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Congratulations to Radovana Jágriková on her success in the To Hull and Back writing competition, as announced on the excellent Christopher Fielden website! Radovana won with her story Too. Entries in the competition had to be humorous, but Too I also found unsettling and with what was for me a wholly unexpected twist. It will appear in the To Hull and Back anthology. (See http://www.christopherfielden.com/short-story-competition/results-2015.php for more on the results.)

Radovana I have met before, as in 2013 I had the pleasure of presenting her with the second prize in the British Czech & Slovak Association’s annual writing competition. She won that with Journeys.  That story especially appealed as its setting was the prizegiving at a writing competition! It described the repercussions three years later of a British stag weekend in Bratislava.

One of ninevoices’ own, Maggie Davies, was given a Special Mention in the comp, for her story The Castle (see The Rejection Diaries below). A tale well worthy of its commendation, I can confirm.

The 2016 To Hull and Back competition is already open. Prizes are £1,000, £150 and £75, and the prizewinning and shortlisted entries will be published in an anthology. The glory doesn’t end there, for the cover of the anthology will include a photo of the winner’s face, depicted riding a flaming motorcycle and holding “a quill of wrath”, and their copy will be fixed to the handlebars of a Harley Davidson and ridden from Bristol To Hull and Back. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain.

Stories must contain some element of humour. The closing date is 31 July 2016, and the word limit is 4,000. The entry fee for a single story is £7. For full details, including guidance on what sort of humour might appeal, see http://www.christopherfielden.com/short-story-competition/#Comp2015

The British Czech & Slovak Association’s 2015 competition has closed; the judges’ votes have been counted and verified, and the results will be announced at the BCSA’s Annual Dinner in central London on 27 November 2015. (Some tickets are still available, for both members and non-members – see http://www.bcsa.co.uk/whatsnew.html#dinner for info). The results will also appear here.

The 2016 BCSA competition will be launched in February next year. The themes are likely to be the same as this year’s: either (a) a link or links between Britain and the Czech or Slovak Republics (or their predecessor states), at any point in history or (b) society in transition in those Republics since the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Entry will be free, the closing date will be 30 June 2016, and the word limit 2,000. With migration so topical just now, in 2015 writers were encouraged to consider this as a subject for their entries. Watch this space for any similar suggestion in 2016. To express interest in 2016 you can e-mail me at prize@bcsa.co.uk.

So, repeated congrats to Radovana and Maggie. And here’s to 2016 for the rest of us!