The 2019 Hastings Litfest writing competitions are now closed. 

Thank you to everyone who has sent us your work. We were stunned to receive so many more poems, stories and flash fiction pieces than we anticipated, and submissions came from around the world – including New Zealand, India, South Africa, the USA, many countries in Europe, and from every corner of the UK – so the Hastings Litfest can now claim to be a truly International event.

Our three judges are busy with the difficult task of deciding on the very best writing from the wide selection received, and the longlisted pieces (titles and author names) will be revealed on this page towards the end of July.

The shortlist will be posted in early August, and shortlisted authors also notified individually.
The winners will be announced – and the prizes presented – at our Closing Celebration on Sunday 1st September at the Royal Victoria Hotel in Hastings, in the company of Festival Patron Sir David Hare, invited guests, and our Sponsors, including New Writing South, who are offering an exciting additional prize this year to a writer based in Sussex. 

We shall also be launching, in association with Stirling Press, the first Hastings Litfest anthology of competition entries selected by our three judges, Tabatha Stirling, John McCullough and Michael Loveday.

There will be cash prizes of £100, £40 and £25 plus a Litfest trophy for the top three places in each category, and highly-commended entries will also receive a trophy. The top-placed entries in each category will be included in a Litfest 2019 Anthology.

Exciting additional prize for local writers!  NEW WRITING SOUTH is offering a bespoke 1-1 Writer’s Surgery for the most promising fiction writer living in Sussex, plus free membership for one year for three Sussex-based runners up.

The Judges

Tabatha Stirling

Tabatha Stirling 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.  She is a great fan of everything zombie, literary fiction, specifically beautifully written stories with a bit of menace (Lesley Glaister, Jean Rhys, Joyce Carol Oates), writing set in Asia & Africa, (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Doris Lessing, Gil Courtemanche) and epic fantasy that makes her want to beg for the trilogy (Robin Hobb, Pierce Browne, Hugh Howey, Angela Carter).  A delicious slice of historical fiction doesn’t go amiss either.

John McCullough

John McCullough’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.

Michael Loveday

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. Website:

Follow Michael on Twitter: @pagechatter

Online ticket sales for this event are closed.