Derby Book Festival is challenging children and adults to write a story in just fifty words on
the subject of ‘If Only’ for its 2018 Flash Fiction Writing Competition.

The winning stories will be printed on a set of bookmarks to be distributed across Derby and Derbyshire to promote the fourth Derby Book Festival, which will run from 1 – 9 June 2018.

In previous years, writers have been invited to tackle a variety of themes: ‘Love’, ‘Secrets’
and last year ‘Journeys’ when there were over 700 entries. This year, the theme is ‘If Only’,
a subject which can be interpreted as widely as the author wishes, so long as the story is
exactly fifty words.

Liz Fothergill, Chair of Derby Book Festival said:

We have seen the Flash Fiction competition grow every year and it is now an extremely popular element of the run-up to our annual Festival. This year’s theme gives budding short story writers lots of scope and we hope it will inspire both school children and adults.”

The Flash Fiction competition has three age categories: 11 years and under, 12 – 17 years
and 18 years and over. Entries will be judged by a panel of local writers and creative writing specialists and there will be one winner in each category plus two runners up.

The winners and runners up will be officially announced at ‘Derby Reads’, an event to launch the Festival Programme in QUAD on Thursday 12 April. Winning stories will also be read at various events throughout Derby Book Festival in June, when winners and runners up will also receive tickets to a Festival event.

Alongside the Flash Fiction Competition, the Festival also runs a second competition for
students from the University of Derby studying Art and Design. The students are asked to
produce a set of illustrations for the winning stories. The winning designs will be printed
with their story on the Festival bookmarks. The winner and runners up of the Illustration
competition will also be invited to the ‘Derby Reads’ event in QUAD.

The Flash Fiction competition is an important element in the Festival mix. It aims to
encourage writers – either novices or seasoned veterans – to try their hand at this popular
form of short fiction. The Festival website has some helpful links to those who are interested but are not sure where to start.

Richard Pettinger, one of the judges and himself an enthusiastic flash fiction author,
explains: “For any genre of writing, flash fiction is a great discipline; it requires the writer to focus on the strength of the story and nothing else. When it comes to powerful writing, brevity is everything!”

To enter the competition, visit the Festival website and submit your story using the online

The closing date for the competition is 10pm on Thursday 8th February. The terms and conditions for the competition can also be found on the website, where you can sign up for more information about the Festival.