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With Hallowe’en imminent, here is a spooky/lucky black cat for you. The chair on which Gizzy is conducting her radiator worship was purchased from an antique shop in Edenbridge, then humped laboriously back to the car park at the far end of the High Street. My plan was to recline in it for late afternoon reading of Jane Austen. Fat chance…

Everything With Words independent children’s publisher wants entries for its Urban YA Competition, for a debut novel set in today’s urban, multi-cultural Britain. The winner will receive £1,000, plus possible publication. Novels should be between 40,000 and 700,000 words and may be written by agented or unagented writers, but must be the author’s first novel for YA readers. Send novel and a 500-word summary, with “YA competition” in subject line. Closing date is 30 November and THERE IS NO ENTRY FEE, so what do you have to lose? Details: wwweverythingwithwords.com

The Against the Grain Poetry Press (which publishes three collections each year) is inviting original unpublished entries for its Poem Competition 2018. The winning entry will be submitted to the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, and will be awarded £100. There are second and third prizes of £50 and £25. Entry fee is £5 for two poems, or £10 for five poems. Closing date is 30 November. Details: atgcompetition@gmail.com

Indie press Mother’s Milk Books is inviting submissions of dark fairy tales for the fifth in the series of their popular annual anthology The Forgotten and The Fantastical. Stories should be up to 5,000 words and may be set in the present day or in any fantastical or sci-fi setting. Entry is free, but submitting writers are asked to buy a copy of one of the previous books in the series through the website and to include the invoice number with their submission. Each accepted author will be paid £20 and will receive a complimentary book and the chance to read at the book launch in Nottingham. Closing date 30 November. Details: submissions@mothersmilkbooks.com

Arkbound Short Story Competition for stories between 500 and 1,000 words on the theme of ‘time‘. Prizes: £100, £50, £25, 3 x £20. Entry fee: £3. Arkbound will sponsor entries from disadvantaged people. Closing date 1 November. Details: competitions@arkbound.com

Caledonia Novel Award for the first 20 pages, plus 200-word synopsis, of a novel by an unpublished writer. Prize: £1,000, plus trophy. Entry fee: £25. Closing date 1 November. Details: http://www.caledoniannovelaward

Fish Short Story Competition for stories up to 5,000 words. Prizes: 3,000 Euros for first; a week at Anam Cara Writer’s Retreat in West Cork, plus 300 Euros expenses for second; 300 Euros for third. Entry fee: 20 Euros for the first, 10 Euros thereafter. Closing date 30 November. Details: info@fishpublishing.com

Inktears Short Story Competition for stories between 1,000 and 3,500 words. Prizes: £1,000, £100, 4 x £25. Entry fee £7.50. Closing date 30 November. Details: http://www.inktears.com

Aeon Award for short stories up to 10,000 words ‘in any spec fic genre’.

Ely Amnesty Group Short Story Competition for stories up to 1,500 words on the theme of ‘hope’. Prizes: £50, publication. Entry fee: £5. Closing date

National Novel Writing Month is an annual internet-based creative writing project that takes place during November. Participants attempt to write a 50,000 word manuscript between 1 November and 30 November. Although there is no monetary prize, participants can get on-line support, pep-talks, and can even get involved in local events. This could be a brilliant way to get started on a new novel project.  Details: https://nanowrimo.org

Literary magazine The White Review is inviting entries for The White Review Poets Prize 2018. The winner will receive £1,700, expert professional advice and will be published in the Review. To enter, submit between five and ten pages of original and unpublished poetry. The entry fee is £12. Closing date 6 November. Details: http://www.thewhitereview.org.

As ever, let me remind you to check entry details with care before submitting in case I’ve got something wrong…!

And finally, to also remind you that even rejections give something positive back, is that brilliantly encouraging quote from Sylvia Plath: