


Please make your payment and submit your entry via the Short Story Award page.

2 Responsesso far.

  1. Carole Lane says:

    yes, I will enter this competition, I think it is a genre I would like to work in.

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