I'm not involved in running this competition, but I know the people who do, having previously studied at the MMU writing school. So with that small amount of insight, some thoughts:
- Yes the entry fee is high.
- Having said that, I know they get a lot
of submissions (thousands). So if the price is designed to keep the 'riff raft' out, as someone suggested, it isn't working.
- If you look at previous shortlisted authors you'll see they tend to have strings of prizes and credits already. At least two previously shortlisted authors have gone on to gain commercial publication and one (Alison Moore) went on to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize - so the competition is very
tough. Unless you've written something absolutely outstanding
I wouldn't waste your money.
- The competition is judged blind (e.g. authors' names are removed from submissions before they are passed to the judges) so there's no bias in favour of 'privileged' groups or published authors.
- I know the judges read every single piece.
- Having said that, if you were reading hundreds and hundreds of pieces would you read on if page one wasn't grabbing you?
- I also know that 'voice' is the only thing that stands out to judges that are reading hundreds of pieces - if you do enter make sure your piece has a very strong voice.
- It's a bit inevitable that the judges' preferences are going to be the deciding factor. It's easy enough to see what kind of story the chief judge, Nicholas Royle, likes as he edits a collection called 'Best British Short Stories 20xx' every year.
- Also you can read some previous shortlisted stories herehere.
I hope that helps.
Graeme Shimmin, Alternate History and Spy Thriller Author