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Christopher Fielden’s Biennial Short Story Competition:

To Hull And Back

A Humorous Writing Contest

To Hull And Back is currently CLOSED

The 9th To Hull And Back competition will open on 1st July 2024

Quick links on this page:

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

2023 results - current competition

Short Story Competition To Hull And Back Logo

The 2025 To Hull And Back Competition

The 9th To Hull And Back competition will open for entries on 1st July 2024

July 2024 will see the launch of the 9th To Hull And Back Short Story Competition, a biennial 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 – for example, the BBC award a whopping £15,000 to their winner. What can you win by entering this competition that contends with 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.

Best Writing Contests 2021Reedsy Best Writing Contest 2022

To Hull And Back Runs Biennially

Due to the ever-increasing amount of time needed to run this fabulous competition, in 2019 I made the decision to run To Hull And Back competitions biennially (every other year). This was to make the workload manageable and ensure that every story entered into the competition is given the attention it deserves.

In 2021, for the same reasons as above, I changed the opening and closing dates:

  • Opening date changed from 1st August to 1st July
  • Closing date changed from 31st July to 30th June

The dates for future competitions will be as follows:

  • The 9th To Hull And Back, 2025 (opens 1st July 2024, closes 30th June 2025)
  • The 10th To Hull And Back, 2027 (opens 1st July 2026, closes 30th June 2027)

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 to make the payment and can pay by debit or credit card on the PayPal website. I use PayPal because it is secure, safe and protects your personal information, ensuring a safe transaction. You can learn more about PayPal here.

To Hull And Back Entry Fee

The PayPal entry fee button has been removed from this page while the competition is closed.

It will appear again when the 9th To Hull And Back competition opens for submissions in July 2024.

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

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.

You can learn about the prizes below. There are 20 of them.

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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: £70

14 x Shortlisted: £35

That's a total prize pot of £2,000

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 And 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 And 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 And Back 2023 Front Cover

2023 To Hull And Back anthology cover, by Georgia Cook, featuring the epic expression of Olivier Breuleux

To Hull And Back Anthology 2021

2021 To Hull And Back anthology cover, by James Childs, featuring the fascinating features of Emma Brankin

To Hull And Back Anthology 2019

2019 To Hull And Back anthology cover, by David Whitlam, featuring the congenial countenance of Alan Macglas

To Hull And Back Anthology 2018

2018 To Hull And Back anthology cover, by Charlotte Strike, featuring the noble noggin of John Holland

To Hull And Back Anthology 2017

2017 To Hull And Back anthology cover, by Rowena Sheehan, featuring the marvellous mug of Crystal Jeans

To Hull  Back 2016 Front Cover

2016 To Hull And Back anthology cover, by Steph Minns, featuring the fantabulous fizzog of Peter Ewing

To Hull & Back Short Story Anthology 2015

2015 To Hull And Back anthology cover, by Lukas Miguel, featuring the delectable visage of Radovana Jágriková

To Hull & Back

2014 To Hull And Back anthology cover, by Elisabetta Bruno, featuring the beauteous bonce of Mike Scott Thomson

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 in 2017) whose name sounds like somewhere reported to be rather unpleasant, fiery and obsessed with eternal damnation. I dwell near 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 And Back - the journey the winner's book will take

It’s a 250 mile ride that takes around five hours, so the round trip is approximately 500 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.

The To Hull And Back Videos

Presented in reverse order, newest at the top, oldest at the bottom.

The Eighth To Hull And Back Video

The eighth To Hull And Back winner's video will be filmed at some point during the spring / summer of 2024. When it has been filmed, it will appear here.

The Seventh To Hull And Back Video

This is the seventh To Hull And Back winner's video, starring winner Emma Brankin and her man friend Jab. The video also features lots of roads, more pies / doughnuts / high carb food than doctors recommend and, of course, the fair city of Hull.

The journey was a 472 mile round trip. I stayed in a lovely part of the city, near the University. Emma, Jab and I did our filming on the edge of the Humber and in a tapas restaurant on Humber Street.

The video was filmed during May 2022. The music in the video is by Little Villains. The songs are called ‘Chopper' and 'Hand Grenade' from the album Achtung Minen.

Huge thanks to Emma for being such a good sport and journeying to Hull to be in the video.

The Sixth To Hull And Back Video

This is the sixth To Hull And Back winner's video, starring the spirit of competition winner, Alan MacGlas. The video also features lots of motorways, the North Sea, Alan's splendid letter of polite refusal to join me on this epic journey, motorbikes, my overly rampant lockdown plumage and, of course, the fair city of Hull.

The journey was a 507 mile round trip. This is bit more than previous year's because I went all the way to Easington on the East Coast to have a look at the North Sea. I stayed in Halsham, which is about 10 miles outside of Hull.

The video was filmed during July 2020. The music in the video is by Little Villains. The song is called ‘Shot in the Head and Left for Dead’ from the album Achtung Minen.

Huge thanks to Alan for supplying the letter and multiple pictures of his head for me to use 'creatively' throughout the video.

To Hull And Back 2019 winner's video

The Fifth To Hull And Back Video

Below is the fifth To Hull And Back winner's video, starring competition winner, John Holland, lots of motorways, some biblical weather conditions and, of course, the fair city of Hull. Oh, and a book, strapped to a Harley.

The video was filmed during June 2019. The music in the video is by Little Villains. The song is called ‘Spitfire’, which was originally an Airbus song.

Huge thanks to John for supporting the competition and starring in the video, despite suffering from serious back problems. What a legend.

To Hull And Back 2018 winner's video

The Fourth To Hull And Back Video

Below is the fourth To Hull And Back winner's video, starring competition winner, Crystal Jeans, with guest appearances by Crystal's mum, cat and dogs, some guard geese, Hilda The Hog (my bike, as named by Crystal), Wales, England and, of course, the fair city of Hull.

