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Check out this space for details of competitions, publishers, agents or events that we've had emails about, as well as members' findings they'd like flagged up....

We've heard about......

The Novella Award

As mentioned at Monday's meeting...

Competition for unpublished novellas. Deadline 29th April.

Keep checking website for updates...

Dundee International Book Prize

2016 award for unpublished debut novelists! Closing date 19th Feb

Submissions for the 2016 Dundee International Book Prize are invited from

Monday 25th January until Friday 19th February.

The winner will receive £5,000, a week’s protected writing time in Dundee

and publication by Freight Books.

Stephen King story competition

Closing Date 18th December

Writing competition from the master of horror himself

(and author of one of the best books on writing, imo).

Prize includes publication on Guardian Books website. Go for it!

First Chapter Competition

Closing date 15 JUNE (Monday)!!

First three chapters & synopsis of an unpublished novel.

Win feedback from Jo Unwin (literary agent).

Impress Prize for New Writers

For unpublished novelists; closing date 26th June

Send sample chapter & synopsis. Prize: publishing contract with Impress Books.

Mslexia Women's Novel Competition

Closing date 21st September

Open to unpublished women novelists writing in any genre for adults. Send up to 5000 words. Entry fee £25. Prize £5000.

PS One of the judges is Juliet Mushens! She has excellent taste ;)

The Bath Children's Novel Award

Deadline 11th October

Send first 3000 words of novel for children. Entry fee £20.

Full details at

30 quotes from renowned authors about writing

30 really useful quotes from some of the most influential names in literature....

From Toni Morrison to Neil Giaman via Stephen King, with many a name in between....

Virginia Prize

The Biannual Virginia Prize - closing date 31st October 2015

Open only to women writers of fiction, previously unpublished either by traditional publishing or self-publishing. Visit the website for details.

Tinder Press Open Submissions

Tinder Press has an Open Submission event going on right now, until the 15th March. Visit the webpage for details......

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Bridport Prize

The First Novel competition is part of the Bridport prize, and accepts unfinished novels. £1,000 prize money, support for a year in bringing the manuscript up to speed, and possible publishing. Detail on website.

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Bath Novel Award - Competition open

There are great footsteps to follow in.....the award is open for entries again. Go tot he webpage below.

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Bath Novel Award - Jo's Event in March

Jo is on the panel of "How to Win a Novel Award" on 8th March in Bath. We're looking into accommodation adn transport for all those up for being there on the day. Starts 1pm........ Watch this space....

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How to Write Sex Scenes - Telegraph article

A great article, flagged up by Alan...

If you've ever worried about finding yourself in the annual Bad Sex Scenes Top Ten, you're in good company. Wilbur Smith is the Bookie's favourite this year. In deference to those who blush easily, we won't quote it....just click on the link below.

Word of Mouth Competition

Inaugral competition from an agency looking for new voices.

This was flagged up by jop - and we all know how good she is at picking great competitions!

Submission from1st Nov 2014 - 31st Jan 2015. 

Your manuscript doesn't need to be complete, but it must be at least 30,00 words long. 

Prize money is £1,000.

Myriad Editions First Draft Competition

Fantastic opportunity to enter an incompelete work into a competition

Myriad are seeking out new talent, and are therefore asking for drafts from unpublished writers. Visit their website for full details. (Entry fee is £5).

Pitchcraft advice site

Nice site with advice on how to use #Pitmad

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Twitter Elevator Pitches - the successful tweets!

Great tip from Kat - the tweets that got authors a like (request to send in the manuscript) from an agents on the PITMAD Twitter event. Gotta be worth a gander if you're looking at polishing an elevator pitch.....

Write-Time have three events planned

retreat - workshop - pub night

Sat 15th September - workshop on self-publishing, by Top Ten estselling self-published author - £25


Sat 20th September - Retreat Day - £45


Tues 28th October - pub night in the Keystone, Guildford.

TED talk from the writer of Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Wall-E

Andrew Stanton

Compelling TED talk about story telling. Must see moments in this 10 minute clip. Well well worth a look.

Slushpile Hell


You get the slushpile quote:


I hope this submission leaves you in a condition of uncontrolled and irreversible “wow.”


And you get the agent's considered view:


Last time I was in that condition I spent the next day in a Mexican jail.


What's more to say? 


Very entertaining. (A little chastening.....)

Pixars Rules of Storytelling

I promised Tim I'd add this to the site.

If you don't already know these rules, take a good look now. Invaluable advice for anyone who ever chose to create a character and plot a story round them. You'll be so glad you read it.....

MsLexia Memoire Competition

Sorry boys - not one for you.

Ladies - if you don't subscribe, then you might not know about the MsLexia memoire competition.... closing date is 22nd September, so start reminiscing now! For details, follow the link.

Writers' Evening in Guildford

22nd July

7.00pm Waterstones

8:30pm The Keep

Write Time, a local business aimed at providing services to writers, has arranged two FREE events in Guildford. The first is a talk at Waterstones from two published authors, about negotiating the publishing landscape, and the second is a pub night. Both are on the same night. Follow the link below....

