txtlit.co.uk - The UK's Easiest to Enter Writing Competitions

Example Story
She denied stealing the shoes, though witnesses had seen her attempt to secrete the red, shiny stilettos. A victim of fashion, the evidence was patent.
August 2015 Competition

For August your competition theme is "The Queue".We're sure to have writers queuing up to write a story of 154 characters or less, preceded by the STORY and then sent as a text to 82085. Cost £1

September 2015 Competition

Your September competition theme will be announced at the end of August. Make sure you come back to see what it will be and to find out who has won July's competition.

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Competition Results

Results are published Below. Make sure you check back regularly to get the latest competiton news and themes.

If you run your own website or blog, a link to the website will help our search engine ranking too. Links from websites such as the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newtalent/opportunities/) are helping our rankings. We're currently on page 2 of Google for the search phrase "UK writing competitions" but more links to us from other sites will help us to rank higher, which will mean more visits to the website and so more competition entries, and therefor greater prize money.

Remember, whilst the act of entring the competitions is easy, writing a compelling story in just 154 characters takes some doing, but it's excellent writing practice and makes for good disciplined writing.

All competitions cost £1 per entry plus the cost of a standard text message from your mobile phone service provider.

July Competition: Theme - Out of Control Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

The immigration kookaburra pecks at the new arrivals: "You do realise non-native species are not permitted to breed?" Smiling, Mr and Mrs Bunny nod.

Remarkably, July's competition was won by our June winner, Saskia. Artist Saskia has had literary success Saskia with the Ted Hughes festival, London's Poetry Cafe, Warwick Words, the NZ Poetry Society, the BBC et al. Her artwork and performances include huge installations and tiny illustrations.
Saskia tells us when she wins her Oscar/Booker/Turner Prize she will thank Txtlit and Bell Writers for their ongoing inspiration. "

Well that's a first! Whilst we have had writers win more than one competition in the past we have never had a back to back winner before so congratulations to Saskia for that. The way the Txtlit system works means that we only have a mobile phone number by which to identify entrants. So it is not until the winner and runners up have been selected and entered onto our database that we can see if an entrant has won before. Clearly this makes for a very fair judging process. We liked Saskia's entry this time because of the way ir really turned the theme on it's head. An immigration kookaburra is quite a fantastical character but it gives us a location for our story and as he is working in immigration we immediately understand the scene. What the kookaburra says seems a million miles away from the theme of 'out of control' and at this stage we are struggling to make the link. Then we realise he is talking to a couple of rabbits. Simply by saying that they are smiling as they nod tells us they are insincere in there message. And of course we all know that without predators, the rabbit population in Australia is indeed out of control. Neatly done.


Other shortlisted entries:

He's out again with his mates; joshing, singing, flirting with girls. I'm in bed, awake, on his return. He snuggles up to steal my warmth, starts to purr.

By Nicola Murphy 


He veered into the passers- by scattering them like skittles. A boy about six took the full force of the impact. "No more skating  dad" he frowned.

By Julie Fielding


I knew the end was near. I'd lost control; eyes streaming, head spinning, mouth screaming as I careened about the room. Then THE VOICE: "I said bed. NOW!"

By Judgement Dave

My baby had her test this morning. The 'phone rings, and my heart stops as I answer it. "Did she pass?" I whisper. "Yes sir, your car passed its M.O.T."

By Ms. Jay-Marie Nair 





June Competition: Theme - The Test Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

I gulp fresh air after foul river, dazzled by blue sky. A miracle. Joy leaps in my heart but then I see their hard faces. They will burn me now.

June's Txtlit competition is won with this entry by Saskia, a UK baser artist  who works with visuals Saskiaperformance and words, as well as with children and animals. She tells us that she likes dancing all night in underground castles and picnicking in Summer meadows. Saskia describes herself as a private individual.  She hasaid published a poem which paradoxically describes how she would rather eat tiramasu and groom a horse than talk any more about herself. For her Txtlit entries, she likes stripping her ideas to the bone and seeing if they still hold. 

