The Emma Press craves your gothic poetry

Taf Estuary and mist cr Judy DarleyThe Emma Press are seeking poems inspired by the theme of gothic, for an anthology edited by Nisha Bhakoo and Charlotte Geater. Consider the things that make your skin creep – the uncanny, eerie and deeply dubious – and consider how you can give it a fresh and unexpected twist. Write it modern and unsettling, lace it with light, lust and loathing, or simply make your readers thrill to their core.

They say: “We are looking for uncanny poems that make us think about the gothic in a new way. We want to see dark poems that spook us to our core, as well as lighter poems that engage with gothic themes or motifs.”

Gothic stories are full of hidden urges and unutterable acts, but equally, it can be about the way light and shade fall on a scene and evoke a mood. They say: “It’s a big genre and it encompasses so much – think of Jane Eyre and Dracula, but also think of Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea and Nick Joaquin’s Tropical Gothic.”

I’d also recommend a look at Poppy Z. Brite’s splendidly sultry gothic fiction.

You’re invited to send a maximum of three poems by 9th November 2018, but make sure you follow these guidelines:

  1. You must be a member of the Emma Press Club, which means you must have bought a book or ebook from the Emma Press website in this calendar year (i.e. since 1st January 2018), or already have been accepted into an Emma Press book. Read more about the Emma Press Club.
  2. Place a maximum of three poems, each no longer than 65 lines, into a single Word/PDF/ODF document. Please only include text in the document, and no images.
  3. Make sure your submission is anonymous. Make sure you haven’t put your name or any biographical notes in the document, and be aware that you will be asked to rename your document at a certain stage within the Google form.
  4. Fill in the Google form, which is accessible from here. It will tell you everything else you need to know.

Find full details and lots of tips here.

The deadline for submissions is midnight  on at the end of 9th November 2018. Good luck!

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.

On your marks… NaNoWriMo!

Painted desert, Colorado cr Judy DarleyIt’s less than a day until the start of NaNoWriMo 2018 on 1st November. Are you taking part? I love the concept of this word-packed month, with ardent writers across the world hunched over laptops sweating out every last drop of inspiration..

I know plenty of writers this enforced period of productivity really suits. For some folks it seems to be the ideal way to stoke up ideas and get them to catch alight on the page.

For me, the beginning stages of novel-writing are all about thinking ahead, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do some speedy planning even as you begin to write. After all, what else are you going to do when waiting for buses, in post office queues and doing the washing up?

Here are my top five preparation tips to ensure you make the most of this exceptional month.

1. Form a vision of the story you’ll be aiming to tell, with the beginning already shaped in your mind. If possible, do the same for the ending. Having an idea of the finale you’re working towards will mean you’re far less likely to veer off track!

2. Spend some time considering your characters – working out who they are, how they think, what their goals are, how they might help or hinder each other.

3. Know your setting. This is one of my favourites, particularly if it offers a valid excuse to meander in a much loved wilderness or similar.

4. Pick out a few dramatic moments your plot will cover and brainstorm them, then set them aside. Whenever your enthusiasm wanes over the intensive NaNoWriMo period, treat yourself by delving into one of those to reinvigorate your writing energy.

5. Finally, make sure you have plenty of sustenance to hand. For me, the essentials are coffee and chocolate. What are yours?

In 2017 more than 26,000 people took part in National Novel Writing Month. If you’re signing up, I raise a glass (or rather, a mug of coffee) to you. Good luck!

London Literature Festival 2017

Chibundu Onuzo_credit_Blake Images

Chibundu Onuzo. Photo by Blake Images

This year’s London Literature Festival hosted by the South Bank Centre invites us to “explore the world in which we live and celebrate the power of literature to reflect on the burning issues of our times”

The festival takes place from 18th-28th October 2018 and is crammed with enticing options.