The video was filmed for the 2017 competition in May 2018. The music in the video is by Jinxremover. The first song is an instrumental version of ‘Big Fish’ which was originally an Airbus song. The second song is called ‘Now I’m Dying’ and was written by Little Villains, a band that featured the late, great Philthy Animal Taylor.

Big thanks to Crystal for starring in the video. She was the first winner to undertake the long ride to Hull with me on the back of the hog.

To Hull And Back 2017 winner's video

The Third To Hull And Back Video

Below is the third To Hull And Back winner's video, starring winner, Peter Ewing, shortlisted writer, Helen Combe, Amanda the Landlady, some greedy geese and ducks, an aeroplane, the Humber Bridge, lots of motorways and, of course, the fantabulous city of Hull.

The video was filmed for the 2016 competition in April 2017. The music in the video is by Jinxremover. The songs are instrumental versions of 'Found A Way' (from the Spitfire album) and 'Beyond' (from the Messerschmitt album).

Pete drove from Scotland to meet me in Hull. This was an epic journey. He did more miles than I did to star in the video. Huge thanks to Pete.

To Hull And Back 2016 winner's video

The Second To Hull And Back Video

Below is the second To Hull And 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 And Back 2015 winner's video

The First To Hull And Back 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 from London to Hull to star in the video.

To Hull And Back 2014 winner's video

Example To Hull And Back Video - To Bath And Back

Below is a video entitled 'To Bath And Back' (hasn't quite got the same ring to it as 'To Hull And 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 And Back - winner's video example

Prize Summary

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 & conditions.

To back up my (admittedly biased) 'it's the greatest' claim above, I'm pleased to say that the awesome Reedsy selected To Hull And Back as one of the best writing contests of 2021 and 2022.

Best Writing Contests 2021Best Writing Contests 2022

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Key Dates

Entries will be accepted from the 1st July 2024.

There is an 'early bird' entry fee in place until 31st March 2025: £10 for 1 story, £17 for 2 stories, £20 for 3 stories. If you make use of the early bird entry fee, you must submit your story by midnight on 31st March 2025.

From 1st April 2025 to 30th June 2025, the entry fee is: £12 for 1 story, £20 for 2 stories, £24 for 3 stories.

The competition closes to entries at 11.59pm GMT (Greenwich meantime, the time in London, UK) on 30th June 2025.

The shortlist will be announced on this website by 20th September 2025.

Winners will be contacted by email or telephone by 30th September 2025 and announced on this website, celebrated and generally adored early in October 2025.

Prize money will be paid to winners via PayPal in October 2025.

The ninth To Hull and Back Anthology will be released on 31st October 2025. 'Hulloween' seems like an appropriate launch date...

The winner’s book will be taken to Hull and back during spring 2026 (usually around April/May/June), weather and pandemics and acts of God 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, but you can withdraw it if you want / need to.
  • 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.
  • The competition closes at 11.59pm GMT on 30th June 2025.
  • Stories must be no longer than 2,500 (two-thousand five-hundred) words in length. This includes the title. To make this crystal clear, if your entry contains 2,501 (two-thousand five-hundred and one) words or more, it will be disqualified.
    • I use Microsoft Word to determine wordcount. If you're worried about this, please contact me and I'll check the word count for you.
  • 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 or .rtf 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.
      • I do not accept .pdf files - this is because they cause formatting errors when I come to edit the book.
    • Please do NOT include your name or contact details in your story document or in the file name. The competition is judged 'blind', so your personal details must not appear on your story.
  • Entry fee:
    • There is an 'early bird' entry fee from 1st July to 31st March. It is £10 (ten pounds GBP) for 1 (one) entry, £17 (seventeen pounds GBP) for 2 (two) entries and £20 (twenty pounds GBP) for 3 (three) entries. The 'early bird' entry fee closes at 11.59pm GMT on 31st March. If you pay the early bird fee, you must submit your story by 31st March.
    • From 1st April the entry fee will be £12 (twelve pounds GBP) for 1 (one) entry, £20 (twenty pounds GBP) for 2 (two) entries and £24 (twenty-four pounds GBP) for 3 (three) entries.
    • Please pay BEFORE sending your entry.
  • Entries are to be sent by email to:
  • 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, your PayPal email address (if different from the email address used to send your entry) and a brief biography (up to 200 (two-hundred) words max) in the email. Also attach a picture of yourself so I can use it with your bio on this website should you be longlisted, shortlisted or win the competition.
  • Each author can enter up to 3 (three) stories 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 or parents on behalf of their children. If you are an agent or parent, 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.

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. Use a clear and consistent point of view.
  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 meal.
  7. Obey the rules - to help clarify, here is how I deal with them:
    1. If a submitted story is over 2,500 words in length (including the title) it is disqualified.
    2. If the entry fee is not paid, the submitted story is rejected.
    3. Entries submitted after the competition has closed will be ignored.
    4. If a photo isn't supplied, minus 1 point on scoring during the judging process.
    5. If an author biography 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 wrong file type is submitted, minus 1 point on scoring during the judging process (unless you have discussed it with me beforehand and we've agreed an alternative format).
    9. If your name or contact details appear anywhere in your story file, minus 1 point on scoring during the judging process.
    10. If an entry scores minus 3 points or more when the above is applied, it is disqualified.
  8. Read some of the previous winning stories in the To Hull & Back Short Story anthologies. Each book contains all the shortlisted stories and tales written by the judges so you can clearly see the style they favour. Writers who take the time to do this have a better chance of submitting a successful entry.

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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 judges (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. (Please note this includes song lyrics - if you do not have permission from the copyright owner to use them, do not include them in your story.)
  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 And 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 - for more details, please review my privacy policy.

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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.

