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.

The prize closes on 1st July 2024 at 5pm BST.

The prize supports writers who have not yet published a book-length work, with no limits on age, gender, nationality, or background. Winners of each category receive a £1,000 cash prize and will be published in Wasafiri’s print magazine. Shortlisted writers will have their work published on the Wasafiri website. All 15 shortlistees and winners will be offered the Chapter and Verse or Free Reads mentoring scheme in partnership with The Literary Consultancy (dependent on eligibility), and a conversation with Nikesh Shukla of The Good Literary Agency to discuss their career progression

The fee is £12 for a single entry and £16 for a double entry. No entry may be more than 3,000 words long.  

Subsidised entry is available for those who would otherwise be unable to enter the prize.  

Shortlisted entrants will be notified in September

Find full details of how to enter at www.wasafiri.org.

About the judges

The chair of judges is Margaret Busby CBE, Hon. FRSL (Nana Akua Ackon) is a major cultural figure around the world. Her career has spanned work as a publisher, editor, interviewer, reviewer, scriptwriter, lyricist, radio and TV presenter, activist and mentor. She has judged prestigious literary prizes, including the Booker Prize, and served on the boards of such organisations as the Royal Literary Fund, Wasafiri magazine, Tomorrow’s Warriors, and the Africa Centre in London. She has been a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. In 2023, she was appointed President of English PEN.

Isabel Waidner (fiction judge) is a novelist based in London. Their work includes Corey Fah Does Social Mobility (2023), Sterling Karat Gold (2021), We Are Made of Diamond Stuff (2019), and Gaudy Bauble (2017). They are the winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2021 and were shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize in 2019, the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction in 2022 and the Republic of Consciousness Prize in 2018, 2020 and 2022. They are a co-founder of the event series Queers Read This at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and they are an academic in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London.

Cristina Rivera Garza (life writing judge) is an author, translator and critic. Recent publications include Liliana’s Invincible Summer(Hogarth, 2023), which was long listed for the National Book Award in nonfiction. The Taiga Syndrome, trans. by Suzanne Jill Levine and Aviva Kana, (Dorothy Project, 2018), won the 2019 Shirley Jackson Award. Grieving. Dispatches from a Wounded Country, trans. by Sarah Booker (The Feminist Press, 2020), was a finalist National Book Critics Circle Award In Criticism. She is M.D. Anderson Distinguished Professor and founder of the PhD Program in Creative Writing in Spanish at the University of Houston, Department of Hispanic Studies, and a MacArthur Fellow 2020-2025.

Meena Kandasamy (poetry judge) is a poet, writer, translator, anti-caste activist and academic based in India. Her extensive corpus includes two poetry collections, Touch (2006) and Ms Militancy (2010), as well as three novels, The Gypsy Goddess (2014), When I Hit You (2017) and Exquisite Cadavers (2019). In 2022, she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL) and was also awarded the PEN Hermann Kesten Prize for her writing and work as a ‘fearless fighter for democracy, human rights and the free word.’ Her latest published work is Tomorrow Someone Will Arrest You, a collection of political poetry written over the last decade.

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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Wells Festival of Literature competitions

City of Wells cr Judy Darley

Wells Festival of Literature takes place from 18th-26th October 2024, but before that they hold their annual writing competitions, with entries accepted until 30th June.

The categories are open poetry, short stories, poetry and children’s books, as well as poetry by anyone aged 16-22 inclusive.

The Open Poetry Competition

The fee for each separate entry is £6. Each poem must be under 36 lines long, and may be on any subject.

First Prize is £1,000. Second prizes is £500. Third prize is £250. There’s also a £100 prize for a local poet.

The judge is Dr Anthony Joseph FRSL, award-winning Trinidad-born poet, novelist, academic and musician, is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Kings College, London.   His 2022 collection Sonnets for Albert  featured at the 2023 Festival and won the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry 2022 and the OCM BOCAS Prize for Caribbean Poetry.

The Short Story Competition

The fee for each separate entry is £6. Stories should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length. They can be on any subject.

