Writers flock to Winchester

Stripe Image provided by The WInchester Writers' ConferenceWinchester Writers’ Conference returns next month, offering the opportunity to mingle with writers, hungry agents and lots of other interesting literary types.

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.

Lemn Sissay MBE, poet, playwright and broadcaster, will give the Keynote Address at the 2017 Writers’ Festival on 17 June.

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’ Conference (writersfestival.co.uk) takes place June 16th-18th 2017.

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

A dystopian short story competition

Children and trees cr Alice DarleyThe RSPH and the Health Foundation are seeking submissions of short stories that raise awareness of a disturbing statistic.

The health gap between the richest and poorest children for obesity has widened every year for the past nine years. A quarter of the most deprived 10 year olds are now obese, more than twice the number of their least deprived peers.

And it’s not just obesity. Across many aspects of health, inequalities are widening. The most deprived can now expect at least 19 fewer healthy life years than their most affluent counterparts.

“Fast forward 10, 20, 50, 100 years. Where are we headed? What are the consequences for our health, for us as individuals and as a society, if we keep on this trajectory? RSPH and the Health Foundation want your help. We want talented creative writers with an interest in health and wellbeing to help us imagine a dystopian future (near or far) where the consequences of the social and commercial determinants of health are played out.”

The story should shed light on the lack of choice people currently face about the factors that shape their health and wellbeing such as work, education, housing, social networks and communities. These factors are largely outside of individual control and are influenced by political, social, economic, environmental and cultural factors.

If this idea captures your imagination, submit a short story of up to 5,000 words (no minimum) to the Health: from here to where? short story competition by Sunday 11 June 2017.

“We would like the stories to convey the implications of not taking action now on the factors that shape health and wellbeing.”

Entries will be judged by an expert panel of authors and health experts, based on their imagination, readability and thought-provoking nature.

The winning author will receive £1,500, while a selection of highly-commended entrants will receive £500 each. Winning and highly commended stories will be published in electronic form and a limited edition print booklet illustrated by artist Thomas Moore. The author will also have the opportunity to take part in press and publicity around the competition.

Find full details of how to enter, plus vital info on the subject you’re drawing inspiration from.

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

Enter The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2017

Joseph Quinn and Erin Doherty in Wish List at the Royal Court. Photo by Jonathan Keenan

Joseph Quinn and Erin Doherty in Wish List by Katherine Soper

Fancy seeing your words performed on stage? The Bruntwood Prize invites playwrights of all levels of experience to submit original, previously unperformed and unproduced plays.

The winner will receive £16,000 and a full production of their play at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

Entries can be submitted online at www.writeaplay.co.uk. The closing date is 6pm on 5th June 2017.

“What we want is writers who think big and aren’t afraid to take on challenging subjects or write for large spaces,” says Michael Oglesby, Bruntwood Prize judge, and Founder and Chair of Bruntwood. “Since we founded the Bruntwood Prize it has grown into a prize of major significance. The writers who have won previously have gone on to great things and I hope we find more great talent this year.”

The 2013 Bruntwood Prize was won by Anna Jordan for her play YEN, which received its world premiere at the Royal Exchange in February 2015.

A partnership between the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester and property company Bruntwood, the Prize is an opportunity for writers of any background and experience to enter unperformed plays. Submissions will be judged by a panel of industry experts for a chance to be one of four winners and win part of a prize fund totaling £40,000. Since its inception in 2005, more than 7,000 scripts have been entered, £160,000 has been awarded to 15 prize winning writers and eight winning productions have been staged.

Erin Doherty as Tamsin Carmody in WISH LIST by Katherine Soper. Photo Jonathan Keenan

Erin Doherty as Tamsin Carmody in Wish List by Katherine Soper.

In 2015 Katherine Soper became the fifth overall winner of the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. Her play Wish List premiered at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 2016 before transferring to the Royal Court Upstairs from 10th January – Saturday 11th February 2017).

The competition is open to anyone over the age of sixteen, in the British Isles. All scripts are judged anonymously by a team of skilled readers and the final ten will be judged by this expert judging panel.

Broadcaster and journalist Kirsty Lang chairs the 2017 judging panel. She’s joined by the award-winning screenwriter Russell T. Davies (Queer as Folk, C4; Doctor Who, BBC), previous Bruntwood Prize winner Phil Porter (The Miser, West End; Vice Versa, RSC; The Cracks in my Skin, Royal Exchange Theatre), stage and screen writer Lucy Prebble (The Effect, National Theatre; Enron, Royal Court, Chichester Festival Theatre, West End & Broadway), Director Lyndsey Turner (Hamlet, Barbican; Chimerica, Almeida; Posh, Royal Court & West End and Associate Director of the National Theatre), award-winning actor Don Warrington (King Lear, Royal Exchange Theatre & BBC Four; Death in Paradise, BBC), and Royal Exchange Theatre Associate Artistic Director, Matthew Xia. Chairman of Bruntwood, Michael Oglesby CBE completes the panel.

“The Bruntwood Prize has grown to become much more than a competition and is now a significant event in the theatrical life of the country,” comments Michael Oglesby CBE, Chairman of Brentwood. “It provides a unique opportunity for aspiring playwrights to have access to a network of opportunities which help them to bring their plays to the stage. Challenging plays that make an important statement about the world in which we live are my particular favourites. I’m greatly looking forward to reading the entries which never cease to amaze and surprise.”

