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The Great Clarendon House Writing Challenge 2021 is Underway!

The Great Clarendon House Writing Challenge is developing a reputation as one of the most exciting and challenging writers’ competitions in the world. The 2021 Challenge is underway in the pages of the Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine. Here’s how it works:

Ten contestants have been selected from all those who sent in submissions to the magazine, and their 500 word stories appear anonymously in the current issue. Readers now have to select the best five of those stories.

The successful five authors will go on to undertake a series of specialised tasks, month by month, in each issue of the Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine.

By the end of the competition, ONE CONTESTANT will be crowned the WINNER of the Great Clarendon House Writing Challenge.

The winner will be entitled to:

  • the offer of a book publishing contract with Clarendon House Publications

  • a free webpage on the Clarendon House website through which to feature their works (whether published by Clarendon House or not)

  • a free full-page ad in the Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine for a whole year

  • free marketing advice, including cover design, blurb, author platform tips and so on

  • a free Lifestyle Consultancy to address any issues that might be getting in the way of their success as a writer.

You can participate in the Challenge by getting a copy of the magazine and reading the ten pieces of flash fiction which appear, then casting your votes as to the BEST FIVE. These will reappear with illustrations in next month’s magazine. The voting deadline is May 5th.

If you subscribe, not only do you get each copy of the magazine for a lower price, you get to follow the Challenge right through to the Grand Final.

Why 500 words?

To give writers a chance to show what they can do while allowing enough space in the magazine for ten pieces to appear.

What should you look for as a reader?

The ability to grab, guide and move readers in a limited number of words.

Are you grabbed? Are you moved? Did the story leave a powerful overall impression? Did you feel in competent hands?

No pictures or decorations accompany the accepted pieces in the magazine so as not to give anyone any kind of unfair advantage.

Although all contestants’ work appears anonymously in the magazine, the authors’ names are:

D.A. Reed

Sally Eberhardt

Denise D’Souza

Cliff Henderson

The Birch Twins

Vaughn Roste

Henry Elmo Bawden

Charlotte Langtree

Peter Astle

C.L. Steele

What happens next?

The five contestants chosen by readers will be set the same technical challenge, visible to all readers: a chance to develop a 1,000 word short story from a given set of parameters, to be published in the magazine.

Why a technical challenge?

While the first task gave writers free rein, this challenges them to produce an attractive piece of work within particular guidelines.

What am I looking for?

The ability to adapt quickly to the requirements of a particular genre or sub-genre without much advanced warning, while still retaining the skill of grabbing, guiding and moving readers.

The five resulting short stories based on the technical challenge will be published anonymously in a future magazine and then judged in the same way as above, by magazine readers, who will email me throughout the following month with their choices.

Based on those choices, three contestants will be chosen to continue the competition.

What should readers look for?

As before, are they grabbed? Are they moved? Did the story leave a powerful overall impression? Did they feel that the author had grasped the basics and perhaps even the nuances of an unusual sub-genre?

The three remaining contestants will then be interviewed about their writing lives and asked to write a 1,500 word short story in a particular style, to be submitted for the final contest in the following month’s magazine.

Why style?

By this point, contestants will have demonstrated adaptability to genre, deadlines and the basic skills of attracting and interesting readers — but now they have to do it in a writing style foreign to them. This means that the winner is truly a mighty writer!

Those three final stories, one from each of the remaining contestants, will be published, again anonymously, in the magazine, and magazine readers will get to vote over the following month for the WINNER of the Great Clarendon House Writing Challenge!


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