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Shortlists Announced!

Congratulations to our shortlisted poets and short story writers



25 Sep -- Winners Revealed at our Closing Celebration


We are delighted to announce the shortlists for both our short story and poetry competitions. Congratulations to everyone!

We also have some great news;  due to an extraordinarily high number of entries coupled with their outstanding quality overall, we have decided to award two extra prizes in each category.

In each competition the judges will now award:


Winner - £250

Runner Up - £50

Highly Commended - £50

Highly Commended - £50


Prizes will be presented in person at the festival closing celebration in Hastings on Sunday, 25th September 2022.  

meet this year's judges



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? – well, within the 2,500 word limit, I’m hoping to find short stories that inspire my curiosity and make me want to read on. I need to care about the characters while a plausible story-line is required to create a harmonious whole. Every word is valuable – don’t waste them!"


john mccullough

Our poetry judge this year is John McCullough. John won the Hawthornden prize for literature in 2020 for his third collection Reckless Paper Birds, which was also shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award. He published his most recent collection Panic Response in March 2022 to great critical acclaim. His poems and have appeared in Poetry Review, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Poetry London and Best British Poetry. His first collection The Frost Fairs (Salt, 2011) won the Polari First Book Prize and was a Book of the Year for The Independent and The Poetry School. on McCullough writes: "As for what I'm looking for, I would say 'I'm hoping to find poems that are modern and surprising. I like carefully crafted work with emotional intensity, pieces that appeal both to the heart and head, that give the reader goosebumps through original imagery and phrasing. There are many different ways to succeed rather than one correct path. I enjoy poems that take risks. Subject matter for me is less important than vitality and a fresh angle of approach.'"


1. Submissions must be written in English.

2. Entries should be submitted as an MS Word-compatible document, in Arial or Times New Roman font, double-spaced text with the title and page number on each page of the entry. PDFs are not acceptable and will be disqualified.

3. Entries which exceed the stated length will be disqualified.

4. No correspondence can be entered into.

5. The judges’ decisions are final.

6. All entries must be anonymous. Do not put your name or contact details on your story or poem. Identifiable entries will be disqualified.

7. Your work may have been previously published in a magazine or online, providing the author still owns the copyright and there is no exclusivity with the prior publication. Alternatively, your work may be unpublished.

8. Work must be entirely the work of the entrant, and the entrant must own the full publication rights to the story.

9. Submissions are preferred online ( to: but can be submitted by post to 99 Cambridge Road, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1EP. Entries will not be returned, so please keep a copy. No corrections or alterations can be made after receipt of an entry.

10. The standard entry fee is £7.50 or £13 for two entries and £20 for three. A maximum of three entries per entrant will be accepted.

11. There is no geographical restriction on entrants; entry is open to all, including non-UK based writers.

12. Entrants must be a minimum of 18 years old.

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

14. Closing date is 10pm on Sunday 31st July 2022.

15. The competition longlist will be published on our website on 28th August, and the shortlist on 4th September.

16. A full list of the winners will be published on our website after the close of the festival w/c 26th September 2022.

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

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