Mary Beard credit Caterina Turroni

Mary Beard. Photo by Caterina Turroni

Look out for freshly commissioned works receiving their world premieres, live readings, book launches, exclusive in-conversation events with the likes of Salman Rushdie and Marilynne Robinson, family-friendly fun, free encounters and thought-prosing literary debates. Highlights include new releases from Sally Field, Olafur Eliasson and Sue Perkins. And don’t miss a cast of high calibre actors performing a specially commissioned live reading of Homer’s The Odyssey, followed by panel discussions featuring Mary Beard, Madeline Miller, Sharlene Teo, Simon Goldhill and more.

Roger Daltrey credit Fabrice Demessence

Roger Paltry. Photo by Fabrice Demessence

Plus Carol Ann Duffy will present her last collection as Poet Laureate, Roger Paltry launches his new memoir Thanks a lot, Mr Kibblewhite: My Life, and there’ll be a world premiere performance of Chibundu Onuzo’s 1991, a new commission from Southbank Centre. Not to mention insights into writing practises of established authors and a chance to discover rising talents.

In short, have your imagination thoroughly stirred and your mind inspired.

For the full programme, visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk.

All images supplied by the South Bank Centre.

Write to evoke memories

Severn River shadows cr Judy DarleyNational Memory Day is a partnership between Literature Works and the Poetry Archive, supported by the Alzheimer’s Society. The project is interested in the creative power of poetry to enhance the lives of people living with memory loss and their loved ones or carers.

In Memory Cafes around the UK, conversations and emotional connections are forged with the help of well-loved poems and the generation of new creative works. Quite simply, they bring light to the lives of people afflicted with dementia and other memory-diminishing illnesses and those who care for them.

To raise funds for this excellent resource, The National Memory Day Poetry Competitions invite you to submit poems which evoke the theme of MEMORIES.

This year, they’re accepting submissions to two prize categories:

The National Memory Day Poetry Prize, sponsored by Literature Works, and the Primary Carer Voice Prize, sponsored by The Alzheimer’s Society. The latter category is open to those who have direct experience of caring for someone with memory loss. In each category there are three awards:

  • 1st prize of £700
  • 2nd prize of £200
  • 3rd prize of £100

Poems should be no longer than 40 lines and can be submitted either by post or online.

Submissions are charged at £3 for a single poem and £2 for each additional poem.

The closing date for entries is 5pm on Friday 5th October 2018. This year’s judge is poet and nature writer Miriam Darlington.

Find full 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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Mslexia’s 2018 Women’s Fiction Awards

Mum's eye view cr Judy DarleyThis year marks the launch of the Mslexia Women’s Fiction Awards, a quartet of writing competitions covering a short stories, children’s novels, their second-ever flash fiction competition and the all-new Mslexia Novella competition in association with Galley Beggar Press. The deadline is 1st October 2018.

Entry fees are £10 per short story, £25 per novel extract, £5 per flash fiction and £15 per novella extract.

Top prizes are £500 for the winning flash fiction, £1,000 for the winning novella and £5,000 apiece for the winning novel and short story.

‘Optional extras’ include optional extras a week’s writing retreat at Gladstone Library, introductions to agents and editors, and publication in Mslexia.

Find full details at www.mslexia.co.uk. It’s worth dropping by Mslexia’s winners gallery for some inspiration too. Good luck!

Manchester Poetry and Fiction Prizes

The Royal Exchange, Manchester cr Judy Darley

Manchester Writing Competition 2018 is open to online and postal entries, with categories for Poetry and Fiction. Both prizes offer a £10,000 first prize, so why not enter?

The competitions were instigated in 2008 by by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy in 2008. The aim was designed to attract the best new writing from around the world, and to establish Manchester as a literary focal point. These are the UK’s biggest literary awards for unpublished writing.

The deadline for all entries is 5pm GMT on 14th September 2018.

The chair of poetry judges is Adam O’Riordan, with former National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke, along with Imtiaz Dharker and Carol Ann Duffy, also judging. The entry fee is £17.50. The £10,000 prize will be awarded for the best portfolio of three to five poems (maximum combined length is 120 lines).

Find full details and enter on the Poetry Prize page.

