Cambridge Fiction Award – Just Launched

Cambridge_University,_King's_CollegeThe first Cambridge Fiction Award, a rolling monthly flash fiction competition, opened for submissions this month.

The competition is free and open to all with the aim of encouraging more writers to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard on a regular basis. Entries must be under 200 words which means you don’t need a huge amount of time to take part – perfect for your train commute or coffee break. Let your imagination run wild in a bite sized story.

If you have always fancied trying to write stories but don’t know where to start or if you love writing but need a bit of help finding inspiration each month, don’t worry, we’ll be providing a monthly writing prompt to get you started. Simply include the prompt word in your story and stick to the word limit – there are no other rules. The deadline for entries is the 25th of each month when the next prompt word will be announced.

This month’s prompt is our home town, the beautiful city of Cambridge. You could write about any time period, any genre, from any perspective, use the city as a setting or take inspiration from the amazing residents throughout the ages. It’s completely up to you.

Winning and runner up entries will be published on the Cambridge Fiction Award website.

This is a brand new competition and we’re really excited about the response so far – thank you Short Stops for telling your readers about us. In just a few days we’ve had some amazing entries from all over the world. Whether you’re an experienced writer or this is your first attempt we want to read your stories.

For more information and to enter this month’s competition visit CambridgeFictionAward.com and follow us on twitter @camfictionaward

Word Factory Short Story Competition: DEADLINE EXTENDED

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Don’t miss the chance to win a year of entry to the Word Factory salon as well as online publication!

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Word Factory will publish ten stories inspired by these opening lines, penned for us by Neil Gaiman. Along with publication, the winners can attend salons for a year for free. Stories will be published online and may be included in a future anthology. The competition will be judged by Toby Litt and Cathy Galvin.

Rules: Please use the opening sentence in full or as a springboard (i.e. use the fable as the platform to launch your ideas from, using your own interpretation of the fable) for an inspiring fable of 3000 words maximum.
Submissions deadline has been extended to 31st July. UK entry only.
You may send more than one story but the entry fee of £5 must be purchased for each story.
The stories will be judged anonymously so please ensure only the title and page numbers are included on your submission.
Submissions will be accepted in Word (.doc/.docx) or PDF (.pdf) format.

Submissions: Once you have paid your entry fee via eventbrite, the instructions for entry will be emailed to you.
The ten winning short stories will be announced at the September Word Factory Salon, and the winners will be contacted before the salon.

If you have any queries, please contact Alison via alison@thewordfactory.tv

ENTER YOUR STORY HERE

The A3 Review: Green Things Contest

9781910289228This month’s Writing Maps Writing Contest is all about green things. Write a short story, flash fiction, poem or graphic story inspired by the colour green, or the word green. Make a creative list of green things. Think the green green grass of home, or the green of envy. Think fruit and veg, mojitos and a shot of blue-green algae. Healthy or additive-packed, fresh or mouldy. The green of newness. The green of the dollar. Green hills and green light to go.  Follow us on Twitter for regular #greenthings inspiration.

Deadline is 27th June 2015.

Winners of each monthly contest are published in The A3 Review, and will make up the shortlist to win cash prizes in August 2015. All winners receive Writing Maps and other goodies. You can read more about The A3 Review here. It’s a lit mag that behaves like a map. All contributions are under 151 words. The themes for the upcoming Writing Contests are:

  • July: JOURNEYS, Deadline 25 July
  • August: HANDS, Deadline 22 August

Read the full details here.

The A3 Review is brought to you by the folks who make Writing Maps. We’re giving away copies of our greenest Writing Map, Writing Art, until the end of this month’s contest, 27th June. Just pay postage, and enter discount code GREEN when you check out. Click here to see the Writing Art Writing Map.

Writing Maps: The Tea and Coffee Contest

New Cafe Writing MapThis month’s Writing Maps Writing Contest is all about tea and coffee. It coincides with the launch of our revamped Cafe Writing Map and also with UK Coffee Week. That’s a little preview on the left of the new Writing Map, and if you click here, you’ll get more details about this month’s contest. There are still a few copies left of the original Cafe Writing Map, so grab yourself a copy by clicking here. We’re donating £1 from every map sold to UK Coffee Week’s Project Waterfall. Winners of each monthly contest are published in The A3 Review, and will make up the shortlist to win cash prizes in August 2015. All winners receive Writing Maps and other goodies. You can read more about The A3 Review here. It’s a lit mag that behaves like a map. All contributions are under 151 words. The themes for the upcoming Writing Contests are:

  • May: TEA & COFFEE, Deadline 23 May
  • June: GREEN THINGS, Deadline 27 June
  • July: JOURNEYS, Deadline 25 July
  • August: HANDS, Deadline 22 August

Read the full details here.