Jonathan Cape Open Submissions

From 1st to 30th June


From 1–30 June, 2014, Jonathan Cape will be open for fiction submissions from new writers of high calibre and imagination. 

Submissions should be an initial 50 pages of prose fiction. These can be part of a novel or novella, or short stories. The pages can be finished work or a work in progress. 

For graphic-novel submissions, please contact the editors through

Submissions should be emailed as attachments to Please include contact details, and a covering paragraph of any information you think might prove helpful in considering your submission. 

Regrettably, due to the number of submissions we receive, we cannot respond in every instance, but all entries will be read. Submissions received after 30 June will not be considered. Please submit only one title. 


Huge congratulations to our very own Jo for winning the prestigeous Bath Novel Award! 3/6/14 

The judges said of Jo's winning novel Different:


“Different is both page-turning and thought-provoking. It’s an exploration of sexuality, the fallibility of memory, and the lies we tell ourselves. An incredibly compelling read.”


We could have told them that from the first time we heard Jo read it....


Watch this space for news of a publishing deal..... we're on tentahooks Jo! 


So happy for you.

Slushpile LIVE!

You tube video .....

...about an agent's live response to submission letters. Some very helpful insights here.....

Successful Submissions..

A very useful website with over sixty letters that landed the writer an agent. Following each letter are comments from the agents themselves as to which parts of the letters pulled them in.

Be warned - you'll spend a lot of time here once you start. These letters represent a wide range of genres, and each one has led to representation by an agent, although it is the follow up notes by the agents themselves that are really revealing. It is worth noting that the agents appear to be mostly American, so not all aspects of the submission process may cross the Atlantic intact.  The website is also a little confusing at first glance, but clicking the 'READ MORE' link next to each novel will take you to the submission letter, and the agent's comments. Well worth a gander...

Day Workshop on getting published

From Writers and Artists



Writers & Artists is hosting ‘Getting Published: Which Route Do I Take?', a one-off conference designed to offer writers sound advice on the options available to them in the world of modern publishing. The event will cover everything from submitting to literary agents, to successful crowd-funding projects.


As this event may be of interest to your writing group, we would like to make an offer of 15% discount available to all of your members.


The conference takes place on Saturday 12th July at the Wellcome Collection, London, and will cover all aspects of the publishing industry. Literary agent Jo Unwin, features and insight editor at The Bookseller Tom Tivnan, publisher and co-founder of Unbound, John Mitchinson, and writer & journalist Laurie Penny are just some of the speakers who will be in attendance. For full details and an itinerary of the day’s event, hit the weblink below.

The Bridport Prize

...which needs no introduction.

The Bridport Prize is closing on the 31st May. This year, the new kid on the block of the competition is the Peggy-Chapman-Andrews Award for a first novel. Alison Moore, of Booker-Shortlist-2013 fame, will judge the shortlist. Unfinished novels can be submitted.....

The Yeovil Prize

Another prestigeous prize, that closes on the 31st of May. Getting editing, people....!

This is a well known international prize, with a number of categories, and well worth checking out.....

The Next Novelist Competition

Crime fiction competition - Page Turneres Needed!

Click the link below to get to a website which is holding regular competitions for page-turner crime novels. The readers vote on their favourite novels, who then become the winners.

University of York Post-Grad in Creative Writing

New This Year

The University of York has contacted us with details of their new Post-Graduate Creative Writing course. Click the buttins below for allt he details.

NAWG Festival of Writing

29th to 31 August 21014

Warwick University

The National Association of Writing Groups have a festival of wriing in August - we are members, and as such get a small discount, I believe, so it should come in at £250 for a weekend. Hit the link below for details of workshops etc,

MsLexia Short-Story Competition


The MsLexia short-story competition (sorry guys, you'll have to shave and don some heels for this one.) Closing date 17th March - details on the websote.

Self-Publishing Conference


Details of a Self-Publishing conference taking place at Leicester University on 30th March. Clisck the link to find out more...

Words for the Wounded


We've been sent an email about a writing competition in which all of the money raised from entry fees goes towards caring for wounded soldiers. Find out more at the website link below...

Bath Novel Award


Yet another January competition! This is for unpublished or self-published novels. Worth a gander....

Lightship Competition


First novel writing competion - closes in a couple of days!

Writer's Retreat Competition





Call for entries — deadline 3 February 2014

Myriad Editions is joining forces with West Dean College to offer unpublished writers the chance to win a week's writing retreat, with full board, in the luxurious surroundings of the College, situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty six miles north of Chichester, South East England.

Past winners of the WRC include Lisa Cutts, author of Never Forget, published by Myriad earlier this year. Myriad also publishes two previously shortlisted entrants: Nina de la Mer and Hannah Vincent

The competition, now in its fifth year, also offers up to six shortlisted entrants the chance to receive feedback from industry experts.

This year, the prize will be judged by:

Lesley Thomson, bestselling author of The Detective’s Daughter and A Kind of Vanishing, and tutor on West Dean College’s Creative Writing courses

Jonathan Kemp, award-winning author of London Triptych (Author’s Club Best First Novel) and Twentysix, and creative writing tutor at Birkbeck College, University of London

Laura Lockington, children’s author, literary reviewer, Book Doctor and co-host of the Bookish Supper Society

Becky Thomas, literary agent at Fox Mason Agency

Candida Lacey, publisher and MD, and Vicky Blunden, fiction editor, at Myriad Editions. 

