Write a Book in June. It’s doable!

30 days

30 Days of Writing is a practical online course for writers who’d enjoy the challenge of putting together a book in a month.

The course is especially suited to anyone who’d like to take on a short story project not necessarily linked to a book project you’re working on. It’s an opportunity to create that passion project you’ve been mulling over for years, and to explore different concepts of what consitutes a book.

The course is run by the writer Shaun Levin, who is also the editor of The A3 Press, a new chapbook press, and the creator of Writing Maps.

The online course is devised so that you can start a project from scratch and complete a first draft by the end of June. The course is a month-long commitment, and will benefit anyone who’d like the inspiration and support to write daily for 30 days alongside other writers from around the world.

To find out more about the course, please click here.

Whether you’re writing fiction, non-fiction, hybrid writing, creating comics or illustrations, we’ll look at how to create a layered and dynamic work. Some of the elements we’ll focus on will include: movement in time and place, conflict and tension, chronology and tone, as well as ways to enhance your text through research and the inspiration of genre companions.

The primary focus throughout the course will be your daily practice of writing and the creation of your book.

Dates: 1 June – 1 July 2019

Fee: £260 (£200 early-bird rate before 30 April)

limited to 15 participants

About the tutor: Shaun Levin is the author of Snapshots of The Boy, A Year of Two Summers and Seven Sweet Things, amongst other books. He has been teaching creative writing for over twenty years and has worked closely with writers at all stages of their journey towards publication.


Making History Come Alive – The People’s History


Bideford Bay Creatives (BBC) Events | Eventbrite


Saturday the 4th of February – Venue – Royal Hotel, Bideford, UK

The People’s History – An Historical Fiction Creative Writing Workshop celebrating the people whose lives were interwoven with Bideford’s Eastern Wharves.

A donation of £2 per person will be collected at the door.

Age range: For adults (over the age of 18)

This workshop will last for approximately two and half hours with a very short break for refreshments. Registration at 9.45am and starting at 10am to 12.30.

Content: This is a practical, fast paced workshop focusing on Biographical Historical Fiction writing based around ‘real’ people whose lives were interwoven with the history of the Wharves including the 17th and 18th century potters, the 18th century tobacco merchants and the ‘unknown’ and often undocumented who were transported or who went from Bideford as indentured workers.

You will be provided with a free work pack to take away. The structured session will guide you through the process of writing a short story or opening of a novel based on historical fact.

You will have the opportunity to showcase your writing from this workshop at the end of project celebration at the Pollyfield Centre, East the Water on February 26th, and online. All you need to bring along to this session is your imagination and a pen.

Your workshop facilitator will be Myfanwy Cook who is currently the Features Editor for the Historical Novel Review Magazine and an associate fellow at two UK universities see www.historicalnovelsociety.org and https://twitter.com/MyfanwyCook

Saturday the 4th of February – Venue – Royal Hotel, Bideford, UK

Hidden History – A sense of place – An Historical Fiction Creative Writing Workshop aimed at evoking the atmosphere of Bideford’s Eastern Wharves throughout its history.

This workshop will last for approximately two and half hours with a very short break for refreshments. Registration at 1.45pm and starting at 2pm to 4.45.

A donation of £2 per person will be collected at the door.

Age range: Over the age of 16

Content: You will be introduced to time-slip historical fiction and historical descriptive writing based around key locations for instance the late 17th century extension to the ‘key’(kay) for ships in 1692, Colonial House and the 19th century shipyard (on the Brunswick Wharf site).

This is an opportunity to experiment with Historical time-slip fiction and Manga in a light hearted way. You will be provided with a free work pack to take away from this practical, structured session.

You will have the opportunity to showcase your writing from this workshop or you Manga style drawings at the end of project celebration at the Pollyfield Centre, East the Water on February 26th, and online. . All you need to bring along to this session is an open mind, your creative spirit, a pen and if you are an artist your sketchbook.

