Brooklyn Book Festival celebrates literature city-wide

Brooklyn. Photo by Miltiadis Fragkidis on UnsplashBrooklyn Book Festival (BKBF) is going hybrid for 2021, with online and real world events to choose between from 26th September and 4th October.

They say: “The mission of the Brooklyn Book Festival is to celebrate published literature and nurture a literary cultural community through programming that cultivates and connects readers of diverse ages and backgrounds with local, national and international authors, publishers and booksellers. To this end, the Brooklyn Book Festival develops original programming that is hip, smart, diverse, inclusive and collaborative and presents free and low-cost public events including the Brooklyn Book Festival, Children’s Day and Bookend events.”

They add: “The Brooklyn Book Festival is New York City’s largest free literary festival and connects readers with local, national and international authors and publishers.”

A fantastic line-up of 300 authors are taking part, including word conjuror Goddexx,  bestselling poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib, Mostly Dead Things author Kristen Arnett, and Earth scientist and writer Darcie Little Badger, to name just a few.

This year’s real world Children’s Day on Saturday 2nd October offers a full day of readings, workshops, performances, book signings, yoga, and art projects with renowned authors and illustrators.

As well as hosting virtual happenings, the Festival Day and Literary Marketplace, a day-long celebration of authors and books on Sunday 3rd October, will take place in Downtown Brooklyn with a reduced number of vendors to ensure safety. Citywide Bookend events — in person and virtual — take place on 26th September as well as 2nd and 4th October.

Sign up for their newsletter to discover information on highlights as it becomes available.

Find full details here: brooklynbookfestival.org.

Photo of Brooklyn Bridge by Miltiadis Fragkidis on Unsplash.

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.

Submit your words to the Moth Nature Writing Prize

Moth by Judy Darley

The Moth Magazine invites you to enter the Moth Nature Writing Prize. The deadline for entries of nature-inspired short stories, non-fiction and poems is 15th September 2021.

The judge is Helen Macdonald, writer, poet, naturalist and historian of science. Her book H is for Hawk won many prizes, including the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Costa Book of the Year, the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger in France, and in the US was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

The Prize will be awarded to the writer of the short fiction, non-fiction or poem that the judges deems to best combine exceptional literary merit with an exploration of the writer’s relationship with the natural world.

The prize is open to anyone over the age of sixteen, as long as the work is original and previously unpublished. Your submitted work must be no longer than 4,000 words.

Prizes

The winning piece will be published in the winter issue of The Moth.

The winner will receive €1,000 and a week-long stay at Circle of Missé creative retreat in the most southern part of the Loire Valley.

There is a fee of €15 per entry.

Visit www.themothmagazine.com for full details.

The Moth Magazine is also running its annual Poetry Prize, with a deadline of 31st December 2021.

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.

Submit your manuscript to Soft Skull Press

Sad Ghost Cereal cr Judy Darley

Soft Skull Press invites un-agented authors to submit complete manuscripts until 21st July 2021.

They describe themselves as “a home for projects that dissolve categories and hierarchies, provide an alternative to dominant narratives, and make room for new and unexpected ideas and feelings. We aim to create lasting and transformative relationships with writers, and to continually reimagine how a book can be written, published, and sold.”

They publish adult literary fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and hybrid projects. At this time they are especially seeking and encouraging submissions from BIPOC writers and underrepresented voices of any race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, class, and physical or mental ability.

Authors of accepted submissions retain full copyright license to their work.

For your chance to be published by Soft Skull Press, upload your full manuscript and a statement of intent to their Submittable queue.

There is no submission fee.

In the ‘cover letter’ field, include:

  • A one-paragraph summary of your project
  • The total word count
  • A brief author bio
  • Your contact information

Please submit only one manuscript.

They welcome simultaneous submissions, but ask that if your work is accepted elsewhere, you withdraw your submission promptly.

They also advise: “Please send your work only if you feel it is ready to be read; we will not be accepting updated versions of the same work once submitted.”

Find full submission 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.

Novel Nights’ Indie Publisher Series

Novel-Nights-Literary-Events-Bristol4-photo credit Sophie Carefull

Novel Nights © Sophie Carefull

Novel Night’s next edition of its popular Indie Publisher Series invites you to spend an evening with Myriad Editions, from the comfort of your own home. On 17th March from 7.30pm till 8.30pm, join Novel Night’s Grace Palmer along with Myriad’s Publishing Director Candida Lacey and Publicity Director Emma Dowson as they discuss their experiences of the publishing industry, opportunities for emerging writers, and how you can break through.

