Irish Imbas Celtic Mythology Short Story Competition


Introduction from Brian O’Sullivan

With the Celtic Mythology Short Story competition, we’re hoping to collect the best contemporary narratives on genuine Gaelic/Celtic mythology that we can find.  Stories from Celtic mythology have been lying dormant in the shadow of “Children’s fairytales” for far too long and it’s time to haul them back out into the open where they belong.

There’s a new wave of Gaelic/Celtic authors out there, writers ready to draw on their cultural heritage to create a rich and compelling portfolio of new works. We’re hoping this competition is going to help kindle that process!

First Prize

$500 and story published in Irish Imbas Celtic Mythology Collection

Second Prize

$250 and story published in Irish Imbas Celtic Mythology Collection

Third Prize

$100 and story published in Irish Imbas Celtic Mythology Collection

What We’re Looking For

Any kind of fiction short story will be considered (action, romance, drama, humour etc.) as long as they meet the following criteria:

  • Celtic mythology or folklore forms a fundamental element of the story (i.e. the characters can be characters from Celtic mythology, the action can take place in a mythological location, mythological concepts can be used etc.).
  • Any Celtic folklore or mythological reference used should be culturally accurate (for example; no dedicated pantheon of Irish Gods, no werewolves, vampires or other elements that don’t fit with the established mythology of ‘Celtic’ countries)
  • A compelling story/theme, engaging characters. You’re a writer – you know what we mean.

At the end of the day, of course, the success of a story comes down to the judgement of the individual reader and it’s impossible to tell what one person will like over another. The stronger your narrative however, and the stronger the cultural element, the greater your chances of getting through to the short-list. To get a feel for the type of stories that were successful in previous competitions (and the context behind them) we strongly advise downloading a free digital copy of previous Irish Imbas: Celtic Mythology Collections at the Irish Imbas Bookshop. These can also be found free of charge at most other ebookstores.

The Process and Important Dates

1. Submitted stories will be read and assessed and a shortlist compiled.

2. A panel of judges will score each shortlisted story and choose the top three prize-winning stories. A selection of the top 5-10 scoring stories will be published in the 2018 Irish Imbas: Celtic Mythology Collection. In this respect, Irish Imbas Books retains one-time, non-exclusive publication rights to the selected entries chosen for publication.

3. Submissions will be accepted from midnight 2 September 2017 to midnight 10 December 2017.

4. This will be an annual competition so any submission received after midnight 10 December 2017 will be automatically entered into the competition for the following year.

5. The shortlist will be announced on, on the Irish Imbas Books Facebook page and on the Irish Imbas Books Twitter feed [@ImbasInfo] before 31 January 2018.

6. Winners will be contacted by email.

7. Prize money will be paid to the authors of the three prize-winning stories in February/March 2018.

8. The Irish Imbas: Celtic Mythology Collection 2018 will be released in March/April 2018.

Terms and Conditions

  • Irish Imbas Books reserves the right to decline a story for entry to the competition for any reason at its absolute discretion.
  • All successful authors will be contacted by email.
  • The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into once the winners have been announced.
  • By submitting a story to the competition the author warrants that the story is original, and entirely the author’s own work. The author warrants that the story they have entered does not infringe the copyright or any other rights of any third party and is not libellous, unlawful or defamatory of any living person or corporate body.
  • By submitting a story to the Irish Imbas Books Celtic Mythology Short Story Competition the author acknowledges that, free of any fees or royalty payments, their short story and biography:
    • will be made available for publication in the Irish Imbas Celtic Mythology Collection (digital and hard copy version);
    • can be used (in whole or in part) in advertising and marketing material in any format via any medium for the purposes of this competition
  • By entering the competition you agree that Irish Imbas Books may email you with news of subsequent competitions). We hate spam as much as anyone so any email sent to you will enable you to unsubscribe at any time.

How to Enter

The entry fee can be paid by credit card via Paypal using the form below.


Number of Stories

Following payment, submissions must be sent by email as attachments (i.e. not in the body of the mail) to: . See full details in The Rules below.

Submission of an entry is taken as acceptance of all the Rules, Terms and Conditions. Failure to comply with the rules could mean you are disqualified. Although we would not do so arbitrarily, Irish Imbas Books reserves the right to update the terms and conditions at any time.

The Rules

  • Maximum number of words is 4000 words, excluding the title.
  • Submissions must be received by midnight 10 December 2017. Submissions received after that date will be automatically enrolled in the 2018 competition and the same conditions apply.
  • Submissions must be in English
  • The competition is open to authors residing anywhere in the world.
  • The submitted stories must be the original work of the entrant.
  • The submitted stories must not have been previously published (print or online). If you receive a prize and/or are published as part of this competition, we’re more than happy for you to resubmit your story for publication elsewhere, provided we retain one-time, non-exclusive publication rights to the story for the Irish Imbas Celtic Mythology Collection
  • Authors will retain copyright of their submitted stories.
  • Authors can submit up to three stories maximum however each author can only win one cash prize.
  • Submissions must be sent by email as attachments (i.e. not in the body of the mail) to:
  • Submissions should include:
    • The submitted short story(ies) as attachments – Word documents in doc. or docx.
    • Your name and address in the body of the email
    • The transaction ID of your Paypal entry fee payment
    • A short biography (maximum 300 words) in the body of the email (to be used in the Irish Imbas Celtic Mythology Collection)
  • The email subject line should contain the words: ‘Irish Imbas Short Story Competition Entry – Author Name’.
  • Judges are only human so if the fonts you use are difficult for judges to read, your entry is likely to suffer as a result. Therefore, please ensure submissions use clear, simple fonts (Times New Roman, Georgia or Arial)
  • There is a $US 7 (seven US dollars) entry fee for 1 (one) entry, a $US 12 (twelve dollars US) entry fee for 2 (two) entries and a $USD 15 (fifteen US dollars) entry fee for 3 (three) entries. Please pay BEFORE sending your entry.
  • Submission of a short story to the Irish Imbas Celtic Mythology Short Story Competition is taken as acceptance of all the Rules, Terms and Conditions.
  • Once a submission is received, no refunds of the entry fee will be given under any circumstances.

The photo used above was by Chris Campbell: