Friday, 20 March 2020

ONLY 11 Days Left TO Enter Caterpillar

The Caterpillar Poetry Prize 2020!

The one and only Roger McGough
 To Judge
Dubbed the ‘patron saint of poetry’ by Carol Ann Duffy, McGough has published more than 50 books of adult's and children’s poetry. He was awarded a CBE for services to poetry and currently hosts Poetry Please on BBC Radio 4.

'McGough has done for poetry what champagne does for weddings' Time Out

'McGough is a true original and more than one generation would be much the poorer without him' The Times

About the Prize

The prize is for a single unpublished poem written by an adult for children (aged 7–11)

The poem can be of any length and on any subject.

Anyone can enter, as long as they are over 16.

Previous judges include Chrissie Gittins, Brian Moses and John Hegley.

Previous winners include Laura Mucha, Louise Greig and Coral Rumble.

The winner receives €1,000 plus publication in the summer issue of The Caterpillar.

How to enter

The entry fee is €14 per poem, and you can enter as many poems as you like.

You can ENTER ONLINE (where you'll be given the option to pay via PayPal or to send a cheque), or send your poem or poems along with a cheque or postal order made payable to ‘The Moth Magazine Ltd.’ with an ENTRY FORM or a cover letter with your name and contact details and the title of poems attached to: The Caterpillar, Ardan Grange, Milltown, Belturbet, Co. Cavan, Ireland.

Please remember to READ THE RULES of the competition before you enter.


Desperate Literature Prize - FINAL EXTENDED DEADLINE -March 29th

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2020


Aesthetica Creative Writing Award

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is an international literary prize that is a hotbed for new talent in Poetry and Short Fiction. Now in its 14th year, the Prize supports both emerging and established writers. By entering, writers can showcase their work to key industry figures and organisations including The Poetry Society, Granta, VINTAGE and more.

Winners are selected for both categories and awarded with £1,000. Publication within the Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology, is also awarded to a further 60 writers whose works are highly commended.

Aesthetica is proud to champion new writing talent and supports its writing alumni beyond the Prize, offering print and digital publicity and continued exposure across our channels.

Poetry £12 | Short Fiction £18

Submissions close 31 August 2020


(Submissions are organised through our Submittable Platform)

£1,000 prize money for the Poetry & Short Fiction Winners
Publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual
Full membership to The Poetry Society (Poetry Winner)
Consultation with Redhammer Management (Fiction Winner)
Selection of books from Vintage and Bloodaxe Books
One year print subscription to Granta

Poetry entries should be no more than 40 lines
Fiction entries should be no more than 2,000 words
Works published or entered elsewhere are accepted
You may enter the Award as many times as you wish
Both Poetry and Fiction entries should be written in English
For more information, read our FAQs here or for our refund policy
December 2019 – 31 August 2020: Entries open
September 2020: Judging begins
December 2020: Winners and finalists are announced
December 2020: Publication of winners and finalists in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual 2021

The John McGahern Award 2020

As part of the Iron Mountain Literature Festival, Leitrim County Council and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre with the support of the McGahern Estate developed the John McGahern Award to encourage the development of emerging Irish writers and to pay tribute to the exceptional contribution of John McGahern to literature, and to Leitrim.

John McGahern is one of Ireland’s most respected and celebrated authors. His fiction is critically acclaimed internationally, has been translated into many languages and has appeared in many anthologies. He was a member of Aosdána and won numerous awards, including the Irish-American Foundation Award, the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, and the Prix Etranger Ecureuil. He taught at universities in Ireland, England, the USA and Canada. Amongst Women, which won both the GPA and Irish Times Award, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and made into a BBC television series.

The recipient of the award who will receive a two-week fully resourced residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre and a stipend of €1,000, will be publicly announced on Saturday 3rd October 2020 during the festival

Who Can Apply:

This is an open call to early career writers of fiction resident in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. Applicants must have had some fiction or short stories published in a recognised journal or anthology selected by an established publisher or editor.

How to Apply:

Applications are accepted on-line through the link at the bottom of this page and must include:

A cover letter clearly and concisely outlining the project you would like to focus on during your time at Annaghmakerrig.

An up to date biography.

Three samples of recent separate work of up to 500 words each.

Each sample of work should have two cover pages: the first listing the title of work and the author’s name, address, and contact details; and a second listing only the title of the work. The author’s name, other identifying information, and publication information must not appear after the first cover page.

All attachments should be in .doc, .docx or Open Office (.odt) format.

