Calling all budding young authors!

Leeds Reads

Have you got an aspiring young writer in the family?The spaghetti yeti

Budding young writers can have a spring in their step thanks to a great new story competition. And there is even the chance for them to have their story read out at Leeds Central Library as the prize. The Yorkshire Evening Post has teamed up with Leeds Library and Information Service for this Spring-themed contest.

To enter children just have to write a story of 200 words or less. It must also start with the following intro which is not included in the word count.

“It really felt like the first day of Spring. Amongst the snowdrops I saw something sparkling on the grass…….. ”

There will be categories for primary schoolchildren, secondary schoolchildren and pupils at special schools. The winning stories will then be read out by Leeds illustrator and author of Mariella Mystery Investigates series, Kate Pankhurst on April…

View original post 47 more words


Filed under Leeds Reads reblog

Stonewall launches its first Young Writers competition

Leeds Reads

 Young Writers Top BannerStonewall, the LGBT equality charity, has launched its first Young Writers’ competition. Budding authors between the ages of 14 and 17are invited to submit short stories and poems that support the theme of LGBT equality: Changing Hearts and Minds.

Competition info

The closing date is 22nd May-  the winners will  be announced on 15th June.

Prizes for each category include a £150 book token, while two runners up from each category will receive £50 book tokens. Entries will be judged by author S J Watson, poet Dean Atta and Stonewall’s c.e.o. Ruth Hunt.

View original post

Leave a comment

Filed under writing competitions, Writing news

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender: Guest review by Violet Buttercream

Review of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Reader alert: This review may contain spoilers. 

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender Author: Leslye Walton

Genre: YA, Magical Realism, Romance

 Ratingstar rating star rating star rating star rating star rating

Synopsis: Out protagonist (Ava Lavender) looks back at her family history and the past residents of Pinnacle Lane to try and discover why she has wings, beginning with how her grandmother was born. Her family has always had a history of affliction with love and Ava is unprepared for what she discovers. Alongside side this is sixteen-year-old Ava’s life, unsure what to make of her wings, just trying to fit in.

 My thoughts: “Love makes us such fools”

This tale was not just written it was threaded and crafted and I feel like it has burrowed inside of me.

It has an atmosphere to it that just leaves you with goosebumps and an inexplicable understanding of the weight of human love and suffering and an insight into the choices we make and those we don’t and the impossibility and certainty of sorrow.

…Ava Lavender is so breathtakingly real and honest even in the fantastical parts there’s always a groundedness a sense of truth and palpable emotion. It is a story about love without being a love story. It is about motherly love, unwanted love, all-consuming love, endless love and I love this book to the moon and the stars. It is easily the best book I’ve read all year, possibly ever.

“My grandmother fell in love three times before her nineteenth birthday. My mother found love with the neighbour boy when she was six. And I, I was born with wings, a misfit who didn’t dare to expect something as grandiose as love…my story, like everyone’s, begins with the past and a family tree. The following is the story of my young life as I lived it…I have travelled through continents, languages, and time trying to understand all that I am and all that made me such.” 

I think it is suitable for all ages and holds its own with fairytale and mythological qualities while being refreshingly contemporary. This book is definitely not another formulaic YA novel.

As Goodreads describes it (and I think they can do it better than me) “Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.. Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.”

The writing is intoxicating and rich and flowing with darkness. It may not be everybody’s cup of tea (a girl turns into a bird) but even if you hate “magical” books read this because YES THAT IS A PEICE OF MY HEART BETWEEN THE PAGES. There are many characters, but they are all beautifully developed and the book unfolds simply so it is easy it follow (It is also relatively short despite it’s depth.)

 The strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is strange and beautiful and so, so much more and I urge everyone to read this divine book.

Your friend, Violet Buttercream

Check out my blog!


Filed under Guest blog post, Magical Realism, Romance, YA

Drama competition for new writing

Leeds Reads

Calling all amateur playwrights.

The 12th Kenneth Branagh Award for new drama writing invites you to submit one unpublished one-act play (no more than 30 minutes long with a cast of no more than six) for the 12th Windsor Fringe Kenneth Branagh Drama Writing Award.

Three winning scripts will be selected for performances during Drama Nights at the Windsor Fringe Festival in October. One of the three scripts will be chosen for the £500 prize, judged on the writing only. Submission deadline is March 5th 2015

One script per author and each script should be an original work by the entrant, and not have been previously published or performed.

 More information

View original post

Leave a comment

Filed under Leeds Reads reblog, writing competitions, Writing news

Two short story competitions

Leeds Reads

allingham imageThe Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2015 short story competition closes on Sunday 15th February and you could win a cash prize of £500 and a place on an Arvon residential writing course.

