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 Frome Festival Short Story Competition

Frome rooftopsFrome Festival Short Story Competition welcomes submissions, with a deadline of 31st May 2020.

This small Somerset town of layered roofs is set roughly between Bath and Taunton has become a hive for writers, with the  annual festival featuring writing residencies throughout the small, characterful shops, and street performances seemingly on every corner.

This year’s judge is author, Daily Mail journalist and broadcaster Bel Mooney.

The competition costs £8 to enter. You can purchase a detailed critique of your work for an additional payment of £47 per story.

Stories may be on any theme, but must be between 1,000 and 2,200 words in length, not including the title.

First prize is £400, second prize £200 and third prize £100.

There will also be special awards for writers living within a 25-mile radius of Frome Library, in a bid to support and encourage local writers.

The Frome Festival is well worth visiting for its own charms, especially the incredible busking that takes place throughout the narrow streets.

For full details visit the competition website.

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

Enter the Bath Short Story Award

Roman Baths pigeons by Judy DarleyThe seventh annual Bath Short Story Award is open now for entries from aspiring and established writers worldwide. Why not use this time of event cancellations and self-isolation to dream up a prize-worthy work of fiction?

The competition closes to entries at midnight GMT on 20th April 2020. You’re invited to submit stories up to a maximum of 2200 words on any theme or subject.

This year, literary agent Kate Johnson from Mackenzie Wolf Literary Agency is the shortlist judge. Read an interview with Kate and discover what she means when she says she’s seeking “authentic voices.”

Each submission costs £8.

The Bath Short Story Award prizes

  • First prize is £1200
  • Second prize is £300
  • Third prize is £100
  • The Acorn Award for a unpublished writer of fiction is £100
  • One highly commended story writer will receive £50 in book tokens from Mr B’s Emporium of Books, Bath

In addition, the top 20 entries will feature in the Bath Short Award anthology 2020, to be published by Ad Hoc Fiction.

Find full details of how to enter here. Good luck!

Book review – What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi Sold as a short story collection, Helen Oyeyemi’s latest creation has more in common with a sort of atlas, or a street view of a world most of us only glimpse between the places we walk and the places we avoid, or are avoided by. Shadowy gardens where unthinkable things bloom, doors that only stay closed when locked, marshlands where the drowned form communities, puppetry schools where the living and the made blur and tangle – all these and more make up the richly imagined dreamscape these stories inhabit.

Helen Oyeyemi’s writing is gorgeously painterly and wryly, sometimes wickedly, funny. Passion ripples under the characters’ skin, and reminds us that boundaries and societal rules are often less natural than the yearnings that drive us. Contemporary fictions hinged on social media sit alongside dark fairytales that feel eons old, and characters swim from one tale to emerge as cameos in others. It further deepens the sense of entering a fully formed world where history and present blend, and nothing matters more than the characters’ own foibles. Continue reading

Share your work at a live literary event

Squat pen by Judy Darley

If you live in the UK’s South West you may be interested to learn of a literary event in Swindon seeking writers. Taking place from 7.30pm till late on Friday 26th January 2018, it offers the chance to share 1,500-2,000 words of your finest fiction.

“We are looking for six (or more) fabulous writer/performers to come along to The Squat Pen, our very first live reading event at ‘The Place’ in the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon,” says the event’s organiser and competition judge Stephen Tuffin. “Write between 1500-2000 words on the subject of your choice, or you can use the prompt ‘new beginnings, then send us your stories for the chance to be selected to read your story on stage and maybe, just maybe, be crowned the very first ever Squat Pen Rests Writing Competition Champion of the World.”

The shortlisted entrants will be invited to come along to perform their piece in front of a friendly audience of short story fans. The outright winner, as voted for by the audience, will be presented with a £50.00 cash prize.

Every finalist will be awarded a limited edition, Squat Pen Rests Writing Competition Finalist mug, as well as having their stories posted on the competition website.

The serious stuff

It costs £3 per story to enter. You can enter up to three stories per event.

Before entering, please ensure you are available to come along and read on Friday 26th January 2018

Each of the entrants will receive free entry, plus one complementary ticket.

