Submit cataclysmic poetry to Ambit

Ruin, Villahormes cr Judy DarleyAmbit invite you to submit your poetry on the theme of ‘Cataclysm’ to their Annual Poetry Competition.

According to Oxford Languages, a cataclysm is

  • ‘a large-scale and violent event in the natural world.
    “the cataclysm at the end of the Cretaceous Period”
  • a sudden violent political or social upheaval.
    “the cataclysm of the First World War”

I suspect you can come up with a few more recent examples.

The deadline for entries is 15th July.

The entry fee is £6 per poem. Submissions will be judged by poet and playwright  Fred D’Aguiar.

Winners receive £500, £250 or £100 and will be published in the October issue of Ambit. Winners and runners up will be invited to read at the October issue launch.

You can submit your work here: http://www.ambit.submittable.com/submit

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.

Ledbury Poetry Festival 2020

Ledbury cr John EagerSome British towns seem better suited to literary festivals than others, and Ledbury in Herefordshire is ideal – with reams of streets and architecture that the word ‘picturesque’ could have been invented for. This year, Ledbury’s annual Poetry Festival is relocating online for 4th-5th July 2020, promising two days of written and spoken riches.

All events are FREE, but do remember to register beforehand, and please consider a donation to LPF and support the Festival in this uncertain and challenging time. Each event will be recorded and posted on the Festival’s YouTube channel

This year’s highlights include the Festival Launch, during which UK Poet Laureate Simon Armitage will introduce and read poems written during Lockdown, readings from Ledbury Poetry Festival International Poetry Competition 2019 winners, including Sarah Wimbush (read my review of Sarah’s award-winning pamphlet Bloodlines), Elisabeth Murawski and Denise Bundred, hosted by Daljit Nagra, plus a Spanish Poetry Translation Duel, and much much more!

Don’t forget to enter the LPF Poetry Competition. Entries will be judged by Liz Berry. The closing date is Thursday 16th July 2020.

The image at the very top of this post was supplied by John Eager of www.visitledbury.info. Many thanks!

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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Online writing classes with Writers & Artists

Dylan walk estuary serenityThe folks at Writers & Artists are plotting their next series of online writing courses following their successful virtual classes in May.

They say: “We’re excited to launch Fiction Writing: Fundamentals and Fiction Writing: Advanced, courses designed to give you the time, expertise and confidence required to develop your book this summer.”

Fiction Writing: Fundamentals

Monday evenings from 20th July-10th August | 6-8.30pm | £275

Fiction Writing: Fundamentals is an introduction to the essential elements of the writing process, lead by critically acclaimed author William Ryan, and a perfect opportunity to learn about the nuts and bolts of writing fiction. You’ll receive guidance on how to apply these tips to your own work, develop your confidence as a writer, and receive invaluable critical feedback on both your prose and story structure.

To book and view the full course outline click here.

Fiction Writing: Advanced

Mondays from 14th September-19th October | 6-8:30pm | £395

Following on from Fiction Writing: Fundamentals, William Ryan leads Fiction Writing: Advanced, a six-week course designed to stress-test your work-in-progress.

Expect an interrogation of your plot, tightening of dialogue, and tough questions asked of your cast of characters. As well as live workshopping, presentations on critical aspects of the writing process and regular professional feedback, participants also have the opportunity to hear from a commissioning editor and pitch their writing to a leading UK literary agent.

Book your place now

There’s also the option of special combined price if you want to take both courses.

For special discounts, insights (including interviews with authors such as picture books author Hannah Lee, register to receive the newsletter 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.

The Writers’ Weekend 2020 goes virtual

Stripe Image provided by The WInchester Writers' ConferenceThe Writers’ Weekend 2020, formerly Winchester Writers’ Festival, launches from 9th-12th July 2020, and is your virtual opportunity to mingle with writers, peckish agents and lots of other interesting literary types.

Sara Gangai, Director of the Writers’ Weekend and former Director of the Winchester Writers’ Festival, says: “Faced with uncertainty around social distancing and travel, we have decided to stream the event live across the weekend of 9-12 July. Easy-to-use virtual meeting room technology will ensure every workshop, panel and one-to-one appointment is fully accessible to our attendees, streamed to your computer, tablet or phone, and as engaging as an in-person event.”

Authors Eoin Colfer and Lissa Evans have been announced as keynote speakers.

