Celebrate writing at Manchester Literature Festival

The-Royal-Exchange-Manchester-cr-Judy-Darley

This year’s Manchester Literature Festival promises a mixture of digital and real-world events celebrating writing in all its forms.

With #MLF LIVE from 9th-17th October and #MLF DIGITAL from 1st-14th November, there will be plenty to ignite imaginations, inspiration and an appreciation of how we can make sense of our world through reading, writing and experiencing literature.

Live highlights include:

Jeanette Winterson and Mark O’Connell in Conversation with Kate Feld.

Saturday 9th October 2021, (Central Library)

An Evening with Bernardine Evaristo
Monday 11 October 2021, (HOME Theatre)

An Evening with Colm Tóibín,

Thursday 14 October 2021 (Central Library)

Tenement Kid: Bobby Gillespie in Conversation
Saturday 16 October 2021, 8pm, HOME (Theatre)

Malika Booker, Vahni Capildeo & Jason Allen-Paisant

Sunday 17 October 2021 (Central Library)

Look out for exclusive commissions by exciting contemporary poets responding to our current times.

Celebrated poet and musician Roger Robinson was commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival to write a new series of poems exploring the idea of Black Lives Matter and how it pertains to the Black British experience.

A rising poetry star Caleb Femi was commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival to write new poems exploring the impact of solitude during the pandemic, touching on themes of the inner and physical self, friendship, joy and imagination as a coping tool.

California-born poet and the Director at the Centre for Imagination in the Borderlands at Arizona State University Natalie Diaz was commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival to write a series of poetic sensualities exploring the words ‘origin’, ‘migration’, ‘freedom’ and ‘love.’ The Festival say: “A deeply lyrical poet, she created linguistic maps of these words in English and Mojave, diving deep into their roots and the ways in which they echo in physical connection.

Find out more about these commissions and all the Manchester Literature Festival events: www.manchesterliteraturefestival.co.uk.

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.

Brooklyn Book Festival celebrates literature city-wide

Brooklyn. Photo by Miltiadis Fragkidis on UnsplashBrooklyn Book Festival (BKBF) is going hybrid for 2021, with online and real world events to choose between from 26th September and 4th October.

They say: “The mission of the Brooklyn Book Festival is to celebrate published literature and nurture a literary cultural community through programming that cultivates and connects readers of diverse ages and backgrounds with local, national and international authors, publishers and booksellers. To this end, the Brooklyn Book Festival develops original programming that is hip, smart, diverse, inclusive and collaborative and presents free and low-cost public events including the Brooklyn Book Festival, Children’s Day and Bookend events.”

They add: “The Brooklyn Book Festival is New York City’s largest free literary festival and connects readers with local, national and international authors and publishers.”

A fantastic line-up of 300 authors are taking part, including word conjuror Goddexx,  bestselling poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib, Mostly Dead Things author Kristen Arnett, and Earth scientist and writer Darcie Little Badger, to name just a few.

This year’s real world Children’s Day on Saturday 2nd October offers a full day of readings, workshops, performances, book signings, yoga, and art projects with renowned authors and illustrators.

As well as hosting virtual happenings, the Festival Day and Literary Marketplace, a day-long celebration of authors and books on Sunday 3rd October, will take place in Downtown Brooklyn with a reduced number of vendors to ensure safety. Citywide Bookend events — in person and virtual — take place on 26th September as well as 2nd and 4th October.

Sign up for their newsletter to discover information on highlights as it becomes available.

Find full details here: brooklynbookfestival.org.

Photo of Brooklyn Bridge by Miltiadis Fragkidis on Unsplash.

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.

Delve into the ‘Reading Is Magic’ online literature festival

Child reading cr Julian Foxon Photography

© Julian Foxon Photography

Hungry for writing inspiration, or simply got young book-worms to entertain? The Reading is Magic Festival returns this autumn with five days of free, fantastic, imagination-stirring digital events.

The festival runs from 27th September until 1st October 2021, with events for all ages.

