Courses and Competitions

Courses and Competitions: Writers & Artists Evening Masterclasses

Writers-and-Artists-logo.wpm_-300x300Writers & Artists are partnering with Book Aid International for the fourth year to bring a small series of evening masterclasses.

On 15th, 22nd and 24th May between 6.30pm and 8.30pm, each masterclass brings something slightly different.

On 15th May, Debut author, Stuart Turton will be in discussion with Joe Haddow on the creative process of writing his first murder-mystery.

On 22nd May, award-winning author, Abi Elphinstone will be in conversation with Writers & Artists editor, Alysaun Owen about the essential elements of writing children’s fiction.

Finally, on 24th May, award-winning journalist and best-selling author Tony Parsons will be talking about his writing career and sharing top writing tips.

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Courses and Competitions: Unicorn Writers’ Conference

Writing conferences are great for new and established writers alike. They are a chance to spend time with like-minded people and to gain inspiration for writing.

Unicorn Writers Confernce

If you find yourself near Purchase, NY on 25th March, the seventh annual Unicorn Writers’ Conference is being held at Reid Castle (Manhattanville College.)

Starting at 7am and ending at 8pm, the conference runs all day with various panels and workshops.

These include sessions on opening scenes, social media, self publishing vs. traditional publishing, dialogue, marketing, plots, setting and outline as well as media training and book publicity.

Speakers on the day include Beatriz Williams, Jason Matthews, Michael Sullivan and Nancy Kress.

Conference registration is $325 for one person with the option of purchasing addition review sessions on varying topics including genre networking and query letters.

You can register online or via post. For more information on the conference and how to attend, visit,


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Courses and Competitions: From First Draft to Final Draft

notebookWriters & Artists and William Ryan have joined together to present a ten-week course called ‘From First Draft to Final Draft.’

Through this course, essential elements of the writing craft and how you can apply it to your own manuscript will be discussed. It also includes exercises that will directly involve your novel-in-progress.

The course consists of evening sessions which take place on Wednesdays for ten weeks (this excludes two reading weeks.) The sessions run from 6pm until 8.30pm.

Held at Bloomsbury in Bedford Square in London, it runs from 15th march 2017 until 31st May 2017 and it is £1250.00.

The course features feedback on your novel’s premise and sample chapters by William and a literary agent, practical sessions based around your own writing, three critiques and twenty-five hours of advice from a combination of authors and publishing professionals. You will also get a copy of The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook which is essential for any writer.

For a more detailed course breakdown, details of who will be speaking and details of how to book (including how you could potentially pay in instalments,) visit:

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Courses and Competitions: Mslexia Short Fiction Competition 2017

sscompprod-500x500Back for its ninth year, the Mslexia short fiction competition is now open for 2017.

The competition is open to women of any nationality and from any country.

All genres are welcome.

The entries should be between 300 and 3,000 words (excluding the title.)

The first prize is £2,000. There are also two optional extras of a writing retreat at Gladstone Library and a day with an editor from Virago Press for the person who wins. Three other finalists will receive £100. All four entries will be published in the June edition of Mslexia.

The judge this year is Deborah Levy.

The closing date is 20th March 2017. The entry fee per story is £10 and they ask that you include a cover sheet with your entry.

For more information on this competition and also the new flash fiction competition, click on this link:


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Courses and Competitions: Chipping Norton Literary Festival 2017

chipping norton literary festivalThe Chipping Norton Literary Festival is back for 2017. 

Chip Lit Fest is due to take place between 27th – 30th April and the box office is open now for the many great events and sessions taking place over the four day event.

This excellent writing festival offers free and paid events featuring many workshops and authors. All venues are within a 10-15 minute walk of each other around the centre of Chipping Norton.

Events include Desert Island Books with Armando Iannucci, a talk with Veronica Henry as well as a writer’s workshop with Clare Bailey. Ian Rankin will be talking to Mark Billington, Nadiya Hussain will be talking about The Secret Lives of the Amir sisters, Sarah Phelps will be talking about writing for the screen and Emily Barr, the author of The One Memory of Flora Banks, will be talking about creating characters.

