SA Writers College 2017 Short Story Competition



2017 Annual Short Story Award


For Emerging Writers in South Africa




The annual SA Writers College Short Story Competition acknowledges
excellence in creative writing in the Short Story form.

The contest is open to any beginner writer living in South Africa.

Hearty congratulations to our top 20 writers for 2017 – chosen from almost 700 entries this year.

The stories are being evaluated by our panel of six judges – award-winning South African writers Alex Smith, Fiona Ingram, Maya Fowler, Ginny Swart, Andrew Salomon and Karen Jeynes.

On 31 May we will be announcing the following lists: Our Winners, Highest Honours, Honours, Honourable Mention, More Stories We Loved, and Writers with Potential (a new category to showcase promising writers).


Our fabulous top 20, in no particular order:

‘Pick Anything’ - by Ashley Fairfoot
‘The Owner of Her Heart’ – by Nondumiso Zondi
‘The Wedding Dress Bear’ – by Amber-Jay van Rooyen
‘Whole Heart’ – by Tumelo Ratladi
‘King of the Road’ – by Carina Maré
‘The Conflicted Girl’ – by Sekutupu Pretty Kubayi
‘The Disappearance of Kathryn Casey’ – by Helena Higgins
‘The World Spins Endlessly’ – by Lauren Fraser
‘The Heart Behind the Lens’ – by Peter Charter
‘These Aren’t Mine’ – by Caitlin O’Connor
‘Frankie’ – by Heinrich van der Walt
‘Dear Jo’burg’ – by Neo Sibiya
‘Sacred Wine, Secret Child’ – by Asifa Zara Essop
‘The Teen Factor’ – by Janice Gardener-Atkinson
‘Remember It All’ – by Jonathan Botha
‘A Letter to Death’ – by Antonetta Elizabetta Dresen
‘Her Story Was Pain’ – by Shifaa Singlee
‘Avoiding Loneliness’ – by Malika Kahn
‘Friday’ - by Sifiso Mtshali
‘Closure’ – by Keshav Maharaj




PRIZES: Basiese Kreatiewe Skryfkursus

  • First Prize: R 10 000.00
  • Second Prize: R 5 000.00
  • Third Prize: R 2 000.00

THEME:  A person's world is only as big as their heart. ~ Tanya A. Moore

DEADLINE:  30 April 2017 - Now closed for entries.





  • anthology-400We 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 or non-fiction, in any publication (for payment or otherwise). Journalists, copywriters or web writers must please not apply. We make an exception for unpaid articles for community or work newsletters, or blogs, where the circulation is under 1000.
  • Entry is limited to South African residents only.
  • Entrants must submit a story of maximum word count: 2000 words. Any entries exceeding the word count by 50 words will not be considered.
  • Writers can interpret and represent the theme in any way they choose. Stories that appear to be entirely unrelated to the theme will not be considered.
  • We strongly recommend that writers read through the competition archives or the past winning stories to see what kind of writing appeals to us at SA Writers College. We enjoy highly original writing that is authentic and thought-provoking.
  • Stories must not have been previously published. Entrants must own full copyright to the story submitted.
  • Only one story per entrant is allowed.
  • Only e-mail submissions are acceptable, with stories attached as Word Documents. Mark your entry clearly with the subject line: SAWC Annual Short Story Competition, and submit according to rules below.
  • If you have not received an acknowledgement of your submission within three days, please re-send your entry.
  • Queries and submissions must be sent to Nichola Meyer: Nichola@sawriterscollege.co.za



  • Your first page of your Word document must include the story title and your name (using a font such as Arial or Times New Roman, size 12, with no special formatting please), your email address and total number of words of the entry.
  • Do not include your name on any page of your story, except the title page. All entries will be judged blind.
  • Use 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:

Archives View our Archived Competition Entries Here


Ginny Swart Short Story Tutor lb

Ginny Swart
has sold over 700 short stories all over the world. Read more about her here >

Alex Smith letterbox

Award-winning author Alex Smith has published five novels. Read more about her here >
Karen Jeynes letterbox

Award-winning playwright Karen Jeynes has written several plays and TV series. Read more here >

Multi-award winning writer Fiona Ingram specialises in writing books for children. Read more about her here >

Andrew Salomon
has published several novels and has won the PEN/ Studzinski literary award. Find out more about him here >

Multi-talented Maya Fowler is the author of several novels. Read more about her here >


  • The competition is open to anyone living in South Africa over the age of 16.
  • The competition closes at midnight on 30 April 2017. The shortlist is published on 16 May, and the winners will be announced and displayed on our website by 31 May 2017.
  • 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.
  • We only accept entries written in English.
  • Entrant must own full copyright of the piece.
  • Writers retain copyright, but give permission for their work to be displayed on our website.
  • The judges' decision is final; no disputes will be entered into.
  • If your entry has not been acknowledged within 72 hours, please contact us – your email may have got lost in transit.
  • SA 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.

Photo credit: Benny Yap
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About Us

We offer specialised, online writing courses tutored by award-winning writers in South Africa. Get the writing tools you need, expert insider advice and hours and hours of writing practice.


Study from anywhere in South Africa: Cape Town, Western Cape; Johannesburg and Pretoria, Gauteng; Durban and Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal; Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape; Bloemfontein, Free State; Nelspruit, Mpumalanga; Kimberley, Northern Cape and Polokwane, Limpopo.

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Email: admin@sawriterscollege.co.za


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