The Fiction Desk Ghost Story Writing Competition

New Ghost Stories II.

The Fiction Desk are running a competition to find a ghost story of 1,000 to 5,000 words. ‘Ghost story’ can be defined as an encounter with an actual phantom to more unusual paranormal phenomena and unexplained events. They say “All types are welcome, so feel free to experiment: we’re very unlikely to disqualify a story for stretching the definition of a “ghost”. Keep in mind that our general readership (and by extension our judge) may be more likely to respond well to psychological chills and unexplained mysteries than in-your-face gore”. The Fiction Desk Ghost Story Competition

First prize: £500; second prize: £250;  third prize: £100

Read previous winners and shortlisted stories  New Ghost Stories & New Ghost Stories II if you need inspiration.

Entry fee: £8 for each story submitted.

Closing date is Saturday, February 28th, 2015. Winners announced April 2015.

The Folio Prize shortlist has been announced

The 2015 Folio Prize for Fiction features independent publishers Faber and Granta on its shortlist with three books each. Now in its second year, the £40,000 prize is awarded for a work of English-language fiction released in the UK during 2014.

The judging panel includes journalist and writer Rachel Cooke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist author Mohsin Hamid, Orange Prize-winning novelist A M Homes and Man Booker Prize-shortlisted Deborah Levy. William Fiennes will chair the panel.

A Folio Society Lecture will be launched as part of the second Folio Prize Fiction Festival. The inaugural lecture will be delivered by novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Faber’s three titles are:

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews, about sisters, suicide and how to carry on after grief – gets a 5 star rating by Leeds readers;

Family Life by Akhil Sharma, about a boy torn between duty and survival

Outline by Rachel Cusk, about a female writer.

 Granta’s are:

10:04 by Ben Lerner, about “making art, love and children during the twilight of an empire

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill, about marriage and motherhood

Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, covering 50 years of Kenyan history.

Also on the list are: 2014 Man Booker Prize shortlisted How to be Both by Ali Smith – a dual narrative with a contemporary section and another about a Renaissance painter in the 1460s, which won the Goldsmiths Prize and the Costa Novel Award and Colm Toibin’s Nora Webster about a woman in 1960s Ireland trying to rebuild her life after the death of her husband.


Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award long list announced

19 writers have been long listed for the 2015 £30,000 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, managed by the Book Trust. You can read the longlisted stories on the Sunday Times website if you have a subscription to the Times.

The list includes: Man Booker Prize long listed Joseph O’Neill (for “The Referees”) and Mark Haddon (for “The Pier Falls.”) Guardian First Book Award winners Yiyun Li and Colin Barrett for “A Sheltered Woman” and “The Ways” respectively; Louise Doughty, author of Apple Tree Yard, for “Fat White Cop with Ginger Eyebrows” and Caine Prize winner Nigerian Rotimi Babatunde “The Collected Tricks of Houdini”. There are two new British writers – University of East Anglia student, Julianne Pachico for “Lucky”, and Welsh writer Rebecca F John for “Clown’s Shoes”.

In all, writers from four continents have made the list.

Judge Aminatta Forna, novelist and critic, said: “It’s been a hugely enjoyable experience so far. There is a pleasing breadth of subject matter from the adventures of a Nigerian political ingenue to the child who imagines she can talk to spiders. What’s more, and deeply important to me as a judge, these imaginative and often ambitious stories are crafted out of the most gorgeous prose.”

The shortlist will be announced in the Sunday Times on 1st March, the winner on Friday 24th April.