Your workshop facilitator will be Myfanwy Cook who is currently the Features Editor for the Historical Novel Review Magazine and an associate fellow at two UK universities see www.historicalnovelsociety.org and https://twitter.com/MyfanwyCook

Writers’ HQ 6 Week Online Short Fiction Course Starts 10th October


Short stories aren’t just easier versions of the novel. They’re a broad, complex and rewarding art form in their own right. Writers’ HQ’s new online writing short story course will help you see the bigger picture and compress it into short fiction with real punch.

Try a FREE week of the course here!

Running for 6 weeks from 10th October, this online course is structured to work around busy lives and work schedules, and to support writers of all experiences. With the help of inspiring exercises, writing prompts, advice from award-winning short fiction writers, fantastic published examples, thought-provoking literary analysis, and a great little online community, you’ll come out the other side with plenty of ideas and at least one fully formed short story to call your very own.


Writers’ HQ is an arse-kicking, procrastination-bust­ing writing organisation based in Sussex (with plans for global online domination). Their motto? Stop f**king about and start writing. With online courses, local writing retreats and workshops, Writers’ HQ is here to help writers get the words out of their heads and onto the page with as little angst as possible. 

NEW Six Week Online Short Fiction Course from Writers’ HQ


Writers’ HQ are launching a brand new six-week online short fiction course for writers who are tight on time and money (so… all of us then!) – starting 26th September, 2016.

Short stories have been here since the dawn of frickin’ time. Based in the oral tradition (stop sniggering at the back), they’re the apocryphal family legends our grandmas/weird uncle used to tell us over Christmas dinner; they’re the school-yard urban myths; the sleepover ghost stories; the soliloquies in our diaries; the wine-soaked rants to that random person you cornered in the kitchen at that party after so-and-so dumped you. Short stories are all around us. <cue X-Files theme>

But super short stories are not super easy for writers. In fact, the shorter your story becomes, the harder it is to distill what really matters onto the page. I would have written a shorter letter, so the famous quote goes, but I didn’t have the time…

The energetic, irreverent, slightly bonkers team at Writers’ HQ will help you come up with ideas, hone them into perfectly formed nuggets of fiction and build the confidence to send them out into the world. Spend six weeks developing your short fiction skills with the support of a thriving online community, top tips from award winning authors, inspiring writing exercises, and procrastination-busting tools and techniques.

And, due to funding from the fantastic Arts Council England, Writers’ HQ are able to offer this great course at the low price of £130. Or, if you’re feeling lucky, why not enter their competition to win a fully-subsidised place on all five of their new online courses? Click here for more info.

And if that wasn’t enough, the first 25 people to book will also receive free membership to 750 Words – a fantastic productivity app that will get you writing every day! What more could you ask for (aside from someone to write the darn thing for you)?


Oh wait, that’s not all.

If you’re based in Sussex and fancy spending a morning at the beautiful National Trust property Monk’s House (historic home of Virginia Woolf and haunt of the Bloomsbury Group) writing and reading flash fiction, come along to the Fiction in a Flash workshop on the 20th of August.

Fiction in a Flashat Monk's House (1)

If you fancy streamlining your writing down into bite-size chunks, or have always wanted to write a short story but didn’t know where to start, flash fiction is your answer! This two hour workshop covers everything you need to know to get you flashing like a – err, no never mind – to get you writing confident, impactful flash. At the beautiful, inspiring Monk’s House, home to Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group, we’ll cover the basics of form and structure, show you how to make characters come to life in just a handful of words, and experiment with prompts to get your flashy juices flowing.

In this workshop we’ll look at the fundamentals of flash fiction and experiment with different ways of approach writing fantastic minimalist fiction. Learn how to wring every last drop of goodness from your words and tell a story in fewer than 1000 words.

