The John O’Connor Writing School Short Story Competition 2018

 

“The world of John O’Connor is a world of the freshly snedded turnip, the new-sawn plank, the sod shining under the plough. His gift is to render the life of the Mill Row in Armagh as deftly and definitively as Steinbeck renders Cannery Row or Bob Dylan Desolate Row”

Paul Muldoon

The John O’Connor Writiing School and Literary Arts Festival, sponsored and supported by internationally renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Paul Muldoon, has a two-fold purpose. It aims to to celebrate and commemorate the life and works of John O’Connor as well as offering practical guidance and assistance to aspiring writers through its workshops and master classes in the various literary genres and writing for commercial purposes.

Entries are currently invited from aspiring writers for the third John O’Connor Short Story Competition. It is being held to commemorate the Armagh born writer whose impressive literary legacy includes a collection of short stories which still retain a timeless appeal.

Prize

The prize winner will be awarded a full bursary to attend the John O’ Connor Writing School and Literary Arts Festival which will be held in Armagh from 1st to 4th November, 2018, plus a cash prize of £250. The bursary prize allows the recipient to enjoy all events in the John O’Connor Writing School and Literary Festival 2018, and to attend one class in the writing genre of his/her choice. The winner will be notified by 2 October.

The winning entrant will be formally announced at the opening of the Writing school on Friday 2nd November, and will have the opportunity to read at an event on Sunday 4th November 2018. Single room accommodation will be available free of charge to the winning entrant.

Ts & Cs

The competition is open to those 16 years and over. Short stories must be the original work of the author and not previously published or have received awards in other competitions. Entries must be in English and between 1,800 and 2,000 words in length. There is an entry fee of £10. One entry per person. Submit your entry online by 12.00 noon on 28 August 2018.

Find full terms and conditions, and online entry form on http://thejohnoconnorwritingschool.com

A word from previous winners:

“I won the inaugural John O’Connor Short Story Competition in 2016, the news delivered to me via a lovely phone call from Cathy McCullough, a personal touch which is one of the things that makes the weekend so special. I had started writing in 2014, and the win gave me a sense of validation that is so nourishing and necessary for a new writer. That year I attended Bernie McGill’s brilliant prose workshops, which generated an idea for a novel, and Stewart Neville’s masterclass. Last year Martina Devlin facilitated the prose workshops, and again I went away full of ideas for new work. The win also gave me opportunities to read my own work in public, a prospect I once found appalling which I now actually enjoy. My stories have won other prizes, but the John O’Connor win is the one that keeps on giving. “

Louise Kennedy, 2016 winner

“Thanks to the JOCWS I have made contact with an agent who is willing to read it [her novel] when it is ready… I hope all goes as well this year as last and I will certainly be coming along to the writing workshops again. I found them really useful. “

Roisin Maguire, 2017 winner

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Small Wonder Festival at Charleston

Small Wonder Festival, Charleston’s annual celebration of short fiction, will take place between 27 September and 1 October 2017. The variety of this year’s programme confirms that although the texts may be compressed, the short form may contain a multitude of subjects, tones and styles. Short stories offer glimpses into the human condition and linger on in the mind, despite, even because of, their brevity and restraint. Don’t miss the shared experience of listening to and telling stories in the atmospheric tents at Small Wonder. During the festival you can listen to engaging speakers, take part in workshops and much more…

The festival kicks off on Wednesday 27 September with ‘Let Me Count the Ways’, an exploration of love in its many contexts and guises. Groundbreaking young writers Rowan Hisayo Buchanan and Gwendoline Riley will discuss their work with journalist Arifa Akbar.

let me count the ways

On Thursday 28 September we explore the challenges and advantages of the short story form in our event ‘Novella Perfection’. Novella enthusiasts and practitioners Cynan Jones and Megan Hunter will be in conversation with Alex Clark. I believe the novella is the perfect form of prose fiction. – Ian McEwan.

Unmissable on Saturday 30 September is ‘Welcome to the Caribbean’, with Jamaican writer Olive Senior, Trinidadian Anthony Joseph and Bahamian Helen Klonaris (British Council International Writer in Residence at Small Wonder 2017).
caribbean

A final highlight for any budding writers will be ‘Hitting the Ground Running’ on Sunday 1 October. This event promises a fascinating look at how to begin a career in writing short fiction, with debut authors Julianne Pachico and Jessie Greengrass speaking alongside agent Clare Alexander and publisher Mark Richards. Perfect for aspiring authors, those interested in the publishing process or short fiction fans, it will include an extended Q&A.

Visit the Small Wonder website for more information and many more events: https://www.charleston.org.uk/small-wonder/. Or join in the conversation on social media: #SmallWonderFest.

 

 

Flash Fiction Festival: Saturday 24th June & Sunday 25th 2017, in Bath.

The first literary festival in the UK entirely devoted to Flash Fiction. Happening on the weekend of National Flash Fiction Day UK 2017, our first year will be taking place in Bath. Our venue, The New Oriel Hall, is a short bus ride or a twenty minute walk from the town centre, with wifi, disabled access and a hearing loop.The whole building is available for the festival.