Myriad publishes award-winning literary fiction, graphic novels and political nonfiction, including ground-breaking infographic atlases. The indie publishing house  supports new and emerging authors via two work-in-progress competitions. These launch in Spring 2022 with the First Drafts competition for unpublished writers and the First Graphic Novel Competition. Both competitions have a track record of uncovering and launching authors who go on to achieve creative and commercial success.

In 2017, Myriad merged with New Internationalist as part of a joint plan to expand, reach wider audiences and publish books that push boundaries and embrace diversity.

There will plenty of time for Q&A.

Tickets cost £5 plus a booking fee.

Find out more and book tickets here: www.novelnights.co.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.

Curtis Brown Creative courses for aspiring writers

Notebook and pen cr Judy DarleyAs the new year gets underway, why not rev up your writing skills? Curtis Brown Creative, the creative-writing school run by Curtis Brown Literary Agency, is inviting applications for an array of writing courses aimed at aspiring novelists. Usually they offer London-based and an online options to choose between, but at the moment all courses are run online.

If you book before 31st January 2021, you can get £20 off the price of six-week courses with the code shown on their website.

Whether you want to dig into specific genres such as historical, psychological or YA and children’s fiction, or want to untangle the knots of editing and pitching your novel, there are plenty of opportunities to gain insights and hands-on help from successful authors and experienced editors. The creative writing school was launched in 2011 and remains the only one run by a literary agency.

Upcoming courses include the chance to learn to write short fiction with award-winning short story-writer Cynan Jones, starting on 4th February, and a breakthrough novel-writing course with Jacob Ross and Laura Barnett (Act fast! Applications close on 10th January). In some cases, course places are awarded on merit, so make sure your entry shines.

“I’m proud to say that over the past few years, many of our alumni have gained deals with major publishers,” says Curtis Brown Director Anna Davis. “Some of our former students have written international bestsellers, others have won prizes and several more have gained representation with literary agents and are working to edit their novels for publication. Yet more are still working away, often with the support of their former Curtis Brown Creative cohort. It’s great to see how many of our alumni stay closely in touch with their student groups long after their courses end.”

Find full details of upcoming courses here.

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 The Rialto’s Nature and Place Poetry Competition

Dragonfly nymph by Judy DarleyThe Rialto is inviting you to send in your nature and place-inspired poetry for their competition celebrating the natural world. With our personal universes shrunken to the spaces within walking distance of our homes, wildlife has begun to gradually take back the streets, making this the perfect topic for our peculiar times.

What have you glimpsed in your pond, on your windowsill, in the places for the most part now vacated by humans?

The deadline for entries is Friday 1st May 2020.

Hosted by The Rialto in association with the RSPB, BirdLife International and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, the competition will be judged by Pascale Petit, whose seventh collection, Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe, 2017), won the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize 2018 – the first time a poetry book won this prize for a work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry best evoking the spirit of a place.

Nature and Place Poetry Competition Prizes

1st prize – £1000
2nd prize – £500
3rd prize – £250

Once the current pandemic restrictions are lifted, one entrant will receive a personal tour with celebrated nature-writer Mark Cocker of his most cherished wildlife places in East Anglia.

How to submit your poems

You can submit up to six poems in one batch. The entry fee for the first poem is £7 (including an administration fee). The fee for each subsequent poem in the batch is £4.

If you wish to submit more than six poems you will need to make a second submission, which will include a second administration fee.

Find full details of how to enter here.

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

Submit tiny flashes to Paragraph Planet

Hot Water by Judy DarleyI’m growing increasingly addicted to Paragraph Planet. This fabulous website publishes a single 75-word flash fiction every day (word count includes title). The stories selected are brilliantly diverse and powerful. Visiting each day feels akin to pond dipping – you never quite know what wonders will appear.

They’re also a great place to submit to. Their online submission form is easy, and free, to use, and while there isn’t payment for writers, there is notoriety up for grabs. Each story is shared via Twitter to more than 3,600 followers.

The picture above is the one I created for my story Leavings, which is available to read in the Paragraph Planet archive section – just scroll to December 30th.

Isn’t there something satisfying about crafting a piece that exactly hits 75 words, including title, and ensuring it’s still meaningful? If you write, I urge you to give it a try, and if you read, swing by to read today’s tiny yet powerful offering.

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

Call for puppet show scripts with eco-oceanic themes

Marionette shop, Prague cr Judy DarleyCommonwealth Resounds are seeking an original 45-minute script to engage audiences with the challenges facing the world’s oceans.

The deadline for submissions is 15th February 2020.

This open call comes via Commonwealth Writers and aims to connect a writer from the Commonwealth to work in collaboration with the Young People’s Puppet Theatre, the Commonwealth Resounds, the Purcell School for Young Musicians, and the Commonwealth Blue Charter.