Explore the world of short fiction, write your own flash, and if you’re feeling brave, share your work with the group. We can direct you towards a stiff drink afterwards…






London Lit Lab writing courses

London Lit Lab Logo

London Lit Lab is offering two creative writing courses:

‘Beginning to Write: putting pen to paper‘ is a six-week course starting in June, on Thursday evenings at Leila’s Shop in Shoreditch. It’s designed for those who have just started writing fiction – either short stories or a novel – or those who want to develop their skills. In each session we’ll use writing exercises to explore one of the following aspects of fiction: plot, character, place, point of view, dialogue and description. The course is taught by writers, and we aim to provide a friendly, home-from-home experience, where you’ll feel comfortable putting pen to paper. You’ll leave the course with a toolbox of literary skills, a few new friends, and the confidence to keep on writing. Click here for more info.

‘Continuing to Write: developing your work’ is an eight-week course starting in September, also on Thursday evenings at Leila’s Shop in Shoreditch. This course is for writers with some experience (e.g. our Beginning to Write course) , or have a body of work, such as a short story collection or novel, that you would like to develop. The course is also ideal for students who have recently finished a BA or MA in creative writing, and want a bit of a refresher, or further support to complete work. Likewise, if you are considering applying for a Creative Writing MA, we can help you hone your portfolio. In each session we will discuss texts in relation to characterisation, place, plot and voice. We will be looking at openings, endings and everything in between. The second half of each session will be dedicated to critiquing work in progress. Click here for more info.

Feel free to get in touch at info@londonlitlab.co.uk or find us on Twitter @LondonLitLab!

Word Factory #36 & Masterclass – 19th September – London

Join the Word Factory for readings, conversation, masterclasses and publication with the most inspiring short fiction writers.

The Word Factory #36 – the intimate short story salon – 6-8pm

Book your tickets here.

Our autumn salon season begins on Sept 19th at Waterstones Piccadilly with Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize winner Carys Davies, the inspirational Toby Litt and two powerful new voices, Tyler Keevil and Diriye Osman. Join us for their readings, and the Q&A afterwards chaired by Word Factory founder Cathy Galvin.

Short Story Club – 4.15-5.15pm
Ernest Hemingway:’Hills Like White Elephants’

Join us in September when we will be reading the classic Ernest Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants – one of the most iconic short stories in the English language. It’s a tale that seems simple and straightforward, but is laden with symbolism and meaning. What will you discover in Hemingway’s words?

Come and discuss this wonderful story with us at the Word Factory Short Story Club in September.

Email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story: sophie@thewordfactory.tv


Our masterclass with Toby Litt sold out quickly, but you’re now able to book October and November’s masterclasses via our website. Join us for place & atmosphere with Alex Preston and how to beat digital depression with Kristen Harrison.


Also in September…
Word Factory at Small Wonder
Wednesday 23 to Sunday 27 Sept 2015

Word Factory is delighted to partner with the Small Wonder Festival within the autumnal warmth of Charleston in Sussex. Reading at this event will be Kirsty Gunn, Stuart Evers and Janice Galloway, followed by a Q&A with Cathy Galvin.

Book your tickets here.

Word Factory #35 & Masterclass – 25th July – London

Join the Word Factory for readings, conversation, masterclasses and publication with the most inspiring short fiction writers.

Story in Motion: with Jane Feaver

Jane Feaver is a novelist and short story writer, whose a collection of inter-linked stories, Love Me Tender, was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. Read more about Jane.

‘…the essence of the story is motion. Do not let your chair be “a straight chair, with no arms and a hard wooden seat.” Let your heroine go over and take a firm hold of the back of a straight wooden chair, because at the moment it is stronger than she.’ Shirley Jackson ‘Notes for a Young Writer’. Jane Feaver, the novelist and short story writer, will explore the use of gesture and motion in the short story with reference to the work of Flannery O’Connor. Raymond Carver and more.

This workshop will study the gesture in the short story and some of the ways we might put ‘moveable articles’ to effective use. Suitable for writers sending work out and published, a chance to write and pay attention to detail.


