Posted in Arts & Culture

Happy Birthday Roald Dahl

Photo by Pixabay on

Roald Dahl had the power to make anything possible, hooking his readers and transporting them on the most amazing adventures. Born on the 13th September 2016, today would have been his 104th birthday. His parents Harold and Sophie Magdalene named him after the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who four years earlier was the first man to reach the South Pole. Born in Llandaff, Wales he was one of five children, but tragically lost a sister and his father at an early age. He was privately educated at boarding school: St Peters and Repton referring to his school days in his writing.

As a young adult he worked for an oil company traveling to Canada and East Africa. The out break of World War II sent his life in a different direction when he joined the RAF, age 23. But his flying career came crashing down in September 1940, and he would spend six months recuperating from several injuries to his back and head. Not defeated he went on to return to action, and even supplied intelligence to MI6.

He had five children with his first wife American actress Patricia Neal, but they divorced after 30 years of marriage. He remarried Felicity Crossland and they remained together until his death on the 23rd November 1990. Felicity continues to fuel her husbands legacy with the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre and Roald Dahls Marvellous Childrens Charity

During his lifetime Roald Dahl wrote 19 novels, 13 short story collections, 12 scripts, 5 poetry collections and 9 works of non fiction. So thankyou Roald Dahl for your contribution to literature. And a big ‘Happy Birthday!’

Photo by Markus Spiske on
Posted in Arts & Culture

Be Inspired by Spoken Word Poetry

If I Should Have a Daughter by Sarah Kay

I consider myself a prose writer not a poet, but spoken word poetry touches me in a way little else does.

So what is spoken word poetry?

Put simply, it is what it says on the packet: poetry constructed with the sole intention of being spoken. It can of course include written page poetry performed outloud, but there are subtle differences. Both forms concentrate on the aesthetics of word play, but whereas the written form focuses on the aesthetics on the page, the spoken form focuses on phonoaesthetics (the aesthetics of sound). So take a listen to spoken word poetry and you will quickly notice how different the oral language, expression and emotion are portrayed.

I want to create spoken word poetry: where should I start?

  • Before attempting to create spoken word poetry, take the time to watch various performance poets, look online and attend spoken word open mic nights. Scrutinise their poem and the way in which they perform them: look, listen and feel their creation.
  • As with any piece of writing begin with an idea or topic, ideally something you feel strongly about, as you will need to express yourself passionately in your spoken word performance.
  • Brainstorm your idea and jot down, words, phrases, feelings, emotions and sensory associations.
  • Now start to write your poem rich with vivid imagery. Use repetition to exagerate and extend an image. Create a voice and persona that will capture the poems uniqueness. And feel free to use rhyme as an element of entertainment. Remember your poems soul purpose is to be heard not read and use of grammar is a lot less restrictive.
  • Like all forms of writing, your spoken word poem will need editing and proofreading.
  • And finally read your poem out loud. In fact perform your poem throughout the creative process to hear how it sounds, adjusting and experimenting with your performance. Stand with an air of confidence and assertiveness (this will also help with voice projection). Draw your audience in with eye contact. Make use of facial expressions and enunciate to feed your audiences senses.
Posted in Arts & Culture

Creative Writing Competitions 2020 Part 1

Image by DarkWorkX from Pixabay

Christmas shopping is in full swing and 2019 is preparing to bow out to 2020.

A vibrant enthusiasm always lingers in January air and with it the belief we can succeed. Get ahead of the game and prepare for a substantial creative writing year with a full diary of competitions and events. Take a look at this collection and click on the links for competition details. Please feel free to comment and add to the list.


Arundel Festival Theatre Trail Writers Competition –

BBC International Playwriting Competition –

Big Moose Prize –

British Haiku Awards –

Caine Prize for African Writing –

Calibre Essay Prize –

Exeter Novel Prize –

Fish Short Memoir Contest –

Gemini Magazine Poetry Contest – www.gemini

Gulf Coast Writers Association –

Iowa Review Awards –

James Knudsen Prize –

Kay Murphy Prize for Poetry –

Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Open Poetry Competition –

Magma Poetry Competition –

Mogford Prize for Food and Drink Writing –

NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge –

Plough Prize –

Retreat West First Chapter Competition –

San Francisco Writers Conference –

Terry J Cox Poetry Award –

The Roswell Award –

Tony Hillerman Mystery

UK Film Festival Scriptwriting Competitions –


Arc Poem of the Year –

Bumblebee Flash Fiction Competition –

CBC Non Fiction Prize –

Crime Writers Association Margery Allingham Short Story Competition –

Daisy Pettles Writing Contest –

Exeter Writers Short Story Competition –

Flash 500 Short Story Competition –

Hippocrates Prize –

Kathryn A Morton –

Malahat Review Novella Prize –

Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction –

Michael Waters Poetry Prize –

National Flash Fiction Day Microfiction Competition –

Northern Writers Awards –

Omnidawn First/Second Book Poetry Contest –

Snowbound Chapbook Award –

Southampton Review Non Fiction Prize –

Spotlight First Novel Competition –

William Van Dyke Short Story Competition –

Willow Run Poetry Book Award –

Writers Union of Canada Short Prose Competition –


Axe to Grind Flash Fiction –

Bridgend Writers Circle Open Short Story Competition –

Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet Prize –

Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Competition –

New Welsh Writing Awards –

Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest –

Enizagam Literary Awards –

Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize –

Fourth Genre Steinberg Essay Prize –

Gordon Burn Prize –

International Rubbery Book Award –

Lindesfarne Prize –

Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction –

42 Miles Press Poetry Award –


Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize –

Bath Short Story Award –

Bulwer Lytton Contest –

C Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize –

Cowles Poetry Book Prize –

Craft Short Fiction Award –

Lorraine Williams Poetry Prize –

Magpie Award for Poetry –

Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize –

Momaya Press Competition –

Oberon Poetry Prize –

Omnidawn Broadside Poetry Prize –

Orison Books Poetry and Fiction Prizes –

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest –


Atlanta Review International Poetry Competition –

Bath Novel Award –

Bristol Short Story Prize –

CBC Poetry Prize –

Eden Mills Writers Festival Literary Contest –

Frome Festival Short Story –

Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans –

Leapfrog Press Fiction Contest –

Martin Crawford Awards –

Questions Writing Prize –

Raymond Carver Short Story Prize –

Sows Ear Poetry Review Chapbook Contest –

Stan ad Tom Wick Poetry Prize –

The Hal Prize –

Writers Digest Self Published book Awards –


Boulevard Poetry Contest –

Room Creative Non Fiction Contest –

Short Fiction Prize –

Goi Peace International Essay Contest –

Eyelands International Short Story Competition –

A Midsummer Tale Narrative Writing Contest –

McLlelan Poetry Prize –

James White Award –

I hope this list gets your writing year off to a creative start and I will add to it in the new year as competitions open.