The Flash Fiction Festival is for beginning and experienced writers who want to learn more about flash fiction – an exciting and continually emerging short-short form of prose, growing in popularity around the world. Come and be inspired by the UK’s leading flash fiction practitioners and to immerse yourself in writing, reading and listening to flash fiction throughout the weekend. All sections of the community, from all corners of the globe, are welcome.

Workshops and talks generously funded by The Arts Council England include: Vanessa Gebbie, Kit de Waal, Tania Hershman, Paul McVeigh, David Gaffney, Ashley Chantler, Peter Blair, David Swann, Meg Pokrass, Jude Higgins, K M Elkes, Christopher Fielden, Michael Loveday, and The National Flash Fiction Day Anthology Launch with Calum Kerr.

For more information and to book tickets, please visit our website: https://www.flashfictionfestival.com

We hope to see you there for a fun-filled weekend of flash fiction!

Submit your flashes to National Flash Fiction Day’s Micro Competition and Anthology!

National Flash Fiction Day UK is on Saturday 24th June 2017, and we are open for submissions for our Micro Fiction Competition and our Annual Anthology! Entry for both are free!

Competition: There is no theme for our competition, so feel free to send us up to three of your stories that are 100 words or fewer! Deadline for entries for our Micro Fiction Competition is Friday 31st March 2017. You can find out more information here: http://nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/comp.html

Anthology: Once again we are delighted to open ourselves up to submissions for the annual NFFD anthology. This year the theme is Life As You Know It.

This year’s editors will be the Co-Director of National Flash-Fiction Day, Santino Prinzi, and renowned flash-fiction writer, Meg Pokrass.

We want stories inspired by the lens of your own experiences, stories that navigate life and the world as only your characters know how. Tales of hope, loss, fear, and resilience. Flashes about identity, vulnerability, and triumph. We want you to harness and make use of your own experiences in fiction: What are your secrets? What makes you cry? What keeps you awake? Feel free to interpret “life as you know it” however you like, but your flashes must fit the theme in some way.

However you care to work with our theme, we want to read your stories. The word limit is 500 words, and you can submit up to 3 stories. Please include them in the email as MS Word attachments, and follow all the guidelines below.

All writers who have a story selected for the anthology will receive a free print copy of the book upon publication. Deadline for entries for our Anthology is Friday 14th April 2017.

You can find out more information here: http://nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/anth.html

This year we will be launching the anthology the U.K.’s first ever Flash Fiction Literary Festival, which will be taking place in Bath.

London Short Story Festival 2015

The full programme for this year’s London Short Story Festival is now available at lssf.co.uk. With 27 events taking place over the weekend, it’s a short story lover’s heaven.

Guest Festival Director Paul McVeigh has curated a festival featuring 65 excellent writers and speakers that takes place over the weekend of 18 – 21 June at Waterstones Piccadilly.

This year’s lineup includes: Ben Okri, Dame Marina Warner, Kevin Barry, Jon McGregor, Laura van den Berg, D W Wilson, Deborah Levy, Helen Simpson, Joe Dunthorne, Diriye Osman, Toby Litt, Niven Govinden, Krys Lee, Adam Marek, Tania Hershman, Nikesh Shukla, Nii Awiykwei Parkes, Alison Moore, May-Lan Tan, Lynn Coady, Cathy Galvin, Ethel Rohan, Cynan Jones, Francesca Rhydderch, Stuart Evers, Salena Godden, KJ Orr, SJ Naudé, Alex Preston, Rachel Trezise and many, many more.

Spend some focused time honing your writing craft with short story masters Ben Okri, Toby Litt, Ethel Rohan and Lynn Coady in a masterclass (D W Wilson and Laura van den Berg masterclasses have sold out).

The programme of talks and readings is diverse and dynamic, providing opportunities to hear inspiring authors read from and discuss their work in panels.

Pop into the Spread the Word Writers’ Space on Saturday to take part in free activities to inspire and expand your short story writing practice and knowledge of the publishing landscape.

Once again Spread the Word is delighted to offer the Free Ticket Scheme, providing opportunities for short story writers and lovers on low incomes to apply to attend festival events. All paid-for events are available on the Free Ticket Scheme. Applications are open until May 11, midday and applicants will find out the result of their application the week beginning May 18.

We look forward to seeing many Short Stoppers at this year’s festival,  and keep in touch on Twitter: @lssfest and Facebook: facebook.com/londonshortstoryfestival

London Short Story Festival logo 2015

London Short Story Festival 2015

Laura van den Berg

Laura van den Berg

Photo by David Hartley/REX Shutterstock (3032799n) Novelist and poet Ben Okri The Woodstock Literary Festival, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, Britain - 20 Sep 2013

Photo by David Hartley/REX Shutterstock

Bristol Story Trail Needs Writers!

Calling all doodlers, ponderers, writers, poets and dreamers!

