The White Review Short Story Prize

image-medium (73)About The White Review Short Story Prize

The White Review Short Story Prize is an annual short story competition for emerging writers. The prize awards £2,500 to the best piece of short fiction by a writer resident in the UK and Ireland who has yet to secure a publishing deal.

The judges will be looking for short stories that explore and expand the possibilities of the form. Submissions from all literary genres are welcome, and there are no restrictions on theme or subject matter. The prize was founded to reward ambitious, imaginative and innovative approaches to creative writing.


In addition to the £2,500 prize, the winner will be published in a quarterly print issue of The White Review. Writers to have been published by The White Review include László Krasznahorkai, Peter Stamm, Joshua Cohen, César Aira, Deborah Levy, Francesco Pacifico, D. W. Wilson, Helen DeWitt, Federico Falco, K. J. Orr, Jesse Ball and many others.

The winner will have the chance to meet with jury member and literary agent Anna Webber to discuss their writing, plans for future work and possible routes to publication.

Shortlisted writers will have their work published online and receive feedback from the editors of The White


Submissions deadline: 1 March 2014
Shortlist announced: 1 April 2014
Winner announced: 24 April 2014

Entry fee is £15

Peter Stamm is a previous prize winner

Fiction uncovered open for self published authors

BooksFor the first time, self-published as well as published writers will be able to submit entries for Fiction Uncovered. Fiction submissions of all kinds – including novels, collections of short stories and graphic novels are welcome. Eight books will be chosen by a judging panel with the aim of  celebrating the best of contemporary British fiction. The eight will be promoted (through Fiction Uncovered website, an annual retail promotion, author events, and its pop-up radio station) The selection announced in June 2014

In previous years, submissions of short story collections have been very low, so in 2014 The Literary Platform who oversee Fiction Uncovered will be working with The Word Factory, an organisation specialising in events and masterclasses for short story writers, to raise the number of short story collection submissions.

Fiction Uncovered is Arts Council funded.

Details of Rules and Eligibility and the Submissions Form are available for download at:

Submissions Enquiries, contact Rosa Anderson at

Doris Lessing

image-medium (42)Doris Lessing, Nobel prize winning author has died aged 94. Born Doris May Tayler in Iran, (then Persia) on October 22, 1919, her parents were British and she was brought up in Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia and a British colony) where her father hoped to make money through maize farming.

Lessing attended an all-girls high school in the capital of Salisbury, from which she soon dropped out aged thirteen-  the end of her formal education.  She did become a self-educated intellectual, though & was a voracious reader.  Commenting that unhappy childhoods seem to produce fiction writers “Yes, I think that is true. Though it wasn’t apparent to me then. Of course, I wasn’t thinking in terms of being a writer then – I was just thinking about how to escape, all the time.” “twisted and warped by war, but we seem to forget it.”

Lessing left home at fifteen  to escape her mother and became a  nursemaid. Her employer gave her books on politics and sociology to read and she wrote stories, selling two to magazines in South Africa. Moving to Salisbury, the capital, in 1937,  she worked as a telephone operator for a year and at nineteen, married Frank Wisdom and had two children. Subsequently, feelings of being trapped and stereotyped caused her to leave her family. Becoming involved in  The Left Book Club, a group of Communists “who read everything, and who did not think it remarkable to read” she met like minded people, including Gottfried Lessing, whom she married. They had a son and she kept the surname Lessing despite leaving him.

By 1949, separated from Lessing, she had moved to London with her young son. She’d become disillusioned with the Communist movement, which she left altogether in 1954. Her first novel, The Grass Is Singing came out that year and began her career as a writer.  Her writing is varied, often very autobiographical, drawing on her experiences in Africa, her childhood memories and her concern / interest in politics, social concerns, injustice. She admired the “climate of ethical judgement” in 19thC novels and  incorporated 20thC ideas about consciousness and time. After writing the Children of Violence series (1951-1959), Lessing ‘broke new ground with The Golden Notebook (1962), “a daring narrative experiment, in which the multiple selves of a contemporary woman are rendered in astonishing depth and detail. Anna Wulf, like Lessing herself, strives for ruthless honesty as she aims to free herself from the chaos, emotional numbness, and hypocrisy afflicting her generation.”

