Call for botanical short stories

Bee on purple flowers by Judy Darley

At this time of year, I’m already looking forward to springtime. Submissions are open for Botanical Short Stories, an anthology of fresh writing about plants and flowers which will be published by The History Press in spring 2024.

The deadline is 12pm on Friday 10th February 2023.

The book’s editor is Emma Timpany and illustrations will be by RHS Gold medal winning botanical illustrator Sarah Jane Humphrey.

This collection of contemporary fiction will celebrate the world of flowers and plants and the meanings they hold, in twelve intriguing and surprising new short stories. Submissions should be complete fiction works of between 3,000 to 5,000 words by new, emerging and established writers.

If you’re a flash writer with a story that’s perfect for the anthology but falls outside this word-count range, don’t worry. Emma invites you to email botanicalshortstories@gmail.com to check this with her before submitting.

While nature is a great solace for many of us, bringing colour and light to our homes and surrounding, many plants also have historic and folkloric meanings, which can inspire great stories too.

The organisers say: “From tokens of love to neolithic burial gifts, bridal bouquets to seasonal wreaths, healing potions to artistic masterpieces, flowers and plants have a multitude of meanings and a long and complex relationship with all our lives. They are the stuff of myth, of gods’ metamorphoses and the emblems of kings and saints. They brighten our homes and bring joy to our senses, delight us in gardens and countryside, convey our emotions, symbolise new birth and human mortality, and yet are often overlooked as an inspiration for writers of fiction.”

Find full details and submission guidelines here: botanicalshortstories.uk

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 Fiction Desk seeks ghost stories

Arnoa Vale Cemetery cr Judy DarleyGot a spooky tale to share? In these early days of the year with so many hours to each dark night, The Fiction Desk invites you to seek a home for your spooky scribblings by submitting an entry to their annual call for ghost stories of 1,000 to 10,000 words.

The deadline for entries is 31st January 2023.

They say: “We have a loose definition of ‘ghost story’: it can mean a lot of different things, from an encounter with an actual phantom in the style of classic ghost stories, to more unusual supernatural phenomena and unexplained events. All types of story are welcome, so feel free to experiment: if you stray too far from the supernatural, we’ll still read it as a general submission. Keep in mind that our readership (and by extension our editor) may be more likely to respond well to psychological chills and unexplained mysteries than in-your-face gore.”

They pay £25 per thousand words for stories they publish (eg £100 for a 4,000 word story, or £150 for a 6,000 word story). Contributors also receive two complimentary paperback copies. The stories they publish are also eligible to enter the Writer’s Award, a cash prize of £100 for the best story in each volume, as judged by the contributors.

Rules of this call for submissions

Entries should be between 1,000 and 10,000 words in length. Most of the stories they publish are between about 2,000 and 7,000 words.

To cover admin costs, submission fees are £3 (down from £4 last year) per story. Stories should be submitted online.

You might find it helpful to take a look at their previous ghost story anthologies.

Find full details of how to submit your ghost stories here.

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

The RWA Photo Open Exhibition wants your snaps…

Realm by Judy Darley

Submissions are open for the RWA Photo Open Exhibition. To be in with a chance of showing your photographic work in the RWA’s beautiful galleries, submit your digital images online by Monday 5th December 2022.

Entry is open to emerging talents, passionate amateurs, established artists and professional photographers alike. If you use photography to inform your sculpture, installation, architecture or other artistic practice, you are also encouraged to enter.

All you need is vision, and the courage to send in your finest photos.

A selection panel including internationally acclaimed artists will review every entry.

If selected, your work will be shown in the RWA’s galleries alongside some of today’s leading photographic artists and seen by thousands of visitors and potential buyers, as well as being available for a global audience to buy online.

An assortment of prizes are up for grabs too, including:

  • Teresa Knowles Bursary Award – £1,500 towards a photography trip to Italy PLUS  the opportunity to exhibit the resulting work at the RWA
  • MPB Sponsor Awards – £1000 voucher to spend on photographic kit; plus two runner up awards of £500 vouchers
  • Niche Frames Award – cash prize of £250 plus voucher of £250 towards printing or framing
  • Student Award – £250 cash prize for best work by a student, sponsored by the Friends of the RWA

Entries can be any size and can be single images or make up a limited series. They can be simple photographs or artworks that include a photographic element, including 3-D works. They can be any size.

Find the full submission criteria and submit your work here.

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

Become a woodland writer in residence

Arnos Vale light in the canopy. Photo by Judy Darley

Forestry Commission England is seeking two writers to share the stories of our country’s woodlands.

They ask: “What do forests mean to you? If you’re a writer with a passion for nature, we want to hear from you.”

The successful applicants of the Writers in the Forest opportunity will be invited to observe the Commission’s expert foresters, wildlife rangers and world-class scientists at work in a bid to understand the trees that make up the forests that still sprawl across sections of England. The works created in response to these experiences will form part of the centenary year celebrations of the Forestry Commission.

You will receive unique access to England’s forests, promotional support and a platform on which to share your work, development opportunities and £2,500.

The submission deadline is midnight GMT on 14th January 2019.

To apply, you need to send your CV and a pitch outlining your interest in the opportunity and how you might respond creatively to our nation’s forests, whether that’s through poetry, short story or something else entirely, providing it is rooted in words.

Pitches can take the form of up to 750 written words, a video of maximum three minutes durations via YouTube or via Dropbox/WeTransfer, or up to three minutes of audio via SoundCloud.

They say: “We’re looking for innovation and imagination, and welcome all forms of storytelling.”

Find full details here: www.forestryengland.uk.