Flash Fiction Competition, London Independent Story Prize

London Independent Story Prize, LISP is holding a writing contest. Their aim is to discover extraordinary artistic approaches to story writing, stories that embrace the diversity of gender and culture whilst being brave and passionate. They are looking for unique and strong voices. BAME, Women, and LGBTQ are especially welcome. They’ll be delighted to read it and you could be in with a chance to win!

Entries can be sent through their website www.londonindependentstoryprize.co.uk

Follow their Facebook and Twitter @LIStoryPrize for the announcements.

Early Bird Deadline: 1st of January 2018

Submissions Close on 10th of January

Winner announcements, on 10th of February

Prizes: £100 First, £30 Second, £10 Third

Check their amazing judge list from this link.LISP-5

Don’t miss First Story’s National Writing Competition!

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Competition closes 23 November

Students and teachers: don’t miss First Story’s National Writing Competition for state secondary schools!

There’s not long left to write 850 words on the theme ‘Footprints’ – you must get your entries to us by midnight, Wednesday 23rd November.

Short stories are welcome – but any form of writing is accepted. Flash fiction, poetry, drama: follow the theme wherever it leads you.

If you’re a young writer, or teach someone who is, don’t miss the chance to win an incredible Arvon residential writing course, and see your work in print in our professional anthology. Teachers can write alongside their students and enter too.

The amazing Mark Haddon, Juno Dawson and Salena Godden are the writers judging this year’s competition, which will be shortlisted by Penguin Random House.

Good luck, happy writing, and make sure you get your entries to us by November 23rd!

Find out more and enter at www.firststory.org.uk/footprints

Turn Me On

By Julie Mayhew

It started off as an argument on a short story course.

Men tend to put sex into short stories when it isn’t relevant at all to the plot, characters or mood, I said.

It was a sexist line to take. I know.

Adam Marek our brilliant tutor at Berko Writers had urged us to read the latest Murakami story in The New Yorker.

I had and then I had scrolled through other stories in the archive, with The Berko Speakeasy in mind. Could we read this story aloud at a future event?

Often the answer would be ‘no’ because a story would be ticking along nicely, brilliantly, and then there would be a gratuitious and graphic sex scene.

There’s no rule to say we won’t read sex scenes aloud at the Speakeasy – we’re not prudes and neither are our audience – but there’s a certain dynamic in that room, with reader making eye contact with audience, that asks that if we are going to describe graphic sex it has to mean something. In a lot of these stories I felt it didn’t.

I brought this argument to the table at our next workshop.

It got heated.

Don’t female writers write bad sex in their own unique ways too? suggested one.

Probably.

Is sex ever any good when it’s on the page? asked another.

Oh, it must be, sometimes, surely…

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So that’s what led us to organising Turn Me On, a night to discuss the sex scene, good and bad, from Lady Chatterley to Christian Grey.

We’d love you to come and join the debate – and bring along your favourite sex scenes from literature.

Let’s put this argument to bed.

Turn Me On: A night of good (and very bad) literary sex
7pm, Tues 10th Feb, Upstairs at Here Cafe, Berkhamsted
For more information and to book go to the Berko Writers website.

Berko Writers’ Summer School

Berko Writers’ Summer School, in association with The Berko Speakeasy and Waterstone’s, will include a two-hour masterclass with award-wining short story writer Adam Marek.

Summer School

Adam – author of the collections Instruction Manual For Swallowing and The Stone Thrower – comes to Berkhamsted on July 29th to show students how to deliver the maximum punch with the minimum word count.

Also on the programme is a radio drama masterclass with Julie Mayhew, a screenwriting workout with Lucy Scher, a writing advice session with Literary Agent Juliet Pickering and a guide to how to market yourself as an author with publishing insider Jamie Fewery. Students can choose to attend just one class, or book in for the whole programme at a discounted rate.

To find out more about the workshops and tutors, and to reserve your place go to the Berko Writers’ booking site.