Emma Healey writing competition
Emma Healey

Words and Women’s third annual new writing competition launches on September 7th with Sunday Times Best-selling Author Emma Healey as guest judge.

Words and Women launch their third annual new writing prize for the East of England with the appointment of Emma Healey, author of the Sunday Times’ best-selling novel ‘Elizabeth is Missing,’ as guest judge.

writing competition

The competition offers a cash prize of £600 and publication in Words and Women: Three. Entry is open to all women writers over the age of 16 who live or work in the East of England.  Short works of fiction, memoir, life-writing and creative non-fiction are all welcome. The anthology, published in partnership with Unthank Books in Norwich, will be launched on International Women’s Day, 8th March, 2016, Words and Women’s fifth anniversary.

‘It is fantastic to have Emma Healey on board as guest judge,’ said Belona Greenwood, co-organiser of Words and Women. ‘It is not just that she is a critically acclaimed writer, her debut novel won the Costa First Novel Award, but that she is closely linked to the region as an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing at the UEA.’

‘The competition is a wonderful opportunity for women writers in the region,’ said Lynne Bryan, co-organiser. ‘It is a great showcase and previous winners have gone on to secure agent representation and increased interest in their work. We are thrilled Emma Healey is our guest judge. Her input will help us to identify the strongest and most exciting writing by women in the East of England.’

Emma will be looking for keen observation in the competition entries. ‘It is always wonderful to find a writer has described a sensation never put into words before, come up with a perfect metaphor for something, or created a stunningly vivid image in the mind of a reader. It’s also exciting to find the mundane transformed into the extraordinary or the extraordinary made to feel familiar.

‘I’d love to read pieces which say something about our time, or our location, stories which are striving for some kind of meaning, even if they are only asking questions for the reader to try and answer.

I’d like to find emotional honesty in the pieces, and writing which is full of bravery rather than swagger, by authors who aren’t afraid of exploring the feelings of their characters, or of letting the reader get close to the emotion of the writer.

Lastly I’m hoping to read pieces in which humour hasn’t been forgotten. That doesn’t mean the subject or situation has to be funny, but even a tragic tale can be lifted by a witty observation, a moment of hysterical hyperbole or even a straightforward joke,’ said Emma.

Entries should be 2,200 words or under.  Extracts from longer works will not be considered. The deadline is 15th November 2015.  Winners will be announced in January 2016.  See www.wordsandwomennorwich.blogspot.co.uk for details.

Norwich-based Words and Women showcase and celebrate women writers who live in the East of England, 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. Winners of Words and Women’s annual prose competition have gone on to receive agent representation.

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

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