Thursday 28 November 2013

Gordon Burn Prize Opens for Submissions

New Writing North, in association with Faber & Faber and the Gordon Burn Trust, is delighted to announce the second year of The Gordon Burn Prize and to open the award to new submissions.

The first Gordon Burn Prize, created to honour the literary legacy of the late Newcastle-born author, was announced at a special event in October at the 2013 Durham Book Festival when author Ben Myers scooped the prize with his novel, Pig Iron. As winner, he received a cheque for £5,000 and the opportunity to undertake a three-month writing retreat at Gordon’s own cottage in Berwickshire.

The Gordon Burn Prize is open to both fiction and non-fiction titles written in English that capture the spirit of Gordon’s writing. Gordon was a novelist undaunted by convention or genre, and the judges are looking for a writer with a similarly intrepid approach to their craft. Publishers are invited to enter exceptional fiction that dares to enter history and interrogate the past, and non-fiction on subjects such as sport, art, crime and popular culture that is brave enough to recast characters and historical events to create a new and vivid reality.

The book that wins the 2014 Gordon Burn Prize will be literature which challenges perceived notions of genre, a piece of writing that makes us think again about just what it is that we are reading. New Writing North is delighted to be part of an award that not only honours an author as significant and challenging as Gordon Burn, but also encourages other authors to follow his example and push the boundaries of their work.

“The Gordon Burn Prize rewards innovative work across both fiction and non-fiction which best represents the spirit of Gordon’s prose,” said Faber Social creative director Lee Brackstone. “In a celebrity-saturated world, which is increasingly documented in monochrome and monotonous style, it is thrilling to be associated with a prize that embraces adventurous and unusual ways of engaging with the culture.”

The judges for the 2014 prize are artist Sarah Lucas; poet and novelist John Burnside; comedian, actor and musician Julian Barratt; and 2013 winner Ben Myers.

Deadline for submissions: 14th February 2014

Please see for full terms and conditions as well as submission guidelines and visit for further details on Gordon’s work and the prize.

Tuesday 26 November 2013

2014 Cardiff International Poetry Competition Open for Entries

The 2014 Cardiff International Poetry Competition is now open for entries. The competition offers one of the largest monetary prizes for a poetry competition of its kind. First prize is £5,000. Additional prizes are £500 for second place, £250 for third and five runners-up receive £50 each. All entries to the competition will be judged anonymously, so this is a great opportunity to have your poetry judged on its own merits.

The hard task of judging the 2014 competition will be down to award winning poets Lemn Sissay, Rhian Edwards and filter judge Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch. Click here to read more about the judges.

If you think you have what it takes to delight the judges and get your hands on the top prize of £5,000, then send us your poems now. Just make sure your poem is no longer than 50 lines long, is unpublished, is in English and is not a translation of another author’s work. Send it, along with your entry form and payment, to Literature Wales
Entry fee: £7.00 per poem. 

To download an entry form, click here.

To receive an entry form through the post send a stamped, self addressed envelope to:
Literature Wales, CIPC14 Entry Form,
Cambrian Buildings, Mount Stuart Square,
Cardiff, Wales, CF10 5FL.
For further details contact Literature Wales:
029 2047 2266 /

Closing date: Friday 14 March 2014

Monday 25 November 2013

Northern Writers’ Awards Call for Submissions

£40,000 of prizes and support available to talented writers in the north of England

Deadline for submissions: Friday 17th January 2014, 5pm

New Writing North is delighted to announce that the Northern Writers’ Awards are now open for submissions. The Northern Writers’ Awards were established in 2000 as a pioneering programme that aimed to support both new and established writers in the pursuit of their creative ambitions. Since then the awards have supported over 150 writers, many of whom have gone on to achieve publication of their work in the UK and internationally.

Originally open only to writers in the North East, the awards, thanks to the support of Northumbria University, are now open to writers in the North East, North West and Yorkshire. The awards support writers of prose, poetry, creative non-fiction and children’s fiction. From this year there will also be a new programme of awards for young writers: the Cuckoo Young Writers Award and the Matthew Hale Award.