Short Story Club – 4.15-5.15pm
Roald Dahl: The Great Automatic Grammatizator

Join us in July when we will read a dark and twisted (but bitingly funny) short story – The Great Automatic Grammatizator – by the brilliantly playful Roald Dahl. The story, written in 1954 (but still alarmingly relevant) imagines a world where stories are written by machines. This will strike a wry chord with all writers out there…

Email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story: sophie@thewordfactory.tv

The Word Factory #35 – the intimate short story salon – 6-8pm

Book your tickets here.

Join us for an unmissable evening of storytelling with award-winning children’s author Michael Morpurgo; short story champion Jane Feaver; and one of the UK’s best short story writers Stuart Evers, chaired by Word Factory founder Cathy Galvin.

BrockleyMAX festival live lit and writing workshop from Arachne Press

Story Sessions logo copyThe Story Sessions are back – for a guest spot, maybe for good, depending… We are doing two events plus a workshop for BrockleyMAX. The first two are both on Saturday 30th May The Ladywell Gallery, (what used to be Misty Moon) behind The Ladywell Tavern 80 Ladywell Road SE13 7HS

Writing Workshop – Festival

5pm – 7pm Free; accompanied children over 10 welcome
Arachne Press presents a writing workshop on the theme of Festival. Get inspiration from the exhibition of photographs from previous BrockleyMAX festivals and write a new short story or poem, with the option to read it at The Story Sessions event in the evening.
 run by Cherry Potts
Story Sessions: Festival Tales
7.30pm – 9.30pm Free; accompanied children welcome
A live literature event with stories from Joan Taylor-Rowan and David Bausor, poems from Elinor Brooks and Jennifer A McGowan on a festival theme. Circuses, Street parties and more. Join in with Flash from the Floor – your chance to read your own festival piece (max 100 words).
brockley max ladywell gallery
And finally, on Thursday 4th June at Brockley Deli 14a Brockley Cross, SE4 1BE
The Story Sessions: Feast Tales
8pm – 9pm Free entry; accompanied children 10+ welcome
A free live literature event all about food Stories from Rosalind Stopps, Joan Taylor-Rowan and Jason Jackson, Poems from Jennifer A McGowan and Rob Walton, plus an extract from Devilskein & Dearlove,our Carnegie Nominated young adult novel by Alex Smith – mostly read by our actor friends Peter Noble & Gloria Sanders.
Join us for a story set in a cheese shop, Cranberry Sauce as an excuse for an illicit meeting, trying to win friends with cookies and taking tea with a demon, plus poems about oranges and bay leaves! Order appropriate food to ‘taste-along’.

Word Factory #33 & Masterclass – 30th May – London

Join the Word Factory for readings, conversation, masterclasses and publication with the most inspiring short fiction writers.

The Only Rule Is Yes with Stella Duffy – 1-4pm – SOLD OUT

Stella Duffy won’t teach you how to write the great British novel, provide you with a step-by-step structure with which to write a bestseller, or spend hours reading aloud the works of others so that you can compare your own writing (unfavourably). She will help you acknowledge your writing fears and enthusiasms, find delight in being brave, take the big steps you’ve been dreading and the small steps that feel even harder, and help you remind yourself why you wanted to write in the first place.

Editor’s note: Unfortunately Stella Duffy’s writing workshop is now sold out, however there is time to book your places for Michèle Roberts and David Almond‘s masterclasses at the Tablet festival in Birmingham on 19th June or experience Word Factory at the London Short Story Festival on 21st, June. Take note to be online at 9am on 15th May when we will make tickets available for Neil Gaiman‘s masterclass Q&A with Cathy Galvin taking place on 27th June.

More information and booking here.

Short Story Club – 4.15-5.15pm
Tessa Hadley: One Saturday Morning

Tessa Hadley is a British writer whose short stories appear regularly in the New Yorker. She has published many novels and two short story collections, and she read at the Word Factory salon in February 2015. Her stories have been described as ‘novels in miniature’ and also as ‘domestic fiction’, conjuring as they often do the minutiae of comfortable lives, where subtle shifts and minor observations can take on huge significance. Her stories may tread comfortable territory, but they leave a long-lasting impression of disquiet with the reader.

