The Digital Writers' Festival Starts on 11 February

The Digital Writers’ Festival has just announced its full program for 2015. Starting on Wednesday 11 February and running for 12 days, the festival offers over 30 events and features 60 artists.

All events will be live streamed via digitalwritersfestival.com and be available to writers anywhere in the world, provided they have access to the internet. The majority events are free.

Some highlights of the program include:

Earlywords: “What Do I Look For in a First Chapter?” (free)
Explore the art of capturing an audience by gaining a deeper understanding of the critical functions of a first chapter. Gain insight into what professionals seek from your manuscript, as well as common failings, and learn techniques in the art of the hook – from bludgeoning the reader with murder and mayhem, to more subtle and nuanced ways authors create intrigue.
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ABC Open: From Page to National Stage – Writing for the National Broadcaster (free)
From memoir-style writing in the non-fiction project ‘500 Words’, to opinion pieces on current affairs for Open Drum, ABC Open invites writers to share their personal experiences on themes as diverse as racism, mental health, secret fears and relationships. Each month new writing themes are published to challenge and inspire.
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Publishing on the Feed: Social Media as a Publishing Platform (free)
Is a status update part of a real-time memoir? Is a tweet really just a form of free verse? When it comes to getting a work of microfiction into the world, is distributing it on a social network the best way to receive immediate feedback and place it before the readers that matter most? Could your Facebook Newsfeed function as an algorithmically-generated literary journal?
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Writers’ Night School: Screenwriting for the YouTube Generation (paid)
From Lena Denham to The Bondi Hipsters, tomorrow’s “Creative Geniuses” and “Voices of their Generation” will be discovered through their fully sick web series. Learning the fundamentals of online storytelling is a great way to kickstart your filmmaking career by giving you the tools to create a web series that works. This is classical storytelling refaaahshioned for the YouTube generation. Character. Concept. Plot. Audience. These aren’t just random words, they’re the building blocks of great stories.
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Elizabeth Jolley $8000 Short Story Prize: Entries Close 1 May

The Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize is one of Australia’s most lucrative prizes for an original short story. Managed by Australian Book Review, the prize is worth a total of AUD $8000 (US$6150) with a first prize of $5000 and supplementary prizes of $2000 and $1000.

Entries are welcome from writers anywhere in the world and there are no age restrictions.

Entries must be a single-authored short story of between 2000 and 5000 words, written in English. Stories must not have been previously published or be on offer to other prizes or publications for the duration of the prize. Multiple entries are permitted.

The three shortlisted stories will be published in September Fiction Issue of Australian Book Review and the winner will be announced at a special event at Brisbane Writers Festival.

The prize will be judged by Australian Book Rreview Deputy Editor Amy Baillieu, poet and academic Sarah Holland-Batt, and author Paddy O’Reilly. An entry fee of $20 (or $15 for ABR subscribers) is payable.

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James Jones $10,000 Fellowship Contest for First-time Fiction Novelists: Entries Close 15 March

The James Jones Fellowship Contest is now in its 24th year. It awards $10,000 to an American writer with a first fiction novel in progress in 2015. Two runners-up will each receive $1000.

Entrants are asked to supply a two-page outline of their entire novel, plus the first 50 pages of the work. The outline maybe a chapter outline or brief synopsis of the novel. If a manuscript is selected for the final round of judging, the author will be asked to send another copy of the originally submitted first 50 pages plus pages 51 to 75.

The fellowship is only for unpublished first novels: collections of short stories, memoirs and self-published novels are not eligible. To enter this contest, writers must be United States citizens.

An entry fee of $30 is payable and writers can choose to enter either online or via mail.

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Hannah Kent’s Rules for Writing

Photograph by Nicholas Purcell

Hannah Kent’s debut novel Burial Rites has been translated into twenty languages. It won the inaugural Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award and was shortlisted for Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.
In May 2014, Hannah was a guest of the Emerging Writers’ Festival in Melbourne and appeared as part of a panel called ‘The 5 x 5 Rules of Writing’, where she and four other EWF ambassadors (Benjamin Law, Krissy Kneen, Maxine Beneba Clarke and Felix Nobis) shared the writing advice they wish we had known when they started out. We are delighted that Hannah has allowed us to reproduce this advice here.
Hannah introduced these rules by saying “These are five things I continually need to be reminded of, and they never fail to help me remember how and why I write.”

Rule 1. Read

This is perhaps the simplest, most worthwhile piece of advice I can give any of you today, and this is why it’s the first of my five.

Read.

To be a good writer you must, first and foremost, be a good reader. How else will you learn what to do? Read as much as possible, as often as possible, and if you read something you like, or something that makes you laugh, or something that moves you in a strange, ineffable way, ask why. Re-read it. Read it aloud. Pay attention to the use of words, and the narrative voice, and the comic timing. If you don’t understand words, splurge on a really great dictionary and look those words up. The more words you know, the greater your control over language.