Each event is individually priced. For more information, call 01608 642350 or visit their website,

You are also able to keep up with all the latest news about the festival on Twitter,


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Courses and Competitions: Writing Courses With The Writing Magazine

writingcoursesOpportunity to enrol on various writing courses with the Writing Magazine. 

It is the new year. If one of your resolutions is to finally write that novel, poem or short story then these courses could be what you need.

The Writing Magazine offers a selection of creative writing courses all of which are available online.

Their courses include fiction (novel-writing,) poetry, scriptwriting, short stories and writing for children. There are discounts on course prices if you subscribe to the magazine.

The advantage of these courses is that you can choose to receive course materials via e-mail or post, there is a 21 day money back guarantee and you get a welcome gift if you join one.

You’ll have up to two years to complete the course of your choosing. There’s a professional writing tutor and you’ll be able to connect with other students via a dedicated welcome page.

For more information on courses and how to enrol, visit


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Courses and Competitions: Travelex Team’s Up With Penguin To Find Aspiring Travel Writers

logo-travel-writerCalling all aspiring travel writers….

Travel can really excite the imagination. The best travel writing can transport us, make us feel as though we are there.

This is why Travelex and Penguin have come together. They want to find the best new writing talent in travel writing.

So whether you’re a student with writing ambition, a well-travelled person who likes documenting your adventures or spend days writing notes on your next trip, Travelex and Penguin are giving you a chance to win a session with a Penguin editor.

They are looking for travel savvy short stories inspired by ‘a travel experience unlike any other.’

What the experience is and how you tell it is entirely up to you as long as the story is up to 1,000 words.

One lucky writer will win an hour with an editor from Penguin and will be able to get tips, advice and feedback. The winner will also receive £1,500.

There will also be an additional £500 bonus prize for the best entry by a current university or college student.

There will also be a chance for the general public to vote for their favourite travel writer through social media. This will be for entries that make the short list.

If you’re planning on entering, you need to be over 18, and a UK resident (exc. NI.) The piece needs to be unique so not something that has been submitted elsewhere.

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Courses and Competitions: WriteInvite

logo_sketch2Write Invite is an initiative to invite anyone to write. 

They welcome writers of all ages, experiences and styles to get involved in their short story competitions.

It’s run online. The write Onsite competition in particular. This opens at 5.30pm every Saturday.

Three themes are given. Choose your theme, pay the entrance fee (which is £4 and you’ll need a PayPal account,) and you’ll then get a certain amount of time to write and submit your entry.

The entries will then be judged and the top three will then be chosen. These three stories will then be made available to the other participants. They will be online to read and be judged from the following Wednesday to the Saturday at 5pm.

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Courses and Competitions: Mslexia’s Children’s Novel Competition 2016

WebsiteimageAre you an unpublished female novelist or are you thinking of writing a children’s novel? Mslexia are now taking submissions for their 2016 Children’s Novel Competition.

This competition welcomes books written for children (who are able to read for themselves) as well as Young Adult and can be in any genre.

The first prize is £5,000 and five finalists will also receive an invitation to a special networking event with literary agents.

It is £25 per novel to enter and you’ll need to submit the first 3,000 words of your completed children’s novel (which needs to be at least 15,000 words to qualify.)

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Courses and Competitions: Creative Writing For Beginners

UntitledHave you always wanted to write a novel but haven’t known where to start? (Yes. I have.)

The Writers’ Academy (Penguin Random House) is running a Creative Writing Course for Beginners.

Through this course you will gain insight into writing techniques employed by best-selling authors, Contributors include Audrey Niffenegger (author of The Time Traveller’s Wife,) SJ Watson (Before I Go To Sleep) and Rowan Coleman (The Memory Book.) You will also benefit from the knowledge of the Random House editors.

Rowan Coleman

Rowan Coleman

Whatever genre you’d like to write, this course can help equip you with the literary tools to start writing.

In this course there will be weekly activities that will guide you through topics like character, plot, point of view and description.

There are various start dates throughout the rest of the year. The next course begins on 27th June 2016 so there is still time to enrol. The next available start date after this current run is September.

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Courses and Competitions: Luke Bitmead Bursary 2016


Entries are now being accepted for the 2016 Luke Bitmead Bursary.

