Courses and Competitions

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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