Can you write just 50 words on the theme of ‘If Only’?

10th January 2018

This is the challenge we are setting for our 2018 Fifty Word Flash Fiction Writing Competition, which is launched today, Wednesday 10 January. We are looking for stories of exactly fifty words, as calculated on the website entry form (excluding the title). You can interpret the theme of If Only’ in any way you wish, but your work must be original and it must tell a complete story.

There are three age categories: 11 years and under, 12 – 17 years, 18 years and over. There will be one winner and two runners up in each category.

We are also delighted to have an additional category this year for women at Her Majesty’s Prison Foston Hall.  There will be a winner and runner up in this category, with the winning entry also being published on a bookmark to promote the Festival.

A panel of experts will judge the entries and the winning stories will be:

  • illustrated by students from the University of Derby
  • printed on Festival bookmarks, which will be used to promote the Festival
  • read at events during Derby Book Festival and published on our website.

We will invite the winners and runners up in the three age categories to the Derby Reads event to launch our Festival programme in QUAD on Thursday 12 April.  They will also receive tickets to an event during Derby Book Festival.  In addition, the winners in the two young people’s categories will be invited to a ‘Writers’ Den’ event run by Writing East Midlands and hosted by the University of Derby.

The closing date for the competition is 10pm on Thursday 8 February.

All entries must be submitted online using our website form:

Last year’s competition (on the theme of ‘Journeys’) attracted around 700 entries and we look forward to receiving even more this year.

If you need some tips on Flash Fiction, take a look at some of last year’s winning ‘Journeys’ stories, which we hope will inspire you to enter!

Five Climb Scafell Pike Again
It didn’t matter that we set off an hour late (Ol’s jet lag), Tim had to wear his wife’s cagoule (XS), Phil let the map blow away, I lost my inhaler on Broad Crag, and Stephen was so fit it wasn’t fair.  We made it.  Together.  That’s what really mattered.        Sue Forrester

“Come with me,” he said, “and I will show you worlds.”  And he did: lapis palaces and red rock caves; deep sea trenches and coral gardens; wind carved deserts and disappearing ice.  When he died he left me his books.  Now I travel the pages alone and think of him.     Sherri Turner

Derby Book Festival

31 May – 8 June 2019

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Derby Book Festival is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation registered with the Charity Commission for England & Wales Number 1159763