Jaipur Literary Festival

Jaipur Literary Elephant

Image © Steppes Travel www.steppestravel.co.uk

Dreaming of far-off places? Founded by William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale, Jaipur Literature Festival takes place from 5th-14th March 2022, with a hybrid version that makes the most of Jaipur’s magnificence as well as allowing global attendees to join in from home via virtual events. From Nobel Laureates to local language writers, Man Booker prize winners to debut novelists, the annual event brings together authors, thinkers, politicians, journalists and popular culture icons from India and from around the globe.

Events to look forward to include talks and author insights from Anuradha Roy, Colm Tóibín, Monica Ali and Rupert Everett. Learn about mythological retellings with Charlotte Higgins and dive into David Mitchell’s novel Utopia Avenue with the author. There will also be yoga sessions and music to send your spirits soaring!

Keen to take part yourself next year? Contact the organisers through the website to find out more.

Find full details of Jaipur Literature Festival here.

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Curtis Brown Creative courses for aspiring writers

Notebook and pen cr Judy DarleyAs the new year gets underway, why not rev up your writing skills? Curtis Brown Creative, the creative-writing school run by Curtis Brown Literary Agency, is inviting applications for an array of writing courses, including plenty of online options.

Whether you want to dig into specific genres such as historical, psychological or YA and children’s fiction, or want to untangle the knots of editing and pitching your novel, there are opportunities to gain insights and hands-on help from successful authors and experienced editors. The creative writing school was launched in 2011 and remains the only one run by a literary agency.

Upcoming courses include a one-day ‘Edit Your Novel’ course with the Rewrite Doctor aka Anna Davis from 15th February, and an intensive online five-day short story writing course with award-winning short story-writer Cynan Jones, starting on 21st February.

“I’m proud to say that over the past few years, many of our alumni have gained deals with major publishers,” says Curtis Brown Director Anna Davis. “Some of our former students have written international bestsellers, others have won prizes and several more have gained representation with literary agents and are working to edit their novels for publication. Yet more are still working away, often with the support of their former Curtis Brown Creative cohort. It’s great to see how many of our alumni stay closely in touch with their student groups long after their courses end.”

Find full details of upcoming courses here.

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

Enter the Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize 2021

Bud. Photo by Judy DarleyThe Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize 2022 invites entries from women over the age of 18 who have written a novel “that marries literary merit with unputdownability.”

Deadline for low-income writers’ submissions: 12 noon on Wednesday 9th February 2022.
Deadline for paid submissions: 12 noon on Friday 11th February 2022. 

The judges say they’re equally open to literary fiction and genre fiction, as well as to young adult fiction and children, providing they are primarily word-based.

Your submission must be previously unpublished, and you must not have had other full-length novels published. However, having short stories, poetry, non-fiction or picture books published previously does not exclude you.

To be considered, you need to submit the first 40 to 50 pages of the novel via the online form and a three to five-page synopsis of the remainder. Authors must not have agent representation at the time of submission.

The entry fee is £12. Sponsored entries for low income writers are available – simply tick the appropriate box on the entry form. You will need to be able to provide proof of financial eligibility such as: Jobseeker’s Allowance; Disability Benefit; Income Support; Working Tax Credit; proof of being a full-time student; Housing Benefit; proof of being a full-time carer.

All shortlisted entrants will be offered a one-to-one consultation, editorial feedback and advice on the marketability of their work from PFD literary agency.

In addition, the 2022 winner will receive a cash prize of £1,500.

Shortlisted applicants will also be invited to the prize-giving ceremony where they will have the chance to meet and mingle with industry specialists.

Jackie Ashley is chair of the judging panel.

For full details, visit www.fictionprize.co.uk, and make sure you follow the competition Terms and Conditions.

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

The Fiction Desk seeks ghost stories

Arnoa Vale Cemetery cr Judy DarleyIn these early days of the year with so many hours to each dark night, The Fiction Desk invites you to seek a home for your spooky scribblings by submitting an entry to their annual call for ghost stories.

They say: “’Ghost story’ can mean a lot of different things, from an encounter with an actual phantom to more unusual paranormal phenomena and unexplained events. All types are welcome, so feel free to experiment: we’re very unlikely to disqualify a story for stretching the definition of a “ghost”. Keep in mind that our general readership (and by extension our judge) may be more likely to respond well to psychological chills and unexplained mysteries than in-your-face gore.”

They pay £25 per thousand words for stories (i.e. £100 for a 4,000 word story, or £150 for a 6,000 word story). Contributors also receive two complimentary paperback copies. The stories we publish are also eligible to enter the Writer’s Award, a cash prize of £100 for the best story in each volume, as judged by the contributors.

