Here are a couple of contests from the UK. The first, in honor of H.G. Wells received no entries by the July deadline because of the rules, most likely. Although the prize was for one thousand pounds (that’s about $2,000 in US/Canadian currency) no one entered. One reason was that the 1,000 to 5,000 word stories were to be handwritten and entries limited to people 25 and under. The contest organizer, Reg Turnill, sponsored this as part of the honoring of H.G. Wells who spent 13 years living in Folkstone, England. The Wells festival takes place from Sept. 17-19
Turnill, 94, who once interviewed Wells said that the rules for no SF, depicting contemporary life in Kent, and having the stories handwritten probably contributed to no entries. The deadline has been extended to Aug. 15 and stories will get points if handwritten but it’s no longer required. I must say I would be hard-pressed to handwrite a story because the use of keyboard and a mouse have contributed to tendonitis and I can’t write that much anymore. Moreso, anyone under 25 is probably so used to keyboards that handwriting is a bit foreign to them. It’s true that long ago, handwriting was taught in schools and penmanship was encouraged but that stopped so long ago I’m not even sure if my mother was ever taught penmanship. Turnill wanted the stories handwritten “to address the low standard of literacy and handwriting these days.” Although handwriting is indeed less than it was literacy doesn’t really have much to do with handwriting.
Turnill also said, “It’s an important art in itself and many of our most famous authors find that’s the best way to do creative writing,” but I wonder in fact how he knows this as most writers I know use computers these days and maybe a few use typewriters. I do sketch out stories sometimes n paper, especially if I’m out, and I keep paper in my purse for this but I don’t write out a story anymore, though I once did. If you think you have a story that fits, and you’re of the age group, you can still enter. There is an over 25 category but I believe the other rules apply.
More accessible and with a bigger prize is the Terry Pratchett Prize being offered by Terry Pratchet and Transworld Publishers. Open to anyone in the UK or other British Commonwealth countries, it is for a novel. The prize is a twenty thousand pound advance and publishing contract. It needs to take place on Earth, any Earth, any when and anywhere but here and now. This leaves a broad category for people to write within. And though Pratchett is known for his humor there is no caveat that the manuscripts must be funny.
Dec. 31st is the deadline, which gives many people a chance to finish a novel or clean one up. I may just have one that could fall into the category. We’ll see. For more information, check out Terry Pratchett’s site at: http://terrypratchett.co.uk/news%5Ctermsandconditions.html Good luck for those who wish to enter. And neither of these contests charge an entry fee.