Luke was the first author to be published by Legend Press and the bursary was set up shortly after his sudden death in 2006. Now in its ninth year it is the UK’s biggest prize for unpublished authors.

It’s an annual award that was set up to support and encourage the work of novel writers whilst also raising awareness of mental health.

The top prize is a publishing contract with Legend Press as well as a £2,500 cash prize.

There is a £10 fee per submission which goes directly to the Luke Bitmead Memorial Fund. This needs to be paid before you submit your entry.

The novel must already completed before you enter and it must be over 60,000 words to be considered. Also, submissions should be from authors who have not been previously traditionally published and who are 16 or over.

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Courses and Competitions: Start Writing Fiction

regular_51dbd3e2-84fa-4356-ad38-6b76738b6b03Future Learn, in association with The Open University is offering this FREE online course called ‘Start Writing Fiction.’ 

This is suitable for anyone who is writing a book or is thinking of writing one. It’s held completely online so all you need is your computer, a notebook and a comfy chair. You’ll have a chance to give feedback on the work of fellow students as well as gain feedback for your own work.

This course focuses on creating characters, developing ideas as well as editing. It will look at the ritual of writing as well as the importance of keeping a journal.

You’ll also hear from writers such as Louis de Bernières, Alex Garland, Monique Roffey and Michèle Roberts as they talk about their approach to things such as research as well as how they got started with writing.

The latest course will run for 8 weeks and begins on 4th April 2016 so there is still plenty of time to sign up. Future Learn recommend that the course will need approximately 3 hours a week.

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Courses and Competitions: Mslexia Woman’s Short Story Competition 2016

MslexiaShortstory2016Mslexia are still excepting entries for their Woman’s short story competition for 2016.

They are welcoming writers of all levels and experiences and you can write on any subject and style as long as it’s within the 2,200 word limit.

First prize not only includes its publication in the June issue of Mslexia, it also includes £2,000 and optional extras of a week’s writing retreat and a day with an editor at Virago Press.

The person who comes second will receive £500 and third place will receive £250. An additional three finalists will receive £100 and all six will be featured in the June edition of Mslexia.

The judge for this year is author, Michele Roberts.

Entry is £10 per story and the closing date is 14th March 2016.

For more information on the competition, how to enter and the terms and conditions, head to


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Courses and Competitions: BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words Competition

500 wordsAre you a budding writer or do you know one who is between 5-13 years? Well, BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words writing competition is back for 2016.

It’s an opportunity for young children to write, submit their story and win an amazing prize.

According to the 500 Words website, the story needs to be an original piece of fiction. It can be on any subject or theme. It just needs to be five hundred words or fewer.

The winning story could be read live on the radio by a superstar celebrity such as Hugh Bonneville, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch or Jeremy Irons (Scar from The Lion King) and it could be heard by the millions of Radio 2 listeners.

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Courses and Competitions: Mslexia Novel Competition 2015

Mslexia CompetitionMslexia’s Women’s Novel Competition is still open. If you’re a previously unpublished woman’s novelist then you can submit your novel for the chance to win £5,000.

Mslexia are looking for novels of 50,000 words and over in any genre as long as it is written for adults or young adults.

The closing date is 21st September 2015. At this point, they are asking for the first 5,000 words by the closing date. The full manuscript will then be required in October if your novel makes the shortlist.

The fee to enter is £25 per novel.

Judging the competition this year is novelist, Marina Lewycka, literary agent, Juliet Mushens and Di Speirs, the Books Editor at BBC Radio & Music.

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Courses and Competitions: BBC 500 Words

BBC 500 wordsAre you aged between 5- 13? BBC Radio 2’s 500 words short story writing competition is back for 2015.

The competition is to encourage children to write and is open to ages 5-13. The competition will be split into two age categories: 5-9 and 10-13. (if you will be within the age of 5-13 on 29th May 2015 then you qualify.)

They are asking for an original piece of fiction, 500 words in length to be submitted by the closing date of Thursday 26th February at 19.00 (any entry made after this time wont be counted.)

It’s easy. Write your story, type it and then submit it via the 500 words website. It can be about any fictional topic of your choosing.

There are gold, silver and bronze prizes up for grabs in each age category.