To Hull And Back is primarily run for the love of writing and reading short stories. My long term aim is to offer a 5 figure first prize. Here is a history of the 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)
  • 2018: 1st prize £1,000; 2nd prize £500; 3rd prize £250, 3 x runner up prize £50; 14 x shortlisted prize £25 (total prize pot £2,250)
  • 2019: 1st prize £1,000; 2nd prize £500; 3rd prize £250, 3 x runner up prize £100; 14 x shortlisted prize £50 (total prize pot £2,750)
  • 2021: 1st prize £1,200; 2nd prize £600; 3rd prize £300, 3 x runner up prize £150; 14 x shortlisted prize £50 (total prize pot £3,250)
  • 2023: 1st prize £1,200; 2nd prize £600; 3rd prize £300, 3 x runner up prize £150; 14 x shortlisted prize £75; 20 x longlisted prize of £13 early bird entry into the next competition (total prize pot £3,860)
  • 2025:1st prize £1,000; 2nd prize £200; 3rd prize £100, 3 x runner up prize £70; 14 x shortlisted prize £35; (total prize pot £2,000)

You can learn why the prize pot has changed over the years by reading my detailed notes on the competition results pages:

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:

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.


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.

I used to link to a post that proved it here, but the link broke. So just put "is laughing good for you" into your search engine of choice and see what comes up. The results will prove that we should all try and partake in laughing more often.

If you'd like to laugh, why not buy the latest To Hull And Back anthology.

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

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Leave your comments

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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 - - 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! . . .?


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

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.


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 :-)

Dan F
Hi Chris. I understand the file entry should have your name and then story title as per the formatting instructions, but I'm not sure about the MS - should that include your byline or be anonymous?

Chris Fielden
Hi Dan. It doesn't really matter. It's easier if it's anonymous, but I remove anything identifying the author before the story is read. The file name is more important for admin, so it's easy to find who's written what when all the reading has been done.

Chris B
Hi Christopher, I'm writing just to ask a technical question:

I've scanned through the terms and conditions for the competition and haven't come across any mention of line indentations or double spacing. Do you need any kind of formatting with these things included?

Chris Fielden
Hi Chris, I don’t really mind how the document is formatted in respect of line spacing / indentations.

I just change it if needed :-)

Chris K
Hi Chris, I hope this finds you well. I'm just about ready to send off my entry for your To Hull and Back short story competition. I was wondering if you wanted a header/footer for the document and where you would like me to display the word count if at all.

Thanks for your help.

Chris Fielden
Hi Chris, I’m good thank you :-)

There’s no need for a header/footer, or to display the word-count anywhere – I just check it in Word when I receive it.

But feel free to include it if you like.

Valerie G
Hi Chris, can I just check please (as I don't want to be disqualified) which spacing we use? And is the story to be sent in the body of the email or as an attachment? Thanks, Val

Chris Fielden
Hi Val. Any spacing is fine. And I request an attachment. The different accepted file types are listed in the rules.

If you have any problems submitting the file types, just let me know and we can sort an alternative :-)

Viv O

I've just bought the 2016 edition on Kindle - looking forward to reading it.

Chris Fielden

Great, thanks Viv - hope you enjoy it :-)

Jonathan S

Morning Chris. I should like to enter your competition 'funny stories up to 4,000' but am reluctant to cut my entry, currently 4,215 words. Please advise.

Chris Fielden

Hi Jonathan. The word limit for my competition is 3,000 words, not 4,000. I reduced it a year ago due to the volume of entries, to help manage the reading process.

If your story is over 3,000 words, even by 1 word, it will be disqualified. So please make sure you adhere to the word count limit. I strictly apply this rule to ensure fairness to all entrants.

If you have any other questions, please let me know.

Jonathan S

OK, Chris. I'm not sure I'll be able to cut down to 3,000 words on the story I wanted to submit. I'll have to think about an alternative.

By the way, the competition guide in Writing Magazine definitely says 'Funny stories up to 4,000 words'. So you may be getting a lot of stories above your limit in the next week or so. And a lot of disappointed applicants!

One more question: do 3,000 words include the Title?

Chris Fielden

Hi Jonathan. Sorry for the confusion. That’s their error unfortunately (unless it’s an old magazine…). I sent them this year’s guidelines when the contest launched. Please confirm if the magazine you’re looking at is this year’s. If it is, I’ll contact them about it.

The title is included in the word count limit. Details of word count, titles and everything else are in the rules on the page above :-)

Betty H

Hi Chris. I know I was one of the one's that got the rules wrong for submitting to Hull and Back this year. What an idiot.

I have just read a preview on Amazon of a couple of the winning stories. They are brilliant. I can't wait to purchase it and read more. Plus I have read the rules for next year. Love this site, your anthologies, your charity work and your constant support for us all.

Buy all the books everyone, they are fantastic.

Chris Fielden

Ah, thanks for your support Betty - much appreciated. I hope you enjoy the full anthology. There are some great stories, with diverse styles and themes, so I think there should be something for everyone.

I've simplified the rules this year (2018) by changing my admin process, so I'm hoping that will help. We shall see... :-)

Mark G

You really have brightened up a very dull weekend. For that I thank you. Most importantly, you have now given me the inspiration to do something that I have been half-heartedly wanting to do for the last 20 years - write a short story. This will be inspired on my latest travels to India in January, where I will dusting off a lot of old cobwebs. :-)

Chris Fielden

Great - glad to hear the competition has inspired you, Mark!

I hope the trip to India goes well, and look forward to reading your story.

Diane J

This competition seems just the place to put that weird short story I wrote that I didn't know what to do with until now.

Seems like there is a place for the weird, wonderful and funny stories that one usually thinks up in the middle of the night with no paper and pen to hand, and come morning, struggles to remember, until finally it is written and is better than last night's nightmarish version.

Chris Fielden

Thanks, Diane. It is indeed. I strongly recommend reading past To Hull And Back anthologies prior to submitting. Most entrants don't, so you put yourself ahead of a lot of the competition if you do :-)

Jeanne J

Hello Chris, I'm entering; A fab project and I want a ride on that bike! Is it OK to attach Word doc in my email? My Macpro makes submitting some stuff a nightmare.

