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What’s In A Title?

January 18th, 2019

Ta Dah! Sound of trumpets and roll of drums… I’m pleased to be able to announce the winners of our Flash Fiction Competition. Congratulations to Gordon Aindow, who took first place with Voicemail. For me, it was one of those stories which I read and could immediately put myself in the protagonist’s shoes. I could really see myself doing exactly the same in the circumstances (I won’t spoil the plot by saying what that was!) In second place was Rosy Edwards with Seek and Ye Shall Find – one of the best ‘twist in the tail’ stories I’ve read for a long time. I really didn’t see it coming. And in third place, Michelle Christophrou with Stinky Play-Doh Guy. Who could resist a title like that? Read the rest of this entry »




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New Competitions For The New Year

January 10th, 2019

You’ll be pleased to hear that we’ve just launched our latest Writers Bureau Open Competition. It’s for short stories with a maximum length of 2000 words and the closing date is 31st March. As usual, there are four prizes: £300, £200, £100 and £50 and each winner will also receive a Writers Bureau Course of their choice.

Also, we’re almost ready to publish the results of our Flash Fiction Competition that closed recently. You’ll find that the shortlist is already available on our website. So, if you entered and want to check if you’re on it, go and have a look! The reason that there has been a delay in picking the winners is that the shortlist was so strong this year that we have really been struggling to decide which stories should get the top three slots. But, we should be ready to announce them by the time I publish next week’s blog. Read the rest of this entry »




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The Beauty Of Books…

August 24th, 2018

First, thanks to Roz for last week’s post. I’ve just started reading her book, ‘The Devil’s Dice’,  and I’m thoroughly enjoying it!

Talking about reading, I’ve had a bad back for the last couple of weeks, so I haven’t been as active as usual; so that  means I’ve had much more time to read. And have I used that time! Of the books I’ve read there are three that really stand out.

The first is ‘The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star’ by Vaseem Khan. It’s part of a series about a private investigator in Mumbai and his sidekick – a baby elephant called Ganesha. It does for India what the Number One Ladies Detective Agency did for Botswana. It’s not high literature, but it’s well written, heart-warming and makes you care about the characters. And it doesn’t shy away from the problems faced by the less well-off citizens of the country. I’ll certainly be dipping into the series again. Read the rest of this entry »




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Winner of Student Only Short Story Competition

August 15th, 2018

Liz GouldsTwice a year we run a student only competition. This time we asked students for a 300-word short story. We had a stack of entries to go through and after much deliberation we made our choice. So congratulations to Liz Goulds for her wonderful story:

The Spice of Life Read the rest of this entry »




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Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

May 25th, 2018

“Sometimes you just have to put your money where your mouth is.” This is what best-selling writer Jo Jo Moyles said in her interview with the Guardian when she was talking about the funding she is providing for Quick Reads. For those of you who don’t know, Quick Reads publishes a series of short, simple books that might appeal to the one in six adults in the UK with reading difficulties. The scheme, established in 2006, is designed to encourage reading and hopefully give slow readers more confidence and help them to move on to full-length books.

I think it’s a brilliant scheme, but there have been funding difficulties and the threat of closure has been hanging over it. When she heard this, the author offered to provide resources to keep it going for three years, providing a lifeline which would give it the opportunity to work on finding additional funding. When you can read fluently, you tend to take it for granted. Nothing beats the pleasure of a good book;  it’s easy to find information when you need it and understanding and filling in forms isn’t a serious problems. But, if your reading isn’t fluent then you’re missing out on so much and life is far less smooth. So, Quick Reads can now start commissioning new books again and I wish them well! This is definitely one organisation that deserves a helping hand. Read the rest of this entry »




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