Archive for category Competitions

Poetry on Loan Competition 2020 for the West Midlands

Following on from last week’s post about the Sunday Times Crime Writing Competition, here’s another free writing competition to get your teeth into during lockdown.

Poetry on Loan are asking for poems of up to 20 lines on the theme of either ‘The Unexpected’ or ‘Vision’.

Poetry on Loan promotes contemporary poetry through public libraries in the West Midlands and the competition is open to anyone who lives, studies or works regularly in the area.

The closing date is 1st September 2020.

The prize is a paid performance as part of a Poetry on Loan event. However, it’s not known how long it will be before libraries can run events again, therefore if a performance can’t be arranged  before May 2021, the winner will receive a cash prize of £75 instead. The winner of the junior section of the competition will receive WHSmith tokens.

Full details of the competition can be found on the Poetry on Loan website.

If you don’t have a connection with the West Midlands, why not write a poem anyway so that you’ve got ‘something in the bank’ to send out next time a suitable competition comes up?

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SUNDAY TIMES CRIME CLUB / ELIZABETH GEORGE CRIME-WRITING COMPETITION

Here’s a fabulous competition for unpublished crime writers (self-published authors are eligible to enter).

It will be judged by Elizabeth George, creator of the Inspector Lynley series.

First prize is a personal masterclass with Elizabeth plus an editorial consultation with the commissioning editor for crime at Hodder & Stoughton, Elizabeth’s UK publisher. Runners up will also be offered the editorial consultation.

Entry is by an online submission form and it requires the first chapter (up to 2,500 words) of your crime novel plus a 200-word synopsis.

Closing date is 2nd June 2020 and don’t forget to read the full terms and conditions.

Good Luck!

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A Dickens of a Competition

If the weird times we live in are making it difficult to concentrate on a longer piece of writing, here’s a short, fun competition to take your mind off things.

June 9th 2020 is the 150th anniversary of the death of Charles Dickens. To mark the occasion the Journalists’ Charity (which was started by Dickens) is holding a competition to pen a portrait of the 21st century character you think would have deserved the author’s attention. This character description should be no longer than 300 words. To guide you, there are examples on the competition page of pen portraits that Dickens wrote about some of his characters such as Scrooge from A Christmas Carol, Miss Tox from Dombey and Son and Mr Bounderby from Hard Times.

The competition winner will be awarded a certificate and a unique depiction of the winning character, drawn by Veteran Fleet Street Cartoonist Stanley McMurtry (MBE) (better known as MAC).

The closing date is June 9th 2020 and entry is free. However, donations to the Journalists’ Charity are welcomed.
Also, entrants must agree to waive any copyright in regard to publication of their work to promote the aims and work of the Journalists’ Charity.

There are no Dickensian pen portraits in A Coffee Break Story Collection but there are 36 short stories and plenty of characters who have caught the eye of competition judges and magazine editors. If you (or a loved one) would like some easy reading to dip in and out of, A Coffee Break Story Collection is available on Kindle and in paperback from Amazon.

A Coffee Break Story Collection

Stay safe!

 

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Book Giveaway – Retriever of Souls by Lorraine Mace

Today I have the fabulous Lorraine Mace in conversation and she is offering you the chance to win an audio or e-book version of Retriever of Souls, the first in her dark and gritty DI Sterling series. But first, let’s learn a bit more about Lorraine and her work.Lorraine Mace

Lorraine, you have many strings to your writer’s bow. Please can you tell us what they all are?
How much time do you have? It might take me a while to list them.
• I am the humour columnist for Writing Magazine, penning the Notes from the Margin page, a compilation of which has since been published as a book.
• I am the head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions and also write two columns for the magazine – the Competition Round-up and the Writers’ Workshop.
• I provide the critiques for entrants to the Writers’ Forum short story competition.
• I am a tutor for Writers Bureau – fiction, non-fiction and writing for children.
• I run my own private critique and author mentoring service with clients around the world.
• I run the Flash 500 website featuring competitions for flash fiction, short stories and novels.
• I am a children’s novelist and also write non-fiction books.
• Last, but by no means least, I am the author of the D.I. Sterling crime series: Retriever of Souls, Children in Chains and Injections of Insanity.

How do you fit all of this into your daily life?
With great difficulty! Serious answer is I have to be disciplined and organised. I schedule my time out into morning and afternoon slots at the beginning of each month to make sure I cover all the things I have to do. As with most authors, my novel writing has to fit in around my many day jobs.Retriever of Souls

Which is your favourite out of all these writing activities?
Writing the crime series. I get to inhabit the heads of some really evil people and so work off all the frustrations life might throw at me. I think I’m probably only sane because my antagonists are psychopaths!