For new writers, winning a Northern Writers’ Award helps to get them noticed by agents and publishers and lifts them onto the first rung of the ladder towards publication. For more established writers, awards can buy precious time to undertake a new project or to support work in progress that has not yet been commissioned. The support that winning writers receive includes cash awards alongside mentoring, editorial feedback and support and help with professional development within the writing industry.

Past winners of the Northern Writers’ Awards include novelist and poet Carolyn Jess-Cooke, who won both a Northern Promise Award in 2008 and a Poetry Award in 2013; Niel Bushnell, who met his agent through the awards and has gone on to publish the popular children’s Timesmith series, and writer Ben Myers, whose Pig Iron has been critically acclaimed and won the 2013 inaugural Gordon Burn Prize.

Source: New Writing North

Monday 18 November 2013

Pascale Petit wins 2013 Manchester Writing Competition

Pascale Petit has been awarded the Poetry Prize of £10,000 as part of the 2013 Manchester Writing Competition. The competition was set up by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy at the Manchester Writing School, part of Manchester Metropolitan University. Alongside Pascale, Adam Wilmington received the Fiction Prize.

James Draper, manager of the Manchester Writing School, said: “Both judging panels were impressed by the overall quality of the submissions and worked really hard over the summer, reading through them all, to pull together two short-lists that showcase a thrillingly diverse range of voices and subjects."

Chair of the poetry judges Adam O’Riordan, Lecturer in Poetry Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Choosing the winner was a happily unanimous decision. Our winner was chosen because of the un-reproducible bite of the images, their brilliant understanding of human psycho-drama, the sustained accomplishment of their metaphorical imagination.” 

Pascale Petit won for a portfolio of five poems from her forthcoming collection Fauverie, and said: “Thank you very much to the judges. I feel really encouraged.”

Click here for more information.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Claire Vaye Watkins named the 2013 winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize

On Thursday 7th November, it was announced that the American author, Claire Vaye Watkins has won the 2013 Dylan Thomas Prize. The announcement was made at an awards ceremony held at the National Waterfront Museum in Dylan Thomas’ hometown of Swansea. The 29-year-old California-born author won the prize for her collection of short stories Battleborn, which was the unanimous choice of the judges.

The winner was chosen by a panel of judges including Hay Festival founder Peter Florence, novelist Allison Pearson, author, singer and BBC 6 music presenter Cerys Matthews, journalist and author Carolyn Hitt, commentator and artist Kim Howells, Guardian Review journalist Nicholas Wroe, and Chairman of the Dylan Thomas Prize, Peter Stead.

Congratulations also to Welsh writer, Jemma L King who's debut poetry collection, The Shape of a Forest, was short-listed for the celebrated Dylan Thomas Prize. Jemma will be one of a team of writers who will deliver one hour workshops in schools throughout Wales as part of Literature Wales’ Developing Dylan project. Jemma was also awarded a New Writer’s Bursary from Literature Wales, to work on her next collection of poetry between 2013 - 2014.

Source Literature Wales

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Guest Blog by Melisa Marzett: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

It is strange but 'To Kill a Mockingbird' appeared in my collection accidentally long time ago.  Once surfing book stores I noticed an intriguing title "To Kill a Mockingbird."  The title promised a good detective story. I took the book, flipped through pages of cheap, yellowish paper, and, after reading one sentence at random, I could not put it down. Needless to say, I came home with this novel, which is still there on the shelf next to my favorite books.

Now I know that 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is considered to be classical American literature though it was written in the middle of the 20th century. According to numerous survey the book was chosen the best book of the second part of the 20th
century. Written on the autobiographical basis in 1960 by Harper Lee, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' brought Pulitzer Prize to its author in 1961. Finally in 1962 the movie based on this story was released, it was successful too. This is how the world literature became rich in one more brilliant story!