​ Works submitted are judged anonymously.

Application Deadline:

Closing date for receipt of submissions is Midnight Friday 31 July, 2020. No late applications will be considered. Applications will be acknowledged by email on receipt.

Selection Process:

Applications go before a selection committee nominated by Leitrim County Council and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. The successful applicant will be notified no later than 15 September, 2020. The recipient of the award will be publicly announced on Saturday 3rd October 2020 during the Iron Mountain Literature Festival at The Dock, Carrick on Shannon.

Make a Submission

Monday, 24 February 2020

RTÉ Short Story Competition 2020 wants your stories


RTÉ has today invited short story submissions for one of Ireland's longest established and most significant literary prizes, the RTÉ Short Story Competition in honour of Francis MacManus.

Writers have until Friday 8th May to submit their short story which will be judged by a panel of three judges: editor, lecturer and journalist, Madeleine Keane; award-winning short story writer and previous prize-winner of the RTÉ Short Story Competition, Danielle McLaughlin; and writer and broadcaster, Vincent Woods.

Previous prize-winner and judge for 2020, Danielle McLaughlin, says: "I'll never get tired of the thrill of hearing somebody read one of my stories on the radio. A story told over the radio carries a particular intimacy, a sense that the telling of the story is a private thing between narrator and the individual listener. For the writer of the story, of course, there's the wonder of realising that the story you wrote at the kitchen table, or in a café, is being heard by thousands. I still remember the joy of getting the phone call telling me I'd been shortlisted for the competition! So for anybody who has a story they'd like to get out into the world: get your entry in. You've got nothing to lose and wonderful things might happen."

The RTÉ Short Story Competition is now open for entries. Click here to download the application form, email or phone (01) 2083277 with your name, postal address and phone number.

The shortlist of 10 stories will be announced by early September, while the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in RTÉ later in September.

The overall winner will receive €3,000, while €2,000 and €1,000 will be awarded to the second and third place prize winners respectively. A further seven runners-up will receive €250 each, and all 10 short stories will be broadcast in a season of new writing on RTÉ Radio 1 in the autumn. The top three prizewinning stories will also be published on

The RTÉ Short Story Competition has been championing new talent for decades with the winning and shortlisted short stories being produced for radio broadcast and voiced by some of Ireland’s most talented actors of the stage and screen. In recent years these have included Peter Hanly, Ali White, Emmet Kirwan, Cathy Belton, Ingrid Craigie, Denis Conway, Andrew Bennett, Caitríona Ní Mhurchú, Kathy-Rose O'Brien, and many more.

See Competition Rules and entry form and please note, submissions -- hard copy, postal or hand-delivered only -- must be received by 5pm on Friday 8th May 2020 at RTÉ Short Story Competition, RTÉ Radio Centre, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Ireland.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Voices 2020 Competition - Grown Up In Care

Voices 2020: Our Judges

We have a fantastic expert panel of judges lined up for Voices 2020, featuring authors, poets and journalists, some with first-hand experience of the care system. They can’t wait to read your amazing entries on the theme of ‘Dreams’.

Find out more about who the judges are and their incredible work below.

Lauren Child MBE, children’s author and illustrator


Lauren is an award-winning children’s author and illustrator. She is the creator of many much-loved characters, including Clarice Bean, Hubert Horatio and Ruby Redfort.

Her first two books were published in 1999 – I Want a Pet and Clarice Bean, That’s Me, and she won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal in 2000 for I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato, the first of her Charlie and Lola picture books, and published her first Clarice Bean novel in 2002 – Utterly Me, Clarice Bean.

She has won several awards as both an author and illustrator including British Children’s Book of the Year and her books have sold over 15 million copies worldwide.

In 2008 Lauren launched UNESCO’s ‘My Life is a Story’ Campaign for UNESCO’s Programme for the Education of Children in Need, and was named a UNESCO Artist for Peace. In 2010, Lauren was awarded an MBE for Services to Literature. She was also the 10th Waterstones’ Children’s Laureate, 2017-2019.

She says: “Writing stories can be empowering for a child, allowing them to communicate their ideas to the outside world and in the process understand themselves better I am delighted to be a judge in this year’s Voices competition and support this wonderful initiative giving young people in care and care leavers a platform to express themselves.”

Paolo Hewitt, writer and music journalist

Paolo is a care experienced music journalist and writer. His book The Looked After Kid is his memoir of life in care, painting a vivid picture of his coming of age in a children’s home and finding salvation through his passion for music and literature. He has also written about being in foster care in his book But We All Shine On. Paolo has also written on various subjects for the Guardian.