How did you earn a living before becoming a full-time writer? When did you become a full-time writer?
This is another of those how much time do you have questions. I have owned my own businesses, sold cosmetics, worked in the insurance industry, part owned a restaurant, part owned a corner shop, did the books for a stud farm, waitressed, worked as a telephonist, worked in a pharmacy, spent a year as a barmaid, was the sole sales force for a lock company, and, finally, became a writer. I started writing as a hobby and then discovered I had a knack for it. I’ve been writing as a professional since 2002.

Tell us a little about D.I. Paolo Sterling, the lead character in your detective series?
Paolo is a troubled man (aren’t they all?) in that he is dealing with some horrendous crimes by seriously disturbed people. He has an on again off again relationship with his ex-wife and a fabulous relationship with his daughter, Katy. His eldest daughter was killed in a hit and run that was meant for him and he is still living with the guilt of that. He has a good sense of humour, integrity, tenacity, and a burning sense of wanting to do what is right.

What are your writing plans for the future?
I am busy writing the sixth in my series. Book four, Rage and Retribution, will be out in February 2020 and number five, Petals of Pain, has been accepted for publication, so I need to get book six finished so that I can move on to the standalone psychological thriller that is playing on a constant loop demanding to be written.

Spare time must be rare. How do you fill it?
Sleeping! No, that’s not really true. I read as much as I can and run 5 km five times a week. Also, my partner and I try to spend a long weekend in one of Spain’s many gorgeous towns and villages as often as we can. I leave the laptop behind and try to ignore the guilty voice in my head telling me I should be working.

Do you have an all-time favourite book or author?
I have many, but Harlan Coben, Terry Pratchett and Georgette Heyer are three that I will read over and over for the sheer pleasure of entering the worlds they have created.

About Lorraine
Born and raised in South East London, Lorraine lived and worked in South Africa, on the Island of Gozo and in France before settling on the Costa del Sol in Spain. She lives with her partner in a traditional Spanish village inland from the coast and enjoys sampling the regional dishes and ever-changing tapas in the local bars. Her knowledge of Spanish is expanding. To stop her waistline from doing the same, she runs five times a week.

Find her at:
Website: www.lorrainemace.com
Blog: http://thewritersabcchecklist.blogspot.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lomace
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorraine.mace.52

THE COMPETITION!

To be in with a chance of winning your choice of either an audio or e-book version of Retriever of Souls, simply send an email to lorraine@lorrainemace.com with the subject header: Retriever of Souls. The competition will close at midnight BST on Wednesday 9th October. Lorraine will pull a name out of the hat, contact the winner directly and also leave a comment on this post announcing the winner’s name.
Good Luck!

 

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Restricted Entry Writing Competitions

Back in 2011 I wrote a post about Women Only Writing Competitions. At the time they seemed to be a ‘thing’.

Recently two men have independently stumbled across that old post whilst searching for ‘men only’ writing competitions and each left a comment indicating that they don’t think it necessary to have such discriminatory entry requirements. And I agree with them – surely it’s the standard of writing that’s important and not the sex of the writer. Women have come a long way since the days of writers such as the Bronte sisters, who had to hide behind male pseudonyms. I feel we can now compete on equal terms.

Since 2011 other forms of restricted entry have emerged, for example asking for entries only from the LGBT community or from minority ethnic groups or from writers of limited financial means or from particular age groups. I assume that these entry restrictions are imposed because the competition organisers are either looking for stories from these particular viewpoints or the prize is a bursary aimed at those in need or it’s been found that writers from these groups are reluctant to enter open writing competitions. These are all valid reasons for using specific competitions to encourage writing in particular groups.

However, I hope that in the future all writers will feel comfortable entering all competitions, confident that their stories will be judged without prejudice. Meaning that in the future competition organisers (or publishers) might specify if a particular character/story type is required rather than the type of author required. Of course bursaries for those on a limited income should continue to be awarded to those talented writers in the most financial need.

In the meantime here are a few ‘restricted’ competitions, lifted from the pages of this month’s Writing Magazine:

The Nan Shepherd Prize for Nature Writing – for unpublished writers who consider themselves under-represented in nature writing, through gender, class, sexuality, ethnicity, disability or any other circumstance. Closes 10th September 2019.

The Mo Siewcharran Prize – for unpublished UK novelists from a BAME background. Be quick! Closes 29th July 2019 (but will run annually).

Mslexia Fiction and Poetry Competitions – open to women only. Close various dates in September 2019.

Passager Books are seeking submissions of poetry, memoir and short fiction from writers over 50. Closes 15th September 2019.

