The Fine Line Between Offensive and Inoffensive Tweeting

By on Dec 28, 2015

It was only a matter of time before one of my Twitter posts offended somebody (despite my best efforts with Donald Trump). 140 characters, stripped of all qualifiers and caveats is a very direct, if blunt, instrument of opinion. Earlier today I posted the following on Twitter, which also automatically bounced onto Facebook: I weep at they excess of toys given by well meaning relatives each year, oblivious of the damage to the planet the kids will inherit. I meant every word and attempted to write it without ambiguity. What I couldn’t avoid was any ambiguity of intent. To that effect, I’d like to apologise to any of my own relatives who felt I was taking a potshot at them personally. Had I been trying to do that I would have written “my well meaning relatives” and “my kids”. I had enough characters left to put it that way and very specifically avoided it. In hindsight using the word...

December Roundup of Writing Competitions

By on Nov 27, 2015

  With everyone busy celebrating the pagan midwinter buying frenzy, December was always going to be a dry month for competitions, but those few on offer are better than average.   The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition This competition is one of the biggest on the calendar for children’s literature. Not only a huge prize, but publication to boot. It spans work aimed at children as young as 7 right up to gritty YA novels pitched at 18 year-olds. Entry is not for the faint of heart as they will not accept email submissions. You will not only need to print a hard copy of your completed manuscript, you will also need to submit a covering letter explaining why you believe your novel would appeal to children, a one-page synopsis and (drum-roll) a per chapter outline covering all major events. You will also need one of those old-fashioned check book things with which...

November Roundup of Writing Competitions

By on Oct 29, 2015

  The Fiction Desk Newcomer Prize 2015 The Fiction Desk are yet another organisation that supports new writers and regularly runs short story and flash fiction competitions. As far as I can tell this is an international competition. Word limit: 1000 – 7000 words Prizes: 1st – £500, 2nd – £250 Entry fee:£8 Closing date: 6th November 2015 Winning entries will be published in the Fiction Desk Anthology. They have strict rules about entrants not previously having published a novel or collected stories in print. However, ebook only publication or just part of a print anthology is acceptable. thefictiondesk.com/newcomer-short-story-prize.php   Galley Beggar Short Story Prize Galley Beggar Press is a tiny indie imprint that loves to support writers on the fringes. You know, the ones with talent that refuse to write what everyone else is writing. I suspect they will be looking for a...

Charles Causley Poetry Competition.  

By on Oct 28, 2015

From the Charles Causley Trust, this competition is one of the larger and more prestigious poetry prizes of the year. No restrictions on subject with a generous line allowance, it’s worth entering. This is an international competition. Word limit: 40 lines Prizes: 1st – £2000, 2nd – £250, 3rd – £100, 5 highly commended £30  Entry fee: £7 Closing date: 3rd November 2015 It is, however, yet another example of a postal only competition. So, if you are going to enter you’ll need to get your skates on for your submission to arrive by noon of the 3rd of November. https://thecharlescausleytrust.wordpress.com/competition/enter/ Like this:Like...

The Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism

By on Oct 12, 2015

This annual competition from the International Anthony Burgess Foundation is not for your usual creative prose, but for a brilliantly written piece concerning the arts: an article, a review or blog entry. I could even submit this informative review of the competition itself as an entry, but I won’t. Not because I don’t believe it would be up to the standard of other potential entries, but because I’d be worried about creating a sort of journalistic Ouroboros, with the article about the competition consuming its own tail, should it win. Who knows what might happen: a sort of digital black hole sucking in everything from WordPress and Twitter linked to it or perhaps it would open a transdimensional doorway from my blog into a terrifying realm populated only by clones of Mark Zuckerberg? It’s a risk I’d prefer not to take. Anyway, you get the idea. Bloggers,...

Roundup of October Writing Competitions

By on Sep 24, 2015

  October offers a swathe of mixed writing opportunities, from smaller contests run by writing groups to one of the biggest poetry prizes. All are good. I just wish I was prolific enough to enter them each one. But I’m not, so I’ll just have to choose carefully.   Prolitzer Prize for prose writing, 2015 Prole magazine publish a selection of poetry and prose writing with the laudable mission of accessibility for both readers and writers. The annual Prolitzer Prize aims to celebrate this remit. High quality submissions, yes. Literary pompousness, no. Word limit: 2500 Prizes: 1st – £200, two runners-up – £50 Entry fee: £4 Closing date: 1st October 2015 The winner will also be published in the magazine. Runners-up will be published on the website and possibly published in the magazine. The judge will be Jaki McCarrick, award-winning writer of short stories and...


By on Sep 22, 2015

At the age of four I was taught humour by an old, wise man in our village. He’d tell a joke and if I didn’t laugh, he’d beat me until I did.

Galley Beggar Short Story Prize

By on Sep 15, 2015

Galley Beggar Press is a tiny indie imprint that loves to support writers on the fringes. You know, the ones with talent that refuse to write what everyone else is writing. I suspect they will be looking for a bit of that in the submissions for this new annual prize. They run The Singles Club, a subcription service which publishes short stories as small books, so they have a lot of experience in the short story arena. This is an international competition. Word limit: 6000 words Prizes: 1st – £500 Entry fee: £10 Closing date: 15th November The winning writer may opt to take a year’s editorial support from the directors of Galley Beggar Press as an alternative to the cash prize. There will be two rounds of elimination: a long-list announced at the beginning of January and a short-list three weeks later. The winner will be announced mid Feb....

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