Arts Derbyshire


Can you write about ‘Space’ in a 50 word Festival competition?

Can you write about ‘Space’ in a 50 word Festival competition?

Derby Book Festival is challenging children and adults to write a story in up to fifty words on the subject of ‘Space’ for its 2022 Flash Fiction Writing Competition launched today (31st January).

The seventh Derby Book Festival will be held from 20th – 28th May 2022. The winning stories will be printed on a set of bookmarks and will be distributed across Derby and Derbyshire to promote Derby Book Festival.

In previous years, writers have been invited to tackle a variety of themes: ‘Love’, ‘Secrets’, ‘Journeys’, ‘If Only’, ‘Our World’ and ‘Home’, attracting hundreds of entries each year. The theme can be interpreted as widely as the author wishes, so long as the story is no more than fifty words.


Liz Fothergill, Chair of Derby Book Festival explained: “Our annual Flash Fiction competition is always an extremely popular part of the Festival each year and we are particularly delighted that so many schools engage in the competition.

We are delighted that our key funder, the University of Derby, will be running a competition for their Illustration course students to illustrate the stories. We hope to receive a bumper crop of entries this year as the Pandemic has encouraged more people to enjoy writing and reading as a leisure activity.”

The Flash Fiction competition has three age categories: 11 years and under, 12 – 17 years and 18 years and over. Entries for all categories will be judged by a panel of local writers and creative writing specialists and there will be one winner in each category with a prize for each of a £50 book token. There is also a category for HMP Foston Hall who are involved for the third time.

Liz Fothergill explained why the theme of ‘Space’ has been chosen: “We want to have as wide a range of original stories as possible and feel that ‘Space’ can be interpreted in so many ways: the galaxy and space exploration, the freedom that space gives us both mentally and physically, the awe of being in a huge space such as a cathedral or football stadium … or the fear of being confined in a small space. We look forward to reading all the inspiring stories that the competition always generates!”

The Festival website has some helpful links to those who are interested in writing Flash Fiction but are not sure where to start.

Professor Keith McLay, Provost – Learning & Teaching at the University of Derby, said: “Benjamin Franklin’s prompt to readers in his 1738 almanac, ‘To either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing about’, captures the essence of Derby Book Festival’s Flash Fiction competition. Reading and writing are two sides of the same educational and transformational coin. The University of Derby’s core is providing opportunities for transformational education and that is why we are delighted to be a principal partner of the Derby Book Festival and, in particular, to be involved in promoting the reading and writing opportunity of the Flash Fiction completion.”

The set of bookmarks will be printed for the launch of the Festival on 6th April and will be distributed widely across bookshops, local libraries, venues, cafes and arts centres.


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

The closing date for the competition is 10pm on Monday 21st 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.

You can also follow the Festival on Twitter and ‘like’ the Festival on Facebook.

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