Rules of this call for submissions

Entries should be between 1,000 and 10,000 words in length.

The deadline for entries is 31st January 2022. To cover admin costs, submission fees are £4 per story.  Stories should be submitted online.

You might find it helpful to take a look at their previous ghost story anthologies.

Find full details of how to submit your ghost stories here.

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

Join a different kind of book club

NSCRC children with Book Aid boxI love giving books as Christmas gifts – there’s always that sense of offering up a whole world for your recipient to discover!

This year, why not go a little further and offer that gift to someone who can use it to improve their lives?

Book Aid does amazing work to get books to people who need them, and you can help, Your donation will cover the cost of sending books to people in the developing world, bringing all those page-bound possibilities, adventures and experiences to classrooms, libraries and minds hungry for them.

How does it work?

You have the option of signing up for a monthly subscription of £6, £10 or £25, or donating the amount of your choice. You could also give in memory of a loved oneleave a gift in your will, or give in celebration. If you’re a publisher or other member of the book trade, you could even donate books.

Michael Palin head shot“As a writer and traveller, I think everyone should be able to open a window on the world through books,” says Michael Palin, CBE. “It’s incredible how lives can be transformed through access to books.”

Over the course of a year, a £6 monthly membership translates into 36 books to stock a community library, reaching children and adults who might otherwise not have the opportunity to enjoy reading for pleasure or learning.

A £10 monthly membership could result in a hospital receiving 60 books.

A £25 membership could provide a starter library for a school, equipped with around 150 books.

To find out how you can help Book Aid change lives for the better, visit www.bookaid.org.

Enter The Masters Review chapbook contest

Bible_St John On The Wall. Photo by Judy DarleyThe Masters Review is inviting submissions to their chapbook contest for emerging writers. The type of submission is up to you (they actually mention flash collections, mini novellas, 40-page short stories, braided essays, eclectic brainchildren and experiments…), providing it is original, between 25 and 40 double-spaced pages, and is not poetry.

The deadline for entries is 31st December 2021.

The winning writer will receive $3,000, digital and print manuscript publication, and 50 contributor copies.

Matt Bell will choose this year’s winner.

The Masters Review say: “We’re seeking to celebrate bold, original voices within a single, cohesive manuscript of 25 to 40 pages. We’re interested in collections of short fiction, essays, flash fiction, novellas/novelettes, longform fiction or essays, and any combination thereof, provided the manuscripts are complete (no excerpts, chapters, works-in-progress, or other incomplete work). We are NOT interested in poetry. (We’re sure your poetry is fantastic, but we’re not qualified to judge its merit!).”

Find full details here: mastersreview.com/chapbook-contest/

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

Enter the Orna Ross Green Stories Prize for eco-novels

Arnos Vale light in the canopy. Photo by Judy Darley
The Orna Ross Green Stories Novel Prize is seeking adult novels showcasing what a sustainable society might look like.

The deadline for entries is 30th December 2021, making this the perfect chance to end the year on a positive, eco-friendly note!

There is a cash prize of £1000 for the winner and £500 for the runner up.

Green Stories aims to create a cultural body of work that entertains and informs about green solutions, inspires green behaviour and raises awareness of the necessary transformations towards a sustainable economy.

A particular aim is to use fiction as a way to reach an audience beyond those who already strive to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, and to support winning authors to translate their stories into published books.

Entry is free, but entrants must show they have read at least one chapter from successfully published pieces from the Green Stories project that provide an example of entertaining mainstream fiction that meets the criteria of showing green solutions (not just problems) that readers can engage with.

Habitat Man book coverThis year the book is Habitat Man by D. A. Baden, an eco-themed rom-com and murder mystery written specifically for the Green Stories project. The submission survey will include a short easy quiz to demonstrate that you’ve read the extract.

Length: Submit three chapters* (minimum of 4000 words, maximum 10,000 words) of a 70,000 – 95,000-word novel as one document that must include the following:

  • the first chapter
  • another chapter that best showcases how your novel meets the green stories criteria
  • a third chapter (suggest the final chapter if possible)
  • a synopsis between 500 and 1000 words (name and contact details optional – we can identify via submission page) that covers genre, plot, characters, and details of how it meets the green stories criteria of showcasing positive visions of a more sustainable society or incorporating green solutions into the context of an otherwise mainstream story.

You can submit more than three chapters if you need to, in order to make up to 4,000 words. If you reach the shortlist, Green Stories may request more chapters or the full novel from the best entries to help them choose a winner.

Eligibility

Open to all adults (18+) of any nationality, as long as the submission is in English and has not been published elsewhere.

