Arts Derbyshire


Can you write a story about ‘Spring’ in up to 50 words?

Each year Derby Book Festival choose a different theme – one that can be broadly interpreted – and ask you to write an original story of up to 50 words.

They will publish the winning entries from each category on our Festival bookmarks, which will be available at our Summer Festival.  Not only will you have the joy of seeing your story in print, but each winner also receives a £50 book token.

This year’s theme is ‘Spring’ 

For example, you could focus on:

  • the season of Spring and the new life that it brings
  • a spring mechanism which could open to reveal unknown contents
  • the action of a spring which jumps up and down
  • the way you spring into life each morning!

We hope your ideas will flow … but remember you only have up to a total of fifty words (excluding the story title) for your stories.

How to enter

It’s FREE to enter and you can start writing today – and can enter as many stories as you like. Just remember to stick to no more than 50 words!

You must enter the competition using our online form, which you will be able to find on our website.

On the same page, you’ll also be able to view creative writing tips and tricks and the terms and conditions for the competition. It also explains more about the prizes we are offering!

There are three age categories:

  • 11 and under
  • 12-17
  • 18 and over.

We also have categories for HMP Foston Hall and HMP Sudbury.  There will be one winner in each category and a prize for each winner (more on that below!).

A panel of local writers and creative writing specialists will judge the entries and the winning stories will be:

  • illustrated by an illustration student from the University of Derby in a competition for second-year students
  • printed on Festival bookmarks, which will be used to promote our next Festivals
  • published on our website.

Summary of key facts

  • The competition is open from today, Monday 29th January until Monday 19th February at 9pm
  • This year’s theme is ‘Spring’, and you can interpret this however you want
  • The challenge is to write up to 50 words on the theme (as measured by our online entry form)
  • There are prizes!! There will be one winner from each age category (under 11s, 12-17, over 18s) and the prizes each winner will receive are: a £50 book token, the winning story printed on a bookmark that will promote our next Festivals, and the story will be published on the Derby Book Festival website. An illustration student at the University of Derby will design an illustration for each story as part of a separate competition for the students. The set of bookmarks containing the illustrated stories will be available at the start of our 2024 Summer Festival
  • It’s free to enter the Flash Fiction Writing Competition and you can enter as many times as you’d like.

Questions? Please email us at:

Happy writing and good luck to all entrants!

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