Sign up to the newsletter

Admin blog posts

Killer Fiction Competition - Winners

Writing crime and thriller fiction

The time has come to announce the winners of our Killer Fiction competition - we've had an absolutely fantastic response, and choosing just one winner has been very difficult. With hundreds of stories of an extremely high standard, our judge and literary agent Diana Beaumont has had her work cut out trying to narrow down so many great entries. Thank you to everyone who submitted their work!

However, tough as they were, decisions have had to be made. So, without further ado, the three winning entries are...

The winner

Golden Hour by Bean Sawyer

Diana's feedback:

The writing is atmospheric and draws in the reader into this police procedural. The authors evokes feeling of a teenage girl out with her boyfriend and stuck in charge of her younger brother (and dog) well. It’s one of those nightmarish moments you could imagine – distracted for a moment and then the boy disappears while the couple are too wrapped up in each other. We are introduced to DCI Floyd (it might be good to make it …

Read more | 0 comments

Beloved British Authors Share Summer Memories

Seaside memories

Have you ever felt yourself being transported away to the seaside through the pages of a book – back to special times spent with family on holidays you always hoped would last forever? The holidays themselves may not have, but you probably feel like the memories have and always will.  

According to the Family Holiday Association there’s a reason why. The charity that gives struggling British families a break recently published compelling research looking at the social, psychological and emotional benefits of a family holiday. This research showed half of Brits (49%) say their happiest memory is that of a holiday with their family and an overwhelming majority (55%) agree these holidays have given them happy memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. 

In the year of its 40th anniversary, the charity has launched a digital, interactive celebrity scrapbook full of inspiring #seasidememories donated by celebrities across Britain, including some of our …

Read more | 0 comments

2015 Costa Short Story Award

Costa Book Awards

Just one week left to enter!

  • Open to both published and unpublished writers
  • Awarded for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words by an author aged 18 years or over
  • Closing date Wednesday 5th August at 4pm

Launched in 2012, the Award – run in association with the Costa Book Awards but judged independently of the main five-category system – is unique in that it is judged anonymously (without the name of the author being known throughout the process).  

It is open to both published and unpublished writers, for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words by an author aged 18 years or over and written in English.  

Entries must be submitted online via a dedicated page at  Entrants need not have been previously published but publishers and agents may submit entries on behalf of authors. 

A shortlist of six stories is selected from the entries by a panel of judges comprising author Raffaella Barker; …

Read more | 0 comments

Finding Words – A New Writing Initiative


Calling all young playwrights… 

 The Ashton Group is searching for a new stage play with which to tour the North West, professionally produced by its acclaimed Apprenticed Actors Company. 

The one act play should have a running time of 60 minutes.

The play should be written for four young actors: 2 male, 2 female. These four actors can play any number of different characters.  

 The writer should be no older than 25.

 The play can be upon any theme or subject.

 The Apprenticed Actors Company

 Selection Process:

 All writers should submit before the deadline below a synopsis including plot and character outline, and the first ten pages of their play. 

 Four writers will then be given the opportunity to expand their work into a full length piece with the support and guidance of a professional mentor.

 One of these plays will then be selected to go into development for production by the Apprenticed Actors Company.

 There is a prize …

Read more | 0 comments

Writers' & Artists' Short Story Competition 2015: the winners

Weathering by Lucy Wood

The time has come. Author Lucy Wood, guest judge for this year's spectacularly popular short story competition, has chosen her winner. So without further ado, here we go....

The first runner up, who will receive a copy of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2015 is.... 'Joy' by Matthew Mundy.

Feedback from Lucy Wood:

Writing a ghost story on the theme of joy is an interesting idea and I really enjoyed this story’s foreboding atmosphere. Right from the beginning, we are aware of something uncanny – why can’t Ben reach his girlfriend’s house? I like the way the snow mirrors this tension: the world seems strange and menacing. The writer uses some nice details, like the paw-prints in the snow, to create a vivid scene. And the odd, shadowy figure of Weep, who lingers at the edge, adds another really interesting layer, showing us what could happen to Ben if he doesn’t let go of the past. The idea of letting go, and accepting the past, gave this ghost story a strong …

Read more | 0 comments