Last year, the prizes was amazing. Not only were the gold winners in each age category awarded five hundred books for their school library, they personally won Chris Evans’ (BBC Radio 2’s breakfast show host,) height in books. That’s 1.88 meters worth of books.

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Courses and Competitions: Mslexia Short Story Competition 2015

shortstorycomp15If, like me, an early new year’s resolution is to enter more competitions and to get writing, then Mslexia are once again looking for entrants for their Women’s Short Story competition for 2015.

The closing date is 16th March 2015 so there is still plenty of time to get your entry in.

The stories should be up to 2,200 words in length and can be on any subject you like.

The 1st prize will be £2,000 plus two optional extras: a week’s writing retreat at Tŷ Newydd Writers’ Centre (accommodation only,) and a day with a Virago editor (click on the link further down for more information on what is and isn’t included with these options.)

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Courses and Competitions: The Writers’ Workshop Writing Course.

writers' workshopCreative Writing Flying Start is a four-week online course aimed at beginners.

This is a course which aims to shed light on the whole creative process. The course helps you get those words from head to heart and onto page or screen. The first few exercises are designed to stimulate creativity and to get you into the writing habit. Above all this is about having fun, about letting your imagination fly.

The course will include an introductory period followed by four weeks of study which will look at Self, Other People, Language and Writing the Story.

It’s being hosted by The Writers’ Workshop and the course is £195. The next available course dates are 2nd September and 4th November. Continue reading

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Courses and Competitions: The Big Idea Competition

big idea compDo you have an idea for a story that children will love?

The Big Idea Competition is giving you the chance of seeing your idea transformed into a book, TV, movie or theatre production!

The judges are Tess Daly, Neil Blair, Barry Cunningham, Debra Haywood, Philip Ardagh and Sonia Friedman. The closing date for entries is 2nd September 2014.

All you have to do is come up with an original story for children and tell the judges in 500 words (they ask you don’t exceed 750 words,) about your story using the following questions:

. Who’s in it?

. What happens?

. Who’s it for?

. When and where?

To enter, Continue reading

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Courses and Competitions – The Writers’ Academy

prandomCreative Writing for Beginners by The Writers’ Academy (Penguin Random House,) is being led by Selina Walker.

It’s a 10-week interactive online creative writing course which gives you the essential skills and techniques you need to get started writing fiction.

You will learn with experienced creative writing tutors, and interact with a highly experienced Editor at Penguin Random House as you are introduced to the key elements of writing a story: Character, Plot, Point of View, Description, Dialogue, Voice, Setting and Beginnings.

The course consists of a series of carefully planned weekly writing exercises, videos and podcasts from world-famous authors (including Audrey Niffenegger.)

The course will involve between five and ten hours of learning per week at whatever times suit you. You can contact the course enquires team on 0044 (0)203 026 0810 if you have any questions.

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Courses and Competitions: New Children’s Author Prize 2015.

logoNational Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury Children’s Books want to find talented new authors of children’s fiction.

They are inviting you to submit your stories for eight to twelve-year-olds.

The first prize will be a publishing contract with Bloomsbury (including advance payment of £5,000 for your work,) as well as the use of  “Winner of the New Children’s Author Prize 2015 from Bloomsbury and National Literacy Trust,” and a prize ceremony in your honour, with press, authors and publishers in attendance.

Shortlisted authors will get the use of “Runner up in the New Children’s Author Prize 2015 from Bloomsbury and National Literacy Trust,” as well as signed book bundles plus an invitation to attend the prize ceremony with the opportunity to meet agents, editors, press and others.

The competition will be closed for entries on 30 September 2014 at 5pm.

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Courses and Competitions – Literature Works


Literature Works are now accepting entries for the First Page Writing Prize 2014.

They seek opening pages (300 word limit,) of unpublished novels along with a 150 word synopsis from promising writers around the country. They are looking for openings of a novel that make them want to read on. The deadline for entries is September 30th 2014.

It’s £6 for the first entry and then £3 for all subsequent entries.

The first prize is £1500 plus reading from a literary agent. Second prize is £350 with the third prize being £150.

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Courses and Competitions – Writing Maps Writing Contest

logoWriting Maps think that good writing should be encouraged, shared and published.

