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Christopher Fielden’s Annual Short Story Competition

“To Hull & Back”

A Humorous Writing Contest

Quick links on this page:

prizes - key dates - rules - how to enter - terms & conditions - extra details

2016 results - 2017 competition now open

Short Story Competition To Hull And Back Logo

The 2017 To Hull & Back Competition

Welcome!

August 2016 sees the launch of the fourth ‘To Hull & Back' Short Story Competition, an annual short story contest with a humorous twist that celebrates the most imaginative and amazing short stories from writers all over the world.

Some highly prestigious writing contests offer huge cash prizes – the BBC award £15,000 and the Sunday Times give a whopping £30,000 to their winner. What can you win by entering this competition that contends with these short story prize giving heavyweights? THE most amazing, innovative and sought after writing prize on the planet. Forget the Pulitzer. THIS is the badger*.

Admittedly, I may have slipped into sales-pitch-chaos-mayhem-overdrive-mode whilst writing the opening paragraphs, but I firmly believe that I can live up to expectation. See if you agree.

Prizes

If you’re selected as a winner:

You Will Win Cash

1st Prize: £1,000

2nd Prize: £200

3rd Prize: £100

3 x Highly Commended: £50

14 x Shortlisted: £25

But it doesn’t end there, my fine writing friends, oh no, not by a LONG shot.

You Will Be Published

All winners and short listed entries will be published in the To Hull & Back Short Story Anthology. This will be available as a professionally published, printed book and as a Kindle download. The book will have an ISBN number.

If you’re published in the book, a writer’s profile will appear alongside your story and on my website. This will consist of a delightful picture of you, a short bio telling readers all about how amazing you are and details of your website, if you have one.

In addition to this, an author interview with the winner will be published alongside their story.

And there’s more…

You Will Win the Most Awesomely Awesome in its Awesomeness Writing Prize in the Known Macrocosm

This is the bit that will send tingles down your spine. Joy will ravage your very being and you will feel compelled to dance naked for no reason, no matter where you might be. I guarantee it**.

The winner will be taken to Hell Hull and back.

Allow me to explain.

The winner’s face will appear on the front cover of the To Hull & Back Anthology. They will be depicted riding a flaming motorcycle and holding a quill of wrath. The covers from previous competitions can be seen below. Each year, the cover will be unique and created by a different artist.

To Hull  Back 2016 Front Cover

2016 To Hull & Back anthology cover, by Steph Minns

To Hull & Back Short Story Anthology 2015

2015 To Hull & Back anthology cover, by Lukas Miguel

To Hull & Back

2014 To Hull & Back anthology cover, by Elisabetta Bruno

Now that’s a prize.

But it doesn’t end there.

The winner will also receive a printed copy of the anthology. Before being sent to them, their book will be strapped to the handlebars of a two wheeled chariot of delight (otherwise known as a Harley Davidson FLSTFi Fatboy 1584cc V-Twin motorcycle) and filmed being ridden to Hull and back.

Harley Davidson FLSTFi Fatboy

The Hog, pictured at the Isle of Man TT Races

Hull is a fabulous city in the UK (voted the UK City of Culture for 2017) whose name sounds like somewhere reported to be rather unpleasant, fiery and obsessed with eternal damnation. I dwell in the fair city of Bristol. I will ride the book to Hull. And back. Here is a map of the journey:

To Hull and Back map

To Hull & Back - the journey the winner's book will take

It’s a 227 mile ride that takes around four hours, so the round trip is approximately 454 miles (probably more like 600 with diversions and me getting lost).

A GoPro camera will be strapped to my chest, so I can film the journey of the soon-to-be-most-coveted copy of the anthology in existence. The book will be exposed to the elements, so may be ravaged by wind, rain and the high velocity impact of insects, but it will have undertaken a journey no other copy will take. A certificate will be provided with the book, authenticating it as being the unique copy that’s been to Hull and back. And, if possible, the winning writer can appear in the video, if they wish. If they’re as mentally unhinged as I am, they can even come and make the journey with me, on the back of the hog.

Below is the second To Hull & Back winner's video, starring winner Radovana Jágriková. It was filmed for the 2015 competition in April and May 2016. The music in the video is by Jinxremover. The songs are instrumental versions of 'Killing Me' (from the Spitfire album) and 'Pig Club' (from the Messerschmitt album).

I'd like to say a big thank you to Richard Snack for his assistance in filming the video.

To Hull & Back 2015 winner's video

Here is the first To Hull & Back video, starring winner Mike Scott Thomson. This was filmed for the 2014 competition in April 2015. Again, music is performed by Jinxremover featuring instrumental versions of 'Messerschmitt' and 'Intro To Nothing'.

Big thanks to Mike Scott Thomson for making the journey to Hull and starring in the video.

To Hull & Back 2014 winner's video

Below is a video entitled 'To Bath & Back' (hasn't quite got the same ring to it as 'To Hull & Back', but Bath is only 10 miles away from Bristol and I was buggered if I was going to ride to Hull unless I absolutely had to). It was filmed so entrants could see an example of the prize the first year I ran the competition. I used my book, Wicked Game, to make this. Now, when I do the rides to Hull, I use the winner's copy of the anthology. The music is an instrumental version of 'Silent' by Jinxremover. I'd like to say a huge thank you to Georgie Fielden for her help in filming the video.

To Bath & Back - winner's video example

There it is. The GREATEST prize available in the world of writing today. Undoubtedly, no one will be able to disagree.

OK. So now you have to enter, right? Before doing so, PLEASE read the rules and terms and conditions. If you don’t abide by the rules, you may be disqualified.

I’ve been involved with administrating many competitions. The number of stories that are disqualified because writers can’t be bothered to read the rules always amazes me. PLEASE READ THE RULES AND TERMS AND CONDITIONS THOROUGHLY BEFORE ENTERING.

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Key Dates

Entries will be accepted from the 1st August 2016.

There is an 'early bird' entry fee in place until 30th April 2017: £7 for 1 story, £12 for 2 stories, £15 for 3 stories.

From 1st May 2017 to 31st July 2017, the entry fee increases to: £9 for 1 story, £15 for 2 stories, £18 for 3 stories. I've put the 'early bird' fee in place because in 2016 I received approximately 60% of the entries in the final month. As the number of entries goes up every year, I hope the 'early bird' fee will encourage people to enter earlier so reading all the stories and preparing the shortlist is more manageable.

