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Literary prize launches across the city

A national writing competition launched in Leicester is now open for entries.

The Leicester Writes Short Story Prize, organised by Leicester press, Dahlia Books invites residents to put pen to paper. Now in its 8th year, the prize invites short stories of up to 3,500 words on any theme or subject and welcomes shorter stories of up to 1,000 words.

Leicester Time: Literary prize launches across the city
Picture: Farhana Shaikh

Publisher, Farhana Shaikh said: ‘We’re really excited about launching this competition encouraging anyone to put pen to paper. Last year, we received around 300 hundred entries from across the world, half of which came from within Leicestershire. We know people are writing short stories and more people than ever are reading them. We want to support local writers to give it a go! As ever, we’re keen unearth some raw talent from our hometown.’

The competition is open to writers internationally but many local writers have trumped the prize since its inception. Last year, Clarendon park resident Laura Coleman won first prize.

At the time of winning she said: “’I’m delighted to have won the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize 2023: not only is it a well-respected international competition, it’s also very close to home! I’ve followed the prize since 2019, when one of my fellow Leicester Writers’ Club members won, so earning first place four years later means a great deal to me.

“Leicester Writes and Dahlia Books contribute so much to the culture of our city. I feel both proud and privileged to have been recognised by them.” 

Previous winners Joe Bedford, Dan Powell and Leicester Writers’ Club member Mary Byrne all have a Leicester link. 

The winner will receive a £200 cash prize. A longlist of up to 20 stories will be published in an anthology and launched during the annual Short Story September festival.  An esteemed judging panel consisting of screen writer and author Abi Hynes and novelist Iqbal Hussain and last year’s first prize winner, Laura, will help pick a winner.

Local writing groups can request a free anthology pack with winning stories from the website.

Entries can be made online at www.leicesterwrites.co.uk. The closing date for entries is July 15th 2024.