The writer uses an interesting method: the world of adults is shown through the eyes of a child. The narrator of this story is a little girl Jean-Louise Finch (Scout).  At the beginning of the book Scout is 6 years old; at the end she is 9 years old. The girl’s nickname perfectly fits her character. Jean Louise really sees everything, and even if can not explain some things, she still remembers all details. She will tell us her story being a grown up woman, filling every page with bright characters and unforgettable events. 
Scout has lost her mother, she loves with her father and brother John in a small town of Maycomb in the South of United States. The town lives a secluded life and has its own rules, and problems and disturbances of the outside world hardly concern its citizens. The action of the novel takes place in the mid 30s of the last century, during the Great Depression. No wonder that for a girl of her age games and entertainment are the most important things for Scout. She together with her brother and a friend named Jem (by the way, other well-known American writer Truman Capote served as a prototype for this character. Being a child, Harper Lee met Truman Capote). The plot of the novel leads its reader from children’s games to a court case and illegal prosecution of a black man who is accused in raping of a white woman. Scout’s father of, Atticus Finch, becomes devoted lawyer and defender of innocent men and this decision nearly costs him life, and brings tragedy to his daughter.
This story reveals psychological problems of growing up girl who gradually realizes that the world around her is not as well-being, as it seemed to be. Neighbors and even friends do not fit into the usual scheme imposed by the southern society, and Scout has to learn from her father what it’s like to compromise. She has to find out a lot of other incredible facts… For example, Scout discovers that Boo Radley, their neighbor, playing the evil monster in her games, is a kind-hearted man living a difficult life full of suffering.
In addition, in the novel provides us with excellent pictures of provincial life, these scenes could be independent short stories. Just remember the story about a rare event in the life of Meycomb, a snowfall, which Jean-Louise see for the first time in her life. Wonderful language of the writer is another splendid detail of this book. The charm of the book is created thanks to sincere and lively intonations, expressive and vivid details. And despite of the tragic tone of the book, "To Kill a Mockingbird" is full of sparkling humor, as the childhood is the happiest time, and Scout keeps it in her memory as a wonderful period of life first of all.
It is difficult to define the genre of this book. It is impossible to say that 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is a woman's novel, children's book or autobiographical story. Most probably, it's a mixture of these three genres, a brilliant mixture!
After 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Harper Lee wrote nothing. There were rumors that she was working on another novel, however, she realized that it was impossible to reach the level she put in her first book and the second novel was never written. The readers can feel sorry for this situation. But maybe, it was the right choice. It's certainly better than publishing countless books without real power and taste. In the memory of grateful readers Harper Lee remains the author of one masterpiece.

Words by writer, Melissa Marzett. Imaged sourced by Melissa Marzett.You are welcome to contact Melisa Marzett here. You can read other works by Melisa Marzett here.

Monday 11 November 2013

Eleventh and Final Doctor Who Author Announced ...

Eleven Doctors. Eleven months. Eleven authors. Eleven stories.
A year long celebration for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who!
Neil Gaiman
Nothing O’Clock
21st November 2013,  EBook, £1.99
Suitable for readers 8+, ISBN: 9781405913324

The eleventh and final instalment in a sensational series of stories celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who is written by Neil Gaiman, best-selling author of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Stardust, Neverwhere, The Graveyard Book and Coraline.

Doctor Who is the longest running sci-fi TV show in the world and celebrates its 50th anniversary on 23rd November 2013. To celebrate, Puffin – in partnership with BBC Worldwide – has published a series of eleven ebook short stories each based on one of the Eleven Doctors, priced at £1.99 and released monthly from January to November 2013. Each story has been written by a different author, bringing together some of the most exciting names in children’s fiction, from commercial blockbusters to literary award-winners. These authors have brought their own interpretation and reimagining of their chosen Doctor, creating a unique Doctor Who adventure in their own inimitable style.

