Next Few Weeks

Just so you are all aware, the next few weeks have shifted around a bit:

7th Sept – Normal meeting

14th Sept – No Meeting – Going to see members play Tadpoles at 81 Renshaw Street, Liverpool at 7.30pm.

21st – Mills and Boon Night In Honour of Roger Sanderson

Workshop and Short Story Launch

Tonight at the usual venue we are having one of our always excellent Workshop nights, so feel free to come down and exercise your creative juices.

Also! Short Story 2017 is officially launched, with Chief Judge Jo Reardon lined up to sift the winners from the piles of creative talent. Note- the address for entries has changed this year, so check  the rules carefully.

SWC Annual International Short Story Competition 2017

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

Closing date: 31st October 2017

Online entries CLICK HERE

Chief Judge: Jo Reardon

Jo’s fiction has been published in magazines and anthologies including The London Magazine and Mafia and she was runner up in the Cinnamon Short Story Prize 2014.  In collaboration with artist Iain Andrews her short story, ‘My Mind’s Eye’, was published at the Warrington Arts Festival (2012) and ‘Still Life with Blackbirds’ at the Corinium Museum, Cirencester with artist Richard Kenton Webb in 2016.  She also writes for radio where she was a Producer for many years at BBC Radio Drama.  Jo studied Creative Writing at UEA and Lancaster University and is now a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the Open University. Passionate about the short story, she is looking forward to reading the shortlisted entries hoping to find something that will surprise, delight, maybe even shock but above all, hold the reader in its hand from start to finish.

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  • Your entry should be an unpublished, original story on any theme of up to 2000 words (previous publication includes via internet or independent press).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 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, please include PayPal ref. number in body of the email 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, so 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. Note – E-Entries have a processing fee.

Send postal entries to:

Short Story Competition

60 Dinorwic Rd,

Southport,

Merseyside, PR8 4DL

 

Online entries CLICK HERE

Poetry 2017 Results

Note From Organiser

Another busy year for our little international poetry competition, and it was truly international with many entries from France, Germany, Australia and other parts of the globe.

The standard as ever was exemplary and the skim down to the shortlist was difficult with well over 300 fine examples of poetry pouring in. This time round Romance was NOT the common theme, instead a wide array of themes, tones and styles graced our eyes and moved our emotions; there really are some talented people out there.

In the end though, this years judge Carole Baldock had the final say and her report is below.

CLICK HERE TO READ WINNING ENTRIES

SWC Annual International Poetry Competition 2017 Judges Report

According to some people, there is a difference between competition poems and those submitted to a magazine – can’t see it myself, because in both instances, the focus is on the best work. As to what is best, that’s always subjective. As is humour, which is where we’ll start.

I have been known to point out that all too often, Orbis seems to be full of doom and gloom so the light-hearted is greeted with open arms, and publication. That said, humour is a tricky thing to master but what’s interesting is that it’s invariably in rhyme, and as some of you may know, Orbis is one of the few magazines which continue to publish such work – I love a good rhyme.

Incidentally, once you’re down to a shortlist, most submissions unfortunately rule themselves out through the tiniest of details – or maybe it’s a case of choosing a judge who tends somewhat towards nit-picking…But like they say: shame to spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar, in particular when it’s a little something which can easily be remedied, such as spelling; grammar; inconsistent layout etc – yes, the dreaded semicolon, or omission thereof, should be in that list.

For example, the poem I found the most amusing was not labelled with ‘H’ but even though technically disqualified, it deserves an Honorary Mention.

‘Trumpery, Trumpety-Trump’ by Grahame Lloyd

Runner-up: the vast majority of humorous poems use rhyme because it adds punch. This used partial rhyme, which I am not generally a fan of since it can be jarring but it works well here. And such a daft idea, with an incongruous twist.

‘The Man in the Red Sombrero’ by J Gorman

The winner of the Humour prize could not really be faulted, except that the poem deserved a more interesting title. But it sauntered along jauntily so there was no sense of the poet desperately seeking for words which sound the same instead of focusing on imagery and language – let alone being humorous. A clever comment on Society, all the more so for not preaching, and the message was conveyed with a great deal of wit, and puns: eg, ‘down at heel’; ‘poor old soul’. And a clever twist at the end.

‘Peggotty-Sue’ by A K S Shaw

****

Main Prizes

Honourable Mention

‘A Blue Time’ by Judy Drazin

A very personal poem, extremely moving. It dealt with a difficult subject with memorable delicacy. And you could argue that the often seemingly indiscriminate line breaks making it a somewhat disjointed read were appropriate, given the theme. Nonetheless, it may have had more impact with less of a distraction if the rhyme scheme had been consistent and line endings were more logical and effective, used to add focus with stronger words rather than ‘a’ or ‘my’.

3rd

‘Bombs Don’t Fall’ by Scott Elder

2nd

‘Baby Sheep’ by Leo Holloway

One, richly painted, the other, plain speaking; the former, on fairly familiar territory; the other portraying a surreal landscape – no, I did not quite get the latter but there again, one of my favourite pieces of advice about poetry: you don’t have to understand a poem to appreciate it. It also had a stronger – stranger – conclusion; the former, again, may have worked better with some lines the other way round.