He says: “I am so pleased to have been asked to be a judge in the Voices creative writing competition. Having been in care for a lengthy period myself this really is such a great honour.”

You can follow Paolo on Twitter @PaoloHewitt1

Christel Dee, author, presenter and digital marketing manager at Hadean Inc.

Christel Dee is a cosplayer, convention enthusiast and long-time ‘Whovian’. She describes herself as a ‘fun-loving, geeky, digital creative’. She previously hosted Doctor Who: The Fan Show and was part of Doctor Who’s digital marketing team. She currently works at deep tech startup Hadean as a Digital Marketing Manager, founded in 2015 to enable the world’s brightest minds to solve critical issues in gaming, life sciences and more.

In 2018, BBC Books published Doctor Who: The Women Who Lived, Amazing Tales for Future Time Lords, a beautifully illustrated collection of inspiring tales of the women of Doctor Who, written by Christel and Simon Guerrier.

Christel writes regular cosplay features for Doctor Who Magazine and is a member of their Time Team panel.

Christel is a proud member of the LGBT+ community, Shotokan Karate practitioner and is also a care leaver.

She says: “I’m honoured to be asked to be on the judging panel for this exciting and important competition. As a care-experienced person myself, I know how important it is for children in care and young care leavers to have positive platforms to express themselves. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they create!”

You can follow Christel on Twitter @christeldee and find out more about her on her website.

Mr Gee, poet, comedian, musician and presenter, Radio 4 and BBC Radio 2

From humble beginnings as a Hip-Hop DJ, Mr Gee honed his spoken word skills as the host of the renowned performance poetry club Brix-Tongue and Straight outta Shoreditch. He is now one of the stars of the UK poetry scene and remains at the cutting edge of Underground poetry across the globe, running regular Chill Pill nights at the Soho Theatre, Roundhouse and Albany.

Mr Gee has previously presented the new Radio 4 series, Poetic Justice, which encouraged prison inmates to write poems that gives an intimate insight into prison life at different prisons across the UK. Mr Gee has also hosted on Radio 4 the SONY award nominated series, ‘Bespoken Word,’ the first BBC series dedicated to modern performance poetry and the series ‘Rhyme and Reason.’ Mr Gee is the co-winner of a Sony Gold Award for Radio as the resident poet/comedian on the Russell Brand Show on BBC Radio 2.

He says’ “I am very happy to be back again as a judge for the Voices competition that empowers young people in care and allows them to express themselves in such powerful ways”.

Follow Mr Gee on Twitter @mrgeepoet and read more about his story here

Abi Elphinstone, children’s author

Abi is a bestselling children’s author, who grew up in Scotland, where she spent weekends building dens in the woods, jumping into icy rivers, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. She enjoyed reading and writing stories from a young age and her favourite subject at school was English.

Abi went on to get a degree in English from the University of Bristol and spent several years teaching English in the UK as well as in Africa.

When Abi is not writing, she likes to travel the world looking for inspiration for her next story. Her latest adventure involved living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia.

She also works as a volunteer reading helper in schools for Coram Beanstalk, which is part of the Coram group of charities.

Her best-selling books include: The Unmapped Chronicles (Rumblestar), Sky Song, The Dreamsnatcher trilogy and for younger readers, The Snow Dragon.

She says: “I’m honoured to be a judge for Coram Voice, which celebrates the creative talents of care-experiences young people, and I’m hugely excited about reading the works of these wonderful new voices.”

You can follow Abi on Twitter @moontrug and find out more about her work on her website.

Piers Torday, children’s writer

Piers is an award-winning children’s writer and is the son of the novelist Paul Torday. Piers enjoyed reading, writing and drawing from an early age, and particularly enjoyed books with good pictures.

Piers’ first cartoon at the age of 7, which was about a superhero called Super Sid, won a competition in a local newspaper. Piers began his career in theatre and then television as a producer and writer.

His first book for children, The Last Wild, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Award and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal . His second book The Dark Wild (2014) won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. There May Be A Castle was a People’s Book Award finalist and a Times Children’s Book of the Year. The Lost Magician was a Book of the Year in six national newspapers and won the Teach Primary Book Award.

Piers has also completed an unfinished novel by his late father Paul (author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Death of an Owl) and adapted The Box of Delights and A Christmas Carol for the stage.