The winning story will be published on

Just enter a short story (for adults) of no more than 2,000 words, on the theme of ‘Joy’ and email it to with “WAYB15 competition” as the subject line. The winners of the competition will be announced on the Writers and Artists site in March 2015.

The CWA Margery Allingham Short Story competition to celebrate Margery Allingham’s contribution to crime writing closes on 16th March 2015 and it’s open to  both published and unpublished authors- and is for unpublished short stories (crime/mystery) of up to 3,500 words. The winner will receive £1,000.

View original post

1 Comment

Filed under Leeds Reads reblog, writing competitions, Writing news

Would you like to write for BBC Radio 4?

Leeds Reads

Opening LinesThe BBC Radio Drama Readings Unit is looking for submissions from writers new to radio for their annual series, Opening Lines which is broadcast on BBC Radio 4. The closing date is 13th February 2015.

Three successful writers will have their stories broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and be invited to the BBC in London to see their stories being recorded. As well as broadcasting the three strongest stories, the BBC publish transcripts of the best stories submitted within this period on the Opening Lines website. (You can read previously published stories), A longlist is published on the BBC Drama Readings website by 15th May.

Stories should be between 1,900 – 2000 words and can cover a broad range of subject-matter (nothing too dark, harrowing  etc. as the programme is aimed at a wide audience). Submissions should be one story per writer. You can read all the terms and conditions and more detail about what is…

View original post 2 more words


Filed under Leeds Reads reblog, Writing news

New writing award for young people: BBC Young Writers’ Award with Booktrust.

Leeds Reads

The BBC Young Writers' Award with Booktrust launches to find the best young writers in the UKTo celebrate the 10th anniversary of the BBC National Short Story Award, Booktrust and the BBC are launching the brand new BBC Young Writers’ Award with inspire and encourage the next generation of writers.

Young people aged 14 to 18, who live in the UK, are invited from today to submit short stories of up to 1,000 words on any topic. A panel of three judges will select a shortlist of the top five stories, which will be announced in September 2015. The judges will be looking for high-quality writing, stories that demonstrate originality, imagination and creativity, and writers who can capture the reader and hold their attention.

The new Award was announced at the BBC National Short Story Award ceremony back in September when Lionel Shriver was announced as the winner of the 2014 Award.

The five shortlisted writers will be invited to attend the exclusive BBC National Short Story Award…

View original post 544 more words


Filed under Leeds Reads reblog, writing competitions, Writing news

Do You Think You Could Write For Television?

Leeds Reads

Channel 4 has joined the Northern Writers’ Awards to search for undiscovered writing talent from the north of England. The scheme, launched recently is to identify raw and diverse television talent from the north of England. Launched by Northumbria University, Newcastle, the new award will offer a unique opportunity for two writers to be mentored through the script commissioning process with Lime Pictures and RED Production Company. The Channel 4 / Northumbria University Writing for Television Award will open for submissions on Friday 14 November, as part of the annual Northern Writers’ Awards, and is open to both complete beginners as well as those who already have some writing experience.

One of the winning writers will be mentored by Lime Pictures in Liverpool (Hollyoaks) and will shadow the process of script development, from first draft to broadcast script. This may lead to a commission to write an original episode of the serial…

View original post 101 more words

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Get into your Poet’s corner!

Here’s a new list of poetry competitions running from December 2014 to March 2015, have fun getting your verses flowing!

Enfield Poets International Poetry Competition 2014 

Previously unpublished poems of up to 50 lines on any subject. Judge is Ruth Padel. 1st prize: £500, 2nd prize: £200, 3rd prize: £100
Entry: £4 per poem, £10 for three poems

Closing Date: 01-Dec-14

More information:

Kingston Libraries Poetry Competition

Prizes: 1st prize £50 book tokens, 2nd prize £30 book tokens, 3rd prize £20 book tokens. Theme of your poem should be ‘remember’. Poems must be typed and no longer than 45 lines. Maximum four poems per entrant.
Entry:  Free

Closing Date: 01-Dec-14

More information  (type library competitions in the search box).

