Bedford International Writing Competition

WELCOME TO THE SHORT STORY AND POETRY COMPETITIONS FOR 2020

We are just weeks away from opening for entries

The 2020 Short Story and Poetry Competitions will open for entries on 1st May 2020. This year feels very different from previous times because worldwide we are conscious of the threat from coronavirus and are trying to find ways to cope with the self-isolation that has been forced upon us.

It will be hard to stay positive, but one of the methods you might want to try is to use the time to bring that story or poem out of your imagination and put it into hard print so that others can read and enjoy it. Then you might want to take the next step of entering your written work in our short story or poetry competition. As a result, you could see your entry being recognised in a number of ways from being longlisted to winning a monetary prize.

Building on the success of the Young Writers' Short Story Award in 2019 we are now extending this to include the Young Writers' Poetry Award. For both these awards, if you are aged 30 or less on 1st May 2020, your story or poem will automatically qualify for a chance to win these prizes, but please ensure that you enter your age group on the entry form. The prizewinners will receive £100 and will be published in the 2020 anthology.

For any of you who are new to our competitions and are uncertain whether you should enter, you may find it useful to obtain a copy of the anthology of shortlisted stories and poems. The anthology for 2019 has not yet been published but previous publications can be purchased from Amazon. Go to the Archive menu option and scroll down the page to the particular year.

For all of you who will be entering this year we thank you for your support and wish you luck.

2019 Competition

2019 Competition – Judges

Short Story Competition Judge

Eleanor Dryden

Eleanor is a respected Editor and publisher. After working as publishing director of Avon, the commercial fiction arm of HarperCollins, she moved to Bonnier Zaffre where she spearheaded the commercial women's fiction and reading group list and she published bestselling authors Louise Pentland, Lydia Syson, Patricia Wilson and saga brand Rosie Goodwin Publishing where she had overall responsibility for women's fiction.

Other authors she has worked with include Jeffrey Archer, Angela Clarke and Kate Mosse.

In April this year she joined Headline Review imprint, home to authors Victoria Hislop, Jill Mansell and Alison Weir, as leader of their commercial fiction team.

Eleanor is also the co-founder of the Feminist Book Society, a monthly get-together that hosts active panels about feminism with authors and industry insiders.

Poetry Competition Judge

Nick Everett

Nick Everett is founder and co-editor of New Walk Editions poetry pamphlets. He teaches poetry writing and contemporary poetry at the University of Leicester.

Bedford Prize Short Story Judge

Peter Laws

Peter Laws is an author, journalist, YouTube horror host and ordained church minister. He writes a monthly column in The Fortean Times magazine and hosts the podcast and YouTube show The Flicks That Church Forgot which explores the deeper themes of scary culture. His books include the non fiction book The Frighteners: Why We Love Monsters, Ghosts, Death & Gore that seeks to explain (and defend) the lure of the morbid. It was published by ICON in 2018. He is also the creator of the popular series of horror/ crime fiction novels featuring Matt Hunter, an atheist ex-vicar turned academic who helps the police solve religiously motivated crimes. Purged, Unleashed and Severed are published by ALLISON AND BUSBY, 2017,18,19. Possessed, the fourth in the series, will be released in shops in early 2020.

Young Person's Short Story Prize Judge

Kate Nash

Having gained experience as an author, publisher, publicist and marketer, Kate has seen every side of publishing and has used her background to set up her own literary agency so she could do "the best job in publishing". Kate's reading tastes - from romance to thrillers - are highly commercial.

Kate has a degree in History (BA Hons.) from the University of York and later gained distinction with two undergraduate modules in Creative Writing and Literature from the Open University. She also holds a postgraduate certificate from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

Kate enjoys travel, wine, the theatre and fine art. She is also a trustee of the Catholic Truth Society (CTS), a 150-year-old charity who are the UK publishers to the Holy See.

Kate Nash is listed 20th in UK Fiction by Publishers Marketplace, based on number of deals made (Feb 2017). Kate was named as The Bookseller Rising Star in 2018.