Chris Fielden

Hi Jeanne. Yes, that should be fine. If there are any issues with the file when I've received your entry, I'll let you know.

Steve D

Dear Chris, I've been to Bristol. All I remember of it was staggering out of The Reckless Engineer and wondering:

  1. Where am I?
  2. Where is my hotel?

However, if you live there, I'd imagine you need cheering up. I've never been to Hull but if its anything like those other jewels of the eastern seaboard I've visited – Wick, Aberdeen and Seaton Carew – I\'d imagine Hullites need cheering up as well.

On that basis, I'm in. Since actually writing a story will improve my chances of winning, I'll get on with it.

Chris Fielden

Hi Steve. Ah, The Reckless... I gigged there many times, in the bands I play in. Sadly, it no longer exists - it was turned into some swanky wine bar last year. I suspect that pleased more people than it upset.

Glad to hear you're writing something - that tends to be an essential element when entering writing competitions. Good luck with it. I'll look forward to receiving your entry.

Shaun C

I am new to writing children's stories - am new to writing full stop. I'm 51, an ex-soldier who suffers from PTSD and depression. I have finished three stories so far - 'Russell the Kangarilla Pig', who lives in the jungle and has no friends so goes out to find some to show them it's not what you look like but what you can do that matters. Then there is 'Billy Billy Chuff Chuff', a story about a small steam train who saves Steam Town from the cold and snow. The third is 'Saving Willow Wood', about Ellie who is a snail rider and lives with her mum, dad and friends in Willow Wood and has to save their home from being built on by a road.

Chris Fielden

Hi Shaun. Sorry to hear about the PTSD, but congratulations on completing 3 stories - that's great news. I wish you the best of luck with finding a home for them!

Tom S

Hi Chris, a small question on submitting a MS - writer's details to go into the body of the email. Does that mean that the MS should be anonymous, bear no detail of the author, name or pen name?

Chris Fielden

Hi Tom. It's easier if the writer's name isn't in the manuscript - but if it is I, simply delete it, so it's not a big issue. Cheers, Chris

Mark H

Hi Chris, just entered this amazing competition. I can't believe I haven't heard of it before this year.

I have only one concern. If I win, what provisions do you have in place for an avid pile sufferer?

I do not get out often, and Hull is on my bucket list, but the whole experience of riding tandem could be marred by a sudden flare up.


Chris Fielden

Hi Mark. Luckily, the hog is super comfy and particularly kind to one's posterior. So all good :-)

Mark H

Hi Chris, one more thing I forgot to mention.

I feel greatly relieved, albeit a smidge itchy, that the seat on the Hog is suitable for piles, but may I enquire if it's made with real leather?

I only ask because I have a shellfish allergy, so any seat made from the skin of a shrimp for example, could theoretically cause my throat to swell, and become itchy too. If I am forced to employ both hands to scratch the aforementioned areas of concern, it will leave only my teeth to hold on to you.

This wouldn't be a problem ordinarily, but I do not have a dental plan in place, and would quite possibly end up out of pocket despite the generous winnings.

Thanks once again.

Chris Fielden

Hi Mark. The seat is woven made from the hide of unicorns, so has healing properties. After a ride of 30 mins or more, all ills are cured and you will be 5 years younger. I don't mention that in the competition gumf as people might think I'm insane. I hope that puts your mind at rest.

Diana G

I could not find anywhere whether the author's name should or shouldn't be on the MS. Please advise as to how to submit a short story with the proper identification.

(I only sound like a robot some of the time.)

Chris Fielden

Hi Diana. It's easiest for me if your name is not on the MS, but if it is, don't worry too much - I'll just delete it.

Your robot impression is magnificent :-)

Diana G

Hi Chris, thanks for the really quick response.

Your contest and site were a real find. It was so refreshing to find wackiness and integrity in the same place :-)

Chris Fielden

No problem – thanks, Diana :-)

Denis J

I can't write serious stuff. The last time I did that was when I was doing my exams decades ago!

Which is why I love this concept of the short tall story.

My entry is getting ready in wet and windy Auckland.

Denis J

Me again! There's this poet, John Dryden, whom lived some 350 years ago.

He said, "There is a pleasure in being mad which none but madmen know." Must have been prophetic about us.

Chris Fielden

Thanks, Denis - glad to hear you like the concept. I'll look forward to receiving your wet and windy entry :-)

A fine quote - he's obviously a very wise madman!

Geoffrey G

Hi, Chris. Do you want stories submitted within the body of the email, or as an attachment? Thank you.

Chris Fielden

Hi Geoffrey. As an attachment please. All the details are in the rules, so please review them carefully before submitting.

Jennifer C

Could I enter a story featuring Super Mario? I've looked on Nintendo's website and it says they don't let people use their characters for anything (very strict!) Would I get sued for copyright?

Thanks in advance! :)

Chris Fielden

Hi Jennifer. If Nintendo say you can't use the character, then yes, it could cause you problems, depending on how you use him in your story.

If you're just referencing the character or game by name, that's unlikely to be a problem. If you're using Super Mario as a character in your story, then it is likely to be a problem.

The best bet is to email Nintendo, explaining how you want to use the character, and ask their permission :-)

Jamie P

Greetings from Minnesota, where it's -29 degrees F, and everyone who lives here is certifiably insane. Thanks for the contest! Looks very fun!

Chris Fielden

Greetings from Bristol in the UK, where we're due snow today - it's 0 degrees Celsius... not quite as cold as where you are, but everyone is just as insane...

Thanks for entering the competition, I'll look forward to reading your entry :-)

Perry LS

After reading your spiel, I like your honesty and approach. I had a Harley story, but it is way too long. I hope you like my story and find it fun.

Chris Fielden

Thanks, Perry, glad to hear you like the honest approach.

And thank you for entering - I'll look forward to reading your story.