Writing Maps are full of inspiration for writers. Each one contains at least 12 writing prompts and each map is beautifully illustrated. Maps available include; The Character Map, Writing People (for crowded places,) and My Writing Life.

Each month, to coincide with the launch of a new map, they hold a monthly Writing Maps Writing Contest 

 The challenge is  to write and share a 150-word piece in response to their Prompt of the Month. This month, they launched the new box set and so, the word BOX is the prompt for May.

If you are one of the two winning entrants, Continue reading

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Courses and Competitions: Get going! The Writing Project Starter Kit

1063_ImageGive your writing project the best possible start with acclaimed writer and critic Erica Wagner and The Faber Academy.

Maybe that great idea is ready to be put down on paper or you’re in the middle of something but need some support to get it finished?  Wherever you are in your writing project, over the course of five summer evenings this course will give you the equipment to take your work to the next level.

You’ll share your work with the rest of the group in a lively workshop environment, and get feedback on new writing through exercises and assignments. You’ll learn tips and tricks to get yourself started and discover tools to develop your writing. Come with your notes, chapters, or even just an idea.

The course will be 2-hour evening sessions Continue reading

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WoW Creative Writing Matters Short Story Competition 2014

Calendar_Icon_may_31Could you wow with a wonderful story in one thousand words?

The people over at Creative Writing Matters are running a short story competition. 

The first prize is £200, second prize is £100 and the third prize £50

There is still time to enter with the closing date being the 31st May 2014.

The entry fee is £5 through Paypal. 

To enter: 

In the subject line of your email, type WoW followed by the title of your story. In the body of the email type your name, contact details (postal address and phone number, mobile and/or landline) and the title of your story. Email your story as an attachment (in doc, docx, pdf or rtf format) to Your attachment should have the same title as your story.
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Luke Bitmead Bursary 2014

Luke Bitmead

Luke Bitmead

Submissions are now being excepted for the 2014 Luke Bitmead Bursary.

This award was set up by Luke’s family shortly after his death in 2006 to support and encourage the work of fledgling novel writers and is now the UK’s biggest award for unpublished authors.

Luke Bitmead was the first novelist to be published by Legend Press. His novel White Summer was released in 2006 shortly before his death. Two novels have been published posthumously – The Body is a Temple and Heading South (co-authored by Catherine Richards).

This is the bursary’s seventh year. Previous winners include Andrew Blackman and his novel, On the Holloway Road, Ruth Dugdall and her book, The Woman Before Me, Sophie Duffy with The Generation Game, J.R. Crook and Sleeping Patterns, Joanne Graham and her novel, Lacey’s House and finally last year’s winner Jo Gatford. Her novel, White Lies was published on 1st May 2014.

The top prize is a publishing contract with Legend Press, and a £2500 bursary. Continue reading

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How To Write For Children

Guardian Masterclass: write stories to fascinate and entertain the toughest audience in literature.

This one-day workshop will teach you the skills essential to keeping a young audience enthralled by your storytelling.

The Boy Who Fell From the Sky, by Lucy Coats, illustrated by Anthony Lewis Photograph:

The Boy Who Fell From the Sky, by Lucy Coats, illustrated by Anthony Lewis Photograph:

The aim of the masterclass is for all participants to go away equipped with a wider knowledge of what writing children’s (aged 7–12) books is all about and there is still time to book a place.

The tutor will be editor and writer, Lucy Coats and the speaker will be historical fiction author, Michelle Lovric.

This course is running in London on Wednesday 7th May or Saturday 31st May 2014 from 10am -5 pm. The course price is £220* and will cover a range of topics including how to build a good children’s book character, planning a perfect plot and an overview of the children’s book world.

This course is for people who have an interest in writing for children as a possible career, a casual source of income or simply for a unique and personalised way of creating fiction to read to your own children.

For more information and booking information, click here.

*price correct at time of publication.



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The Bridport Prize, 2014


The Bridport Prize’s mission is to ‘encourage emerging writers and to promote literary excellence.’


The closing date for the prize is Saturday 31st May 2014 and it’s open to all nationalities. You must be aged 16 or over. They offer three categories – Poems, Short Stories and now Flash Fiction. Overall, there is over £15,000 in prize money. 

