Friday, 31 January 2014

Denise Mina joins line-up for The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2014

The latest information about the Harrogate Writers Festival has just been sent to me, including pictures and a review of the Poirot and Me: An evening with David Suchet, that I attended at Christmas:

Denise Mina Joins 2014 Special Guest Line-Up

The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is delighted to announce that award winning author Denise Mina will be appearing as a Special Guest at the 2014 Festival. Taking place 17-20 July 2014 at the magnificent Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, Programming Chair Steve Mosby has put together an astounding line-up, with Denise Mina joining a stellar line-up of Special Guests which includes Ann Cleeves, Gillian Flynn, Sophie Hannah, Lynda LaPlante, Laura Lippman, Peter May, Denise Mina and S. J. Watson.

Born in Glasgow in 1966, Mina grew up in various locations in Europe thanks to her father’s work as an engineer. Having left school at sixteen she tried her hand at a number of jobs including meat factory worker, kitchen porter and cook, before returning to education to study Law at Glasgow University followed by a PhD at Strathclyde University. She wrote her debut novel, Garnethill when she was supposed to be studying. In addition to writing crime fiction novels, Mina also writes comics, short stories, stage plays and even a graphic novel. Denise Mina has twice won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, with The End of the Wasp Season in 2012 and Gods and Beasts in 2013, becoming the first author to receive this most coveted award two years running.

BBC Scotland filmed her novel The Field of Blood in 2011, which starred David Morrissey and Peter Capaldi, and won a Scottish BAFTA for its young star Jayd Johnson. The next book in the series, The Dead Hour, was broadcast in August 2013.

To find out more about Denise Mina, click here to visit her website.

Exclusive Competition
Ten Mina Prize Bundles up for grabs

To celebrate this fantastic news, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival have got together with the Orion Publishing Group to give you the chance to win one of ten fantastic prizes. We have ten exclusive Denise Mina triple bundles to giveaway, each one including a DVD copy of Field of Blood and beautiful brand new cover versions of The End of the Wasp Season and The Red Road.
To enter this unique competition, simply answer the following question:
Name the Detective Inspector who features in Denise Mina's The End of the Wasp Season.
To be in with a chance of winning, send your answer through to

Title Sponsor

Regular Funders

Premier Partners


Poirot and Me: An Evening with David Suchet

Harrogate International Festivals was pleased to present a very special Christmas crime event with David Suchet, sponsored by Theakstons Old Peculier.

Hercule Poirot, with his distinctive moustache and fastidious ways, is one of Agatha Christie’s finest creations and one of the world’s best-loved detectives. Through his television performance in ITV’s Agatha Christie’s Poirot, David Suchet has become inextricably linked with the ‘little Belgian’, a man whom he has grown to love dearly through an intimate relationship lasting more than twenty five years. In conversation with writer Geoffrey Wansell, David Suchet shared his many memories of creating this iconic television series and reflected on what the detective has meant to him over the years and his fans worldwide.

The event was a fantastic success with the Royal Hall full to the rafters and a book signing that went on into the night! We wanted to share some pictures from this very special evening with you...

To see more photographs, click here to visit the full photo gallery




Our mailing address is:
Harrogate International Festivals
32 Cheltenham Parade,

Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award

My fellow Cleckheaton Writers Group member N has just let me know about the following new prize for 2014 as part of The Bridport Prize:

the Bridport Prize Newsletter - January 2014

January 2014 Newsletter
The Bridport Prize is delighted to announce a new prize for 2014!

Win £1,000 plus expert mentoring and possible publication for your first novel
Judge:   Alison Moore
The novel is still the holy grail of writing.  Named after its founder, Peggy Chapman-Andrews, the Bridport Prize is delighted to announce a new award for talented novelists who are yet to be published or represented by a literary agent.
Alongside the Bridport Prize in this terrific opportunity for the aspiring novelist, are partners The Literary Consultancy and A.M. Heath Literary Agents, offering mentoring and possible publication for the winning novel.