 

 

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10-Word Story Competition

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of its Audible Short Story Award, the Sunday Times is running a competition for the best 10-word short story.

Entry is by email to shortstoryaward@sunday-times.co.uk. Alternatively, you can tweet your entry using the hashtag #shortshort.

Closing date is Sunday July 7th 2019.

The winner will be published on Sunday July 21st and awarded twelve free audiobooks from Audible UK.

As always, remember to read the full terms and conditions.

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Three Free Competitions

I’ve got three competitions for you today. Two are short fiction and one is a giveaway on Twitter.

First up is the Writers’ HQ Flash Quarterly Competition. It’s an open theme, 500 words limit and, as the name suggests, it runs every quarter. The next closing date is 30th June. First prize is
12 months Writers’ HQ membership plus 3 free writers’ retreats (cash value £450). Second prize is 6 months Writers’ HQ membership and 3 free retreats (cash value £270). Third prize is
3 months Writers’ HQ membership and 3 free retreats (cash value £180). The writing retreats are 10 am to 4 pm in various UK cities. Writers’ HQ membership gives several benefits.
Make sure you read the full rules before entering.

The second competition is the Reedsy Short Story Contest which runs every week and has a $50 prize. The story must be written to fit one of a selection of weekly prompts and should be between 1,000 and 3,000 words long. In order to get the prompts each week (which can be used as general inspiration and ideas – you don’t have to enter the competition) you need to sign up for the contest email (sign up form should be on the right of the screen).

Finally, if you have a Twitter account, you can enter a giveaway for a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Public Speaking for Absolute Beginners. Public Speaking for Absolute BeginnersSimply, go to my Twitter Account, read the pinned Tweet (i.e. the first one visible), follow me (if you don’t already) and retweet that pinned tweet. You can also find me by searching for @sallyjenkinsuk. But be quick; the competition ends at midnight tomorrow (4th May 2019).

 

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New York City Midnight Short Story Challenge 2019

Are you looking for something to kick-start your writing in 2019? Are you resolving to enter more competitions and get feedback? Do you like the excitement of a tight deadline?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these, the New York City Midnight Short Story Challenge might be just the thing to get you energised for 2019.

There are three rounds to the competition. In the first round you have eight days to write a 2,500 word story, to a given genre and prompt (time to get out of your comfort zone!).

If you make it to round two, there are three days to write 2,000 words using different prompts.

In the final round there are twenty-four hours to write 1,500 words.

Every story submission receives feedback from the judges, plus you can choose to post it on a special review forum to get feedback from other competitors.

There are cash prizes for the top ten winners, ranging from $5,000 to $125.

As you might expect, given the size of the prizes, this is not a cheap competition. If you register before 13th December (be quick!) it’s $45 and after that it’s $55 but there is a $5 discount if you post on Facebook or Twitter to help advertise the competition.

This is a competition with no time for procrastination. Why not ask Santa for the entry fee?

With thanks to Alison Jean Lester for recommending this competition during her Improv for Writers course . She took part in the competition last year with some success at progressing through the rounds.

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Sustainable Societies Competition – Advance Notice

In 2019 the University of Southampton will be launching a writing competition based on the theme ‘Sustainable Societies’.

Why am I telling you this now, so far in advance? Because most of the competition categories involve longer forms of writing that take time to develop. Among the categories are:

  • Novel
  • Stage Play
  • Radio Drama/Comedy Series
  • Screenplay
  • Short Film
  • TV Series

All the competitions are free to enter and the prize pot for each category is expected to be £1000 distributed across the first, second and third prize winners.

All entries must, in some way, touch upon building a sustainable society with a positive angle. All genres are welcome. The competition website also says:

“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; or the hero in a crime drama could use a carbon credit card and hear the news in the background reporting on the wellbeing index instead of GDP; or the characters in a legal drama could live in a city where everyone has gardens on their roofs and generates energy from their own waste.”

So, there should be no problem writing in your preferred genre but including some mention of how the characters and society are living in a sustainable way.

If you’re looking for a new, long-term writing project, why not give this a go? Who knows where it might lead!

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A Plastic Nightmare

This short story competition seems rather appropriate, given that the UK government are currently contemplating doubling the cost of a carrier bag from 5p to 10p.

The mags4Dorset 10th annual creative writing competition wants short stories up to 1,000 words on the theme: A Plastic Nightmare.plastic nightmare

First prize is £300 and second prize is £100. Entry is £5 and the closing date is 30th October 2018.

If over 100 short stories are received, mags4dorset will donate £100 to the registered charity, Surfers Against Sewage.

Don’t forget to read all the rules before you start writing. One rule which I’ve never seen in a competition before is ‘Do not use famous people’s names or brands’.

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