Your Plans for Burns’ Night?

The 25th January or Burns’ Night is a key event in Scottish calendars. Not quite a Hallmark holiday, though embraced by lovers of Scottish culture and possibly partygoers worldwide, it’s essentially a celebration of the life and works of Robert Burns. Born in 1759, around the 25th, the Scottish bard filled his short life (dying at the age of 37) with glorious explosions of verse, mainly in his own language/dialect. His poems were expressions that sprang from the heart, influencing the great Romantic poets Wordsworth, Coleridge and Shelley, and are still celebrated today.

I was introduced to the perils of drink through Tam O’Shanter, a poem I had to learn for O’ Level. Oh, the joy of practising it in front of the mirror until I could recite it word perfect to the class. Even though my accent could be defined as Southern English/RP the writing transports you to the highlands and I was there with Tam’s wife Kate calling him ‘a skellum, a blethering, blustering, drunken, blellum.’ And certainly, at a Burns’ Night party while munching on your haggis and knocking back the ‘usquabae’, Tam’s is a tale worth telling.

I tweeted some great Scottish writers to give their top writing tips (in 140 characters) for a short story on a Burns’ Night theme. Almost immediately a reply pinged back from award-winning Louise Welsh @louisewelsh00 Professor of Creative Writing at Glasgow @UofGWriting  known mainly for her short stories and psychological thrillers (such as the Orange-nominated and CWA winner The Cutting Room; The Girl on the Stairs and Plague Times Trilogy).

She’s right. Read the poetry and find a starting point. The tale of a night when ‘The Deil had business on his hand’? Or the wife who sits at home ‘gathering her brows like a gathering storm’?  Or whatever piques your fancy or fantasy? A quick google will transport you to the world of Rabbie Burns or you could start with Tam O’Shanter.

Write your story (up to 2200 words) and send it to us by May 1st.  ‘Good luck to all your Means!’

Latest Author News

Fourteen weeks to go now until BSSA 2017 ends on May 1st, 2017. To inspire you to enter this year, here are some recent further success stories from our  BSSA 2016 award winners and other authors whose stories you can read in our 2016 short story award anthology

Anne O’Brien reading at the BSSA 2016 anthology launch at Mr B’s Emporium of Books Bath, with our cover designer and BSSA 2014 winner, Elinor Nash, in the background

We were delighted to learn that Anne 0’Brien, our first prize winner, BSSA 2016, has just won second prize in the prestigious The London Magazine’s short story competition and her story, I Have Called You By Your Name will be published alongside the winner, writer Emma Hughes and Dan Powell, our BSSA 2015 second prize winner, who won third prize in the contest with his story The Ideal Husband Exhibition. William Pei Shih, shortlisted for BSSA 2016 with his story Mrs Li was also shortlisted in The London Magazine competition as was one of our BSSA 2016 longlisted writers, Marie Gethins. Congratulations to all!

Ingrid Jendzrejewski ,shortlisted for BSSA 2016 with her story We Were Curious About Boys was successful in many different competitions in 2016 and has started off 2017 in great style by winning the flash fiction competition in the long-established literary journal Tears in the Fence.  Her story, Many a Pearl is Still Hidden in the Oyster will be published in their next issue due out in February.

US writer, Thomas M Atkinson, shortlisted for BSSA 2016  with his story Dancing Turtle, has, among several other 2016 successes, had his story ‘Grimace in the Burnt Black Hills’ selected for New Stories from the Midwest 2016  (New American Press) along with such writing luminaries as Joyce Carol Oates, Charles Baxter, and Laura van den Berg. The publication is due out soon. The guest editor was author and Pulitzer finalist Lee Martin. Grimace in the Burnt Black Hills first appeared in The Sun magazine and received two Pushcart Prize nominations.

Clare Reddaway’s  story Avocet which you can read in the BSSA 2016 anthology is also going to be published in the lovely Project Calm magazine’s third issue out in the late Spring. We’re sure it will be illustrated beautifully there.

We hope we’ve included all recent successes. Do let us know your news, authors!

Buy 2016 Bath Short Story Anthology

bssa-2016-blue-coverJust launched at our event last Thursday, 24th November 2016 at Mr B’s Emporium of Books, Bath and available to buy now on this site –  our 2016 Anthology!  Twenty wonderful stories from the 2016 Bath Short Story Award written by authors residing in the UK, Ireland, Luxembourg, Belgium, United States, New Zealand and the Cayman Islands.

