Novella Prize


1st Prize: £250 & Publication

First prize is £250 as an advance on publication with The Ghastling Press. The winning novella will be published in Autumn/Winter 2020 and will be available to buy online and in bookshops.

PLEASE NOTE: due to covid-19 pandemic we have made the decision to extend the competition deadline to the 20th of September 2020. This means we now anticipate publication in 2021.

2nd Prize: Three Month Subscription to The Abominable Book Club

Second prize is a three month subscription to The Abominable Book Club, a subscription box service for the macabre-minded reader.

3rd Prize: ‘Women’s Ghost Literature in Nineteenth-Century Britain’ by Melissa Edmundson Makala

Third prize is a hardback copy of Women’s Ghost Literature in Nineteenth-Century Britain by Melissa Edmundson Makala, from the University of Wales Press Gothic Literary Studies series.

Terms and Conditions

  1. Open to all writers (from beginners to established) over the age of 18 years old.
  2. International entrants are welcome, though manuscripts must be written in English.
  3. Manuscripts must be the original work of the entrant. Translations of other writers are not eligible.
  4. Manuscripts must be aimed at adult readers.
  5. Current employees of The Ghastling Press and sponsors of The Ghastling Novella Prize 2020 may not enter.
  6. Manuscripts must not infringe the copyright or any other rights of any third party, nor be defamatory of any living person or corporate body, nor fraudulent.
  7. Manuscripts submitted must be unpublished (i.e. never published anywhere else previously in print or online).
  8. Multiple entries are welcome.
  9. Simultaneous submissions are allowed as long as they are withdrawn as soon as they are accepted elsewhere. Please note your submission fee will not be refunded.
  10. Manuscripts that have won or are under consideration in other competitions are not eligible.
  11. Manuscripts should total between 20,000 and 35,000 words firm. Please adhere to the word limit – your entry will be disqualified if you do not.
  12. Manuscripts should be typed on A4 numbered pages, double-spaced 12pt, black type, and submitted as a PDF, doc or doc.x document.
  13. No alterations may be made once a manuscript is submitted.
  14. Manuscripts will not be returned, and no responsibility will be taken on The Ghastling Press’s part for manuscripts that are lost, delayed or damaged; nor for disappointment to entrants as a consequence.
  15. Manuscripts sent without payment will not be considered.
  16. No refunds will be given under any circumstances other than the cancellation of the prize.
  17. The decisions of the judges regarding eligibility, literary quality (in respect of originality of prose, structure and narrative voice) and interpretation of the prize’s theme is final. The Ghastling Press will not offer feedback on individual entries nor on the results of the competition, and no individual correspondence will be entered into.
  18. The Ghastling Press reserves the right to change one or more of the judges should circumstances dictate.
  19. Results will be announced within approximately 4 months of the closing date of 20th September 2020. The Ghastling Press reserves the right to extend this time period if necessary and within reason. If this is the case, the Ghastling Press also reserves the right to change the publication date to reflect this. Entrants will be notified if this happens.
  20. Results will be sent individually to the winning entrant and two runners-up first, and then published on The Ghastling website and social media.
  21. By submitting their manuscript, the entrant consents to their name and the title of their work being published online in the event that they are a winner or runner-up in The Ghastling Novella Prize 2020. Commended, longlisted and shortlisted entrants may also have their names and title of their work published online.
  22. The winning entrant will commit to a period of working alongside The Ghastling Press editors to edit their manuscipt as the editors see fit prior to its publication. This may be completed remotely.
  23. The Ghastling Press reserves the right to withold a prize (or prizes) and not to publish if the manuscripts received are not to a satisfactory standard.
  24. The Ghastling Press also reserves the right to cancel the prize at any stage if circumstances arise outside of its control (entrants will be refunded if this is the case.)
  25. Failure to comply with the Terms and Conditions set out here will result in a manuscript being disqualified.

How to Submit

  1. Pay the submission fee of £10 by following the PayPal link below.
  2. Send your COMPLETED unpublished manuscript to as a PDF, doc or doc.x attachment.
  3. Please ensure you have up-to-date virus protection before sending any files.
  4. Manuscripts are judged blind. Please make sure there are no identifying factors on your manuscript (e.g. name, address, etc.).
  5. Include your unique PayPal Transaction ID in the body of your submission email to confirm payment. Manuscripts sent without payment will not be considered. (Please note: If you are a patron of the ‘Headless Horseman’ Tier on Patreon for 2 months or more, prior to the competition deadline, you are entitled to free entry. Please let us know in your submission email.)
  6. Also include contact details, the title of your manuscript and word count in the body of your submission email.
  7. Submission is taken as your acceptance of all Terms and Conditions, including these instructions on ‘How to Submit’.

Ghastling Novella Prize

Entry for the Ghastling Novella Prize for a ghost story


The Judges

Rebecca Parfitt is founder and editor of The Ghastling. She has worked in publishing for 13 years, from consumer magazines to books. Rebecca is also a writer and has published stories and poetry widely and received many commendations and awards. Her debut poetry collection, The Days After, was published in 2017 by Listen Softly London, and her short story collection, Sometimes They Arrive Late & Other Macabres was shortlisted for the Cinnamon Press Debut Fiction Prize in 2018. Rebecca is currently receiving mentoring from Literature Wales to complete the collection with a view to publication. She is a Hay Festival Writers at Work residency recipient. Rebecca had her first encounter with a ghost when she was four years old and has been fascinated by them ever since.

Rhys Owain Williams is a writer and editor from Swansea, Wales. A subscriber since The Ghastling crypt first cracked open, he joined the team as Assistant Editor in 2018. In addition to all things ghastly, Rhys is interested by folklore, urban myth and psychogeography. A writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, Rhys’s short story ‘The Office Block’ was selected as one of thirteen stories for Rebecca’s contemporary gothic anthology A Flock of Shadows in 2014. His first poetry collection was published by Parthian in 2018. Rhys also runs The Crunch – a multimedia poetry magazine comprising an online repository of videos and regular podcast ( He lives in a terraced house near the sea with his partner and a black cat named Poe.

What We’re Looking For

Originality; a contemporary angle to the traditional ghost story; a subverted haunted house; unpredictable plot lines; characters with secrets and switching agendas; landscapes we can get lost in; chilling scenarios. We want to read a ghost story that nobody has thought of before. We’re also interested in the relationship between ghost stories and folklore, and how local legends and urban myth can shape a place and its people.

Tip: Reading a copy of The Ghastling magazine will give you a good idea of the kind of stuff we like.

What We’re Not Looking For

We love stories with historical settings, but don’t like the use of fake antiquated language. It is rarely successfully pulled off and quite often ruins what would otherwise be a perfectly good story. Even if you use a quill, if you weren’t born in the 1800s, please don’t attempt to write like that.

M.R. James copy-cats. Only M.R. James can do M.R. James.

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