Thursday, 30 May 2013

Winners to be announced

We’ll announce the April Global Short Story Competition winners on June 7 - still a day and a half to enter the May competition at £100 first prize

Friday, 24 May 2013

And the world stood still

I do a lot of creative writing teaching across northern England and I hear some cracking stuff. Indeed, I hear plenty of publishable stuff - to help such writers reach their audiences was the reason we started our competitions. Every so often, and it is not that often, someone starts reading and the room falls quiet. Time stands still, the air thickens and the reader holds the audience in the palm of their hand. I first saw it done, long before I started teaching, by the great Northern poet Barry MacSweeney at a festival in Lincoln. He held the audience spellbound. I was privileged to know Barry and his early death has left the world of poetry much the poorer. And that night remains a golden memory of a remarkable talent.

Why do I mention this? Well, it can happen with reading stories as well. You read something and from the first line it holds you. The pace is there, the passion, the drama, the imagery, everything.

I have read a couple among our entries to the May Short Story Competition, which runs for a further week until May 31. Should this discourage everyone else who is entering? No, because there is the beauty of it. Every reader, every listener is different. I may have loved it, another may prefer something else. Fiona may pick someone else. That is why we keep turning up winners from our various competitions that are different, innovative and yes, from time to time, the world stops spinning for a moment or two while they tell their story

Global Short Story Competition tops the 50 country mark

The monthly Global Short Story Competition has announced that the number of countries from which it has received entries has topped 50.

Launched five years ago, the competition runs every month with a £100 first prize and a £25 prize for highly commended writers.

Currently approaching £9,500 in prize money handed out, the competition has had winners, commended and shortlisted stories from all over the world. Each month’s competition is judged by Fiona Cooper, an author based in North-East England, where the competition’s organisers are based.

Organiser John Dean said: “We have had stories from every corner of the world, which delights us because the competition was established to encourage authors across the planet. We wanted to encourage writers voices were yet to be heard. The fact that we have had stories from so many countries shows just what a global competition it has become.

“One thing that pleases us is to see writers who have enjoyed success in our competition go on to securing success in other competitions or have their work published. A number of them have told us that it was the encouragement of winning the Global Short Story Competition that gave them the extra confidence they needed.”
The competition can be entered at and there are seven days to go before May’s closes.

* Inscribe Media are also running a free competition. It’s the year 2013, add 2, 1 and 3 and you get six, six is the number of words in supposedly the finest flash fiction story ever written For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn (attributed to Hemingway but probably not by him).
The challenge in our new free competition, run on our Facebook page, is a short story in six words. Prize is £50, deadline July 18. All you need to do is drop your six words in the appropriate section. The page can be found at or through


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A different take on life

I have always thought - and I know I will be shot down for this in some quarters - that writers view the world differently.
Talking to writers certainly bears that out, though, the way a word, a phrase, an image, an idea can create a train of thought that evolves into a story.
I was talking to a writer the other day and he told how a line he used in a conversation triggered something deep within and produced a story that did very well in one of our competitions.
Never is that process more pronounced, in my view, than when writers take something ordinary, routine, part of our daily lives, and present it in a way that is somehow different. He certainly did to great effect and so have others.
Why am I thinking this this morning? Well, two recent stories did just that, took routine images and presented them in ways that are, in one case, poignant, in another chilling. In both cases, I read the stories and thought ‘now there’s a writer on the top of their game.’ And it really is a joy to behold when it works.
John Dean

Ten days to go

Ten days to go in the May Global Short Story Competition - £100 first prize. Latest entries from Australia and Poland. More at

Friday, 17 May 2013

Two weeks and counting

Two weeks to go in the May Global Short Story Competition. £100 first prize, £25 for highly commended. Deadline midnight GMT May 31. Find out more at

Monday, 13 May 2013

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Here’s a question for you. I came across an essay by the great writer George Orwell in which he said: “From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. Between the ages of about seventeen and twenty-four I tried to abandon this idea, but I did so with the consciousness that I was outraging my true nature and that sooner or later I should have to settle down and write books.” Here’s the question. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? To kick things off, I reckon I was also five or six when I knew. I was lucky - my folks encouraged me and I had two teachers, one at primary, Judith Kent, and one at secondary, Tom Cowley, who helped me chase my dream.
You can tell us your experience on our Facebook page, to be found at or through

Free competition launched

It’s the year 2013, add 2, 1 and 3 and you get six, six is the number of words in supposedly the finest flash fiction story ever written For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn (attributed to Hemingway but probably not by him).

