Getting going

The literary world is traditionally slow to get under way after the festive season, and this mind-boggling winter hasn’t made that any easier. However, there aren’t many competitions or festivals who are all that keen on January dates anyway, so it generally takes until February for those who want to get on the starting line to be given the chance. The Writers’ Bureau Poetry Competition – – is one of the few brave enough to name a December 31st deadline, and also manages to be very specific about when results will be out as it names the day – February 28th.  Being this precise about bringing out results is not as common as it ought to be.

The first of the biggies to be deadlining is the Sentinel Quarterly Competition – They have named the day as February 20th; both fiction (up to 1500 words) and poetry (50 lines) competitions are on offer.  One of the many plus points of the Sentinel competitions is that, should you miss a deadline, another one will be along soon – they do work on a quarterly basis, and while a ‘results out’ date is not named specifically, it obviously isn’t going to be too long. There are competitions, and those of us who are ‘serial entrants’ know this only too well, whose results eventually creep out when you’ve more or less forgotten all about them, even though they’ve had at least one of your pieces tied up and unable to do anything for months on end. When it’s mega-competitions like the Bridport, with their 6000+ entries, it’s obviously understandable, but in some cases, it just seems like the organisational machinery is cranking over painfully and laboriously.

The end of February sees another of the most well-established competitions deadlining for entries – the Grace Dieu Short Story and Poetry competitions –  Generously prize-funded, scrupulously organised and working with named judges, the Grace Dieu is a good one to do anything in, given the number and standard of entries. I have ‘scored’ four times in the Grace Dieu so far, last year with a commendation for ‘Beyond The Autumn’, subsequently published in Alliterati – – so I’ll be having another go this year with two more 2000 word pieces. The poetry I’ve never done quite so well in, with so far only one short-listing to my name, but I will try again; ever since the first poetry competition successes started happening, I’ve continued to make the effort, thinking it’s worthwhile to keep two strands going if possible.

One of the first competition follow up publications is also on the cards now, with the Yeovil Prize organisers – – bringing out an anthology later in the year with their 2012 and 2013 winners, which will include my ‘Emily’s Derby’, a ‘faction’ piece on the death of the suffragette Emily Davidson at Epsom in 1913. Being included in any anthology is satisfying, but to get into one of competition winners is especially so. When I know the publication date, I’ll bung it down right here. 


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