Anthony JD

Chris, I entered your 2019 short story competition, submitting on 18th August 2018. I believe you accept previously published stories - mine was published by Cornwall Life Magazine (on-line) early 2018. I am mentioning this to you now as I want to make sure that I haven't broken your rules - i.e. you accept previously published? If so, great, if not, then please disregard my entry. Keep up the good work.

Chris Fielden

Hi Anthony. Thanks for your message. That's fine, I accept previously published stories, so it's not a problem :-)

Anthony JD

I like to think my short story, Freshwater Fangs, is engaging, quirky, ORIGINAL  and, yes, make-ya-smile humorous, with a nice finishing touch: a surprise. Do you feel a 'but' sliding in here? Yup. Don't possess PayPal method of payment expertise; use Submittable for my contest entries. So, sadly, we won't get to meet or chat, Hull or Chris. Mighta caught a grin.

Keep strokin', keep the faith.

Chris Fielden

Hi John. Ah, that's a shame... PayPal is just a payment window. You can pay by credit card or debit card without having a PayPal account, just like you would in any online shop. Hope that helps.

Dean O

Hi, Chris, just discovered your website and I'd love to submit a story (or two). Seems like the perfect place to let loose some of my short fiction I keep chained in the basement. I'd hold onto them but they're expensive to feed, and well, I only have a shred of sanity left so perhaps they'd feel right-at-home, here? Even if they only give you a chuckle, I'll be happy. I've a question regarding file types: I'm afraid I'm a poor writing peasant and only have access to free word-processing software. Can you accept Open Document Text (.odt) format from the likes of Libre Office Writer etc? It seems if I try to save in any other format I'm assailed with spooky warnings. Also, love the motorcycle, bet she rides like a dream. I used to ride myself but after a car crash and then a motorcycle accident a few days later, both times coming through completely unscathed, I took the hint from my lucky stars and decided it best to stay off the road for a while :)

Thanks in advance for your help. Ride safe

Chris Fielden

Hi Dean. Thanks for your message. Glad to hear you're unshackling those stories.

Sure, send through the stories in .odt format. They usually open OK, although the formatting can go a bit Pete Tong in Word. If I get any problems we can sort something else out - in the body of an email or something like that.

Yeah, the hog is fun to ride. I'm doing the annual Hull pilgrimage at the beginning of June, so she'll get a decent run then. Sorry to hear about your accidents. I hope the lure of the road gets you riding (safely!) again at some point. Cheers.

Claire P

Do you know that Writing Magazine has advertised the To Hull and Back Humorous Writing Competition as for funny stories up to 4,000 words, not 2,500?

Chris Fielden

I didn't know that... thanks for letting me know, Claire - much appreciated.

I send them updates every year, so I've no idea why they're using the information from years ago! I'll ask them and find out.

Chris Fielden

Hi Claire, further to previous, they apologised for the mistake and gave me an article on their website to make up for it. You can see it here.

Again, big thanks for letting me know :)

Christopher W

Same name, same wacky sense of humour. You've convinced me to enter this competition. Sounds like fun. Should make someone laugh (more often). At least, I hope to. Cheers.

Chris Fielden

Most excellent, I shall look forward to reading your submission :-)

Amber D

The competition sounds great. Auto spell nearly put 'the impetigo sounds great'. It also sounds like a  good reason to have fun on a motorbike and a well travelled book.

Chris Fielden

Thanks, Amber. Ah, the joys of auto-correct... there's a story in there somewhere :-)

Jess S

Is it alright if I use a pen name?

Chris Fielden

Hi Jess. Yes, but when you submit, please provide your real name too. Thanks.

Sarah M

Hi Chris - do submitted stories have to be anonymous for judging purposes? I can't see anything here to say so but wanted to check just in case. Thanks

Chris Fielden

Hi Sarah. No, they don't have to be, but it saves me some work if they are :) I just delete any mention of the author from a story before they are logged in the system so they are judged blind.

J. Rosina H

Hello Chris, I'm looking forward very much to entering the competition again this year and I've really enjoyed reading the last two years' collections, too. A question for you; would you accept a rewrite of a previous year's offer? It's much better now, honest!

Chris Fielden

Hi J. Rosina. Thank you for your message. I'm glad to hear you've enjoyed the last couple of anthologies.

Yes, I'm happy to accept a rewrite from a previous year's competition. I'll look forward to receiving your entry :-)

Neil G

From one biker to another. I used to drive a Triumph. Now that I'm a writer I drive nothing, but live in a shallow hole in the ground and dream of what used to be. If I win To Hull And Back I want to have a ride on your Harley or anyone's Harley.

Contest is a great idea with lots of laughs from what I've read. Cheers.

Chris Fielden

Thanks very much, Neil. Well, the Hog awaits the winner. Good luck, if you enter :-)

Neil R

I'm going to enter this which is the first writing competition I've entered in years. Nervous to say the least. Well done for organising it and good luck to all those who enter.

Chris Fielden

Thanks, Neil, will look forward to receiving and reading your entry.

Laura F

Hi Chris. Got my story ready and worrying about the word count.  If you use hyphens between words (for example three-way instead of three way) then microsoft counts one word instead of two. Can two hyphenated words therefore be considered as one in the word count?

Also, should the words "word count 2500" be considered in the word count?  (I remember that they had to be in my former uni essays that's why I'm thinking of it!).

Thanks for all your hard work, Chris, such a fun and refreshing competition.

Chris Fielden

Hi Laura. Thanks for your message.

That's a good question, and not something I've thought of until you just mentioned it. I haven't worried about hyphenated words in the past, and have not mentioned them in the rules, so if Word counts them as one word, then that's fine. I'll consider adding a note to future competitions.

Re your other point, just remove the word count from the document - it's not needed. But if you do leave it in there, I won't include it in the word limit of the story for judging purposes.

I'll look forward to receiving your entry.

Laura F

Thanks, Chris. Hope you enjoy my story.

Chris Fielden

No problem, thanks Laura.