First Prize is £750. Second prize is £300. Third prize is £200. There’s a £100 prize for a local writer.

The judge is Susmita Bhattacharya, whose debut novel The Normal State of Mind was long-listed at the Mumbai Film Festival 2018. Her short story collection Table Manners won the Saboteur Award for Best Short Story Collection and was a finalist for the Hall & Woodhouse DLF Prize in 2019. The collection has also been serialised on BBC Radio and her latest commissioned Radio 4 short story The Gift is available on BBC Sounds.

Book for Children Competition

The fee for each separate entry is £6. The competition will judge writing for children, age 7 and up. This includes writing for young adults

You’ll need to submit either the first two chapters or first twenty pages, whichever is the shortest, together with the synopsis of up to two pages.

First Prize is £750. Second prize is £300. Third prize is £200. There’s a £100 prize for a local writer.

The judge is Alex Campbell, who currently writes middle-grade novels under the name Alex Cotter. Her recent novel, The House on the Edge, was selected as a WH Smith Travel Book of the Month and also for the ‘Read for Empathy’ collection. She has also written YA novels and was nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016.

The Young Poets Competition

The fee for each separate entry is £3. Each poem must be under 36 lines long, and may be on any subject.

First Prize is £150. Second prizes is £75. Third prize is £50. All three prize-winners also get a year’s subscription to the Poetry Society.

The judge is Clare Shaw. Claire has four poetry collections with Bloodaxe. The latest collection – Towards a General Theory of Love(2022) – is a poetic exploration of love and love’s absence: it won a Northern Writers’ Award and was a Poetry Society Book of the Year.

The closing date for all entries is 30th June 2024. Prizes for all four competitions will be presented on Monday 30th October 2023 during the Festival.

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 Bridport Prize 2024

Pebble man by Judy DarleyThe Bridport Prize, one of the UK’s most prestigious writing competitions, is currently seeking your short stories, flash fiction, poems and debut novels.

The deadline for all competition entries is 31st May 2024.

All entries are judged anonymously. To avoid disqualification, make sure you do not include your name, address, phone number, email, website, twitter handle etc on the document or in the file name.

Poems may be up to 42 lines in length (not including the title). There is no minimum line count. The entry fee is £12. The winning poet will receive £5,000.

Short stories may be up to 5,000 words long. The entry fee is £14. The winning short story writer will receive £5,000.

Flash fiction may be up to 250 words long. The entry fee is £11. The winning flash fiction writer will receive £1,000.

Novel extracts must be between 5,000 and 8,000 words long taken from the opening chapters. You must also supply a 300-word synopsis, which should be the first page of your entry. The fee is £24.

First prize is £1,500 plus mentoring by The Literary Consultancy and consultations with literary agent AM Heath and publisher Headline.

Memoir extracts must be between 5,000 and 8,000 words. You must also supply a 300 word overview. The fee is £24.

Bridport Prize judges

Liz Berry is the poetry judge. Liz is an award-winning poet and author of critically acclaimed collections Black Country (Chatto); The Republic of Motherhood (Chatto); The Dereliction (Hercules Editions) and The Home Child (Chatto), a novel in verse. Her poem Homing is part of the GCSE English syllabus.

Wendy Erskine is the short story judge. Wendy is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, an interviewer and broadcaster. She has published two short story collections Sweet Home and Dance Move with Stinging Fly Press and Picador. A past Seamus Heaney Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast, she is a secondary school teacher.

Jasmine Sawyers is the flash fiction judge. Jasmine is a Kundiman fellow and Indiana University MFA alum. Their work has won awards from Ploughshares, NANO Fiction, Fractured Lit and Press 53, appearing in Norton’s Flash Fiction America, Best Microfiction, SmokeLong Quarterly and Wigleaf. Their Anchored World book was a PEN finalist.

Ross Raisin is judging novel entries. Ross has written four novels: A Hunger, A Natural, Waterline and God’s Own Country. His work has won and been shortlisted for over ten literary awards. He won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award and was named the Best of Young British Novelists on Granta’s once in a decade list.

News of the Bridport Prize Memoir competition coming soon.