All submissions must conform to the green stories criteria of showcasing positive visions of a more sustainable society or incorporating green solutions into the context of an otherwise mainstream story.

The competition is open to novels that are either:

–          Partially complete (at least 50%) in the first draft phase
–          Fully complete and unpublished (between 70,000 and 100,000 words).

Prizes

£1000 for the winner and £500 for runner up, plus the following: 

A half-price manuscript appraisal by established literary consultancy Daniel Goldsmith, worth £300 to £400, will be available to the authors of the top three entries.

Winners will also have the choice of either a one-to-one mentoring session with the winners (at their office in London or virtually) with literary agency Redhammer Management, or a package of self-publishing support from the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) set up by Orna Ross including a year’s membership of ALLI and a free pass to the Self-Publishing Advice Conference.

Publishing is just half the battle, to help winners achieve sales we will promote the winning book (once published) via our networks.

Submission

Find the full details of how to submit your novel excerpt entry here: https://www.greenstories.org.uk/upcoming-competitions/adult-novel-deadline-dec-2021/.

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 Fractured Lit monsters, mystery and mayhem prize

The team at Fractured Lit urge you to dig into the darkest recesses of your imagination to write stories of monsters, mystery and mayhem in 1,000 words or less that explore our humanity.

The deadline is 19th December 2021.

They say: “Using these genre themes, please remember that we’re searching for flash that investigates the mysteries of being human, the sorrow, and the joy of connecting to the diverse population around us. We want something new. Something that scares as much as it resonates; stories that help us discover the roots of desire and conflict, that shimmer on the page, that keep us reading, and wondering long after the last period on the page. Transport us from the here and now to a new land of discovery, a new way of being terrified, a new way of embracing all of the ways we show our humanness.”

A $20 reading fee allows you up to two stories of 1,000 words or fewer each per entry.

The competition prizes

The winner will receive $2000 and publication, while the 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive publication and $300 and $200, respectively. All entries will be considered for publication.

The judge is Amber Sparks, the author of four collections of short fiction, including And I Do Not Forgive You: Revenges and other Stories and The Unfinished World, and her fiction and essays have appeared in American Short Fiction, the Paris Review, Tin House, Granta, The Cut and elsewhere.

Find full details of how to enter here: fracturedlit.com/fractured-lit-monsters-mystery-and-mayhem-prize

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.

A conversation about keeping it short

The Stairs snippetI’m so looking forward to heading to the latest instalment of the Flash Fiction Festival on Saturday 27th November 2021. It’s going to be an amazing, energising and inspiring day crammed with workshops and talks from some of the world’s finest flash fiction writers!

My touch-typey fingers are already twitching in anticipation of the workshop on prose poetry, hermit crab flash, ekphrastic writing and more, plus a Great Pottery Throwdown-esque competition, from amazing authors including Kathy Fish, Jude Higgins, Lorette C. Luzajic, Ingrid Jendrzejewski and Sara Hills.

I’m especially thrilled to be joining Sharon Telfer to chat about our Reflex Press collections. We’ll be talking about our books’ themes, how we put them together, reading an exclusive flash fiction from each of our collections and answering any questions you might have.

My short fiction collection The Stairs Are A Snowcapped Mountain will be out in March 2022. I’m hoping to do a cover reveal live at the festival, but for now you can feast your eyes on the shard above.

Get your ticket here: www.flashfictionfestival.com/booking/

Hope to see you there.

Enter Mslexia’s poetry competitions

Button on Kilve Beach cr Judy DarleyMslexia’s Women’s Poetry Competition and Pamphlet Competition are open for entries of poetry pamphlets and individual poems.

Both competitions have a closing date of 6th December 2021.

Mslexia Poetry Competition

The winner of the single poem category will receive £2,000.

Second Prise is £500.

Third prize is £250.

There is also a new Unpublished Poet Prize of £250, which will be awarded to the best poem by an unpublished poet.

The four winners, plus 16 additional finalists will be published in Mslexia.

Award-winning poet Pascale Petit will judge entries.

The entry fee is £10 for up to three poems.

The winner and finalists will be announced on 1 March 2022.

Mslexia Pamphlet Competition

The winner of the pamphlet category will get £250 plus publication by Seren Books.

A selected poem from the winning pamphlet will be published in Mslexia.

The entry fee is £20 per pamphlet.

The judge Amy Wack, is Poetry Editor at Seren Books and started her career with Seren in 1989. She was reviews editor for Poetry Wales before becoming commissioning poetry editor.

The winner and finalists will be announced on 1 September 2022.

You can find full details of how to enter at www.mslexia.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.