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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.
If you’re selected as a winner:
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.
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…
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.
2016 To Hull & Back anthology cover, by Steph Minns
2015 To Hull & Back anthology cover, by Lukas Miguel
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.
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 & 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.
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.
They’re quite simple, but please read them carefully.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
**Chris Fielden is slightly eccentric. Put less politely, he’s mental. He can guarantee nothing.
Just a quick note about the fine provider of the motorcyle that I ride that features rather heavily in the competition prize.
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
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.
Let's see if I get sued.
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... :-)