Get ready for the Bristol Story Trail (starting 15th Feb 2015) brought to you by Dream of a Shadow, an online project bridging the gap between reality and fantasy through storytelling.

Dream of a Shadow is collaborating with published authors and budding writers in Bristol to map the city through the magic of storytelling in an event running alongside Bristol Storyfest 2015.

The more creative minds, the better. So we are currently looking for short story submissions from you – these can be as little as 50 words, or up to 1000 and should be based in Bristol (loosely in the area around Spike Island).

So take a moment and get involved in writing the city!

All stories submitted will be included in the Bristol Story Trail alongside several other writers as well as in exhibitions later in the year, with any contributors fully credited and promoted. For more information, or to email your submissions contact livingfictionbristol@gmail.com

Don’t have time to contribute? No worries – you can still get involved and discover the city of Bristol through some wonderful short works of fiction! Follow us on Twitter to find out how, and spread the word… @DoaSLiveFiction #BristolStoryTrail #WritingTheCity and keep an eye out for new stories on the Bristol Story Trail website

 

150206 Story Trail Poster

London Short Story Festival, Waterstones Piccadilly, June 20 – 22

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Hello Short Stops.

By now you’ve hopefully seen or heard of the London Short Story Festival, June 20 – 22nd in association with Waterstones Piccadilly that we’ve been putting together with the passion and specialist knowledge of our guest Festival Director, Paul McVeigh. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a bit about how the Festival came to be from Spread the Word’s perspective.

As London’s writer development organisation, we are always in touch with creative writers of all forms. In particular, our offer for short story writers that includes specialist workshops (for example in the past year with Katy Darby and Adam Marek) are always oversubscribed. Last year our short story prize, won by Clare Sita Fisher for her remarkable tale, Living it Edgeways enabled us to publish our first anthology Edgeways through our publishing imprint, Flight Press.

We were asked by our good friends at IdeasTap to provide feedback for short story writers six times a year. The first brief has just closed, and currently we’re loving reading through all the entries.

The short story momentum was really invigorating us as individuals and as a team. What we really wanted to do was to offer something even more invigorating for short story writers everywhere. And there we were, after murmuring about it for a number of months (or really, years), on a dark rainy day in our cosy offices in Deptford, deciding to go forth and make it happen.

Waterstones Piccadilly is a great venue for this, being the biggest bookshop in Europe, and we are delighted to bring the festival to the beating heart of the book industry.

We’re all writers and passionate readers in the Spread the Word team. For example – Paul Sherreard is a poet, Eva is a short story writer and I’m a playwright dabbling in short stories. Lucy reads, it seems to me by the rate she is sat in front of another title, by osmosis. We’ve worked with Paul McVeigh for a number of years – he’s been our Writer at Large, ran workshops for us and attended some of our specialist writing workshops. His role as Festival Director has enabled him to curate a programme of writers that uses his extensive networks and specialist knowledge of the short story world.

One of the first short story writers that came Paul’s mind for his wish list was Claire Keegan and by jove she’s brilliantly doing three events during the weekend. Add Jackie Kay, Helen Simpson, AL Kennedy, Adam Marek, Jacob Ross, Colin Barrett…and so many more. We hope there’s something for every short story newcomer or lover.

There’s a free ‘Writers’ Space’ too. Litro Magazine, Comma Press and English Pen will give mini-workshops and the wonderful Vanessa Gebbie and Lisa Blower will be on hand to run writing exercises with you. You can still catch the UK exclusive lecture and masterclass from Claire Keegan on ‘How Fiction Works’.

Speakers’ Corner sees a brilliant collection of short story writers reading a story for free at the entrance of Waterstones during the Saturday and Sunday. Speakers’ Corner will enable short stories to echo across the whole bookshop and showcase readings from brilliant British and Irish writers.

We’ll launch our London Short Story Prize to give writers something to aim for, judged this year by Jackie Kay and Word Factory’s Cathy Galvin. Salt Publishing will be there to launch their Best of British Short Stories anthology too with a reading from, among others, London Book Award winner, Stuart Evers.

People often ask who are the best short story writers in the world? Who are the best we’ve ever seen? So often the focus is on American authors. Being a London festival, we have been thinking throughout developing the festival programme, not only who may be considered to be the best British short story writers, but what could be the best British short story ever written? I’m really excited by the idea of people voting for something that isn’t political or covered in sequins and advertising. What would you vote for? Maybe take a look at this blog post on The Guardian by Paul McVeigh to see what stories people are nominating.

If you vote you could also win a Spread the Word Laureate Friend membership and see your favourite story read out by writer and actress Stella Duffy at the close of the Festival. Cast your vote here: www.lssf.co.uk

I hope Short Stoppers will be there to help us make it a huge success and light a new torch for Short Story readers and writers.

Laura Kenwright, Audience Development Manager, Spread the Word

Join the London Short Story Festival conversation @LSSFest / #LSSF / Facebook.com/londonshortstoryfestival