In both cases, I could complain about the use of dashes: seemed to be used mainly to replace punctuation rather than reserved to add emphasis/drama; because 1 of them seemed superfluous, the other had less of an effect. And one misplaced capital letter in the former but with both, I could not fault the line endings nor the use of language – marvellous metaphors in the former: ‘lambs scuttling on salad-server legs’; stark comments in the latter: ‘The wind was ever from the north’. Both, in their own way, were heart-felt, and so beautifully crafted, they have the same effect on the reader.

1st

‘I will buy a trunk’ by Cathy Whittaker

So what was I looking for? Originality: ideas, imagery and language, and the winning poem caught my attention right from the start – although maybe an unfair advantage since I happen to know Whitehaven. But still, pretty flawless, even transcending a full stop which should have been a comma. And there were a couple of line endings I could quibble about, while a couple of stanzas may have been more effective swapped around.

Nevertheless, it was written with considerable authority and verve, successfully transforming the everyday (garage full of tools) into the extraordinary with some striking metaphors: ‘nightmares squared like maps’. Based, sort of, on ‘pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag’, it effortlessly manages to avoid reading like a list, conjuring up memories, good and bad, being full of vivid imagery and ideas, often very wittily: ‘I’ll think of a number which is not my birthday’. Above all, it is that very rare thing: a happy poem.

As I was taught, many years ago, studying for a degree in Librarianship, one of the golden rules of business is getting it right the first time, every time, although, fair enough, that’s extremely, perhaps impossibly, stringent. And should never, ever be applied to computers of course.

But the finalists can rest assured, they passed this text with flying colours. And authority; work which has been a labour of love but in being expertly crafted, read effortlessly: entertaining and often educational. And something which it would be a pleasure to consider for publication in Orbis.

Poetry Adjudication

Good news! SWCIPC 2017 has been judged! We will be contacting the winners shortly and having an award evening on the 6th July at the usual venue to officially announce results after the usual checks and so forth have been done.

Why not come down and listen to judge Carole Baldock’s wise rulings and maybe pick up some tips for future poems?

Poetry Competition Closed

Thank you a lot to all the many who entered, but sadly the comp is now closed for entries this year and the shortlist stack is being prepared ready to be mulled over by our chief judge Carole Baldock.

Results will be publicly available from late June, however if circumstances require extra judging time, we would appreciate patience. Each year we get entrants who get a bit excited by the thrill of the race and try to spur us on, but we would like to assure those people in advance that it is all being sorted and worthy winners will be announced when the time is right.

Annual Events 2017

Will be updated with weekly themes and other events as time goes on.

2017
April

6th

Last day for subs

13th

20th

Joan Nicholson Judging – Carol Fenlon

27th

May

4th

6th

Southport Festival  – Creative Workshop, Atkinson, Saturday, 11.30am

11th

 Alt Chair

18th

Alt Chair

25th

Alt Chair
June

1st

 Theme – Darkness Lies

8th

Theme – Angels Cry

15th

 Theme – Devils Laugh

22nd

 Theme – Lions Roar

29th

Theme – Ravens Call
July

6th

  Poetry Comp Award Night – Guest Judge – Carole Baldock

13th

 Theme – Plumbers Bill

20th

 Theme – Born to Kill

27th

 Theme – Lovers Lament
August

3rd

 Summer Writing Workshop

10th

 Theme – The Time is Spent

17th

 Theme – Hope Rises

24th

 Theme – War Divides

31st

 Theme – Endless Bliss
September

7th

 Theme – In The Dark

14th

 Theme – Nobody Waits No Meeting: Dennis’ play in Liverpool

21st

Mills and Boon Night in honour of Roger Sanderson

28th

 Theme – Through the Gates
October

5th

 Theme – First to Win

12th

 Theme – Love Begins

19th

 Theme – Feeling Mellow

26th

 Theme – Running Yellow
November

2nd

 Theme – Wrong Way Round

9th

 Theme – What’s That Sound?

16th

 Theme – Dancing Queen

23rd

 Theme – Making a Scene

30th

 Theme – Birds Flight
December

7th

 Theme – Out of Sight

14th

 Theme – Have No Fear

21st

Christmas Readings! Last one of the year
2018
January

11th

First one back!

18th

25th

February

1st

8th

15th

22nd

AGM
March

1st

8th

15th

22th

29th

Last day for subs

Southport Festival – Creative Workshop 6th May

On Saturday the 6th of May, 11.30 AM, why not join us in the Theatre Bar of the Atkinson, where we will be setting up one of our infamous creative writing workshops as part of the Southport Festival?

We are taking taking requests for activities, but many of the old favourites will be returning, such as Insta-Poem and Reverse Story. Come down and exercise your literary muscles, or maybe just come dip a toe in the water and enjoy some speedily made-up entertainment!