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Philip Hensher unveils flash fiction competition

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Really fast fiction: Bath Spa University launches challenge for 25 word novels

Tuesday, 30 May, 2017
  • Philip Hensher unveils flash fiction competition
  • Winning novels to be recorded by Jeremy Irons
  • Competition is open for entries from today

To celebrate 25 years of creative writing excellence, Bath Spa University is challenging people to write a novel in just 25 words. Entries can be any genre and any style but must tell a story and must be 25 words long. Novels will be judged by a panel of successful authors and literary figures, including author of nine novels, including The Emperor Waltz, Philip Hensher.

The winner and two runners up will have their 25-word story read out and recorded by Jeremy Irons, Oscar-winning actor and Bath Spa University’s Chancellor, and the overall winner will receive £500.

At the launch of the competition, award-winning novelist and Bath Spa University Professor Philip Hensher said: “Writing is a necessary joy. It’s the only way to understand other people, their stories and hopes, their articulated or mute selves. The job of the writer is to put that into words which, afterwards, will seem inevitable.”

Bath Spa University has one of the consistently most successful creative writing courses in the country. Bath Spa graduate novelists have won prestigious awards, secured international publishing deals and many regularly come back to the University to teach and share their success with new aspiring novelists.

All entries will be moderated and published online on the competition’s website, and the winning entries will be published in ‘A Place in Words’, a new anthology which will be launched in September to commemorate the 25th anniversary.

As well as Philip Hensher, the judging panel includes Jonathan Dent, senior assistant editor on the Oxford English Dictionary, and celebrated author / Bath Spa University graduate Beatrice Hitchman.

Philip continues: “All published authors started somewhere. Everybody has something to say, and a recognisable way of saying it. If this encourages someone who has never thought of him or herself as ‘a writer’ to go on beyond 25 words, it will have done something important.”

Jonathan Dent added: “Lexicographers put a particular value on verbal economy (25 words is a typical length for both an OED definition and for one of our supporting quotations), so it will be fascinating to see the linguistically creative ways in which competitors construct a narrative in what is essentially a tweetable length.”

Anyone with a novel to write that’s a little longer than 25 words can find out about Bath Spa University’s creative writing courses here. The prestigious undergraduate and postgraduate courses are taught by award-winning practitioners including Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction winners Tessa Hadley and Aminatta Forna, and Costa Book of The Year Award winner Nathan Filer.

The comprehensive programme includes prose, poetry, scriptwriting for the stage and screen, feature journalism, writing for new media, life writing, and writing for young people.

Terms and conditions apply.


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