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 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.

Bristol Short Story Prize 2020

Bristol hot air balloons cr Judy DarleyGot some time on your hands and a story shuffling about inside your head? Bristol Short Story Prize 2020 is open for entries. The closing date for entries is 30th April 2020. Submissions can be up to a maximum length of 4,000 words. There is an entry fee of £9 for each submission.

The judging panel for the 2020 competition are Billy Kahora (Chair), Sharmaine Lovegrove, Anneliese Mackintosh and Tom Robinson, the manager of Foyles in Bristol.

The 2020 Bristol Short Story Prize was won by Sydney-based writer Cameron Stewart for his story Black Snow.

The 2018 Bristol Short Story Prize was won by Dizz Tate  for her story, Cowboy Boot. 2nd prize went to Chloe Wilson. You can read an interview with Dizz about her win, here. Chloe Wilson has been signed by literary agent Kate Johnson of the New York-based MacKenzie Wolf Literary Agency.

The 2017 Bristol Short Story Prize was won by Dima Alzayat for her story, Ghusl. Following her win Dima has been signed by literary agent Juliet Pickering.

BristolShortStoryPrize-vol-9-coverThe 2016 Bristol Short Story Prize was won by Stefanie Seddon for her story, Kãka.

The 2015 Bristol Short Story Prize was won by Canadian writer Brent van Staalduinen for his story A Week on the Water.

The 2014 Bristol Short Story Prize was won by Mahsuda Snaith for her story The Art of Flood Survival.

Find the full competition rules here.

The writing competition prizes

First prize is £1,000. Second prize is £500, and third prize is £250.

 

Each of the 17 remaining shortlisted writers will receive £100. The 20 shortlisted stories will be published in Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 13.

An additional prize of £100, The Sansom Award, in recognition of the contribution to Bristol publishing of John and Angela Sansom, will be presented to a Bristol writer selected by Angela Sansom. The Sansom Award winning story will also be published in the print edition of Bristol 24/7 magazine in November 2020.

For full details or to enter, go to www.bristolprize.co.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

Green Stories invites upbeat #CliFi flash fiction

Pataya, Thailand beach by Judy DarleyThe Green Stories’ team are inviting entries of Flash Fiction for their latest competition.
This competition is free to enter.

The deadline is 21st March 2020. Entries should be no longer than 500 words, excluding title.

Specifically, they are seeking Flash Fiction entries that explore themes around building a sustainable society.

“Most stories set in the future are dystopian, meaning they have a pessimistic view of society. We will consider all stories, but we encourage you to imagine a more positive settings and practices for your stories,” they say. “The story doesn’t have to be about sustainability or climate change directly. A rom-com, for example, could be set in a society that replaces ownership with borrowing and the heroine goes to a clothes library to pick up a posh dress and borrow jewellery for her big date.”

The Green Stories website is packed with information on the topics they’d like you to consider, ranging from practices such as the sharing economy to advances such as nanotechnologies and green transport.

For full details of prizes and how to enter, visit www.greenstories.org.uk/flash-fiction/

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.

Enter National Flash Fiction Day’s micro fiction competition

Sweets by Judy DarleyNational Flash Fiction Day’s 100-word micro fiction competition 2020 is open for submissions.  This year’s judges are Rob Walton, FJ Morris, Anne Summerfield and Susmita Bhattacharya. Send something funny that resonates, is fresh and exciting, and leaves the judges lost for words.

The deadline is Saturday 15th February 2020, 23:59pm GMT. You’re invited to submit up to three flash fictions on any theme.

Titles aren’t included in the word count.

  • First prize is £100
  • Second prize is £50
  • Third prize is £25

The winning and shortlisted authors will be published in the National Flash Fiction Day 2020 anthology. Winning and shortlisted authors will also receive a free print copy of this anthology.

Find full details here.

This year, National Flash Fiction Day is on Saturday 6th June. How will you be celebrating?

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.

Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2020 Short Story Competition

Beautiful skies, Victoria Park cr Judy DarleyThis annual competition is one of my favourites on the literary calendar. There’s no theme for you to base your story on – all you have to do is make sure you’re registered with the website www.writersandartists.co.uk, that the subject line of your email reads ‘W&A Short Story Competition 2020‘ and that you send it to waybcompetitions@bloomsbury.com.

Your story must be no more than 2,000 words long. The closing date for entries is midnight on 13th February 2019.

The winner of the competition – along with two runners-up – will be announced on the W&A blog pages in March 2020.

Entry is free, but don’t forget to register before submitting your story. Continue reading

Enter the Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize 2020

Bud. Photo by Judy DarleyThe Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize 2020 invites entries from women over the age of 21 who have written a novel “that marries literary merit with unputdownability.”

The closing date for the competition is 12 noon on Friday 17th January 2020.

The judges say they’re equally open to literary fiction and genre fiction, as well as to young adult fiction and children, providing they are primarily word-based.

Your submission must be previously unpublished, and you must not have had other full-length novels published. However, having short stories, poetry, non-fiction or picture books published previously does not exclude you.

