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Writers' & Artists' Blog

Firewords Competition: Shortlist Announced!

After weeks of deliberation, we can reveal the shortlist for our Firewords Writing Competition. A massive congratulations to our top ten!

The Visit by Toni Allen

Last Man Standing by Jen Falkner

After The Dark by James Hatton

Stars by Liam Hogan

Homeland by Katherine Mezzacappa

A Mother Whale Lifts Her Head by Jeanne Panfley

A Good Thing by Megan Parker

Mountain Ash by Nicole Pearson

The Man With No Shadow by Stephanie Percival

The Seventh Sense by Dee Takemoto

The winner and two runner-ups will be announced at the end of the month, so keep your eyes peeled!

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Publishing on my 50th Birthday

Justine Robinson

Ever since my early teens I have loved to write – journals, poetry, short stories. I’ve always been part of a book club or a creative writing group. In my early twenties, a magazine even published one of my first articles and I remember being paid £75 – quite a lot of money back then! In that moment of triumph, I recall giving thought to becoming a ‘proper’ writer.

‘Wouldn’t that be good?’

But it was an idea immediately followed by more realistic thoughts.

‘I already have a job as a PA. I can’t give that up. How would I pay the bills, keep my flat?’

So that was that. The writing was no more than a hobby.  Until my mid-forties, that is, when I felt the need to write about my father’s death. It was a time in which things just seemed to happen, a period of my life that felt almost fictional. The seed of a novel began to take hold and I didn't fight it. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I realised life’s just too-damn-short.

So I …

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Writing Touchstone 8: Levels

Just over a decade ago, I saw Alan Ayckbourn’s Improbable Fiction at the Theatre Royal, Bath. I was doing my creative writing MA and, of all the valuable things I gained in that year, the fundamental life lesson was that play. Act One is a writing group’s meeting. We hear about their genres, lives, personalities and how great their writing would have been – had any of them actually got around to doing any.

I’m not going to tell you what happens in Act Two of Improbable Fiction because I’d like you to come and see it at the Questors Theatre next month. It’s the last play I direct before I take a sabbatical, having just gone full-time on my creative writing PhD. The life decision is clear, but very hard. I love theatre, I love directing, I love the immediacy and the risk and the edge that film has the time to perfect yet we must conjure from the shadows every night. But it too starts with writing, and writing is what I love most. Love doesn’t mean much if it’s just …

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7 Habits of Highly Effective…Writers

In his bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey presents what he sees as the key principles to achieving success in the workplace. I’m more of a Bridget Jones than a Stephen Covey when it comes to self-help manuals but I thought it might be fun to share the seven things I’ve learned along my writing journey and see if they resonate with anyone else.

1. Write Even When You Don’t Want To

There are days when the muse just doesn't sing- when she won’t even mutter under her breath. But you can’t give in to her silence. You still have to sit at your desk and fill the page. It isn't only about ‘being professional’ and meeting deadlines. It’s also about pushing through the mental block and making something happen. It’s about telling yourself you can do it and not giving up.

2. Make Friends with Other Writers

Writing is a lonely business and there are some things only other writers can understand. Your writer friends …

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Bloomsbury Publishing Christmas Sale!

If you're a writer, you should be an avid reader, too! Stock up on some winter reading material and take advantage of this special sale on, with discounts of up to 45% available across the site. are offering up to 45% off thousands of books in their Christmas sale*, including new and bestselling titles within fiction, non-fiction, children's (including Harry Potter), academic and education categories.

Click here to start your Christmas shopping

The sale, of course, includes both 2017 editions of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook, and our fantastic series of Companion Guides offering more genre-specific writing advice.

Browse Writers & Artists sale highlights

*The Bloomsbury Christmas Sale runs from Monday 21st November to midnight (GMT) on Sunday 11th December.

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