The challenge in our new free competition, run on our Facebook page, is a short story in six words. Prize is £50, deadline July 18. All you need to do is become a Friend and drop your six words in the appropriate section.
Apologies for those who entered just before we lost our previous social networking site. Please drop them in again. The page can be found at or through

Our ebooks

A reminder that we have published five e-book titles. All can be obtained by keying their titles into the search field of the Kindle shop at Australian readers will have to purchase via Amazon US at

The books include:

Global Shorts - an anthology of short stories taken from the early years of the Global Short Competition. Price £2.23

Vegemite Whiskers - a selection of some of the finest writing from Australian authors who have entered the Global Short Story Competition. Price £1.48.

White Gold by Roger Barnes A thriller by first-time author Roger Barnes taking the reader into a world of intrigue and danger set amid the poachers of Africa. £2.23

Haghir the Dragon Finder by John Dean, a comic fantasy for older children. Haghir and his hopeless comrades are dragon slayers seeking a new challenge. £1.48.

Cyber Rules by Myra King. The novel by Australian writer Myra tells the story of a farmer’s wife in isolated rural Australia. Caught up on the addictive side of the Internet, she holds a secret which may prove to be deadly. Price £2.05.

* If you don’t have a Kindle, there is a free Kindle reading app for your PC at

Find out in the e-novel Cyber Rules Find out more at

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Here come the Americans!

Recent competitions have seen some entries from the United States. Those American writers are following on from a proud tradition because it is widely acknowledged that it was a US writer who started the modern short story tradition.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, of Salem, Massachusetts, was the author of Twice-Told Tales, a book published in America in 1837 and one whose format excited authors more used to the traditional novel format.

Suddenly, they found themselves liberated from the need to produce works of epic length and took to the new format with gusto.

And why not? Short stories are a brilliant format in which to write, allowing you to take one fragment of life, a fleeting event and turning it into something compelling. Many of our entries demonstrate that skill beautifully.

We have had one or two queries recently relating to the rules for our monthly short story competition and whether or not they preclude stories which have been entered into/won other competitions. The answer is that we do not impose any such conditions - if a story wins two competitions then so be it - must be a good ’un!
John Dean

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Writing competition results announced

Judge Fiona Cooper has selected her winners for the March Global Short Story Competition and the honours go to authors from Australia and England.
The £100 first place prize goes to Lucy Bignall, of Pullenvale, Queensland, Australia, for Three Little Girls, of which Fiona says: “What a beautiful, lyrical story! The narrative undulates between past and present with skill and a real engagement of emotion. When I say emotion, I mean a whole spectrum of emotions; love, fondness, regret, yearning and complete denial. The comfortable present, the distant joy of the past - this story captures a whole lifetime with secrets buried so deep they cannot be allowed to re-surface. Wonderful!”

The £25 highly commended prize goes to Libby Thompson, of Darlington in County Durham, England, for Dreaming of White Sliced, of which Fiona says: “I love the slightly bonkers tone of this story. Poor old Edie Nuttall! Everyone knows someone like this, everyone dreads a husband like William Nuttall, and the understated fury builds the narrative utterly convincingly. Dark humour and very well written.”
The writers on the shortlist were:
Annette Abraminko, Baden Wurtemburg, Germany

Maria Cray, Bergamo, Italy

Sue Dawes, Wivenhoe, Colchester, England

Virginie Tozzo, France
Well done to our successful writers.

You can enter the competition via its new home

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The rules of writing

Here’s my take on the rules of writing:

* Consider the reader - do not write for yourself, always write for the reader.

* Be disciplined - you may wish to pack lots of information in but does the

reader need it?

* You may not have put enough information in - you can imagine where a scene is set

but have you given the reader the  information they need? You may have

drawn a character but can your readers see them?

* Be brutal - if you have overwritten, chop out the fat.

New competition opens

Our April Global Short Story Competition has closed and gone for judging. The May one is now open at We will announce the March winners on May 7