Find out more about Kate Nash from her website

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2019 Short Story Competition - Shortlist

Story title Author
Caught Kindly by the TidesJeremy Galgutt - Nottingham
Chad Woz 'EreNicola Ratnett - Llangammarch Wells
Change is the Keeper of All ThingsMichael Roe - Wimborne - Dorset
The Fish TreeLouise Wilford - Barnsley
In Search of PuffinsJacci Gooding - Fenny Compton
InfluenceSarah Price _ London
Last Light BreakingMeg Holdsworth - Cheltenham
The Longest RopeTorshia Seales - Princes Town, Trinidad & Tobago
Miss Bird Catches a WaveDiana Powell - Haverford West
Mr JembaStephen Palmer - Stockport
Okavanga TheftJennifer Walne - Cambridge
Wayne's NameHannah Retallick - Menai Bridge

2019 Poetry Competition - Shortlist

Poem title Poet
The Black MountainEstelle Price - Wilmslow
Fungi ForayAdrian Buckner - Derby
GeeseJim Green - Norwich
The Land of EpilogueAnthony Watts - Taunton
My Neighbour the MagicianChris Raetschus - Hexham
NorthrideGwen Seabourne - Bristol
The Orchid RoomMolly Underwood - London
Poldark IIISharon Black - St André de Valborgne, France
Il Ponte di Morandi, Genoa 2018Caroline Maldonado - London
Private ViewingGeorgina Titmus - Truro
a recurring drama in one actLucy Crispin - Kendal
SpiderTarquin Landseer - London

2019 Short Story Competition - Long List

Story title Author
Amazons Teetering on the Edge of a Black SeaShannon Savvas - Nicosia, Cyprus
The Assassination of a PresidentRichard Hooton - Ashton-under-Lyne
Caught Kindly by the TidesJeremy Galgutt - Nottingham
Chad Woz 'EreNicola Ratnett - Llangammarch Wells
Change is the Keeper of All ThingsMichael Roe - Wimborne - Dorset
The Elephant played the TrumpetM Valentine Williams - Market Drayton
The Fish TreeLouise Wilford - Barnsley
The GoatAndrew Canty - Deal
A Good House In A StormJeremy Galgut - Nottingham
Hogwarts, We Have a ProblemStephen Brown - Greenisland
In Search of PuffinsJacci Gooding - Fenny Compton
InfluenceSarah Price _ London
Last Light BreakingMeg Holdsworth - Cheltenham
The Longest RopeTorshia Seales - Princes Town, Trinidad & Tobago
A Mile in Her ShoesShannon Savvas - Nicosia, Cyprus
Miss Bird Catches a WaveDiana Powell - Haverford West
Mr JembaStephen Palmer - Stockport
Nightcaps for Wild BoysBruce Harris - Seaton
No AnswerEamon Oleary - Cork, Ireland
Okavanga TheftJennifer Walne - Cambridge
A Pocket for SecretsAngela Williams - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Sex like slugsGemma Williams - Newhaven
Snake in the GrassJudith Tremaine Drazin - Bristol
Sorrow BeesPete Pitman - Stapleford
Stop Them TalkingLucy Banks - Exeter
TidesAnita Goodfellow - Marlow
Wayne's NameHannah Retallick - Menai Bridge

