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2023 Competition Rules and Conditions



Thank you to everyone who entered - further information is available on what happens next is available  here




  1. Entrants must be a minimum of 18 years old at time of entry.

  2. Closing date for entries is 10pm on 14th July 2023.

  3. A full list of the winners will be published on our website after the close of our annual festival.

  4. Entry is confirmation of your acceptance of all rules and conditions.

  5. Double-check your document before uploading.
    ations after submission will not be possible and no correspondence can be entered into.

  6. The judges’ decisions are final.



  1. Submissions must be written in English.

  2. For Fiction the maximum is 2500 words per story. For Poetry the maximum number of lines is 40 per poem. Please adhere to these limits. Entries exceeding these limits will be disqualified.

  3. You may submit on any theme. Send us your courageous and innovative writing. Do not send work that is discriminatory.

  4. If uploading multiple entries, put them all into a single .docx file. Each entry starts on a new page with it’s own title.

  5. We can only accept entries in MS-Word compatible formats, which is .docx and .rtf Please do not upload PDFs, Apple Pages or any other format. We cannot work with these and your entry will be disqualified.

  6. Please format your document with 12-point font Arial or Times New Roman. For Fiction, please double-space your text.

  7. Judging is anonymous. Please remove all identifying details like name and email from your document and filename.



  1. Submitted work must be wholly & entirely the work of the entrant, and the entrant must own the full publication rights to the entry.

  2. We are interested in discovering & amplifying new work, therefore stories/poems which have previously been published, or been awarded a prize, are ineligible for this contest.

  3. Simultaneous submissions are welcomed. If a piece you have submitted gets published or wins an award elsewhere, please email to let us know. Include “Withdrawal” in the subject line.

  4. Only entries submitted through the Hastings Book Festival website will be eligible. Please double-check your documents before submitting, as we do not have the ability to make corrections or alterations after entry.

  5. Winning entrants agree to have their story published by Hastings Book Festival in electronic format. Hastings Book Festival holds publishing rights for six months, after which these rights revert to the author.


Entry Fees

  1. We offer bursaries for UK-based writers who are negatively impacted by recent cost of living increases. If this applies to you, email and let us know your circumstances.

  2. Every entry must be accompanied by an entry fee.

  3. The standard entry fee is £7.50. A multi-entry discount applies if you wish to submit two (2) or three (3) pieces in the same contest at the same time. In this case, the fees will be £13 for two (2) entries and £20 for three (3).

  4. The maximum number of entries you can make in a single transaction is three, however you are welcome to submit more than this by filling in another entry form and going through the process again.

  5. To qualify for the multi-entry discount you must make all submissions within the same genre (either Fiction or Poetry). These must be uploaded together in one .docx document, each entry beginning on a new page, formatted as outlined above.


Main Prize

  1. For our main prize entry is open to all, including non-UK based writers. There is no geographical restriction on entrants.

  2. The FICTION and POETRY contests will each award cash prize of £250 for first place, £100 for second place and £50 for third place, respectively.

  3. An overall Long List and Short List will also be announced ahead of our annual festival, exact date TBC.


The Sussex Prize

  1. The Sussex Prize is a collaboration between The Hastings Book Festival and New Writing South. It’s purpose is to recognise & amplify outstanding work by authors living in our own back yard.

  2. All regular entries from writers living in either East or West Sussex are eligible for The Sussex Prize. You will need to indicate (opt-in) at the time of entry that you are eligible for this prize.

  3. One (1) first prize, and two (2) runners-up will be awarded in each of the contests, both Fiction and Poetry.

  4. Winners of the First Prize will receive a Writer Surgery inc 1 hour face-to-face and up to half hour reading time plus EITHER Festival Pass to The Coast is Queer LGBTQ+ literature festival in Brighton 12-15 October 2023 OR Writers Week 2024 Pass - March 2024 online.

  5. 2 x Runners Up prizes in each contest will receive:  EITHER Festival Pass to The Coast is Queer LGBTQ+ literature festival in Brighton 12-15 October 2023 OR Writers Week 2024 Pass - March 2024 online.


Time to Stare Residency

  1. The Time to Stare Residency is open to all regular entries from UK-based Black, Asian, & ethnically diverse writers. You will need to indicate (opt-in) at the time of entry that you are eligible for this prize.

  2. There will be one (1) winner overall selected from all eligible entries from across both Fiction and Poetry contests.

  3. Final selection and awarding of the residency will be made by representatives of B&R Productions.

  4. The Time to Stare residency includes a 5-day retreat from B&R Productions at The Studio in Three Oaks, East Sussex. The retreat is self-catering, and the award recipient will need to make their own way to and from The Studio in East Sussex. Further details, including arranging of dates and activities to be arranged with B&R Productions.

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