Kathy J

I'd object to the implication that Hull is anything other than, err ... Hull. Other than that - amazing, informative, wonderful, funny, uplifting, better-than-others website. On a par with the city of Kingstown-Upon-Hull.

Chris Fielden

Thank you, Kathy - glad to hear you like the site.

Due to my annual pilgrimage to your fair city, I've become very fond of Hull and now view it as a second home :-)

Kathy J

Hi Chris. How could you not! I no longer live there but, to risk a cliché, you can take the girl out of Hull but you can't take H(e)ll out of the girl.

Loved reading some of the short stories on the website. Inspirational. Just about to finish my submission....

Chris Fielden

Great stuff, thanks Kathy - I'll look forward to reading your submission :-)

Christian M

Hi Chris. I enjoy your site and have used your lists for submission often. Compared to other sites that offer addresses, your lists prove to be more reliable and up to date. Congratulations.

You are an excellent reference for any writer wishing to get his work out to readers. I hope you'll find my modest contribution worthy.

Chris Fielden

Hi Christian. Thank you, that's great to hear - very much appreciated :-)

Vale T

Really looking forward to this competition! I cant wait to explore my inner abilities... And it's a really great way to give youths a plartform to achieve their dreams like me...

Chris Fielden

Great, thanks Vale - I'll look forward to reading your entry :-)

Liz T

So glad I bothered to read the T&Cs (a first!). I really wanted to enter your competition but genuinely believed that if I won I'd have to ride on the back of your Harley to Hull and back home again. Since I'm a recluse and only leave the house to put the bin out this seemed an insurmountable obstacle. Of course, now I'll have to actually write something. Damn.

Chris Fielden

Excellent, glad to hear that Liz. I shall look forward to reading your entry :-)

Kate M

I have been waiting with bated breath for August to arrive and here we are! The thought of entering your competition is a little light at the end of a dark tunnel. Of course it might just be the 10.20 from Hull!

I am also a bike fanatic, I so wanted to send you a picture of the love of my life, my Suzuki 750 and huge homemade sidecar. I rode it up to the '90s and it was built to hold four chidren, a dog, two tents, six sleeping bags etc. It handled like a garden shed but it allowed me to keep my bike on the road. There was one gull-wing door and a sunroof. Because the door was not easy to see peeps presumed I dropped the children in through the sunroof. In fact I only dropped biscuits in.

Chris Fielden

Fab, glad to hear that Kate.

I'm assuming your biography picture will feature your Suzuki? I hope so - it sounds awesome. And a biscuit roof too... I don't think I could fit one of them on the hog, so my visor will have to suffice :-)

Ngaluku L

Hi, I found this website very interesting. I wish inquire if the refugees are also eligible to participate. I am asking this from that fact there are refugees who are interested in taking part in this competition but they don't have means of payment to join the competition. so what could be the way forward for them?

Thank you.

Chris Fielden

Hi Ngaluku. Thank you for your message.

I'm prepared to take a limited number of submissions from writers from disadvantaged backgrounds. If any of the refugees you know wish to enter, please ask them to email me explaining their situation and why they require free entry.

I will review all applications and contact the writers that have been awarded a free submission in April next year, inviting them to submit their stories. Unfortunately, I can't accommodate all requests of this nature as I receive too many.

I hope that information is helpful, but please let me know if you have any other questions :-)

Marje M

This sounds fun! I am tempted to have a go.

Chris Fielden

Excellent, thanks Marje. I'll look forward to receiving your entry :-)

Yvonne M
Do you have to be able to ride a Harley Davidson?

Chris Fielden
Hi Yvonne. Thanks for your message. No, you don't have to be able to ride a Harley, although if a biker were to win the top prize and they wanted to ride their own bike in the video that would be fine :) The winner can ride on the back of mine, if they want to. But they don't 'have' to - I appreciate it's not for everyone :)

Azra DF
Dear Mr Fielden, this is REALLY funny. Biennially is misspelled up there. In a heading, of all places. Is there a prize for this? How about the entry fee be waived for me? Heh! Heh! And a ha!

Chris Fielden
Hi Azra. Well done, you are the first person to spot my intentional (ahem) mistake, which has now been corrected only because you spotted it, not because I misspelled it. That was done on purpose, you see, as I already mentioned. Glad that's cleared up... :-)

The prize is not a free entry, but it is a splendid: a free PDF copy of the latest To Hull And Back anthology. It's on its way to you now via the carrier pigeon of email.

Thanks for your message. It's much appreciated, even if the spelling mistake was on purpose (ahem).

Azra DF
Hi, Christopher. Thank you, most kindly for responding so quickly, AND for the free pdf. (I still think a fee-waiver is more commensurate with my 1-in-a-million service.)

On quite another matter. Since I am the one among millions who caught your deliberate (ahem) mistake, I am allowed to see the occasion as having been engineered by at least one righteous god. Hence, I am allowed a certain measure of righteous over-stepping, without prejudice, and in good taste. So, here goes. The City in which I live in Canada is in a serious stray cat-dog situation. I have in the works a collection (eleven) of humorous animal parables for children. If I can get a publisher to make and sell the book, I will donate all my royalties to the City's Animal Welfare efforts. If necessary, I will pay a one-time full cost of the making-selling of the book.

Christopher Fielden, sir, help our helpless/unwanted/et cetera Canadian animals. Please. Thank you.

Chris Fielden
Hi again Azra. That sounds like a fine and worthy project - good on you, my friend.

People often mistake me for a publisher, which I am not - I'm just a bloke who publishes my competition anthologies and various flash fiction writing challenge anthologies in support of charity. To do this, I utilise the small and mostly unheard of purveyor of goods that is Amazon. Love or hate them, KDP is a fabulous platform that supports authors. So I would recommend looking at that as self-publishing is worth considering.

If you would prefer to go the more traditional route and find yourself a proper publisher, I wish you good luck. The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook and Mslexia's Indie Publishing Guide are great places to start.