In ‘One Saturday Morning’, published in The New Yorker in August 2014, ten-year-old Carrie’s piano practice is interrupted by the arrival of Dom, one of her parents’ bohemian friends. We follow her as she tries to make sense of the adult news and events that define the rest of the day. Is this a story in which nothing really happens, or does it illuminate a pivotal coming-of-age moment? Come and discuss this subtle, affecting story with us.

Email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story: sophie@thewordfactory.tv

The Word Factory #33 – the intimate short story salon – 6-8pm

Book your tickets here.

An unmissable evening of Irish lyricism and fire. Join acclaimed new Irish talent Danielle McLaughlin, recently published in the New Yorker; Belfast-born Word Factory associate director Paul McVeigh; author and power-house Stella Duffy (Ireland via New Zealand) and Dubliner Evelyn Conlon for new work and conversation focused on the enduring strength of the Irish short story. Blarney-free discussion guaranteed, chaired by Cathy Galvin (Ireland via Coventry) .

Word Factory #32 & Masterclass – 25th April – London

Join the Word Factory for readings, conversation, masterclasses and publication with the most inspiring short fiction writers.

Performance, confidence and voice with A.L. Kennedy – SOLD OUT

Booking for our masterclasses are now available online through to June. Word Factory regulars have already booked their tickets for A.L Kennedy’s April class – but don’t miss the chance to work with Stella Duffy at her workshop in May where the only rule is yes. Our masterclasses are also travelling to Birmingham in June with Michele Roberts and David Almond. Click the links above to book your place.

In June Neil Gaiman will also be giving an exclusive class and reading: details on our website soon.

Short Story Club – 4.30-5.30pm
Italo Calvino: All at One Point

Calvino’s The Complete Cosmicomics is a collection of stories, all narrated by the character Qfwfq, each of which takes a scientific fact as a starting point for a fantastical narrative.The first translated edition (from Italian) won the National Book Award in America, and it is one of Calvino’s best known works alongside If on a Winter’s Night A Traveller and Invisible Cities.

In ‘All at One Point’, Calvino takes the notion of the universe’s matter all being concentrated at one point before it began to expand, and imagines Qfwfq and other characters dealing with this situation. It combines a scientific flight of fancy with a familiar-feeling tale of neighbourly tensions, as at the inhabitants of the point clash over gossip, opinions and shared attractions. This is a story which does not fit contemporary expectations. Do you find it satisfying, silly, or wondrously clever? Come and discuss ‘All at One Point’ at the Word Factory Short Story Club in April.

Email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story: sophie@thewordfactory.tv

The Word Factory #32 – the intimate short story salon – 6.30-8.30pm

Book your tickets here.

Celebrate spring with award-winning authors and fresh talent at The Word Factory. A.L. Kennedy leads our perfomance skills masterclass before joining international star Yiyun Li, our mentor Adam Marek and apprentice Kerstin Twachtmann for readings at the evening salon. The conversation will continue with Director Cathy Galvin, co-founder of the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.

Felixstowe Book Festival: Flash Fiction Event & Short Story Comp

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 15.38.45

Felixstowe Book Festival (27-28th June 2015) will be hosting a flash fiction workshop where writers will be encouraged to write flash fiction on the spot and read it out afterwards. Prizes for best stories will be provided, in the form of a selection of anthologies from National Flash Fiction Day.

In addition, entries are now open for their annual short story competition (max word count 1000). This year’s theme is ‘On the Margins’ and the winner and two runners up will be invited to read their stories at the festival. Prizes include a year’s subscription to the EADT Suffolk Magazine. Read the full details HERE. Closing date is Sat 16th May.

Social Media for Writers & That Killer First Page – Submitting to Competitions and Journals, London & Belfast

Social Media Masterclass for Writers with Paul McVeigh – 1st March


Led by Paul McVeigh, The Society Club, London, is pleased to host 750,000 PEOPLE CAN’T BE WRONG: A Social Media Masterclass for Writers.

