Calling all budding crime writers

How to write crime fictionNew book this week, How to write crime fiction by Sarah Williams

This book provides a comprehensive overview of all the different kinds of crime fiction, with examples from successful contemporary writers in each of the different genres, and clear explanations and exercises to help the beginning writer hone their craft, and discover the kind of crime fiction, the plots, the themes, the language, that work best for them

 And find out how the experts do it Talking about detective fiction by P. D James

Dealing with the craft of detective writing and sharing her personal thoughts and observations on one of the most popular and enduring forms of literature, the author examines the challenges, achievements, and potential of this genre.

The crime writer’s guide to police practice and procedure by Michael O’Byrne – ‘The Crime Writer’s Guide To Police Practice And Procedure’ is the detective in your pocket – something you can reach for when you feel your writing needs that short sharp shock of real-life investigating




Writers bring fiction to life with #TwitterFictionFestival.

Twitter Fiction Festival 2012Amateur writers can submit their ideas from 2nd March to become featured in the author showcase of the third #TwitterFiction festival which takes place from 11th to 15th May — 25 spots are available. Anyone can also join in by creating fiction on the spot Fiction Festivalusing the hashtag #TwitterFiction.

The festival invites authors to create original fiction using the Twitter platform –  to “embrace, explore and develop the art of storytelling on Twitter”, with fiction that uses Twitter functionality creatively strongly encouraged.

Famous authors participating include Jackie Collins, Margaret Atwood and Jojo Moyes as well as Lauren Beukes, Chuck Wendig, Lemony Snicket author Daniel Handler, and Anna Todd.

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.

Novel and short story writing competitions


The Bath Novel Award trophy designed by London and Bath paper sculptor Jessica PalmerHere’s a list of novel and short story writing competitions. We wish you all the best if you are hoping to enter.

Comica Graphic Short Story Prize. – competition run by The Observer, Jonathan Cape and ComicaGraphic. Short stories in black and white or colour, fact or fiction, with or without words. Collaboration with an artist is OK.  Entry: Free. Prizes: 1st – £1,000 and story published in the Observer New Review. Runners-up – £250 and online publication.  Closing date: 26.09.14.

Literature Works First Page Writing Prize. Submit the first page of your unpublished novel plus a 150-word synopsis. Entry Fee: £6 for the first, then £3. Prizes: 1st – £1,500 plus a reading from a literary agent. 2nd – £350. 3rd – £150. Closing date: 30.09.14.

 New Children’s Author Prize 2015. Stories between 20,000 and 40,000 words aimed at children aged  8 – 12. Entrants must be over 18, unpublished and resident in the UK. Submit the entire story by email, using a template.  including a 350-word synopsis and a 1,000-word passage highlighted for use in the early judging stages. Entry: £30 Prize: Bloomsbury publishing contract with a £5,000 advance against royalties. Closing date: 30.09.14    

The Henshaw June Short Story Competition.  Up to 2,000 words on any subject, fiction. Entry: £5. Prizes: £100, £50, £25. Winners will be published on the website.  Closing date: 30.09.14.

Flash 500 Competition. Up to 500 words on any theme. Entry:£5 for one story, £8 for two. Prizes: 1st – £300 and publication in Words With Jam. 2nd – £200. 3rd – £100. Highly Commended – A copy of The Writer’s ABC Checklist or designed copy of Bad Moon Rising   Closing dates: 30.09.14, 31.12.14.

Curry Mallet Short Story Competition Adults – up to 2,500 words and Children up to 16 – 500. Stories from adults and children over 11 must have a WW1 theme. Children up to 11 should write a story with the title: There are Dragons Everywhere. Entry: Adult – £5 each, £10 for three. Children – £3 each. Prizes: Adult – 1st – £100, 2nd £10 book token. Children – 1st – £35, 2nd – £5 book token.  Closing date: 30.09.14.

Mere Literary Festival Timed Flash Fiction Competition. Up to 350 words. The story has to include a phrase that will be given on the Festival website on Thursday September 25.  Entry: £2 for the first, then £1  Juniors free. Senior Prizes £50, £25, £15  Junior Prizes 4 x £5 Closing date: 03.10.14.

Dark Places Competition  Scifi &  fantasy stories between 1,000 and 5,000 words. Prize: 1st – £50. 2nd – 3 month subscription to Grammarly.  Entry: £1.25.  Closing date: 15.10.2014, 15.02.2015.

