"A word after a word after a word is power" - Margaret Atwood


A blog for readers and writers

A blog about the stories we tell each other and how we tell them...

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

FISH COMPETITION and no rods or wriggly worms in sight

This international short story competition run by a small literary organisation in West Cork punches way above its weight. 
The Fish Short Story Prize is an open door that's inviting writers to walk through it. It has to be encouraged, celebrated, congratulated. - RODDY DOYLE -
Fish is doing God's own work. It's an inspiration and an avenue to writers everywhere.
Good news:
  • It's well established (it's been going since 1994)
  • Big name judges 
  • If the entry fee is sizable, then so too are the prizes. (And some folk think second prize is the best prize of all and I am one of them*.)
  • The maximum story length is a lot more generous than most competitions - this is an opportunity for the big idea, the one that needs space to develop. However, having said that, you never have to write up to the limit - let the story dictate how long it should be. 
Bad news:
  •  It attracts a lot of quality entries from around the world, but you can't have prestige AND a small mail bag.  
  • Can't think of anything else.
Word limit 5000 words
Deadline November 30
Entry Fee: 20 euros if online but 25 euroes if you submit by post
First prize is €3,000, of which €1,000 is for the winner to travel to the launch at the West Cork Literary Festival in July 2011. This is to insure that wherever in the world the winner hails from, they can join the other writers at the launch, where all the writers in the Anthology will read from their work.
Second prize is €300 with a week's residence at Anam Cara, a retreat for writers and artists in West Cork run by Sue Booth-Forbes, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the Beara Peninsula. 
Third prize is €300.
Runners up are published in the annual anthology
* Anam Cara is an idyllic retreat for writers and artists. I stayed last summer and popped in a few weeks ago. The director Sue Booth-Forbes has a gift. She nourishes with good food and good talk around the kitchen table, she offers opportunities to become part of the local community and wellington boots in a range of sizes, and - best of all - creates an atmosphere that allows guests to be their most creative selves.  
I did so much work there. I went with 17000 words and not quite sure where my novel was going. I came away with 45,000 words, back in love with the story I was trying to tell and with a clear beginning, middle and end.

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