The Book of Plans Hopes And Dreams

Anglo-German writing competition to link 1914 to 2114 and beyond by writing a poem or short story to each era. Prizes: Winners: All expenses paid trip to Lower Saxony, Germany and publication special commemorative books which will on display in England and Germany and on website. Shortlist publication in commemorative book and website. Longlist publication on website.
Entry: Free

Closing Date: 02-Dec-14

More information


Flash 500 Humour Verse Competition

Up to 32 lines. 1st prize: £150, 2nd £100, 3rd: £50. The results will be announced within six weeks of the closing date and the three winning entries will be published on the website.
Entry: £3 for the first poem, then £2.50 for each poem

Closing Date: 13-Dec-14

Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize

Run in conjunction with The Moth magazine. Four cash prizes for a single unpublished poem – 10,000 euros for the winner and three runner-up prizes of 1,000 euros. Open to all, for work that is original and previously unpublished. The winning poems appear in the spring 2015 issue of The Moth and the winners will be invited to read at a special award ceremony in Dublin in March 2015.
Entry : 12 euros

Closing Date: 31-Dec-14

Contact: More information at or call 00 353 49 4362677.

 The Poetry Box Halloween Poetry Annual Award 2014

Halloween-Themed Annual Poetry Award. Prizes: 1st prize – Glass Trophy, a decorative ‘First Prize Winner Award’ Certificate for framing, publication in a 2015 Edition of ‘The Poetry Box Dark & Horror Poetry Magazine’ & publication on The Poetry Box website.  The 2nd and 3rd prizes of £100.00 and £50.00 respectively and certificates etc
Entry: £6 for 1 poem, £15 for 3 poems, £20 for 4 poems

Closing Date: 31-Dec-14

More information:


Local Poem Competition 2015

Up to 25 lines (each blank line counts as one line) and 160 words each. Theme -a poem about life in your own home town or area to “Local Poem” Prize- £1,000 cash, up to three entries

Entry Free

Closing Date: 31-Dec-14

More information:

SaveAs International Open Creative Writing Competition

Up to 50 lines Any theme. Open to international entries. 1st prize- £100, 2nd- £50, 3rd – £30 plus trophies.

Entry: £3 for one entry, £8 for three.

Closing date: 31- Dec -14.
More information

The Basil Bunting Poetry Award

Up to 40 lines, open internationally, any poem in English. 1st prize: £1000   2nd £750   3rd £250

Entry: £6 for one poem, £10 for two, and an extra £5 per poem beyond that.

Maximum number of entries per poet -10

Closing date: 15- January-15

More information:

Magma Judges Prize 2014

Poems of 11 to 50 lines. 1st prize £1,000, 2nd £300, 3rd  £150. In addition to receiving cash prizes, winners will be invited to read at Magma’s prize-giving event in Spring 2015. All winning entries will be published in the magazine.
Entry: £5 for the first poem, £4 for second, £3.50 for third and each subsequent poem, reduction for Magma magazine subscribers.

 Closing Date: 19-Jan-15

More information:

Magma Editors’ Prize 2014

Poems up to 10 lines. 1st prize £1,000, 2nd £300, plus 10 Special Mentions £15 each.
Entry: £5 for the first poem, £4 for second and £3.50 for the third and each subsequent poem. Magma magazine subscribers benefit from reduced fees.

Closing Date: 19-Jan-15
More information:

Torriano Poetry Competition 2015

Unpublished poems of up to 40 lines. 1st prize £250, 2nd £150, 3rd  £75. Winning poets will be offered featured readings at the adjudication celebration on 12th April, 2015.
Entry: £3 one poem, £5 for two, £10 for five

Closing Date: 30-Jan-15

More information: Cheques payable to the Torriano Support Fund. Name, address, email, phone number and poem titles on separate sheet. No entry form required. Entries to Patricia Griffin, 4 Cundishall Close, Whitstable, Kent CT5 4DA.


 Prole Laureate 2015

The winner will receive £200 and publication in Prole 16, due out in April 2015. Two runners up receive £50 each and possible publication in Prole 16. The winner and runners up will be showcased here on the Prole website.
Entry: £3 for first entry, £2 for subsequent entries

Closing Date: 31-Jan-15

More information : Email entries

Kent & Sussex Poetry Society Open Poetry Competition

Poems up to 60 lines not previously published 1st prize: £1000, 2nd: £300, 3rd: £100, 4th: 4 x £50.
Entry: £5 per poem. 3 or more poems: £4 each

Closing Date: 31-Jan-15

More information:

The Slipstream Poets Open Poetry Competition 2015

Poems up to 60 lines not previously published. Prizes: £275; £100; £75. Additional prize of £25 and the award of the Chanctonbury Cup for a winning West Sussex entrant. Winners will be notified individually & all results will be published on the Slipstream Web Site by 31st March 2015.
Entry: £3.50 per poem or 4 for £12.00, 6 for £15.00

Closing Date: 31-Jan-15

More information

Teignmouth Poetry Festival Competition 2015

Up to 35 lines, any subject previously unpublished. 1st prize £500, 2nd – £200, 3rd – £100.  Winners announced on Sunday 22nd March 2015.
Entry: £4 for one poem, £3 each for additional poems

Closing Date: 31-Jan-15

More information:


Bronte Society Creative Competition

A poem in any style offering a new perspective on one of the novels, up to 50 lines.

