I've always thought i might have a book in me and would love the chance to have a go at writing down a story I've developed over the last few years. It got me thinking that perhaps it might work better as a short story, or at least give me a starting point which I could develop further later.
So anyway can anybody recommend some reputable short story competitions ? or perhaps if there was enough interest we could start a grcade short story competition ?
First rule would be: don't write anything for the sake of a competition. Write it first and then worry about that second.
Competitions are open at different times of the year. Deadlines will vary from case to case.
I don't know what you mean by reputable, but there are so many out there now. In most cases, judges know exactly what they're looking for and a certain type of story will win. If you're interested in trying to write a 'winning' entry, take a look at the stories which won/placed highly in the previous years.
A good SS length will be between 4000-8000 words, but contests will often vary and ask for specific things.
If you're really interested in trying to win one, then try googling for some UK based literary festivals. All of them usually have contests attached.