Thursday, 8 January 2015

Myriad First Drafts Competition 2015 #writing #contests


Now open for entries

Myriad invites entries for its First Drafts Competition (formerly the Writer’s Retreat Competition) for new writers. Now in its sixth year, the competition recognises promising work-in-progress across all forms of prose fiction, be it a short story or the first few chapters of a novel. It is open to all writers who have not yet published or self-published a collection of stories or a novel. The closing date for entries is Monday 2 February 2015; the shortlist will be announced in April 2015 and the winner announced at an event in May 2015.

Myriad's First Drafts Competition is at the heart of our mission to discover and nurture bold and exciting new writers. The prize is a week-long writing retreat in the luxurious surroundings of West Dean College near Chichester, as well as detailed editorial feedback from industry experts. This year, in addition, the winner will benefit from six months’ mentoring from a Myriad author.

The 2015 judges are bestselling author Lizzie Enfield (author of Living With It), creative writing tutor Greg Mosse, literary agent Hellie Ogden, TV producer Tom Winchester and Myriad Senior Fiction Editor Vicky Blunden. Candida Lacey, Myriad Publisher and MD, says: ‘This is a brilliant opportunity for aspiring authors to get their work noticed by publishers and agents. There are very few competitions for a work-in-progress and this has a track record for spotting talent and launching writing careers. We’re looking for new work that is arresting, original and full of character. And each shortlisted writer will be offered feedback from the judges.’

Past successes

The competition has a proven track record in launching writers who have gone on to enjoy creative and commercial success. Myriad has published several brought to its attention through the competition in previous years, including past winner Lisa Cutts, crime writer and author of Never Forget (optioned by a major TV company) and Remember, Remember; Nina de la Mer, author of the acclaimed novels 4 a.m. and Layla; and Hannah Vincent, whose debut, Alarm Girl, came out in August 2014.

Other past successes also 2010 winner Kirsty Logan, who used her retreat to write a short story that she later expanded to become her novel, The Gracekeepers (Harvill Secker),Juliet West, whose novel, Before the Fall (Pan), was shortlisted in 2013, and 2013 winnerAl Brookes, whose novel The Gift of Looking Closely was Self-published Book of the Month in the Guardian (August 2014).

Last year's winner was the American writer Owen D. Cluer (pictured) for his short stories 'Before' and 'Fuelwood'. Myriad's Candida Lacey said of Cluer's winning entry: 'This was an unanimous decision and we were thrilled by both stories, which were wonderfully restrained in style and rich in emotion, with shades of Lorrie Moore. His work is tender and intensely clever.' Cluer has since been taken on by literary agent Becky Thomas (Fox Mason).

Pictured above are the judges and some of the shortlisted writers from the 2014 competition, including (from left to right): literary agent Becky Thomas, shortlistees Kate Ellis and Zoe Gilbert, authors Laura Lockington, Lesley Thomson and Isabel Ashdown, Myriad Publisher and MD Candida Lacey, novelist Jonathan Kemp, Myriad Senior Fiction Editor Vicky Blunden, and shortlistees Vanessa Savage and Kerry Ryan.

Click here to see more photos from the 2014 prize evening at the University of Brighton.

West Dean

Set within a beautiful 6,400-acre estate in the heart of the South Downs near Chichester,West Dean College is the former home of the poet and patron of the arts, Edward James. The peace and tranquillity of West Dean, combined with its arts heritage, provide the perfect atmosphere to get you writing. The college hosts a year-round programme of arts courses and, in collaboration with Myriad, the popular First Fictions literary festival.

How to enter

The competition is open to all writers (over the age of 18, of any nationality) of prose fiction for adults who have not yet published a collection of stories or novel, either in print or online. Self-published authors are welcome to submit unpublished work.

Entries should be sent by post, with a covering letter and a cheque for £5 (made payable to Myriad Editions) to: Myriad First Drafts Competition, Myriad Editions, 59 Lansdowne Place, Brighton BN3 1FL

Alternatively, the entry fee can be paid via PayPal using the email address
Submissions should comprise a one-page synopsis and up to 5,000 words of a work-in-progess (novel or short story collection, for adults).
The closing date is 12 noon on Monday 2 February 2015.
Entries must be previously unpublished (in all formats including online), original and in English.
Entires must be double or 1.5 spaced.
Please ensure that your name, address, email address and contact number are included in your cover letter, but not on the pages of the work itself.
Submitted material will not be returned.
Entries must not have been submitted to any other competition.
Only one entry per person is allowed.
The judges’ decision is final. No discussion concerning the judges’ decision will be entered into.
The competition is not open to previous winners of the competition, nor to employees of Myriad Editions or West Dean College.
The week's writing retreat must be taken within one year of the announcement of the winner and arranged with West Dean College, subject to availability.
Shortlisted authors will be notified by email in April 2015. The winner will announced in May 2015.
The prize is not exchangeable.
Failure to meet the conditions of entry will mean that a submission is automatically disqualified from the competition.

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