News and Opportunities for Writers: March 2020


Eve Connor, one of our Spark Young Writers, is a Foyle Young Poet and has been commended for her poem Man in the Street at the Foyle Young Poet of the Year Awards.



In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, many authors, readers and booksellers have had to think outside the box in regards to book launches and maintaining reader engagement. The Bookseller has listed virtual book launches and virtual festivals which will be taking place over the next couple of months, to get involved, visit their website.

A collective of authors and illustrators have launched Picture Book Author Events Online to provide author videos, book readings and activities to keep children entertained whilst at home. You can find more information here.

Competitions and opportunities:

Tall Tales, Short Stories Competition 2020 is accepting submissions until 27 March 2020! This competition ran by The Royal Society of Literature, is open for 14-18-year-olds who live in the UK. All you need to do is pick a story from their anthology and use 500 words to finish it. Find out more here.

Rubery Book Award has announced its 2020 judges and is open for submissions! All categories are accepted. Enter for the chance to win the Book of the Year award plus £1500! Deadline: 31 March 2020.

The Creative Writing Award is now open for entries: further your involvement in the literary world with our friends at Aesthetica Mag.  Submit your poetry and short fiction work and win £1,000 as well as publication within an inspiring anthology. Find out more.

Creative Future‘s annual creative writing competition – the Creative Future Writers Award – is now open and is looking for under-represented writers in the UK only. This year’s theme is Tomorrow. Your work should respond to the theme, implicitly or explicitly, but we’re looking for quality writing first and foremost. Applications are open until Sunday 31 May 2020.

Bridport Prize has created a new competition, the Young Writer Award! The Young Writer Award, is open to talented writers aged 16 to 25 taking early steps in their careers, is worth £500 and this will be presented to the highest placed writer in this age group across any category. Find out more.

Applications are now open for Penguin Books UK‘s Write Now programme! This award-winning programme which aims to find, nurture and publish new writers from communities under-represented on the nation’s bookshelves. Find out more here. Deadline: 31 May 2020.


News from our Room 204 writers:

A huge congratulations to Louise Stokes on her play The Order of Disorder which was showcased at Coventry University with interest in programming it into their Mental Health Nurse curriculum and performed as part of Worcester Arts Workshop’s Mental Health Week program. Her new play, Hear Me, was also selected to be included in BEDLAM’s scratch night at MAC. Louise has also received some funding to carry out creative sessions for those experiencing the issues she explores in her work.

Fran Hill‘s new book Miss, What Does Incomprehensible Mean? is due to be published by SPCK on 21 May 2020!  The Room 204 writer describes it ‘as a funny but poignant memoir in diary form of a year in a teacher’s life.’

Room 204 writer and BBC Local Poet for Shropshire, Jean Atkin, was commissioned a poem for National Poetry Day this year based on stories passed on by Shropshire residents. Jean’s performance of Here Be Elephants can be viewed here. Jean’s second collection, How Time is in Fields, was launched by Indigo Dreams Publishing at the end of August.

Jacqui Rowe is the joint winner of the Indigo Dreams poetry competition and they will be publishing her next collection, Other Things I Didn’t Use To Know, in 2020. Another poem of Jacqui’s, translated from Catalanalso appears in Home on the Move, published by Parthian Press.

Congratulations to Leila Rasheed from Room 204 who had two books published in September! The first being Katherine Johnson: A Life Story, a non-fiction book, published by Scholastic and the second being The Smiling Stones, a fiction book, published by Rising Stars as part of their Reading Planet reading scheme.

Liz Kershaw has been shortlisted for the Historical Writers’ Association Short Story Competition and will be among six shortlisted writers to attend the award ceremony in November. Good luck Liz!

Liz Hyder‘s debut Bearmouth has been chosen as one of The Times Best Children’s Books of 2019, chosen by Arts Editor Alex O’Connell and has been longlisted for the 2020 Branford Boase award! We’re so delighted to see this wonderful book go from strength to strength!

Greg Leadbetter is a contributor to the Arena experimental documentary ‘Everything is Connected: George Eliot’s Life’, directed by the Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing, broadcast on BBC Four and available on catch-up; and in conversation with Alys Fowler, on poetry, the city and the natural world, in One to One, broadcast on Radio 4 (and thereafter available on BBC Sounds.)

Maisie Chan has released a new book: Stories From Around The World, which is a book of familiar and lesser-known fairy tales, myths and legends from around the world. Congratulations Maisie!

Categories: News