The competition closes to entries at 11.59pm GMT (Greenwich meantime, the time in London, UK) on 31st July 2017. The competition is run annually, so stories received after this deadline will be entered into next year’s competition, which opens immediately after the current contest closes.

The shortlist will be announced on this website by 20th September 2017.

Winners will be contacted by email or telephone by 30th September 2017 and announced on this website, celebrated and generally adored by 1st October 2017.

Prize money will be paid to winners via PayPal in October 2017.

The fourth ‘To Hull and Back Anthology’ will be released on 31st October 2017. 'Hulloween' seems like an appropriate launch date...

The winner’s book will be taken to Hull and back during spring 2018 (usually around March/April), weather permitting. Shortly afterwards the winner’s copy of the anthology will be delivered to them and the video of the book’s journey will be made available on YouTube, Facebook and this website.

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The Rules

They’re quite simple, but please read them carefully.

  • The competition is open to authors residing anywhere in the world.
  • All stories must be written in English.
  • Stories entered into the competition can be previously published. This also means you can submit your work elsewhere at the same time as entering it into this competition. If your story is accepted elsewhere, it will still be eligible for this competition and will not be disqualified.
  • There is no need to use UK English spellings. If you’re American, for example, just use US spellings. I may edit stories into UK spellings if they’re selected for publication in the anthology for the sake of consistency.
  • Stories must be no longer than 3,000 (three-thousand) words in length. This includes the title. To make this crystal clear, if your entry contains 3,001 (three-thousand and one) words or more, it will be disqualified.
  • There is no minimum word count.
  • This is an open competition and there is no set theme, but stories must contain some element of humour - see ‘the types of story I’m looking for’ below for further clarity.
  • Formatting:
    • Use a clear font that's easy to read, like Times New Roman or Arial. No fancy fonts or colours please.
    • Send your work in .doc, .docx, .rtf or .pdf format. If you can't supply your entry in one of the named formats, please contact me - we can usually find a way around it.
    • Please name your document ‘your name-story name’ – so ‘Christopher Fielden-My Amazing Story’ for example.
  • Entry fee:
    • There is an 'early bird' entry fee from 1st August to 30th April. It is a £7 (seven pounds GBP) entry fee for 1 (one) entry, a £12 (twelve pounds GBP) entry fee for 2 (two) entries and a £15 (fifteen pounds GBP) entry fee for 3 (three) entries.
    • The 'early bird' entry fee closes at 11.59pm GMT on 30th April. From 1st May the entry fee will be £9 (nine pounds GBP) entry fee for 1 (one) entry, £15 (fifteen pounds GBP) entry fee for 2 (two) entries and a £18 (eighteen pounds GBP) entry fee for 3 (three) entries.
    • Please pay BEFORE sending your entry.
  • Entries are to be sent by email to: chris@christopherfielden.com
  • Please format your email subject line as follows: ‘Competition Entry – Your Name’. So, using my name as an example: 'Competition Entry - Chris Fielden'.
  • Please include your name, address (including country), telephone number, the transaction ID of your PayPal payment entry fee and a brief biography (up to 200 (two-hundred) words max) in the body of the email. Also attach a picture of yourself so I can use it with your bio on this website should you be shortlisted or win the competition.
  • Each author can enter the competition up to 3 (three) times maximum. Each author can only win 1 (one) cash prize.
  • Once an entry is received, no refunds of the entry fee will be given under any circumstances.
  • Entries are only accepted from writers or their agents. If you are an agent, please say so in your email.
  • Submission of an entry is taken as acceptance of all the Terms and Conditions.

In the unlikely event of circumstances arising outside of my control, I reserve the right to cancel the competition at any time. In this instance, all entry fees will be refunded in full.

The Types of Short Stories I’m Looking For

This is an open competition, so any style or genre of story will be considered, including children’s, as long as it is humorous or funny in some way. You don’t have to try and be hilarious with every word (although it’s fine if you do), but there needs to be some element of humour within the story, even if it’s just one brief amusing moment. Black comedy and dark humour is fine, as is fluffy kitten mainstream amusement. I appreciate all types of funny. You can learn more about my twisted sense of humour on my stuff what makes I laugh page.

I look for imaginative stories that are engaging, with strong characters that grip a reader and are compelling to read to the (very satisfying) end. As you will see if you’ve read any of my short stories, I do enjoy fantasy. But I also appreciate any genre of writing that is well composed and gripping. So, any style of story has a chance in this competition.

I do not want to receive poetry, non-fiction or stories that contain gratuitous sex or violence.

Some tips to bear in mind when writing for this competition:

  1. Avoid clichés - come up with an original way of saying something in a unique voice rather than using hackneyed old phrases that have been used a gazillion times before.
  2. Be imaginative and invent original, interesting storylines that I am unlikely to have seen before.
  3. Don't switch viewpoint mid-scene.
  4. Proofread your work carefully - multiple typos result in you losing marks during the judging process.
  5. Use exclamation marks sparingly, if at all - an exclamation mark does not make something funnier or more dramatic; see this link.
  6. Don't try to be funny for the sake of being funny. When used well, humour should complement an excellent story. Look on it like a meal. The story is the steak. The humour is the condiment used to compliment the meat.
  7. Obey the rules - to help clarify, here is how I deal with them:
    1. If a submitted story is over 3,000 words in length (including the title) it is disqualified.
    2. If the entry fee is not paid, the submitted story is rejected.
    3. If a photo isn't supplied, minus 1 point on scoring during the judging process.
    4. If an author biography isn't supplied, minus 1 point on scoring during the judging process.
    5. If the PayPal ID isn't supplied, minus 1 point on scoring during the judging process.
    6. If the requested contact details aren't supplied, minus 1 point on scoring during the judging process.
    7. If the subject line of the email is incorrect, minus 1 point on scoring during the judging process.
    8. If the story document title is incorrect, minus 1 point on scoring during the judging process.
    9. If an entry scores minus 3 points or more when the above is applied, it is disqualified.

I have recently added a 'how to write comedy' page to the writing advice section of the website. I'd advise all entrants to read it.

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How to Enter

Once you have read the Rules and the Terms and Conditions, please pay your entry fee via PayPal by using the button below.