As with last year’s festival, Bath Children’s Literature Festival has teamed up with festival partners in different parts of the world, with events coming from Kingston in Jamaica, Toronto, Dublin, and more, with a collaborative partnership comprising Bath Children’s Literature Festival, Boswell Book Festival, Bradford Literature Festival, Kingston Book Festival, the Irish Children’s Laureate, New Dutch Writing, Seven Stories, Toronto International Festival of Authors and Wigtown Book Festival.

Look out for inspiring and entertaining conversations, draw-alongs, concerts, workshops and ecological adventures in the company of authors, poets and illustrators including  Joseph Coelho, Michael Rosen, Harry Baker, David Litchfield, author Emma Shevah and writer Marc ter Horst, Laura Ellen Anderson, BB Alston, Holly Bourne, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Rob Biddulph, birdwatcher and author M.G. Leonard, Dr Shini Somara, Dean Atta and many more! Have a giggle while discovering self-belief with Helen Rutter and Benjamin Dean, uncover the power of friendship with Phil Earle, Bali Rai, Lesley Parr and Anna Woltz, and tell your own story with Alice Oseman, Rebecca Tantony and Gordon Shaw. Find out how changing your library could change your life with Cressida Cowell.

The 2020 festival is now available to access for a one-off fee of £5. Click here to sign up or to log in if you are an existing member.

The name for the festival comes from Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2019-2022 Cressida Cowell’s comment that “reading is magic, and magic is for everyone.’

As an added bonus, Bath Children’s Literature Festival is back in the real world too, running from 24th September till 3rd October. Find the full details here.

Image supplied by Bath Festivals. Photo by Julian-Foxon-Photography.

Find details at www.readingismagicfestival.com.

Witch sought for spooky season at Cornish hotel

TravMedia_United_Kingdom_1474398_The_Grand_High_Witch_enjoying_a_Witches_Afternoon_Tea_at_The_Headland_HotelIf you grew up enamoured by the glamour, ferocity and grotesqueness of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, your dream job may be on offer this October.

Five-star hotel The Headland is seeking someone adept at scaring adults and children alike, with a particular talent in turning people into mice.

The successful Grand High Witch will join the team in time for a spooky season of Afternoon Teas, to mark the hotel’s connections with the brilliant book.

The Victorian building overlooking Newquay’s Fistral Beach provided the setting for the 1990 film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches.

Director Veryan Palmer said: “The Witches is close to our hearts here at The Headland and every October we like to celebrate the film with a spooky Afternoon Tea tribute.

“This year we’d like a Grand High Witch who will evoke the spectacular effect that Anjelica Huston created for her role of the Grand High Witch in Roald Dahl’s The Witches.”

The upcoming role requires the chosen candidate to be vocal and capable of impersonating the role embodied by Anjelica Huston when delivering key witchy phrases punctuated by eerie cackles. You must also have a flair for theatrical performance, as they sashay and stalk around public areas of the hotel.

You’ll need to be confident in interacting with strangers and able to engage with children, even if you’d prefer they were mice. The hotel will provide the gruesome face mask and cape – all you need is a suitable black outfit.

Think of all writing prompts and inspiration this could provide!

The film was created by Jim Henson Productions and directed by Nicolas Roeg, with the cast – which included Rowan Atkinson, Brenda Blethyn and Jane Horrocks – taking up residence in the hotel for the time it took to film at The Headland.

Grand High Witch Anjelica Huston was Jack Nicholson’s partner at the time. Enormous bouquets of roses would be delivered for her and Nicholson frequently created a buzz among switchboard staff by phoning the hotel to speak to her.

Three bedrooms and the ballroom were used for scenes in the film, whilst a pram pushed towards the cliff edge belonged to the Armstrong family, who still own the hotel today.

The gritty details

Part time/fixed term contract.

Wage:
£9.10 per hour plus service charge and discretionary monthly bonus

Hours: 

  • 2, 3, 9 &  10 October 1.30pm – 5pm daily
  • 16 to 31 October 1.30pm – 5pm daily

Find full details and apply here: www.headlandhotel.co.uk/work-with-us-2021.

