2021 Sunday Star Times Short Story competition – Terms and Conditions

Last year’s short story competition winner in the open category, Kirsten McDougall.

Last year’s short story competition winner in the open category, Kirsten McDougal

In association with the Milford Foundation and Penguin Random House the prize pool this year is $9000, with $6000 awarded to the overall open category winner. It’s also the chance for writers to receive critical feedback and have the winning story published in the Sunday Star-Times and on Stuff. Judges this year are acclaimed writers Patricia Grace, Rosetta AllanMegan Dunn and Amy McDaid.

Entries for the 2021 Sunday Star-Times short story competition are open. Now in their 38th year, the awards are among New Zealand’s most prestigious and established writing prizes. The competition has helped launch the careers of many well-known writers.

Below are terms and conditions to enter the 2021 Sunday Star-Times short story competition.

You must read these before uploading your entry here.


• Open division – 3000-word limit.

• Emerging Māori writer – 3000-word limit (open to any author who identifies as Māori and who does not already have a published book).

• Emerging Pasifika writer – 3000-word limit (open to any author who identifies as Pasifika and who does not already have a published book).

• Under age 25 division – 2000-word limit

Entries close October 22, 2021, at midnight. Winners will be announced in December, and a selection of the winning entries will be published in the Sunday Star-Times and on Stuff.

Writers may only enter one of the emerging Māori or Pasifika categories, not both. Winners of both these categories are automatically eligible to win the major prize of $6000.

In entering this competition you warrant to us that you are the sole author of the submission and that it is entirely original to you (except for any third party quotation, whose source you clearly indicate).


Information on how to enter and the prize(s) that form part of the “Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards 2021 (the “Promotion”) are set out in these terms and conditions (“Terms”). By participating, entrants agree to be bound by these Terms.


Employees and their immediate families of Stuff Limited (“Stuff”) and the associated sponsors, and their immediate families are not eligible to enter. Entrants must have a New Zealand bank account for prize money purposes.


The competition commences at 12.01am Sunday, September 19, 2021 and closes 11.59pm Friday, October 22, 2021 (“the Competition period”). There will be one winner for each of the four following categories: open category, emerging Māori writer, emerging Pasifika writer, and under 25 category. Entrants in the under 25 age division must be under the age of 25 when the competition closes on October 22, 2021. Entrants in the emerging Māori and emerging Pasifika categories will be automatically entered into the open category. Finalists will be contacted by phone or email using the contact details provided. Winners will be announced in the Sunday Star-Times and on Stuff.co.nz. Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted. The judges’ decision regarding the winners’ is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

How to enter

Entrants must visit the competition entry page during the competition period and complete the form, including the required details, and submit their short story within the word limit. The maximum length of the open category entries is 3000 words. There is no age restriction on entries. Your story may be published in the Sunday Star-Times and on Stuff. The maximum length of the Under 25 category entries is 2000 words.

An individual may submit no more than one entry per category. Once an entry is submitted, it is final. The entry cannot be withdrawn and no alterations can be made to it. Entries may not contain any photographs or illustrations. Stories must be the original work of the entrant alone, and no entry may be published or broadcast elsewhere, or submitted for publication or broadcast elsewhere, or entered into any other competition until after December 31, 2021. Only entries received via the online entry form are eligible. Once an entry is received no further publishing permission will be sought; the author is responsible for the legal implications of any work published. Copyright to all entries submitted remains the property of the entrant. However, Stuff and Penguin Random House New Zealand have the right to publish the winning and highly commended manuscripts without fee.


The open division prize is $6000, sponsored by Penguin Random House and the Milford Foundation, and judged by Rosetta Allan.

The under 25 division prize is $1000, sponsored by the Milford Foundation, and judged by Megan Dunn.

The emerging Māori writer prize is $1000, sponsored by the Milford Foundation, and judged by Patricia Grace

The emerging Pasifika writer prize is $1000,sponsored by the Milford Foundation, and judged by Amy McDaid.

The winning entries will be published in the Sunday Star-Times and on Stuff.

The Promoter

The promoter is Stuff New Zealand Limited, Level 7, Spark Central, 42-52 Willis Street, Wellington 6011

No Correspondence

The Promoter’s decision regarding the winners is final and no correspondence will be entered into. The prize is not transferable or exchangeable.


By entering the Promotion, winners agree to their names, photos and entries being published in Stuff publications and on online platforms.

Ownership of Entries

Promotion entries (but not the copyright thereof) become the property of Stuff and promotional partners, who will keep the personal information it holds about entrants confidential and will not disclose it to third parties.


By agreeing “yes” to receive promotional information on the entry form, entrants to the Promotion permit Stuff, and Penguin Random House to enter their personal information into a database for the purpose of contacting them directly about any of other Stuff publications or promotional partner’s special offers, samples and other promotions. Pursuant to the Privacy Act 1993, entrants have the right to access and correct any personal information.


The Promoter reserves the right, at any time, to verify the validity of claims and determine the eligibility of entrants (including an entrant’s identity) and to disqualify any entry or refuse to award a prize where false or misleading details have been given by an entrant, or where an entrant has behaved in a fraudulent or dishonest manner, or otherwise than in accordance with these terms and conditions or the spirit of the promotion.

No Liability

Stuff and its associated agencies and companies shall not be liable in any way (including, without limitation, in negligence) for any loss or damage whatsoever suffered (including, without limitation, indirect or consequential loss) or for any loss or damage or personal injury suffered or sustained in connection with promotion except any liability that cannot be excluded by law. The Promoter is not liable for any tax implications that may arise as a result of winning.

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