Southlands Arts

Creative Writing Competition

Southlands are please to announce its first Creative Writing Competition. This page features everything you need to know.


Please read thoroughly. When you are ready, please fill in the application form, you will then be sent to the payment page. Once step one and two are complete, you can send your completed story to


Please ensure you use the same email for all stages of the competition. 

Your story needs to be in a readable font and ideally double line spaced.

You can also submit by emailing: with your submission and a copy of the application form (download link found below). Payment will then be arranged via email. 

Or in post by sending to:

Creative Writing Competition
Southlands Arts Centre
75 The Green
West Drayton

With a cheque for the entrance fee. 

** If you find a broken link, please do let us know and our web guy will fix it.


Age groups: Under 18/Over 18
Categories: A is for Apple/Writing Me

Date of Event
Launch 22/03/2024.
Launch event 22/03/24
Deadline 31/07/2024
Winners Event 05/10/2024

All entries will be submitted by email or post. They will all be anonymised to ensure no bias in the judging. Judging will take place from 31st July to 15th September.

As part of this event, we will be running 4 free workshops:

2 on the subject of Apples in literature entitled A is for Apple

2 on the subject of Life writing entitled Cider without Rosie

The winner’s event will feature readings from the winners and runners up, either by the writers themselves or by a person chosen by the writer from our group of volunteers, who all have experience in public speaking or theatre.  

Prizes will be given to a monetary or book voucher value. The opportunity will also be given to the winner from each category to work with an editor/illustrator on their piece.

All winners and runners up will be published on our website in a downloadable PDF book. We will also be printing a limited run of paperback books, complete with ISBN. These will be sold via the shop on our website as well as at our Seasonal events. As they will have an ISBN, we are also hoping to get them into local bookshops and on commercial websites.

Category entered

Age bracket

Please check this box to show you have read and understand the competition rules:

Southlands Creative Writing Competition 2024 Rules

The Southlands Writing Competition 2024 is open for entries from 22 March 2024.

There are two categories for entry – Fiction/Short Story and Life Writing

The deadline for receipt of all entries is Midnight 31 July 2024.

Entries will be accepted in hard copy and by email.

Hard copy entries should be sent to: Southland Arts Centre, 75, The Green, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 7PW. Please mark your envelope ‘Writing Competition 2024’. Payment may be sent by cheque or payment can be made in person at Southlands by arrangement.

Email entries should be sent to

The theme for the Fiction/Short Story category is the apple. It’s up to you how you include the apple but the apple must be there.

Entries for the Life Writing category should be about the writer’s own life.

You may submit an entry to both the Fiction/Short Story and Life Writing category. Each entry should include a separate entry form.

Entry fees are: £3.00 for a single submission. £5 if you submit to both life writing and creative writing.

Fees go toward the prize pots and the Southlands Arts Centre. We are a charity with a mission to bring the arts to the local and wider community. All profits will serve this aim.

No contest entry fees will be returned.

The maximum word count for both categories is 3,000 words. There is no minimum word count. (Some very clever stories have been written in only six words.)

All writers are required to obtain the prior approval of any third party who holds any rights in their story before submitting an entry.

All entries will be judged anonymously. Please do not include your name, address, phone number, email, website, social media details, etc. on the submitted document(s). Your entry will be disqualified if you do include those details. Put your personal details only on the submission form.

Formatting your short story:

Your story must be written in English. A maximum of 3,000 words. No minimum. The title is not included in the word count.

We prefer submissions typed in Arial or Times New Roman, 12pt, black. Double spaced. But we are a little flexible over this. But bear in mind that judges will find it easier to read if formatted as requested.

Children (under 18s) may submit handwritten stories if they wish.

No illustrations please.

Include a submission form with each entry.

Judges: Jayne Towndrow and Paula O’Shea

Jayne Towndrow has an MA with distinction in Creative Writing from Brunel University, was long-listed for the Asham Prize in 2009 and received joint second prize in the Elmbridge Literary competition in 2016. She loves words and story and likes being involved in things that matter. Running and judging a writing competition, encouraging healing and wellbeing in others really matters. She is a regular volunteer at Southlands.

Paula O’Shea [insert details]



Competition’ means this competition to find the best short story and best life writing as determined by the appointed judges, along with two runners-up in each category and which shall be known as the ‘Southlands Creative Competition 2024’.

‘Entrant(s)’ means all writers submitting an entry.

‘Entry’ means any short story or piece of life writing meeting the submission criteria entered for the Competition and ‘Entries’ shall be construed accordingly.


The Competition

There are two adult categories: Fiction/Short Story and Life-writing

There are two under 18 categories: Fiction/Short Story and Life-writing 

From the entries submitted, the judges will draw up four (4) shortlists of four (4) entries, two for the adult category and two for the under 18 category. From these shortlists they will select the winning entry, second prize and two runners-up. 

Prizes will be awarded to the best eligible entries in the opinion of the judges.