You do not have to have a PayPal account and can pay by debit or credit card. I use PayPal because it is secure, safe and protects your personal information, ensuring a safe transaction. You can learn more about PayPal here.

Number of stories:

Once you have made your payment, please email your entry to chris@christopherfielden.com. Remember to include all the details requested in the rules above.

Submission of an entry is taken as acceptance of all the Terms and Conditions. Failure to comply with the rules could mean you are disqualified. I reserve the right to update the terms and conditions at any time.

Entries are accepted by email only. I do not accept printed entries by post.

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Terms and Conditions

  1. All entries are read and judged by Christopher Fielden who will compile the shortlist.
  2. The shortlisted entries will be read independently by up to 10 published short story authors (one of whom is Christopher Fielden) who will score each story. The highest scoring stories will win. This judging method is undertaken to incorporate a variety of reading tastes, giving the fairest result.
  3. Christopher Fielden reserves the right to refuse entry to the competition for any reason at his absolute discretion.
  4. Winners will be contacted personally by email or by telephone.
  5. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  6. Every story submitted must be original, fictional, and entirely the author’s own work.
  7. By submitting a story to the competition it is warranted by the author that the story is original, fictional, and entirely the author’s own work. The author warrants that the story they have entered does not infringe the copyright or any other rights of any third party and is not libellous, unlawful or defamatory of any living person or corporate body.
  8. By submitting a story to Christopher Fielden’s To Hull and Back Short Story Competition the entrant hereby acknowledges and agrees that, free of any fees or royalty payments, their short story, biography and photo:
    • will be made available for publication in the To Hull & Back Anthology;
    • may be read out or reproduced as a podcast, and broadcast (in whole or in part) via any medium;
    • can be used (in whole or in part) in advertising and marketing material in any format via any medium.
  9. Each story included in the anthology will be edited into a consistent, professional format for publication.
  10. All copyright remains with the author.
  11. Each entrant will be added to my email list so they receive competition news. Every email I send will have an unsubscribe option.
  12. I will not share any of your personal details with anyone else, ever.

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A Few More Details About the Competition & How it’s Run

I genuinely welcome new writers and will take great pleasure in being able to publish a writer for the first time. But equally, established, published and even famous writers are more than welcome to enter this competition.

There is an entry fee, but this competition is not run for profit. It’s run for the love of writing and reading short stories. I hope the fee will cover the prize fund, the cost of producing the anthology, the cost of the book launch party and the cost of taking the winner’s book to Hull and back. If I manage to collect more money from the entry fees than anticipated, the extra cash will be put towards the next competition to increase the prize fund - my long term aim is to offer a 5 figure first prize. Here is a history of the growing prize pot for reference:

  • 2014: 1st prize £100; 2nd prize £50; 3rd prize £25 (total prize pot £175)
  • 2015: 1st prize £200; 2nd prize £100; 3rd prize £50 (total prize pot £350)
  • 2016: 1st prize £1,000; 2nd prize £150; 3rd prize £75 (total prize pot £1,225)
  • 2017: 1st prize £1,000; 2nd prize £200; 3rd prize £100, 3 x runner up prize £50; 14 x shortlisted prize £25 (total prize pot £1,800)

I’ll do everything I can to publicize the anthology and gain as much exposure for the writers and the stories as I can. Anything writers and readers can do to help with this would be GREATLY appreciated.

If this competition isn't for you, there are loads more that might interest you on my short story competition list page.

*This is the badger: a colloquialism meaning ‘this is the one’ or ‘this is brilliant’.

**Chris Fielden is slightly eccentric. Put less politely, he’s mental. He can guarantee nothing.

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Harley Davidson

Just a quick note about the fine provider of the motorcyle that I ride that features rather heavily in the competition prize.

After the inaugural competition, I wrote to them saying:

Dear Customer Services

I’ve enjoyed riding my Harley Davidson FLSTFi Fatboy for 6 years now. It’s the greatest vehicular purchase I’ve ever made. I’ve ridden it all over the British Isles and Europe and never had a problem with it – it’s the most reliable bike I’ve ever owned.

So first of all, thank you :)

Second of all, I’m a writer. I run a humorous short story competition which boasts the most amazing prize in the known macrocosm. It features my Harley. The winner has their face featured on the cover of a short story anthology that contains the best stories from the competition. The book is then strapped to my bike and filmed being ridden from Bristol in the UK (where I live) to Hull. And back again. There’s an interlude in Hull where some beer is supped and then some sleep is had, but it’s a 454 mile round trip of joyous cruising comfort.

I’ve shared this with you wonderful people because I thought it would be nice for you to know that one of your customers gets so much inspiration and joy out of a motorcycle you built.

Here’s the video from the last competition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bI4Jp5mb3Y4

I hope you like it (and don’t think I’m too mental). Cheers, Chris

Harley Davidson wrote back saying:

Good Morning Chris, thank you for your email.

I have taken a look at your video. It looks like you had a great time on your trip - and the weather was kind too.

We always appreciate feedback from our customers - both positive and constructive, but it's always great to hear when we are doing it right.

We hope that the weather improves soon and that you are able to get out and put many more enjoyable miles on your bike - that's what we're about, after all.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us and we look forward to hearing of more of your adventures.

Best regards, Michelle

As you can see, Harley Davidson are LEGENDS. I also think this proves that I can say the competition is approved by Harley Davidson.

Hmm...

Let's see if I get sued.

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A Final Note - Laughing is Good For Your Health

Humour is good for you.

It has been proven to aid your health and reduce blood pressure.

No, I'm not making this up.

You can learn more by reading this post by the American Heart Foundation.

So we should all try and partake in laughing more often. If you'd like to laugh, why not buy the latest To Hull & Back anthology.

See what I did there? Shameless... :-)

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Leave your comments

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Comments:

Your comments:

Janet G
Competition sounds fun - could this be the antidote to The Bridport?

Chris Fielden
Ha ha, maybe, Janet, maybe...

Hannah S
Can children enter? If so they probably would have to be very good to win!

Chris Fielden
Hi Hannah, yes, children can enter with parental consent. BUT, parents should be aware that the competition is primarily aimed at adults so a story written by a child could end up being published in an anthology alongside stories that contain the use of profanity and adult themes. So, if you have young children, you may feel this is inappropriate. However, I want to encourage writers of all ages to have a go at writing, entering competitions and having the chance of seeing their work published , so I am willing to accept entries from all age groups :-)

Laura B
Hi Chris, fab website! Really informative.

One thing that did really strike me in the competitions section was Sons of Joy as I suppose I haven't read a lot of pieces on food - it really interested me.

Looking on their site though it seems that the poor people doing it have been hit by a stalker and now stopped the site? Or have I got that wrong?

Chris Fielden
Hi Laura, I haven't heard about the Sons of Joy stalker problem. How did you hear about it?

Laura B
Hi Chris, it was on their site - they mentioned having to stop due to a fan becoming a stalker or something which is quite sad - I actually find the site really interesting! It seemed like the last update was July unless I clicked on the wrong bit?

Chris Fielden
Laura, ah right, I found the page and it seems they do have a stalker problem. What a shame. Let's hope they get it resolved and start running again soon!

Laura B
Definitely! Some people take it all too far :( Thanks Chris

Carol M
Is the competition open to all people around the globe, for example in African Countries?

Chris Fielden
Yes, the competition is open to anyone residing anywhere in the world, as long as the stories are written in English :-)

Frank D
Christopher, I enjoyed the trip to Bath and Back, thinking, at first, I was going to Bath, Maine, until I realized I was on the wrong side of the road.

As a published, though hardly known, author, I have a piece I wrote recently I would like to send. After I finished it, I realized that 1) It made no sense, and 2) I didn't have a clue who would want to read it----that is, until I got your email.

Chris Fielden
Frank, your story sounds perfect. I'll look forward to reading it when you enter :-)

Bill R
I have never submitted anything for publication and have a few stories I'd like to submit to your competition. My question is: what are your specific or preferred format requirements, if any?

Most sites specify: Courier 14, left justified, double spaced. That makes for an ugly manuscript, though perhaps utilitarian. I work in Word and like my mss in Garamond 14, justified, 1.1 line-spaced. They would be easy to reformat and I'd be happy to do so if you prefer.

Hoping to hear from you, Bill

Chris Fielden
Bill, all the details regarding formatting are in the rules above. To be honest, I’m not too worried about formatting, as long as the font is clear and easy to read – I think sometimes competition administrators can go a little too far with formatting requirements… :-)

So please just send your work as it is – I’ll look forward to reading your stories.

Gina W
Wow, what an amazing competition!!!!!!! I am running a writers' workshop at Hull, 9th July, 2014. We are all serious about writing and love humour. So, I will pass the details on. Many thanks....

Chris Fielden
Great, thank you Gina!

Amanda L
Love that you are bonkers and self medicating on writing, reading short stories and riding your bike. What a splendid wheeze. Thanks to your inventiveness, writing now has the chance of both seeing the light of day and getting a little outing... To Hull! What short story does not dream of a life outside of its creater? The smell of leather and exhaust fumes, the open road, the chance to see whether Hull is real or whether it was something they made up to scare the willies out of everyone? Would a picnic, with cheese and pickle sandwiches at a truck stop layby, be altogether out of the question? My appetite for writing has just been picqued.  .

Chris Fielden
Thanks Amanda. I will take being called bonkers as a compliment - you could have been far ruder :-) Picnics are NEVER out of the question. I hope you can now sate your writing appetite by penning a masterpiece.

Amanda E
Hi Chris, great informative site.  And funny and a bit nerdy - I like that in a website.

You may well be aware of this, but I was horrified to see that the BBC have nicked your anthology title - http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/writersroom/posts/To-Hull-and-Back - for some kind of Radio thing with Maureen Lipman.  This is obviously outrageous, though (super-positive-thinking) a great short story.

Chris Fielden
Amanda, glad you like the site, and my twisted sense of humour / nerdyness. Hmm. 'Nerdyness' isn't a word. It should be.

Yes, I was aware that the BBC are using the name too and, like you, am outraged. I should ask for a cut.

After I launched the competition, I found out that an old episode of Only Fools and Horses uses the same name, so I can't really accuse anyone else of nicking it. That would be a tad hypocritical.

Ewurakua A
Hi Chris, this sounds totally incredible. Is there some sort of deadline for submission of stories? Is there any age range? I mean can I participate from this part of the globe? I'm so into this.

Chris Fielden
Ewurakua, all the details are on the page, including deadlines. The current competition closes on 31st August 2014.

There is no age limit. And it doesn't matter where you live. I accept entries from anywhere in the world as long as the stories are written in English.

I hope that answers all your questions :-)

Nassima E
I wanted to enter this competition because I have a wonderfull love of writing. I write beautiful stories , that's why I hope I'll win ...

Chris Fielden
I'll look forward to reading your entry, Nassima - best of luck :-)

Natalie G
Can a story written by more than one person be entered? I have been writing a story for a while now that I'm thinking of entering in the competition, however I started it off with a friend; she wrote one chapter as the story was her idea, but she has not kept it up. I don't think she would be willing to break off from the story, so it would be entered with both of our names. Final point and question: can one piece written by two authors be entered into your luscious contest?

The competition sounds more divine than Aragorn's voice by the way.

Chris Fielden
Natalie, yes, because you used the word 'luscious' to describe the competition I've decided that I will accept an entry written by two people. I may have to come up with an interesting anthology cover should you win - Zaphod Beeblebrox springs to mind, as does Cerberus, hound of hades - but I'm sure it would be doable!

More divine than Aragon's voice? Blimey, I must be doing something right! Thank you :-)

Julie N
I love your site, Christopher, and I love the idea of this crazy comp so much I am going to send you one of my stories, heavily inspired by my equally crazy love for Helen Simpson's short stories. It might not be very good, but if you don't like it I will at least have the consolation of knowing I supported your work a little bit. Also I know what a go-pro is cos one of my sons is a film maker. Incidentally, we must be one of the few families who had a good-ish experience with Brit Writers 2010. It literally was a dazzling night for myself, husband and two boys, all free. And it was in the same year I won the She Magazine Short Story comp so I popped to their offices while I was in London... this was shortly before the mag went under, though the prize was not that munificent, honest.  Anyway I live in Yorks and am so interested in your comp prize that I would def travel to Hull if I won. And would probably go on the Hog if you didn't mind! Gotta live a bit, eh? What would we write about if we didn't? I love writing, and talking to people and must have an interesting face for your book cover cos some chap from the other side of the world stopped to talk to me today in a museum when I was with my two youngest children ( I have five altogether, no TV signal 'oop North ). People often do stop to talk, and tell me the most amazing things. So you never know, it might be the face that sells a few extra copies..... lol.