The chair of fiction judges is Nicholas Royle, with Alison Moore, Niven Govinden and Livi Michael also judging. You may enter short stories on any theme amounting to up to 2,500 words. The entry fee is £17.50.

Find full details and enter on the Fiction Prize page.

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.

Hidden River Arts invites submissions

Hidden River by Judy DarleyHidden River Arts, an independent literary, visual and performing arts organisation based in Philadelphia, US, is inviting submissions in a range of categories, including anthology, numerous contests, and the possibility of publication in the Hidden River Review.

The organisation is named after the Schuylkill (Dutch for “Hidden River”), which winds its way through the region, and is committed to nurturing the artistic community by providing varied and supportive services to writers and artists of all genres.

They say: “We will search for the writers who are finishing their novels while working as Emergency Room nurses, sculptors working as steam-fitters, song-writing dairy farmers or choreographer cowboys. We want the creative talent that is grown, nurtured, and matured in the kiln of real life experience. It is our belief that many, many talented people go unheard because they labor in obscurity or isolation, working with little or no support for the practice of their art.”

This support includes writing workshops and classes, writing awards, outreach and live arts events, and the Hidden River independent small press.

Find details of all opportunities here, but note that submission fees apply in most cases.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? I’m always happy to receive your news, as well as reviews of books, art, theatre and film.Send me an email at judydarley(at)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 2018.

Prizes include publication within Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology and £1,000 for each category 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 subscription to Granta and books courtesy of Bloodaxe Books and Vintage Books.

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

Fiction entries should be no more than 2,000 words each and poetry entries should be no more than 40 lines each. Both short fiction and poetry entries should be written in English. It costs £12 to enter the Poetry category and £18 to enter the Short Fiction category.

Timeline

  • Now until – 31 August 2018: Entries open
  • September 2018: Judging begins
  • December 2018: Winners and finalists are announced
  • December 2018: Publication of winners and finalists in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual

For full details, visit www.aestheticamagazine.com/creative-writing-award
.

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Show your art at the RWA Annual Open Exhibition

RWA Open Exhibition 163

RWA © Alice Hendy

The Royal West of England Academy in Bristol is currently preparing one of my favourite cultural events – the RWA Annual Open Exhibition.

Submissions are open until 5pm on Tuesday 21st August, so if you get a wriggle on you still have a chance of being part of it!

The 166th Annual Open Exhibition will be open to the public from 7th October to 25th November 2010. Artists of all ages and experience are invited to submit.

They say: “A selection panel assesses every entry and last year 624 works by 421 artists made it into the final exhibition. All work is for sale, and the exhibition attracts art-lovers and art-buyers from far and wide. Submissions are welcome from unknown, emerging and established artists, including RWA Academicians.”

Tempted?

All applicants must apply online, submitting images using the Online Exhibition Submission System (OESS).

Find full details here of how to apply here. Good luck!

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Enter The Bare Fiction Prize 2018

Almunecar cr Judy DarleyThe excellent folks at Bare Fiction are inviting submission to their creative writing awards. This year Deborah Alma judges the Poetry category (max 40 lines), C.G. Menon judges the Flash Fiction category (max 500 words), and Luke Kennard judges the Short Story category (max 3,000 words).

First, second and third prize winners in each category will receive £500, £200 and £100 respectively, plus two highly commended entrants will receive £25 each.

Fee per entry is £5 for poetry, £6 for flash fiction, and £8 for fiction, however, Bare Fiction is offering free entry to the Bare Fiction Prize 2018 for 50 UK low income writers. To be eligible you must be in receipt of benefits such as Job Seeker’s Allowance, Working Tax Credits, Universal Credit, Disability Living Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, or Employment and Support Allowance, or earn less than the London Living Wage of £9.45 per hour.

Eligible applications for free entries will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, and must be received by Tuesday July 31st 2018.

Click here to submit your application for free entry.

There’s no theme, but bear in mind that the British periodical aims to “offer a platform for new creative writing across poetry, fiction and plays to encourage writers who are testing their boundaries to stretch themselves creatively.”

The deadline for all non-free entries is 31 October 2018. Find full competition details here.

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