” The last journey of a refugee. A novel approach to infertility. Coming of age in the 80s with the Cuban boys in town. Hopes, desires and intrigues feature in this compelling collection of the winning and shortlisted entries from the Bath Short Story Award, 2016. Judged by BBC Radio 4 producer, Mair Bosworth as ‘startling, imaginative story telling’ with ‘brilliantly drawn characters who have really stuck with me’.”

If you’re a UK resident, buy here  for £9.50 including postage and packing. 2 copies available for £19 inc postage and packing

Purchasers from other countries, can buy from Amazon for £7.99 plus postage and packing. Digital copies available for £3.79 from Amazon.

Buy for a Christmas gift or buy to be inspired. The 2017 Award is now open for entries until May 1st, 2017.

Bath Short Story Award 2017. Now closed.

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The fifth international Bath Short Story Award closed  for entries on Monday May 1st, 2017, midnight BST.  Judging is underway.

Shortlist  judge is Euan Thorneycroft, Senior Literary Agent at A M Heath

Prizes £1400 prize fund:

£1000 first prize, £200 second prize, £100 third prize, £50  for the local prize in vouchers –  donated by Mr B’s Emporium of Books, Bath. £50 for the Acorn Award for an unpublished writer. Results out July 2017.

Winning and shortlisted stories will be published in a print and digital anthology launched in October or November 2017 in Bath..

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Our 2016 anthology containing last years’ winners and shortlisted writers is  now available to buy on this site for £7.99 plus postage and packing for UK buyers or from Amazon if you are buying from other countries. Digital copies available from Amazon for £3.79

 

Judge’s Comments

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Mair Bosworth

Comments on the BSSA 2016 shortlist,1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners and commended pieces from our shortlist judge, BBC Radio 4 Producer, Mair BosworthWhen I agreed to be the shortlist judge for this year’s Bath Short Story Award, I didn’t know what a hard task I was taking on. I have been really impressed with the shortlisted stories and would like to congratulate everyone who got this far in the competition.

Picking a top three has not been easy. Reading these stories I have been transported to Brooklyn, Tangier, Dublin, Appalachia, Bangor. I have encountered some startling, imaginative storytelling and some brilliantly drawn characters who have really stuck with me. There is great energy and originality in these stories, matched with control and craft. Thank you to everyone who sent in their stories – it’s been an honour to read them all.

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Winners’ Biographies 2016 Award

 

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Anne O’Brien

 

First prize:  Anne O’Brien

Five years ago, Anne O’Brien left her job in the European Commission in Brussels to pursue her passion in creative writing. Since then, she has gained a Masters degree in Creative Writing at Lancaster University and is currently working towards her PhD. Her stories have been shortlisted in many competitions including the Sunday Business Post/Penguin Ireland Short Story competition, the Bridport Prize, the BBC’s Opening Lines and the Fish Short Story Prize. Anne’s work has appeared in several anthologies and magazines as well as been translated and published in Vietnamese.

 

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Winners: Bath Short Story Award, 2016

We’re thrilled to announce the winners and the commended writers of the international Bath Short Story Award, 2016. This year, 1439 writers entered from around the globe, 64 stories were longlisted and 20 stories made the shortlist. Congratulations to all our long and shortlisted writers and special congratulations to the five winners and three commended writers. An anthology of  winning and shortlisted stories will be published this Autumn. Continue reading

Shortlisted authors BSSA 2016

 

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Thomas Atkinson (photo by Melissa Breetz Barton)

Thomas M. Atkinson  is an American author and playwright. His story ‘Grimace in the Burnt Black Hills’ will appear in New Stories from the Midwest 2015 and received two 2013 Pushcart Prize nominations. ‘Me & Mr. Tinkles’ will appear in the Fish Anthology 2016. Standing Deadwood: Collected Stories, was a finalist in the 2014 Spokane Prize for Short Fiction and a finalist in the 2014 St. Lawrence Book Award for Fiction, and his new novel TIKI MAN was a finalist in the 2014 Leapfrog Press Fiction Contest. He has received five Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards. Shortlisted story: ‘Dancing Turtle’ Continue reading

BSSA 2016 Longlist

Congratulations to everyone who reached the long list of this year’s award and a big thank you to all the  writers who entered from around the globe. We received 1439 entries this year – stories from 45 different countries, covering most of the letters of the alphabet! Continue reading