Each of the winners will enter into a development process with the Royal Exchange Theatre. The winning scripts, will be announced at an awards ceremony in Manchester this November.

All entries for The Bruntwood Prize are made online. The process happens in four steps. You will need:

  • A pseudonym, or a name that’s not your own
  • A contact email address
  • An address in the UK or Republic of Ireland or British Overseas Territory or British Forces Post Office
  • A title for your play
  • Your finished play in a single document (PDF, DOC, or DOCX)

Don’t forget, the closing date for entries is 6pm on 5th June 2017.

For full details of how to enter, visit www.writeaplay.co.uk.

All images in this post were taken by Jonathan Keenan and supplied by The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting.

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

Enter Frome Festival Short Story Competition

Frome rooftopsPart of the Frome Festival 2017Frome Festival Short Story Competition welcomes submissions, with a deadline of Wednesday 31 May 2017.

This small Somerset town of layered roofs is set roughly between Bath and Taunton has become a hive for writers, with the  annual festival featuring writing residencies throughout the small, characterful shops, and street performances seemingly on every corner.

The competition costs £8 to enter.

Stories may be on any theme, but must be between 1,000 and 2,200 words in length, not including the title.

First prize is £400, second prize £200 and third prize £100.

There will also be special awards for writers living within a 25-mile radius of Frome Library, in a bid to support and encourage local writers.

The Frome Festival is well worth visiting for its own charms, especially the incredible busking that takes place throughout the narrow streets.

For full details visit the competition website.

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

Enter the Tillie Olsen Short Story Award

Solive Winery, tractor cr Judy DarleyThe Tishman Review has launched a 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. Please double-space and paginate your entry. Please use only one space after a period.

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

You may enter as many stories as they wish, but each one must be entered separately and with the $15.00 fee.

The closing date for entries is April 30th 2017.

The final judge is author Linda LeGarde Grover.

Contest winners will be announced on July 30th 2017. 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 Judy(at)socket creative(dot)com.

An insight into Indie Publishing

Novel nights at The Square ClubI’m a big fan of independent presses. Often small but perfectly formed, they often have the courage to publish authors without a proven track record, and discover exceptional writing talent.

Richard Jones, Tangent BooksThis month, Bristol’s premier literary salon Novel Nights welcomes Richard Jones from Tangent Books, to offer an overview of the Indie Publishing world.

Topics Richard will touch on include

  • Current trends in publishing
  • Opportunities for authors
  • Empowering writers

Sounds promising, doesn’t it? I’m happy to say I’ll be co-hosting for the evening, along with Novel Nights founder Grace Palmer.

As always, the night will open with quality readings from local up and coming authors. It takes place on Wednesday 26th April 2017 from 8pm till 10pm at The Square Club, 15 Berkeley Square, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1HB.

Find full details and book your tickets.

Find out how to submit your writing for upcoming Novel Nights.

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 Wednesday 31st May 2017.

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

Bridport Prize artwork cr Paul Blow

@copy; 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 up to 8,000 words long, and must be from the opening chapters. You must also supply a 300-word synopsis. The fee is £20. Entries will be judged by Nathan Filer in conjunction with The Literary Consultancy and literary agency A.M.Heath. First prize prize is £1,000 plus mentoring through The Literary Consultancy’s Chapter & Verse scheme, and possible publication.

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 Judy(at)socket creative(dot)com.

Call for fairytales inspired by Donkeyskin

Donkey cr Judy DarleyDo you know the French fairytale Donkeyskin? I hadn’t heard of it either, until Kate Wolford posted it as a theme for Enchanted Conversation’s May submissions slot.

It turns out to be a French fairytale by Charles Perrault published in 1695. In it, a grieving king is persuaded to remarry, but the only woman he’ll consider is his own daughter. Zut alors! After trying to save her skin by making impossible demands, the princess fled, disguising her beauty by dressing in a donkey skin.

Kate is accepting poems and short stories inspired by the original tale between 1st and 31st May 2017.

Stories should be no shorter than 700 words and no longer than 3,000. Poems may be of any length.

Payments will be issued in US dollars via PayPal at $30 per story and $10 per poem.

Find full guidelines and links to previous published work.

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

Bristol Short Story Prize 2017 invites entries

Bristol hot air balloons cr Judy DarleyOne of my favourite writing competitions (and not just because it’s local), Bristol Short Story Prize 2017 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 3rd 2017. Submissions can be up to a maximum length of 4,000 words.

The judging panel will be chaired by Tania Hershman. Tania is joined on the panel by acclaimed author Roshi Fernando and award winning bookseller, Simon Key.

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.

The 2013 Bristol Short Story Prize was won by London-based writer, Paul McMichael, for his story, The House on St. John’s Avenue.

Stories can be entered online or by post. The closing date for entries is midnight (BST) on May 3rd 2017. 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.

Entry fees are £8 each.

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 Judy(at)socket creative(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 30th April 2017.

There are three categories:

Silver Wyvern (all forms, max 40 lines). The theme is precious, base, and anything metallic, and can be interpreted in anyway you wish, but must bear a reference to the theme.
Short poems (max 10 lines). No theme.
Formal (max 40 lines). No theme.

Carol Ann Duffy is the Silver Wyvern adjudicator. Short poems will be judged by Oz Hardwick, while Kevin Bailey adjudicates the formal poems.

Prizes range from €500 to €100. 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.