The SMHAF Writing Competition, held in partnership with Bipolar Scotland, is now OPEN for entries. We are seeking new writing that addresses mental health using various forms, techniques and styles.

The Writing Competition is one of the festival’s most enduring successes, providing an opportunity for first time writers to be published alongside established names. The awards ceremony is often where we discover what our festival is really about, as writers from across Scotland and further afield take inspiration from our theme in poignant, powerful, personal and often ingenious and surprising ways.

The theme for 2020 is PERSPECTIVES. This can be interpreted in any way you choose – the limit is your imagination. For this year’s competition, there are three categories:

  • FICTION: Short stories, between 500 and 2000 words.
  • POETRY: Poems, up to 40 lines.
  • CREATIVE NONFICTION: Creative writing with a factual basis, between 500 and 2000 words. Examples can include diary entries, autobiographical writing, letters, personal essays and literary journalism.

Shortlisted writers will be invited to read from their work at the SMHAF Writing Awards in May 2020. Their pieces will be published in an illustrated book, made available to audience members on the night and across digital platforms. There will be one winner in each category, along with an overall winner for the competition. Further information about the event will be announced in the new year. 

The closing date for entries is midnight on Sunday 1 March 2020. We cannot accept any entries received after this date. Please download the submission guidelines for full details on how to enter and ensure you complete the entry form. 

For further information, and to answer any queries about the submission process, please contact Bipolar Scotland at or 0141 560 2050.

You can read the winning entries from 2019 in our ebook