Adult classes: First prize in each adult category is £100, second prize is £50, runners up will each receive £20

Under 18 classes: First prize in each under 18 category is £50, second prize is £25, runners up will each receive £10

Prizes will be awarded on 5 October 2024 at our winners event to contestants who are present. Prizes for contestants unable to attend will be sent by post or bank transfer entrant as the entrant prefers.


The Competition is open to writers resident in the United Kingdom at the time of submission.

The entry must not contain more than three thousand (3,000) words. The word count should be listed on the entry submission form and must be precise.

Entries must be submitted by the writer. Entries must be entirely the writer’s own work. Any evidence to the contrary will result in immediate disqualification.

The writer may submit to both the Fiction/Short Story and Life writing category. Each entry should include a separate entry form.

Entries must not have been published, self-published, published on any website, blog or online forum, broadcast, have won or been placed (2nd, 3rd, runner up etc) in any other competition. If your entry has been long-listed or shortlisted in other competitions, and provided it has not won a prize or been published, it is eligible.

Simultaneous submissions are not permitted.

Entrants warrant that their entry is original, entirely their own work, does not infringe any existing copyright, moral rights or any other rights of any third party and contains nothing obscene, libellous, unlawful, defamatory or anything which Southlands Arts Centre may otherwise deem to be inappropriate, and the entrant warrants that the entry is suitable for publication on social media. 

Entries must be written in English.

Copyright and terms of use


Worldwide copyright of each entry remains with the author but Southlands Arts Centre has unrestricted rights to publish the winning and runner-up entries on their website and social media and to engage in any promotional activity. 

The entrant acknowledges and agrees that each entry shall be cleared and can be used for publicity purposes to generate coverage for the Competition in a format, manner and for such time as may be determined by Southland Arts Centre.


The Competition judges will select a shortlist of four entries for each age group in each category.

All shortlisted entries will be contacted personally by telephone at the beginning of October. The overall winner of the competition will be announced on 05/10/24 at an event at Southlands Arts Centre and on the Facebook page(s) for the Southlands Arts Centre.

The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into or appeals shall be heard. Judges are unable to comment on individual entries. Judging is fair and unbiased.

The judging panel has been appointed by Southlands Arts Centre and they reserve the right to change the panel of judges without notice.

AI-Generated Content Policy

To maintain the integrity of the competition and encourage genuine creativity, we do not accept submissions that are created by artificial intelligence, including content generated by OpenAI’s ChatGPT or any similar AI software. Entrants must submit original works authored by themselves. If a submission is later found to be created by AI, the entry will be disqualified. Additionally, any prize money awarded must be returned in full. Entrants may be required to verify that their submissions are not AI-generated upon entry.


Administration and Communication

The submission form and piece(s) of writing must be received by Southlands Arts Centre by midnight (GMT) on 31/07/2024.

Entrants must provide their telephone number and postal address. Southlands Arts Centre will only ever use personal details for the purposes of administering this competition, and will not publish them or provide them without permission to anyone not involved in the administration of this competition. As a condition of entry to the competition, entrants consent to their names being published by Southlands Arts Centre in connection with the competition.

Entrants must supply full details as required above, and comply with all rules and terms and conditions to be eligible for the competition. Ineligible, obscene or fraudulent entries will be automatically disqualified. In the event that any entrant breaches or Southlands Arts Centre reasonably believes that an entrant has breached these Terms and Conditions, Southlands Arts Centre may reject the entry and/or remove the entrant from the competition.

Please note that no entries can be returned.

Southlands Arts Centre reserve the right to refuse any entry to the competition for any reason at their absolute discretion.

Any author who submits an entry warrants that they have all necessary consents, approvals, rights and licences required to submit an entry in accordance with these Terms and Conditions.

Entrants indemnify and will keep Southlands Arts Centre indemnified against loss, injury or damage (including any legal costs or expenses and any compensation costs and disbursements paid or incurred by Southlands Arts Centre on the advice of legal counsel to compromise or settle any claim) occasioned to Southlands Arts Centre in consequence of any breach of the warranties contained in these terms and conditions or arising out of any claim alleging that the submitted entry constitutes an infringement of any third party intellectual property rights or contains libellous, obscene or defamatory matter.

There are no alternative prizes and the prizes are not transferable and no part or parts of the prize may be substituted for other benefits, items or additions.

Southlands Arts Centre will not be liable for any failure of receipt of entries. Southlands Arts Centre has no responsibility or liability for any entries which are lost, delayed, illegible, damaged, incomplete or otherwise invalid.

Southlands Arts Centre reserves the right at any time to cancel, modify or supersede the competition (including altering prizes) if, at its sole discretion, the competition is not capable of being conducted as specified. Southlands Arts Centre reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal value in the event that circumstances beyond their control make this unavoidable or such other reasons as Southlands Arts Centre may deem reasonable.

Southlands Arts Centre reserves the right to amend these Terms and Conditions.

If you have a query please submit a question to the following email address: