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Free Writing Competition with Firewords Quarterly


Writers & Artists and Firewords Quarterly have joined forces to offer a free writing competition! All you have to do is write a piece of short fiction inspired by the beautiful illustration below from artist Maggie Chiang. Interested? Scroll down for full details...

Firewords short story competition prompt


Firewords Quarterly Magazine publishes strong writing accompanied by striking visuals specifically created to fit the stories showcased in each edition. What an opportunity, then, for Writers & Artists to strike up a partnership that presents you - our writing community - with a slightly different free writing competition.

To enter, all you have to do is write a short story (1,000 words max word count), based on the illustration on this page from Maggie Chiang

The competition will remain open to all entries (though each entrant must have an account with - also free!) until midnight on 31st October, 2016. Please send all entries to, with a subject line of "Firewords short story competition". See further terms and conditions below.


The best story will be published in an upcoming issue of Firewords Magazine and appear on The author will also receive the latest edition of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook and a copy of one of our the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook Companion Guide series.

Both the winner and two runners up will receive back-list copies of Firewords Magazine.

The overall winner and two runners-up will be announced on the blog pages of by early December 2016, appearing alongside a critical appraisal from our judges.


Firewords editors, Jen Scott and Dan Burgess, will be judging the competition and choosing the winning stories. Jen has a background in teaching and is in charge of all editorial areas of the magazine. Dan is a designer by trade and handles the visual side of Firewords, including art directing the range of illustrators we collaborate with for each issue. Written by Jen and Dan, the popular Firewords newsletter includes a weekly article that helps writers improve their work and chances of publication. Visit the Firewords website for more information

A few words of advice from the Firewords team:

1) Don’t take the image too figuratively. Imagination and creativity are essential, but the origins of the piece must be recognisable from the image.

2) Don’t take the image too literally. Reading the 100th story of the same premise which lacks originality is likely to switch off a judge. So, when all is said and done, are we looking for a happy medium? Or that illusive piece that has yet to be written – by you?

Firewords Quarterly

Firewords is the magazine of fiery fiction & poetry brought to life with visual flair. We publish powerful short stories and poems that leave an impression long after they are read. By collaborating with the best artists around, we print writing enhanced by immersive illustration, design, photography and hand-lettering.

Our ultimate aim is to garner a community of creatives, and help them by providing advice and a home for their work. Firewords can be ordered from our online store, or you can snag yourself the free Sampler Edition by signing up for our mailing list.

Terms and Conditions

These are the full terms and conditions for our short story competition with Firewords Quarterly.

1. No purchase necessary, but entrants must be registered on

2. The competition is open to all ages, professions and nationalities, and you don’t have to reside in the UK to enter. 

3. All entries must be original and unpublished.

4. Writers may submit one entry only.

5. Winners will be notified at the email address stated in their entry. Sign-up for our newsletter here if you want to be notified about the winner or check back on You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook, where competition updates will also be posted.

6. Entries must be submitted via email to with the subject heading: "Firewords short story competition".

Please include your email address and other contact details in the body of the email. Your entry can appear in the body of the email or as a Word/PDF attachment. As long as it’s clear and easy to read, we have no other formatting requirements.

7. Your entry must be submitted before midnight on Monday 31st October, 2016. Entries will not be accepted after this date. 


8. By submitting, all entrants thereby grant Firewords Quarterly Magazine the right to publish their entry in an upcoming edition in the event of their work being selected as the winning entry.

9. The Bloomsbury Publishing Group cannot accept responsibility for entries which are not received or which are received after the closing date due to technical failure or for any other reason.

10. Winners agree to participate in publicity in connection with the competition.

11. Firewords Quarterly, the Bloomsbury Publishing Group and the winners may enter into agreements which will grant Firewords Quarterly and the Bloomsbury Publishing Group the publishing, broadcasting, serial and electronic rights in the shortlisted and winning entries.

12. The Bloomsbury Publishing Group reserves the right to change the rules of this competition without notice.

13. The winners of the competition will be announced on the blog pages of

14. Prizes must be taken by 31st December 2016 and are subject to availability.

15. The decision of the competition judges will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

16. Employees of The Bloomsbury Publishing Group and Firewords Quarterly, and members of their immediate family, are excluded from participating in the competition.

17. Writers & Artists may, from time to time, inform you of new books and special offers that we think will be of interest.

18. Please send direct competition queries to Any sent to will not be answered.