The chosen script will be interleaved with original music by exceptional high-school-age musicians, and performed with string marionettes in London and Hertfordshire in September 2020. “The selected writer will develop the script with guidance from professionals experienced in scriptwriting for puppetry.”

The ocean theme should include one or more of the issues currently being tackled by the Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Groups:

  • Coral Reef Protection and Restoration
  • Mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihoods
  • Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance (marine plastics)
  • Marine Protected Areas
  • Ocean Acidification
  • Ocean and Climate Change
  • Ocean Observation
  • Sustainable Aquaculture
  • Sustainable Blue Economy
  • Sustainable Coastal Fisheries

In the first instance Commonwealth Resounds invites you to provide a summary of your proposed storyline and a description of the characters in the play, within a maximum of 500 words.

This must be submitted by 15th February 2020, and the preferred storyline will be selected by the end of February. The script will need to be completed by the middle of May 2020.

The selected writer will receive £250 on completion of the script, covering the production in September, and a further £250 royalty each time the script is used in a subsequent production. (For clarity royalties are paid per production, not per performance of a production.)

Find full details and links to useful guidelines on scriptwriting here.

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.

Submit to Novel Nights

Novel-Nights-Literary-Events-Bristol4-photo credit Sophie Carefull

Novel Nights © Sophie Carefull

Having an audience for your prose, whether it’s a short story or a novel extract, is a great way to build up a loyal following as well as get a sense of the story you’re telling.

The session of Novel Nights on 25th October is part of Bristol Festival of Literature 2017, making it a really prestigious event on Bristol’s lit scene. There are three slots of five-minutes for writers, and I’m helping to select the stories, so why not submit?

Closing date for submissions is 1st October 2017.

Grace Palmer, the organiser, says: “We want to hear prose which delights, tells a story with skill, hooks a room of people and won’t make them fidget. If you are chosen to read you get free entry to Novel Nights, your name on the programme and publicised on Twitter, Facebook and on this Novel Nights website.”

The audience are a group of friendly writers and readers, so you’re bound to come away with a buzz.

Submission guidelines  

Please submit the following:

  • An 800-word extract of your writing; no more than 5-minutes reading time
  • Choose a scene from your novel or a short story that will work as a piece to listen to – not too much dialogue but something self-contained that shows off the story and your writing style. Don’t choose a scene with lots of characters in it
  • A photos of yourself  – please label with your name 
  • A cover photo of your book or books, if you are published
  • Your name (or writing pseudonym), and twitter handle
  • Writer Bio – a 30 word version for our programme, a longer version for our information about you, your writing etc

How to send 
Send your work and bio in the body of an email to submit@novelnights.co.uk  
Photos can be sent as an attachment

How we choose

We look for strong, well-crafted writing that will delight and excite an audience.

We choose extracts that fit in with the theme of the night or that fit with each other. If you are not chosen it doesn’t mean we think you are not good enough! These things are subjective.

Good luck!

Find out more at www.novelnights.co.uk/submissions-for-novel-nights.

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.

Write for SkyLightRain.com

Bloom and Curll bookshop, Bristol

Bloom and Curll bookshop, Bristol

If you’ve made a resolution to have your writing read more widely this year, you might be interested to know that SkyLightRain.com welcomes input from other writers. I’m always happy to receive suggestions for reviews and features, as well as creative pieces produced in response to the weekly writing prompts.

Every piece published includes an author pic and bio, with links so that people can find out more about you.

Book, film, art or magazine reviews

Get in touch and let me know what you would like to review, and why. In the case of art reviews, images are a must, but in the other cases a few stills or the book cover will do. I can contact publishers on your behalf to request review copies to be sent to your home. The word-count should be between 300 and 600 words.

Writing insights

This is a great opportunity to share your skills, and talk up recent projects such as novels. Contact me to let me know what you would like to write about, and why. The word-count should be between 600 and 1000 words. Previous examples have included authorAnnee Lawrence, examining the power of fiction to transcend borders.

Creative writing

I’m always happy to receive short pieces of prose or poetry inspired by the midweek writing prompts. These are posted each Wednesday and provide story ideas, hints and potential plot lines. No need to send a query first – just email me your creative work as soon as you feel it is ready to be seen by the world!

I also accept ideas for this slot, so please get in touch if you’re happy to share your own prompts for firing up a new creative work. What inspires your writing?

Feel free to spread the word about these opportunities.

To get in touch about any of these slots or just get in touch, you can find me on Twitter @JudyDarley, or send me an email at judydarley (at) iCloud (dot) com