2019 First Chapter Competition Shortlist

2019 First Chapter Competition Shortlist

Ta da, we have our shortlist! Thanks again to everyone who submitted and to all of the writers on the longlist for their patience while Louise and I made the decision on which 10 stories would go through to the next round for literary agent, Sarah Hornsley at The Bent Agency, to read.

Congratulations to the following writers – your opening chapters really grabbed us.

  • A Pair of Blue Butterflies by Claire Whatley
  • Behold The Stars by Imogen Harris
  • Caught Kissing Adam Faith by Neil Taylor
  • Cold Harbour by Marian Smith
  • My Name is Ten by Coleen MacMahon
  • Red Fox Hiding by Nicola Keller
  • Ruby Sixpence Whistles Up A Storm by Anita Belli
  • The Darkest Harbour by Catherine Day
  • The Joy Divide by Diane Wilson
  • Violet by Zoe Cook


Good luck to all for the next round.

Really well done to all writers that made the longlist too as yours stood out among the hundreds of chapters we received.

Final results in May when the first place writer gets a submission package review from Sarah, and the runner-up from me. Sarah will provide short comment on all the shortlisted chapters too in the announcement blog.

Details of the 2020 competition will be released in the summer…

Win a place on September 2018 Fantastic Flashing online course

Flash Fiction Competition

We love comps at Retreat West and we love flash fiction! So our latest competition is to win a place on the September 2018 Fantastic Flashing online course. Designed and taught by me, it’ll get you creating oodles of new work, reading lots of flashes to learn about different styles, and I’ll give you feedback on a story at the end. Get more info on the course here.

To win a place on the course you have to write a flash story based on the prompt below and send by the deadline. Submit stories through Submittable using the button below.

Two writers will be chosen and they’ll both get a place on the course. Two second place writers will get a half price place on the course.


Competition Prompt

Write a list of things that begin with the letter F and then pick three of them to build a story around. Make sure you include your three F words in the story. As inspiration read my prize-winning flash story, Stained Red, which was built around a list of red things.

1st Prize (two available)

A place on the September Fantastic Flashing course.

2nd Prize (two available)

A 50% discount on the September 2018 Fantastic Flashing course (so course costs  just £87.50)

All writers that enter will also receive a free ebook edition of the What Was Left anthology of winning stories from the 2016 RW Short Story and RW Flash Fiction Prizes and a £20 discount if they book on the September course (Retreat West Author Members will get the £20 discount on top of their already discounted course fee).

Entry Fee: £5

Deadline: 15th July 2018



Competition Rules

  • Submit stories written in English through Submittable using the button below by 23.59 GMT on the deadline date (sorry late entries will not be included).
  • Do not include your name on the document or submission title but provide a short bio in the body of the email. All entries are read anonymously so any submissions showing the author’s name will be automatically disqualified.
  • Your story must not exceed 200 words. Entries that exceed the word count will be automatically disqualified.
  • The story must be based on the prompt and not have been published online or in print, or have won any other competitions.
  • By entering the competition you agree to take part in the September 2018 Fantastic Flashing online course if you win a free or discounted place.
  • Stories can be in any genre apart from children’s fiction and erotica. YA is allowed.
  • You can enter as many times as you like but all entries must be made separately and the entry fee paid each time.
  • The judge’s decision is final.
  • There are no alternative prizes.
  • Winners will be announced by the end of July 2018.