All the best to you :-)

Azra DF
Thank you, Christopher. Catch you, later. Take care.

Chris Fielden
You're welcome :) All the best.

Joe W
I'm going to have a couple of entries for the 2021 deadline! I have another query re swearing: My characters don't swear, although the main character's name contains a swear word, something which I feel is vital to his characterization: would this count as non-gratuitous use of swearing, in your assessment?

Chris Fielden
Hi Joe. Thanks for your message.

Without reading your story, it's very hard to say I'm afraid... If you feel the swear-name is integral to the story, I'm sure it'll be fine. If the name has no real need to be in the story, then maybe rethink it.

If in doubt, I would advise taking the swearing out, leave the story for a few days, and then reread it. If the story is worse because of the removal, put it back in. If it hasn't made a lot of difference, or is better, leave it out.

I hope that helps :-)

Joe W
Hi Christopher, thanks for your message.

So, the name was actually given to me at a story writing workshop, as an exercise in writing a story based on a character name you were given. The swearing in the name really helped me develop the character but, now that the story's actually written, I can see how it might seem somewhat gratuitous to a reader. I'll do as you suggested and see how it feels, and may well end up taking it out.

Thanks for the input.

Chris Fielden
Hi Joe. No problem at all, glad it helped :-)

Carlo G
Hi Chris, I've also got a question relating to gratuity, regarding "blue comedy" or ribaldry moreso than black comedy. Seeing as you do review these comments before they appear on the website... to be blunt, it'd be a fairytale about a **** with a rather climactic finale.

That might be too much... I've just got a diverse sense of humor I suppose.

Chris Fielden
Hi Carlo. Thanks for your message.

If the **** and climactic finale have a place in the story and are essential to the plot, then it's fine. If they are just there for the sake of being there and to shock the reader, then that is what I would term as gratuitous.

I'd recommend reading the 2019 To Hull And Back Anthology to get the idea of what I consider acceptable. There is a story in there that involves ****. The subject matter certainly isn't to everyone's taste, but the sexual deviance in the story is essential to the protagonist's psychological state of mind. In short, the sexual references make the story stronger and (I think) it would feel incomplete if they were removed. If you read that, you will have a better understanding of what I might consider gratuitous and what I might not.

I hope that's helpful.

Carlo G
Very helpful. I'll check it out.

Chris Fielden
Great stuff, thanks Carlo :)

Linda H
Hi, handsome... I'm old, I can get away with shameless flirting. What I'd give to be dressed in tight leather on the back of that bike. A teenage dream.

You say no non-fiction competition submissions.

I've got an amusing story but I'm in it. Shall I change me to a third person and pretend it's an imaginative tale? Believe me, nobody would believe it anyway.

Chris Fielden
Hi there beautiful. I can only play a middle-aged card... is that acceptable?

Re your question... In the terms and conditions it states that stories must be fictional: Every story submitted must be original, fictional, and entirely the author’s own work.

However, you could fictionalise a real event. I’d be happy to accept a creative non-fiction piece, as long as the writing doesn’t contain anything libellous or defamatory about a real person. Again, see this note in the terms and conditions: 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.

As the real person in your story is you, I can't see it being a problem. But to avoid any doubt, I would advise that you fictionalise elements of the story. That may also help your submission feel like a short story rather than an anecdote. I hope that answers the question, but please let me know if you need any other information :-)

Denis J
Hi Chris. Can I use the Verdana font size 16 rather than Times Roman or Arial?

Chris Fielden
Hi Denis. Sure, Verdana is fine. I'll just change the size this end if I need to :-)

Sally C
Hi Chris. Have just discovered your website, your competition and you! Didn't think there were that many pure pre-woke nutters left! I feel like I have come home - or as it is now referred to as 'finding my tribe'. (Groan.)

Anyway, a quick question - would a parody be considered suitable for the To Hull and Back short story competition?

Many thanks, Sally x

Chris Fielden
Thanks for your message, Sally.

There are plenty of us nutters out there - it's just knowing which rocks to look under :)

Yep, parodies are fine, as long as they don't infringe the copyright or any other rights of any third party as per the terms and conditions of the competition.

If you have any other questions, please let me know :-)

Sally C
Thanks for the quick response, Chris. I don’t think my story infringes copyright so I’ll give it a shot. All the best, Sally

Chris Fielden
Brilliant, thanks Sally. Will look forward to receiving your story when you’re ready to submit :) All the best x

Brian M
Hi Chris, is a Drabble too short for this competition? All the best, Brian.

Chris Fielden
Hi Brian. Thank you for your message. I have shortlisted flash stories before, so a drabble would have a chance. That said, I've never shortlisted anything quite that short. A drabble would have to be exceptional to contend with a fully-formed short story or longer piece of flash fiction. Just being honest... :-) I hope that helps.

Fiona T
Hi Chris, should the author's name appear in the story document or just in the email?

Chris Fielden
Hi Fiona, thank you for your message. I'd prefer if your name didn't appear on the document please. If it does, I just delete it this end prior to saving the story, so no big deal :)

Fiona T
Great, thanks Chris. It’s not on, so will submit today.

Chris Fielden
Brilliant, thanks Fiona - I'll look forward to reading your entry :)

Charles T
Hello Chris, I might enter your contest but wanted to say your description of how you organize the judging is great and should be standard for all writing contests. Sadly most are in fact bait and if not cons as they claim submissions will be judged by x y or z famous author and do not say (unless asked) that submissions will first be 'screened' by small packs of feral library assistants or people rounded up at the nearest pub. Actually they may be writers themselves but said contests don't provide details. Which is shameful.

You clearly are a pleasant loon and honest. Sincerely, Charles

Chris Fielden
Thank you, Charles - very much appreciated. I shall be adding 'pleasant, honest loon' to my CV and putting you down as a reference :-) All the very best to you. Cheers, Chris

Charles T
You’re welcome and if I asked I shall say it’s all true.

