Enter the Bridport Prize

Port cr Judy DarleyOne of the UK’s most prestigious writing competitions, the Bridport Prize is currently seeking submissions of short stories, flash fiction, poems and debut novels.

The deadline for all competition entries is 31st May 2018.

First things first, choose your writing species: novel, short story, flash fiction or poem.

Bridport Prize artwork cr Paul Blow

Image by Paul Blow

Poems may be up to 42 lines in length. The entry fee is £9. The winning poet will receive £5,000.

Short stories may be up to 5,000 words long. The entry fee is £10. The winning short story writer will receive £5,000.

Flash fiction may be up to 250 words long. The entry fee is £8. The winning flash fiction writer will receive £1,000.

Novel extracts may be between 5,000 and 8,000 words long, and must be from the opening chapters. You must also supply a 300-word synopsis. The fee is £20.

First prize prize is £1,000 plus a year’s mentoring through The Literary Consultancy’s Chapter & Verse mentoring scheme (worth £2,340), and a short, written report on the winning entry from the named judge.

If, after the mentoring process, the finished novel is suitable, A.M. Heath Literary Agents will have first option to represent the winner and to offer it to a publisher they recommend.

The first three chapters of the winning and runner-up novel will be published on the Bridport Prize website after 22nd October 2018.

Find full details and enter your creative works at www.bridportprize.org.uk.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at judydarley(at)iCloud(dot)com.

Write for a Flash Walk

Totterdown coloured houses cr Judy DarleyI’m happy to say that after a year’s hiatus, the #FlashWalk is set to return as part of the National Flash-Fiction Day celebrations on 16th June 2018. Far less seedy than it sounds (depending on the tales submitted), the Flash Walk will take place in Bristol, celebrating fiction in its shortest and most intense form.

The Flash Walk will take place in central Bristol, and your words can be part of it.

To be in with a chance of being included, all you need to do is send us a piece of flash fiction, prompted by some aspect of the theme Urban Landscape. You can take this idea in any direction you choose, using any theme and any genre, providing your tale is between 40 and 400 words in length.

Bristol can be but doesn’t have to be a source of inspiration for your submission.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 21st May 2018.

The selected stories will be shared by  actors during the walk, so if yours is chosen, all you need to do is come along and enjoy the performance!

The walk begins at 10.30am on 16th June, just outside the main entrance to Bristol’s M-Shed on the harbour side. It will finish at the GreenHouse, Hereford Street, BS3 4NA (just under a mile’s stroll away), between an hour and an hour and a half later.

The GreenHouse will also be the venue for the afternoon’s free writing workshops

To be part of National Flash-Fiction Day‘s #FlashWalk2018, submit your entries to bristolflash@gmail.com before midnight on Monday 21st May 2018. There’s no charge to enter, so why not give it a go?

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send an email to judydarley(at)iCloud(dot)com.

Bristol Short Story Prize 2018

Bristol hot air balloons cr Judy DarleyOne of my favourite writing competitions (and not just because it’s local), Bristol Short Story Prize 2018 is now open for entries. Flick through any of their anthologies and you’ll discover a wonderful breadth of theme, topic and style.

The closing date for entries is May 1st 2018. Submissions can be up to a maximum length of 4,000 words.

The 2017 Bristol Short Story Prize was won by Dima Alzayat  for her story, Ghusl. Following her win Dima has been signed by literary agent Juliet Pickering.

BristolShortStoryPrize-vol-9-coverThe 2016 Bristol Short Story Prize was won by Stefanie Seddon for her story, Kãka.

The 2015 Bristol Short Story Prize was won by Canadian writer Brent van Staalduinen for his story A Week on the Water.

The 2014 Bristol Short Story Prize was won by Mahsuda Snaith for her story The Art of Flood Survival.

Find the full competition rules here.

The writing competition prizes

First prize is £1,000. Second prize is £700, and third prize is £400.

Each of the 17 remaining shortlisted finalists will receive £100.

For full details or to enter, go to www.bristolprize.co.uk.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at judydarley(at)iCloud(dot)com.

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London Book Fair 2018

English Pen Literary Cafe

London Book Fair 2018 runs at Olympia, London, from 10th-12th April, so don’t expect any in-depth response from agents or publishers for a while! I attended some years ago with a publisher I was working with, and it was one of the most exhausting, intriguing, chaotic, exhausting, extraordinary events I’ve ever attended. Sorry, did I say exhausting twice?

It’s a vast, sprawling space filled with people who haven’t slept in days and aren’t quite sure where they’re going – a bit like an international airport but with the added requirement of being ready to schmooze at a moment’s notice.

Previously I’ve urged aspiring authors not to attend with the aim of pitching unpublished novels, but last year for the first time there was a special Author Club area at the fair which is returning in 2018 and will be well worth investigating. Plus there’s the London Book Fair Insights Seminar Programme covering everything from the impacts of Brexit on the book publishing industry, to how to publish books about mental health.

On the whole though, this is very much a trade show, where the emphasis is on publishers pushing titles, discussing international rights and new markets, seeking out new business collaborators, stifling yawns and drinking rather a lot of coffee.

If you’re going along, good luck!

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Writing prompt – visitors

Little House by Gilly Mound

This gorgeous picture is Little House by Gilly Mound, who was my featured artist last week. I love the house tilted beneath the moon and the sea rushing up to the garden wall as though considering dropping by. There’s something magical about the scene. I can almost hear the waves murmuring against the stones and the rustle of wind whispering through the trees!

