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COMPETITIONS 2024

We are thrilled to announce that entries for the annual

Hastings Book Festival Competitions are now open!

SHORT FICTION

==> use the FICTION ENTRY FORM HERE

(max 2500 words)

POETRY

==> use the POETRY ENTRY FORM HERE

(max 40 lines)

 

DEADLINE

7 July, 2024 at 10pm (UK Time)

meet this year's judges

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VG LEE

Our SHORT STORY judge, VG Lee, is the critically acclaimed author of five novels and two collections of short stories, the most recent of which, Oh You Pretty Things, was published in 2019. Sarah Waters said, "Lee writes with unfailing warmth and wisdom" while Andrea Levy praised her "light touch, wonderful laconic style and spot-on humour." ​In 2012, Lee was nominated for a Stonewall Award for writing and in 2014 she won the Ultimate Planet Award for Best Established Author. "What advice would I give entrants? I would always recommend reading the short story aloud and alone. ANYTHING that seems to drag or feel self-indulgent, trust one's gut instinct and either edit out or make better!"

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Jessica MookherJee 

Our POETRY judge, Jessica Mookherjee, is a British poet of Bengali heritage and grew up in Wales and London, now lives in Kent. She has been published in many print and online journals and anthologies including Agenda, The North, Rialto and Under the Radar. She was twice highly commended for best single poem in the Forward Prize 2017 and 2021. She is author of 4 full poetry collections and 3 short pamphlets. Her second collection Tigress (Nine Arches Press) was shortlisted for the Ledbury Munthe Prize in 2021 for best second collection. Her most recent full poetry collection is Notes from a Shipwreck (Nine Arches Press 2022). She is also author of a long London prose poem Desire Lines published by Broken Sleep Books ( 2023). Jessica is a board member of the Poetry Society and co-editor of Against the Grain poetry press. What advice for entrants? 'Send me your best poems. With all that is happening in the world right now it might be hard to write, but sometimes it's just the right thing to do. Write about what moves you, the everyday, the reaching out, the world in all its shades. I often love poems that I could never write and poems that inspire me to keep writing. I am looking forward to reading your poems.'

HOW TO ENTER

Please use our dedicated entry forms to enter. A single entry fee is £8.25 for either contest. You can enter more than once, and we offer a discount when submitting multiple entries together. We also offer a small number of free or reduced entry fee places for UK-based writers who are struggling financially. See our rules page for details.

 

 

SHORT FICTION

==> use the FICTION ENTRY FORM HERE

(max 2500 words)

POETRY

==> use the POETRY ENTRY FORM HERE

(max 40 lines)

 

 

 

 

PRIZES


Hastings Book Festival Prize: In each competition 1st, 2nd and 3rd place will be awarded a cash prize of £250, £100 and £50, respectively.

 

New Writing South sponsored Sussex Prize: The New Writing South sponsored Sussex Prize is a collaboration between Hastings Book Festival and New Writing South. It’s purpose is to recognise & amplify outstanding work by authors living in our own back yard. All regular entries from writers living in either East or West Sussex are eligible for the prize. You will need to indicate (opt-in) at the time of entry that you are eligible. 

There will be one prize for poetry and one for fiction. The winners of both the Fiction and Poetry Prize will both receive: 1-1 mentoring with a professional writer, a festival pass to The Coast is Queer 2024 and a free online course of their choice worth £75. (Options include Finishing the First Draft of Your Novel, Putting a Poetry Pamphlet Together, World-building and Writing Different Worlds and more.)

 

LGBT+ Prize sponsored by Starcroft Farm Cabins: a 3-day creative retreat at The Lucy Cabin at Starcroft Farm Cabins, East Sussex. One (1) overall winner will be selected from all eligible entries from across both Fiction and Poetry contests. This award is offered in partnership with Starcroft Farm Cabins, and is open to all regular entries from UK-based writers from the LGBT+ community.

APPLICATION FEES

Single entry fee is £8.25 with a discount for multiple entries. We offer a small number of free or reduced entry fee places for UK-based writers who are struggling financially. See our rules page for details.

 

DEADLINE

Deadline for entries is 7 July, 2024 at 10pm (UK Time).

Winners will be announced at an online award ceremony during the festival in September.

JUDGES, RULES, FURTHER INFO

We are so pleased to welcome back our amazing short story judge VG Lee and welcome the wonderful poetry prize judge Jessica Mookherjee who has joined us before at the festival and will be judging for the first time.
Our judges read every entry and produce a longlist, a shortlist before selecting the winners.

To read our full competition rules and submission requirements, please go to our dedicated rules page

WORDS FROM THE 2023 WINNERS

‘It was such a thrill to win the Hastings Poetry Competition! I am excited to enter again. While the odds are excellent that someone else will be chosen this year, it’s so fun to enter. You never know! Good luck!’
(Jeanette Burney, winner of 1st prize for poetry 2023)

‘Winning the competition last year was a complete surprise and incredibly exciting. It has inspired me to keep writing and I would urge anyone to get involved this year.’ 

(Ross Anderson, winner of 1st prize for Sussex prize short story, 2023)

GOOD LUCK! 

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