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Writers' & Artists' Blog

Short Story Competition: Driving in Europe

Ben Hatch

Budding writers nationwide are being given the chance to bring to life the experience of driving in Europe, and win £500, by having their short story published by the RAC. The fictional story should capture the unmistakable spirit and sense of adventure that comes from driving in Europe, as well as delivering a narrative that captures the imagination of the reader. 

Ben Hatch, author of Are We There Yet? and The Road to Rouen, will be judging the competition with the winner receiving £500 and RAC 5* European Breakdown Cover for a year, as well as being published in the RAC Club digital magazine. The two runners-up will be awarded £100 M&S vouchers and shortlisted entries have the chance to be published on the RAC website. 

Ben Hatch said: “Short stories are an excellent way of trying out writing styles and narratives and can be a lot of fun, but that’s not to say it’s always easy. With a short story, each sentence really does have to earn its place and work in …

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Ready to self-publish?

Julia Johnston

The fourth in a series of five blog posts by Julia Johnston (author of If Everyone Knew Every Plant And Tree) charting her journey from preparing to submit her manuscript to agents, through to the self-publishing of her debut novel.

This week: she explains her decision to self-publish her novel. 

Dazed and confused by the keen interest/no-interest-at-all-anymore from two lovely successful literary agents, I braced myself for the writing of another batch of begging letters. I braced myself, too, for the year or more of waiting. I’m on a merry-go-round, up and down, round and round, going nowhere fast (well, slowly I suppose).

Out of nowhere, blogs, articles and podcasts oozed information, advice, and real-life experiences on self-publishing; you couldn’t move for them. I see now it was the zeitgeist phenomenon in action. Perhaps I needed to think seriously about it? “Why don’t you self-publish?” I kept hearing. Easier said than done, I thought, and wasn’t that for rubbish …

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Winner Announced: Historical Fiction Competition

Historical fiction

After careful deliberation from our judge Celia Brayfield, we would like to announce the winner and three runners-up of our Historical Fiction competition. 

Firstly, thanks again to everyone who entered - your entries have been a pleasure to read, particularly those ten who made the shortlist (click here if you haven't already seen it).

Now, without further ado, the winner of our competition is The Scirocco Winds by Ruba Abughaida. The three runners-up are Potsdamer Platz by Barbara Stevenson, All Earthly Things by Louise Morrish and The Cooperative by Rebecca Rouillard.

To read the winning entry and the entries of the runners-up, please see below. At the beginning of each entry, you'll see some commentary from Celia Brayfield, explaining what she enjoyed about the piece and why she chose it as a winner.

Winner - The Scirocco Winds by Ruba Abughaida

I'd like to choose The Scirocco Winds by Ruba Abughaida as the winner. I was delighted by the lyrical quality of this …

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Ready to Revise & Rewrite for a Literary Agent?

Julia Johnston

The third in a series of five blog posts by Julia Johnston (author of If Everyone Knew Every Plant And Tree) charting her journey from preparing to submit her manuscript to agents, through to the self-publishing of her debut novel.

This week: revising and rewriting for literary agents.

Of the twelve submissions I made to literary agents, two of the four who read the full manuscript were interested. So I chugged up the confidence roller coaster…

There I was in the peculiar and welcome position of two agents giving both positive feedback and much valued suggestions for change at the same time. 

Agent numero uno questioned the inclusion of a ‘horticultural’ theme: ‘With the objective of Oliver being relatable to the target audience, I’m afraid I did question his interest in horticulture.’ He advised me, too, that we don’t actually see that much of it going on. He did say, ‘I know the horticulture element gives you this brilliant title, but I’m afraid I do worry about …

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Serially – A Brand New Writing Platform


Independent writers are those that are funded by themselves and generally have a fairly low budget.

We all know how hard it is to get your book seen by a wide audience – but, there are now more and more opportunities for writers who want to get their book read. One such opportunity is new kid on the block, Serially. They offer Serialized publications online at absolutely no cost at all to the writer and a minimal cost to the reader. But what are the other benefits?

Serially wants to make sure the best new writing by independent writers doesn’t go unheard. Readers receive the best new titles in the quickest time for a very small cost. The cost goes to the writer, which means they’re making money off their hard work instantly, and they’re spreading the word about their book.

You can launch your title online, so no physical books are stock piled in your home. With serialized work, you can also decide which pieces of your work you decide to turn into an ongoing title. You can judge …

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