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Writers' & Artists' Blog

Retreat West Short Story Competition: And The Winner Is...

We're delighted to reveal the winner and two runner-up entries for our short story competition with Retreat West!

Jane Elmor – author of My Vintage Summer and Pictures Of You, and Creative Writing tutor for the Open University – has very kindly judged the competition, and selected the winning entries.

The overall winner receiving an exclusive free place on Retreat West's November retreat in West Bay, Dorset, benefitting from essential workshops led by Richard Skinner and Amanda Saint.

Both runners up will also be the lucky recipients of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2018, a Writers & Artists Writing Companion Guide of their choice, and a Retreat West Anthology of stories from the annual Retreat West Short Story Prize and Flash Fiction Prize.


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Winning entry: Louise Taylor with Of Cabbages And Wreckers


Feedback from Jane Elmor: 

I’ve chosen this for its unusual and intriguing premise – a modern/futuristic wrecking …

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Retreat West Short Story Competition Shortlist Announced!

Our short story competition with Retreat West received quite the response - perhaps it was something to do with the brilliant prize of a free place on one of their writing retreats?

We received hundreds of entries, however a shortlist had to be settled on. After a whole lot of reading and whittling down, here they are!

Amazing Grace by Liv Sandwell

Courage by Linda Jorgenson

Educated Virgins by EK Haralambous

Of Cabbages and Wreckers by Louise Taylor

Paradise Lost by Michael Gordon Smith

Resume by Alexis Wolfe

Returning to Rester Lake by Anne Marie Dade

The Commute by Sarah Anne Juckes

The Song of the Rolling Sea by Phillip Stuckey

Watching It Go by Mark Mayes


The winner and two runners-up will be announced here by October 18th, with judge Jane Elmor due to provide feedback on each of the chosen entries.


The W&A Team

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Beating Comparison-Itis

Lia Louis

Regular Writers & Artists blogger Lia Louis returns to talk about the ill-effects of the dreaded Comparison-itis, and how it can be overcome...


While the rest of the world seems to be suffering with colds and coughs now autumn germs have scuttled out from hiding, I am suffering with something that can’t be eased with Olbas oil, paracetemol and a long, hard mope: I am suffering with Comparison-itis. Yep. Comparison-itis. You may have never heard of it, but chances are, if you’re a writer, you’d have suffered with it at least once in your life. Or like me, you have an attack of it regularly.

When I talk about comparison-itis I mean to suffer from the following symptoms: the unnecessary, unhelpful, pointless... but totally tantalising action of comparing yourself to published writers, and the subsequent convincing of one's self that you have no earthly business in even attempting to reach their levels. 

It's a nasty little bugger, and can be difficult to shift from …

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Getting Published: Andy Stanton on the Yearbook

Andy Stanton, award-winning writer of the Mr Gum series and all-round funny man, waxes lyrical about the Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook in this archived extract from his Foreword to the eight edition of the Yearbook.

As Andy will be speaking at our children's fiction writing course Your Children's Book, we thought we would share his inspirational advice on the importance of finishing what you write, and just where an idea on paper can take you...

You are holding in your hands one of two things. You are either holding one of the most powerful little books on the planet, a book which has the potential to CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOR EVER; or you are holding a cool little lifestyle accessory, a book which you can keep on your shelf to announce to yourself and others: ‘Oh, I’m a writer-sort of person, I’m sure I’ll use this book one day. But in the meantime, doesn’t it look professional.’ For years before I got published I would frequently buy the latest copy of the

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The Writer's Constant Companion

'The Yearbook remains an indispensable companion for anyone seriously committed to the profession of author, whether full or part-time.' David Lodge

In his Foreword to this year’s 2018 edition of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, veteran novelist, critic and literary savant, David Lodge reflects on his lengthy writing career. In his eyes, since his first novel was published in 1960 at the age of 25, ‘the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook is just about the only thing that is common to that world and the world of the writer today.’

And we agree with him.

In an ever-changing landscape, the Yearbook still remains the writer’s constant companion after 111 years. Publishers come and go, imprints close and new ones prosper, and literary agents go it alone after years at larger, established agencies.  There are more ways than ever before in which your writing can be shared, more outlets for your genre fiction, screenplay or poetry to reach their target market, and a …

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