  • “The Indian Uprising” by Ann Beattie
  •  “The Collected Tricks of Houdini” by Rotimi Babatunde
  •  “The Ways” by Colin Barrett
  •  “Fat White Cop with Ginger Eyebrows” by Louise Doughty
  •  “Qualities of the Modern Farmer” by Emily Franklin
  •  “The Pier Falls” by Mark Haddon
  •  “The Glove Maker’s Numbers” by Rebecca F. John
  •  “A Sheltered Woman” by Yiyun Li
  •  “Hungry” by Elizabeth McCracken
  •  “False River” by Paula Morris
  •  “Interstellar Space” by Scott O’Connor
  •  “Jules Verne Seeks Dreamers for Long-Distance Travel in Time” by Mary O’Donoghue
  •  “The Referees” by Joseph O’Neill
  •  “Lucky” by Julianne Pachico
  •  “After the War, Before the War” by David Peace
  •  “Holiday” by Mona Simpson
  •  “Still Water, BC” by Erin Soros
  •  “The Spiders of Stockholm” by E J Swift
  •  “The Wedding Cake” by Madeleine Thien

Two short story competitions

allingham imageThe Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2015 short story competition closes on Sunday 15th February and you could win a cash prize of £500 and a place on an Arvon residential writing course.

The winning story will be published on

Just enter a short story (for adults) of no more than 2,000 words, on the theme of ‘Joy’ and email it to with “WAYB15 competition” as the subject line. The winners of the competition will be announced on the Writers and Artists site in March 2015.

The CWA Margery Allingham Short Story competition to celebrate Margery Allingham’s contribution to crime writing closes on 16th March 2015 and it’s open to  both published and unpublished authors- and is for unpublished short stories (crime/mystery) of up to 3,500 words. The winner will receive £1,000.

50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death

Young Titan: the making of Winston ChurchillIt’s the 50th anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill today

Churchill was a Nobel literature laureate himself and his work included a novel, two biographies, three volumes of memoirs, and several histories. The Nobel Prize came in 1953 “for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”.

Two of his most famous works, published after his first premiership brought his international fame to new heights, were his six-volume memoir The Second World War and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples; a four-volume history covering the period from Caesar’s invasions of Britain (55 BC) to the beginning of the First World War (1914).

Our range of books both by him, fiction and non fiction about his life, family, art and times is quite extensive.

Congratulations @nathanfiler The Shock of the Fall wins again @The WritersGuild

The shock of the fallNathan Filer  has won the Writers’ Guild Award for Best First Novel for his debut The Shock of the Fall. He beat other shortlisted authors Eimear McBride for A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing and Tim Glencross for Barbarians. That’s in addition to winning the Costa Book of the Year and the Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year

The Shock of the Fall is ‘an extraordinary portrait of one man’s journey through the spinning vortex that is mental illness. It is a brave and ground breaking novel from one of the most exciting new voices in fiction.’

The Writers’ Guild Awards 2014 were sponsored by BBC Writersroom, BBC Worldwide, ITV Studios and the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS).

T S Eliot prize winner announced

David Harsent, currently professor of creative writing at the University of Roehampton, has won the TS Eliot Prize for poetry at the fifth attempt. He has been awarded the prestigious £20,000 award for his eleventh collection Fire Songs. It was his fifth nomination, dating back to 1998, but he had not previously won.

The TS Eliot Prize was launched in 1993 to celebrate the Poetry Book Society’s 40th birthday and to honour its founding poet. The prize money is donated by the TS Eliot estate and to mark the 50th anniversary of Eliot’s death on 4 January 2015, the winner’s award was increased from £15,000 to £20,000.

Chair of the judges Helen Dunmore described Harsent as “a poet for dark and dangerous days.  Fire Songs plumbs language and emotion with technical brilliance and prophetic power.”

A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Harsent was presented with his award at a ceremony at the Wallace Collection in London on Monday 12th January.

His previous collections include Legion, 2005, which won the Forward Prize for best collection, and 2011’s Night, shortlisted for the Costa, Forward and TS Eliot Prizes and won the Griffin International Poetry Prize.

Other 2015 nominees, chosen from 113 books submitted by publishers,  included former winners John Burnside and Michael Longley. The 10 shortlisted authors received £1,500 each.

The TS Eliot Prize 2014 shortlist:

Fiona Benson – Bright Travellers

John Burnside – All One Breath

Louise Gluck – Faithful and Virtuous Night

David Harsent – Fire Songs

Michael Longley – The Stairwell

Ruth Padel – Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth

Pascale Petit – Fauverie

Kevin Powers – Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting

Arundhathi Subramaniam – When God is a Traveller

Hugo Williams – I Knew the Bride