Entries for the short story and poetry competitions are now being accepted.
As a result of such a successful year in 2020, we are pleased to announce that the first prize in both the short story and poetry competitions will be increased to £1,000.
This year could be your chance to win.
The standard entry fee is £7.50 per story or poem. If you enter three at a time, it will be £15. Students are charged at the reduced rate of £5 per story or poem or £10 for three at the same time.
We will once again award an additional prize to young writers for the best story and poem entered by those in the age group 17 to 25 years. This award is called the Cygnature Prize.
Also entrants who are residents of Bedford will qualify for the Bedford Prize of £100 for the story and poem judged best.
If you are eligible for either of the above awards, then your story or poem, in addition to being entered in the main competition, will automatically be considered for the additional prizes.
Please be sure to read the rules before entering.
To enter click on Competition in the menu bar at the top of this page and select either Story or Poem. You will be given the choice between continuing to enter online or downloading a printable form to be completed offline and sent in by post.
The anthology is being prepared for publication and will be available very soon. All the shortlisted stories and poems from 2020 as well as the winners of the Rainbow Prize, Bedford Prizes and Young Writers' Awards will be included.
Patrick McGuinness is a poet and novelist, and Professor of French at the University of Oxford. His first novel, The Last Hundred Days (2011), was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, the Writers Club First Novel Award, and winner of the Writers Guild Award for Fiction and the Wales Book of the Year. In French, it was shortlisted for both the Prix Meedicis étranger and the Priz Fémina étranger, and won the Prix de la librairie Millepages and the Premier Roman étranger.
Anne Berkeley's poems have been published widely and have won prizes in many competitions including the Times Literary Supplement, Arvon, Kent & Sussex. Her first collection The Men from Praga (Salt) was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre prize. She has performed round England and Wales and in New York with the poetry ensemble The Joy of Six. She edited Rebecca Elson's acclaimed posthumous collection A Responsibility to Awe, now re-issued as a Carcanet Classic.>
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.
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) and The Gypsy's Daughter (2021), published by Bonnier Zaffre. Her first novel under her own name, Giulia of the Albizzi, is in press with Impress Books.
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.
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.
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