Words and Women are excited to announce the winners of their 2017/2018 national and regional new writing competition.

Kerry Hood’s intriguing and ambitious short story, The Sunbathers, wins the national prize for women over 40, £1,000 and a month-long writing retreat at Church Cottage, Stratford-Upon-Avon, generously sponsored by Hosking Houses Trust.

Margaret Meyer has been awarded the East of England regional prize of £600 and a mentoring session with Gold Dust for her entry, The Once and Only First Lady Judge.

Guest judges, Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney were drawn to Hood’s voice which ‘felt original and full of verve,’ as well as the ‘thematically complex’ nature of the story.

Kerry Hood is no stranger to competitions. She has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize five times, as well as broadcasting stories on BBC Radio 4. She is an accomplished theatre writer with work produced at the Soho Theatre, and her play Meeting Myself Coming Back was selected as the Sunday Times Critics’ Choice. She has had residences at the National Theatre, Traverse and RADA.

Margaret Meyer has previously been a fiction editor, publisher, British Council Director of Literature and a reader-in-residence in Norfolk prisons. As a therapeutic arts practitioner she provides writing and reading-for-wellbeing programmes for ex-offenders. In 2016 she won a place on the Escalator writer development scheme run by Writers’ Centre Norwich and in 2017 she was awarded an Arts Council England grant towards her first novel, The Varieties of Flight.

The competition now in its fifth year and open to women writers is unusual because it offers an opportunity to enter not only fiction but non-fiction, memoir, and life-writing. This years’ winning texts will appear alongside past successful entrants in a compendium of the best of women’s contemporary short prose, launched on International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2018.

‘Congratulations to our worthy winning writers. We had 350 entries and picking the most distinctive and ambitious texts was no easy task. We are grateful to our brilliant judges for making such bold selections, and we really look forward to launching our compendium which will feature not only this year’s compelling and engaging writing but the best of the best in past years,’ said Belona Greenwood, co-organiser of Words and Women.

‘It has been a very exciting year for women’s writing,’ said Lynne Bryan, co-organiser. ‘We are extremely grateful to our sponsors. Hosking Houses Trust is a unique charity which offers women over the age of 40 time in which to start, continue or complete interesting or innovative work, in a residency free from the pressures of everyday life. Jill Dawson, author of nine novels and founder of Gold Dust mentoring scheme is a wonderful supporter of our regional award.’

Visit wordsandwomennorwich.blogspot.co.uk for more information about the competition and its winners.



Hosking Houses Trust offers professional women writers over 40, a residency in a cottage 2 miles from Stratford-Upon-Avon. Residencies can vary but are usually for 2-3 months and are awarded to women in need of time to write and can be offered with financial support. To be considered, a woman writer must demonstrate not only their originality and talent but also agent representation and a contract for the work to be undertaken on the residency.

More information can be found here hoskinghouses.co.uk/wp

Gold Dust is a unique mentoring scheme for writers, founded by novelist Jill Dawson. An invaluable resource for new and emerging novelists and authors of non-fiction, Gold Dust offers eight hours of face-to-face meetings with an established novelist, biographer or short-story writer, usually taking place over a year. In between meetings the mentor will read your work for a further eight hours, and offer feedback on the writing, as well as an insider’s advice on the publishing world and finding an agent.

More information about Gold Dust can be found at www.gold-dust.org.uk

Writer friends Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney are the authors of A Secret Sisterhood: The hidden friendships of Austen, Brontë, Eliot and Woolf. They also co-run SomethingRhymed.com, a website that celebrates female literary friendship. They have written for the likes of the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday and The Times. Emily is a winner of the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, Emma is author of the award-winning novel Owl Song at Dawn, and they both teach at New York University London.

Twitter via @emilymidorikawa and @emmacsweeney, and Emma has an author page on Facebook.

Norwich-based Words and Women showcase and celebrate women writers who live in the East of England and nationally over the age of 40, at all stages of their professional careers. The organisation which began as a simple reading event five years ago has gone on to host more vibrant and eclectic reading events, make a film, hold a garden festival and commission new work. About, funded by Arts Council East, gave four women writers the opportunity to produce new work for page and performance. Last year, in partnership with Norfolk Library and Information Service, Words and Women has mentored 30 women living in rural isolation to produce an anthology of life writing Gulls Stones & Cuckoos. Belona Greenwood and Lynne Bryan were runners up for the Women in Publishing’s Pioneering Venture award, in 2015 and 2016.

Praise for Words and Women Anthologies

“Words And Women: One is a bold and insightful collection containing much vigorous writing – the dazzling sentences of Caroline Jackson’s The Call deserve particular mention.” R.M. Bond-Webster, Eastern Daily Press

Shortlisted for a 2014 Saboteur Award.

“Words And Women: Two is an excellent anthology of imaginatively and superbly written pieces.” R.M. Bond-Webster, Eastern Daily Press

Words And Women: Three was launched on the 7th March 2016 at the Norwich Arts Centre. The anthology includes a foreword by competition judge Emma Healey, the author of the best-selling novel Elizabeth Is Missing.

The Words And Women anthologies contain the best fiction and creative non-fiction submitted for the annual Words And Women prose competition. The anthologies are for sale on-line and through retail outlets such as Shakespeare & Co in Paris, Jarrolds, and The Book Hive in Norwich, and Ketts Books In Wymondham.