Paul McVeigh will be discussing how social media is transforming the way writers communicate with each other, the industry and readers. From Facebook to Twitter, blogs to websites, having a social media presence is becoming more and more essential for writers at all levels. Paul’s blog has reached more than 750,000 people and through his efforts in social media, has led directly to becoming Associate Director at Word Factory, Director of the London Short Story Festival and his reading on Radio 5. His debut novel, The Good Son, will be published by Salt Publishing in April 2015

Paul McVeigh will explore how to improve your social media profile, plan more effective strategies and better connect with your audience and readers.

This is the class if you are looking to improve your social media profile, enhance the effectiveness of your current activity, grow your online audience or are new to social media and looking to get started.

WHEN: Sunday, March 1st, 2015
TIME: 1pm-6pm
WHERE: The Society Club, 12 Ingestre Place, Soho, London W1F0JF

Space is limited, please reserve your place now. Email george@thesocietyclub.com


That Killer First Page – Submitting to Competitions and Journals March 8th

Crescent Arts Centre, 2-4 University Road, Belfast. BT7 1NH.

March 8th. 11am-4pm. Tickets http://bit.ly/1DL7WcX

You’ll find out what competition judges and journal editors look for in a short story and how to avoid the rejection pile. You’ll write a short piece and get feedback on that crucial story opening. In a form where every word counts, get tips on staying focused on your story and where to start the action. You’ll also look at submission opportunities; how to find them and where you should be sending your stories.

How to get the attention of competition judges and editors
Writing fiction with emotional impact
Writing that killer first page
How to edit your story
Where to send your work

Paul McVeigh’s short fiction has been published in journals and anthologies and been commissioned by BBC Radio 4. He has read his work for BBC Radio 5, at the International Conference on the Short Story in Vienna, Belfast Book Festival and the Cork International Short Story Festival.

Reviews for his writing:
“Absolutely loved it. The voice of that story is so arresting.” Jackie Kay
“Beautiful and very moving.” Booker shortlisted Alison Moore
“How moving and stunning that story is. It’s so raw and incredibly human.” Costa shortlisted Jess Richards
“Its such a clever story, gentle, poignant, emotionally straight as a dart.” Vanessa Gebbie
“(one of) Ireland’s most exciting and talented writers.  Incredibly moving; poignant but utterly real, funny and beautifully observant.” BBC Radio 4
“Paul McVeigh’s story stands out. Funny, moving, poignant. Brilliant.” Metro Newspaper

Paul’s short story blog shares writing opportunities and advice and gets 40,000 hits a month internationally. He’s interviewed short story masters like Kevin Barry, Cate Kennedy and George Saunders and upcoming Laura van den Berg and Elizabeth McCrackin.

Paul is Director of London Short Story Festival and Creative Director at Word Factory, the UK’s leading short story literary salon. He is a reader and judge for national and international short story competitions.

This event sold out in Melbourne at Writers Victoria and Waterstones Piccadilly, London.

Comments on this class:

“Fantastic! Practical, targeted advice like this is wonderful!”
“This was my fav course yet! Informative, entertaining, and engaging. Hard to beat.”

“I emerged from the sleepy hamlet of my writing infancy last Saturday and was sky-rocketed, hurricaned, tsunamied, autobahned and g-forced out of my head by Paul McVeigh’s “That Killer First Page” Masterclass at Waterstones, Piccadilly. He’s on top of his game, gives instinctive, constructive criticism and in a few short hours, had conveyed the essence of how to make a story compelling and unputdownable from the first few lines. Not for the faint hearted – the pace is relentless – but get on one of his courses if you can.”

Paul’s debut novel ‘The Good Son’ is out with Salt Publishing in April.

