Short Story Competition FAQs

We’ve answered some of the questions you might have for the MFEST Short Story Competition below

Format 

  • Submissions should be attached as a PDF doc using a 12 pt regular font, with page numbers and, at least 1.5 spaced.  Do not put your name in the PDF or in the file title. 

  • Please write ‘MFEST SHORT STORY COMPETITION.FIRST NAME. LAST NAME’ in the Subject Line of the email.  

  • Include your phone number in the body of email. 

  • Only send one submission email. 

  • Please include the title of your short story in the body of the email.  If your short story is untitled, simply state that it is ‘untitled.’   

  • Add the word count to the top right of the first page. The title is not included in the word count. 

  • Do not add cover or title pages. 
     

Rules

Entry implies acceptance of all the rules and failure to comply may result in disqualification. IMPORTANT: All entries are judged anonymously. Please do not include your name, address, phone number, email, website, twitter handle etc on the document. 

  • 1,500-2,000 words. We are happy to accept submissions that are up to 10% over the word count, so up to 2,200 words. 

  • You can only submit a short story.   

  • This prize is only for Muslim writers who self-identify as people of colour.  Please confirm this in the body of the email.   

  • You can only submit a story if you have not been published as an author.  This means you are not eligible if you are an author of your own book (regardless of genre) or have an agent.  

  • If your work has been published in an anthology or zine (as part of a broader body of work), you can apply.   

  • All entries to be written in the English language. 

  • Poetry and nonfiction will not be accepted. 

  • Open to all ages above the age of 18.   

  • Entrants must submit under their real name or a pseudonym, but will be disqualified for using a celebrity/known name. Names won’t be changed on any of our content if a pseudonym changes in later years. 

  • Do not include photos or images with your submission. 

  • Once an entry is received, no revisions are allowed. 

  • All decisions made by the judges regarding the winners are final.  We will not be able to provide feedback to unsuccessful entries.  

  • Only submit writing that has not been previously published in print or online
     

I don’t have an idea for a book, can I still enter? 

Yes, providing you have the ambition and intention to write a book.  6 shortlisted writers will be given extensive support by Spread The Word and Hajar Press to create a book proposal.  Hajar Press will choose one winner to award a publishing deal based on the strength of their book proposal. 

Are you accepting entries for poetry or nonfiction? 

Does my short story have to be linked or part of a
book I’d like to write? 

No.  The short story you write can be connected to a book idea you might want to explore or it can be totally independent of it.  The judges will be looking for demonstrations of talent and quality.  They are not looking for the perfect writer but for writers who demonstrate potential. 

Can I submit if I’m a Muslim but not a person of colour? 

You can only apply if you’re a Muslim and a person of colour as we want to focus on providing opportunities for Muslim writers of colour who experience more barriers in the publishing industry. 

Can I enter if I already have a literary agent? 

If you already have a literary agent, you can ask to submit your work to an editor at Hajar Press separately from this prize. 

Can I enter if I’ve already had work published? What if I’m self-published, published in another format or genre, or published as part of an anthology? 

We aren’t able to accept applications from writers who have had a book published in the UK before. We are happy to receive submissions from writers who have been published in other print formats. For example in zines, magazines or journals.

Can I post my submission to you? 

We are only accepting entries via our online portal, which is open from 23.4.2021

If I’m chosen as one of the 6 shortlisted writers, can I submit my book proposal to agents and or other publishers? 

Shortlisted writers must wait until the competition is closed and an overall winner has been chosen before approaching literary agents or publishers with their book proposal. Hajar Press would also encourage runner-up writers to submit their book proposal to them once the winner has been chosen.  

Although Hajar Press will be awarding one writer a publishing contract, we want to help 5 other shortlisted writers develop their idea for a book proposal. Tailored developmental workshops will be run by Hajar Press and Spread the Word.  The competition is only open to unagented writers and the winner will be awarded a book contract by Hajar Press directly.   

You can read more about Spread The Word here: www.spreadtheword.org.uk 
 

Will I get any feedback on my application? 

Due to the volume of submissions expected, we unfortunately are not able to give individual feedback to every applicant.  

When will I know if I’ve been shortlisted? 

We will be announcing all shortlisted writers in September 2021 with the overall winner being decided by November 2021 (specific dates TBC).   

What happens if I’m shortlisted? 

Shortlisted writers will be invited to take part in a tailored programme of workshops in September 2021 to develop their book proposal.   

What do I get if I win? 

The winner will receive a publishing contract with Hajar Press, receive an Arvon Retreat for 2022. 6 shortlisted writers will receive a tailored programme of workshops to develop their idea for a book. 

 

To read more about Arvon Retreats: https://www.arvon.org/writing-courses/clockhouse-retreats/ https://www.arvon.org/writing-courses/writers-retreats-at-lumb-bank-totleigh-barton/ 
 

If I win, when will my book be published? 

A publishing schedule will be drawn up depending on the project, and taking into account the writers much material is available, and a publication date will be decided collaboratively, with the winning writer and the Hajar Press team.  

Question not answered above? 

Get in touch with us via email at zain.dada@maslaha.org and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.  

What age is the prize for? 

MFEST Short Story Competition is for anyone over the age of 18.  Whether you’re a new writer or someone who has written short stories before.  As long as you’re an unpublished and unagented Muslim writer of colour.