Write a few lines to describe the people who live here. They’re clearly so fascinating that the sea and moon both want to visit.

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to judydarley(at)iCloud.com to let me know. With your permission, I’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Underwire – a short story

TearsInTheFence67This beauty arrive last week, brimming with noisy poems and tales all fit to stop you in your tracks for a moment (or far longer, if you’re not careful). I’m thrilled to have my surreal flash fiction Underwire included in issue 67 (Winter/Spring 2018) of Tears In The Fence.

The issue boasts a spine and 184 pages, making it a journal, if not a full-blown anthology, rather than a magazine.

You can buy back issues of Tears In The Fence or subscribe here.

 

Here’s a sneak preview of my tale:

Underwire by Judy Darley

The pebbles of the beach are cold lumps beneath my soles. A January wind whistles in from the sea, but I ignore the goosebumps sprigging my flesh and with effort I think the core of me into heat. That’s a trick, imagining a small inferno lit at the centre of my gut, flames licking the ropes of intestines and keeping me warm.

That’s how it begins, and the image below is where it ends, but you’ll have to get your hands on a copy of the issue to find out what happens in between.

Underwire by Judy Darley

Winchester Writers’ Festival competitions

Stripe Image provided by The WInchester Writers' ConferenceWinchester Writers’ Festival returns from 15th-17th June 2018, offering the opportunity to mingle with writers, hungry agents and lots of other interesting literary types.

The Writing Competitions are now open for entries. Don’t miss the earlier than usual deadline of 11th April!

The Shortlist will be announced on the Festival website at noon on 11th May, with the Winners due to be announced on 18th May.

Founded in 1980, the conference now encompasses a festival, book fair and  in-depth workshop schedule, as well as masses of opportunities to network with other aspiring and established authors.

Promised highlights include the festival’s renowned One-to-One Appointments with literary agents, commissioning editors, authors, poets and industry experts. There will also be masterclasses, talks and open-mic readings, all devised to inspire and inform you so you can take the literary world by storm!!

The Winchester Writers’ Festival takes place June 15th-17th 2018.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send an email to judydarley(at)iCloud(dot)com.

Enter the Poetry on the Lake Competition

Carzano harbour cr Judy DarleyThere’s still time to enter the Poetry on the Lake Competition with a closing date of 15th April 2018.

There are three categories:

Silver Wyvern (all forms, max 42 lines).
Short poems (max 10 lines).
Formal (for traditional set rhyme and/or metre patterns only, max 40 lines).

The best poem in any category written on the theme of ‘cinema’ will receive £100.

Fred Johnston is the Silver Wyvern adjudicator. Kevin Bailey adjudicates the short and formal poems.

Prizes range from €100 to €500. Interestingly, all fees are donations to the organisation and events of Poetry on the Lake, so while there is a suggested amount, they add: “If you genuinely can’t afford the fee, just send what you can. Of course, if your bank manager kisses the ground when you walk in, please donate generously.”

Find full details at www.poetryonthelake.org.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at judydarley(at)iCloud(dot)com.

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Enter the Tillie Olsen Short Story Award

Solive Winery, tractor cr Judy DarleyThe Tishman Review is open for entries to their short story competition in honour of author Tillie Olsen.

“Olsen is one of our heroes,” says the magazine’s co-founder and prose editor Jennifer Porter. “She was born in 1912 on a tenant farm in Nebraska, the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants. Early in her life, she began crusading for worker rights, jailed for organising packinghouse workers and for participating in strikes. She continued working as an activist her entire life. (…) Olsen died at the age of 95 – a mother, grandmother, award-winning writer, feminist, and human rights and anti-war activist.”

Tell Me A Riddle by Tillie OlsenOlsen was the author of the short story collection Tell Me a Riddle and her story Requa I appeared in the publication Best American Short Stories 1971. She also wrote journalistic pieces from the 1930s about the struggle for economic justice.

Entries are invited of unpublished (including online and personal blogs) short stories not longer than 5,000 words in length. Manuscripts and file names must not contain any identifying information. Make sure you follow the formatting guidelines!

All entries must be received through Submittable with the $15 entry fee per story.

The closing date for entries is 30th March 2018.

The final judge is author Tori Malcangio.

Contest winners will be announced on 30th July 2018. The winner will receive $500 and publication in the July issue of The Tishman Review.

All entrants will receive a one-year e-book subscription to The Tishman Review.

Find full details of the Tillie Olsen Short Story Award.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at judydarley(at)iCloud(dot)com.

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Micro-Fiction competition invites entries

Buttons cr Judy DarleyI’m a fan of flash fiction that packs an emotional wallop ­– such a challenge to achieve in only a handful of words!

National Flash-Fiction Day returns on 16th June 2018, and celebrates this short-short form in all its glory.

As part of the build up, their annual Micro-Fiction competition is open for entries of 100 words or fewer. There is no minimum word count.

The deadline is 23:59 (UK time) on 17th March 2018, so you just have time to string a few powerful, carefully selected words together. No problem, right?!

This year, entries are free. You’re invited to submit up to three flash fictions on any theme.

Find competition rules, terms and conditions, and the full list of prizes at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/comp.html

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