2019 Poetry Competition - Long List

Poem title Poet
The Black MountainEstelle Price - Wilmslow
Clearing His Father's HouseAdrian Buckner - Derby
This Culture/This LifeCaroline Maldonado - London
The Dutch Room, picture no. 12Neil Elder - Harrow
EncryptedAngela Croft - London
Fixed OddsPeter Branson - Rode Heath
Fungi ForayAdrian Buckner - Derby
The GateMaurice Franceschi - Glasgow
GeeseJim Green - Norwich
Home/Back to the RootAmbrin Mcbrinn - Teddington
Knives are the New NormCaroline Maldonado - London
The Land of EpilogueAnthony Watts - Taunton
My Neighbour the MagicianChris Raetschus - Hexham
NorthrideGwen Seabourne - Bristol
The Orchid RoomMolly Underwood - London
Poldark ISharon Black - St André de Valborgne, France
Poldark IIISharon Black - St André de Valborgne, France
Il Ponte di Morandi, Genoa 2018Caroline Maldonado - London
Private ViewingGeorgina Titmus - Truro
RantRowena Warwick - Thame
A Recurring Drama in One ActLucy Crispin - Kendal
RemembryoOliver Jones - London
Seminar, or I close my eyes and count to ten in WelshGwen Seabourne - Bristol
The Silver GreyLizzie Holden - London
Speed Dating in a Northern TownPeter Burgham - York
SpiderTarquin Landseer - London
Stop KickingOliver Jones - London
The Thoughts of Charles ByrneBen Ray - Ross-on-Wye
TriangulationMark Totterdell - Exeter
You Want to Come to Mine?Eleni Cay - Milton Keynes

2019 Short Story Winners


First Prize

The Longest Rope

by

Torshia Seales

Second Prize

A Last Light Breaking

by

Meg Holdsworth

Third Prize

Miss Bird Catches a Wave

by

Diana Powell

2019 Poetry Winners


First Prize

The Land of Epilogue

by

Anthony Watts

Second Prize

Geese

by

Jim Green

Third Prize

a recurring drama in one act

by

Lucy Crispin


2019 Bedford Prize winners

Short Story

A Clash of the Diets

by

Tilly Abraham

Poetry

Coda

by

Sophie Rainbow



2019 Young Writers - Prize winners

Short Story

Farewell Bend

by

Ashani Lewis



Pictures from the Awards Evening

2019 Awards Presentation Evening - Overview


For previous competitions from 2018 back to 2014 go to Archive


Our Patrons

Sophie Hannah

Sophie Hannah is a best-selling author of atmospheric, psychological thrillers and her poetry is studied for exams. In September 2015 BWC invited her to be interviewed before a live audience at the Trinity Theatre, Bedford. She entertained us with her recollections of how she became a successful writer and shared some of her novel-writing secrets.

Ruth Hogan

Ruth Hogan was the 2017 short story competition judge and has been a regular supporter of the competition since its start. Being a local author she represents the cultural reputation of Bedford which the BIWC aims to promote. Having spent her early working life in local government she wrote stories as part of her therapy while recovering from cancer. Her success with her first published novel in 2017 is testament to her never giving up hope of becoming a best-selling author and is a fine example to all writers with similar ambitions.

Toby Litt

Toby Litt is an English writer and academic in the Department of English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London. He has several publications to his name both novels and collections of short stories. Born in Ampthill and a former pupil of Bedford Modern School. In 2016 he was the judge of the BIWC Short Story Competition.

Ian McEwen

Ian McEwen was the judge for the 2016 Poetry Competition. He has had his poems published in a variety of magazines as well as producing a pamphlet, The Stammering Man and his first full collection in book form, Intermittent Beings. He is interested in opportunities to broaden the practice and appreciation of poetry, through readings, workshops or residencies.

Sue Moorcroft

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times and international bestselling author and has reached the coveted No.1 spot on Amazon Kindle. She's won the Readers' Best Romantic Novel award, the Katie Fforde Bursary, and has been nominated on several other occasions, including for the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards.
She is a former judge of the Writers' Forum competitions.
Her short stories, serials, columns, writing guides and courses have appeared all over the world.

Margaret Norwich

Margaret Norwich was the judge of the Bedford Prize in 2015 and 2016. She studied liberal arts at Vassar College, New York and then came over to England to read English at Girton College, Cambridge. As well as working in publishing and the voluntary sector, Margaret lectured for many years on English Language and Literature at De Montfort and Cranfield Universities. American born, she now regards herself a true Bedfordian.

Leigh Russell

Leigh Russell is a best-selling crime novelist. Her association with the BIWC began in 2014 when the competition went 'nternational'. She has been the judge for the 2014 and the 2015 competitions. We are extremely grateful for the encouragement that she has given us and gives to writers of all abilities.

Acknowledgements


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