Seriously though, thanks a mill for the site. Quite often it cheers me up just to look at it!

take care

Julie :)

Chris Fielden
Thanks Julie, I'll look forward to reading your story and seeing a picture of your interesting face. I suffer the same affliction. Actually, 'interesting' probably isn't the right word for my beauteous bonce. You can bask in its glory by looking at my About page if you so desire and form your own opinion. I'd advise having a sick bag to hand should you brave it :-)

I'm glad to hear your experience with Brit Writers was good - I must admit, I'd only heard bad things from people up until now.

Well, if you win, you're welcome to hop on the hog with me (hmm, that sounds like some sort of hideous euphemism , but hey, let's just ignore that) for the ride to Hull. I've had a lot of entries from all over the world, so unfortunately the winner may not be able to join me for the journey if they live vast distances away, but I'm hoping they can - it would be nice for the winner to appear in the video.

Anyway - best of luck with your writing and I'm pleased to hear you love the site :-)

Julia BP
Are the characters allowed to swear, or use profanities? ie: the F word or, Jesus Christ! or Christ on a bike! . . .?

Thanks.

Chris Fielden
Julia, the use of profanity is fine, as long as it fits as part of the story. I draw the line when swearing is used gratuitously. Cheers, Chris

Julia BP
Thanks, Chris, I love the idea of this comp! Cheers back atcha, Julia

Shaun D
Hello Chris, my son (8 years) and daughter (12 years) recently wrote a children's story that is genuinely very funny about a sheep called Boris and a lettuce called Gary, you can probably guess where it's going. However, my question is that they have also illustrated the story with simple black and white drawings and several of the gags need the illustrations. Could I submit the text and jpgs of the illustrations ?

Chris Fielden
Shaun, yes, I'd accept that as an entry. The only issue might arise if the story is shortlisted and I am unable to print images in the anthology. But I guess we can worry about that if it happens!

One thing to be aware of is that a lot of the stories I receive deal with adult themes and contain adult language. If the story is shortlisted it would be published alongside some non-child friendly material.

As long as you're happy with that, then please feel free to submit - I'll look forward to reading it :-)

Kathy P
Hi Chris, I have written a short story for submission. Are there guidelines on swear words? Not that I haveoverused them but it is fitting for some of my characters to swear, how does this sit with you?
Thought that it would be best to check. No gratuitous sex or violenceI promise!!

Chris Fielden
Kathy, swearing isn’t a problem as long as it’s not gratuitous and sits within the story in a necessary / believable way. If you buy the 2014 To Hull & Back anthology, you’ll see that there are quite a few stories in there that contain profanity, but in each case, the use of swearing fits with the characters, situation and plot of the story. Hope that helps.

.

Eleri T W
What a refreshingly mad prize -  Count me in!

Chris Fielden
Will do Eleri :-)

Cathy B
Chris, would you be able to publish my short story in Australia, although I live in the U.S.? That is if my story makes the cut! Thanks.

Chris Fielden
Cathy, I publish through Amazon in all countries, so the anthology is available globally. Some countries will have to pay more postage depending on where they are printed (if a printed version is required). Kindle is a download so available instantly from anywhere :-)

Kristoffer S
Hi! This seems like a lot of fun! However, I am Norwegian. Am I eligible to contend in this colosseum of hilarity? Thanks

Chris Fielden
Kristoffer, you are indeed - I accept entries from anywhere on Earth, or the known macrocosm for that matter :-)

Nellie D
Chris, thanks for this great opportunity.  I have only just stumbled across it, probably because I don't have anything to do with Hull (or as I've heard it pronounced, "OOL").  My question (which... no pressure or anything, but could be the difference between you rescuing me from a breast-beating lifetime of unpublished oblivion or catapulting me into the status of fiction writing legend that could last a lunchtime - such is my angst you understand)...

Anyway back to the question... Can I submit a story / body of work / fictional act of genius /etc using a Nom De Plume / Pen Name?

It's not that I'm wanted by the Inland Revenue or anything... nor is my real name Mergatroyd Budd-Knuckle but as you've kinda probably guessed... I'm shy.

Thanks, Nellie  (who\'s not from the Deli)

Chris Fielden
Nellie, I appreciate shyness can be a big issue for yet to be recognised literary geniuses. Hence, forthwith, verily and yay, you can use a pen name, non de plume, nickname - anything you damn well like :-)

Emma E
Hello Christopher, I am in the process of writing a short story to submit to your competition and would like to check something with you. Would it be okay to mention John West salmon in the story (this may sound strange, I know!) or could this be a copyright problem? I thought it best to check with you before I go any further!

I would sincerely appreciate your advice and thank you for this wonderful opportunity.

Chris Fielden
Hi Emma. No, that’s not a problem, as long as you’re not saying anything libellous / derogatory about the John West brand.

Let me know if you have any more questions!

Emma E
Chris, thank you for putting my mind to rest regarding the John West issue! I appreciate your advice.

Pat H
Just curious how many entries you have per session? I "donate" a dollar each week to the poor children via the state lottery. Do I have better odds winning a lottery? Will I feel better winning your acceptance rather than taking money from the poor children's school fund? I have ten pounds ready to give to someone.

Chris Fielden
I received 92 entries to the competition last year. Based on the number of entries so far, this year I expect it will be 100+

So, the odds are better than the lottery :-)

Martin B
Hi Chris,  I have two questions:

Will you accept entries emailed to you as a an Open Office attachment?

Will you accept more than one entry per author?

Chris Fielden
Martin, yes, I'll accept Open Office files. I'll just have to let you know if I have any problem opening them. If I do, we can always find a way around it :-)

Yes, an author can enter up to 3 times. Please read the rules above for full details - it's all covered in there.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

Siobhan K
I  know someone keen to move into comedy as they  are facing redundancy mid May... should they steer clear of politics? I suggested fantasy fiction as they are very good at inventing  short stories that have no bearing on reality. We have ruled out stand-up comedy as too much heckling.