Up-and-coming writers take note!  For the first stage, all you need to enter are the first chapters of your novel, up to 8,000 words, with a strong synopsis.  Those longlisted and later shortlisted will need to submit further chapters at the relevant stages.  Your novel does not have to be complete to win.  The Literary Consultancy will offer mentoring and feedback over a period of time whilst you finish the novel.  And should it turn out to be a riveting read, A.M. Heath Literary Agents will consider representing you and offering the novel to a publisher they recommend. 
Judging the competition alongside The Literary Consultancy and A.M. Heath, will be acclaimed author, Alison Moore, shortlisted for The Booker Prize in 2012 for her novel The Lighthouse.  When looking for a winning entry Alison will be searching for “evidence of a feel for language. A story that draws me in, involves me in its world, moves me in some way, and lingers in my head long after I've finished reading.”
Rebecca Swift of The Literary Consultancy says of the project: “The Bridport Prize holds a romantic place in my imagination, as it was one of the first National prizes I became aware of, and seemed a glamorous, serious and exciting initiative full of promise.   Many years later, I am extremely proud that my company, The Literary Consultancy has been asked to be involved with helping to support their new prize, aimed for the first time, at novelists. Bridport stands out in terms of its serious commitment to unearthing, and supporting writing talent, and we look forward to being part of the process of helping those involved to the best of our capabilities.”
A.M. Heath’s Euan Thorneycroft says Discovering new writers is one of the most exciting things about reading, whether you are an agent, a publisher, a bookseller or a book buyer. This is why A.M. Heath is delighted to be involved with a prize dedicated to that aim, particularly one that is founded by the much loved and highly respected Bridport Prize. I am sure we are going to find many literary stars of the future.” 
The award is open to writers, resident in the UK, with a part-written or completed novel in any adult fiction genre.  
The closing date is 31st May 2014 full details are on the Bridport Prize website 

The 2014 main competition is also now open for entries and our judges are:  Liz Lochhead for poetryAndrew Miller for short stories and Tania Hershman for flash fiction.

For full details, please see our competition rules

To enter online you will need to register on the website first (if you haven’t already done so).  If you have any difficulties, please contact our web manager, Graham Shackleton:

Should you have any queries about the competition, check our frequently asked questions, or contact the competition administrator, Frances Everitt:

Closing date - 31st May 2014

Write that prizewinning poem, short story, flash fiction now - there's
£16,000 prize fund to be won!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

More competition information, deadlines 31 Jan, 10 Feb, 28 Feb, 3 March, 31 March, 1 May, 23 May

Thanks to my fellow blogger Displacement Activity for the following competition information:

Adapted from today's i newspaper website:

"We’re pleased to invite entries for the Wyn Harness Prize for Young Journalists. The competition is open to anyone aged 25 or under who is embarking on a career in journalism, either in training or their first employment. 

The challenge is to write a news report of between 500 and 700 words about  an aspect of British society that rarely  makes the headlines. Our winner will  receive £1,000, have their work published in i and The Independent, and be  offered a two-week placement in our London newsroom. Entries should be  emailed to by 31 January 2014. The judges will look for style, accuracy and an eye-opening and unusual subject." 

Romance publishers Mills and Boon are launching a new short fiction competition - Tempted To Write - via their Facebook page, in order to support their new Modern Tempted imprint. Short stories of up to 10,000 words will be called for by 10th February 2014. The competition winner will receive editorial guidance and electronic publication. The competition is preceded by two weeks of mini competitions and writing tips on Facebook. For more details see here.  


New short stories of up to 8,000 words from writers who have been previously published may now be entered into this BBC / Booktrust competition. The competition closing date is 28th February 2014. There's a £15,000 first prize plus a range of runners-up awards on offer. Full details are available on the competition website

The 2014 Dundee International Book Prize is now open for entries. Complete unpublished novels (in any genre) may be entered. The competition closing date is 3rd March 2014. There's a first prize of £10,000 and publication by Cargo Publishing. More details may be found here
This flash fiction competition is for a crime story in 150 words or under. The closing date is 3rd March 2014. The first prize is a full weekend pass to 2015's CrimeFest (to be held in Bristol in May 2015). Runners-up awards are also on offer. More details may be found here
Short stories of up to 6,000 words (crime-themed, and including asparagus in some way) may be entered into this new writing competition. The closing date is 29th March 2014. There's a £100 first prize, plus runners-up awards. There's also a junior variant of the competition with a 3,000 word limit. More details may be found here

This short story competition is for previously unpublished fiction (in any genre) of up to 5,000 words. The competition closes 31st March 2014. There's a first prize of publication plus £500, with runners-up awards also available. More details may be found here
This, the second annual competition run by West Sussex Writers, is for short stories on any theme. There's a 3,000 word limit. Stories should be submitted by 31st March 2014. There's a £100 first prize, plus there are runners-up awards also. Full details are at the competition website with rules being listed here.  

