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

Example Story
Smash, grab. The hooded thief ran towards the busy high street where he would melt into the crowd. In his haste he didn’t look before crossing. Hit, run.
October 2015 Competition

The Discovery is your October theme. Write a story to this theme in just 154 characters which should be preceded by the word STORY and a space and then text to 82085. Cost £1+ 1 network text.

November 2015 Competition

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

August Competition: Theme - The Queue Print E-mail

Winning Entry:

'Why couldn't you just hang on?' she sobbed. Medics rushed past with her son's new heart, as her tears fell on his still-warm body.'

"The Queue" was your competition theme for August and Danielle Allen takes the winning prize with this entry.  Danielle Allen Self confessed crazy cat lady Danielle, is 28 years old and from Walker in Newcastle upon Tyne. She has just started a foundation degree at Newcastle College in Digital Design to keep her creativly active while she works on her writing.  Danielle has been writing for nine years and has been published by Reader's Digest and on wordriot.org with a horror story in the upcoming Writer's Anarchy IV anthology due mid October. Danielle tells us she loves writing Txtlit entries because she loves the challenge of fitting a story into such a short space.

We knew that the theme of The Queue for the August competition was a prescriptive one, but it did little to restrict the range of stories that we received. There was a wide variation in what your story characters were queueing for as well as story construction and interpretation; all of which gave us a tough time during judging. We finally decided on Danielle Allen's entry because we liked the simplicity of construction coupled with the originality of her interpretation of the theme whilst remembering to tell us a story. We are dropped into a situation where something bad has clearly already happened. When we realise that the speaking character is crying we can deduce that whoever is being spoken to has actually died. We are just left to discover why. This information is neatly delivered when what should have been his new heart arrives and it is clear that it is too late, but only just. We also learn the relationship between the characters and of course the link to the theme. A good example of coherently cramming lots of information into a single sentence.


Other shortlisted entries:


I shuffle in my sleeping bag. I accept soup from a do-gooder. This is my doorway. I smell but when the shop opens I will be first to get the new iPad.

By Saskia 


'Move.' Aaron stumbled into the man in front. Glimpsing his father's watch on the soldier's wrist, he gasped. 'Everyone ready for the showers!'

Also by Danielle Allen
And a little black humour...

I join the shaky line. Often I hear the crowd shout, a lion roar or a cry of pain. But I stand smuggly, still one up on them; I'm not really a Christian!

By Paul Gledhill 





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



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