Writing Maps Launches 6 New Contests and a New Issue

The A3 Review, Issue 2It’s all happening! Spring has got us sprung. We’re launching 6 new Writing Maps Writing Contests all at once AND we’re launching Issue #2 of The A3 Review.

You can read more about The A3 Review here. It’s a lit mag that behaves like a map. All contributions are under 151 words and up until now have been written in less than a week. But things are changing – we’re giving you more time to write, more time to tweak, more time to procrastinate. The next six Writing Maps Writing Contests are being launched in one go. There’s a small entry fee, and bigger cash prizes.

The themes for the upcoming Writing Contests are:

  • March: SUPERSTITIONS, Deadline 28 March
  • April: PLAYGROUND GAMES, Deadline 25 April
  • May: TEA & COFFEE, Deadline 23 May
  • June: GREEN THINGS, Deadline 27 June
  • July: JOURNEYS, Deadline 25 July
  • August: HANDS, Deadline 22 August

Read the full details here.

The two winning entries from each month will appear in Issue #3 of The A3 Review and will constitute the shortlist. The three overall winners from the shortlist will receive prizes as follows: 1st = £150; 2nd = £75; 3rd = £50. All winning entries will receive contributor copies, Writing Maps and other goodies.

The Writing Maps February Writing Contest: Bicycles

Patti Smith and her bicycle in the Meatpacking District, New York City, 1999. Photograph by Steven Sebring.This is the last contest to qualify for Issue 2 of The A3 Review, due out next month (March 2015).

The prompt for February’s Writing Contest is: Bicycles. The story of your favourite bike; a memorable bike ride; teaching someone to ride a bike; a road trip; bicycles in strange places; bicycle accidents; fixing a bike; a meditation on parts of a bike (frame, brakes, chains, etc); bicycles and suffragists; bike, bicycle, cycle, racing bikes, mountain bikes, Choppers, tandems, portable scooter quarter pipes. Write about bikes as a poem, or in the form of a short story, a graphic story or a snippet of memoir. Fiction or autobiography, SF or mis mem, erotic or academic. Think bike shops, hectic cities, cycle paths, and the open road! Maximum 150 words.

For cycle-writing inspiration, visit us on Twitter throughout the week. Check out some writers and their bikes here.

Please make sure to view our full guidelines here. In brief, the main rules are:

Entry is free. One entry per person.
All genres welcome. All writers welcome.
150 words max.
Deadline is 28 February 2015, which is just a few days from now.
The two winning entries will be published next month (March) in The A3 Review, the Writing Maps Journal. Winners will also receive copies of the 3 City Writing Maps: City of Inspiration, Writing People, and Writing the Love.
Submit your writing through Submittable, here.Good luck and good writing!

image: Patti Smith and her bicycle in the Meatpacking District, New York City, 1999. Photograph by Steven Sebring.

Shortlist for the 2014 KWS Hilary Mantel International Short Story Competition

Shortlist for the 2014 KWS Hilary Mantel Short Story Competition

Congratulations to the writers of the following shortlisted stories:

Blackout
Duende
Fortuna Street
Fresh, Cold, and Most Importantly, Whole
One Day in Sarajevo
Print
Season’s End
The Thousand Yard Memory
The Beasts of the Earth Will Adore Him
Water Bull Ride
What Lies Beneath

Hilary Mantel will publicly announce the first prize and two runners up prizes at a lunch-time awards ceremony in Kingston-upon-Thames on December 5.

See http://fass.kingston.ac.uk/writing/competitions/

Words and Women Announce Winners of ‘About’ Commissions

In August 2014 women writers based in the East of England were invited to submit a proposal for a short text of 4,000 words or half an hour long exploring the life of one woman and her relationship to place. The woman could be famous or non, contemporary or historical, fictional or factual. The place had to be within the East of England. The text could be in any form, eg. script, prose, poetry, or a combination of forms.

Fifty writers entered this open competition, hoping to win paid time to develop their proposal for inclusion in Words And Women’s second anthology of writing and to perform an extract of their work on International Women’s Day in the Fusion Digital Gallery, Norwich, March 2015.