Chris Fielden
Siobahn, I don't think you need to avoid politics, you just need to tackle it in an original way. Fantasy might be good, but the standards are high in that genre, so your friend would need to come up with something original and strong. Whatever they do, I wish them the best of luck with it!

Siobhan K
Hi Christopher, thanks for your reply- much appreciated.

I was being slightly ironic in my comments which isn't fair as we lose a lot in translation on e-mail & web site comments.

I was attempting to infer that mid May someone maybe out of a job or voted out of a job. Perhaps, Ed, Dave, Nick or Nigel should attempt a new career in stand-up as they do a lot of standing on debate panels and should at least know what team they support )

I like Ballot Monkeys on CH 4 - the vision of a stationary campaign bus going nowhere fast sums up how people probably view the general election.

I would appreciate any feedback as am trying to write and actually put my English Literature Degree to use.

Chris Fielden
Hi Siobahn, ah, that went completely over my head! Like you say, lots can be lost in the subtext of emails. And readers being slow on the uptake… :-)

I think some of our politicians are already attempting a career in stand up. Sadly, the population is the butt of the joke on many occasions.

It seems you can write humour well. Keep at it! The reason I’ve enjoyed seeing some of my stories in print is because I’ve listened to constructive criticism and refused to give up. As long as you do that, and don’t expect to become rich from writing, I think you’ll do well.

Siobhan K
Thanks Chris. I will attempt my best to submit a decent short story. I had a good look through your website and it was very interesting so I think I will pick up some good pointers there from experienced writers.

Oh, my cousin lives in Lincolnshire (code for near Grimsby) and is a huge Hull FC fan. We never talk sport as Iam a Rugby Union fan. But I have been to the Humber Bridge by accident.

Chris Fielden
Siobahn,

Ah, the Humber Bridge.

I did the filming for the first competition video a couple of weeks back and rode over the bridge. On purpose. It’ll feature in the vid :-)

Barbara T
Hi Chris, I prefer to post hard copy rather than email attachments. I am one of the 'aged brigade' and have not come to terms with the electronic techie stuff. Would you accept this with a cheque for my entry fee? I know it makes me seem totally dumb but there are a lot of us about who panic at a keyboard and a screen, I'm afraid.

Chris Fielden
Hi Barbara, I'm afraid I don't accept entries by post. There are a number of reasons, but the main ones are:

1. Post and cheques mean extra administration time. I work fulltime, so am forced to minimise this or the competition would not be doable!

2. I need digital copies of the stories for easy distribution to all the judges (who live all over the place).

3. Having to type all the stories and biographies up manually and scanning photos for the anthology would take too long.

Sorry about that, but I've chosen to accept modern technology as the way forward with running this competition or I wouldn't have time to run it properly!

Kevin S
I'm going to enter this competition with my three best short stories.  The reason - no one's telling me how to write a story, like so many other competitions. Just a bit of humour, that's all I need to know.

Also, I'm a Bristolian and I went to Hull once. Now does my wife get to find out I'm human? I filled the security code in, so I must be.

OK, how long does it take to write three short stories?

Chris Fielden
Good to hear, Kevin :-)

How long? I think it varies, but you have until 31st August!

Tristan M
"Christopher Fielden reserves the right to refuse entry to the competition for any reason at his absolute discretion."

This stated by a self-professed "mentally unhinged" man. Uh-oh, we're in trouble...

Chris Fielden
Indeed you are, Tristan, indeed *twitch, shudder, gibber, dribble* you are...

Alec S
Chris, this looks like great fun, a quick question if I may, please?

I have self-published (via Kindle and Createspace) a collection of short stories based upon my yoof riding bikes with my mates and I was wondering if it would be okay to enter one of those for this competition?

I am thinking of writing something new for the comp. but to be honest, seeing as the economies of scale might allow me to slip one of the older stories (20 years old) in too, that would be pretty cool... and save me any additional effort, as I'm all about efficiency, me.

Can you get me another Harley and then we can ride together? Though Hull is only at the other end of the M62 from me.

Keep up the great work.

Chris Fielden
Alec, entering previously published stories into this competition is fine. Please go ahead.

The competition already runs at a loss, so I'm afraid I won't be able to buy you a Harley. Still, who knows what the future holds. Harley sponsorship? Maybe. The lottery is always a possibility. I really must enter it...

Alec S
Thanks Chris, I shall send one entry in for sure.

No sweat about the Harley, I'll win the lottery myself this week (it's got to be my turn soon) so I'll fork up for that. Drinking a pint, wearing an AC/DC t-shirt, that's the life.

Tristan M
I hope your psychiatrist knows you're doing this.

Chris Fielden
I think it’s best he doesn’t…

Tristan M
Well you have a moral obligation to tell him.

Chris Fielden
I will bear your advice in mind.

Lesley T
I would like to enter one of my humorous short stories in your competition.

Your rules state the preferred font, however, do you prefer double or single spacing, indented first lines, or not?

Please tell me if I am being too pedantic. I can take it.

Chris Fielden
Hi Lesley, you can never be too pedantic about competition rules… :-)

I don’t mind how the document is formatted, so lay it out however you like – as long as I can read the font I’m happy!

Tristan M
Now we're back where we started!

Chris Fielden
Indeed we are, Tristan, indeed *twitch, shudder, gibber, dribble* we are...

Tristan M

Face Palm

 

Bill L
Very interested in the competition but on reading the conditions of entry, I tend to shy away due to clause 8. No problem with the first bullet point of 8, but the latter two seem to handover rights of republication of a short-listed story, in any format, to 'Hull and Back', if H&B found alternative markets?

Whereas, under 9. if the writer found an alternative market for his/her story, then could proceed with selling the story?

Sorry for legalese, but one is always encouraged to read the terms and conditions!

Chris Fielden
Hi Bill, no problem, I always like to understand the T&Cs too.

The reason I list clause 8 is in case an opportunity arises to promote the anthology and the writers featured in it - it's a common clause in many competitions. It's always good to have options open should an opportunity with a renowned website, newspaper, TV show, radio show etc. present itself.

As I accept previously published stories into the competition, I'm happy for writers to approach other markets whenever they like, so I don't demand first publication rights or anything like that. The writer can do what they like with their stories. I just need permission to use any shortlisted stories via any medium because you never know what marketing opportunities might present themselves in the future. Any marketing would benefit the writer just as much as the competition, hence personally I'm happy entering competitions with this clause in their T&Cs.

