Excitement is increasing at Litfest HQ and we’ve almost finalised the 2019 – In Other Words – programme. We can’t wait to share it with you. Watch this space…

On 23rd March we had our first 2019  volunteer meet-ups at the White Rock Hotel on 23rd March. The volunteers are the backbone of the festival and we couldn’t do without them. If you missed the session, don’t worry as we’re holding more on 13th April at the White Rock Hotel. If you’d like further information about volunteering or attending a session please email our Volunteer Co-ordinator Rhonda MacLean at

One of our new volunteers said: ‘I wanted to say thank you for a wonderful session earlier.  The passion of the speakers was evident and it has made me excited to get involved in whatever way I can.’

We’re already receiving entries for our three competitions : Short Story, Poetry and Flash Fiction. Full details of the entry requirements can be found on our website at

There are cash prizes, trophies and inclusion in our 2019 Anthology. 

We thought we’d take this opportunity to introduce you to our judges and let them tell you what they’re looking for:

Tabatha Stirling – Short Story

Tabby lives in Edinburgh, Scotland with her family and a depressed beagle called the Beagle. A published author and poet, Tabby signed with Unbound for her debut novel, Blood On The Banana Leaf, in August 2016 and has just published her new novel Bitter Leaves this week. 

“I am looking specifically for beautifully written stories in any genre that don’t try too hard and have authentic voices that echo long after I’ve finished reading.  Writing of quality – luminous, transportive prose that makes me pause and groan, ‘Oh! I wish I’d written that’.”

John McCullough – Poetry

John’s first collection of poems The Frost Fairs won the Polari First Book Prize in 2012 and was Book of the Year for The Independent and a summer read in The Guardian‘s Best Books for Summer and was shortlisted for the Ledbury-Forte prize. He has written commissioned poems for the British Museum and British Film Institute and teaches creative writing at New Writing South and the Open University. He lives in Hove.

“I’m looking for original poems that have been carefully crafted and that satisfy the heart as well as the head. They can be on any theme and take any approach to form. As a reader, I like being surprised and enjoy poems that take risks.”

 Michael Loveday – Flash Fiction

Michael Loveday’s debut flash fiction novella, Three Men on the Edge, is published by V. Press (2018). His writing has appeared in The Spectator; Flash: the International Short-Short Story Magazine; Funny Bone: Flashing for Comic Relief; and the National Flash Fiction Day Anthology 2017. He is a Director of the National Association of Writers in Education. 

 “I’m very open to the kinds of flashes submitted, in terms of both genre and subject matter. Feminist film noir pastiche? Sci-fi dystopia? Historical flash about Cleopatra’s asp? Surrealist fantasy set in someone’s kitchen? A moment of quiet epiphany by a river in Kenya? Farce in a primary school classroom? Gritty crime scene drama? Wistful, unrequited love between a cat and a dog? A C.E.O. under pressure, about to make a terrible mistake? A family crisis during Sunday lunch with the neighbours? In short, I hope people will have a field day with the inventiveness of the situations they choose to write about. 

Good titles, good beginnings, and good endings will serve you well!” 

So it’s time to get writing and get those entries in be in it to win one of our fabulous prizes.