Original and previously-unpublished short stories of up to 5,000 words may be entered into this competition for dystopian fiction. The closing date is 1st May 2014. There's a £100 first prize and short-listed / winning stories will be anthologised. More details and competition rules may be found at the Almond Press site


Manchester Metropolitan University has announced a new creative writing prize for novella-length fiction. Novellas (between 20,000 and 40,000 words) should be submitted by the competition closing date of 23rd May 2014. There's a first prize including publication by Sandstone Press and £1,000. The winner will be selected by novelist Jenn Ashworth. Full details on the prize may be found here 

Eamonn's blog can be found at

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

One Chance film review

One Chance (2013) Poster

My friend Aj and I went to see this movie at the Odeon today as it had been recommended by my Mum-in-law as a feel-good film.

IMDB says it is: The true story of Paul Potts, a shy, bullied shop assistant by day and an amateur opera singer by night who became a phenomenon after being chosen for -- and ultimately winning -- "Britain's Got Talent".

James Corden (The Wrong Mans, Dr Who) stars as Potts, Julie Walters (Billy Elliot, Mamma Mia!) is his Mum, Colm Meaney (Con Air, The Damned United) his Dad and the brilliant Mackenzie Crook (Pirates of the Caribbean, Finding Neverland) plays his best friend and employer Braddon. 

The film starts by cataloguing the history of bullying in his childhood, showing us why Potts has a lack of confidence and has us rooting for him trying to follow his dream of becoming an opera singer like his hero Pavarotti.  When Braddon intervenes, Paul finally meets his 'girlfriend' who he has been texting (and who he has told that he looks like Brad Pitt) but worrying that even though she says she looks like Cameron Diaz, she may be a bloke.  Alexandra Roach (Anna Karenina, The Iron Lady) plays Julz, the girlfriend who 'is a woman' and she suggests he enter the talent contest in order to get enough money together to go to Venice to pursue his dream.

Potts is loving Venice, but struggling to make friends and fit in.  Then he is given a chance to sing for his idol Pavarotti and his nerves let him down.  Giving up on his dream, he returns to Wales to live an ordinary life.  He has to work hard to win back Julz and Braddon helps him get the Manager's job at Carphone Warehouse, but when the chance to sing again comes along in the form of the "Britain's Got Talent" TV show, Julz is the catalyst to ensure that he is given his one chance.

For those of you, like me, that like to play the spot the actor/actress game, don't miss the small appearance by 2 Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps actress Kathryn Drysdale (St. Trinian's, Vanity Fair) and Reggie Yates (Dr Who, Demons Never Die) as Production Assistants on the "Britain's Got Talent" scene.

My Mum-in-law was right, this is a heartwarming film, but it has quite a few flaws.  For example, for me, the dubbing when Corden sings is too obvious and detracts as well as distracts, the comedy moments were too few and if Corden was attempting a Welsh accent, I couldn't detect it.  That being said, I did enjoy the movie, I just didn't laugh as much as I thought I would.

Mackenzie Crook and James Corden

Tagline: The incredible true story of an underdog who never gave up.                6/10

#OneChance    #PaulPotts     #JamesCorden

Monday, 27 January 2014

AsparaWriting Festival 2014, 23 April - 21 June

Thanks to my fellow blogger Blog About Writing for the following information on a new Writing Festival for aspiring writers:

AsparaWriting Festival 2014

Welcome to the first literary festival specifically designed for aspiring writers.

Stella Duffy
Stella Duffy
No matter what your writing level, our aim is to encourage new writers. At the AsparaWriting festival you will have the opportunity to get to know our guest authors personally, working closely with them in a full day’s workshop. Come to talks by the authors in the evenings, or enjoy special, private dinners with them.
Robert Low
Robert Low
Quintin Jardine
Quintin Jardine
There are nine two-day events during the Festival, each hosted by a different writer. Here you can learn from the professionals about writing crime, history, comic or straight fiction, even poetry. All the writers involved are professionals, with over 300 novels published between them.
Alyson Hallett
Alyson Hallett
Michael Jecks
Michael Jecks
For more information about each author and their events, please look to the “Events” tab above. There are links to the locations for workshops and talks under “Venues”, and if you’re coming, why not book a room at the fabulous Evesham hotel too? And if you’re an aspiring writer, don’t forget to check our new Short Story Competition!
Edward Marston and Judith Cutler
Edward Marston and Judith Cutler
Simon Brett
Simon Brett
Peter Guttridge
Peter Guttridge
Rebecca Tope
Rebecca Tope
AsparaWriting: come and learn from the professionals!
Check out full details at