Yes! We did it again. We gave you a competition theme that clearly got the creative juices flowing and inspired some excellent and diverse stories. As we read down the list of entries each month we can usually tell after the first few what the general standard of stories is and this month were very happy indeed. We finally went with this entry for its classic Txtlit construction.  We are immediately thrown into the action and realise our main character is surfacing from an uncomfortable experience in water as she "gulps" for air. Dazzled by blue sky we feel a sense of relief and she herself feels it is a miracle, presumably because she is alive. Full of joy from what we now understand is an escape from death through drowning, the twist is applied. The hard faces that surround her show all is not as it appears. The final blow comes as we realise she has been accused of being a witch and the test that was being applied was to see if she floated. As she clearly didn't and narrowly escaped drowning her guilt is assured and now she will be burned. This is a really imaginative interpretation of the theme. Nice.


Other shortlisted entries:

The needle hovers above the vein. I have to inject but I can't. I shake. The consultant snaps "you'll never make it as a doctor if you can't take blood"

By Jeffrey Rowlands


I am alone in a car with a man I only met an hour ago.  "Your first time?" he asks, putting out his hand.  I nod nervously. "Well done, you've passed."

By Rosemary Lewis from Lichfield


It should be the easiest test in the world, only one question. How many times will I have to retake it? My heart sinks. I've failed again. Not pregnant."

By Anna Logan

My baby had her test this morning. The 'phone rings, and my heart stops as I answer it. "Did she pass?" I whisper. "Yes sir, your car passed its M.O.T."

By Ms. Jay-Marie Nair 





May Competition: Theme - The Fly Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

Today I live with purpose, today I love with urgency. Some lose time to changing winds, some to the allure of silken nets, but today I liv-SLAM! "Got it."

May's competition is won by Somerset Francis from Cullen in Banffshire. Originally Somerset Francis from London, Somerset is a sixteen-year-old student starting his last year at high school. He describes himself as your classic geeky nerd, obsessed with maths, science and fantasy, but has been drawn to the written word. Somerset says he's thrilled and frankly amazed to have won this month's Txtlit competition. It was his sister, Lydia who shares my love of writing, that recommended Txtlit to him a few weeks ago. His inspiration came when a fly, caught in a breeze, blew across the windscreen of the parked car he sat in. It clung to the wiper blades with its thin hair-legs, helpless and completely at the mercy of nature's whimsical harshness.

Our competition theme for May was a bit of an experiment on our part. We deliberately gave you a very perscriptive subject to write about to see how creative you could be with it in just 154 characters. We had some valiant attempts at writing about something other than an insect or the zip on a pair of trousers, and whilst we applaud the effort, the end results didn't quite cut it. We went for Somerset Francis's entry in the end because of its almost poetic feel, abruptly severed with a perfectly timed twist. Somerset's writing really breathes an air of optimisim and invincibility into the story; living with purpose and loving with urgency. And oh, our character is so unlike the others who fall foul of changing winds and spider webs. But them Slam!. A blunt twist. A straightforward story, well written with a twist that leaves a smile on your face.


Other shortlisted entries:

He crushed it slowly. A sigh of relief. The buzzing silenced, added the fly to the pile on the cell floor. If he couldn't have freedom neither could they.

By Jeffrey Rowlands


Unwanted awareness brings perception of my role. The oncoming danger is so slow to me that escape is easy. Seeing my future I chose to stay on the window.

By Ian Johnston 




April Competition: Theme - TheView Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

A concrete yard at dawn shouldn't bring tears, but it does. Finally I see its ordinary beauty. My reverie breaks as I'm guided to the impatient gallows.

