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The prize is open to anyone over the age of sixteen, as long as the work is original and previously unpublished.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  • Previously unpublished stories only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.

Edinburgh Book Festival welcomes word-lovers

Edinburgh Book Festival. Shows people in a park enjoying the literary festival
This year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival is on from 14th-30th August, with more than 300 writers, artists and thinkers taking part from around the world  Events will be hosted both in real life, and online. Topics will focus on a changing world dealing with and reeling from the impacts of Covid-19, climate crisis, poverty, inequality, technology – and how we can move forward.

Online events will be offered on a ‘pay what you can’ basis, with opportunities to connect with authors by asking questions in live Q&As or catch up on events at a time that suits.

The festival’s director Nick Barley says: “We are incredibly excited to produce our first ‘hybrid’ festival with authors and audiences joining us both in person and online.  We welcome a mix of Scottish and international voices to discuss their ideas, hopes and dreams and we aim to explore together how to move ‘Onwards and Upwards’ from this devastating pandemic. In our new home at Edinburgh College of Art we have created three broadcast studios, two of which can accommodate limited audiences. These facilities enable us to offer author conversations to worldwide audiences and to those closer to home who are unable to join us in person, as well as welcoming a limited In-Real-Life audience.”

Look out for events with Nobel Prize winners (including Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University Amartya Sen discussing the meaning of home and Kazuo Ishiguro talking about his new novel Klara and the Sun and what it is to be human) and Booker Prize winners including Salman Rushdie speaking to journalist Allan Little about the role of writing in shaping public debate, and Bernardine Evaristo interviewing three authors whose books published in the 1990s are now republished by Hamish Hamilton as part of a series entitled Black Britain: Writing Back, all selected by Evaristo.

Judith Bryan will discuss Bernard and the Cloth Monkey, while S I Martin presents his multiracial historical novel Incomparable World, and Nicola Williams, a barrister as well as a novelist, discusses her legal thriller Without Prejudice – the story of a young woman of working-class Caribbean background and her struggles to succeed as a lawyer in a predominantly white, male environment.

There are also 60 events in the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme, with readings, draw-alongs, and dancing, plus a new series of pre-recorded, audio-only events and walking tours around Edinburgh for all ages.

Find full details of the Edinburgh International Book Festival programme.

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.

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Pure Slush invites love-inspired poems and prose

Heart leaf by Judy Darley
Indie publisher Pure Slush is currently inviting submissions for their Love Lifespan Vol. 4.

Submissions close on 31st August  2021.

Established in 2010, Pure Slush publishes print anthologies of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

When asked what Pure Slush is ‘about’, founding editor Matt Potter said: “Fun, humour, attention, absurdity, humanity, love, sex, more fun and more humour and more absurd humanity.”

But what do the folks at Pure Slush like?

Here are just a few pointers (and some editing tips): “Send a story about knitting that’s funny … and we’ll probably like it.

Send a story with arty, complex imagery … and we probably won’t like it.

Send an honest story about love or a funny story about sex … and we’ll probably like it.

Send a story that’s stylish but empty … and we’ll probably ask you to rewrite it.

Send a story about human foibles that’s real but has no feeling … and we’ll probably ask you to give it more emotion.

Send a story about war and the battlefield and we’ll probably yawn our way through it (sorry, but true!) … but send a story about the homefront or the army stores or the munitions factories, and we’ll look at it with renewed interest.

Send a story about desperation and we’ll probably like it, especially if it makes us weep … but send a story that’s cynical and jaded and comes not from the voice of experience but from the voice of hip and arrogance and well, it’s not going to do much for us.

Send us a ‘battle of the sexes’ story (he said / she said; he did / she did; how stupid are the opposite sex, hey?) … and we’ll have a hard time with it.

Send a story that’s 1000 words long but only in one or two paragraphs … and we’ll ask you to divide it further.

Or send us a story that is all reported (or indirect) speech – She said (that) she couldn’t keep her breakfast down – and we’ll ask you to make it direct (or quoted) speech – She said, “I couldn’t keep my breakfast down.” (What is this fashion for stories entirely made of reported speech? Direct speech is always more immediate and takes you there now!)

Send a story where you want us to love every single word and space … and not suggest changes … and, um, you will probably be disappointed and / or angry with the response. We enjoy working with writers who want to make their story better: writers married to every word can be tiresome.”

Got that?

Pure Slush Love pale pink book coverYour Love submission must be:

  • original, so previously unpublished online or in print (so that includes authors’ websites and blogs)
  • For fiction and non-fiction, stories and essays,150-word minimum – 1000-word maximum
  • For poetry, 80-word minimum – 1000-word maximum per poem – maximum number of poems you can submit is 5.
  • must include something about love … which means the characters can be any age, any persuasion and anything.

