Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
New Writing South prize winners: L-R: Andrea Samuelson; Antony Mair; NWS chief executive Lesley Wood and Glyn Carter.

New Writing South prize winners: L-R: Andrea Samuelson; Antony Mair; NWS chief executive Lesley Wood and Glyn Carter.

East Sussex writers triumph in international competition (and literary events from 10 Sept 2019)

Writers from Bexhill, Hastings and St Leonards fought off stiff international competition to pick up key prizes in Hastings Literary Festival’s 2019 competition, which featured short story, poetry and flash fiction categories reports Alison Steel from Hastings Litfest.

Double prize-winner: Roz Balp.

Double prize-winner: Roz Balp.

Bexhill-based writer Paul Green took first place in the short story category. Hastings resident Roz Balp came second in the same category and was also third in flash fiction.

St Leonards-based writer Andrea Samuelson scooped second prize in flash fiction, with Hastings’ Antony Mair taking second place in the poetry competition.

Writers’ support and training organisation New Writing South (NWS) sponsored additional prizes for East Sussex-based writers. They awarded their short story prize and overall New Writing South prize to Hastings filmmaker Glyn Carter. Andrea Samuelson won the NWS flash fiction prize and Antony Mair the NWS poetry prize.

There were 371 entries for Hastings LitFest’s three competitions from around the world, including the USA, South Africa and India and they were judged anonymously. The results were announced on September 1, at the LitFest closing ceremony which was presided over by its patron, the St Leonards-born playwright Sir David Hare.

Short story category winner: L-R: Judge Tabby Stirling with winner Paul Green

Short story category winner: L-R: Judge Tabby Stirling with winner Paul Green

Commenting on Paul Green’s winning science fiction short story Zoe in a Trance of Terror, judge Tabby Stirling said: “This story hasn’t left me – from the second paragraph I wanted it to be a novel. I became so immersed in this writer’s world.”

Paul, from Bexhill, has published four novels as well as several poetry collections and his plays have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, CBC Canada, Capital Radio, RTE Ireland and Resonance FM and performed by New Theatre Works and Travesty Theatre.

He says:  “It’s great to have this recognition of my work, which has encouraged me to develop the story into a new novel.”

Lesley Wood, chief executive of New Writing South, said: “We’re very proud to support this truly international competition at a time when it’s particularly important for individual voices to be heard.”

Glyn Carter, winner of the New Writing South Prize, left his steady job working for Hastings Borough Council in 2014 to start making films, since when he’s made eleven shorts, and won several awards and festival selections. Liminal, his NWS prizewinner, is the first of Glyn’s stories to win a competition.

He said: “It’s wonderful to be recognised. I’ve written screenplays, but with fiction you’re responsible for everything a director or actor would do in film, like atmosphere, pacing, and character’s thoughts and emotions. Since I’m so new to writing prose fiction, it’s great to hear that I’m doing something right!”

  • Roz Balp has lived in Hastings for over 30 years and writes mainly short stories and poetry. In 2017 she won the National Association of Writers’ Groups’ poetry competition. She was placed second in the LitFest short story competition for Faniel and third in flash fiction for Look at the Lights.
  • Antony Mair, who lives in Hastings, has been writing poetry since he was a teenager. Since retiring from the legal profession, he has gone from strength to strength. His debut collection Bestiary, and Other Animals was shortlisted for the 2017 Live Canon First Collection Prize. Antony founded and runs the Hastings Stanza poetry group, which is affiliated to the Poetry Society. He was placed second in the LitFest poetry competition and won the New Writing South poetry prize for Baudelaire in a Hastings Corner Shop.
  • Andrea Samuelson, who lives in St Leonards, is the author of Cradle Song, a book of poems about her great-grandmother’s incarceration in a mental asylum and her own hospitalisation for post natal depression. Her poetry has been published in the Rialto  and her short fiction has been published in Mslexia, Front and Centre and QWF. She won the Peterloo Poetry prize in 2009. She was placed second in the LitFest flash fiction competition and won the New Writing South flash fiction prize for Dwelling.