I hope that clarifies the situation. Please let me know if you have any further questions!

Angela B
Hi Chris, is it OK to attach more than one entry to an email, or must they be on single emails?

Chris Fielden
Hi Angela, it's fine to attach more than 1 entry to an email - anything up to the max of 3 entries.

Gil J
Chris, tried to log on to your mailing list but it won't take it, saying that it's already in use. I've been using it for a number of years but no one has mentioned it before.

The 'gill' bit is because a girlfriend on a ship with me some years ago opened the site for me, but couldn't spell 'Gil'. Am trying to send a few stories to your competition at the moment - a prize worth winning.

Gil (The famous unknown author)

Chris Fielden
Hi Gil, I've just checked my email list and you are already subscribed. Look forward to reading your stories!

Jenifer G
Hi Chris, bravo for the way you keep up your website and your generosity in responding to your many emails.  This message is about the difficulty you had selecting stories for your competition anthology.

Your website grid of competitions gives  categories  based on word caps. Under 1,000 words, 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 etc. - up to 17,000. I ordered a copy of the To Hull and Back  anthology. The word cap was 4,000 words. I note the winning story is under 1,000 words; one shortlisted story is even shorter; and a number are 1/3 of the word cap. What I have to say is  nothing to do with the judging of the stories taken as individual pieces,  but to do with the problem of comparing stories that are not in the same wordcap category. It's as if you were comparing the qualities of a bantam weight boxer with a middle-weight or heavy-weight. Brevity being the soul of wit, it is more difficult to pull off a humorous story of 3,500-4,000 words than one of 1,000-1,500 words.  I think  the  stories under 2,000 words belong in a competition that is specifically for that light-weight category. I realize that your rules do not specify a minimum length and it is in your interest to encourage as many entries as possible; however I do think the stories selected should be on a more comparable footing.

Chris Fielden
Hi Jenifer, thanks for your comments, and I'm glad to hear you like the site :-)

I'm afraid I disagree with your point regarding word count limits though.

I don't think the length of a story has anything to do with how well it's written or constructed. The stories featured in the anthology range from very short, as you say, to very close to the maximum word count. For example, while the first place story was just over 1,000 words in length, the second place story was only a few words short of the 4,000 word maximum.

The majority of short story competitions accept a wide range of word counts and the top cap is usually to limit reading time due to the amount of entries. I have considered shortening my competition's maximum word count requirement, but for that reason only.

Any short story competition is subjective, and no matter what criteria you use to 'score' the stories, a judge's personal taste will always play some part in the decision making. This is certainly the case with humour. I find all manner of story lengths appealing, and it really has very little (if anything) to do with judging a story. I also like to present a wide range of stories in the anthology as it offers more variety to readers, so I feel different story lengths and styles are a positive for people buying the anthology.

Part of the reason I use a panel of judges to decide the winners is because tastes vary so much. If I judged the competition alone, the final result would be different. I feel it's fairer to use a variety of tastes. That way, the stories that score consistently well from all the judges, win. Unfortunately, due to the amount of submissions I receive, I can't ask all the judges to read all the stories - it's too much to ask as we all give our time for free. So I compile the shortlist alone. This may have to change in the future if I continue to see a rise in the number of entries.

I hope that explains this alternate point of view. I wish you the best of luck with getting your story published in the future - it was incredibly well written :-)

Jenifer G
Hi Chris, no one would disagree that the length of a story has nothing to do with its quality.

But in competitions it is easier to judge quality when the quantities are similar.

That's what word cap categories indicate.

You say the word caps are just an indication of reading time.

But time is an element when pieces are to be compared too.

My message to you was only to suggest that it is easier to compare the quality of pieces when the quantities are approximately the same.

Cheers.

Chris Fielden
Hi Jenifer, I believe you can judge the quality of a very short story and compare it to the qualities of a longer tale. But hey, that's just my opinion. We are all different and so are our opinions - I guess the world would be boring if everyone agreed on everything :-)

Lawrie W
"Alright Fielden, we have you surrounded.  Step outside with your hands where we can see them.  No funny business.  Itchy piles make for itchy trigger fingers and these blokes have been sitting for hours."

As part of my green policy I will be sending a re-scragged version of an old story.  Feel free to put it with the rest of the re-cycling.

Great site, great stories, great competition!  Thanks.

Chris Fielden
LOL, thanks Lawrie, will look forward to reading your story :)

Lawrie W
Oh cripes! I sent the whole darn story, that's all I had. 

Keep fighting the good fight.

Erin M
Hi Chris, your website is very helpful and everything is well placed but there`s one thing I'd like to know. Are people not from Britain aloud to enter?

Chris Fielden
Hi Erin, yes - anyone can enter from anywhere in the world, as long as the entry is written in English :-)

Andrew S
Hi, Chris, and Greetings. I read your devotional accolades to Harvey Davidson Motorcycles Inc. My experience with them is falling out of bed from the rattling and the 100 decibel noise when one passes in the nearby city throughfare, if that's a word, about half a mile away.

I appreciate, however, the thrill, joy, exhileration, and spiritual bliss that comes from keeping the neighbourhood terrified, scaring young children with the noise, as well as riding the easily avoidable yet high risk of causing death or serious injuries to yourself or others with wiping out on the road at 205 miles per hour, with no helmet but the last chords of the tunes "Motorcycle Mama". And I ain't joking. I know how much adrenaline-driven bliss can be provided by living dangerously and with reckless abandon. I used to "feel the wind in my hair" by playing chess at the park with no elbow warmers, and without sunscreen, in my days. And my father expressed so many times that he wants to go like my brother: happy, smiling, arms held out, facing towards the Oslo in the Northeast, sitting in his favourite armchair, and listening to Wagner's Lohengrin trilogy on a record player. He's my hero.

My sister, on the other hand, the renegade and the only one in our family without the blessings and curse of holding an officially issued poetic licence by the Licencing Board of North London, came out unscathed from a drunken funeral home brawl, as the last one standing. Go imagine.

Anyway, I digress...

Seriously speaking, I wish you and the competitors the best of luck with the contest.

