We asked Sarah to write something for the blog on what winning has meant for her. We hope her words will encourage you to enter this year’s competition. Naomi Wood, prize-winning author of The Godless Boys and Mrs. Hemingway, is our guest judge this year, and for the first time we are offering a national prize as well as our usual regional prize. The national prize is for women over 40 living and writing in the UK and Ireland and the winner of this category will receive publication in our anthology, £1000 and a month long writing residency provided by Hosking Houses Trust. Our regional winner will also for this year only receive, in additional to the usual prizes, a mentoring session with the novelist Jill Dawson. The competition is open to writers of memoir, creative non-fiction and fiction, and entries can be 2,200 words or under. The closing date for entries is the 15th November.
"Receiving an email (in the cold, dark days of January) informing me that I had won the Words and Women prose competition provided a fabulous start to 2016.
Writing is by its nature a lonely occupation and intermittent successes are part of what helps to justify the solitary hours, false starts and many, many rejections. It is always exciting when the news arrives that something I have written will be published.
In this particular case, all sorts of factors made the win feel special. Words and Women is an established competition and my story had been chosen by a successful writer (Emma Healey) whose novel I had very much enjoyed. The prize money was certainly higher than most of the other competitions I’ve been placed in. My story was published in a beautiful looking anthology by Unthank Books. And then there was the launch event...
Along with a selection of other shortlisted writers, I was invited to read an extract of my story at an event held in the Norwich Arts Centre. This provided me with the opportunity to meet and chat with Emma Healey, the competition organisers – Lynne and Belona – as well as a number of fellow writers. As for the reading - speaking in public has never exactly been my favourite pastime, but I managed to overcome my nerves to give what felt like a creditable performance to a packed house.
All of the above contributed to making my award of first prize hugely thrilling."
Sarah Evans has had over a hundred stories published in anthologies, magazines and online. Prizes have been awarded by, amongst others: Words and Women, Winston Fletcher, Stratford Literary Festival, Glass Woman and Rubery. Other publishing outlets include: the Bridport Prize, Unthank Books, Riptide and Best New Writing. She has also had work performed in London, Hong Kong and New York.