‘A work of genius…’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Robert Olen Butler

‘Outstanding.’ Granta Best Young Novelist Toby Litt

‘I was blown away… A wildly important new talent.’ Laura van den Berg

‘One of those characters you believe in with all your heart.’ Booker shortlisted Alison Moore

‘Establishes McVeigh as an important new Irish voice.’ Lucy Caldwell

Places are limited to 20. For concessions please contact: paulmcveighwriter@live.co.uk

Write Around Town Workshops in London

sonia delaunayThree weekends in which we explore how art, objects and places inspire writing.

Whether it’s for you or your characters, we’ll walk, eat and write our way around London’s art galleries. Through story fragments, sketches, and experimental writing you’ll engage with some of this spring’s major exhibitions in London.

No writing or drawing experience is necessary, but a willingness to play and experiment is. The Write Around Town workshops are devised to suit writers and artists of all levels. All participants will be included in Writers in the Crowd II, an anthology of writing in the city.

The weekends are stand-alone workshops and can be booked to suit your needs and interests. The more you book, the cheaper they get! When booking, please let us know which weekends you’d like to attend. If you have any questions, please contact us through this link or at maps@writingmaps.com

limited to 8 participants per weekend

Cost: One weekend = £105, Two weekend = £195, Three weekends = £260

cost includes entrance to exhibitions and light refreshments

For more details and to book, click here.

Weekend #1, Painting and Politics: April 24, 25, 26 (Only 3 Places Left)

Weekend #2, Images and Things: June 5, 6, 7

Weekend #3, Drawing and Daring: July 3, 4, 5

The workshops are devised and led by Shaun Levin. He has been teaching creative writing since 1997 and has run workshops and given talks at The National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Ben Uri Gallery, and the Stanley and Audrey Burton Art Gallery in Leeds. He has recently published work on the artists Mark Gertler and Isaac Rosenberg, and is the author of Seven Sweet Things and A Year of Two Summers, amongst other books. Shaun is the creator of Writing Maps.

Pens to the ready! Mslexia’s Short Story Competition 2015 is now open…

A new year is upon us (honestly, where does the time go?) and what better way to limber up for the creative year ahead than entering Mslexia’s annual short story competition for women writers.

Mslexia Women's Short Story Competition 2015

Mslexia Women’s Short Story Competition 2015

The first prize is a whopping £2,000 – one of the biggest in the genre – and comes with two optional extras: a week’s retreat at Tŷ Newydd Writers’ Centre in Wales, and a day with a Virago editor. Judging the competition this year is novelist, short story writer and essayist Alison MacLeod, whose novel Unexploded was long-listed for the 2013 Man-Booker Prize.

The closing date for the competition is 16 March 2015: plenty of time to start work on a new piece of writing or re-visit an old draft. And to guide you on your way – if, indeed, any guidance is needed – Mslexia has commissioned a series of writing workshops to stimulate new ideas and help get your story into submission-ready shape. The first workshop delves into the art of character development and includes three new writing exercises; keep an eye on the Mslexia website for two more workshops leading up to the deadline.

Last year’s competition winner Jackie Brewster said, ‘I’ve been floating on a little cloud ever since I received the phone call. I thought it was good enough to enter, but I never dreamed it was good enough to win.’ Francesca Armour-Chelu, 2013 winner, credited the competition as the reason that she found an agent ‘after years of rejection letters’. As they say, the proof in the pudding, and Mslexia‘s competition really has given so many writers a foot up the ladder – this year you could be one of them.

Full details of how to enter are on the Mslexia website. Best of luck with your entry!

Writing From Art Workshop, Wed 12th November, Bristol

Girl-with-Wings-cr-Carol-PeaceImmerse yourself in art for an afternoon of creative writing. In the intimate space of a working artist’s studio, you’ll have the opportunity to think about how art can fuel your own writing, discuss what art and writing mean to you, and take away practical tips to help your writing glow.

Short story writer, arts journalist and writing tutor Judy Darley says: “I’ve been drawing inspiration from art all my writing life, and believe it can provide a stepping stone between the page and your imagination.”

