This year, my short story was published in Cheval 12, an anthology published in 2019 for the Terry Hetherington Young Writer’s Award by Parthian Books. I’m no longer eligible to submit a story or poem in 2020’s award (in spite of the name “Megan Thomas”, I’m not actually Welsh), but it was such a bloody amazing experience. So, I want to lay out what it’s all about as simply as possible so that those of you out there who do meet the requirements get the opportunity to get involved in something you may not have heard of before.
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How to enter
Before I get into the backstory of the award – which is really inspiring – I’ll start with the most important “how”. It really couldn’t be simpler:
- Go to the website
- Click “Submit Application”
- Pay £3 via Paypal
Yes, it’s that simple. Oh, and of course the NB step between point two and four – write something lovely.
The submission requirements are two-tiered – there’s the requirements for the author, and for the piece itself.
In order to enter, you need to be between 18 and 30 years old, and one of two things: a resident of Wales (which includes studying and/or being on contract in Wales), or have a main home in Wales.
The £3 fee includes an entry of 1-3 poems, or a piece of fiction up to a maximum of 2500 words on any subject. My story was about a morally dubious mormon and some cannibals who live in Wigan. So trust them when they say “any subject”. All submissions must be the author’s own work and previously unpublished. You cannot withdraw your entry after the closing date.
NB: STAY ANONYMOUS. Do not put your name/alias anywhere near the entry, as they are all judged anonymously – it will be disqualified.
You are required to include a biography of yourself in the comments section of the entry form, which should be 40 words in the first person – it shouldn’t include your name, location, or anything that could help identify you.
Some more basic admin for the file itself (which is always worth triple-checking in situations where organisers are receiving numerous entries):
- Files must be submitted in “doc/docx” format
- Arial font
- Size 12
- Number document pages sequentially
The first prize is £1000, and there are two runner-up prizes – one for poetry and one for short story. Though a cash prize is always great, for me the best part of the award is that a selection of top entries are then selected to be in the anthology which is usually published mid-year.
The first time I entered a story, nothing came of it – but the organisers are very personable and encouraging so I was excited to try again rather than disheartened. On my second try, I made it into Cheval 12. As you’ll read further down, the award is all about encouraging young people to push to get their work published – don’t let the first “no” affect anything.
Submissions close 30th November, and you will hear back about your submission’s success in January.
Terry Hetherington was a popular Welsh poet who put a great amount of focus, when teaching Creative Writing classes, on encouraging young writers to send their poetry and stories to publishers. When he passed away in 2007, his circle of friends – poets and writers – suggested that an award be established in his namesake. A trust was formed from here, which has grown by the year and is packed with talented editors and writers who judge the award and select which entries will be included in the anthology.
Money to fund the award comes from the monthly Poems and Pints:
ENTER! Not only are you supporting a great initiative, but it is a wonderful opportunity to get your writing out there and read. All rights remain with the author, but The Terry Hetherington Award reserves the right to publish the exemplary pieces once, in the competition anthology. They can also be added to the Cheval website.
Any questions? Ask in the comments section.