Monday, March 29, 2010

Short FICTION New Writer Competition

The deadline for Short FICTION's New Writer competition has been extended until April 30th so I thought I'd invite Tom Vowler to come and chat a little about it here and let you know why you should submit. I'd like to say that Short FICTION is an excellent literary magazine, I am always incredibly impressed by the quality and the range of what it publishes. OK, take it away Tom!

1. Who are you and what's all this New Writer comp stuff got to do with you? (sounds a little rude,eh?!)

Tom Vowler: I'm the Assistant Editor of Short FICTION, an annual literary journal now in its fourth year, published in south-west England. Each issue we run a competition for writers who have not had a book of fiction published. Why? Well, we're really excited about finding new voices, and launching them onto successful writing careers. There's nothing more thrilling than realising you're reading a wonderful story by an emerging writer.

2. What's Short FICTION all about?

TV: The journal has a strong visual edge, and features some of the best writing from around the world. Contributing editors include Ali Smith, Toby Litt and Gerard Donovan, but we love discovering new writers to feature along side these. Previous issues have included stories by Kevin Barry, Julian Gough, Ioan Grosan and Phillip Ó Ceallaigh. Each writer's work is beautifully illustrated and presented in their own bespoke chapbooks. Because we only come out once a year, all our energy goes into creating a wonderful journal, both to look at and to read.

3. Why should someone pay to enter the comp instead of just sending a regular submission?

TV: Well, there's £300 first prize, as well as publication. And we get about 600 general submissions in a reading cycle, so the competition usually offers a better chance of success. But there's nothing to stop you submitting to both. Also, we're looking for longer stories for general submissions this year (5,000 words and above) but there's no upper or lower word limit for the competition. The best reason, though, is entry is normally £5, but if you buy a copy of the next issue (normally £9.50) for £10, you can enter a story effectively for 50p.

So why enter or submit to competitions and literary journals? Well, it's a great way to judge where your writing is in relation to the best out there. And publication of this kind is often the first step to catching the eye of a literary agent or publisher, so it's a good idea to pick up as many of these as you can. And who knows: you might just have that stunning prize-winner sitting hidden in your drawer. Get it out, dust it down, and send it our way. We'd love to read it.

This year, we've just extended the deadline for entries until April 30th, so there are a few weeks to polish those stories. Stories must be previously unpublished. Check out our Facebook group ...And for a sample of the type of story we like, and the artwork that accompanies each, here's Kevin Barry's brilliant Rico Spoke, from an earlier issue:  Good luck.
Tom's writing blog is How to Write a Novel, and his first short story collection will be published by Salt later this year. So: do as the man says.... here's all the info you need to enter.

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