Last year's winner, Al Brookes, was announced at a packed event on 'What Makes a Book Worth Publishing' at the Brighton Festival. The panel of judges (left to right below) were: Greg Mosse, writer and tutor of creative writing courses at West Dean College; Candida Lacey, publisher and MD, Myriad Editions; Pam McIlroy, aka literary blogger Pamreader; Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner (Amazon's Best Book of the Year 2011), Revenge of the Tide and Human Remains; and Kate Shaw, literary agent at The Viney Agency.



West Dean College

Nestled within the South Downs near Chichester is the 6,400 acre West Dean Estate which is home to West Dean College. The peace and tranquillity of the landscape, coupled with the exciting and rich cultural and artistic history of the College and its founder, patron and poet Edward James, offers a stimulating atmosphere to get you writing.

West Dean College offers a year round programme of  Creative Writing short courses. The Creative Writing programme was established by Greg Mosse and Kate Mosse, author of the bestselling Carcassonne trilogy, Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel, and co-founder of the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction.



How to Enter

The 2014 competition is now open for submissions.

The competition is open to unpublished writers of prose fiction.  Submissions of a one-page synopsis and up to 5,000 words of a work-in-progress (novel or short story collection) should be sent by post, with a covering letter and a cheque for £5 (made payable to Myriad Editions) to:

'West Dean Competition', Myriad Editions, 59 Lansdowne Place, Brighton BN3 1FL

Alternatively the fee can be paid via PayPal using the email address:

Please make sure that your name, address, email address and contact number are included in your cover letter, but not on each page of the work itself. Submitted material will not be returned.

The closing date is Monday 3 February 2014

The shortlist will be decided in April 2014 and the winner will be announced in May 2014

An article recommended by Alan....


from Hanif Kureishi about breaking the writing rules and getting into trouble. Alan, we never knew you were such a rebel....

Bridport Prize

23rd January 2014

The novel is still the holy grail of writing.  Named after its founder, Peggy Chapman-Andrews, the Bridport Prize is delighted to announce a new award for talented novelists who are yet to be published or represented by a literary agent.

Alongside the Bridport Prize in this terrific opportunity for the aspiring novelist, are partners The Literary Consultancy and A.M. Heath Literary Agents, offering mentoring and possible publication for the winning novel. 

Up-and-coming writers take note!  For the first stage, all you need to enter are the first chapters of your novel, up to 8,000 words, with a strong synopsis.  Those longlisted and later shortlisted will need to submit further chapters at the relevant stages.  Your novel does not have to be complete to win.  The Literary Consultancy will offer mentoring and feedback over a period of time whilst you finish the novel.  And should it turn out to be a riveting read, A.M. Heath Literary Agents will consider representing you and offering the novel to a publisher they recommend. 

Judging the competition alongside The Literary Consultancy and A.M. Heath, will be acclaimed author, Alison Moore, shortlisted for The Booker Prize in 2012 for her novelThe Lighthouse.  When looking for a winning entry Alison will be searching for “evidence of a feel for language. A story that draws me in, involves me in its world, moves me in some way, and lingers in my head long after I've finished reading.”

Rebecca Swift of The Literary Consultancy says of the project: “The Bridport Prize holds a romantic place in my imagination, as it was one of the first National prizes I became aware of, and seemed a glamorous, serious and exciting initiative full of promise.   Many years later, I am extremely proud that my company, The Literary Consultancy has been asked to be involved with helping to support their new prize, aimed for the first time, at novelists. Bridport stands out in terms of its serious commitment to unearthing, and supporting writing talent, and we look forward to being part of the process of helping those involved to the best of our capabilities.”

A.M. Heath’s Euan Thorneycroft says Discovering new writers is one of the most exciting things about reading, whether you are an agent, a publisher, a bookseller or a book buyer. This is why A.M. Heath is delighted to be involved with a prize dedicated to that aim, particularly one that is founded by the much loved and highly respected Bridport Prize. I am sure we are going to find many literary stars of the future.” 

The award is open to writers, resident in the UK, with a part-written or completed novel in any adult fiction genre.  

The closing date is 31st May 2014 full details are on the Bridport Prize website 

Abandoned Press

We've had this contact from a self-publishing house:  December 2013


Abandoned Press is a recently created independent publishing house which we hope to build into a successful platform from which to publish new and exciting writers. We would be very grateful if you could pass on details of our website and contact info to your group.

We're the Abandoned Press, at, email address, and we're looking for authors whose writing excites, perhaps the sort of work that would not normally be picked up by more established publishers.

 Our intention is to publish actual, old-fashioned, physical, paper books - alongside online publishing and e-books - as we believe that there is still a future in the medium. Just to clarify, this is not about vanity publishing – we don’t intend to publish anything we don’t love.

Thanks for your help,
John McPhun


Twitter: @AbandonedPress


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