Brian B
115 Words

Hello Chris, I have written a piece which is extremely funny but I am very worried on five counts.

  1. Can I be sued if someone hurts themselves laughing?
  2. I am worried about catching the plague. I heard that many authors are affected by something called plagurism
  3. The entry date for the next competition is so far ahead I'm afraid that people's sense of humour will change before I get published. For example, I just watched the original Casablanca and didn't find it funny at all.
  4. England's civil war is said to have been started in a pub in Hull. Is this connected to your visits?
  5. Do you include the word count in the word count?

What would you advise?

Chris Fielden
Hi Brian. Thank you for your message. Here are my responses:

  1. I'm not a lawyer, please seek legal counsel.
  2. Plagurism is highly dangerous and can have a negative impact on your health, bank account and freedom. Please consult your doctor and legal counsel.
  3. This is an ongoing problem that no one can control. I'd advise never thinking about it again.
  4. No, but now you've mentioned it, it's highly likely to in the future. I must try and find that pub...
  5. No, that would be silly, even for me.

I hope my answers allay your concerns.

Brian B
Chris, thanks. My concerns are much allayed.

My legal counsel has no sense of humour. It seems the solution to 1. is: if, as he thinks most likely, that it is only I that dies laughing at my own joke like the philosopher Chrysippus, I am safe from civil (or uncivil) suit.

As for 4. the pub is the Ye Olde White Harte.

Chris Fielden
Hi Brian. I’m pleased to hear you’re safe from a civil (or uncivil) suit, but sorry to hear that you may succumb to your own hilarity and expire. I’d suggest writing more serious stories. They might improve your longevity.

Thank you re the pub. I shall endeavour to remember to visit it on my next pilgrimage in the spring of 22.

Margaret B
Hi Chris, are any of your books in libraries? I'm in Adelaide, Australia and use the app Libby, mainly for audio books (it's a free app connected to my local library) and I can't find any of your books in there (audio or not). Thanks, Marg.

Chris Fielden
Hi Marg, thanks for your message.

A few of my books are in libraries in the UK, but they are physical copies, not digital. I don't really know how to go about getting them registered with apps like Libby. I will look into it :)

I do have an audiobook published via Audible. It's also on iTunes. You can find the details here.

I hope that's of interest. All the best :-)

Carol S
Hi Chris, this is a short note about a needed correction. The link under the benefits of humor should be entitled the American Heart Association (AHA for short) rather than the American Heart Foundation. Best regards.

Chris Fielden
Hi Carol. Thank you for letting me know, very much appreciated.

It looks like the post I used to link to no longer exists and it redirects to a page on a different website. I've updated it accordingly, and removed the link.

All the best to you, and thanks again.

Zoe SH
I love crazy. You had me at flaming motorcycle.

Chris Fielden
Glad to hear it, Zoe - great minds think alike :)

Alan W
Chris, I would love to be travelling to Hell/Hull and Back and if a winner I'll be joining you for every one of the 460 mile round trip on the "Harley Hog". Mental? Never, just a liver of life to it's fullest and having the most fun along the way.

See you and the "hog" very soon!

Best regards, Big Al, HELL, HERE WE COME!

Chris Fielden
Thanks Al, glad to hear I'm not the only one touched in the brain department :)

All the best to you.

Kennedy TM
Hi Chris. Profanity rules? Allowed or frowned upon?

Chris Fielden
Thanks for your message, Kennedy. Profanity is fine, as long as it is suited to the story and not used gratuitously :-)

Eve E
Hi Chris - just a couple of questions if you don't mind!

1. I paid the fee, should I quote the transaction number in my email to you?

2. Are you completely, bonkers-sure that you accept previously published stories? The copyright on a published story of mine has reverted to me and I'd like to put it out there again, but I want to be sure this is okay with you. It'll be submitted under a different title (the one I wanted in the first place, but was vetoed by my publisher).

Thanks so much! Eve

Chris Fielden
Hi Eve, thanks for your message.

Answers: 1. Please just confirm your PayPal email address when you send your submission - I don't need the transaction number. 2. Yes, I do accept previously published stories - no worries if you have changed the title :)

I'll look forward to receiving your entry.

Audrey M
I love the idea of a humorous competition. Can I enter in Scots Language?

Chris Fielden
Thanks for your message, Audrey.

To Hull And Back is for stories written in English. If your story contains Scots Language that's fine but the story should still be easy to understand for English speakers that don't have any experience of Scots Language.

If you have any other questions, please let me know.

Audrey M
Many thanks, Christopher, I will follow your guidance. Much appreciated.

Chris Fielden
No problem, thanks Audrey :)

Susan C
Hi Chris, I'd really love to enter the To Hull and Back comp. Unfortunately, I'm a technological dinosaur and, despite previous attempts, I never seem to be able download pics from my phone to my lap top... is there an alternative way I could send my pic? EG, messenger or something, in the is miraculous event you might need it for my bio? Kind regards, Tech dino

Chris Fielden
Hi Susan, thanks for your message. No problem at all, I can accept the photo via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger etc. Just remind me when you enter and we can sort it out :)

Laurie OS
I consider myself to be a good writer, but apparently have not mastered the fine art of reading... In a move I considered to be  a show of organizational prowess (but which was really just cheapness), I jumped on the chance to pay the early entrance fee, but completely missed the condition that the story be sent early as well. 

So, my question is whether I should send an additional £2.00, or if I need to pay the full £15.00 to enter my story. I will hold no hard feelings if it's the latter; hopefully the extra £13 can be donated to some international anti-illiteracy organization. Either way, looking forward to participating along with all my fellow mentals!

Chris Fielden
Hi Laurie, thanks for your message.

If you send me another £2 by PayPal, that will be fine :) Please use my email address to make the payment - see my contact page for details.

If you don't have a PayPal account, let me know and I'll work out how to ask you for the money instead. If you have any other Qs, please just let me know.