Can you write about ‘Our World’ in up to 50 words?

That is the challenge we are setting for our 2019 Fifty Word Flash Fiction Writing Competition which was launched last night at Derby Reads. We are looking for stories of up to fifty words, as calculated on the website entry form (excluding the title). You can interpret the theme of Our World’ 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 in each category.   A panel of experts will judge the entries and each winning story will be:

  • illustrated by a local illustrator, Evelyn Hunter
  • printed on Festival bookmarks, which will be used to promote the Festival

There will be a prize for each category of a £50 Waterstones book token.

We will also have a category for HM Prison Foston Hall with the winning entry published on a fourth bookmark.

The closing date for the competition is 10pm on Wednesday 8 May 2019.

All entries must be submitted online using our website form:

Last year’s competition (on the theme of ‘If Only’) attracted around 500 entries and we look forward to receiving even more this year.

If you need some tips on Flash Fiction, take a look at some previous winning stories, which we hope will inspire you to enter!

A year younger
If only I was a year younger, I wouldn’t be here, bound to this mud clogged trench waiting to die. I wouldn’t be cursed to lie looking at the shells arcing above, will one hit me today? Or will my heart be pierced by their cold steel bayonets, if only…
Bobby Derbyshire

“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

Children’s Picture Book Award
Today’s an important day for pupils in Years 2 and 3 at six schools in Derby.  It’s decision day when they will vote for their favourite book in our first Children’s Picture Book Award, sponsored by local businesswoman, Deborah Fern.  They will choose between four books: The Girls by Lauren Ace, illustrated by Jenny Løvlie, The Only Way is Badger by Stella J Jones, illustrated by Carmen Saldaña, Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival and Nimesh the Adventurer by Ranjit Singh, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini.

The winning book will be announced on 1 May.

Thanks to our funders and sponsors
We could not organise the Festival without the continuing support of all our Festival funders and sponsors.  It was wonderful to see so many of them at last night’s Derby Reads launch event and we would like to thank them all for their generosity and enthusiasm for the Festival.

We caught up with Judith Lamie, Pro Vice-Chancellor External Affairs at one of our major funders, the University of Derby, , who said: “This year’s Derby Book Festival is set to be the most exciting and diverse yet, providing visitors young and old with the opportunity to come together to share in their love of books and reading.

“At the University of Derby we are passionate about raising aspirations and firmly believe in the transformational nature of education. We are working with our cultural partners across the city to ensure that collectively we create as many opportunities for those wanting to engage with learning, and the arts in general, to do so. Encouraging people to read and find enjoyment in books is one of the ways we can do that.

“As a key supporter of the Derby Book Festival since its inception, we couldn’t be more proud of what the Festival team has achieved and are thrilled to once again be a funding partner.”

Thanks too to the Arts Council England, DANCOP, National Lottery Community Fund, John and Pam Rivers, Bookers, Cosy, Darwin Escapes, Deborah Fern, Flint Bishop, Freeths, Geldards, Lloyds Bank, Marketing Derby Bondholders, Nelsons, Pennine Healthcare, Peveril Homes, Pick Everard, PwC, Resonate, Riverside, Smith Partnership, Trent College and the Elms.  We are grateful to you all.

Derby Book Festival

29 May – 6 June 2020

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