Bedford International Writing Competition

The start date for both the 2019 Short Story and Poetry Competition is just a short time away and we are looking forward to receiving your entries.

These competitions will once again be open to anyone aged from 17 upwards but we are introducing an additional prize and


This year, simply by entering the main competition, any writer aged 17 - 30 on 1st May 2019 will be eligible for our new YOUNG WRITERS' PRIZE of £100.

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. There is an anthology for each year that we have been running and these can be purchased from Amazon. Scroll down this page for the 2018 stories and poems. For previous years click on Archive and scroll to the particular year.

Our special event this year is an "An Evening of Intrigue and Mystery with LEIGH RUSSELL".

Leigh has been a great supporter of BIWC and we are so thrilled that she has agreed to spend an evening talking about her career as a best selling crime writer. Further information about this event can be found by scrolling down this page.

BIWC are pleased to be supporting the

following event taking place in Bedford



An Evening of Poetry featuring Roger Stone

On 15th May 2019 at 8pm

at the Ent Shed, 118 Castle Road, Bedford MK40 3QY

Admission £5

Profits to be donated to the Prebend Street Shelter

The 2019 BIWC Special Event is

An Evening of Intrigue and Mystery with LEIGH RUSSELL

Join us for a glass of Prosecco and meet international bestselling author Leigh Russell, creator of the Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson series of psychological crime thrillers.

6 September 2019 at 7pm
Bedford Modern School,
Manton Lane, Bedford MK41 7NT

Tickets £10 (includes a glass of Prosecco) available now from Billetto.

All proceeds go to "BEANSTALK", a charity that provides reading helpers in primary schools to give literacy support.

2019 Competition

2019 Competition – Judges

Short Story Competition Judge

Eleanor Dryden

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

2018 Anthology

Obtain a copy from Amazon



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.


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