Read everything. How else will you work out what is good and what is bad? Give your time to Thomas Hardy, Dostoevsky, Doris Lessing and Dickens, but also read debut novels, genre fiction, contemporary fiction, history books, plays, TV scripts, poetry and memoirs. If you can’t afford new books, buy second-hand books. If you can’t afford second-hand books, get a library card. Get a library card anyway.

I’ve always loved reading, but I don’t think I ever understood how crucial it is to bettering writing practice until now. If I’m writing and I find myself in need of inspiration, or renewed focus, I will always go and read. Nine times out of ten I return to my work refreshed and exhilarated.
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Applications Now Open for the $35,000 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting 2015

Recent movies by Nicholl Fellows

Applications for the prestigious and lucrative Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting are now open for 2015.

This international screenwriting competition awards up to five fellowships of US$35,000 each year. Since 1986, 137 fellowships totaling $3,740,000 have been awarded.

Who Can Enter
The competition is open to writers based anywhere in the world, regardless of citizenship. All entrants must be aged over 18. Entry scripts must be the original work of one writer, or of two writers who collaborated equally, and must be written originally in English. Translated scripts are not eligible.

The fellowships are intended for new and/or amateur screenwriters. In order to be eligible, an entrant’s total earnings for motion picture and television writing may not exceed US$25,000 before the end of the competition.

It is a requirement that all fellowship winners complete at least one new feature screenplay in the year of their fellowship (the Academy acquires no rights to the work and will not participate in its marketing or in any other aspects of its commercial future).

The Prizes
Up to five $35,000 fellowships are awarded each year to promising new screenwriters.

In addition to the cash prize, winners of the Nicholl Fellowships will be invited to participate in awards week ceremonies and seminars in November. The successful applications are also expected to receive many networking opportunities to help complete their next script.

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Competitions for Writers in February and March 2015

Competitions from around the world for both established and emerging writers.

Please check the relevant websites for all terms and conditions and be aware that entry fees are payable in many cases. 

Homestart Bridgwater Short Story Prize
is being run in aid of an independent registered charity offering support to families facing difficulties The prize is open to stories up to 2200 words and will be judged by Tracy Chevalier, best known for the international best-seller Girl with a Pearl Earring. Entries close 1 February.

Malahat Review Long Poem Prize
is open to writers from all countries. Entries must consist of either single poem or cycle of poems between 10 to 20 pages long. Two prizes of CA$1000 will be awarded. Entries close 1 February.

Sycamore Review’s Flashcard Flash Fiction Contest
is for pieces up to 500 words. First prize is US$100, publication online, and publication on a Flashcard that will be distributed with Sycamore Review. Entries close 1 February.

Myriad’s First Drafts Competition
is open to all writers who have not yet published or self-published a collection of stories or a novel. Submissions should comprise a one-page synopsis and up to 5000 words of a work-in-progress (novel or short story collection). The prize is a week-long writing retreat at West Dean College near Chichester, detailed editorial feedback from industry experts plus six months’ mentoring from a Myriad author. Entries close 2 February.

SLS-Disquiet Literary Contest
is sponsored by Guernica, Fence Magazine, Ninth Letter, and the esteemed Graywolf Press. The winners receive tuition, airfares, and accommodations for  the Disquiet International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal. Entries close 10 February.

Griffith University’s Josephine Ulrick Literature Prize
is one of Australia’s richest short stories prizes. First prize is AUD$10,000 and second prize is $5000. Stories may be up to 2000 words. Griffith University also offers a poetry prize with equal prize money. Entrants must be Australian citizens or residents and entries close 13 February.
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Brown Foundation Fellows Program in France: Applications Close 15 February

The Brown Foundation Fellows Program is offered by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. It offers residencies to mid-career professionals in the arts and humanities, including writers. The residencies last between one and three months and take place at The Dora Maar House in Ménerbes, France.

The Dora Maar House
The property was purchased in 1944 by Pablo Picasso for Dora Maar, his companion and muse. It is located in the beautiful walled village of Ménerbes in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of south-eastern France. The population is approximately 1,100. Many readers may be familiar with Ménerbes through the work of British writer Peter Mayle. Mayle’s autobiographical A Year in Provence documents his move to a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the village.

Facilities at the Dora Maar House include four private bedrooms with ensuites, and three studies for writers and scholars. There is a large communal kitchen, living space, dining room and library, as well as two garden areas. Wi-fi access is available, as is a printer. The Dora Maar House is a non-smoking environment.

Who Can Apply
The Brown Foundation Fellows Program is open to writers, scholars and other artists. Candidates are expected to have an established career in their field, with the fellowship providing them with time to concentrate on their area of expertise. Continue Reading…