Best Opening Page Competition

Send us the opening page of your novel, memoir, or short story to win a writing retreat at Casa Ana in Spain. It’s the perfect location to immerse yourself in your work and spend uninterrupted time getting to grips with your story.

Creative writing retreats are held five times a year at Casa Ana in the province of Granada, Spain. They are led by resident mentors, all of whom are published writers with years of teaching experience.

There are quiet spaces to write, sumptuous meals, places to walk and think, good conversation and a local bar to remind you that you’re deep in rural Spain.

Find out more in this major Guardian feature from January 2020.

Competition Details

Submit up to 400 words from the opening page of your novel, memoir or short story.

Judge – Amanda Saint

Amanda started Retreat West in 2012 and expanded in 2017 to include Retreat West Books, which was named Most Innovative Publisher at the 2020 Saboteur Awards. She has been designing and teaching online courses, and live workshops, for many years and has worked as an editor on hundreds of manuscripts. 

Her debut novel, As If I Were A River, was longlisted for the Guardian Not The Booker Prize, a NetGalley Top 10 Book of the Month and a Book Magnet Blog Top 20 Book of 2016. Her second novel, Remember Tomorrow, published in March 2019 to critical acclaim. 

Amanda’s stories have been widely published; longlisted in the Mslexia Flash Fiction Competition, Fish Flash Fiction Prize, and Ink Tears Short Story Prize; shortlisted for the Flash 500; and won the Editor’s Choice Prize at 101 Words. Her collection, Flashes of Colour, is publishing in 2020, and she is now working on a novella-in-flash. 

First Prize

A one-week writing retreat at Casa Ana from 14-28 November 2020* with one mentoring session included with resident mentor, Amanda Saint. Value €1000.

Second Prize

A half-price one-week writing retreat at Casa Ana in November 2020*. Value: €500.

Third Prize

Detailed feedback on your opening 400 words from Amanda Saint.

Entry fee



23rd August 2020

*If you are unable to make the November 2020 date, the prize can be transferred to a writing retreat at Casa Ana in 2021.


  • Submit your opening page (400 words max) only through Submittable using the button below by 23.59 GMT on 23rd August 2020 (sorry – any entries that have included prologues, more than one page and/or a synopsis will be disqualified and fees will not be returned).
  • International entries are welcome but must be written in English and can be on any theme and subject (except children’s fiction). Please no racism, sexism, religious intolerance, or any kind of hate.
  • Email entries are not accepted.
  • Please use 12pt font and double spacing.
  • Name the document you upload with your novel/memoir/story title.
  • Do not include your name on or in the document you upload or in the title of your entry as it is judged anonymously – instead submit your contact details and short bio separately in the cover note section in Submittable as we cannot see this until we have chosen the shortlist. Any entries that have the author’s name on them will be automatically disqualified.
  • You can enter as many times as you like but each entry must be made separately and the entry fee paid each time.
  • Winners will be announced in September 2020.
  • The judge’s decision is final.
  • There are no alternative prizes.