Issue #130

Writers' Newsletter

January 2014  



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Poetry competition winners and new magazine

This month, has announced the winner, runners-up, and special commendations of its Twelfth International Poetry Competition, as well as releasing Issue 24 of firstwriter.magazine, Foiled Again.  


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Sam SzantoSam Szanto, from Twickenham, United Kingdom (right), was announced as the winner of the competition with the poem "Night-light", and wins £500 (around $750). 

Leigha Miceli, of Orlando, Florida, wins $150 for submitting the best entry from the United States with the poem "Unconditional", and Clare Ferguson-Walker of Whitland, Pembrokeshire, wins £100 for entering the best runner-up poem from the United Kingdom, "I am part of all that I have met". The winning poems can be read online at

All the winners will also be published in a future issue of firstwriter.magazine, and receive vouchers worth £24 / $36 – as will the ten Special Commendations:

  • Paul Lowe, United Kingdom, “Wakes and Vapour Trails”;
  • Rhona Aitken, United Kingdom, “Lap-Top reflections”;
  • Katherine Summers, Australia, “Swan River Swim on a Hot Night”;
  • Lorna Charles, United Kingdom, “Divorce”;
  • Ute Carson, United States, “Eternity”;
  • Hannah Fowler-Tutt, Australia, “Tea”;
  • Jonathan Payne, United Kingdom, “Taking the Cord”;
  • Cathy Bryant, United Kingdom, “Pistachios”;
  • Mary Valentine (M V) Williams, United Kingdom, “Bust Specs”;
  • Peter Ruddock, South Africa, “The last”.

firstwriter.magazine Issue 24: Foiled Again
The latest issue of firstwriter.magazine has also just been released, featuring quality fiction and poetry submitted from around the world, plus your first chance to see not just the winning story from our Ninth International Short Story Contest, but also all ten Special Commendations. To view the magazine click here. To enter your work in our Tenth International Short Story Contest click here.

If you submitted work for issue 24 you can check to see if your work has been included by viewing the magazine online (click here). If your work has not been included then, unfortunately, on this occasion your submission has not been successful. We'd love to see more of your work, though, and are now accepting submissions for issue 26 of the magazine. We accept poems up to 30 lines and short stories up to 3,000 words. You can submit your work for consideration online at 



Writers' Handbook 2014 now available on Apple, Barnes & Noble, Nook, Sony, and more...'s bestselling book for writers, The Writers' Handbook 2014, is now available from even more outlets and on even more devices. As well as being available both in print and as a Kindle edition from Amazon sites around the world, and as an ebook for Android devices through Google Play, it can now be purchased from the following retailers in a variety of formats:

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Barnes & Noble (Nook) Barnes & Noble (Print)
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How I got a publishing deal
An interview with author, Christine McAteer

Christine McAteer recently acquired a publisher using's database of publishers. We asked her about her writing, and how she found success.

Christine McAteerfw: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Christine. Tell us a little about the book you've successfully placed.

CM: The title is Daddy Sir. It is the story of my journey as a survivor of incest, physical and emotional abuse. There were multiple perpetrators and I describe my reactions to the abuse, the pain and terror, and living in a constant atmosphere of acute sensitivity. It is my story and I touch on Dissociative Identity Disorder, a condition that I have as a result of the abuse.

fw: What made you want to write this book?

CM: The need to reach out to other abuse survivors. I want to offer hope.

fw: How did you go about writing it?

CM: I made a detailed outline of what I wanted each chapter to say. I revised and added to it as I went along. It took me several years to write it. I self published most of my book and the success I achieved prompted me to revise it and offer it to a publisher.

fw: Was it the first time you'd tried any writing?

CM: This is really not my first attempt at writing since my book went through a number of incarnations. I have self published two other books as well.

fw: Did that process help you?

CM: I think it helps because you refine your writing. My topic is such a one that many publishing houses wouldn't look at it. The experience gave me valuable direction when I approached a publisher who wasn't afraid to publish a difficult topic. He's not only publishing it but has asked me to write another book.

fw: Did you go through a literary agent?