Word Hut Short Story CompetitionUp to 1,000 words. Any theme, any genre in English. Entry:  £4  Prizes: £70, £35, £15.    Closing date: 19.10.14.

Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism. Up to 1,500 words – reviews of books, concerts, ballet, plays, films or TV shows. Entry:£10 Prize: £2,000 plus publication in Observer.  Closing date: 31.10.14.      

Bare Fiction Prize.  Short Stories up to 3,000 words, Flash Fiction  up to 500 words. Entry: Flash Fiction £6, Short Story £8. Prizes, each categor: £500, £200, £100. 4 highly commended x £25. Closing date: 31.10.14.

The London MagazineThe London Magazine Short Story Competition. Stories up to 4,000 words. Entry: £10.Prizes : £500, £300, £200. The winner published in the magazine and the runners-up on the website.  Closing date: 31.10.14.

Words with Jam Bigger Short Story Competition. Up to 2,500 words for short story,  1,000 words for shorter, and 250 for shortest.  Entry Fee: £6 for the first, then £4.  Prizes (in each category): £300, £100, £50. Runners-up – £10. All winners &  runners-up receive a free copy of the contest anthology. Closing date: 31.10.14.

 NAWG Open Writing Competitions. Stories between 500 & 2,000 words.  Entry: Stories – £5 each.  Optional critique – £5 plus sae.   Prizes £250, £100, £50. Closing date: 31.10.14.

The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition. Up to 80,000 words, suggested minimum of 30,000, include  brief synopsis, plot plan & letter explaining book’s appeal to children. Entry: £15. Prize: Publishing contract with advance of £10,000, plus representation by a top children’s literary agent. Closing date: 31.10.14.

 Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize. Fiction or non-fiction between 1,000 and 1,500 words, young writers 18 – 25. Entries should interpret the following Benjamin Franklin quote for its significance today: ‘When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.’ Entry: Free. Prizes: £750, £500. Winners published on The Telegraph website.    Closing date : 31.10.14.


Flash 500 Novel Opening CompetitionUp to 3,000 words plus the synopsis.  Entry Fee: £10. Optional critique: £25. Prizes: £500, £200. Closing: 31.10.14.

Words on the Waves Competition. Poems up to 100 lines.  Entry (in euros): 10 for the first, then 8.  Prizes – 750 euros, 250 euros, plus publication in the anthology. Five shortlisted writers will have their work in the anthology and receive a publication fee of 30 euros.Closing date: 31.10.14.   

 New Welsh Writing Awards 2015: People, Place & Planet. Between 8,000 and 30,000 words in English, on nature, the outdoors and the environment, as an essay, or book  Entry: Free, Prizes: 1st – £1,000 plus e-publication of  entry & critique by a literary agent. 2nd – week’s residential writing course at Ty Newydd. Closing date: 1.11.14.

Dystopian Fiction Prize. Up to 3,000 words in the narritive tradition of Orwell’s 1984 Entry: £5. Prize: £500 and a bust of George Orwell. Winner published in the Orwell Society’s newsletter & on the website. Closing date: 1.11.14.

 Caledonia Novel Award. Submit the first 20 pages of a novel together with a 200-word sysnopsis and a separate cover sheet. Entry: £20.  Prize: £1,000. Closing date: 02.11.14.

 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Up to 1,500 words.   Entry: $20. Prizes: 1st – $3,000. 2nd – $1,500. 3rd – $500. 4th to 10th – $100. 11th to 25th – $50 gift certificate for Writer’s Digest books. Top 10 winners  published in Writer’s Digest.  Closing date: 15.12.14 

 Museum of Words International Flash Fiction Contest. 100-word stories on any subject in English, Spanish, Arabic or Hebrew. Entry Free. Prizes: 1st – $20,000. Runners-up (3) – $2,000. A runner-up winner will be selected from each of the three languages left after the overall winner has been chosen. Closing date: 23.11.14.

The Mona Schreiber Prize. Up to 750 words. Comic essays, poetry, short stories, scripts and humorous shopping lists are all acceptable. Entry: $5. Prizes: $500, $250, $100. Closing date: 01.12.14.

 Bath Novel Award. First 5,000 words and a synopsis of your novel, any genre. Entry: £20. Prize: £1,000.  Closing date: 31.03.2015.

Spinetinglers Short Story Stories up to 5,000 words.  Entry:  Free.  Prizes : £100, £50 and 3 prizes of £25. Closing date: Monthly.

  Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Competition. Stories up to 17,000 words: sci fi, fantasy or horror with fantastic elements. Entry: Free. Prizes: $1,000, $750, $500. Closing date: Quarterly.

 Scribble Quarterly Short Story Competitions. Up to 3,000 words, any subject, previously unpublished. Entry: £3. Prizes: £75, £25, £15. Closing date: Ongoing.

The Dagger in the Library Award @Daggerinthelib- vote for your favourite

The Crime Writer’s Association (CWA) 2014 Dagger in the Library Award offers the chance for readers to nominate their favourite British crime fiction authors for this prestigious award.

The Dagger in the Library award is given in honour of an author’s entire collection of work to date rather than one specific book. Previous winners include Belinda Bauer, Steve Mosby and Stuart MacBride.

Voters will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win £200 worth of crime books!

Nominations close on 1st September 2014, so make sure you nominate up to three of your favourites.

Modern Romance – the best

image-medium (82)#RomanticReads Celebrate Valentine’s Day! The shortlist for the The Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year includes some titles Leeds readers have loved.

Helen Chandler, Two for Joy – another 5 star rater

Julia and Toby have been friends for years, but apart from a couple of drunken snogs in their university days, there’s never been anything more than friendship between them. It’s only when Toby goes through a dramatic break up with his gorgeous ballerina girlfriend Ruby, that he and Julia realise they’re meant to be together. Then Ruby drops a bombshell – she’s pregnant – and though he feels torn in two, Toby feels he has to give their relationship another chance. Heartbroken Julia is left to lick her wounds in her little Walthamstow home, thinking she has lost Toby forever

Susan Elliot Wright, The Things We Never Said

In 1964 Maggie wakes to find she doesn’t know who she is. She slowly begins to have memories of a storm and of a man called Jack. In 2008 Jonathan is struggling to tell his parents that he and his wife are expecting a baby, when a detective arrives to question him about crimes committed long ago

Veronica Henry, A Night On The Orient Express – loads of 5 star ratings

The Orient Express. Luxury. Mystery. Romance. For one group of passengers settling into their seats and taking their first sips of champagne, the journey from London to Venice is more than the trip of a lifetime. A mysterious errand; a promise made to a dying friend; an unexpected proposal; a secret reaching back a lifetime. As the train sweeps on, revelations, confessions and assignations unfold against the most romantic and infamous setting in the world

Lisa Jewell, Before I Met You

London, 1920. Arlette works in Liberty by day, and by night is caughty up in a glamorous whirl of parties, clubs, cocktails and jazz. But when tragedy strikes she flees the city, never to return. Over half a century later, in the grungy mid-’90s, her graddaughter Betty arrives in London. She can’t wait to begin her new life. But before she can do so, she must find the mysterious woman named in her grandmother’s will. What she doesn’t know is that her search will uncover the heartbreaking secret that changed her grandmother’s life, and might also change hers for ever

Pippa Wright, The Foster Husband

Kate left her home for London when she was 18, and never looked back. She had it all: the glamorous career, the gorgeous husband. Until her marriage failed and she lost her job. Holed up in her granny’s bungalow, she’s forced to share her new home with Ben, the clueless fiance of her sister Prue

The Folio Prize shortlist

image-medium (79)The inaugural shortlist of the latest literary award on the block, the Folio Prize, has been unveiled, and it features five American authors.

The final eight books – from 80 read in total by the Folio judges – span poetry, novels and short stories.

– Last Friends by Jane Gardam
– Schroder by Amity Gaige – 4 stars by one of our readers
– Benediction by Kent Haruf
– The Flame Throwers by Rachel Kushner – rated 5 star by one of our readers
– A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava
– Tenth of December by George Saunders
– A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
– Red Doc by Anne Carson
The Folio Prize was first announced in 2011 and was then known as the Literature Prize, coming into being because the Man Booker judges were focusing on “readability”,  whereas the Folio focuses on-“Excellence: to identify works of fiction in which the story being told and the subjects being explored achieve their most perfect and thrilling expression”.

The prize is worth £40,000 and is open to English-language writers from all around the world. It actually pre-empts this year’s Booker Prize, which is also expanding to a global level as a new departure.

It is a valuable prize – other literary awards are worth: Man Booker £50,000, Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize)  £30,000 and the new £10,000 Goldsmiths Prize.

The award will be made on 10th March