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The SWLF Writing Competition 2023

A special commendation goes to 8 year old Tia Hampson for her fantastic story, The Big Fire. Tia wins a £30 book token and a Certificate of Excellence.

And the winners are:

Creative Non Fiction - Andy Goss - Under Pye Sand **WINNER**

Runner up - Karen Storey - A Blue Wall Runs Beneath the Ocean

Runner up - Julia Thorley - Snapshot

Poetry - Jo Riglar - My Uncle **WINNER**

Runner up - Andy Goss - From Time's Egg

Runner up - Sam Szanto - Separation

Fiction - Chris Cottom - Button Bus **WINNER**

Runner up - Wendy Markel - Family Values

Runner up - Hetty Mosforth - Near Pen-Clawdd 1854

We have chosen not to publish the winning entries so that the authors may enter them again into other competitions elsewhere.



Creative Non Fiction:

A Blue Wall Runs Beneath the Ocean - Karen Storey

Pandora Was Framed - Valerie Moyses

Snapshot - Julia Thorley

Contagious Day Ever - Azmain Sarwar

Deer In The Forest - Felice Hardy

The Headbanger - Nick le Mesurier

Blasting Down The Idon'twanttobehere - Sue Goss

The Sweet Taste of Home and of Defeat - Larry Winger

Playing House - Olivia Rana

Under Pye Sand - A E Goss


Miss Hildreth - Maria Roe

Rebells - Clare Charlton

My Uncle - Jo Riglar

From Time's Egg - Andy Goss

Separation - Sam Szanto


365 Days 4 Hours - Jan Baynham 

A is for Meenakshi - S Barb

Button Bus - Chris Cottom

Family Values - Wendy Markel

Hubris - Lance Clarke

Near Pen-clawdd - Hetty Mosforth

Not Goodbye - Andy Goss

Quick Thinking - Lance Clarke

Small Dreams - Samanatha Palmer

Statistic Unknown - Andrea Darby

Terracotta Lavender - Karen Storey

The Neckerchief - PM Child



Please read the rules carefully as no monies will be refunded if an entry is rejected for non-compliance.


There are THREE categories for the competition:

1.         Fiction - prize money donated by Fairlight Books

2.         Non-fiction

3.         Poetry


Only one entry per category is allowed per entrant. No person can win a prize in more than one category. The cost per entry is £3.



  • The competition is opens on April 17th.

  • Deadline for submissions is midnight, June 30th 2023.

  • Winners will be notified by email by the end of August 2023 and lists of the prize winners and the short list will be published on the SWLF website.



  • Prose (fiction and non-fiction) word limit 800 (excluding title).

  • Poems up to 40 lines (excluding title and blank lines between stanzas).

  • There is no minimum length in any category.

  • There is no theme or other restriction on genre, style or content. However, any entry with content deemed unpublishable by mainstream publishing will be rejected.

  • There is no age restriction.

  • The competition is open to all writers except those associated with the organisation and administration of the South Warwickshire Literary Festival.

  • Entries are invited from around the world, but all entries should be in English.

  • Work previously published online, self-published work or work that has been published in small press publications is eligible for entry.



  • First prize in each category: £50 plus the opportunity to read the winning entry at the South Warwickshire Literary Festival on 23rd September 2023.

  • No other monetary prizes will be awarded.

  • Up to TWO other commended pieces from each category may be selected and the authors invited to read their entries at the Festival on 23rd September 2023. (Attendance at the Festival is optional and will be at the expense of the author, not of the SWLF.)



  • All entries must be in a clear font, (we suggest Times New Roman or Arial), size 12 or larger

  • Prose (fiction or non-fiction) must be double-spaced.

  • Pages must be numbered.

  • Entries should be submitted electronically in word, pdf, or txt file format.

  • Entrant’s name, contact details and word-count of the entry (line count for poems) must appear on the first page of the document. No other information should appear on this page. I.e. if the text of your entry takes three pages, your details    and word-count will appear on page 1, your entry content on pages 2, 3 and 4 of the document. This first page is for                administrative purposes only and will be removed before the entry is passed to the judges.

  • Any piece with the author’s name or other personal identifying mark on the entry itself, i.e. past page 1, will be disqualified



  • Payment should be made via the links on SWLF website.

  • If you enter more than one category, you should send the entries separately. (I.e. one email for each category you enter.)

  • The subject line of your submission email should be one of the following, as appropriate:

  • SWLF competition FICTION

  • SWLF competition NON-FICTION

  • SWLF competition POETRY

In the body of the email you must include:

  1.        your name and contact details

  2.        the category you are entering

             (poetry, fiction or cnf)

  3.        the title of your entry, and

  4.        your payment reference.

  • Acceptable file formats: Word, PDF, or txt

  • The file attachment should be named with the title of your entry plus your name, e.g. ‘The Old Boots by Joe Bloggs’.

  • Entries to be sent to:

  • No corrections can be made to work after it has been submitted, nor can fees be refunded.


  • Copyright of each entry remains with the author, but by entering the competition you give the organisers the right to share the winning and commended pieces at SWLF 2023. There will be no competition anthology and SWLF does not undertake to publish any entry.

  • Entries will be judged anonymously.

  • The judges' decisions are final and neither they nor the organisers will enter into any correspondence.


Once payment has been made please send your entry to: quoting your booking id. Thank you.



Poetry: Emily Hunt, Warwickshire Young Poet Laureate 2023, winner of Guernsey Literary Festival's international poetry competition Poems on the Move (Young People's Category) 2022 and also 2021, 2nd Place in Guernsey Lit Fest 2023; 1st place  Felix Dennis Young Poets' Competition for Stratford Literary Festival; winner Young Wild Writer 2022 Hen Harrier Day; Highly Commended in Live Canon's Young Poets' Competition 2021 and 2022; WEM Solstice Prize for Young Writers 2021; 2nd place East Riding Festival of Words Young Poets Competition and 2nd place in the Shepton Mallet Snowdrop Festival's Young Poets' Competition. Emily is currently working with OCR exam board on the development of the Natural History GCSE, is a Youth Councillor for Reserva, the Youth Land Trust and has had articles published about youth engagement with nature in Conker Magazine, the OCR newsletter and on the Cameron Bespolka Trust blog. Find her on Instagram @em_loves_nature_ or Twitter @em_nature , and see her blog at .

Non-fiction: Gwyneth Box. Children’s author, award-winning poet and workshop facilitator, Gwyneth is a regular at open mikes and on local radio, and has performed her poetry at TEDx Leamington Spa and Art in the Park.  She hosts the monthly TreeHouse Sessions for music and spoken word at the TreeHouse Bookshop in Kenilworth. Gwyneth has written in many genres over the years, but her creativity inclines to poetry and non-fiction in English and Spanish. On the commercial side, she specialises in copy writing, particularly in the fields of lifestyle, travel and technology, as well as helping businesses and professionals to find their own voices in a sometimes baffling world of words. You'll find more about her – including links to her books, courses and social media – on her website:

Fiction: Victoria Mier Victoria runs the Tree House Bookshop in Kenilworth which sells secondhand books and hosts a few events. She grew up in Kenilworth, went away to university and came back to Warwickshire 27 years later. She has been back in Kenilworth for 14 years and is proud to be a Warwickshire girl. She has a background in libraries and as an art history lecturer, and hosts a music show on Kenilworth online radio station Radio Abbey. She is an avid reader of fiction and an occasional writer (unpublished!). She is passionate about supporting the arts in Warwickshire and beyond.


  • The competition organisers reserve the right to change the judge without notice and not to award prizes if in the judge’s opinion such an action is justified.

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