Image supplied by Flamingo Marketing on behalf of The Headland.

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

Enter Mslexia Fiction Competitions 2021

Mum's eye view cr Judy DarleyThe Mslexia Fiction Competitions are open for entries.

The judges are Hilary Mantel, A L Kennedy, Marianne Tatepo, Jo Unwin and Jude Higgins. There are three categories this year: Novel for Adults, Short Story, and Flash Fiction. The deadline for each is 20th September 2021.

Prizes include manuscript feedback and agent introductions, plus publication in Mslexia and the inaugural ebook anthology Best Women’s Short Fiction 2021.

Mslexia Novel for Adults competition – everything you need to know

  • For novels of at least 50,000 words in any genre
  • Submit first 5,000 words only in the first instance. Longlisted entrants will be asked to submit finished manuscripts later in the judging process
  • Entry fee: £25
  • 1st prize £5,000
  • Finalists receive manuscript feedback from The Literary Consultancy and personal introductions to literary agents arranged in partnership with New Writing North
  • Longlisted entrants will be notified by 1 March 2022.

Mslexia Short Story competition 2021 – everything you need to know

  • For unpublished complete short fiction of up to 3,000 words, in any genre, for adult and/or young adult readers. Entry fee: £12
  • 1st prize £3,000, plus mentoring by a specialist literary agent.
  • Three additional finalists will each receive £100
  • All four winning entries are published in Mslexia.
  • Winning entries plus eight more shortlisted entries will be published in Mslexia’s inaugural ebook anthology Best Women’s Short Fiction 2021
  • Entrants will be notified of the outcome of their entry in November 2021.

Mslexia Flash Fiction Competition 2021 – everything you need to know

  • For unpublished complete short fiction of up to 300 words, in any genre, for adult and/or young adult readers
  • Entry fee: £6
  • 1st prize £500
  • Three additional finalists each receive £50
  • All four winning entries are published in Mslexia
  • Winning entries plus eight more shortlisted entries will be published in Mslexia’s inaugural ebook anthology Best Women’s Short Fiction 2021
  • Entrants will be notified of the outcome of their entry in November 2021.

Visit Mslexia’s entry instructions for a more comprehensive guide on how to enter, and be sure to read the full rules before submitting.

Find full details at www.mslexia.co.uk. Good luck!

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.

Submit your words to the Moth Nature Writing Prize

Moth by Judy Darley

The Moth Magazine invites you to enter the Moth Nature Writing Prize. The deadline for entries of nature-inspired short stories, non-fiction and poems is 15th September 2021.

The judge is Helen Macdonald, writer, poet, naturalist and historian of science. Her book H is for Hawk won many prizes, including the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Costa Book of the Year, the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger in France, and in the US was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

The Prize will be awarded to the writer of the short fiction, non-fiction or poem that the judges deems to best combine exceptional literary merit with an exploration of the writer’s relationship with the natural world.

The prize is open to anyone over the age of sixteen, as long as the work is original and previously unpublished. Your submitted work must be no longer than 4,000 words.

Prizes

The winning piece will be published in the winter issue of The Moth.

The winner will receive €1,000 and a week-long stay at Circle of Missé creative retreat in the most southern part of the Loire Valley.

There is a fee of €15 per entry.

Visit www.themothmagazine.com for full details.

The Moth Magazine is also running its annual Poetry Prize, with a deadline of 31st December 2021.

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.

Enter The Masters Review Award for New Writers

Lake Michigan beach.Photo by Judy DarleyThe Masters Review is inviting entries for its Summer Short Story Award for New Writers.

The deadline for submissions is 30th August 2021.

The winning story will be awarded $3000 and publication online. Second and third place stories will be awarded publication and $300 and $200 respectively.

The judge is Kristen Arnett, author of With Teeth and Mostly Dead Things.

