Click HERE to enter our competitions quickly and easily using PayPal and your email
Click HERE for results of previous competitions.
First prize: £150 Second prize: £80 Third prize: £30
Closing date: 31st October 2018
Online entries CLICK HERE
Chief Judge: Carys Bray
Carys Bray’s debut collection Sweet Home won the Scott prize and selected stories were broadcast on BBC Radio Four Extra. Her first novel A Song for Issy Bradley was serialised on BBC Radio Four’s Book at Bedtime and was shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, the Association of Mormon Letters Awards, the Waverton Good Read Award, the 15 Bytes Book Awards and the Desmond Elliott Prize. The novel won the Utah Book Award and the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award. It was was selected for the 2015 Richard and Judy Summer Book Club. Her second novel The Museum of You was published in June 2016.
Optional – Paper saving single-spaced entries encouraged.
Send postal entries to:
Short Story Competition
Online entries CLICK HERE
We are getting terribly emotional at SWC, with an evening dedicated to expressing our feelings in a variety of different work. There will be a talk from Dennis Conlon, writing activities and discussions about the best way to show the reader how you feel.
Free to enter, see you there!
To read the winning poems, Click Here
Organiser Notes –
Another year, another set of difficult decisions. In the role of Chief Judge we were graced by the talented and prolific Alison Chisholm, whose opinion is very much respected in the world of poetry (and is also an ex-member of SWC!). The International part of the competition did not fail to surprise us again, with entries from France, Germany, and South Africa. The shortlisting was a hard process with so many excellent entries, but somehow we got it down to the final filter of twenty or so. The downside of an anonymous system also struck, as the 1st Prize winner also turned out to be the Humour Prize winner. I’m sure you will agree though, that both poems are worth of taking the prizes, as well as the 2nd 3rd and Commendeds. For those who did not make the final cut, we hope to see your work again next year, as in such a tight competition, anyone could swing it next time!
Judges Report from Alison Chisholm –
My big problem was with the humour section. The hilarious pieces were badly crafted. The beautifully crafted pieces weren’t funny. I’ve ended up picking a poem that has some wry touches of humour among pretty dark layers, and is without doubt the best contender for a humour prize. The results, then, are:
Your Call is Important to Us
by David Mark Williams
The repetition and delicious images work well, and while there is clear humour in the recognisable frustration of the repeated announcement, there are neat undercurrents to show this is not just a poem about an annoying phone call, but has a much deeper significance.
By David Mark Williams
Anyone who has ever spent a sleepless night will identify with this poem. It uses imagery with precision, and it’s an object lesson in how to craft a free verse poem in which slant rhyme and lineation are applied beautifully.
By Elizabeth Horrocks
Another free verse poem, this takes an original subject and clothes it in finely crafted free verse. The route from innocence to Mammon is charted perfectly.
Allowing the Light
By Sheila Aldous
This piece, written in response to a recent tragedy, can hardly fail to touch everyone who followed the story.
By Jenny West
This brilliant evocation of family life is image-rich and enormously appealing. The only thing wrong with the poem is its lack of punctuation, which is such an important factor in the poem.
Edges of Autumn
By Lynne Taylor
On This Summer Day
By Sue Kauth
The Edge of Alderley
By Elizabeth Horrocks
On the 21st of June we are welcoming noted poet, Alison Chisholm to dispense her literary wisdom on our Annual Poetry Competition 2018 adjudication evening, where we will find out the winners and listen to some prize-winning poetry. All welcome.
On Thursday the 14th we are heading down to Reuters for a fun-filled evening of doggies and extremely good raffle prizes instead of our regular meeting. Please do not turn up at Parenting 2000 on that night as we will not be there! See the link below for more details and we hope you can join us with all your family and friends 🙂
On the 26th we are having a session of thought and craft as our speakers Dennis Conlon and Sean Heslin lead us through talks and activities, as we explore the concepts of Developing Character Voice and Developing Authorial Voice.
It is a free event, though donations are encouraged. Any level of writing ability is welcome and we invite anyone who has an interest to come along and enjoy an evening of expanding writing concepts in unexpected directions.