Prizes -1st £500, then £250 and £100.

Entry: £10.

Closing date: 31-Jan-15.

More information:


Keats-Shelley Prize

Poems up to 40 lines on the theme of ‘Watcher of the skies’.

Prizes: £4,000 in total.

Entry: £5.

Closing date: 1-Feb-15

More information:

The Corinium Museum Poetry Competition

Poems up to 40 lines inspired by an object displayed or theme interpreted at the museum. The winner of each category will receive a season ticket to the museum valid for a year. Winning poems will be displayed in the museum and published on the museum website. Highly commended poems will also be displayed in the museum and may be published on the museum website. Categories: 16 years old and above, 11-15 years old, Under 11s.
Entry Free

Closing Date: 06-Feb-15

More information:


Lumen/Camden Poetry Competition

Poems up to 40 lines, prizes: Chapbook publication.

Entry: £2.50, £10 for six.

Closing date: 14-Feb-15

More Information:

Fire River Poets Open Poetry Competition 2015

Up to 40 lines any theme, not previously published. 1st prize £200, 2nd £100, 3rd £75. Prizewinners will also be invited to take part in a special Reading in Taunton;  notified by beginning of May.
Entry : £4 for 1; £8 for 2; £10 for 3, £3 each for additional poems.

Closing Date: 20-Feb-15

More information:

The Christopher Tower Poetry Competition 2015 (16-18 years of age).

Theme: ‘Cells’.  1st prize £3,000, 2nd £1,000 3rd £500  In addition to individual prizes, the students’ schools and colleges also receive cash prizes of £150 and the three prize winners are eligible for a place on the Tower Poetry Summer School.. Longlisted entrants’ poems are published on the Tower Poetry website. Winners announced on Monday 20 April 2015.
Entry Free

Closing Date: 27-Feb-15

More information: or email or call 01865 286591.

The Society of Civil and Public Service Writers

Poems up to 40 lines, with each poem on a separate sheet. 1st prize £50; 2nd £25.  Entries should be typed on A4 paper. The competition is open only to SCPSW members. Those eligible include serving or retired members of the Civil Service, Armed Forces, National Health Service, Local Government, the Police Force or any Public Service.
Entry: £2 per poem

Closing Date: 28-Feb-15

More information:

HAD Poetry Competition

The title for the poem is ‘Honouring the Ancient Dead’ (a celebration of the ancestors on display up and down the country – but the theme may be interpreted as loosely as the entrant wishes).
Entry Free

Closing Date: 28-Feb-15

More information:

The Rialto – Nature Poetry Competition 2014

Theme: Nature Poetry. Prizes: 1st prize: £1000, 2nd £500, 3rd Prize: A Place on a Creative Writing Course at Ty Newydd in 2015 (worth £550). Additional prize, a personal tour with Mark Cocker in wild life places in East Anglia. The winning poems will be published in The Rialto, independent poetry magazine.
Entry: £6 for 1st poem £3.50 for each subsequent poem, up to six

Closing Date: 01-Mar-15

More information :

The Queen Mother Memorial Poetry Competition

Submit any number of poems on any subject,  typed/hand written in English. The poem(s) should follow the length and format as below, 3 verses, 3 lines per verse, 10 words per line. Winner gets £25 +The Queen Mother Memorial Poetry Competition complementary pen.
Entry Fee: £3 per poem or £10 for 4 poems

Closing Date: 30-Mar-15

More information:

Window On The World

Up to 25 lines (including blank lines) and 160 words each, prize £100, best of the rest will be published. Up to three poems per entrant. Unpublished work

Entry Free

Closing Date: 30-April-15

More information:

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Medieval Penguins and Red Velvet Cake (Interview)

Check out my very first interview as a blogger!

Brews and Views


What do you get when you combine someone who likes cross stitching, sewing, baking, reading and penguins?  You get Gemma Feltham, of course! As an avid reader myself, I quickly became interested in Gemma’s writing.  That said, although her basis for blogging is reviewing books, it was her thoughts around blogging itself that intrigued me even further.

With over 11,000 followers, Gemma’s If Books Could Blog site is a great example of how your audience will find you when you choose to blog about something you are passionate about.  As you will see below, she started posting as an outlet, but obviously found common ground with many others sharing her love for reading.  In my conversation with her, she was genuinely surprised at the number of followers she has acquired– she simply doesn’t pay attention to it!  (Imagine that…a blogger who doesn’t spend half their day on their ‘Stats’ page!)

View original post 595 more words

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized