Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition

Heart leaf by Judy DarleyWriters’ & Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition is one of my favourites on the literary calendar.

Your story must be no more than 2,000 words long. For the first time in a while, there’s a theme – so your story must involve the theme of ‘love’ in some way.

The deadline for entries is midnight BST on 14th February 2023.

The winner of the competition – along with two runners-up – will be announced on the W&A blog pages in March 2023.

Entry is free, but don’t forget to register (also free) with the website www.writersandartists.co.uk before submitting your story.

This year’s judge is Naomi Booth, the author of Animals at Night, Exit ManagementSealed and The Lost Art of Sinking. Her work has been longlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award and included in the Guardian’s Best Fiction of the year 2020. Her story, ‘Sour Hall’, was adapted into an Audible Originals drama series. Naomi lives in York and teaches at Durham University.

Prizes of this writing contest

Find full details and competition rules at www.writersandartists.co.uk/competitions/writers-artists-short-story-competition-2023 

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.


Seeking the muse in rural Yorkshire

Lumb Bank cr Arvon

Lumb Bank © Arvon

What could be lovelier than a writing break in the former home of poet laureate Ted Hughes? Lumb Bank, set in sprawling countryside near Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, is just one of Arvon’s three literary houses, hosting five-day courses and retreats. While the courses feature workshops by leading authors, if you’re seeking a hiatus from the pressures of everyday life, and time to focus on your work in progress, the latter may be just what you need.

Lumb Bank and surroundings cr Arvon

Lumb Bank and surroundings © Arvon

I’ve never yet been on one myself, but find the idea somewhat intoxicating. The invitation from Lumb Bank is “to focus on your writing, in a stunning landscape of wooded hills. Start that project that’s been nagging at you, develop the tricky bit in the middle or finish that never quite finished manuscript.”

The fee for a five-day visit is £540 (there are bursaries available in some circumstances) which includes nourishment, both physical and cerebral, as well as a private room to sleep in. There’s no television, no internet access or wifi and little or no mobile reception, not to mention no demanding family members or friends – freeing you up to focus on the written word, sentence, chapter…

Bedrooms are comfortably plain (fewer distractions that way), with writing desks, and there are also communal rooms in which to work, as well as the afore-mentioned hills to wander amongst while mulling over plot-points. If you’re seeking stimulus, take a stroll to Heptonstall, where Sylvia Plath lies in the church cemetery, while nearby Hebden Bridge is, according to author Jennifer Richardson’s piece on the Arvon blog “packed with independent bookstores, coffee shops, galleries and retailers selling Fair Trade organic cotton.”

Upcoming dates include June 15th-20th 2015 at Lumb Bank. Find full details of retreats and courses at the Arvon website www.arvon.org.