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SWC Annual Open Short Story Competition 2019

Chief Judge: Dr Anna Maddison.

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

Closing date: 31st October 2019

Online entries available HERE

Dr. Anna Maddison is an art historian who lectures on both the History of Art and English Literature, specialising in the Pre-Raphaelites and the Victorian era.

Anna received a BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature from Leeds University and an MA (with distinction) from Liverpool University in Victorian Literature. Her PhD thesis on Pre-Raphaelite poet-painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti presented new analyses of his poetry, painting and design work within the context of Victorian spiritualism and Swedenborgianism.

In addition to university lecturing, Anna has taught across a number of Merseyside art galleries, including the Walker, Tate Liverpool, and the Atkinson, Southport (where she co-curated an exhibition in 2009). She is currently researching a book on Liverpool shipping magnate and art patron Frederick Leyland.

In addition to academic writing, Anna also writes poetry and she was, for a number of years, a book seller and new books buyer at Broadhursts Bookshop in Southport.

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  • Your entry should be an unpublished, original story on any theme of up to 2000 words (previous publication includes via internet or independent press).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.
  • Once your entry has been submitted, any entrant contacting the judges for any reason deemed an attempt to circumvent the judging process is liable to be disqualified.
  • 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 clearly in the body of the mail that you would like to receive the results.
  • Winners will be informed in Dec 2019/ Jan 2020, results will be published on this site thereafter. There may be a delay publishing results and/or winning stories 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

5 Carrwood Park

Southport PR8 5FA

Online entries available HERE

Poetry 2019 Judge’s Report

To read the winning poems CLICK HERE

Organiser’s Report

This was a difficult year, with many talented poets taking a chance that their work would catch the eyes and hearts of our judges and to make it through to the final sift. As ever we had a good spread from across the globe, though more than a couple came from France. The south of England and Scotland had good representation also, leading to a wide mix of cultural influences in the work we received. There is something special about how the differing experiences of individuals give birth to these 40 line windows into other types of lives.

Popular themes this year included Cats (going to show that people did their research!), Religion, DIY, Age and for some reason quite a lot of poems around the Sea and similar nautical themes. Very few about Love or War this time round, which is an oddity in itself, but nice to see writers branching out in their art.

A side note – Every year we have entries whose writers are a little loose with their interpretation of the rules, in terms of line count or things as fundamental as not putting their name on it. I’m happy to say this time round we had the least disqualifications on record for this competition, which is great, because as everyone is aware, you don’t stand a chance of winning if your entry does not even get read. Well done to everyone who entered correctly and please know, it was very hard to decide the shortlist indeed as the majority were excellent.

Chief Judge’s Report – Daniel Riding

It is never a difficult task to explain why you love or loathe a certain piece of poetry, for some, it may be the emotional tone that evokes long lost memories, or it may be the intelligent use of form and structure that alerts me to the talent behind a poem’s creation. However, when greeted with numerous poems that exhibit such a level of intelligence and passion, that the task of choosing winners proves somewhat difficult. Given the difficulty of said task, I am thrilled to say that it was a complete joy to see so many people still writing and enjoying the art of poetry. 

1st Place – Mistaken Identity – by Hannah Stephenson

First place goes to the wonderfully constructed, and charmingly visual ‘Mistaken Identity’. It quite simply made my heart sing, with its delightful childlike quality and the use of a normally overlooked piece of nature to effectively get across its message.

2nd Place – Finally – by Laurence Hughes

Second place goes to a poem that enabled me to see the beauty of beginnings hidden in endings. Finally is a piece of poetry that is small in stature but big in presence. Each sentence, each word, and each syllable is used carefully and with thought. Not a single moment is wasted in this small but poignant piece. 

3rd Place – The Space Between – by D.C.Tunstall

This poem had a smoothness about it that drove home hard this idea of love, it’s limitations and its limitless power to change everything. Be it familial, plutonic or even passionate, love is explored cleverly and with heart in this lovely piece of writing.

Humour Prize – No, don’t tell me – by Dan Hicks

I would like to tell you what I enjoy about this poem, but I may have forgotten! In all seriousness, this poem made me chuckle with its razor-sharp observations about memory loss. Something that all of us can admit to dealing with every now and again. It had a nice rhythm which kept the pace of the poem ticking along nicely and only added to its very funny take on a sometimes serious subject matter. Cleverly done. 

Highly Commended – Fingers for Eyes – by John Morris

Commended – 

Grenfell Tower: The Day After – by Jacqueline Pemberton

Still Water – by Michael Hobbs

Journey – by Helen Jeffery

SWC Creative Workshop – 11th May, 1pm

In association with Southport Festival, we are proud to host one of our famous writing workshops, in the Theatre Bar in the Atkinson on Lord Street.

