Monday, 7 September 2015

Sunday Times best-selling novelist Emma Healey to judge Words And Women’s prose competition

Our annual prose competition launches today! This is the third year it’s been running and this year we’re proud to announce that our guest judge is Emma Healey. It’s fantastic to have her on board because Emma is a critically acclaimed writer whose debut novel Elizabeth Is Missing won the Costa First Novel Award. Also Emma is closely linked to the region as an alumna of the MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.

Emma will be looking for keen observation in the competition entries. She tells us that: 

‘It is always wonderful to find a writer has described a sensation never put into words before, come up with a perfect metaphor for something, or created a stunningly vivid image in the mind of a reader. It's also exciting to find the mundane transformed into the extraordinary or the extraordinary made to feel familiar.

'I'd love to read pieces which say something about our time, or our location, stories which are striving for some kind of meaning, even if they are only asking questions for the reader to try and answer.

'I'd like to find emotional honesty in the pieces, and writing which is full of bravery rather than swagger, by authors who aren't afraid of exploring the feelings of their characters, or of letting the reader get close to the emotion of the writer.

‘Lastly I'm hoping to read pieces in which humour hasn't been forgotten. That doesn't mean the subject or situation has to be funny, but even a tragic tale can be lifted by a witty observation, a moment of hysterical hyperbole or even a straightforward joke.'

More details about the competition can be found on our dedicated blog page ‘Prose comp’ but in short:

The competition offers a cash prize of £600 and publication in Words and Women: Three. Entry is open to all women writers over the age of 16 who live or work in the East of England.  Short works of fiction, memoir, life-writing and creative non-fiction are all welcome. The anthology, published in partnership with Unthank Books, will be launched on International Women’s Day, 8th March, 2016, Words And Women’s fifth anniversary.

Entries should be 2,200 words or under.  Extracts from longer works will not be considered. It costs £10 per submission, and the deadline for entries is 15th November 2015.  Winners will be announced in January 2016. In the blog post below Lora Stimson, last year’s winner, describes what winning the competition has done for her.

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