Don’t forget to check out the Writers’ Room on the Bridport Prize website for resources and inspiration.

Find full details and enter your creative works at www.bridportprize.org.uk. And don’t forget to sign up for their newsletter full of useful tips and inspiration.

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 National Flash Fiction Day’s microfiction competition

Sweets by Judy DarleyNational Flash Fiction Day’s 100-word microfiction competition invites your submissions. Send something funny, something that resonates, is fresh and exciting, and leaves the judges lost for words.

The deadline is 15th February 2024. You’re invited to submit up to three flash fictions on any theme at no more than 100 words each. Titles aren’t included in the word count.

Last year’s winning micro was ‘All my lovers’ by Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar. Read it and the other winning tales here.

In 2022, Jan Kaneen won with her beautiful mini-tale ‘Just a Word to the Snowblind.’ Read it and the other winners here.

The microfiction competition prizes are:

  • £150 for first place
  • £100 for second place
  • £50 for third place

There are also seven awards of £20 for highly commended pieces. The winning and highly commended authors will be published in the National Flash Fiction Day 2024 anthology, and will receive a free print copy of this anthology.

This year’s judges are Sara Chansarkar, Jan Kaneen, David Rhymes and Alison Wassell.

Read more about the judges here.

By submitting work to the NFFD Microfiction Competition, you are agreeing to publication online and in the 2024 NFFD Anthology if your work is selected as a prizewinner or highly commended flash.

The submission fees for this year’s anthology is:

  • £2.00 for one (1) entry.
  • £3.75 for two (2) entries.
  • £5.25 for three (3) entries.

Find full details here, including details of the free entry scheme.

This year, National Flash Fiction Day is on Saturday 15th June. How will you celebrate?

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 Short Story Competition

Kalamazoo railway tracks by Judy DarleyWriters’ & Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition invites stories on the theme of ‘risk.’

Your entry must be no more than 2,000 words long.

The deadline for entries is midnight on 12th February 2024.

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 Kirsty Logan, the author of three novels, three story collections, a memoir, two chapbooks, a 10-hour audio play for Audible, and several collaborative projects with musicians and visual artists. Her books have won the Lambda, Polari, Saboteur, Scott and Gavin Wallace awards. Her work has been optioned for TV, adapted for stage, recorded for radio and podcasts, exhibited in galleries and distributed from a vintage Wurlitzer cigarette machine. She lives in Glasgow with her wife, baby and rescue dog.

Prizes of this writing contest

Find full details and competition rules at www.writersandartists.co.uk

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.

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Enter the Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize 2023

Bud. Photo by Judy DarleyThe Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize 2024 invites entries from women over the age of 18 who have written a novel “that marries literary merit with unputdownability.”

Founded in 2010, by Professor Janet Todd OBE, the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize has seen many shortlisted and winning authors attaining literary success including securing publishing deals.

Sarah Harman won the 2023 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize with ‘All The Other Mothers Hate Me‘.

The 2022 winner of the Fiction Prize was Hannah Stapleton with her novel ‘Blue Tears’.

  • The deadline to submit as a low-income writer is 12 noon on Wednesday 7th February 2024
  • Deadline to submit a paid entry is 12 noon on Friday 9th February 2024.

The judges say they’re 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 to 50 pages of the novel via the online form and a three to five-page synopsis of the remainder. You must not have agent representation at the time of submission.

If you accept agent representation after your submission and before the judging is complete, you will no longer be eligible to take part in the competition and your entry will be discounted.

The entry fee is £12. Sponsored entries for low income writers are available – simply tick the appropriate box on the entry form. You will need to provide proof of financial eligibility such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Disability Benefit, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, proof of being a full-time student, Housing Benefit or proof of being a full-time carer.

This year’s winner bags £1,500.00.

All shortlisted entrants will receive one-to-one consultation with an agent at Peter Fraser + Dunlop (subject to them not having an existing agent) who will offer editorial feedback as well as valuable publishing advice.

For full details, visit www.lucy.cam.ac.uk/fictionprizewww.fictionprize.co.uk, and make sure you follow the competition Terms and Conditions.

