SWC Annual International Short Story Competition 2018

First prize: £150      Second prize: £80     Third prize: £30

Closing date: 31st October 2018

Online entries CLICK HERE

Chief Judge: Carys Bray

Image result for carys bray authorCarys 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.

Full Rules:

  • Your entry should be an unpublished, original story on any theme of up to 2000 words (previous publication includes via internet or independent press).
  • Do not put your name or any other identifying information on your story but do give it a suitable title. Titles should be both appropriate and interesting.
  • There is no set theme or style for the competition, other than the above.
  • You do not need an entry form. Send us a separate cover sheet  with each entry’s title, word count, your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address.
  • For internet entries, put above details in body of email but also please include PayPal ref. number OR put the story(ies) names in the comments box when paying. Also please use basic formatting in any of .doc, .docx, rich text or .odf file types when attaching your entry file to the email. Any sidebars, headers, footers or unusual layouts may result in your electronic entry being rejected.
  • No individual correspondence will be entered into regarding receipt of works/payments. Please do not send any confirmational material or use Recorded Delivery.
  • Please include an SAE if you wish to receive a print of the results/judges report (if available) when the competition is finished. For email entries, please note in the body of the mail that you would like to receive the results.
  • Winners will be informed in Dec/Jan, general availability of results will be available on this site thereafter. There may be a delay publishing results depending on circumstances and permissions.
  • Entries in English please (minor dialect allowable).
  • Winning stories may be published on this site for 12 months with permission of original author.

Optional – Paper saving single-spaced entries encouraged.

  • The fee is £3.00 for each story, or £10 for 4.  You can pay by cheque or postal order made out to Southport Writers’ Circle. (E-entries have a processing fee.)

Send postal entries to:

Short Story Competition

60 Dinorwic Rd,

Southport,

Merseyside, PR8 4DL

 

Online entries CLICK HERE

Emotions Workshop – 26th July

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!

2018 Poetry Results

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:

 

Humour

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.

 

First Prize

Insomnia Soliloquy

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.

 

Second Prize

The Curse

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.

 

Third Prize

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.

 

Highly Commended

Cold Egg

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.

 

Commended

Edges of Autumn

By Lynne Taylor

 

On This Summer Day

By Sue Kauth

 

The Edge of Alderley

By Elizabeth Horrocks

 

Clacton 1967

Susi Clare

 

Poetry Adjudication 2018

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.

Voices Workshop – 26th April

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.

Annual Events 2018/9

Calendar will be updated as and when required

2018
March
22nd
23rd Poetry Workshop @ Fables Fest @ Edge Hill University
29th Last day for subs! Also EGM and Guest Speaker Bob Stone
April
5th
12th
19th
26th ‘Voice’ Workshop with Dennis Conlon and Sean Heslin
30th Final Submissions for Poetry Competition
May
3rd
10th
12th   Southport Festival – Creative Workshop, Atkinson 11am
17th
24th
31st Joan Nicholson Award Judging – Bob Stone
June
7th
14th No meeting! Charity event at Reuters from 7.30pm
21st  Poetry Competition Adjudication by Alison Chisholm
28th
July
5th
12th
19th
26th Emotions Workshop
August
2nd
9th
16th
23rd
30th
September
6th
13th
20th
27th
October
4th
11th
18th
25th
31st Final submissions for Short Story competition
November
1st
8th
15th
22nd
29th
December
6th
13th
20th Xmas Readings and Last meeting of 2018
2019
January
10th First meeting of 2019
17th
24th
31st
February
7th
14th
21st
28th
March
7th
14th
21st
28th Last day for annual subs

Fables Fest @ Edge Hill – 23rd March

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.

SWC Annual International Poetry Competition 2018

Online entries CLICK HERE

First Prize: £150, Second Prize: £75, Third Prize: £25

(In addition: £25 Humour Prize)

Chief Judge: Alison ChisholmAlison

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

  • Poems should bear no identification of the poet.  Humour entries should be marked with an ‘H’. Humour entrants are not disqualified from winning main prizes.
  • Please enclose a separate A4 sheet of paper with your full contact details (address, email, phone number) and list of titles submitted. For online entries, this information is allowable in the body of the email.
  • All entries must be typed on A4 paper, in English (dialects allowable), and must be the original, unpublished work of the entrant.
  • For internet entries, please include PayPal ref. number in body of email OR put the story(ies) names in the comments (add info) box when paying. Also please use basic formatting in any of .doc, .docx, rich text (.rtf) or .odf file types when attaching your file to the email. Any .pdfs, sidebars, headers, footers or unusual layouts may result in your electronic entry being rejected.
  • Each entry should be accompanied by the appropriate fee of £3 per poem or four poems for £10. Cheques/Postal orders should be in sterling and payable to: SOUTHPORT WRITERS’ CIRCLE.
  • A maximum of 40 lines per poem is allowed.
  • The closing date for entries will be 30th April 2018. Winners will be informed in June, general availability of results thereafter.
  • Please keep a copy of your poem(s) as manuscripts cannot be returned.
  • The adjudicator’s decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding receipt of individual entries or payments.
  • If you would like a copy of adjudicator’s report (if available), please include an SAE for paper entries, or for online entries please state you wish to have the results in the body of the email.
  • No application form is required.

Envelopes should be sent to:-

Southport Writers’ Circle Poetry Competition

Poetry Competition

60 Dinorwic Rd,

Southport,

Merseyside,

PR8 4DL

Please DO NOT send entries by recorded delivery or send any other confirming material such as return postcards.

Online entries CLICK HERE

Short Story 2017 Results

For Winning Stories Click Here

Organisers Report

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.

Commended:

If Walls Could Talk – Pamela Trudie Hodge,

Parka Billy – Juliet Hill