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Cash prizes totaling £2000 ($3200) can be won in the Writers' Village International Short Fiction Award winter 2014 for prose fiction in any genre up to 3000 words.
The first prize is £1000 ($1600), with a second prize of £500 ($800) and third prize of £250 ($400). Five runner up prizes of £50 ($80) will be awarded to short-listed contestants.
Ten further Highly Commended entrants will gain a free entry in the next round.
Everyone wins because every contestant, win or lose, gains feedback on how their stories were graded, plus helpful tips for the stories' improvement!
All winning entries are showcased here at the Writers' Village site, which attracts more than 15,000 unique visitors per month.
Winners will be entitled to accredit themselves: ‘Winner [or Short Listed, etc], the Writers' Village International Short Fiction Award winter 2014', when approaching agents and publishers. (Wins in top story contests like ours are taken very seriously by the publishing world.)
The Writers' Village award - now in its sixth year - is one of the world's few major story competitions that specifically welcomes new writers from anywhere in the English-speaking world. And the only one that gives personal feedback to every contestant, win or lose, without extra charge.
Prizes will go to those writers whose short stories show the greatest originality, mastery of the craft skills of creative writing, and power to move the reader.
The new winter 2014 contest follows the continuing success of the previous 12 Writers' Village short story competitions, entered by writers from all over the world.
Dr John Yeoman, MA Oxon, MA (Res), MPhil, PhD Creative Writing. John is a university tutor in creative writing and has been a successful commercial writer and publisher for 42 years. He established Writers' Village in 2009.
What contestants told us about the feedback on their stories
Jenny Heap. Warwickshire, England. "I was most impressed that you were able to give such genuinely considered, insightful and helpful feedback – a definite bargain!"
Gun Caundle. Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. "[Following
your feedback], I won the Takahe Cultural Studies competition for my
story ‘Ross’. I also put this down to your lessons. They have raised the
quality of my writing."
Lorna Lennon. County Wicklow, Ireland. [Shortlisted winner 2013] "While I was delighted at winning the prize, the icing on the cake really was the prompt communication and advice, speedy set-up on the site and quick payment. All in all, a very positive experience and you should be congratulated on your professionalism."
Mark Sheehan. Cwmbran, Torfaen. "Your [feedback] is well worth the entry fee alone."
Carrie Mumford. Alberta, Canada. "I can't thank you enough for your helpful feedback. You run a wonderful contest and website. Thank you for offering this to aspiring authors! I'll be sure to share news of your contest and website with my writing group."
Carolyn McKenzie. Auckland, New Zealand. "Thank
you very much for your feedback on my story. I
particularly like your marking system and suggestions. I consider my entry fee very
well spent indeed."
David Hill. Eastbourne, England. "Your advice on short story competitions is excellent. I have followed it and won one competition and been shortlisted in two others so far."
Nancy Pawelek. Ottawa, Ontario. "Getting your [feedback] WAS worth the entry fee. I appreciated the conciseness of your advice and your encouragement. Seeing the points for each element now helps me focus in my re-writes."
Keith Smith. St Etienne sur Usson, France. "Your
comments have given me much food for thought and I greatly appreciate
your encouragement and integrity. I thank you for what is, to me, the
best writing site on the net."
Patsy Miranda. London. "This is the best website I have found so far especially if you are an aspiring writer. The free writing tips are invaluable, the critiques are extremely helpful and certainly more than their money's worth, and free access to the winning stories is a bonus. Absolutely well worth a visit, or two or more!"
Warren Glover. Woollahra, Australia. "I've both placed and been unsuccessful in Writers' Village contests and each time I've found the feedback fair, justified and extremely useful. I'd recommend Writers' Village contests as both a motivational and learning tool."
Patricia Smith. Johannesburg, South Africa. "Your feedback highlighted the weaknesses of my piece with great accuracy and offered solutions to explore. Much appreciated!"
James Ward. East Sussex. "Out of the 66 writing competitions I've entered to date, yours is far and away the best organised, most competitor-friendly, and easily the best value for money."
Angela Johnson. Barcelona, Spain. "I treasure your valuable feedback and I'm glowing from some of the [grades you gave me]. I am sure I will enter a story again!"
Madeline Parsons. Southend-on-Sea, England. "I very much liked your marking system. It made me feel confident that the story had been judged against a set of criteria which had been applied to all the entries, and thus the competition was less subjective. I found your feedback to be just and insightful."
Laura Lindsay. Freeport, USA. "You cannot imagine how excited I was to receive good useful feedback from someone who knows the field. It was a gift, indeed."
Barbara Leahy. Cork, Ireland. "Competitions can be like black holes swallowing up stories so it is great to get feedback from someone who actually read and thought about my entries."
