Bath Spa Uni launches 25-word novel prize

Bath Spa Uni launches 25-word novel prize

Bath Spa University has launched a "flash fiction" competition for novels of 25 words with the winning entries' to be recorded by actor Jeremy Irons. The prize will celebrate the centre's quarter-century of “creative writing excellence”.

Entries opened yesterday (30th May) for the prize, and entries can be in any genre or style. The winner and two runners up will have their stories read out and recorded by Irons who is Bath Spa University’s Chancellor. The winner will also receive £500.

Entries will be moderated and published online on the competition’s website, with the winners published in A Place in Words, an anthology which will launch on 15th September in central London to mark the 25th anniversary of the university's creative writing teaching. The judging panel includes novelist and Bath Spa University professor Philip Hensher, senior assistant editor on the Oxford English Dictionary Jonathan Dent and writer Beatrice Hitchman, who is also a Bath Spa University graduate.

Hensher said: “Writing is a necessary joy. It’s the only way to understand other people, their stories and hopes, their articulated or mute selves. The job of the writer is to put that into words which, afterwards, will seem inevitable.”

He added: “If this encourages someone who has never thought of him or herself as ‘a writer’ to go on beyond 25 words, it will have done something important.”

Dent said: “Lexicographers put a particular value on verbal economy (25 words is a typical length for both an OED definition and for one of our supporting quotations), so it will be fascinating to see the linguistically creative ways in which competitors construct a narrative in what is essentially a tweetable length.”

Mike McCormack won last year’s Goldsmiths Prize for single novel length-sentence, Solar Bones. He scooped the £10,000 award in November for his “extraordinary” stream-of-consciousness narrative.

To enter visit aplaceinwords.com/competition.