CM: No, I approached the publisher directly and I secured the deal directly.

fw: Did you try any other methods of finsing a publisher before you tried

CM: Yes I did. I queried agents and publishers and collected rejection slips.

fw: So how was different?

CM: helped me to narrow the field. I chose the nonfiction option and from there I narrowed the market to publishers who accepted autobiography. I then selected publishers to approach.

fw: What did you do after you'd identified suitable publishers?

CM: I researched them online and bought some books to see what kind of work they handled.

fw: Did you then send out specific query letters to each?

CM: I fashioned one query letter that was specific to the content of my book and just changed the name, address and date of the letter. I always made sure to address the salutation to the appropriate name. I sent out a proposal and sample chapters to the publishers whom showed interest. I sent my manuscript to the publishers who requested it.

fw: How long did it take to find success?

CM: I spent about 6 to 8 months trying to place the work in its present incarnation. I was tremendously lucky to have to point me in the right direction. I probably approached about 25 different publishers.

fw: Did the rejections ever get you down?

CM: The rejections were mostly form letters which were polite. It was early days but I was disappointed when publishers who led me to believe they would handle the work didn't. I handled the rejection by pressing forward to the next name on my list.

fw: Which was the published that signed you in the end?

CM: Eleusinian Press in the UK. I have wonderfully approachable relationship with the editor.

fw: What do you think was the main reason they offered you a deal?

CM: We are an incredible match and it was my query letter which brought his initial response. I can't stress enough how important it is to polish and polish your letter. A well crafted query letter opens doors.

fw: Your book is obviously on a subject that's very personal to you. Has it been difficult to let someone else become involved in the telling of that story?

CM: It is not difficult to let my publisher work on Daddy Sir because our vision for the book is the same. I am enjoying the publishing process. The entire publishing schedule has taken about a year.

fw: What advice would you give to other writers trying to get published?

CM: An agent is the accepted avenue of approaching a publisher and that's a good thing. But do not be afraid to approach publishers directly unless the guidelines say you must have an agent.

fw: And what are your plans when the book is finished?

CM: We are in the final stages of publishing and my publication date is around April, 2014. I am currently working on the second book on the topic, learning how to live with Dissociative Identity Disorder, also written from my own experience.

fw: The best of luck with it, Christine, and thank you for taking the time to talk to us!

To search the database of over 1,500 book publishers for the one that might be right for you, click here

About the Author
Christine McAteer was born in Greenville Texas eventually moving to FT.Worth, Texas, where a large portion of her book,
Daddy Sir, takes place. As a young girl she was sexually abused by her father, grandfather and oldest brother on an ongoing basis until she was 17 years old.

She now resides in Hawthorne, NJ, and is happily married. She has successfully completed several years of therapy and is now leading a full and joyous life. She has previously self published two books, Out of Egypt and an earlier version of Daddy Sir.

Her book will be available in early April through



Bridport Prize announces new prize for 2014

Named after its founder, Peggy Chapman-Andrews, the Bridport Prize has announced a new award for talented novelists who are yet to be published or represented by a literary agent.

The Bridport Prize is partnered in this opportunity by The Literary Consultancy and A.M. Heath Literary Agents, offering mentoring and possible publication for the winning novel.

For the first stage, all writers need to enter are the first chapters of their 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. The 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 United Kingdom, with a part-written or completed novel in any adult fiction genre. The closing date is May 31, 2014, and full details are on the Bridport Prize website at

The 2014 main competition is also now open for entries. There is a £16,000 prize fund, and this year the judges are: Liz Lochhead for poetry; Andrew Miller for short stories; and Tania Hershman for flash fiction.

For full details, please see

For the details of over 100 other writing contests, click here


The Writer's Hotel Master Class in Fiction & Nonfiction

The Writer's Hotel & The New Guard literary review are hosting a Writer's Workshop Master Class in Fiction and Nonfiction in the NYC Midtown area June 12-17, 2014.

The Writer's Hotel June events will be held between three writer's hotels, The Algonquin Hotel, The Library Hotel and The Bryant Park Hotel. Workshops, lectures and seminars will take place at The Library Hotel Writer's Den and Poetry Garden and at The Bryant Park Hotel Terrace Loft and The Loft.