The first Hastings LitFest Anthology, a compilation of competition entries selected by Hastings LitFest  2019 judges Tabatha Stirling, John McCullough and Michael Loveday, will be on sale soon priced £7.99.

Hastings Literary Festival began in 2018 and is supported by the Arts Council England and other sponsors.

The Booker Shortlist
According to the Guardian, this year’s shortlist is not any easy read (see The Booker Prize shortlist resists easy reading by Alex Clarke).  Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman is just eight long rambling sentences for the whole novel. The thought of that puts me off because I like my stories to have a clear easy structure that I can settle into without having to struggle, but then I think of Francis Booth’s book just the again and again and againness. This is a prose poem that has one sentence lasting 40,000 words and it is a wonderful piece of writing that speaks to me every time I pick it up. So I’ll hold my verdict on Ducks, Newburyport until after I’ve read it. It’s an Ohio housewife talking and has had rave reviews.

The book that surprised everyone was The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. It was a surprise because it was not published until 10 September (the day this post goes live). It’s a long time since I read The Handmaid’s Tale to which it is a sequel but I read the extract from The Testaments published by the Guardian and that was enough to make me want to buy the book and read the rest. Try it and see what you think.

Then there are:
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo – a story of 12 black British women
10 minutes, 38 seconds in this strange world by Elif Shafak – an account of the last moments of an Istanbul sex-worker
An orchestra of minorities by Chigozie Obioma – a love story about fate vs free will
Quichotte by Salman Rushdie – about a Don Quixote character as a travelling salesman in the US

New books

Lawrence, Harold
At a stroke: a stroke survivor’s journey
 (July 2019) If possible, please buy locally from independent bookshops such as The Bookkeeper Bookshop 1a Kings Rd, St Leonards

Booth, Francis
Code 17
  (March 2019) – a thriller, published by Amazon
Code 17.2  (July 2019) – a thriller, published by Amazon

Donohue, Pete
Poetry is Feathers (July, 2019) – a collection of poetryorder locally or from

Robinson, John D.
Singing Arias (July 2019) – a collection of poetry, order locally or from Analog Press.


Bookbuster 39 Queens Rd, Hastings
Thurs 19 September 6 – 9 pm £2 entry Sheer Poetry – an open mic poetry night
Go to Bookbuster’s Facebook page and see what happened at the last Open Mic. There are clips of poetry readings.

Printed Matter Bookshop 185 Queens Rd, Hastings TN34 1RG
Thurs 12th Sept Book launch of Guy Standing’s Plunder of the Commons : A Manifesto for Sharing Public Wealth. At The Printworks
Weds 18th Sept Book launch of Stolen: How to Save the World from Financialisation with Grace Blakeley at St Mary’s in the Castle.
Mon 30th Sept, 6pm at the shop. Das Kaptial Reading Group.
Jan 2020 – Book launch of Paul Anderson’s ‘Suedeheads’ & film screening of Horace Ove’s ‘Reggae 1970’ at The Electric Palace Cinema, Old Town.

The Bookkeeper Bookshop 1a Kings Rd, St Leonards
Come and look at our Facebook page to see what’s happening.

The Literary Shed Writing Circle run by A. Vasudevan
Two-hour weekly writing sessions in safe, creative spaces in Hastings and St Leonards
Thurs 12 Sept. 10 – 12am (£6) Writing Critique group at The Blue Bee, corner of Courthouse St in the Old Town.
Tues 17 Sept, 10–12 am (free) at Sea Kale, 29 London Rd, Saint Leonards-on-sea TN37 6AJ
For further information, please email:, subject: WRITE-INS.

Writing Courses from CWP with New Writing South
2 year Creative Writing Course
Advanced Writing Course
Autobiography and Life Writing Course
for details on all courses, please see  Creative Writing Programme in collaboration with New Writing South

See review Word of Mouth – marvellous creative writing courses from CWP and New Writing South


Well, folks, that’s it for this week. I hope you’ve all had a good week and that your projects are going well.

For an update on my writing, please see –  Plotting and The rain falls – writing a synopsis.

Thanks for reading and happy writing.

Angela J. Phillip

Image of competition winners supplied by Hastings Litfest


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Posted 09:00 Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 In: Hastings Bookchat

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