Find full details of how to submit your love-themed works here: https://pureslush.com.

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.

Enter Winchester Poetry Prize 2021

Sunshine snail cr Judy Darley

Winchester Poetry Prize 2021 invites you to submit poetry “with a good emotional thwack.” The closing date for entries is 31st July 2021.

Entries cost £5 for first poem, £4 for subsequent poems.

One Hundred Lockdown Sonnets by Jacqueline SaphraPoet, editor, agitator, teacher, mentor and self-described word-enthusiast Jacqueline Saphra will judge entries. Jacqueline’s latest book, ‘One Hundred Lockdown Sonnets’ was published in February 2021; copies are available from Nine Arches Press.

“As I sit down excitedly with my morning coffee and who knows, perhaps a biscuit, and begin to read, I’ll be looking for poems with a good emotional thwack,” says Jacqueline. “Of course the poem should be well-crafted and consistent with itself; it can be strictly formal or wildly experimental, so long as it goes about its business with passion, integrity and intention. I’m open to all breeds of poetic power: for example, power that comes from direct expression, or from metaphor, or from the unsaid that exists in the white space. I’ll be hungry for those poems where the poet is invested in their material, where there is a piece of the poet embedded in the poem. I’m always on the hunt for that sense that the poem is knocking on the door of my heart saying ‘let me in’, until I just have to open up, a poem that yields just enough on a first reading to entice me back and will go on living inside me long after I’ve taken my eyes off the page.”

Prizes

  • First Prize: £1,000
  • Second Prize: £500
  • Third Prize: £250

Winning and commended poems will also be published in a competition anthology.

There will be a special prize-giving event on Saturday 9th October 2021. The organisers are planning for this event to be a live event in Winchester, but will move it online if required by restrictions.

The best poem by a poet living in Hampshire will receive a prize kindly donated by Warren & Son. 

Find full details here: https://www.winchesterpoetryfestival.org/prize.

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.

Submit your manuscript to Soft Skull Press

Sad Ghost Cereal cr Judy Darley

Soft Skull Press invites un-agented authors to submit complete manuscripts until 21st July 2021.

They describe themselves as “a home for projects that dissolve categories and hierarchies, provide an alternative to dominant narratives, and make room for new and unexpected ideas and feelings. We aim to create lasting and transformative relationships with writers, and to continually reimagine how a book can be written, published, and sold.”

They publish adult literary fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and hybrid projects. At this time they are especially seeking and encouraging submissions from BIPOC writers and underrepresented voices of any race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, class, and physical or mental ability.

Authors of accepted submissions retain full copyright license to their work.

For your chance to be published by Soft Skull Press, upload your full manuscript and a statement of intent to their Submittable queue.

There is no submission fee.

In the ‘cover letter’ field, include:

  • A one-paragraph summary of your project
  • The total word count
  • A brief author bio
  • Your contact information

Please submit only one manuscript.

They welcome simultaneous submissions, but ask that if your work is accepted elsewhere, you withdraw your submission promptly.

They also advise: “Please send your work only if you feel it is ready to be read; we will not be accepting updated versions of the same work once submitted.”

Find full submission 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.

Enter Chestnut Review’s Prose Chapbook Contest

Chestnut Tree by Judy DarleyChestnut Review has launched its first ever Prose Chapbook Contest. Editor Maria S. Picone invites you to submit any kind of prose manuscript, whether that’s fiction, CNF, or hybrid forms. A single powerful story is as welcome as a series of vivid flashes.

Submissions are open until 31st July 2021,

Maria S. Picone says: “We are looking for smart, daring manuscripts that overtake us, break us, and rebuild us with beautiful language. We welcome all forms of prose manuscripts: fiction, CNF, or hybrid. Hit us with one powerful story, or delight us with a series of flash. Blur genres or stay true to form. Surprise us. Challenge us. Manuscripts with more than one piece should feel cohesive and coherent.”

The manuscript’s length should be between 5,000 and 8,000 words in total, which amounts to approximately 20-30 pages.

The winner will receive $600 and 20 copies of their published chapbook. Chapbooks will be published through Chestnut Review via a print-on-demand provider. The winner will earn 30% royalties, distributed annually on all copies sold.

The winning chapbook will be advertised in Chestnut Review and on social media, and will be featured for sale on Amazon.com and via https://chestnutreview.com/.

The winning author will be interviewed in a feature in the Summer 2022 issue of Chestnut Review.

Find full details here: chestnutreview.com/contests/

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.