Fri 15 Jan 21
Our international short story competition has reopened with a new category for budding wild writers.
The Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies (LiFTS) International Short Story Prize, run in partnership with literary journal Short Fiction, will this year award a new Wild Writing Prize for nature, environmental or climate crisis fiction, as well as its main prize for the best original short story.
The 2020 prize, which launched the partnership between LiFTS and Short Fiction, attracted entries from writers from 37 different countries.
Winners of both prizes this year will receive £500 with the winner and runners up of the Wild Writing Prize also getting the chance to join a wild writing weekend masterclass with writers from LiFTS in the summer.
Wild writing, which celebrates the wild, nature and the environment, has been a focus for academics in LiFTS for many years.
"We understand who we are, and the nature of the places we inhabit, and the world we live in, through language, through poetry, and through art, as much as through science."
Professor Elizabeth Kuti, Head of LiFTS, said: “The short story is such a flexible and accessible form of fiction. It can encapsulate a moment or an idea with the economy of poetry, but also with the detail, and the attention to character and plot, of fiction.
“We understand who we are, and the nature of the places we inhabit, and the world we live in, through language, through poetry, and through art, as much as through science. So we came up with the idea of a Wild Writing Prize to encourage short-story writing that evokes nature, and place, and the interaction between the natural world and human beings.
“We hope this prize will encourage both new and experienced writers to explore the short story, and to allow their creative minds to engage with nature, climate change, landscape and place, to inspire and reach many new readers.”
Dr James Canton from LiFTS, who will co-judge the Wild Writing Prize, added: “I’m really looking forward to reading the wild writing stories – bound to be a wonderful batch of tales: of the environment, of nature and places in the landscape; nooks and crannies, stones and trees and imagined spaces; and maybe humans and other beings.”
"I'm really looking forward to reading the wild writing stories - bound to be a wonderful batch of tales: of the environment, of nature and places in the landscape; nooks and crannies, stones and trees and imagined spaces."
Ruby Cowling, from the Editorial Board at Short Fiction, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with LiFTS for the second year – and particularly excited about the new Wild Writing Prize. It’s the first time since our annual international competition started in 2007 that we are running a themed prize alongside the open category, and it couldn’t feel more relevant right now. In both strands of the competition, the readers and judges will be looking for the most carefully crafted, original and powerful short stories.”
This year’s main prize will be judged by Nigerian British writer Irenosen Okojie, who has won numerous awards including the 2020 AKO Caine Prize for Fiction for her story Grace Jones.
The Wild Writing Prize will be judged by Naomi Booth, winner of the Guardian Best Fiction Book of 2020, and Dr Canton, whose latest book, The Oak Papers, was serialised as Book of the Week on Radio 4 this the summer.
Both prizes will be judged blind.
Entrants can submit up to 5,000 words, written in prose fiction, before the closing date on 31 March. All entries must be written in English. The entry fee is £7 until 28 February 2021 (23:59 GMT) and £9 for all submissions received in March. How to enter.
Forty free entries are available to writers for whom the fee would be a barrier to entry with 20 reserved for writers resident in the UK. Free entries are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Request a free entry.