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£500 First Prize in Writers Bureau Annual Short Story Competition

May 27th, 2011

Thanks to Lorraine for her wise words on market research, and to Shelley for shedding light on some of the words that could have you blushing furiously if you used them in the wrong context when writing for overseas markets!

Cuba Libre

As you can probably guess, I’ve been on holiday for the past couple of weeks and they’ve been graciously filling in for me. The destination was Cuba! Wonderful weather, a great hotel and do you know what the best thing about it was? Visiting cities (Havana, Trinidad, Cienfuegos etc) where there was no Costa Coffee, no Kentucky Fried Chicken, and no Golden Arches. The education system is terrific too (over 97% literacy rates) and it’s all free. Long live the revolution!

cuba

And talking about that, you can’t visit Cuba without going to Che Guevara’s mausoleum in Santa Clara. But for people like me who came of age in the Seventies, every time I glanced up in Revolution Square I couldn’t help seeing Robert Lindsey as ‘Wolfie’ in Citizen Smith. It does tend to spoil the effect a bit.

People’s Novelist Competition

This week I’ve been tuning into the Chelsea Flower Show. Alan Titchmarsh is the main presenter, as usual, but as well as looking for the ‘best in show’ he’s also teamed up with HarperCollins to find the ‘People’s Novelist’. Entries can be submitted during June and the 12 finalists will appear in a series of heats over the summer. For the overall winner there’s a book deal with HarperCollins plus a £10,000 advance. There will be three judges – Alan, Cathy Kelly and a further one to be announced later. So, if you’ve written a novel start dusting down that synopsis and first three chapters as they are already accepting entries and the closing date is 1st July.

Short Story Competition

And that reminds me – we’re still accepting entries for this year’s short story competition until 30th June. So if you’re thinking of entering, give yourself enough time. Stories that have been put to one side and then brought out and re-read and polished stand a much better chance of success than those that have been thrown together quickly to meet a deadline.

Next week my guest will be Writers Bureau student and regular blogger, Sally Jenkins, who will be explaining how to break into the market for women’s short fiction.

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