Closing date: 19th January 2018. Successful entrants will be notified no later than 22nd January.

Find full details here.

Writers & Artists short story competition

Playa de San Antolin cr Judy Darley.Writers & Artists have teamed up with Retreat West for a free writing competition that offers you the chance to win a place on one of Retreat West’s writing retreats. As well as five days to focus on your writing in a beautiful coastal setting, the prize includes workshops taking place at the retreat.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is write a short story no longer than 1,000 words.

The only stipulation here is that your story – which can be about anything you like – must use a beach as its setting, and must be written for adults.

Entries are free, though you must have an account with www.writersandartists.co.uk. The deadline for submissions is midnight on Sunday 17th September.

Please send all entries to competition@bloomsbury.com, with a subject line of “Retreat West Short Story Competition“.

Prizes

The author of the winning story will receive a place on Retreat West’s Plotting Retreat, taking place from 17-21 November 2017 in West Bay, Dorset. Workshops over the weekend will be led by Richard Skinner, novelist and head of the Faber Academy, and Retreat West founder and novelist Amanda Saint. The retreat provides the opportunity to hone your writing skills in a beautiful location. Full details of the retreat can be found on the Retreat West website.

Both the winner and two runners up will also receive the latest edition of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook , a copy of one of our Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Companion Guide series, and a copy of the 2016 Retreat West Anthology of stories from the annual RW Short Story Prize and RW Flash Fiction Prize. The winning stories will also be published on www.writersandartists.co.uk.

Find full details, including terms and conditions, at www.writersandartists.co.uk/competitions/retreat-west-short-story-competition

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.

Dragonfly Tea want your short stories

Tea plantation cr Judy DarleySeeking a boost for your short story writing? Dragonfly Tea have launched their 2017 short story competition in partnership with Henley Literary Festival.

invite you a short story on the theme of Journey, and submit it to their short story competition before 11:59pm (GMT) on Monday 31st July 2017. Your tale can’t be more than 3,000 words long; there is no minimum length.

There is also a children’s competition too, with categories for ages 4-7, 8-11 and 12-15. Tales in this section must be on the theme of adventure and must not be more than 500 words long, not including the title.

The the competitions are open to all non-professional fiction writers who are UK residents. In other words, you can only enter is you have never received a fee for your written work, be that fiction or non-fiction. Prize money received as a result of entering work into a competition is not considered a fee.

The competitions are free to enter.

Entries can be submitted via post or online via the online entry page of the Dragonfly Tea website.

Prizes

Main competition

  • 1st – £1500
  • 2nd – £750
  • 3rd – £250

Children’s Competition, in each category

  • £50 voucher for each winner plus £100 voucher for their school.

Finalists from all categories will be invited to the Henley Literary Festival on Sunday 8th October 2017 for a special awards ceremony and prize giving.

Find full details of these creative writing competitions.

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.

Enter Mslexia’s short story competition

Button on Kilve Beach cr Judy DarleyMslexia’s annual short story competition for women writers is open for entries, so now’s the time to search out and polish up your plots!

The first prize is £2,000 – one of the biggest prizes available in the genre – and includes two optional extras: a week’s writing retreat at Gladstone Library, and a day with a Virago editor. Not too shabby!

Three other finalists will each receive £100. The winning stories will be published in the June 2017 issue of Mslexia.

Stories must be between 300 and 3,000 words in length, not including the title. The shortlisted entries will be judged by novelist, playwright and poet Deborah Levy. Entires cost £10 each.

The closing date for the competition is 20th March 2017, so there’s just time to get your entry together.

You can find full details of how to enter at www.mslexia.co.uk.

Enter The Fiction Desk Ghost Story Competition 2013

Arnos Vale Cemetery cr Judy DarleyWhen I think of classic British ghost stories I get a satisfying shiver down my spine, not least because it’s an area women writers seem to excel in, from Mary Shelley to Susan Hill!

The Fiction Desk are straying from their preference for more or less realistic tales for a competition focusing solely on the genre of the ghost story, saying “some genre fiction should be part of any balanced reading diet. One genre that we’d like to feature more of in our pages is the ghost story.”

The closing date for entries is 31 May 2013. Continue reading