To be considered, you need to submit the first 40-50 pages of the novel via the online form and a three to five-page synopsis of the remainder.

The entry fee is £12. Sponsored entries for low income writers are available.

All shortlisted entrants be offered a one-to-one consultation, editorial feedback and advice on the marketability of their work from PFD literary agency.

The 2020 winner will receive a cash prize of £1,500.

Shortlisted applicants will also be invited to the prize-giving drinks reception and awards ceremony where they will have the chance to meet. Industry representatives.

For full details, visit www.lucy-cav.cam.ac.uk/fictionprize/how-to-enter, and make sure you follow the competition Terms and Conditions.

Before entering, read these tips.

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.

The 507 micro fictions I have read

Dinefwr water meadows. Phot by Judy DarleyRecently, in a little under two days, I read and digested 507 micro fictions. Some of them I returned to and chewed over multiple times. In the two days after that, I set aside more than stories until I’d selected the 25 tales that have… well, yes, cast ripples.

The 507 specimens are 100-word stories submitted to the National Flash Fiction Day competition, which I was lucky enough to co-judge. On the morning after the contest closed to entries, I opened my inbox to find a fat document brimming with them all, ready to read at my leisure.

Well, not at my leisure, but it was a Saturday and I had almost an entire free morning in which to luxuriate over the carefully crafted creations.

During the first day I soon built up a rhythm that swept me along. As I swam through the compact fictions, I developed a labelling system of Yes, for the ones that stopped me in my tracks, Maybe, for the ones that snagged my attention at all, and No, for those that, I’m afraid, I felt I could remove without too many qualms.

By the end of day two I’d completed my second reading of all surviving stories, and was down to around 130.

Day three saw me whittle these down to a scant 61.

Patterns began to emerge as my brain sorted them into a series of recurring themes. I and my fellow judges, Angela Readman, Diane Simmons and Kevlin Henney, each attended dozens of funerals, including a high number where the chief mourner was also the murderer. We spent time in hospitals reeking with antiseptic and regret, waded through the mud of a multitude of wars. We met ghosts, unhappy children and cheating lovers in their droves.

We visited far-off planets, encountered people contemplating violence to themselves and others, and grazed our knees on numerous allegories and analogies. We bore witness to sensual and sinister moonlit cavorting. On at least three separate occasions we were told of the pain experienced via injury done to a twin. We eavesdropped on #MeToo revelations and felt the heat or skin-creeping chill of first times. These echoed narratives made our jobs a fraction easier, as we sought as the best of one type or another and used these to narrow our choices.

The process taught me to recognise a number of important things.

  • Word play is good, but not enough. For me a story needs to have heart too
  • A twist in the tail really needs to be handled with skill so as not to become an irritant
  • In some cases, even a 100-word story can have too many words
  • In some cases, a story trimmed down to 100 words can lose all meaning
  • Titles matter. With only 100 words to play with, the title offers precious opportunity to set the tone, and even layer in background information
  • Last lines matter. Somehow, they are the pebble that really casts a ring of ripples that will draw readers back to your story time and again.

To reach the small sum of 25, we each had to extricate and wave sorrowful farewells to some truly outstanding works. One I removed on day three continue to wriggle in my mind with such insistence that I retrieved it on day four and included it in my 25.

Once we’d ordered our 25 choice according to  preference, Santino Prinzi, the competition coordinator, correlated these, reissued the shortlist of 26 and asked us to narrow these down to our top ten. At this point, certain stories really began to shine.

I have emerged from tales breathless with wonder. It’s been an incredible, exhilarating journey, every step of the way.

NFFD 2019 logo

Now we have announced our winners and high commendably micro fictions, all of which will be published in the National Flash Fiction Day anthology 2019. There are some absolute stunners among them. Huge congratulations to these final ten, as well as everyone who reached the shortlist!

Being a co-judge of the NFFD completion 2019 has been a privilege. more than that, it’s been an education that’s spurred me on to aspire to write deeper, write truer and uncover more through my own writing.

A perfectly crafted paragraph is a powerful thing.

Enter the NFFD Micro Fiction Competition

Sweets by Judy DarleyI’m excited to be one of the judges of the National Flash Fiction Day micro fiction competition 2019, along with the marvellous Diane Simmons, Angela Readman and Kevlin Henney.

We’re hungry for your most finely crafted, resonant unpublished words. Disturb us, discombobulate us, turn our expectations upside down and make us regard the world anew, or draw us into a life and move us, all in only 100 words or fewer.

The deadline is Friday 15th March 2019, 23:59pm GMT. You’re invited to submit up to three flash fictions on any theme.

Titles aren’t included in the word count.

First prize is £75.

Second prize is £50.

Third prize is £25.

The winning and shortlisted authors will be published in the National Flash Fiction Day 2019 anthology. Winning and shortlisted authors will also receive a free print copy of this anthology.

Find full competition rules and entry fees here.

You can read my interview with Diane Simmons, in which I talk about what I’m hoping to see in submissions, here.

I can’t wait to read your submissions. Good luck!