Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper


Hastings Literary Festival 2020 writing competitions launched (and local literary info)

Hastings Literary Festival has launched its writing competitions for 2020, offering prizes of up to £200 as well as support packages for emerging local writers writes Alison Steel.

Last year writers from Hastings, St Leonards and Bexhill fought off stiff competition from hundreds of national and international entries to win prizes in the competitions. This year’s contest again features short story, flash fiction and poetry categories as well as new competitions for writers of black and minority ethnic (BAME) origin and young writers.

Short stories can be up to 2,500 words, poetry up to 40 lines, flash fiction up to 500 words and short stories in the BAME category up to 5,000 words.

Entrants can choose the topic of their choice for the short story, poetry and flash fiction categories. Entries for the BAME short story competition should be on the theme of climate change.

There are three prizes for the short story, poetry, flash fiction and BAME short story competitions: winner £200; runner-up £100 and third place £50.

New Writing South is also offering a bespoke one-to-one writer’s surgery and free NWS membership to the most promising prose writer living in Sussex plus free membership for one year for a Sussex-based entrant from the short story, poetry and flash fiction categories.

The winner of the BAME short story competition will be awarded a weekend writer’s retreat at The Studio, just outside Hastings, courtesy of arts organisation B&R Productions.

Full details including prizes and rules are available at Details of a new writing competition for under-18s will be available soon.

The poetry category will be judged by John McCullough, author of three critically-acclaimed poetry collections. Tabatha Stirling, commissioning editor of Stirling Publishing, will judge the short story and writer Sarah Leavesley, who is editor at V.Press, will judge the flash fiction section. Writer and director Christine Harmar-Brown will judge the BAME short story competition.

Hastings Literary Festival celebrates its third year in 2020 and runs from Thursday, August 27 to Sunday, August 30.

Since it began in 2018 it has hosted nearly 100 events and welcomed a host of internationally-renowned writers including Sir David Hare, Patrick Gale, Sophie Hannah, Kerry Hudson, Salena Godden, Sally Gardner, Kevin Brooks, Simon Mawer, Sarfraz Manzoor, Maggie Alderson, Alice Roberts and Kei Miller.

related post: Dos and don’ts of entering a writing competition

image –
News & Events

Thursday 12th March 7 pm – Write Night – A Writer’s Journey with Sam Dvey and Chrissy Hamar-Brown hosted by Wayne Herbert on behalf of New Writing South Tickets £5/£3 see details

Thursday 19th March 6 pm – Sheer Poetry at Bookbuster’s 39 Queens Rd, Hastings £3 on the door

Wednesday 1 April  6 – 7.30 pm Reading & music from Clive Parker-Sharp’s novel ConeBoy at Printed Matter Bookshop 185 Queens Rd, Hastings TN34 1RG

Coming soon – Staglit Tuesdays at the Stag Inn in the Old Town 6.30 – 8.30 pm  Monthly . Starting date TBA (previously announced as starting in April but taking time to set up). This is a chance for writers to read short extracts from their work and sell their books – and for readers to listen & comment. If you are interested in attending these events and/ or you would like to read from your work, please contact Angie and you will be included on the email list.

CALL FOR EVENTS INFO – please contact me directly if you would like your event to be included in the HOT weekly Bookchat column. Please write to Angie

Writing Competitions

Short Story

Hastings Literary Festival 2020
Short story – up to 2,500 words see website for details.
BAME short story – up to 5,000 words (BAME entrants only) see website for details.

Hastings Writers’ Room. Theme Misrepresentation (1,500 words) deadline 30 April 2020. Fee £6. First prize Gold membership of Retreat West (worth £100). Please check rules and conditions at Hastings Writers’ Room

Early Works Press. Short Story competition. Entry fee £5 per story up to 4000 words. £10 for over 4000. Maximum 8000 words. £200 first prize. Deadline 31 October 2020. Please check rules and conditions at Earlyworks Press.

Flash Fiction

Hastings Literary Festival 2020
Flash fiction up to 500 words see website for details.

Hastings Writers’ Room. Flash fiction five/ twenty-nine – submit FIVE stories, each with max 29 words, deadline 31 May 2020. Fee £7 for five stories. First prize Gold membership of Retreat West or cash alternative £100. Please check rules and conditions at Hastings Writers’ Room

Early Works Press. Flash Fiction competition 2020. Max 100 words. Deadline 30 August 2020. First prize £100. Please check rules and conditions at Earlyworks Press.


Hastings Literary Festival 2020
Poetry – up to 40 lines see website for details.


Writers’ Groups

Hastings Writers’ Group meet fortnightly on Mondays 7.30 – 9.30 pm at the White Rock Hotel. Membership is subject to vacancies and costs £80 per yr (or £40 per half year). For more details please see the website.

St Leonard’s Writers  meet on Wednesdays 1 – 3 pm at St Ethelburga Church in St Saviours Rd. There is a small joining fee and weekly contribution (see website for details). Contact person: David Edwards For more details please see the website

Shorelink Writers meet most Monday evenings between September and July  in the Tesco Community Room, Tesco Extra, Churchwood Drive, St Leonards-on-Sea, TN38 9RB. Small donation for each meeting. Membership is subject to vacancy so please get in touch first. Contact /
For more details, please see the website.

The Literary Shed Writing Circle
Weekly. Thursday, 10–12. Café sessions free. Workshop: £8
Contact: Aruna – e:

Old Town Writing Group meet Wednesdays 4 – 6 pm in The Stag Inn, All Saints St, Hastings Old Town. Free. For more details, please see the website.

CALL FOR WRITING GROUPS & BOOKGROUPS TO GET IN TOUCH – Do get in touch if you would like your group to be listed each week in this Bookchat column. Please write to Angie


Bookbuster 39 Queens Rd, Hastings
Go to Bookbuster’s Facebook page to see more.

Printed Matter Bookshop 185 Queens Rd, Hastings TN34 1RG
Please see Facebook page for more details of these and other events.

The Bookkeeper Bookshop 1a Kings Rd, St Leonards
Come and look at the Bookkeeper Bookshop Facebook page to see more.

The Hare & Hawthorn Bookshop 
51 George St, Hastings Old Town
For more information see the Hare & Hawthorn Facebook page

600pix-AJP-sky banner-squashed

Hi there – I’m still proof-reading – slow work if you can get it.

This last week I’ve been thinking about:
– punctuation – see my post Comma Crisis
– formatting a document so that it works well in Kindle Create
– the pros and cons of getting your own ISBNs and becoming a publisher

I’ll include thoughts on these in my next Newsletter. Please sign up for it at  – the  signup form is on the right-hand side as you scroll down.

Comments and suggestions on anything and everything are always welcome.

Thanks so much for reading.


Angela J. Phillip



Posted 09:00 Tuesday, Mar 3, 2020 In: Hastings Bookchat

Also in: Hastings Bookchat

More HOT Stuff

    HOT is run by volunteers but has overheads for hosting and web development. Support HOT!


    Advertise your business or your event on HOT for as little as £20 per month
    Find out more…


    If you like HOT and want to keep it sustainable, please Donate via PayPal, it’s easy!


    Do you want to write, proofread, edit listings or help sell advertising? then contact us

  • Subscribe to HOT