The June, 2014 Master Class in Fiction & Nonfiction is centered on craft and the publishing industry. Each writer participates in an intensive Master Class workshop with a TWH instructor. There will be several lectures and seminars on craft in both Fiction and Nonfiction. Agents and editors will be in attendance for two seminar spots. Writers will have the opportunity to interact with those agents and editors face-to-face, and to present their best work for consideration. Each writer will also have the chance to read their own original work at an NYC venue on one of thereading nights.

The organisers are also working in co-operation with Literary Manhattan, to give the Master Class its proper backdrop and to honour writers and a city so steeped in literary history. There will be historic literary walking tours of Midtown and literary events on the docket, including a guided game of "Wink, Murder" at The Algonquin Hotel, a parlor game made famous by NYC's so-called "Vicious Circle".

Many seats have been reserved, and the process is selective. There is no application fee; your work will be read free of charge. Should you be accepted, you would be part of an exclusive group of writers. The Master Class is very small, at only 44 writers total. A limited number of rooms have been reserved for attendees at participating hotels. Those rooms are going fast and are first-come, first-served.

Workshop Leaders are Scott Wolven, Elyssa East and Shanna McNair teaching Fiction, and Richard Hoffman teaching Nonfiction.

Please inquire at for more details.


The Golden Pen Awards

Poems and Stories are now being accepted for the 16th Annual Golden Pen Competition. First Prize: €100 for adults; €50 for students. Prizes for second and third placed writers plus publication in the Festival Magazine.

Entry fee: ADULTS €5 (£4 or $5, UK/USA); STUDENTS: €3 or £2. No entry form required. Open Theme. Stories limited to 2000 words; poems to 70 lines.

Entrants should put their name and details on a separate sheet and send their poems and stories to:

The Golden Pen
Co. Galway

Deadline: April 1, 2014. Winners will be notified before June 9, 2014.


New bursary scheme for debut novelists

The Writers' Village Foundation is currently awarding bursaries valued at £500 (approx. $800) that are exchangeable for a full professional critique of a novel which is almost ready to submit to an agent or publisher or be formatted for self-publication.

Entries will be judged by Michelle Spring, a Royal Literary Fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Deadline is March 31, 2014.

For full details, go to


EVENT Magazine's Annual Nonfiction Contest

EVENT, a literary journal now in its fourth decade of publication, showcases fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, reviews and notes on writing by new and established writers from Canada and around the world.

The deadline for EVENT's Annual Nonfiction Contest deadline is coming up (April 15, 2014). Writers are invited to submit manuscripts exploring the creative nonfiction form. The entry fee is $34.95, which includes 1 year of EVENT. Multiple entries are allowed; however, each entry must be accompanied by a separate fee. No simultaneous submissions.

Maximum entry length is 5,000 words, typed, double-spaced. Prizes: $1,500 in prize monies available, plus payment for publication!

This year's judge is Deborah Campbell.

Visit for complete contest guidelines.


Ticket to Write playwriting contest

The Ticket to Write playwriting contest – launched as a Beatles-themed Festival – is now open for entries for the third year when the selected plays will be performed at Liverpool’s Unity Theatre on July 15 and 16, 2014.

The 2014 Festival has two new exciting changes:

  • Plays need not just have themes on The Beatles – they can include the wider Mersey Music scene of the 60s.
  • Plays entered should now be one-act 40 – 45 minute dramas rather than 15 minute offerings.

As usual, the plays can be about the people, stories inspired by songs and song-titles or any genuine connection with
The Beatles or the Mersey Scene of that period.

The winner gets £150 and it costs £20 to enter. Entries must be in by Friday April 18, 2014.

All plays will be assessed anonymously by a theatre professional and three will go forward to be performed on both nights of the final when the audience vote will count towards the final result.

All entries will receive a considered written critique from the assessor who will receive £10 of the entry fee.

Full details, including fees and guidance for non-UK entries, are under How To Enter on the website at


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