You can sign up as a viewer or attendee, depending on how immersed you’d prefer to be. As well as talks, workshops, author readings and open mic events, promised highlights include the festival’s renowned One-to-One Appointments with literary agents, commissioning editors, authors, poets and industry experts.

They say: “One-to-ones are 15-minute appointments with specialists who will offer constructive criticism to work-in-progress, discuss publishing/marketing possibilities and give advice on writing difficulties. Specialists read your submissions before the ‘Weekend’ so that your appointment with them is effective. This is a golden opportunity to meet with an agent or editor for commercial feedback on your work. Who knows? They might want to see the full manuscript!”

The Writers’ Weekend takes place from 9th-12th July 2020. Book your package.

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.

Wells Festival of Literature competitions

City of Wells cr Judy Darley

Wells Festival of Literature takes place from 16th-24th October 2020, but before that they hold their annual writing competitions, with entries being accepted until 30th June 2020.

The categories are short stories, poetry, books for children, and Young Poets, open to anyone aged between 16 and 22 inclusive.

The first prize in their Open Poetry Competition will this year be £1000. Second and third prizes will be £500 and £250 respectively.

The Short Story and Book for Children categories have the following prizes:

  • First prize = £750
  • Second prize = £300
  • Third prize = £200

There are Local Prizes of £100 each for the Short Story, Open Poetry and Book for Children competitions.

The Young Poet category the following prizes:

  • First prize = £150
  • Second prize = £75
  • Third prize = £50

All three prize winners will also receive a year’s subscription to the Poetry Society.

Short Story Competition
Entries may be on any subject and should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length.
The Short Story judge is audio producer and writer Duncan Minshull. His latest book is Beneath My Feet: Writers on Walking, published by Notting Hill Editions

The fee for each separate entry is £6.

Open Poetry Competition
Entries may be on any subject but must not exceed 35 lines in length. This year’s Open Poetry judge is Jo Shapcott FRS, an award-winning English poet, editor and lecturer who holds the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

The fee for each separate entry is £6.

A Book for Children Competition
Stories in this category may be on any subject, providing they are aimed at readers aged seven and up, including young adult. Submit your first three chapters or thirty pages (whichever is shortest), plus a synopsis no longer than two pages. The judge is author Fleur Hitchcock, who has published more than 16 books for young people.
The fee for each separate entry is £6.
Young Poets Competition
Competitors may submit only one entry and must be aged 16 to 22 inclusive, at the closing submission date on 30 June 2020. Entries may be on any subject but must not exceed 35 lines in length. The judge is poet, writer and filmmaker Victoria Adukwei Bulley.
The fee to enter is £3.

The closing date for all entries is 30th June 2020.

Find the full rules and details of how to enter.

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 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize

Terra Nostra Tropical plants cr Judy DarleyWasafari magazine invites submissions of Poetry, Fiction and Life Writing for The Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize. Supported by Queen Mary University of London and Routledge, the winners of each category receive a £1,000 cash prize and will be published by Wasafiri in print and online.

The prizes include the chance to take part in the Chapter and Verse or Free Reads mentoring scheme in partnership with The Literary Consultancy (dependent on eligibility).

Shortlisted writers will be published online with Wasafiri and may be eligible for Free Reads mentoring also.

The prize closes on 15th June 2020.

Find full details of how to enter at www.wasafiri.org.

This year, Penguin editor Simon Prosser will judge fiction, Guardian journalist Aida Edemariam will judge life writing, and award-winning poet Raymond Antrobus will judge poetryPublisher and poet Kadija Sesay is chairing the judging panel.

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 Frome Festival Short Story Competition

Frome rooftopsFrome Festival Short Story Competition welcomes submissions, with a deadline of 31st May 2020.

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.

This year’s judge is author, Daily Mail journalist and broadcaster Bel Mooney.

The competition costs £8 to enter. You can purchase a detailed critique of your work for an additional payment of £47 per story.

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 judydarley(at)iCould(dot)com.

Enter the Bridport Prize

Laugharne mossy treeThe Bridport Prize, one of the UK’s most prestigious writing competitions, is currently seeking submissions of short stories, flash fiction, poems and debut novels.

The deadline for all competition entries is 31st May 2020.

