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Aeon Award: Rules & Guidelines

Aeon Award Short Fiction Contest – Full Rules & Guidelines

Welcome! Scroll down to find the rules and guidelines for entering your short story in the International Aeon Award Short Fiction Contest. The Aeon Award is a prestigious fiction writing competition for short stories in any speculative fiction genre, i.e. fantasy, science fiction, horror or anything in-between or unclassifiable. The contest has been running since 2004 and has a Grand Prize of €1000 and publication in Albedo One! Second and third place contest prizes are €200 and €100 as well as guaranteed publication in Albedo One, the leading Irish magazine of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Each year the contest opens on January 1st and closes on November 30th.

Rules & Guidelines in Brief

(1) If your story is science fiction, fantasy or horror, is less than 10,000 words in length and has not been previously published, simply paste it into the body of an email with your contact details and send it to with “Aeon Award Submission” as the Subject of the email.

(2) Pay the €8.50 entry fee, which we have kept as low as is feasible, by simply clicking on this link, which brings you to a page where you can add the fee to your shopping cart and start the payment process (this page has full instructions for paying the fee). We use PayPal to allow you to quickly and securely pay the fee using your credit or debit cards. Try it, it’s easier than you think!

We understand that rules in fiction contests and writing competitions can be confusing, so we’ve created a Frequently Asked Questions page for the Aeon Award Contest. We welcome queries and questions, no matter how small, by email, to Frank Ludlow, at

Still wondering why you should enter the Aeon Award contest? See our Why Enter? page.

Rules & Guidelines in Full

Times & Dates

The Aeon Award short fiction writing contest opens 1st January each year, and runs for four rounds (or quarters) throughout the year. The submission deadline for the first round is March 31st, the second round June 30th, the third round September 30th and the final round November 30th. The final round is of two months duration, the rest of three months. Each round begins immediately after the end of the previous round (i.e. this means in practice that you may submit at any time from 1st Jan to 30th Nov).

At the end of each round, the best short story submissions entered in the competition will be chosen by a panel of interim judges, comprising the editorial team of Albedo One, and shortlisted for the contest. The short stories chosen in each round will be announced on the homepage of the Albedo One website ( shortly after the end of each round, as the writing competition proceeds. The shortlist and final results will also be printed in Albedo One magazine for all the world to see.

At the end of the writing competition, shortly after Nov 30th each year, the interim judges will choose the six highest-ranking stories from the competition shortlist. The top three winning stories will be chosen from these six stories by the Grand Judges. The decisions of the interim judging panel, and thereafter of the Grand Judges, are final. No correspondence can be entered into in this regard.

Submission Format & Address

Entries should be no more than 10,000 words (but there is no minimum word length) and must be submitted by e-mail to Submissions must be pasted within the body of the email. Attachments can not be opened for security reasons. Submissions must also clearly have the words “Aeon Award Submission” in their subject lines to prevent mislabeling as spam.

Receipt of email submissions will be acknowledged. If you have not received an acknowledgement within four weeks of submitting by email, please send a query to (your entry may have become lost along the way).

Multiple entries are allowed throughout the period of the competition. All short story submissions are judged anonymously by the interim and Grand Judges to ensure impartiality. You may submit any number of short stories, and have any number of short stories on the shortlist. Absolutely no prejudice is held against authors who have submitted more than one work of fiction, or with more than one shortlisted story.

Entries are allowed from ALL nationalities. Indeed, the judges are keen to see work from as many countries as possible. However, entries must be in the English language.

Please note: As of 2014, we no longer accept entries by post, unless by specific request of the author (please contact Frank Ludlow at to discuss submission by post).

Story Rights & Conditions

Entries to the Aeon Award short fiction contest must not have been previously published in any format in the English language (if in doubt about eligibility, please feel free to query us). Entries that have been previously published in English will be disqualified from the competition. Short stories previously published in languages other than English are eligible to enter the competition. This is in line with our goal of promoting writers and writing in the speculative fiction genres from as many regions of the world as possible.

Short stories submitted to the Aeon Award writing contest in each round must not be submitted or published elsewhere in any format until the stories that have been chosen for the shortlist are announced on the Albedo One website after the end of each round. If your story has not been chosen for the shortlist after the round in which it was entered, you are then free to submit elsewhere.

Short stories that are chosen for the shortlist after each round must not be submitted or published elsewhere until the top six stories from the shortlist have been chosen and announced on the Albedo One website (normally in December of each year). Shortlisted stories found to have been submitted or published elsewhere before the announcement of the top six shortlisted stories will be disqualified from consideration in the competition.

Once the top six stories are announced, all other stories on the shortlist may be submitted or published elsewhere (i.e. absolutely all rights revert to the authors). Of the top six shortlisted stories, Albedo One retains the right, for a limited time, to publish these stories. Authors of these stories will be informed of whether their story will be published in Albedo One within a maximum of two months from the announcement of the top six shortlisted stories.

Of the top three stories (which are guaranteed publication in Albedo One), these must not be published elsewhere until after their publication in Albedo One (i.e. rights revert to the authors upon publication – for those concerned, Albedo One and the Aeon Award Short Fiction Contest never, ever, claim permanent rights to your stories).

Payment Details

All stories entered in the Aeon Award Short Fiction Contest must be accompanied by a modest entry fee of €8.50 (euro).

Payment may be made securely and easily using PayPal by clicking on “Shop” from the menu at the top of this page, then choosing “Aeon Award Fee”. Note, you do NOT need a PayPal account to use this option. PayPal accepts payment from all major credit and debit cards and is internationally recognised as a fast, easy and secure way to make online payments (see

Please provide either your unique Transaction Id code (which will look something like 98B96318D4186023G) OR your unique Receipt Number (which will look something like 2494-4301-2019-0796) with your cover letter. These numbers are provided to you by PayPal as you complete the payment process and allow us to verify that you have indeed paid the entry fee (which we have kept as low as is feasible, to ensure that the Aeon Award writing competition is accessible to as many people as possible).

Please be aware that we will check to see that the entry fee has been paid prior to reading your submission. The Aeon Award short fiction contest is intended to be open to as many people as possible, so if you have any queries or difficulties, please don’t hesitate to contact and we will do our best to accommodate you.

We understand that entry rules to fiction contests or writing competitions can be intimidating and complex, so please do feel free to contact us at But before doing so, you may find an answer to your questions at the Aeon Award writing competition FAQ.