Sargeson Prize - New Short Story Competition

New in 2019, the Sargeson Prize is New Zealand's richest short story prize, sponsored by the University of Waikato. Named for celebrated New Zealand writer Frank Sargeson, the Prize was conceived by writer Catherine Chidgey, who also lectures in Writing Studies at the University. Entries open on 1 April for the 2019 (and inaugural) Sargeson Prize and close at 11.59pm (NZST) on 30 June 2019. There is no entry fee, and entries are limited to one per writer, per division.

If you have any questions that aren't answered on this page or in the terms and conditions, please email sargeson.prize@waikato.ac.nz


Open Division

The Open Division is open to New Zealand permanent residents writing in English. Published and unpublished writers are welcome to enter. Entries must be a single story of no more than 5000 words. It must an original, unpublished piece of work.

  • First Prize: $5000
  • Second Prize: $1000
  • Third Prize: $500

The winning story will be published in Landfall and, at least three months later, in Mayhem. The second and third placing stories will also be published in Mayhem.

Secondary Schools Division

The Secondary Schools Division is open to students enrolled at a New Zealand secondary school and aged between 16 and 18 years on the date that competition entries close. Entries must be a single story of no more than 3000 words. It must be an original, unpublished piece of work.

  • First Prize: $500
  • Second Prize: $200
  • Third Prize: $100

The winning story will be published in Mayhem.

The winner of the Secondary Schools Division will also be offered a one-week summer residency at the University of Waikato, to be taken up in January or February of the following year. The residency will include accommodation and meals at one of the University of Waikato Halls of Residence, a writing space in the School of Arts, and mentoring from postgraduate students and/or academic staff in the Writing Studies programme. If the winner is under 18 years of age, parental consent will be required.

Click through to find out more about Judging and and How to enter