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Chilling Pen


Short stories that chill you to the bone. Inspiring creative writing in the horror genre for unpublished authors.

1st Place $500 | 2nd Place $300 | 3rd Place $200

Competitions Australia

The Winners

2023 - betrayal

After spine-tingling anticipation and blood-curdling suspense, the shadows have unveiled the chilling champions of our this years Chilling Pen Competition. Judges were blown away by the quality of entries. Over 700 submission from around the world made judging this years entries a wonderful challenge.

After much deliberation, 3 wonderfully unique pieces of work were selected. Congratualtions to our winners, and many thanks to all those who enthralled and entertained us with your submissions.

Selection Criteria

The review panel will select winners based on a defined set of criteria, considering each of the following.


Clarity, grammar, sentence structure, and overall readability.


Uniqueness and creativity of the plot, setting, and characters.

Fear factor

The ability to evoke fear, dread, or unease in the reader.

Overall impact

The lasting impression the story leaves on the reader.

The Theme


Unveil the complexities of betrayal in this years Chilling Pen award. We invite writers from around the globe to submit their original, unpublished works of fiction or non-fiction that explore the theme of betrayal in all its forms - be it personal, political, or societal.


Entries must be written in English.

Word limit: Up to 1,000 words.

All genres and styles are welcome, including but not limited to, short stories, essays, and poetry.

Submissions must be previously unpublished and not under consideration elsewhere.

Each participant may submit one entry.

Submissions must not use AI. Any entries that are found to be using AI will be automatically disqualified and t he author banned from all future competitions.


The closing deadline for submissions is Midnight 1st October 2023. Submissions may be made any time before then.

Entries must be submitted via the submission form with a link to a file or document on Google Drive.

Include your name, email address, and phone number in your submission.

Authors retain all rights to their work, but provide irrevocable licence to us for publishing of the finished work on the website and social media.


Winners will be announced on the 31st October 2023.

First, second and third place entries will be published on the website and social media.

Winners will be contacted before the announcement.


Q. Who can enter the competition?
A. Entries are open worldwide to previously unpublished submissions in English.

Q. What is the submission deadline?
A. Submission will be accepted up until Midnight of the 1st October 2023

Q. Is there an entry fee for participating in the competition?
A. Entry is free.

Q. What are the word count requirements for submissions?
A. Up to 1000 words.

Q. Are there specific themes or sub-genres that the competition focuses on?
A. The theme for this years competition is Betrayal.

Q. Can I submit multiple entries for the competition?
A. Participants are limited to one entry per person.

Q. Are previously published works eligible for submission?
A. No. All work must be unpublished, original works.

Q. How should I format my submission?
A. Please use size 12pt font with 1.5em line height and save the file as PDF. Use Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, Times New Roman or similar fonts. Submissions using display or handwritten style fonts will not be reviewed.

Q. Where do I submit my horror story for the competition?
A. You can submit your entry via the entry form here or via email as an attachement to Please include your name, email and phone number in the email body and your email in the attached PDF.

Q. What are the judging criteria for the competition?
A. Work will be evaluated on overall quality, originality, fear factor, and overall impact.

Q. When will the winners be announced?
A. Winners will be announced on the 31st October 2023.

Q. Will winning stories be published or promoted in any way?
A. Winners will have their work published on the website and social media for a limited time. Authors retain all rights to their work but grant us an irrevocable licence to publish the work for a period of 30 days following the announcement of winners.

Q. Can I submit a co-authored story?
A. Yes. Co-authored stories will be accepted.

Q. How will my personal information be used by the competition organizers?
A. Personal information include name, email and phone number will be kept for the sole purpose of contacting winners of the competition. We may elect to send entrants an email with updates of the winners and notifications of future competitions.

Q. Can I edit or withdraw my submission after it has been submitted?
A. No edits will be accepted to submissions after they have been submitted. You may withdraw your work at any time.

Q. Who can I contact if I have questions or need assistance with my submission?
A. Questions can be sent to


Submissions can be made any time before Midnight October 1st 2023 either via the submission form here or by email to Please include:

  • Your manuscript as PDF attachement. Please include your email at the top of the document
  • Your name, email and phone number
  • Confirm that the submitted work is previously unpublished