All winning stories and any notable Honourable Mentions will receive agency review by Nat Sobel from Sobel Weber, Victoria Cappello from The Bent Agency, Andrea Morrison from Writers House, Sarah Fuentes from Fletcher & Company, Heather Schroder from Compass Talent, and Siohban McBride from Carnicelli Literary Management.

Crucial details

  • $20 entry fee
  • $3000 1st prize
  • $300 2nd prize
  • $200 3rd prize
  • Stories must be under 6,000 words in length
  • Previously unpublished stories only
  • Simultaneous and multiple submissions allowed
  • Emerging writers only (Self-published writers and writers with story collections and novels with a low circulation are welcome to submit.)
  • International English submissions allowed
  • Deadline: 30th August, 2021
  • No identifying information on your story

Find full details here.

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.

Kirsty Logan urges you to write weird

Pebble man by Judy DarleyWriters & Artists has announced that brilliantly eccentric author Kirsty Logan will be providing a one-off evening masterclass dedicated to ‘Writing Weird Fiction’. Taking places on Thursday 26th August 2021 from 7-8.30pm BST, the writing masterclass costs £30.

If you feel your WIP is somewhat out of kilter with those you’d typically associate with a particular genre, this live online masterclass for you.

Kirsty Logan’s latest book is Things We Say in the Dark. She is the author of three short story collections (including the fabulously weird The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales, two novels (and two more scheduled for publication), two flash fiction chapbooks, a short memoir, and several collaborative works with musicians and visual artists.

Kirsty’s writing has been optioned for TV, adapted for stage, recorded for radio and podcasts, exhibited in galleries and distributed from a vintage Wurlitzer cigarette machine. Her next publication is an original audio novel with a full cast and sound design for Audible, The Sound at the End. When asked what sort of things she writes, she can never give a straight answer.

Through a combination of practical advice, discussion, and writing exercises, Kirsty will show you how to create characters, structures, and settings that hop beyond the familiar and relish not fitting neatly into classification.

The evening’s offerings will include a chance to consider your book’s place in the publishing marketplace. Kirsty will talk about at what it means to be producing writing that’s destined for the slipstream between literary fiction and genre fiction: how to do it well, how to stay true to your imaginative ideas, and how to also how to give your book the best possible chance of market appeal.

There will be around 15 minutes reserved for Q&A at the end of the workshop. If you’d like to submit a question to Kirsty in advance, you’re invited to send it to writersandartists@bloomsbury.com (but only if you’re taking part in the masterclass).

Book your space here: www.writersandartists.co.uk/events-and-courses/writing-weird-fiction.

Got an event, challenge, competition, opportunity or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send me an email at JudyDarley (@) ICloud (dot) com.

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award

MShed cr Judy DarleyThe Aesthetica Creative Writing Award celebrates outstanding short fiction and poetry from around the world. The deadline for entering the award is 31st August 2021, making this the perfect time to get polishing your poetry and prose.

Prizes include publication within Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology plus £2,500 for the Poetry Winner, £2,500 for the Short Fiction Winner. Winner of the short fiction competition will receive a consultation with literary agency Redhammer Management, while the Poetry winner will have a Full Membership to The Poetry Society. To whet your appetite for creating more literary works, the winners will also receive a one-year print subscription to Granta and books courtesy of Bloodaxe Books and Vintage Books.

  • Poetry entries should be no more than 40 lines
  • Fiction entries should be no more than 2,000 words

There’s no theme – just submit your finest story or poem offering your own unique window on a slice of the world!

Entry fees are £18 for short fiction and £12 for poetry.

For full details, visit aestheticamagazine.com/creative-writing-award/how-to-enter/

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.

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Writing prompt – longitude

Mouse and cat weathervane by Judy Darley. Shows a metal weathervane on top of a school against a blue sky.This mouse and cat weathervane sits on top of a primary school in my neighbourhood.

It’s been a strange year for schools, pupils and parents, with daily routines as changeable as the weather. There’s been a global sense of uncertainty that’s led to some feeling more like prey than humans are accustomed to!

Can you use this thought as a jumping off point to create a tale or artwork with themes of peril, daring and triumph?

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 may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.