The proposals featured swimmers, vagrants, mothers, clubbers, writers, prostitutes, teenagers, witches, a composer, a lepidopterist, an ecologist, even a station mistress. Many concentrated on historical figures. The most popular locations were Norwich and Cambridge. The coast featured heavily and The Broads. The difficulty of living in isolated small communities was a frequent theme.

It was hugely difficult  for the judges to decide.  But here are our four winners:

Congratulations to Jenny Ayres, Tess Little, Thea Smiley and Lilie Ferrari.

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Jenny Ayres

Jenny Ayres: Jenny is a north Hertfordshire based writer, actress and mum. After studying at The Central School of Speech and Drama, Jenny was invited onto the Royal Court Young Writers Programme and in 2005 won the London Lost Theatre Festival with her one woman show ‘The Fourth Photo’. Jenny then travelled to Milan and Budapest, where she was commissioned to write two short films, before her first short story, ‘…but that’s who you are’, was published in 2007. Jenny continues to write for the stage and screen today, most recently working as Writing Director for a community based theatre project entitled ‘Through a Child’s Eyes’ in conjunction with Letchworth Arts Centre. Jenny’s piece, ‘Trouble and Strife’, will explore the vital, but often unknown, work of the Hertfordshire railway women of World War Two. In the face of grueling manual work, frequent prejudice and nightly bombing attacks women worked to maintain our railway lines, not only keeping the country moving but changing the world of women’s work forever. From train sets to train drivers – the railway is a man’s world…until war comes.

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Lilie Ferrari

Lilie Ferrari: Lilie Ferrari worked in the South of France and California before gaining a Master’s degree in French Literature. She then went to work at the British Film Institute in the Television Unit, taking a particular interest in popular drama and soap opera. From there she went to the BBC as a Script Editor and subsequently began her career as a full time writer. She was co-creator and writer for the long running medical drama series The Clinic for RTE, and has written episodes of Peak Practice (Carlton), Dangerfield (BBC),Casualty (BBC), Berkeley Square (BBC), Holby (BBC) and numerous episodes of EastEnders (BBC). She co-created storylines for 60 episodes of the returning series of Crossroads, winning the ITV commission for Carlton Productions. She has also storylined for Family Affairs (Channel 5), and Playing the Field for Tiger Aspect/BBC.  Lilie has worked as a soap consultant in Finland and France as well as advising on a proposed new soap opera for Saudi Arabia. She has also had four novels published, and is currently working on her fifth. Her proposal is based on a real woman called Jane Sellars, who was sentenced to hang in Norwich in 1631.  Looking at research around issues of vagrancy at the time, she would like to give Jane a voice, and tell her story.

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Tess LIttle

Tess Little: Born in Norwich, Tess  studied history at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Her research focused on les femmes tondues – French women punished after the Liberation for collaborating with Germans in the Second World War. During her studies, Tess wrote non-fiction articles for student publications, and her short story ‘The Stitches’ was published in a student anthology. She has worked as a freelance journalist and previously gained experience at the New York Times in Paris, Ralph Appelbaum Associates in New York and Thomson Reuters in London. Tess’s proposal, ‘Beyond the Britannia Barracks’, will explore the story of Anguish, a nineteen-year-old prostitute repeatedly detained at the Norwich prison on Plumstead Road in the 1880s. Based on archival research, the life of Anguish will be written into a fictional monologue. Voices of her cellmates – arsonists, thieves, drunkards and child abusers – will permeate the script, weaving together prison storylines. From pavements to courts and cells, the plethora of characters at Plumstead Road epitomised lives of countless impoverished women living in the East of Victoria’s Britain.

Thea Smiley

Thea Smiley

Thea Smiley: Thea lives in Suffolk with her husband and three sons. A recent UEA graduate, she writes prose fiction, and plays for radio and the stage. Her first play was performed in 2012, and in 2013 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. In Boudicca of the Bungay Straight a ceaseless wanderer, and ‘lady of the road’, delivers a monologue in which she becomes increasingly convinced that she is the re-incarnation of the warrior queen Boudicca. On Sunday 12th October we will post the judging report and also the names of our 12 commended writers who have won a place on The Tough Room workshop run by poet Hannah Jane Walker.
Many many thanks to everybody who entered.
We will be publishing news of our 12 highly commended winners who will all have places on a workshop, ‘The Tough Room’ led by performance poet, Hannah Jane Walker.

Thank you to everyone who entered.

