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Creative Writing Retreats

Up your word count and learn with great authors on residential writing retreats.

 

Online Creative Writing Courses

Get writing with the online courses.

Competitions

Get your work read by top literary agents, win cash prizes and get published in the creative writing competitions.

Books

Discover great new authors and read great stories with Retreat West Books.

Running Away Themed Flash Shortlist

February 19, 2019
Thanks to all the longlisted writers for your patience while we re-read the stories. The shortlist is now shown below. Readings are still anonymous until I have made my decision so only story titles shown here. Well done to these writers, and to all that made the longlist too. Running Away Themed Flash Shortlist How Not To Feel Resolution The Book Group The Bunker The Names of Stars The Hanging Tree Unfinished   I will now read all of these again and announce final results soon. The deadline for the next themed flash competition is 31st March and the theme is fire. There’s £400 in cash prizes available and winners get published on the website. Get all the info on how to enter here; and you can read previous winning stories here. If you’ve got some flash stories that have been gathering dust in a drawer, then we’ve just launched a new weekend course – Flash SOS – which will help you revive old stories and get them out in the world. Get all the info on the course here.  

2018 RW Short Story and RW Flash Fiction Prize Winners

February 18, 2019
2018 RW Short Story Prize and RW Flash Fiction Results We are delighted to be able to reveal the winners of the 2018 RW Short Story Prize and RW Flash Fiction Prize. Our thanks go to the judges, Paul McVeigh, for choosing the short story winners and Kathy Fish for choosing the flash fiction. Huge congratulations to our winners and to all of the shortlisted writers who made the top 10 in each category out of hundreds of entries. You’ll be able to read the winning stories in the annual anthology later this year. 2018 RW Short Story Prize Winners 1st Prize: Will You Go Out Tonight? by Joanna Campbell Judge’s notes: Clearly an accomplished writer here; knows how to draw us in, how to create believable characters, how to tackle difficult subject matters, knowing what to hold back while still packing a punch. They also achieve that most difficult of tasks, emotionally engaging the reader. A writer we will not doubt hear much more from in the future. 2nd Prize: Between The Times by Richard Buxton Judge’s notes: Beautifully written. Transports us to another time and place, which is a great achievement, and has that too often elusive of things, a great ending. 3rd Prize: Satellite Presence by A.C. Koch Judge’s notes: Quirky and funny. I especially enjoyed the sci-fi-fantasy mystery of it which reminded me of The Twilight Zone shows I loved and learned so much from.   2018 Flash Fiction Prize Winners 1st Prize: A Beige Spot by Manisha Khemka Judge’s notes: From the most deceptively simple title and opening image possible, unfolds a breathless and breathtaking paragraph wholly made up of a list of modified nouns. Here the form serves the content and the reader is given a felt experience not unlike that of a steady, pounding heartbeat.  What Manisha Khemka does with so few words (and not a single complete sentence) is both impressive and deeply affecting. The last two lines are devastating. This is daring, but more importantly, very emotionally compelling flash fiction. I am in awe of this work. 2nd Prize: Old Woman Cooking Eggs, Diego Velázquez 1618 by Fiona J. Mackintosh Judge’s notes: Inspired by the famous painting by Velázquez, Fiona J Mackintosh’s beautifully imagined story is told from two points of view: the “old” woman’s (old for her time) and her grandson’s. With lush prose, cinematic imagery, and a narrative scope that belies its brevity, this is accomplished and deeply moving flash fiction writing. 3rd Prize: Sticking Point by Sherry Morris Judge’s notes: I fell in love with this family and the young boy narrating this story, as they sit together watching their favorite TV show, Magnum P.I. The writing here is so full of precise, evocative details and I was drawn in by the storytelling voice: “We are all bound by sweat, blood, love and the crucified Christ who watches over us from the wall behind our heads.” Morris made my heart ache for this boy, and hope more than anything that his version of Heaven, both for himself and for his family, is realized. Highly

Best Small Fictions Nominations 2019

February 1, 2019
Best Small Fictions Nominations 2019 We are very proud indeed to be publishing so much good work through our competitions and small press. We think they are all great but could only pick five for this so have nominated the following stories and writers that we published in 2018 for the Sonder Press Best Small Fictions. The first three were published on the website from the themed flash competitions and the other two appeared in single author collections through Retreat West Books. Unforgettable by David Wiseman (read it here) People Math by Sally Lehman (read it here) Somewhere in Dubai, A Maid Considers Colors by Christina Dalcher (read it here) Shrinking Giants by FJ Morris – published in This is (not about) David Bowie (get a copy here) Barefoot Girls and Corner Boys by Amanda Huggins – published in Separated From The Sea (get a copy here)  

Running Away Themed Flash Longlist

January 31, 2019
Many thanks to all the writers who sent in stories for this contest. We received 101 entries and have 30 stories on the longlist below. Congratulations to all the authors whose stories made it through this first round. Judging is still anonymous so only the story titles are shown here now. We will announce the shortlist in a few week’s time. Running Away Themed Flash Longlist Always Winter And Never Christmas And Breathe Assisted Living Born Into Captivity Chasing Shadows Desertion Edward El Camino Real: A Mission Tale Find Her High Voltage Hit And Run How Not To Feel If I Keep My Eyes Tight Shut Miss Spicer And The Cheeseman Priorities Resolution Restless Legs Severance Study In Chiaroscuro The Book Group The Bunker The Flight Into Evening The Good Lie The Hanging Tree The Man In The Mirror The March The Names Of Stars The Scent Of Freedom Unfinished Voluntary Exit   The next theme is Fire and the deadline is 31st March. Winners get cash prizes and published on the website. Get all the info here.