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Page last updated at 12:01 GMT, Monday, 4 October 2010 13:01 UK
Bridport Prize literary contest attracts 15,000 entries
Counting out the distribution of entry forms
The administration of the Bridport Prize is a team effort

The Bridport Prize literary competition has attracted 14,900 entries this year, which is the most ever, say organisers.

The annual open writing contest began in 1973 as a fundraiser for Bridport Arts Centre.

Alongside poetry and short stories, the 2010 competition introduced a new category, flash fiction - a complete story of less than 250 words.

The winners of the contest will be announced on 31 October at the Bridport Literary Festival.

Frances Everitt, co-ordinator of the competition since 2002, believes the competition has now earned a strong international reputation with entries from over 75 countries.

She said: "I think we are well known within the writing world for taking our writers seriously."

'Fantastic entries'

Frances has also been a reader for the first time.

She was one of a team of 12 whittling down the entries to create a short-list from which the judges would choose their winners.

Boxes of entry forms waiting to be posted
The competition had 14,900 entries

She said: "I enjoyed it, and 14 stories I read made it to the shortlist [for the 5,000 word short story category].

The short-listing process takes several months to complete, after the deadline for entries at the end of June.

There is also recognition for best entry from a local writer, the Dorset Prize.

She said: "Because it's a big competition, it's very nice to acknowledge that Dorset has its own literary scene which is big and exciting in itself."

Frances said she was particularly impressed with the response to the contest's new category of flash fiction - especially from writers in Dorset.

The category attracted over 2,500 entries in total.

"I think people saw that it had a limit of 250 words and thought, 'I could have a go at that.'

"It looks less daunting but I think they are harder to write [than the longer stories], but we got some fantastic entries. I read some of them and thought, 'Wow'."

All of the winners have now been chosen by the team of judges which includes Zoë Heller and Michael Laskey.

The awards ceremony takes place on 31 October at the Bridport Arts Centre theatre.

New category for Bridport Prize
11 Feb 10 |  Arts & Culture


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