The Bedford Competition

We apologise to everybody for the delay in publishing the 2021 anthology. Finally we can announce that it now available and you can obtain a copy by scrolling down this page and clicking on the link. Please note that all proceeds from the sale of the anthology are donated to charity. Please also note that last year's anthology is also available at the reduced price of £4.

Entries are now being received for the 2022 short story and poetry competitions. Thank you if you have already entered.

Please ensure that you read the rules before submitting your entry. In particular do not exceed the maximum word count for stories or line count for poems. None of your personal details should be included within your story or poem, the entry form is the only place where these should appear.

For information about this year's judges, please scroll down this page.

2022 Competition

2022 Competition – Judges

Short Story Competition Judge

Tim Jarvis

Timothy J. Jarvis is a writer of supernatural fiction. He grew up in north Bedfordshire, and now lives back in Bedford. He is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Bedfordshire. His 'last man' novel, The Wanderer, was first published in 2014 (Perfect Edge) and is coming out in a new edition in 2022 (Zagava). Short-fiction has appeared in the Harvard Review, Infra Noir, Bitter Distillations, An Invite to Eternity, The Far Tower: Stories for W.B. Yeats, The Shadow Booth Vol. 1, 3:AM Magazine, Leviathan 4: Cities, and New Writing 13, among other places. In 2012, he was shortlisted for the Lightship International Short Fiction Prize. He is also interested in drone and ambient music and has collaborated with sound artists on sleeve notes and performance. He is a member of the committee of the Friends of Arthur Machen, a society dedicated to the life and works of the Welsh author of the fantastic, and co-edits the Friends' journal, Faunus.

Poetry Competition Judge

Jessica Mookherjee

Jessica Mookherjee is author of two poetry collections and her second, Tigress (Nine Arches Press) was Shortlisted for best second collection in the Ledbury Munthe Prize 2021. She has been twice highly commended in the Forward Prize for best single poem (in 2018 and in 2021) and her work is included in notable anthologies such as 'Staying Human' (Bloodaxe). Her latest pamphlet is Playlists (Broken Sleep Books). Her next full collection is called &Notes from a Shipwreck& and out with Nine Arches Press in August 2022 . Her long poem Desire Lines will be published by Broken Sleep Books in 2023. She is a co-editor of Against the Grain Press and a Board Member of the Poetry Society.

Cygnature Story Prize Judge

Katherine Mezzcappa

Katherine Mezzacappa is Irish but now lives in Carrara, between the Apuan Alps and the Tyrrhenian Sea. She writes mainly historical fiction on the themes of love and culture clash. Writing as Katie Hutton, she is the author of >The Gypsy Bride (2020), The Gypsy's Daughter (2021) and Annie of Ainsworth's Mill (2022) published by Bonnier Zaffre. Her first novel under her own name, The Virgin of Florence, is in press with Impress Books for September 2022.

Katherine's short fiction has been published by The Copperfield Review, Ireland's Own, Erotic Review, Me First, Asymmetry, Ariel Chart, Turnpike Review, Yours and My Weekly and in anthologies. She also writes romance under the pseudonym Kate Zarrelli (eXtasy Books). Her stories have been shortlisted in competitions by The Writers and Artists Yearbook and The Fiction Desk, and longlisted for the 2018 Colm Tóibín Short Story Award and in 2019 for the Dorothy Dunnett prize. She has also published academically in the field of 19th century ephemeral illustrated fiction, and in management theory.

Whilst Katherine currently earns a living in management consultancy, which pays the bills but doesn't nourish the soul, she has in the past been a museum curator, library assistant, lecturer in History of Art, sewing machinist and geriatric care assistant. In her spare time she volunteers with a second-hand book charity of which she is a founder member. She has two teenage sons and a husband who fortunately enjoys cooking.

Katherine is a member of the Irish Writers Centre, Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann, the Irish Writers Union, the Society of Authors, the Historical Writers' Association, the Historical Novel Society and the Romantic Novelists Association, and reviews for Historical Novel Review. She is a manuscript assessor for The Literary Consultancy. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from Canterbury Christ Church University, and is represented by Annette Green Authors' Agency.

Cygnature Poetry Prize Judge

Cameron Stuart

Cameron Stuart is a poet originally from, and now back residing in, Bedford. He attended the Poetry MFA at Saint Mary's College of California, and has taught writing at SMC and Berkeley. He is the recipient of Judith Butler and Community of Writers scholarships.

Bedford Story Prize Judge

Guy Russell

Guy Russell was born in Chatham, UK, and has been a holiday courier, purchasing clerk, media analyst and fan-heater production operative. He currently works in Milton Keynes for the Open University. Work in No Spider Harmed (Arachne Press), Somewhere This Way (Fiction Desk), Brace (Comma Press), To Hull And Back 2018, Madame Morte (Black Shuck), Northern Stories vol. 3 (Arc), Troubles Swapped For Something Fresh (Salt), The Iron Book of New Humorous Verse (Iron), Liars League, The Rialto, The Interpreter's House and elsewhere. Competition first prizes: HE Bates Award; Leicester Poetry Society; Ware Sonnet Prize; Cannon Sonnet or Not; Flash500. He occasionally reviews for Tears in the Fence and its blog.

Bedford Poetry Prize Judge

Liam Coles

Liam Coles is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Cambridge. His project focuses on sound and religiosity in twentieth-century US poetry. He researches how poetic sound forms can interrelate with cognitive understandings of consciousness, and traces an historic lineage from pulpit to lectern heard in the voicings of American poets during performance. He secured a scholarship for his master's degree at the University of Oxford (2017-18), where he wrote mainly on nineteenth-century religious poetry, including the work of the Rossetti siblings and Keats. He has a first-class BA in English Literature from the University of Bristol (2013-16), and his undergraduate dissertation concerned the Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Born and raised in Bedford, Liam now lives in London and enjoys cooking and nature, but poetry is his real joy, and outside of his academic work he loves to discover writers he has not yet heard of!

2021 Anthology

Now available

Obtain a copy from Ostrich Books

by clicking on:-

Paperback edition

For the results of the 2020 to 2021 competitions go to Archive


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