Bridport Prize artwork cr Paul Blow

Image by Paul Blow

Poems may be up to 42 lines in length. The entry fee is £10. The winning poet will receive £5,000.

Short stories may be up to 5,000 words long. The entry fee is £12. The winning short story writer will receive £5,000.

Flash fiction may be up to 250 words long. The entry fee is £9. The winning flash fiction writer will receive £1,000.

Novel extracts may be up to 8,000 words long. You must also supply a 300-word synopsis, which should be the first page of your entry. The fee is £20.

First prize is £1,500 plus mentoring by The Literary Consultancy and consultations with literary agent AM Heath and publisher Tinder Press.

Judges

Emma Healey, author of Elizabeth Is Missing, will judge novel submissions.

Mimi Khalvati, founder of The Poetry School, will judge poetry submissions.

Novelist and playwright Nell Leyshon will judge short story and flash fiction submissions.

Don’t forget to check out the resources section of the Bridport Prize website.

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.

Live online – Culture Unconfined Festival

Red Fox Theatre

Seeking some drama, music, poetry and film to see you through the week ahead? Culture Unconfined festival launches online on 11th May.

Masterminded by the University of Liverpool, Culture Unconfined offers five days of drama, documentary, poetry, film and music to help people engage and stave off isolation during these lockdown times.

The online festival opens on Monday May 11th with A Museum for Me!, a chance to imagine and create your own perfect museum, tell your own stories and curate your own exhibition. There is even a special lockdown version to experiment with.

This is followed by renowned Irish composer, Gerald Barry’s dispatch from Los Angeles, where he is composing an opera based on Oscar Wilde’s Salome for the Los Angeles Opera, before former Royal Liverpool Philharmonic violinist Roisin Walters delivers a 30-minute concert connecting Irish songs and Bach dance movements from the Partitas.

The first day concludes with an exclusive radio documentary from Red Fox Theatre, around the making of their Dingle based performance piece, Catch of the Day.

Professor Peter Shirlow is Director of the University’s Institute of Irish Studies and co-organiser of Culture Unconfined. “One of the first casualties of Covid-19 was culture with the closure of venues, rehearsals and programming,” he says. “However, one of the first responses to the lockdown were performances on balconies and people using their creative talents to deal with the trauma of crisis. As much as crisis defined culture, it was clear culture was going to define crisis.”

Shirlow adds: “Culture Unconfined is the University of Liverpool’s response.’ “Culture Unconfined is the University of Liverpool’s response. It drives creative ambition with digital and live performances, it galvanizes hope and history and plays upon mirth and more thoughtful moments.”

Deidre,Ni,Chonghail

Deidre,Ni,Chonghail

Look out for musician, broadcaster, and writer Dr Deirdre Ní Chonghaile mapping the music of the Irish diaspora. This live talk is one of only two you need to rebook for.

Other highlights in the line-up include Alternative Bedtime Stories – definitely not one for the kids – by the Makey-Uppers, and poetry from Rita Ann Higgins.

Each day of the festival follows a schedule, with specific timings for each event. You can access each performance – and view the entire programme – through the Culture Unconfined website.

Festival Director and the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Cultural Engagement, Professor Dinah Birch says: “As the novelty of working from home begins to settle into a routine, it’s important that our online lives should continue to be refreshing and rewarding. Engaging with a variety of cultural resources is one of the best ways of staying connected, and expanding our sense of the new experiences that a virtual world makes possible.”

To access the performances, see the full schedule and find out more about Culture Unconfined, visit www.liverpool.ac.uk/culture-unconfined

Pure Slush invites bacon-inspired stories, poems and non-fiction

Windmill Hill City Farm pigs cr Judy Darley

Feeling pecking and inspired? Indie publisher Pure Slush is currently open to submissions for their 18th Volume, intriguingly titled The Tyranny of Bacon.

Submissions close on 10th May 2020.

They say: “Can you write a story or poem and include bacon somewhere? (…) We are looking for submissions that are original, tell us how bacon is part of people’s lives, or what life might be like without it … or anything about bacon!”

PLEASE NOTE: Endless diatribes about the good (and bad) qualities of bacon are not what they’re after.

Your submission must be:
• original story, poem or non-fiction
• 50 word minimum and 1000 words maximum

and somehow be about or include bacon!

Find more details here: pureslush.com/submissions/current-submissions/the-tyranny-of-bacon/