Following short stories by Eoin Colfer, Michael Scott, Marcus Sedgwick, Philip Reeve, Patrick Ness, Richelle Mead, Malorie Blackman, Alex Scarrow, Charlie Higson and Derek Landy, Neil Gaiman has written the eleventh and final adventure in this series, based on the Eleventh Doctor played by Matt Smith. Neil Gaiman commented: ‘Nothing O’Clock stars the Eleventh Doctor, the Matt Smith Doctor, with Amy Pond as his companion. I set it somewhere during the first season of Matt Smith, mostly on Earth, in our time now and in 1984, but also somewhere else, a very, very long time ago. I had never created an original monster for Doctor Who and really enjoyed getting to create a creepy Doctor Who monster of the kind that we haven’t quite seen before… I hope that the Kin will get out there and occasionally give people nightmares. And that you will be worried if a man in a rabbit mask comes to your door and tries to buy your house.’

Synopsis: Thousands of years ago, Time Lords built a Prison for the Kin. They made it utterly impregnable and unreachable. As long as Time Lords existed, the Kin would be trapped forever and the universe would be safe. They had planned for everything… everything, that is, other than the Time War and the fall of Gallifrey. Now the Kin are free again and there’s only one Time Lord left in the universe who can stop them!

Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) is the bestselling author of more than twenty books for adults and children, including the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Anansi Boys, Coraline and The Graveyard Book, the Sandman series of graphic novels, and two episodes of Doctor Who (‘The Doctor’s Wife’ and ‘Nightmare in Silver’). He has received numerous literary honours including the Locus and Hugo Awards and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Almost two million people follow him on Twitter: @neilhimself. Born and raised in England, he now lives in the USA, with his wife, the rock star Amanda Palmer. He is Professor of the Arts at Bard University. 

A paperback anthology (£12.99) and an audio download collection (£14.99) of the eleven stories, Doctor Who: 11 Doctors, 11 stories, will publish on 21st November 2013.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Magazines Call for Submissions this November

Counterpoint Poetry Magazine

Submissions invited for the first print edition in Jan 2014.

For 100 years originality in poetry has been defined by formal innovation and novelty in subject matter. Counterpoint Poetry Magazine was founded in order to provide a platform for poetry which is recognizably continuous with that which existed prior to the two world wars. Accordingly, it will favour poetry which employs the accentual-syllabic metrical system and it will be sympathetic to expressions of Christian belief. It will thus pursue the timeless ambitions of poetry, which are to serve truth and beauty. It will be published quarterly in print and continuously online at


Pedestal 73 will be posting on 21st December 2013, in conjunction with the journal's 13-year anniversary. They will be accepting submissions of poetry from 1st September to 30th November. There will be no restrictions on length, theme or style. All submissions should be sent via the link provided on the site. Please see guidelines for further information and to send work. Pedestal 73 look very forward to receiving your poems.

Please contact the magazines directly with any enquiries, thank you!

Monday 4 November 2013

Featured Poem for November 2013 - 'My First Funeral' By Gemma Lees

My First Funeral

There were no sing-along hits
Painstakingly picked for mix CDs
At the start of this sombre road trip
Just jabbering local DJs
Changing accents, same old chatter
As we crackled over each county’s boundary
From North West to South East
He driving and me counting junctions
Passing him pop
And squeezing his hand
As he rested it on his knee
At each red light
Travelling three hundred miles
To say goodbye
To a shut up box
With our friend inside

The cool countryside church was packed
With punks, Goths and freaks
Drawn to this village from countrywide
Disturbing the peace and quiet
Just how he would have liked
I managed not to cry
Until they brought him inside
Everyone as wearing his footie team’s sky blue
And once outside it was as if the sky knew
As even it obliged
And sky blue was all I could see for miles
Around the secluded field
Full of grey and white stones
And his box lowered into his hole
Surrounded by mounds of Earth
We stood in line
Under that blue sky
To say goodbye
To that shut up box
With our friend inside

After sing-alongs
And dancing down the motorway
We sat in his local
Toasting his memory
And reminiscing the rest of the day away
Drink blurred those unreliable memories we shared
Showing each other slightly more reliable
Memories we’d snapped up
In still-framed longevity
And we said goodbye
To an unlocked box
We could look inside
At any time

© Gemma Lees 2013
Please do not use without the poet’s permission.



For further information about Gemma Lees and her work please visit Gemma's page here.