May a thousand Harveys rain from the sky upon your head and on the creators of Harvey Davidson Motorcycles on your most favourite day.

"The Noise be with you."

Chris Fielden
Ah, Andrew, who doth appreciate the squawking of the screaming eagles, the blatting of the V-Twin, the howling of the wind (I would add 'through one's hair', but there isn't as much on my head as once there was and thus it would be highly misleading), one must remember that this is a Davidson of Harley we are talking about. If I were to attain the speed of 205 miles-per-hour it is likely I would cause myself irreparable damage as said motorcycle is not known for its wind-resisting capabilities. No faring have I, no screen; the elements cascade into me as I ride. Hence, loud thundering at mostly sensible-speeds is my chosen path, as no longer am I youthful with little fear of death. But sometimes, just sometimes, the throttle calls and one finds oneself answering, laughing for no particular reason as one's velocity increases and insects die in biblical proportions as one seeks the joy of speed on the highway to Hull...

May the noise be with you my friend.

Andrew S
Eagles' cry, wind-howl,

Spirit soars, it's body's haul,

You on your Harley Davidson's hull,

You be on the way-road to Hull.

Joe H
Hi Chris, I have a short story I would love to submit. Can you do pdf.? I’m on a mac book pro. I’m rather new at the computer gig but learning. If I cannot submit it thru pdf, or final draft, any suggestions would be great. Love your bike. I had a beautiful Harley Dinah until some creature decided to take a break from using his mirrors in his Ford Taurus. Hope to hear from you, and thank you for listing all the competitions. I’ve never entered one.

Chris Fielden
Hi Joe. Yes, send me a PDF, that's fine. I think I'll add that to the accepted formats as a few Mac users have said the same.

Look forward to reading your entry :-)

Jerry W
Hello, Chris. Many thanks for your web site.  Your cause has inspired me toward a timid hope that "however minimal my efforts may prove" I might join my voice with those of you who wield the much needed healing power of humor in this sad, angry world.  Humor has long been the sanctuary in which I huddled to escape the harshness of life. I respect those of you who don't passively retreat into humor, but forge boldly forth carrying its banner against the mock sincerity that dictates our lives.  Thanks to all who join you.

I've carefully noted your advice regarding the overuse of exclamation points. As an appeasing gesture (I think sucking up is a harsh term, don't you?) to your suggestions, I've completely eliminated that evil punctuation. Total banishment. I was wondering, though, where you stand regarding italics as indicators of relative emphasis. In the sentence "This guy is too long-winded," italics seem to be called for, don't they?

Chris Fielden
Hi Jerry, I'm glad to hear you have banished those superfluous exclamation marks. It's amazing how many people pepper their stories with billions of them, despite the advice on this page. Ah well, not everyone reads the rules either.

Personally, I don't tend to use italics, except to illustrate thoughts. It's common practice. Eg, I'm going to have fish tonight, he thought. I do love a bit of kipper. Or for names, like Writers’ Forum (it’s a magazine, so would be italicised).

I think it’s fine to use italics to put emphasis on words, as long as the practice isn’t overused. Everything in moderation and all that.

I hope that’s helpful.

Aimee J
Is there any age limit to the competition?

Chris Fielden
Hi Aimee. No, there is no age limit - anyone can enter :-)

Adolf W
Dear Chris, the very way you present this competition put a smile on my face. YOU sure are a humorous BOOK. You are heading to make this planet a happier place to live.

Cheers, fr. Adolf W (India), a priest who does pulpit humour more than pulpit preaching... (wink)... People take you seriously when you can make them laugh.  :)

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Adolf, glad you like the competition.

I have yet to be taken seriously, but I now wait in hope... :-)

Michael D
Regarding 'your name - story name'. So I should put my name on the story, plus title of story, plus Christoper Fielden? Is that correct? Furthermore Mircosoft Oulook reminds of an error in sending, even to your personal email address. Confused.

Chris Fielden
Hi Michael. Sorry for the confusion. File name should be 'your name' and then 'your story's name'. That's it :-)

I've tested my emails and they're working fine, so I'm not sure what's going on there. Please check the spelling of my email address before sending. If you still get problems, let me know through the comment form and we can look into it further.

Chris B
Be warned, I will be riding to Hull and back with you.

Chris Fielden
Duly noted, Chris, duly noted...

Steve H
As someone born and bred in Hull, I'm not sure quite how to view your 'To Hull and Back' short story competitions. Maybe I ought to submit a story from my formative years in the real 'ull - could be quite amusing!

Chris Fielden
I like to view the To Hull & Back competition as a celebration of Hull (and humorous short stories and motorbikes too, of course…). I hope it comes across that way.

Janet S
I intend to submit an entry for the To Hull and Back short story competition, and I intended to use PayPal to pay the entry fee. In fact I registered with PayPal several weeks ago just for that purpose. However, I have just received an e-mail from them that the account is not entirely confirmed, and it turns out that I can't do what they want to confirm it within the coming month for reasons that I will not bore you with.

So I have two questions: 1) It looks like you accept credit card payments for the entry fee; how do I pay it using that method? 2) Do I send my PayPal number with the entry anyway? (If it's missing, I understand that you deduct 1 point during the judging process.)

Thank you.

Chris Fielden
Hi Janet. Ah, the joys of internet banking technology...

I accept card payments via PayPal - you don't have to have an account to make the payment, so it should work fine. You'll get the option to pay by card when you click on the payment button on my site. Once you've paid, you should receive a PayPal transaction ID. If you have any problems just let me know :-)

Robert R
This is the first time I've unearthed this site. Terribly disappointing to note that not only does an entrant have to be human but also must come from anywhere on Earth (double whammy). Where did this ingrained bigotry against we Neptunian  extra-terrestrials come from?

Chris Fielden
Fair comment, Robert. I blame the current political climate. It's contagious.

In all seriousness though, I will invite aliens to enter the competition in future.

However, I draw the line at spambots. I'm building a cyber-wall. They will never be welcome.

Daren D
Hi Chris. Just a quick note to only hope there could be a future contest for actual humour books that are published...

Thanks and keep up the great work.

Chris Fielden
Thanks Daren. I don’t know of any contests like that, I’m afraid. And I’m not in the position to start a new contest at present – I still need to get To Hull & Back more exposure and turning a profit before I can branch out further.

Anyway. Thanks again :-)