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.

Searchlight Writing for Children Awards chapter book contest

Brandon Hill, Bristol, child in tree by Judy Darley

The Searchlight Writing for Children Awards is launching an exciting new competition seeking the Best Chapter Book for children aged between five and eight years old

The closing date for entry is 1st February 2024.

Your entry can be from a stand-alone book or part of a series. All you need to submit is the first chapter and a short pitch that tells Searchlight what the book is about.

Winners will be chosen by Katie Blagden of The Bright Agency.

The top ten entries will feature in a Pitch Book of winning stories, which will be sent to an extensive list of literary agents and publishers who have requested it so will be paying close attention!

First prize = £350 +plus a one-to-one call with judge Katie Blagdon, who will be happy to share her expert viewpoint as a literary agent.

The entry fee is £12.

For full details, visit www.searchlightawards.co.uk.

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 Ironclad Creative Short Story Competition Winter 2023

Dusk by Judy DarleyIronclad Creative CIC is seeking stories that respond in any way to the word ‘Dusk.’

The Ironclad Creative Short Story Competition is for both published and unpublished writers. They’re hungry for original writing in English and you can be from anywhere in the world.

Your story can be any genre and length up to 6k words.

However, they’re not accepting plays or poetry for this competition.
They says: “We’re looking for writers who have exciting voices and can move us.”
Deadline:
23:59 (GMT) on 16th November 2023
Entry Fee:
£6 per story
You could win:
  • The winning writer will be offered a prize of £100 and publication in the Ironclad Creative CIC anthology
  • The second place writer will be offered a prize of £50 and publication in their anthology
  • Two further shortlisted writers will be offered prizes of £25 each, and publication in the anthology
  • Up to 10 other longlisted writers will be offered publication in the anthology (depending on the length of the winning, second place and shortlisted stories).

If you’re submitting more than one story, you need to pay £6 per entry. Include your name and ONE title in the reference & email subject line. Then ensure you make clear in your email what the title of the multiple entries are AND state the total amount you paid via PayPal.

A small number of free places are available for low income writers. Please email michelle@ironcladcreative.org to request this but don’t send your work – if they have free entries left, they’ll let you know what to do.

Find full details here and make sure you’ve read the terms and conditions before entering.

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 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 27th August 2023.

The winning story writer will receive $3,000, an agency review and publication online.

Second and third place finalists will be awarded publication, agency review and $300/$200 prizes respectively.

Participating agents include Nat Sobel from Sobel Weber, Victoria Cappello from The Bent Agency, Andrea Morrison from Writers House, Sarah Fuentes from United Talent Agency, Heather Schroder from Compass Talent, and Marin Takikawa from The Friedrich Agency.

This year’s guest judge is Jai Chakrabarti, author of A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness and A Play for the End of the World.

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; writers with book-length work published or under contract with a major press are ineligible. Authors with short story collections are free to submit unpublished work, as are writers with books published by indie presses)
  • Deadline: 27th August, 2023
  • 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.

Enter the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award

Arnos vale portal. Photo by Judy Darley. A natural formation of growing wood or vine that seems to hold a circle of light.

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award celebrates outstanding short fiction and poetry from around the world. The deadline for entering the award is 31st August 2023, 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 winner of each category. Winners will receive:

  • A Five-Day Course from Arvon (Poetry & Fiction Winners)
  • One year print subscription to Granta (Poetry & Fiction Winners)
  • One year digital subscription to Mslexia (Poetry & Fiction Winners)
  • Six-Week Writing Poetry Course from Curtis Brown Creative (Poetry Winner)
  • Full membership to The Poetry Society (Poetry Winner)
  • A Course from  the Poetry School (Poetry Winner)
  • One year print subscription to Poetry London (Poetry Winner)
  • Consultation with Redhammer Management (Fiction Winner)
  • Six-Week Writing  Short Stories Course from Curtis Brown Creative (Fiction Winner)Poetry entries should be no more than 40 lines.
    Fiction entries should be no more than 2,000 words long.

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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