The poem and short story categories each have a first prize of £5,000. The second prize offered is £1,000 and the third prize is £500. An additional 10 supplementary prizes (for each category) will be awarded £50 each. 

The short stories have a word limit of 5,000 words (not including the title,) and are £9 per story entered. The poems should be no longer than 42 lines and it’s £8 per poem entered. 

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The Brighton Prize

A new annual short story competition.

prize-225x300The Brighton Prize is being run by Rattle Tales and they are looking for new, original writing.

The competition is for short stories of any genre or subject, between 1,000 – 2,000 words.

The first prize is £400 plus two runner up prizes of £50. All three winners will be invited to attend The Brighton Festival Fringe Show on 14th May to read their stories.

This competition closes on 1st April (and you need to be 18 or over on this date to enter,) and entry is only £6.

The Judges are Bethan Roberts and Laura Lockington.

For more information on The Brighton Prize and Rattle Tales, click here.

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Jane Austen Short Story Award 2014

Short Fiction inspired by Austen’s Novels. 

This competition celebrates the life and works of Jane Austen. The closing date is 31st March 2014 so there is still time to enter.

chawtonlogoThey are looking for short stories of 2,000-2,500 words in length.

The theme is ‘a character from one of Jane Austen’s novels’. You can be inspired from any character, male or female. He or she must be recognisable in terms of personality and name but your story can be set in any location and in any time period. All genres are acceptable (crime, romance, literary, ghost stories, sci fi, etc but not children’s stories.) 

 First prize is  Continue reading

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Mslexia 2014 Woman’s Short Story Competition

shortstorycomp2014Mslexia’s Short Story Competition is now open. 

Mslexia are looking for entrants to submit an unpublished short story for their 2014 Short Story competition. 

Stories can be up to 2,200 words and can be on any subject so you can pick your theme and content. All winning stories will be featured in the Jun/Jul/Aug edition of Mslexia. 

The judge will be Jane Rogers. 

The first prize will be £2,000 plus you get two optional extras – a week’s writing retreat at beautiful Chawton House Library plus, you can also opt to have a day with a Virago editor. 

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Writers’ Forum

Writers’ Forum Monthly Short Story Competition.

The Writers’ Forum runs a short story competition every month and the winner is featured in the magazine.

Entry is £6. It’s £3 if you subscribe. The prizes range from £300 for first place to £100 for third place. All types of stories are welcome for submission whether they are comedy, romance, thriller, horror, sci-fi or literary themed as long as your submission is between 1000 words to 3000 words.

It’s also a rolling competition Continue reading

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Purbeck Literary Festival

purbeck literary festival The Purbeck Literary Festival is taking place between 17th February – 2nd March 2014. 

Tickets are now available for events happening over the two weeks in areas including Wareham, Swanage and Bere Regis. 

The events include story slams, poetry and writing workshops. There will also be guest authors including Julie Cohen, Freda Lightfoot, Jason Goodwin and Katie Fforde. 

For more information and to book tickets for events, visit the website. 


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West Sussex Writers 2nd National Short Story Competition.

Courses and Competitions

Courses and Competitions

Entries are now open for the 2nd West Sussex Writers National Short Story Competition. 

The maximum word count is 3000 words and there is no specific theme. 

The closing date for applications is 31st March 2014. The fee to enter is £5. 

 1st prize is £200, 2nd Prize is £75 and 3rd prize is £50. 

 The winners will also Continue reading

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Popular Woman’s Fiction Course

Rowan Coleman

Rowan Coleman

Courses and Competitions: Guardian Masterclasses – Popular Women’s Fiction with Julie Cohen & Rowan Coleman with guest speaker, Madeleine Milburn.

There is still time to take part in this great sounding course with two very successful writers. This course is for people who are looking to originate or develop an idea, or who have been working on a novel and want to bring it to a high enough standard for submission.

It’s taking place on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th January 2014 at The Guardian, 90 York Way, Kings Cross.

Attendees will be asked to submit a plot synopsis and five pages of the first chapter of their novel ahead of the course to enable the tutors to provide tailored feedback.

You will learn Continue reading

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