Like many writers he spends a lot of time teaching writing as well as doing it, and is a regular speaker at schools both in the UK and abroad, and at festivals and conferences

He says: “In these challenging times for both those in care and those who care for them, it is more vital than ever that we hear their voices and what they have to say. It is a privilege to judge the Voices creative writing competition, and I for one can’t wait to read this year’s submissions, and unleash some real writing talent.”

You can follow Piers on Twitter @PiersTorday and find out more about him on his website.

Ric Flo, rap artist and creative director of the hip-hop collective Jungle Brown

Ric uses the art of rap to empower children in care through telling his story in foster care via songwriting workshops and using his life experience to help them unleash their creativity.

He says, “Having first-hand experience of the care system myself, I am very happy to be a judge on the 2019 Voices competition. I am proud to support young people using the power of creative writing to amplify their voices.”

Follow Ric on Twitter @ricflomusic and read more about him here

Dawn Foster, journalist, broadcaster and author

Dawn is a care-experienced journalist, broadcaster and author. She is a columnist for The Guardian newspaper, writing on housing inequality and austerity, and a staff writer for Jacobin magazine. She also contributes to the London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, The Independent, The Nation, Tribune, and Dissent in the United States.

She was awarded the International Building Press Prize for Young Journalist of the Year in 2014. She was also named Non-traditional Journalist of the Year at the inaugural Words by Women Awards.

In September 2017, she was listed at Number 82 in ‘The 100 Most Influential People on the Left’ by political commentator Iain Dale.

You can follow Dawn on Twitter @DawnHFoster and read her piece in the Guardian about her experiences of being in foster care here.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Writing for a Change: Flash Fiction Competition

Writing for a Change: Flash Fiction Competition

The Irish Writers Centre is delighted to announce the return of a Flash Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction competition themed around the climate crisis, in partnership with the National Botanic Gardens and Channel.

"Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable." - Mary Oliver

The climate crisis and the environment are constant subjects of discussion, but it can be hard to stay aware of the need to be consciously active in making environmental improvements in our daily lives. In this competition, we are asking writers to embrace the concept of the climate crisis through short new pieces of contemporary writing which reflect or illustrate this subject in an innovative and relevant manner. This year we ask writers to respond to the Mary Oliver quote above.

To help inspire potential entrants, the National Botanic Gardens will be organising a special free tour of the garden led by an experienced member of staff who will speak on the effects of climate change on the plants in the gardens. This tour will take place on Sunday the 2rd of February 2020 at 12:30, and while it is not a prerequisite or a condition for entering the competition, we encourage participation if you are thinking of entering, as it will be invaluable in helping to shape your ideas for you submission(s). Tour starts at the Visitor Centre and there is no need to sign up.

On 28 April a showcase event will be held in the National Botanic Gardens where winners will read their work alongside commissioned writers.

There will be four winners: two Irish language winners, one over 30 and one under 30, and two English language winners, one over 30 and one under 30.

Competition Rules
Entries are welcomed in English or Irish
Entries must be under 400 words (longer pieces will be disqualified)
We’re happy to accept either fiction or creative non-fiction pieces
Entries are free and you may enter up to 3 submissions.

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 11 March at 5pm.

Upload your entry through our entry form.

Entries will be judged by Éanna Ní Lamhna and Liz McManus.


Each of the four winners will receive:
A place on a one-day writing workshop at the IWC
Publication in partner Irish literary magazine: Channel
€50 book voucher
Opportunity to read at the competition event alongside IWC commissioned writers in the Botanic Gardens on April 28th, 2020

Saturday, 18 January 2020

University of Essex Prize 2020

The 2020 Short Fiction/University of Essex Prize awards the winner with £500 and publication at Short Fiction; the runner-up is awarded £250 and publication.

Please enter via our Submittable link after reading the following competition rules.


Dates: The Prize is open for entries from 1 January 2020. The deadline for receipt of entries is 31 March 2020 (23:59 BST).

Language: All entries must be in English.

Geographical restrictions: There are no geographical restrictions on entry: while the Prize is UK-based, all writers – within and outside the UK – are welcome to enter.

Length: The maximum length of submissions is 5,000 words, not including the title. There is no minimum length. There are no restrictions on genre, style, theme, or subject, but entries should be prose fiction – not poetry or memoir.

Entry fee: There is an entry fee for each story submitted (though see Free entries, below). In the final month, March, the entry fee will be £9. To encourage early submissions, the fee for entries submitted in January and February will be £7 – the discounted fee will apply until 29 February 2020 (23:59 GMT). Payment is made through the Submittable portal for the Prize. At the time of entry, writers can opt to pay a supplement of £1 to subsidise a free entry for a writer in more difficult circumstances.