Surrounded by the sculptures of Carol Peace, we’ll take a brief look at the history of art’s influence of writing before carrying out writing exercises designed to connect you with your senses and the artwork, and help your words to flow.

CAROL PEACE is an internationally recognised sculptor based at the Paintworks in Bristol, with work in private collections across the UK, Europe and America. Carol studied sculpture at Winchester School of Art and has had solo shows in London, Cambridge, Athens, Zurich, France, Spain and Holland. Find her at www.carolpeace.com and @CarolPeace_art.

JUDY DARLEY has had short stories published by magazines and anthologies including The Simple Things, Litro, Riptide Journal, and The View From Here. Her debut collection ‘Remember Me To The Bees’ is out now. She’s currently working on a collection of short stories, poems and flashes based around the theme of journeys. Find her at www.skylightrain.com and @JudyDarley.

The Writing From Art workshop takes place from 2-5pm on Wednesday 12th November 2014 at Studio 5.3, at Paintworks, Bristol.

Cost: £12 per person. Limited to 8 places. Book your place at http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/writing-from-art-with-judy-darley-and-carol-peace-tickets-12953996753.

We will also be hosting a night of literary readings inspired by art, also at Carol’s Paintworks studio, on Friday 7th November. Find details here.

Carol Peace sculptures


Flash fiction masterclass and competition

Micro-fiction trailblazer David Gaffney is running another of his ever-popular masterclasses in the form, at Creative Industries Trafford at the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale, near Manchester, on Wednesday 4 June, 1-4pm (£5; click here to book). David is the author of four critically acclaimed micro-fiction collections, including More Sawn-Off Tales, published last year through Salt Publishing and recommended by Johnny Vegas. The Guardian
 said: “One hundred and fifty words by Gaffney are more worthwhile than novels by a good many others.”

David Gaffney More Sawn Off Tales cover

The workshop marks the launch of CIT’s second flash fiction competition, judged by David, and open to anyone over the age of 18 on Saturday 25 October 2014, when the winner will receive their prize of £50 book vouchers, at the Northern Lights Writers’ Conference 2014. CIT are looking for stories, in any genre and on any theme, of up to 500 words long. Entry is free and you may enter more than once. Submissions must be emailed, by 5pm on Monday 15th September 2014, to info@creativeindustriestrafford.org – full entry details are on the CIT website here.

CIT_Logo_colour1 copy




The Berko Writers’ Workshop

The Berko Writers’ Workshop is repeating their (sold out!) inaugural writing course, starting on April 29th.

Sign up for six weeks of professional tuition and supportive feedback – and build a network of local writing friends while you’re at it.


The course fee includes 12 hours of tuition, Here Cafe‘s celebrated tea and cake in the break, and a wine discount post-workshop (to help with that networking!)

There’s also a literary agent Q&A in week six.

Your course tutor is Julie Mayhew, novelist, radio dramatist and director and host of Berkhamsted’s celebrated short story night The Berko Speakeasy.

For more info and to book, click here.



One week until the closing date of Mslexia’s Short Story Competition!

Make a date in your diaries – only one week left to get your entries in for Mslexia’s annual Short Story Competition. If you’re stuck for inspiration or need some guidance in honing your entry, Mslexia has a series of specially commissioned writing workshops available on their website.

The competition is for short stories of up to 2,200 words from women writers of any nationality. The top prize is an amazing £2,000 – one of the biggest prizes available in the genre – and includes two optional extras: a week’s retreat at the home of early women’s writing, Chawton House Library, and a day with a Virago editor. Other winners will receive a share of the remaining £1,050 prize pot, and all of the winning stories will be published in the June 2014 issue of Mslexia. Plus, the judge this year is the award-winning novelist, short story author and scriptwriter Jane Rogers.

The closing date for the competition is 17 March 2014. For more information on how to enter just visit the Mslexia website, email shortstory@mslexia.co.uk or call 0191 204 8860 to speak to a real person.

This is a great opportunity to have your work read by a top author and see your writing published in the magazine for women writers.

Good luck!