’70s and ’80s novels included Briefing for a Descent into Hell, 1971 Memoirs of a Survivor, 1974 and science fiction Canopus in Argos: Archives, 1979-1983. Other works are The Good Terrorist (1985) and The Fifth Child (1988); she also published two novels under the pseudonym Jane Somers (The Diary of a Good Neighbour, 1983 and If the Old Could…, 1984) plus non fiction, including books about cats, which she loved. Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949 – 1995 won the James Tait Black Prize for best biography. A collaboration with illustrator Charlie Adlard produced the graphic novel, Playing the Game.  In 1996 Love Again was published, a first novel in 7  years. 

Walking in the Shade, volume two of her autobiography, came out in 1997 and was nominated for National Book Critics Circle Award; two years later came “Mara and Dann”. In an interview in the London Daily Telegraph she said, “I adore writing it. I’ll be so sad when it’s finished. It’s freed my mind.” Ben, in the World, the sequel to The Fifth Child was published 2000

Amongst her literary honours were the shortlist for the first Man Booker International Prize in 2005 and the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007. Her final novel was Alfred and Emily.She was made a Companion of Honour, in 2000 having turned down the offer of becoming a Dame of the British Empire because there is no British Empire. Being a Companion of Honour, she explained, means “you’re not called anything – and it’s not demanding. I like that”. Being a Dame was “a bit pantomimey”. Books by and about Doris Lessing in Leeds Libraries

Eleanor Catton Booker prize winner and other young authors

cattonEleanor Catton is only 28 and has scored a win in the Man Booker prize- in fact she is the youngest winner ever. The book ‘The Luminaries is in stock if you haven’t read it, here’s the synopsis –

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky

Here’s a lovely article in the Guardian book blog  about some other young authors who made an early big impression. From Emily Bronte to D H Lawrence and Dickens a lot of the greats started young !

Yak Tale – launch of a site for authors to publish short stories

downloadYakTale is an “open access” site on which authors will be able to publish their short stories . The site launches today. Readers will be able to access the stories for free . Writers can submit work through the website,  currently in beta format at the time of writing this, or by emailing

Isabelle de Grave who is a writer and a journalist and her partner Henry Doe, have been responsible for the platform for the new site. It will enable authors to self-publish short stories, flash fiction and poems. She says the inspiration to create the platform came from social media sites e.g. Instagram and Twitter.

De Grave is quoted as saying “Just as Instagram, Flickr and 500px cater for avid photographers, YakTale is a place where authors who love writing short stories, flash fiction and poems can publish their work and share it with readers,” she said. “We know how easy it is to find good photography and funny videos on the Internet, so we’re making it just as easy to find great short stories that will excite our senses and engage our minds.”

She added: “Just as you’d craft a short story, has been built to draw readers into the experience of reading short fiction online. It allows you to squeeze reads into busy days, on the bus or on your lunch break, and save stories for later on your reader’s bookshelf.”


Help from the Writers and Artists for would-be self published authors

image-medium (4)Self publishing no longer necessarily means ”vanity’ publishing and in the US last year more titles were self-published than published (240,000: 230,000).

To help budding authors, the Writers & Artists Yearbook, which has long been a trusted work available to consult or borrow from the library service has launched a new section on its website aimed at helping writers become self published and achieving their literary dreams.

Aspiring authors can find all the information they need, there’s a range of articles to read on all of the following topics:

Considering self-publishing
Marketing and publicity
Interviews on self-publishing

Plus a comparision engine for researching the following topics:

  • Editorial
  •  E-books
  • Marketing
  • Design & Formatting
  • Printing

Robert Barnard

Robert BarnardWe were very sad to learn of crime writers Robert Barnard’s death last week and wanted to make our small tribute to him.

Robert was a great supporter of our libraries and has done numerous events for us over the years to talk about his books and writing. He was very generous with his time and often his only remuneration was a bottle of wine.

Robert was awarded the Crime Writers Association Cartier Diamond Dagger in 2003 for a lifetime of achievement in crime writing, a career that had then lasted nearly 30 years and in which he had written over 40 books. Robert’s books have always been hugely popular in our libraries with staff and the public alike. His most popular books in Leeds were his crime fiction novels featuring Detective Charlie Peace. In fact I do believe that some of our readers would count Charlie Peace as a personal friend.

Leeds Libraries and our readers will miss Robert and we send our very best wishes to his remaining family.