See our blog for more details:  http://www.wordsandwomennorwich.blogspot.co.uk

Sept Fortnightly Round-up II

Hello all,
Here’s what’s been happening on our blog over the past fortnight. As ever, if you’d like to contribute, drop me a line and I’ll explain how it works: shortstopsuk@gmail.com

Lit Mags

We welcome THREE new publications to our Lit Mags list: Winamop: “our content is international and eclectic”;  Short Story Sunday “a new online short story and flash fiction publication launching Nov 2014”, and Brain Of Forgetting: “an online forum for writing and artwork that relates to memory, history and heritage”. Check them out!

Brain of Forgetting got straight in there with a blog post calling for submissions on the theme of stones. And Writing Maps launches its new lit mag, A3, and its September contest. Talking of contests, Structo is celebrating the unveiling of Issue 12 with a Margaret Atwood competition.  And it’s last call for submissions of Christmas stories to the Casket Of Fictional Delights.

Jotters United publishes issue 6 and is calling for submissions for its women-only issue. Short Fiction journal wants your short stories. Holdfast is fundraising for its first ever print anthology. The Manchester Review is also calling for submissions for Issue 13.

Competitions

Words and Women launch 2 great new writing opportunities for women writers in the east of England. The London Magazine’s short story competition is now open, deadline, Oct 31st, and international entries are welcome. Magic Oxygen are running a short story and poetry contest, deadline 30th November. The WriteIdea Prize has unveiled its longlist.

Live Lit

Stand-Up Tragedy is holding its Edinburgh reunion event, Tragic Friends, on Sep 25 in London and is calling for submissions for its new-look blog. The Word Factory is holding its monthly live lit event this Saturday Sep 27th in London, as well as a masterclass and short story reading club. White Rabbit invites you to submit your spooky stories for Are You Sitting Comfortably?’s Halloween party on October 31st in London.

Workshops
Berko Writers is running a course on The Art Of The Short Story with Adam Marekfrom Oct 7 – Nov 18 in Berkhamstead.. The Tavistock Heritage Festival is runningtwo free workshops on historical fiction in October. Alison Clayburn’s autumn fortnightly Focus On Fiction course at the Brunel Museum starts today, Sep 22.

Last Minutes & Gentle Reminders
Last call for submissions of Christmas stories to the Casket Of Fictional Delights. The Historic House Short Story Comp (26 Sep) wants stories inspired by or set in a historic house.

If you are eager for even more short-story-related news, do follow ShortStops on Twitter where, when we should be writing, we spend (far too) much time passing on news from lit mags, live lit events, short story workshops and festivals! If you’d like to review an event or a publication, drop me a line.

Happy reading, writing, listening and performing!
Tania x

Writing Maps’ July Writing Contest & The Big Gay Writing Map

The Big Gay Writing MapThis month’s Writing Maps Writing Contest coincides with the official launch of The Big Gay Writing Map: Story Ideas for Anyone Who’s a Little Bit Different.

The prompt for July’s Writing Contest is our toughest challenge yet! Write a sex scene without using gender-specific pronouns and without using any punctuation (except a full stop/period at the end, if you want to). This could be a story, poem, graphic story or snippet of memoir. Fiction or autobiography, SF or mis mem, erotic or academic. In 150 words, gender-neutral and punctuation-free. Enjoy!

Please make sure to view our full guidelines here or on the Writing Maps website by clicking here. In brief, the main rules are:

Entry is free. One entry per person. All genres welcome. All writers welcome. 150 words max.

Deadline is 26 July 2014.
The two winning entries will be published in A3, the Writing Maps Journal, and winners will receive 2 copies of the new Writing Map.
Good luck and good writing!

Writing Maps June Contest and Pack of Notebooks

Writing Maps NotebooksWriting Maps, the illustrated posters with creative writing prompts and story ideas, launches its 4th monthly Writing Contest. The June contest coincides with the official launch of the Writing Maps Pack of 5 Notebooks, and this month’s two winners will receive a complete pack of notebooks, along with publication in A3, a new fold-out literary magazine. The first issue will appear in September 2014.

The challenge is to write a 150-word piece in response to the Prompt of the Month.  June’s Writing Maps Writing Contest opens on 21st June 2014. Deadline is: 28 June 2014. Did you know we’re the quickest contest in town – one week between announcement and deadline!