Judgement Dave wins our April 2015 competition which had the theme of "The View"  Dave describes himself judgement_Daveas an IT contractor with a lifelong love of comedy and started performing stand-up in November 2010, usually as one of his characters of a German IT consultant, drunk Jesus and a dolphin in a 3-piece suit. He also writes topical comedy, and has had sketches, songs and gags performed around the country and on various podcasts and BBC Radio and he's been a winner in sitcom and humorous poetry competitions. More recently, illness has kept Dave from live performing so he's concentrated on writing. He tells us that when he's not doing something to do with comedy or writing, he likes to spend his free time procrastinating – though he never seems to get around to it. Dave only discovered the Txtlit competition in February 2015 and was thrilled to have an entry commended then. His wife thinks it's a miracle he wrote anything in just 154 characters. Dave explains that he wanted to move away from the obvious when writing his entry for this competition and tried to think what would make the beautiful seem sad or the mundane seem wonderful, adding that if you stop and really look at anything in the right frame of mind, it can look fantastic. For his story, the impending execution forces a man to finally appreciate this.

It's incredibly difficult, if not impossible to predict which themes are going to produce the best stories entered into our competitions. April's theme of The View was an extremely pleasant surprise. The quality of the writing and story ideas was outstanding, so well done to everyone who entered. So many of you were so close to the shortlist. Our winner, Judgement Dave, should feel especially pleased with himself for being selected as winner amongst such stiff competition. It was the concept behind Dave's story that clinched the win for him. The fact that only when we are put in situations of extreme stress or discomfort are we really able to appreciate even the simplest things for what they are and the beauty they possess. The story was beautifully written too. The opening sentence, simply punctuated, has an almost poetic rhythm. It also sets the scene as we ask why a concrete yard brings tears. A clever second sentence begins with "finally" which reveals an ambiguity when we read the last sentence and understand we are listening to a condemned man who is wringing every last drop of pleasure that he can from his last few moments of life. Great stuff.


Other shortlisted entries:

I smooth the contour of her cheek, ask her again to forgive me. She scowls, eyes dark and ruinous. I turn back to the canvas. She'll smile for me there.

By Eilish Norris  


Everything looks  different from up here, I don't feel myself. Is that my wife I can hear screaming ? And that man lying in the road looks just like me..

By Val Fish


She stretched her fingers towards London's snow-lined skies. What would she do first? Sightsee, shop? She took the globe and shook it. One day.

ByJotti Jetts



March 2015: Theme - Crime Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

I watch them throw away good food, feeling anger at this crime against the world's starving. I am shamed and labelled thief for taking it from the bin.

Our March competition was won with this entry from Ian Johnston of Manchester. With the theme of crime, Ian JohnstonIan tells us that he mulled over the theme of crime as he was turning over his allotment, "like a proper Northerner". Pondering on how everyone should have access to some growing space his thoughts led him the imbalance of basic needs on our shared planet. Ian enters various short story competitions and is building up to longer writings, although he managed to complete NaNoWrimo last November which he describes as a marathon for him but most enjoyable. Ian enjoys Txtlit as he finds the restrictive nature teaches editing skills and brevity.

Writing a really good Txtlit story is tough. We make it even harder by running competitions which mean you are up against other writers in order to win recognition, and of course £50. Our March competition was made more difficult still by using a popular genre like crime, which we have used more than once previously, and asking you to be original whilst maintaining a clear link to the theme. Although we had a good response in terms of numbers of entries, for many, either the link to the theme was too tenuous or entries over-ran the character limit. The winning entry from Ian Johnston  however ticks all the boxes. Our protagonist sees good food being discarded and is incensed that this is happening when so many people in the world are starving. In his eyes such wastefulness is a crime and there is the link to the theme. However, for retrieving the food from the bin he is accused of theft and, unjust as it seems, here is where the real crime is committed. We don't know for sure but assume that the food is taken for his own consumption and he counts himself in the number of the world's starving. This makes his labelling of thief even more unjust.


Just one shortlisted entry this month:

DC Kay picked up the last evidence from the scene, put it in a bag, then his pocket. Getting home he threw it in the bin; then let out a sigh of relief!

By Paul Gledhill 

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