Free entries: Twenty-five free entries are available to writers for whom the fee would be a barrier to entry. To request one, please email These are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and you do not need to give us detailed information about your circumstances. Free entries will be judged blind, the same as paid entries.

Blind judging: Entries will be read and judged anonymously; entrants’ names and contact details should only appear on the entry form and not anywhere on their stories/manuscripts. The stories/manuscripts must be free of all personal information about the author. This includes age and address.

Entry format: Entries should be in a standard 12pt font and double-spaced, unless the form of the story demands otherwise. Entry is online-only, via Submittable. Entries sent to our normal submissions email address will be discarded.

Multiple entries: Writers may enter as many stories as they like; each separate story requires a separate entry fee.

Simultaneous submissions: Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please withdraw your entry via Submittable as soon as possible if the story is accepted for publication elsewhere, in print or online (including self-published, ebook, magazines, journals, audio, websites, blogs, social network sites), or broadcast.

Age restriction: Entrants must be 18 years old or over on the closing date.

Corrections: No corrections or alterations can be made after receipt of an entry.

New work only: Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant and must never have been previously published, in print or online (including self-published, ebook, magazines, journals, audio, websites, blogs, social network sites), or won a prize in another writing competition. Any entry found to have been plagiarised will be disqualified.

Judging process: Each entry will be read by two members of a diverse panel of experienced short story readers. A shortlist, announced in May 2020, will then be forwarded to the Judge, Jon McGregor, who will select the winner and runner-up for final announcement in June 2020. The panel’s and Judge’s decisions are final and no individual correspondence will be entered into.

Prizes: £500 will be paid to the overall Prize winner. The runner-up will receive £250.

Publication: The winner and runner-up will be published online at Short Fiction journal. Acceptance of the 1st or 2nd prize implies agreement for the relevant story to be published online. The shortlist will be considered for publication. Shortlisted individuals will be contacted about this by email after the winner and runner-up have been announced.

Results: Entrants will not be contacted individually about the competition results unless they are selected for the shortlist.

Rules acceptance: Entry implies an acceptance of these rules. Entries that fail to comply with the entry rules and requirements may be disqualified.

We look forward to reading your entries!

Submit here

LiFTS are specialists across literature, screen and stage. We are an interdisciplinary department with expertise in English literature, drama, creative writing, journalism, film and screen media. Our courses are taught by leading academics, writers, film makers and journalists, and allow you to follow specialised pathways or to combine your interests across subject areas. Literature was one of the founding subjects at the University of Essex and since the department's inception in the 1960s under the poet Donald Davie, it has built its reputation on scholarly and critical achievements across English, comparative and world literature.

Jon McGregor is the author of four novels and a story collection. He is the winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literature Prize,

Betty Trask Prize, and Somerset Maugham Award, and has twice been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He is Professor of

Creative Writing at the University of Nottingham, where he edits The Letters Page, a literary journal in letters. He was born in

Bermuda in 1976, grew up in Norfolk, and now lives in Nottingham.

Friday, 17 January 2020

The Cambridge Prize for Flash Fiction 2020

Submission Period: 15th January 2020 – 15th March 2020

Word Length: 400

Entry Fee: Early Bird (until midnight on 14th February) £8; £9 thereafter. There will be a limited number of free entries for those in economic hardship – full details tbc.
Prizes: £1000 (1st) £300 (2nd) £200 (3rd) and all remaining shortlisted will be awarded £50.
Other Details: All writers will be published online across 2020.

Judges: Elisabeth Ingram Wallace
The Cambridge Prize for Short Stories, 2020
Submission Period: 15th April 2020 – 15th June 2020
Word Length: 3,000
Entry Fee: Early Bird (until midnight on 14th February) £8; £9 thereafter. There will be a limited number of free entries for those in economic hardship – full details tbc.
Prizes: £1000 (1st) £300 (2nd) £200 (3rd) and all remaining shortlisted will be awarded £50.
Other Details: All writers will be published online across 2020.
Judges: Katy Darby
The Cambridge Prize for Essays on Short Fiction, 2020
Submission Period: TBC
Word Length: 3,000
Entry Fee: Early Bird (until midnight on 14th February) £8; £9 thereafter. There will be a limited number of free entries for those in economic hardship – full details tbc.
Prizes: £1000 (1st) £300 (2nd) £200 (3rd) and all remaining shortlisted will be awarded £50.
Other Details: All writers will be published online across 2020.