Friday, 2 of June 2023

Rachel McLean wins Kindle Storyteller 2021

We are thrilled to congratulate Rachel McLean for winning the Kindle Storyteller award (and grateful that she name-checked the group whilst doing so!).

The win recognises the success Rachel has had with her novels, specifically The Corfe Castle Murders, first in her Dorset Crime series.

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Congratulations Rachel McLean!

Birmingham Writer’s Group is thrilled that our very own Rachel McCollin, AKA author Rachel McLean, has been shortlisted for the 2021 Kindle Storyteller Award!

There were a record number of submissions for the award, now running for its fifth year. Clare Balding will help select the winner who will receive a £20,000 cash prize, a dedicated marketing campaign on, a golden Kindle and more.

Congratulations Rachel, and good luck!

The Corfe Castle Murders by Rachel McLean

Rachel is a crime, thriller and mystery writer from Birmingham whose first experience with storytelling started in 2003. Since then, Rachel took a much-needed break to raise her two boys before returning to her deep-rooted passion in 2010. After self-publishing her first book in 2017 Rachel has seen success and continued writing several crime, thriller, and mystery stories. Now, her shortlisted novel, The Corfe Castle Murders and first book in her Dorset Crime series follows DCI Lesley Clarke a straight-talking city copper as she investigates a murder at one of England’s most iconic landmarks.

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Noirwich Crime Writing Festival

The Noirwich Crime Writing Festival is the region’s largest annual celebration of crime writing and one of the fastest-growing literary festivals in the UK.

Many incredible crime writers have attended the festival in recent years, including Val McDermid, Attica Locke, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Louse Doughty, James Runcie, Lee Child, Ian Rankin, Peter James, Anthony Horowitz, Nicci French, Paula Hawkins and Benjamin Black.

Noirwich is about the reading and the writing of crime fiction. We explore how the genre works and where it is going, thanks to our unique connection with the University of East Anglia’s creative writing department. Our crime writing workshops provide attendees with the opportunity to enhance their own skills.

The festival is a co-production by the National Centre for Writing and the University of East Anglia, bringing together our expertise to deliver a celebration of crime writing like no other.

A hybrid Festival for 2021

In 2021, Noirwich will take place in a hybrid online and in-person format. A small number of workshops will take place in Norwich, with everything else airing online.

See the Noirwich Festival website for more information.

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Abridged Submission Call: Judgement

Abridged is looking for poems and artworks on contemporary judgement.

Judgement is situated in the future. It’s part of the aftermath, the reflection on and evaluation of any act –  a performance, a statement, a decision, a life – by which new directions or ‘fates’ are often decided. Judgement is nearly always a key component of religious afterlives, operating at the hinge between a life we know and the unknowable states that might come after. The list checked. The baggage examined. The heart weighed. The prospect of judgement hangs over heads. It’s something that can’t be seen in the moment, something anticipated through a trial or on a stage, something moved toward, pressing and shaping us from beyond.

The idea of this life as a performance on which we’ll be judged forever after echoes far beyond what we think of as religion. Fame, legacy, art, reputation – these are other afterlives, other counterpoints to oblivion, to total cancellation. To be visible is to be seen, but to be seen is to be judged on what’s visible. We may be judged by a ‘higher power’ with a birds’-eye-view. We will be judged by those who are like us, those as half-blind and impermanent as we are – our peers and our heirs, our allies and our enemies. We flicker between the positions of judged and judge, overlapping, like walking past a mirror.

You can send up to three poems and three artworks. Poems should be sent to in Word format or similar and artworks should be jpeg or the like. The deadline is 03rd September. Please put your name on submissions otherwise we may think it is spam. This issue is in collaboration with Belfast Photo Festival and is funded by The Arts Council of Ireland. See their website for more information.

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New Talent Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2021

Aesthetica is looking for the best new writing talent. The international literary prize is open to poetry and short fiction submissions on any theme, celebrating innovation in content, form and technique.

What We’re Looking For

The Creative Writing Award is open to Poetry and Short Fiction submissions on any theme, however, we are particularly interested in works that reflect upon our ever changing world.

Previous anthologies have harnessed the power of language to explore an age of unprecedented change and uncertainty. They have expressed complex emotions – telling personal and global stories. Our 2021 shortlisted works connected readers to a profound sense of self as well as their shared humanity: friendships, fairytales and romantic relationships told in new ways.