Open to anyone of any age, ability level or general disposition towards writing, all you need is yourself and a willingness to have your imagination sparked in a series of activities designed to coax words even from the most novice writer. This year will include new prompts such as Dictionary Corner, Amazing Tales! and Roll Up Poem, as well as old favourites like Reverse Story and Consequences. You can drop in an out as you please, but you are guaranteed to come away buzzing with your next scribbling idea!

Paypal issue

We are aware of the current issue with our PayPal account and payments. We are trying to sort it out as quickly as possible, however in the meantime if you wish to pay for the Poetry 2019 contest, or send us a donation, you are welcome to send a cheque to the address on the comp page.

Thank you for your patience!

SWC Annual International Poetry Competition 2019

Online entries CLICK HERE

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

(In addition: £25 Humour Prize)

Chief Judge: Daniel Riding

Image may contain: 1 person

Daniel Riding is a published poet, children’s author and artist, currently living in Liverpool with his husband and two very demanding cats, Raja and Oliver. Daniel has always loved playing with words and telling magical and fun stories, so it is no surprise that he ended up as a poet and writer. When not writing and drinking copious amounts of tea, Daniel is also a bookseller which, after writing, is one of the best jobs in the world.

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 (for postal entries) 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 (information) 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 without notice.
  • 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 2019. 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. Please do not contact us regarding bounced payments unless you are certain Paypal is not functional.
  • If you would like a copy of adjudicator’s report (if and when 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

60 Dinorwic Rd,

Southport,

Merseyside,

PR8 4DL

Please DO NOT send entries by recorded delivery or send any other material such as return/receipt postcards as this will be disregarded.

Online entries CLICK HERE

Short Story 2018 Results

NOTE – THE WINNING STORIES AVAILABLE HERE

Organiser’s Report

It is always a pleasure to read through the stories that so many people decide to send, in the hopes that their little pieces of inspiration will gain the light and recognition that they deserve. The quality of many entries deserved such recognition, though it has to be mentioned the importance of reading the rules for any competition, which sadly some people fell afoul of this year (don’t put your name on every page of an anonymous entry!).

We had stories about every topic going – romance, war, shopping, robots, babies, time travel, chocolate and many more. Entries came from Germany, France, and Spain as well as a good concentration from the south of England. Of course, shortlisters can only go so far, and any love they have for particular favourites in the sifting has to be put aside for the final judge to have her say. We were fortunate this year to have an award winning novelist join us and we respect her final opinions.

Chief Judges Report – Carys Bray

It is not especially hard to decide whether a story is enjoyable and satisfying – as readers, we do this all the time. It is, however, hard to take a group of satisfying and enjoyable stories and pick a winner. I recognise that another judge, on another day, may have looked at these stories and placed them in a different order. The stories below intrigued and surprised me, and I enjoyed reading each of them.

1st Place: Peace and Quiet by Louise Wilford

First place goes to this well-written and intriguing short story that invites an active, interrogative response from the reader and concludes with an enjoyably sinister twist.

2nd Place: The Spae Wife by Julie-Ann Rowell

Second place goes to this evocative, historical short story that makes beautiful use of sensory language and explores themes of prejudice and judgement in an isolated community.

3rd Place: Closer to the Edge by Robert Kibble

Third place goes to this tense short story in which the writer examines the line between cruelty and humour while achieving a satisfying combination of action and introspection.

Highly commended: Equinox by Marianne Whiting

This highly commended historical short story explores themes of shame and sacrifice, reaching a powerful, understated conclusion.

Commended: The Angel and the Bridge by Norman Kitching

This commended story empathetically tackles big themes: guilt, betrayal and the kindness of strangers.

Commended: The Real Fake News by Paul Barnett

Resonant and timely, this commended short story contains some lovely images and has echoes of Orwell’s 1984.

A new start…

We are returning to action on the 10th of January, with many a fine scribble to welcome in the new year. Made a a resolution to write more this year? Join us! We offer much friendly encouragement as ever.

Also: Thursday the 24th will be our much anticipated Short Story 2018 Awards evening. Some of you know the winners already, but it will be made official then.

See you soon!

Guest Speaker and Christmas Readings!

Hello! The last two meetings of 2018 are going to be excellent. They are open to all comers, being Guest Speaker Ian Hall on the 13th Dec , then our annual mince pie fest and joyful Christmas Readings on the 20th Dec. Bring along anyone you like to come and enjoy the fun 🙂
We come back then on the 10th January, ready for all those New Year resolutions.