Joan Sonnenburg. Ontario, Canada. "Many thanks for your comments. These are more helpful than any cash award."
David Roberts. Westerham, England. "Your feedback was much appreciated and indeed well worth the entry fee. It's always good to know where exactly you fail in a competition otherwise it is almost impossible to improve oneself."
Charles Clennell. Gilberton, Australia.
"Thank you for your very constructive feedback to my two stories.
Failing to gain a prize was less important to me than receiving useful
feedback to help improve my writing skills."
Susan Hartnell-Beavis. Yeovil, England. "[I'd like to record] my thanks for the tremendous value your critiques have for me. Not only does it help us improve as writers, but it is also obvious, from the winners that you choose, that your standards are very high. That is why we can trust what you say."
Ken McBeath. Ontario, Canada. "A critique such as yours is worth as much as a prize or more - and very few competitions offer feedback without a hefty extra payment."
Maureen Gallagher. Galway, Ireland. "Yours is the most exciting competition I've entered. A real thrill to get your insightful comments!"
Helene Dolder. Newcastle upon Tyne, England. "It wasn't the taking part, it was the taking apart that most encouraged me! Your time to read, digest, regurgitate and comment was tremendous value for the entry fee."
Ann Leander. Klagenfurt, Austria. "Many thanks for your as usual, hugely enlightening [feedback] on my stories. Well worth the entry fee!"
Sharon Birch. Aberfeldy, Perthshire. "Feedback such as this is invaluable to me as a writer and very helpful when I come to edit and put them right. I shall enter your future competitions and spread the word amongst fellow writers. Your helpful tips emails are extremely informative and a welcome insight."
Joyce Mackenzie. Dundee, Scotland.
"I am delighted at the [feedback you gave me]. Its just as good as a
win for me. Your marking system is extremely good. It lets the writer
know where they have succeeded and where they have failed."
Hazel Martell. Keighley, West Yorkshire. "Thanks again for the kind comments - they really were appreciated! I'm also passing information about your competitions to various writing friends and hope they will also be encouraged to enter."
Alan Coley. Thames Ditton, England. "It was very good to receive your comments. It's so refreshing to receive constructive criticism rather than being left to stare at the short list and not be able to work out why my name wasn't on it. Many thanks."
Kim Kremer. Penrith, Cumbria. "Thanks for the feedback I received on my two stories. It was encouraging and helpful, and I'd definitely enter the competition again."
Debbie Allard. Spring Lake, Michigan.
“I love every part of your program. I’ve received invaluable tips. My
feedback was highly detailed and helped me improve my writing. Thank
Peter McGinniss. East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire. "I found your comments to be very helpful, and illuminating in terms of what is being looked for in a short-story writing competition. I shall take the advice on board."
Nicola Young. Sevenoaks, Kent. "Thank you for your feedback. It was a great to help to me. It's just encouraging to know you're going in the right direction, especially as I'm new to this."
Lande Abudu. Eastcote, Middlesex. "I really needed to hear an independent view of ways to improve my writing. It was helpful to get feedback as I am only just venturing into the world of writing competitions; I'll keep at it and hope to be a winner some day soon."
Valerie Bowes. Surrey. "Thank you very much for your comments, which I did indeed find helpful. Of particular use is knowing how I scored on the points system which you use to make your judgements. And the writing tips are very good, as well!"
Gail Richards. London. "John treated my stories with respect from start to finish, understood the theme and the characters and made some incisive and pertinent suggestions for improvement. If this is terse feedback I'd love to see a full critique!"
Paul Barron. Co Wexford, Ireland. "I found John's feedback exceptionally good.The breakdown and marks system is particularly good in focusing attention on parts that are not working. Most competitions offer no feedback or charge a fee. For my part I can't see how you can improve unless you know where you went wrong. Thanks again, John, for the feedback."
Jason Heaver. Streatham, London. "Yours is the only competition I've found that gives any kind of feedback as part of the entry fee, rather than for an additional price, and it's greatly valued."
Doreen Stoneham. Oxford, England. "Your comments have helped me to identify points which appeared clear to me but not to the reader. I shall certainly be entering again. I have been recommending your site to my writing group. It’s the best I have found."
Evelyn Evans. Buckingham.
"Your comments are really helpful and I will certainly act on your
advice. This is the first time I have had the courage to share any of my
work and I feel enormously encouraged (if not amazed!) by your
response. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to read it so
Amy. High Wycombe, England.
"Your comments brought clarity to my doubts and renewed my interest in
those two stories, which is fantastic. I really feel it is possible to
make both those stories work now, whereas before I was unhelpfully
despondent/irritated with the outcome."
Winner summer 2012
Winner summer 2011
Winner summer 2010
(A Tip: you'll find a lot of social networks under the Red Cross.)