Calendar will be updated as and when required
|23rd||Poetry Workshop @ Fables Fest @ Edge Hill University|
|29th||Last day for subs! Also EGM and Guest Speaker Bob Stone|
|26th||‘Voice’ Workshop with Dennis Conlon and Sean Heslin|
|30th||Final Submissions for Poetry Competition|
|12th||Southport Festival – Creative Workshop, Atkinson 11am|
|31st||Joan Nicholson Award Judging – Bob Stone|
|14th||No meeting! Charity event at Reuters from 7.30pm|
|21st||Poetry Competition Adjudication by Alison Chisholm|
|31st||Final submissions for Short Story competition|
|20th||Xmas Readings and Last meeting of 2018|
|10th||First meeting of 2019|
|28th||Last day for annual subs|
On the 23rd March (a Friday) we will be delighted to be taking part in the inaugural Fables Fest, a gathering of literary types from all over the North for a day of discussions and wordy enjoyment.
We will be doing an hour long poetry workshop at 11am, and everyone is more than welcome to come down and see what is happening.
Chief Judge: Alison Chisholm
Alison has written 11 poetry collections and had her work broadcast on both TV and radio. She lives in Southport and has been teaching poetry and creative writing for over 30 years. She has written courses for the Merseyside and North West Open College boards, as well as running workshops across the UK, including at Swanwick, NAWG Festival of Writing, The Writers’ Holiday, Fishguard, The Writers’ Summer School, and Relax and Write weekends. Currently, Alison works as a poetry consultant and regularly contributes to Writing Magazine.
RULES: Please read carefully
Envelopes should be sent to:-
Southport Writers’ Circle Poetry Competition
60 Dinorwic Rd,
Please DO NOT send entries by recorded delivery or send any other confirming material such as return postcards.
Online entries CLICK HERE
This year’s standard of entries was just as high as previous ones and our shortlisting team had real trouble filtering out the best for Joanne to peruse. The most common theme this year was ‘Divorce’ which was a new one for us, but the perennial ‘Ghost story’ showed its face more than a few times in the literary mix. Globally, entrants were fairly spread out, with France, Spain and New Zealand being represented this year and also a small story from the Isle of Skye.
Every entry though had a different idea as to what was a good story and many of them were exactly that, however, as ever, the massed ranks of creativity were whittled away to leave us with but a scant handful of winners. Well done to them and to everyone else who entered.
Those who did not make the cut, we encourage you to keep trying, as one day it could be you on that ethereal winner’s podium claiming a prize for your excellent writing.
Judges Report – Joanne Reardon
First Prize: Giving Him Back – Valerie Bowes
Understated and assured writing which pulls the reader into a world where nothing is quite as it seems. Three children spending an unremarkable day at the beach building sandcastles and playing football are disturbed by a young child who has wandered into their space. When the eldest child, Mara, tries to return him to his family she finds that this simple task is not as easy as she imagines. This is a gentle ghost story just strange enough to undermine our expectations but familiar enough to imagine ourselves in the same predicament. It does what all good short stories do and captures a whole lifetime in an instant and although the reader has to work to get to the final twist in the story, the trouble is worth it. The writer creates an engaging and believable world full of longing and regret.
Second Prize: Hara-kiri – Richard Stephenson
Another story where a familiar world becomes something completely unexpected and the reader is shaken out of complacency into a world altogether darker and more unsettling. The writer paces the narrative with care starting by establishing the familiar banality of office life where spreadsheets and data are analysed in detail and where one badly misjudged decision can bring down a corporation. So far, so familiar, but our sense of equilibrium is challenged by events in the story and the elegance of Japanese ritual combines with British stiff upper lip to take a dark turn, which lingers in the reader’s mind long after the story has ended.
Third Prize: Old – Marcia Woolf
This was a moving story where moment by moment emotions find themselves poised on a knife’s edge as though one wrong word or move could break the carefully wrought tension. This matches the content and tone of the story which takes place in the aftermath of a funeral where long held secrets remain stubbornly unresolved. Despite the final confrontation between mother and son being a little too predictable which tends to lessen the tension overall, the story nevertheless has credibility and honesty which would easily connect with a reader.
Highly Commended: Stranger, Stranger – Robert Kibble
Nothing is quite as it seems in this story where a parent’s worst nightmare is realised as a child disappears in the London Underground. There are some good narrative decisions here – the first person narrative voice creates genuine warmth and honesty and the use of the immediate present holds the reader in the grip of the narrator’s fears. Bringing in a second first person narrative does slightly undermine the control of the narrative, it being hard to convince of two personal stories in such a short space of time, but genuine promise in the writing here all the same.
If Walls Could Talk – Pamela Trudie Hodge,
Parka Billy – Juliet Hill