The prompt for June’s Writing Contest is a title. Write a story, poem, graphic story or snippet of memoir called “Ode to My Notebook”. For some extra inspiration, check out Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to My Suit” or Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons. As always, we’re looking for pieces that are quirky and intense, that give us a glimpse into private worlds, and that make us feel nicely awkward. In 150 words, show your notebook (or a character’s notebook) some love!

Please make sure to view our full guidelines here or on the Writing Maps website by clicking here. In brief, the main rules are:

Entry is free. One entry per person.
All genres welcome. All writers welcome.
150 words max.
Deadline is 28 June 2014, which is just a few days from now.
The two winning entries will be published in A3, the Writing Maps Journal.

Writing Maps Launches New Contest and Lit Mag

The Character Writing MapWriting Maps, the illustrated posters with writing inspiration and story ideas, has launched a monthly Writing Maps Writing Contest to coincide with each month’s new Writing Map.

The challenge is to write a 150-word piece in response to the Prompt of the Month. Each month’s two winning entries will appear in A3, a new fold-out literary magazine to be published every six months. The first issue will appear in September 2014. Winning entries will also receive free Writing Maps and contributor copies of the Writing Maps Journal.

April’s Writing Maps Writing Contest opens 19 April 2014. Deadline is: 26 April 2014. Click here to visit the site for submission guidelines and the April prompt.

March’s prompt was inspired by the new Voice and Point of View Writing Map: Your writing voice is made up of the words that resonate for you. Pick a word you love and write about it with passion. Research it, reshape it, reinvent it. Be exuberant about it, erudite, outrageous. The winning entries were: Susan Barsby’s “Diphthong” and Fay Griffiths’ “Muslin”.

Davy Byrnes Short Story Award 2014

The Stinging Fly are delighted to announce the return of the Davy Byrnes Short Story Award — Ireland’s biggest short story competition.

Prize fund: €15,000 for the best short story, plus five runner-up prizes of €1,000

Competition Judges: Anne Enright, Yiyun Li and Jon McGregor

—The competition is open to Irish citizens and to writers who are resident or were born in the thirty-two counties.

—Entries must consist of a previously unpublished short story written in English. The maximum word count is 15,000 words, no minimum. Only one story per entrant.

—We will be accepting entries from December 1st 2013. No online entries. Entries must be posted/delivered to Davy Byrnes Short Story Award, c/o Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, Dublin City Libraries, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.

—The deadline for receipt of entries is Monday, Feb 3rd 2014. There is a €10 entry fee, payable online or by cheque/postal order.

—The six short-listed writers will be announced in late May/early June 2014 and the overall winner announced in June 2014.

The competition is sponsored by Davy Byrnes and organised by The Stinging Fly in association with Dublin UNESCO City of Literature

For further information about the award — and to enter your story! — please visit our website.

What the judges say:

The Davy Byrnes Award is given to a story that has the writer’s name removed, the judges of the prize have been more international than local and the prize money is substantial. These three things meant the world to me when I won in 2004, a time when I felt washed up on the shores of the Irish boom. The short story yields truth more easily than any other form, and these truths abide in changing times. As a writer turned judge, I am looking for a story that could not have been written any other way; that is as good as it wants to be; that is the just the right size for itself.

—Anne Enright

I am a staunch advocate for short stories, and respect any organisation/effort that supports stories and story writers. I am thrilled to be serving as a judge for the Davy Byrnes Award. As for what I look for in a short story, to borrow from Tolstoy: ‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’ There are stories written like happy families, which one reads and forgets the moment one puts them down. But the stories that belong to the category of unhappy families, they can do all kinds of things: they touch a reader, or leave a wound that never heals; they challenge a reader’s view, or even infuriate a reader; they lead to a desire in the reader’s heart to be more eloquent in his ways of responding to the story yet leave the reader more speechless than before. A good story is like someone one does not want to miss in life.

—Yiyun Li

I’m both thrilled and slightly daunted to be taking part in judging the Davy Byrnes Award this year. Thrilled, because it’s a prize with an astounding track record of unearthing great talent and excellent stories; the previous judges have clearly had a very sharp reading eye. Daunted, for pretty much the same reasons. There’s a lot to live up to.

What I look for in a short story is a kind of intensity of purpose and a clarity of expression; something which holds my attention and rings clearly in my reading mind. For me, this is mostly something in the voice on the page; something in the control of the syntax, which immediately puts me in the world of that story. If it’s there, it usually kicks in within the first few lines; after that, it’s just a matter of seeing whether the writer can really keep it up.

—Jon McGregor