We are looking for pieces that challenge us – that redefine the parameters of form, concept and technique. Winning pieces have reflected upon both social and political structures, human relationships and experiences. They have pushed the boundaries of imagination – providing new possibilities and ideas. To find out more about our shortlist, view our Success Stories here.


  • Poetry entries should be no more than 40 lines.
  • Fiction entries should be no more than 2,000 words.
  • Works published or entered elsewhere are accepted.
  • We accept works on any theme.
  • You may enter the Award as many times as you wish – but each new requires a fee and new submission form.
  • For more information, read our FAQs here or for our refund policy. For further enquiries please email:

Entry Fee: Poetry £12 | Short Fiction £18

For more information, see the website.


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Manuscript submission to Bluemoose Books

Bluemoose Books is an award winning independent publisher based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Kevin and Hetha Duffy started Bluemoose in 2006 and as a ‘family’ of readers and writers we’re passionate about the written word and stories. Stories are transformative and as publishers we delight in finding great new talent. We don’t have the heft of a London publishing house with the millions of pounds to promote our writers but we do manage through innovative marketing to get our books into high street bookstores and reviewed in the national press.


We do not publish children’s books, YA or poetry. Please send the first three chapters and a synopsis. Unfortunately we can’t get back to you straightaway but will do our best to let you know if we want to see the full manuscript hopefully within sixteen weeks. Thanks for your patience.

Submissions should be sent electronically to kevin [at] bluemoosebooks [dot] com.


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Free online courses for poets and fiction writers

What better time to focus on your writing than the Easter bank holiday weekend? The National Centre for Writing’s new, short, free, online writing courses will help boost your confidence, increase your productivity and demystify the writing process. Bite-sized chapters make it easy to progress even while balancing work, school or family commitments. All you need is a computer and a love of writing!

  • Make fast progress with bite-sized chapters
  • Fits in around your busy life and responsibilities
  • Study from anywhere on your computer or mobile device
  • No deadlines, no pressure, take it at your own pace
  • Gain new techniques and insights

See their website for further information.

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Writers’ Weekend

Memoir, Non-Fiction and Self-Publishing at the Writers’ Weekend 

24-27 June 2021

Are you writing about your life experience, exploring childhood memories, or documenting an important moment in your life? Or are you researching an over-looked historical event or writing a book about a scientific interest? Whether you’re writing memoir or non-fiction see how the Writers’ Weekend can help you develop your book, from planning to publication. 

The Virtual Writers’ Weekend is for writers working at all levels and in every genre who want to improve their writing, get their manuscript published, and network with agents, published authors, and other writers.  Due to the success of the 2020 virtual event, we’ve decided to hold the 2021 Writers’ Weekend as a virtual event again. We are based in the lovely and historic city of Winchester, England, but due to the virtual nature of our event, you can attend from anywhere in the world!

Information and booking on their website.



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Harper’s Bazaar short-story competition 2021

Bazaar has celebrated original fiction within its pages since its foundation, having published the work of everyone from Virginia Woolf and Thomas Hardy to, more recently, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ali Smith. Continuing this literary legacy, we are once again launching our short-story competition in celebration of original fiction, this year adjudicated by a panel that includes the author and former Man Booker International Prize judge Tahmima Anam, who is renowned for her Bengal trilogy of novels. Joining her on the panel are the editor-in-chief of Bloomsbury Publishing Alexandra Pringle, the literary agent Caroline Michel, our contributing literary editor Erica Wagner and our editor-in-chief Lydia Slater.

To enter, submit up to 2,200 words on the theme of ‘Threads’ to by midnight on 15 March. If possible, please submit as a Word document attachment, titled with your own name, and please provide a wordcount.

The winner will receive a two-night stay at The Mitre in Hampton Court, plus the chance to see their work published.

For full details please see the competition page.


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Sky Blue Theatre invites entries to its British Theatre Challenge

2021 will see five winning plays produced by a professional cast & crew for a one week run of performances in London. Moreover, this opportunity will also see the winning works filmed in performance, given full written assessments by theatre professionals and considered for publication by our partnered publishers!

With over 50 of our previous winning plays having received offers of publication don’t miss the chance to see your work in motion!

Furthermore, we have been working hard over the last few months to future proof the Challenge against Covid-19 related disruption. If Covid-19 restricts live audience at the
time of performance, plays will be live-streamed (with live editing by Mini Mammoth Films).

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